I had the pleasure of interviewing Entrepreneur Alex Machuca. He currently owns stake in two companies in Scottsdale, Arizona. He started a staffing company called Recruit Haven in 2017 and is now a Managing Partner in West 54 Productions. West 54 is the company behind the immersive Instagram pop-up exhibit, Tacotopia coming to US cities in 2019.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I really stumbled into this. I always try to provide value to my peers, especially when it comes to their careers. I’m also very opportunistic in my approach to business. I had a friend named Chantz Usery, who I believe is a visionary. He had an amazing concept, and I knew I could help bring that concept to life.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
The most interesting aspect of me becoming part of this company is that I was so psyched about the opportunity that I worked for free. I recognized an opportunity to provide value. It paid off. I originally was only supposed to help out with one project. I ended up earning equity in all of them.
I’m exciting about the opportunity. This is a relatively unknown industry. But if you can recognize patterns then you can recognize opportunity. History tends to repeat itself. We are going through a transitional period right now. Just like in the 1940’s when people made the transition from radio to television. That’s what is happening now. The television is becoming obsolete. It’s becoming the Radio. People are now spending the majority of their time on their phones. That makes Instagram and Facebook your CNN, ABC, and FOX news. Advertising on Instagram will produce you better results than any commercial on TV right now. I truly believe this is going to be a gold rush for sponsorship revenue. This is a new innovative way for companies to market. If you sponsor a pop up exhibit in your niche, you are taking your brand and putting it in a viral explosion on the most powerful platform there is. The average consumer has never been more accessible.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I got my first taste of entrepreneurship after I had recruited for about a year and a half. I was asked to be the Sales Director of a start-up company. This company was lead by one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the 2000’s. I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to work with him. I learned many valuable lessons that I still apply today.
He had a great new CRM software that was oriented towards sales professionals. He wanted me to sell his product and eventually build out his sales team with the revenue generated from my sales. I’ve always believed in working smarter and not harder. So instead, I approached sales trainers and convinced them to put their sales playbook in our CRM and sell it to their customers as is. This digitized their playbooks and made it easier for their clients to read, thus making their product more effective. They would incorporate it into their price and their customers would pay for it. By doing this I created a sales team consisting of the best “sales experts” in the world and it was at no overhead costs to our company. I essentially eliminated my job. When my company realized that they no longer had a need for me they let me go. I learned a very valuable lesson. What is best for you and what is best for the company can be two different things. I am still very grateful to that company. It ended up being a blessing in disguise. It’s the reason I started my first company.
What do you think makes your company stand out?
Our creatives. Our entire team. We are very in touch with our audience. Our CEO is on the floor right next to our graphic designer. That is the type of leader she is. There is a cohesiveness and family element to this company that can’t be replicated anywhere else. We all truly want to deliver an immersive experience that captures the imaginations of millions of people. Tacotopia will do just that.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
If you aren’t happy with your job, make a change. I think people only burn out when they don’t love what they do. I have a lot of friends who procrastinate about leaving their jobs. They don’t realize the sooner they leave, the closer they will be towards the inevitable next step in their career.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
Most definitely my parents. They invested so much time and money into me. I used to feel so guilty because I really felt like it was a waste. I failed out of private school. I totaled their car. I was the troublemaker of my family. My siblings would remind me of that all the time.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I wouldn’t call myself successful by any means yet. I don’t believe you need success to bring goodness into the world. Being a good person means being compassionate and helpful towards others. You don’t need money to do that.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
I have a quote that my grandmother told me before she passed away. She told me that at the end of your life what counts are things you did to fill your heart, not your pockets. It has always stuck with me.
What are your “3 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Pick and choose your battles. If you have a colleague or peer who disagrees with you, it may be more valuable to let them win and empower them as opposed to shooting down their ideas and provoking discouragement.
- The earlier you wake up, the bigger the head start.
- Your friends who are skeptical or don’t believe in you are actually your biggest allies. They hold you accountable towards your goals. Love them for it.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
You know I’ve always believed in matching opportunity with opportunity. The best type of deals are ones where everyone wins. I think there are a lot of young kids out there who need guidance, and there are a lot lonely senior citizens out there with a lot of wisdom to share. I would love to start a foundation that is a liaison between orphanages and senior living facilities. I think that is a mutually beneficial relationship that can make the world a better place. So if you are interested in helping me get this off the ground, hit me up!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Follow me on instagram! Username: alchapo1
To see if tacotopia is coming to your city visit www.atacotopia.com
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!