Paul Kenjora – Co-Founder and CEO of AwareLabs

[quote style=”boxed”]It’s ideas that bring parts of me to life. When I was in high school I listened to “Love Line”, and Adam Carrolla said something that has stuck with me to this day, “Guys are like sharks, they need to keep swimming or they will suffocate.” Ideas keep me swimming, and I guess eventually I get where I’m going, we both win.[/quote]

Paul Kenjora is a methodical entrepreneur, product developer, and trouble maker. A modern “Renissance Man”, Paul spent his twenties working on everything from designing and constructing family homes by hand, to deveoping remote controlled military Humvees, and launching PayPal’s Phoenix office. Now in his thirties, Paul is focused on disruptive marketing and finance entrepreneurship.

He is currently in the process of launching AwareLabs which provides small business and startup marketing in a box.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a new startup aimed at getting small business launched in marketing and PR. The project is a recipe in a box for brick and mortar as well as online startup business owners that builds organic online presence. The project is a collaboration between design, branding, and a PR agency at a local co-working space called CoHoots.

Where did the idea for AwareLabs come from?

As an entrepreneur I became frustrated with paying for really expensive marketing and PR with no concrete results. I saw what the agencies were doing, put together a marketing guide and stapled a buy now button to it. Then I used it and here I am on IdeaMensch.

What does your typical day look like?

My day starts with a home made Latte and a Paleo breakfast around 8 AM. I try to get a few people tasks done early, so emails and lots of coordination on side projects like local entrepreneurship initiatives.

I’ve made it a rule that around the afternoon time I try to get some gardening done, hit up yoga, or just go for a bike ride to clear my head. Its getting hot here in AZ so that will change in the summer.

The afternoon is all about execution, whatever the next step is to move my projects forward.

How do you bring ideas to life?

It’s ideas that bring parts of me to life. When I was in high school I listened to “Love Line”, and Adam Carrolla said something that has stuck with me to this day, “Guys are like sharks, they need to keep swimming or they will suffocate.” Ideas keep me swimming, and I guess eventually I get where I’m going, we both win.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I’m not sure if this is a new trend, but I’m really excited about local business models. In a world of increasing ease of production why shouldn’t every common human service exist in a small area. Modern technology is making it possible to make anything anywhere, to be mostly self sustaining, a village will do. I’d love to see that concept embraced again.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I was a senior partner at a startup with someone who turned out to be a terrible human being. I do not want to repeat that experience.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I’d learn to learn from my mistakes sooner. My experiences have taught me that doing something well is a matter of knowing how to do it poorly, then doing it a different way. Sometimes you can learn that from watching others but often you have to learn it yourself. If thats the case, then get started sooner.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I rely on good people to help me move forward. Find people who make you better, not reinforce your ego and work with them. The experience will accelerate your ideas and your abilities.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I have a running list of a few dozen. My number is 602-214-7285, call me. If you can tell me in 30 seconds or less why you are the right person to execute one of my ideas, I’ll give you 3 ideas no strings attached.

Tell us a secret.

I learned everything I know about startups from reading historical fiction.

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

GMail and Rapportive combined because together they solve all my communications needs. Google Maps and Yelp because I like to try new places.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

It is actually causing me physical pain to recommend just one so I’ll fire off a few turrets style: System Of The World by Neal Stephenson, Pleasure Of My Own Company by Steve Martin, World War Z by Max Brooks, and Kissing In Manhattan by David Schickler.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

There are still people on Twitter?I’m not being facetious. Seriously, someone clean that up.

What’s on your playlist?

I just upgraded my Pandora account so I can listen to Rhianna, 4 Stirings, Benny Benassi, and Urban Ambience in full fidelity on my HD 457 Sennheiser’s.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

This morning around the breakfast table with my lovely wife and a friend who stopped by. We have a drop in anytime philosophy with friends. The laughter was due to one of us having a slight hangover from the night before which brought up good memories.

Who is your hero?

I read comics as a kid so the first thing that pops into my head is Superman, then Iron Man, followed by the Green Lantern. A bit cheesy maybe, but they’re all icons of determination, self sacrifice, and fundamental core uncompromising belief in good. The best entrepreneurs I’ve seen understand those values.

What does entrepreneurship require above all else?

It requires community more so for the entrepreneurs than the product. Its an amazingly difficult journey to launch a business. Having other souls around you who are going through the same struggles and overcoming the same obstacle is an amazing source of positive energy. Something as simple as meeting someone for coffee to talk about common struggles gets entrepreneurs through the rough spots.

How would you live if you could have your ideal?

I’d be in Flagstaff, Arizona about 10 miles outside of town with a bike path into downtown. My wife and I would live in a small 1,400 sq ft home surrounded by a prairie and some pines. There would be a creek and a modest vegetable garden. We’d spend our days outdoors and our evenings with friends and family over drinks.


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