Between the skyline of skyscrapers in New York City, and majesty of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Jason Saltzman and his family didn’t miss a scenic beat when they made their move from the Big Apple to Boulder, Colorado this past week.
How Jason Saltzman’s Introduction to Entrepreneurship Has Come Full Circle
“The biggest naysayers in my life added the most fuel to my fire.”
As an ever-thinking entrepreneur and founder of the co-working space Alley, Saltzman has reasons for the move that runs deeper than what just appeared on the surface.
“When I started my first entrepreneurial journey, I loved NYC because you could connect with so many great people. As I grew, that changed because I had already established such a great network of connections. My livelihood became more about the needs of myself and my partner. That big assessment brings a reality into your life; whether you’re going to go for it or not.”
Tyler Schmitt, host of One37pm’s “Huh?!” had an unbelievable conversation with Saltzman; unveiling one of the why’s behind his big move, motives behind his entrepreneurial endeavors, and what he finds himself doing today.
“Going for it”, could be considered Saltzman's motto ever since his high school days; when his entrepreneurial seeds were planted. During that time, self-start ups were not popular, and were often frowned upon by those dedicated to the status quo of working a nine-to-five gig.
Jason recalls what his first experience bringing home money as a teenager was like.
“I remember bringing home my first check and my parents thought that I was a drug dealer. Back then, the thought was that if you wanted to be successful, you had to be a doctor or lawyer. I liked the social aspect of school, but I did not like people telling me what I needed to learn.”
I did not like people telling me what I needed to learn.
- Jason Saltzman
More often than not, your family, teachers and friends might question what you do more than anyone else, and rightfully so. At the same time, there is a fine line between not letting loved ones down, and having the conviction to get done what needs to be done for the sake of the career that you want.
Saltzman doubled down on himself, and shifted his perspective from being upset that his mother doubted him, to using it as motivation to succeed on his own path.
“ So I would say that my moms lack of faith motivated me, the lack of trust in me. I was fueled by the passion of doubt, used those chips, and stacked them in my backpack. The biggest naysayers in my life added the most fuel to my fire.”
Saltzman took that fire with him through six years of studying fine arts and marketing at Briarcliffe College and the Fashion Institute of Technology. After school, he founded the New Horizon Debt Settlement group; his first true entrepreneurial endeavor that involved assisting Americans in debt settlement.
Ally, his latest business start-up based in New York City, is a co-working space that opens its doors to entrepreneurs and other content creators in the community for collaboration and mentorship. Between 2010-2012, the company’s culture thrived on a vibrant and party-like atmosphere. With the landscapes starting to shift though, Saltzman realized that they needed to find ways to make more money.
Once Alley started making money from big organizations that wanted to connect with its community, the company became more corporate focused in trying to bridge the gap between small companies that didn’t have many resources, and large companies that didn’t know how to utilize every one of their resources in the best way.
It turned out that the corporate realm was a little bit out of Saltzman’s lane, which led to a major decision that he made for himself and for his company.
“ That world wasn’t really for me, so I fired myself. I hired a CEO, Noel Tassey, who spoke the start-up and corporate languages. “
While admitting it was a tough decision, Saltzman was able to shift his perspective and look at his firing from a growth standpoint.
“I see all too often that people get stuck in an algorithm of sticking to that 2-year plan or building clout just for their LinkedIn. You have to let the universe kick you in the ass for a little while, and you have to let yourself fail. If you’re not embracing failure, you’re not doing it right. If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not doing it right.”
If you're not embracing failure, you're not doing it right. If you're not uncomfortable, you're not doing it right.
- Jason Saltzman
Between the start of the global pandemic and now, Saltzman has had his eyes set on another opportunity to create more value for others.
“ The pandemic gave us all an opportunity to pause. In the midst of that, I was getting plagued with a lot of need with help. Friends and family who couldn’t pay their bills, and who knew that I started out in the debt business, would call me day-in and day-out. That’s when I realized, this is the help that I can provide for the people around me, and this could be my staple in life.”
Now, after being against the notion of being told what to learn growing up, it’s a full circle moment that Saltzman is now an adjunct professor at Florida International University.
“I’m curious about the youth; Are you able to get kicked in the face? Are you soft? Or are you hard and ready to solve some real fucking problems? Through my experience at FIU, I’m learning from the generation about who they are, so that I can insert value into their lives.”
When asked if Saltzman could summarize the mindset of what it takes to be an entrepreneur, he offered an extremely coherent analogy.
“The mindset you have to have is that you’re a fucking scientist. You’re going into the lab, you’re putting pieces together, and your formula will not work right away. You have to have that longevity mindset like a scientist. But in the process, you’ll learn so many different things."
You have to have that longevity mindset like a scientist
- Jason Saltzman
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