We had the good fortune of connecting with Dejon Brooks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dejon, what do you attribute your success to?
That’s a tough question. I can take the easy route and list all of the generic answers such as consistency, good branding, etc., but the #1 thing that made the difference between failing or succeeding is storytelling. When starting Trend Watchers, I originally wanted to use investors’ money to take my idea to life. After realizing my only option was to go all-in myself, I had to become resourceful in every way possible. When it came to marketing Trend Watchers in the beginning, I couldn’t afford to spend $10,000/month on ads to drive traffic. I had to rely on organic methods which included posting to forums, cold emailing, and messaging potential customers over Instagram. Doing these tasks daily was fairly easy for me, but persuading people to give my software solution a shot was another story. I was on Indie Hackers mid-2020, and I saw a post about how one guy leveraged his startup’s story to gain traction with his software solution. I am not a fan of sharing my business with other people but decided to give it a shot and it worked extremely well. Not only did I get more customers but sharing my story has allowed me to network with people I wouldn’t have imagined talking to, reduce churn, and work with the press which has allowed me to reach even more people. For anyone looking to grow their startup on a limited budget, I would highly recommend crafting and sharing your startup story. People love hearing & being a part of great things in the making.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Trend Watchers notifies content creators about internet trends & shows them how to profit off them. I used to be a large content creator myself and my strategy for getting viral videos consistently was to take advantage of internet trends. What sets Trend Watchers apart from its competition is our willingness to go the extra mile by showing people how to take the trends we issue and create content around them. All of our competitors only provide trends, which are sometimes better than ours but people don’t know how to use them. This is what inspired me to create Trend Watchers. As a self-funded startup, I did come across a lot of challenges. Most of these challenges were money-related. To drive revenue as soon as possible, I had to ask and listen to my customers to figure out their pain points. I was forced to do this because if I didn’t satisfy them, I would run out of running forcing me to close shop. If money was not an issue, I probably would have ignored all of this user feedback and kept throwing money at ads to increase revenue. Now that I look back, I view this very tough challenge as a blessing because it allowed me to build a superior product. My long-term goal with Trend Watchers is to help people prepare, spot & take action on life-changing opportunities. To survive in the short run, we are fulfilling our purpose by helping content creators but would soon like to expand our service to all.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have a very diverse list of places to visit in the metro Atlanta area. To narrow it down, my top favorite places to visit are Atlantic Station, Ponce City Market, and around Lenox Mall in Buckhead. I tend to not eat out as much, but when I have the chance, I’ll normally pick a burger joint. Once I recently visited to catch up with an old friend was Big Daddy Burger Bar in Smyrna. Their burgers and fries were really good for the price. Will definitely be back there. A hobby of mine is driving through the downtown areas of small cities. I would plan a few of those along my route to do some reading on some of the local history.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to personally thank my mentor Adam. Even though we’ve literally spoken twice, his advice has always put me on the correct path. I came across Adam by accident. I was interested in trying out real estate in high school, so I decided to seek out a mentor. To find a mentor, I decided I was going to call one of those “We buy houses signs” along the side of the road. When I found my first one, I gave it a call, and just by luck, Adam happened to answer. Our conversation lasted 30minutes. Towards the end, he referred me to his cousin Travis. He wanted me to work alongside him to learn the ropes of the business. I worked with Travis for a few months & the experience was phenomenal. After realizing real estate wasn’t for me at the time, I tried out other ventures which would have failed had I not had that real estate experience. Fast forward 1 year, I’m getting ready to raise capital for Trend Watchers. Since I did some real estate back in high school, my network of investors was very strong so I decided to showcase my idea to this entire list 1 by 1. Surprisingly, a lot of people were interested and liked my idea, but never took any action. I kept doing this until I reached the last person on my list. Adam. I called Adam for the second time, and he told me to forward my plans over to his email and he will get back to me the following day. When he called the next day, he told me what no one else was willing to tell me. It went something like this. “Your idea is great but no one is going to invest their hard-earned money into a 19-year-old with no track record. The only way you’ll get any type of capital is to ask any family or friends who believe in my idea & knows/understands my work ethic. You can either do that, or go all-in yourself”. After thinking about it for a few days, I decided to go all-in with my savings and I absolutely do not regret that decision. When it comes to thanking one person for my success with Trend Watchers, it would have to go to Adam. Without his advice, Trend Watchers probably would have failed. It has been over a year since I have spoken to him. I plan on making my first million before showing him what I’ve been able to build from our 6-minute conversation that day.