The Everyday Hero’s Toolkit: Aaron Velazquez’s Mission with FairFigure

A headshot of Aaron Christian Velazquez, CEO of FairFigure. He has short cropped hair, black round glasses and is smiling.
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Aaron Christian Velazquez had no background in bookkeeping when he applied for a job at a small firm in New York. He saw the job posting online and then spent a week trying to learn everything he could about accounting. 

This ambition and drive got him to where he is today, as CEO of FairFigure. At this first job, he discovered he loved diving deep into the numbers that drove small businesses. Through financial spreadsheets and bank statements, he gained insights into the operations of small businesses without ever physically visiting them. The story they told captivated him, and he was hooked. 

As his expertise grew, so did his opportunities. A new client – the Upstate Venture Capital Association of New York – became pivotal in his career. Their events were a melting pot of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, incubators, and legal professionals. Ideas flew at these events from budding entrepreneurs, seasoned investors, and private equity professionals. While Aaron’s official role was assisting in event coordination, he viewed this opportunity as an informal mentorship. 

“I was an eager observer, always with my notebook in hand, dreaming of the day I’d take the stage to present a groundbreaking idea.”

These moments at that event set the stage for Aaron’s philosophy, which would follow him to founding his own business. 

Aaron’s experience is quite different from what he calls the “unicorn” entrepreneurial journey – attending elite universities with incubators, getting the golden opportunity to pitch to big-shot investors, and then landing that dream Seed funding. 

While it’s a glamorized narrative in the media, it’s important to realize that it’s not the reality for many entrepreneurs. Many of the hard-working folks Aaron has met built their dreams on personal savings, a sprinkle of determination, and a lot of love and support from friends and family. They weren’t necessarily looking for the next big startup idea; they just had a heartfelt vision – be it a cozy bakery, a bustling trucking company, or a new Main Street USA Hair Salon. And for many, the roadmap to accessing capital wasn’t laid out before them. 

So, while the ‘unicorn’ path is inspiring, Aaron felt a calling to empower everyday heroes to turn their dreams into reality, one step at a time.

“You know, sometimes I think I just stumbled into success like someone who trips and accidentally discovers a hidden treasure. Sure, there might’ve been a touch of hard work and one too many instant ramen to ensure my car wasn’t the next star on a repo reality show.”

Aaron is humble, but the hard work paid off. Before he knew it, he was wearing the co-founder hat for a B2B e-commerce platform flirting with a valuation of over 20 million dollars. And while that sudden brush with success and wealth was exhilarating, it didn’t quite quench his thirst to uplift the everyday entrepreneur.

In what felt like a cosmic déjà vu, Aaron found himself back in familiar territory, chatting with the heart and soul of Main Street USA. These passionate business owners were searching for that elusive treasure chest of capital to grow their dreams. Inspired, he rolled up my sleeves and embarked on the ‘FairFigure’ adventure. Aaron hired his first bona fide engineer, and set sail. The mission? To craft a toolkit to give small businesses the same financial resources that institutional startups already had access to.

Aaron built FairFigure to level the playing field for those everyday entrepreneurs. FairFigure relies on advanced data analytics and technology to give small business owners the tools and insights they need to effectively manage and improve their business credit profiles. FairFigure provides real-time information, practical advice, and valuable resources, essentially bridging the gap between small businesses and the world of credit. 

This makes it simpler than ever for small businesses to establish, nurture, and utilize their credit profiles to their advantage. 

It wasn’t all easygoing, however. As an entrepreneur, setbacks are a language you must come to speak well. 

“Every day, you’ll have to deal with a setback. I sometimes joke that to be a successful entrepreneur, you need a dash of optimism and a pinch of insanity,” Aaron said. “In the everyday world, if a coffee shop runs out of your favorite muffin, you don’t immediately decide to open your own bakery next door. And if a movie’s ending isn’t to your taste, you don’t rush out to direct a sequel. But entrepreneurs? We’re a quirky bunch. Give us a ‘no,’ and we hear, ‘Try again but with a twist.'”

 In this way, Aaron has come to see setbacks not as roadblocks but as detours leading to even more exciting destinations. This positive outlook has been crucial in navigating challenges and turning them into opportunities.

Aside from empowering small business owners and championing the underdog with FairFigure, Aaron continually builds on his skills to be a better leader.

“I believe a healthy dose of self-awareness is crucial for any founder. It’s essential to be a ‘Master of None.’ Start by learning the basics of coding, but once you’ve got a grasp, seek someone more proficient to execute the tasks. Delve into elementary accounting and then enlist a financial advisor to steer the course. This approach not only aids in hiring and identifying genuine talent—since you can converse in their language and discern between those truly knowledgeable and those posturing—but also unveils opportunities to discover new solutions for problems you didn’t know existed.”

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