We Love Entrepreneurs
That shouldn’t be a surprise, considering we are entrepreneurs. Whenever we get the chance, we like to get together with other like-minded business owners and pick their brain about entrepreneurship, how they run their business compared to how we run ours, and just life in general. That’s why, when badass Colorado Springs entrepreneur, Ian Lee, agreed to give us some insight into his life and business, we jumped at the chance.
A Bit of Info on Mr. Lee & Lee Spirits Co.
Did you read our blog post about the 5 places we love to go as a Pack in Colorado Springs? If you did, you may remember the spot that topped our list: Lee Spirits Co. and Brooklyn’s on Boulder. Brooklyn’s on Boulder is an all-gin speakeasy that functions as the tasting room for Lee Spirits Co., of which Ian is the co-founder.
Brooklyn’s offers patrons not only a cool, prohibition style environment, but the opportunity to watch the most talented bartenders in Colorado Springs create unique drinks from the wide selection of gin flavors available. Since the creation of their original Dry Gin, Lee Spirits Co. has expanded it’s selection of products to lavender infused gin, GinFuego, a wide selection of liqueurs (including the coveted Forbidden Fruit), and more.
Ian is a close friend of ours and heavily involved in the growing business culture of Colorado Springs, so he’s a great person to talk to about business, life, and how to be a successful entrepreneur, and he was kind enough to answer a few of our questions below:
1. What is it about being an entrepreneur that is appealing to you, both when you first started your own business and now?
“I wanted to do something exciting when I started, to feel like I was being creatively fulfilled while using my engineering skills and background in a direction that I hadn’t done yet. Now I love the opportunity to sell my companies products and build a team of people who believe in the mission of what we’re (Lee Spirits) building.”
2. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced, both professionally and personally, as an entrepreneur?
“There is a book worth of content buried in this answer… from being ‘so busy’ or ‘so stressed out’, which is just from operating at 100mph all the time… the challenge is to not forget why you started in the first place. There are thousands of challenges in every corner of your life when you’re an entrepreneur, and being able to remember why you started down the path in the first place can help you deal with those challenges.”
3. How do you manage your time well as an entrepreneur?
“Not as good as I could… Legitimately I’m always willing to hear how other people seem to cram 24 hours into 12, but really I think the key to time management is making sure you’re having fun every day so that you don’t wear out.”
4. How important to you is the culture of your company? How have you gone about building and maintaining that culture?
“Its everything, especially early on when your company is under 20ish people. Adding one person to the team changes the energy of the entire room – because you all fit inside one room! So you have to write down and talk about culture and brand all the time when you’re a small company, because everyone has to believe when the team is small. Because just one person who doesn’t, when they’re in the room with the rest of the people, that attitude is enough to undermine any employee handbook ever written.”
5. What’s it like owning a business in Colorado Springs specifically? What are some of the challenges you’ve faced and what are some of the positives?
“Its clearly got its ups and downs; and I’ll pick on one thing, the people here. They rock sometimes and open doors faster than you could imagine when you ask for help; but also, since it’s the largest small town in America, you can quickly run out of people who are a 20 min drive away to go buy a cup of coffee with and ask questions to.”