Alex Charfen—entrepreneur, teacher, author, speaker—is on a mission. Though not yet 40 years old, he has spent 3 decades on the front lines of entrepreneurialism and business. His journey has taught him many things, but he believes he has discovered one key that could change everything for small business owners. "I think everyone knows in their heart that they have to align their business with their personal values," he says. "But the big question is HOW? How do you do that? It sounds simple, but getting there is the hard part. I’ve learned that there are very specific steps." He calls the concept ‘Congruency’, and his ideas are starting a revolution.
Born in Mexico City but raised in California by an entrepreneurial father and school teacher mom, Alex learned early on about the opportunities and perils of small business. His father opened a factory to produce interlocking concrete roofing tiles to take advantage of the California housing boom of the 70′s. But soon the end of the 70′s brought a downturn, and with it, a dramatic change in the Charfen fortunes. "I learned right then and there that we all do what we have to do," says. Alex.
In many ways, Alex followed in his father’s footsteps. He and wife Cadey invested heavily in the Florida real estate boom of the late 90′s, and soon found themselves prosperous, but highly leveraged. When the market took a dive, they lost everything and were forced to declare bankruptcy. "It was," says Alex, "my darkest hour."
Ever the student, Alex took away many nuggets from that experience, and like his father before him began to rebuild, albeit with fundamental changes this time. He found natural allies in the realtors who were also suffering around the country, and who had little idea what to do with the growing multitude of homes in foreclosure. He and Cadey launched the Distressed Property Institute, and began to teach other realtors what they had learned, offering them education, tools, and hope. They also found that many of these principles applied to any small business, and The Charfen Institute was formed. In four short years it has become one of the fastest growing small businesses in the country.
Alex has worked tirelessly, made smart decisions, found great team members, and prospered personally and professionally, with Congruency as the centerpiece of his business and life His mantra is simple: “I wake up every day determined to be the best husband I can be, the best father I can be, and to help as many people as possible achieve their goals. I have found a way to build my business with these values, not in spite of them. And I’ve learned that when small business owners really do this, long-term success is practically guaranteed.”
Alex and Cadey live in Austin, Texas, and have two daughters, Kennedy and Reagan.