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Axios Des Moines

How the founder of Iowa's fastest growing company starts his day

By Linh Ta,


Rod Johnson, co-founder of local coffee company BLK & Bold , fully embraces the identity of "morning person" β€” and now "Iowan" after moving to Des Moines from California three years ago.

State of play: As an entrepreneur running the state's fastest-growing private business, he likes to begin his days with some "me time," enjoying a quiet start and watching the sunrise.

  • Just don't expect him to also stay up late: "I'm a strong advocate of getting a full night's rest," he says.

Here's how Johnson starts his day:

⏰ Wake up: 5am. Out of bed by 5:30am.

🍳 Breakfast: A banana, kiwi or some piece of fruit.

  • He doesn't drink coffee first thing, citing studies showing it's better to let your body wake itself up before ingesting caffeine.
  • When it's time to brew himself a cup, Johnson's favorite is BLK & Bold's medium roast .

πŸ“š What he's reading: Emails first.

πŸ’‘ Pro tip: For other Black Iowans interested in becoming entrepreneurs, "Don't be deterred by the haters," Johnson says.

  • Imposter syndrome is a natural feeling that can be detrimental, he says. "I recommend people bet on themselves and get out of their own way."

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