Devin MillerThe Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
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uh it's called aloha leadership uh aloha as most folks know is like uh you know way of saying hello we're saying hi uh what i learned from la to enrich is that it's a lot more loving it's a loving way of saying hi it's not it's like a welcoming it's a feeling it's a vibe and they've always taught us that you know it's that kind of leadership that actually makes things happen so as any entrepreneur as any leader in whatever industry whatever field any artist creator entrepreneur you need that kind of leadership uh because if not you're you're gonna fail it just it doesn't work any other way if you don't care about the people that are working for you they're gonna leave if you don't care about the people who are working with you why would they work with you in the first place you know [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups in the seven and eight figure businesses as well as a founder and ceo of miller rp law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast so eric jarrah and uh give you a quick introduction eric so in high school didn't think about being an entrepreneur went to college on scholarships um 18 years old at u of u wanted to i think if i remember i shared the kind of the money you made from scholarships and started a scholarship foundation um studied abroad in south korea for a period of time found or found out about a company that needed spanish speakers got a job doing data analytics or business and data analysis or sorry you got a data business and data analysis degree graduated when worked for chile as a consultant for a period of time juan do his own thing came back to you or came back to the u.s and then his brother and him started a business that was started out as a hobby for making music and then he started to go into street clothing and collaborated with artists um also decided to build a record label help or his dad left his construction job and joined on the crew and started business helping other people doing construction so i think with that much his introduction that's all i have but welcome on the podcast eric yeah thank you so much for having me i appreciate it so i gave the very compact uh doesn't give a justice 30 second version of a much longer journey but uh take us back a bit in time to when you're coming out of high school and uh when you're how your journey started from there yeah for sure um thank you by the way for the introduction it's i feel like it's a long long intro whenever you know folks ask me to come on and speak and stuff um i was recently called mr everything by a close friend of mine well you know starting to be a close friend of mine because he's like man you're just doing so much and i was like well you know i i try to do what i can and make history but um so yeah when i was uh leaving high school uh this i guess we'll start leaving high school i had no idea what this whole entrepreneurship building your own business type thing was about uh stereotypically mexican family we grew up saying oh if you're going to go to college or you're doing engineering you're going to be a lawyer or a doctor and that was it so it wasn't until i got uh to the university of utah to the business school that i was introduced to this world of business um i went to the u blessed super super blessed to be on scholarship so i didn't have to worry about paying for school and i'm blessed to be right here saying hey i graduated from the university of utah uh debt free you know uh all in a scholarship so i was super blessed about that opportunity didn't have to worry about paying for school one of the things that i told myself when i first went to college was one day once i graduate once i get a good job and have enough money i want to start a scholarship of my own because it's because of scholarships that i was open you know to this new world that i had no idea about um that came a lot sooner than expected it was my freshman year i was only 18. i read a book by grant cardone and the only thing i remember from that book like don't don't ask me about the book because i don't remember anything but i do remember one line that said there's never enough time there's never enough money you never know enough there's never enough resources never enough knowledge just go right now so i said okay cool you know what i'm not going to wait so i started the scholarship when i was 18. you know i was blessed to have wonderful wonderful mentors even like in my first year uh thanks to the scholarship that i was on thanks to one of the scholarships that i was on and i asked them like hey y'all are the ones in charge of this scholarship like can y'all help me create my own type of thing um they were very uh you know tied to the u and that's where their students were at but i didn't want that type of limit you know with my scholarship you know if there's a student anywhere else in the u.s you know in the world even uh i want to help them out as best as i can so i asked them how they got started pointed me to some great resources uh got myself a lawyer and you know because all the legal stuff again i'm only 18. i don't know jack squat about business or anything like that so you know it kind of pointed me in the right direction helped me start that get that up and going um i'm only 18 though you know my network is really really small so the whole uh everything that was raised for that scholarship in the first three years came straight out of my pocket um everything that you know that i had worked for i didn't need to put to school uh blessed that all the scholarships are covering my tuition my books my laptop my housing my food and even some trips so it was like you know i don't need to work for myself uh all the work that i'm gonna um do and all the money that i'm gonna make i'm just gonna put it back to the scholarship so the first three years that's how it was um you know i just tried i did what i could i didn't really know where to go um but you know i had something cemented i got three scholars the first year i added on another three so it was a total of six the second year um the year after that um we had another two so it's like a total of eight students each with two thousand dollars each uh you know a thousand for fall semester a thousand for spring and it was all just coming out of my pocket whatever i could make i just gave that like a hundred percent of like what i made it went straight to the scholarship um if i were to run the the math just out of curiosity because if i were to have eight students and their each two thousand dollars you're putting into this out of your own pocket as a student yourself sixteen thousand a year is that right yeah 000 a year that's that's the most that i had ever done after that year was kind of put on pause because i'm like there's a lot of money and i don't know if i can continue to do this um but yeah that that that is you know that's kind of where it all got started um just me out of my pocket because the name of the scholarship is the freddie scholarship uh freddie is the name of my little brother who when i was 12 passed away and i mean when i was 12 i had no idea you know that life was so short and that like you know any time could be our time so i said all right i'm gonna make sure that his name lives on forever too so that's kind of what kept me pushing because obviously as a second third year in college like there's no way i'm making that amount of money and just being able to do that but because i had that why that like reason to you know let my little brother's name live on forever that's what kept me going for it so that's kind of uh where my entrepreneurial uh journey started trying to figure out you know how am i going to do this sustainably because obviously the way i had started was not sustainable at all there was no way i was able to um you know do what i wanted to do because i wanted to keep that going have three three new students every year and keep the current students as well i'm like that's gonna be a lot of money really really quick um so you know it was tough but what has kept me going like i said is just for my little brother because there's nothing tied to eric jarrah when it comes to the freddie scholarship foundation there's really nothing you know i when i was 15 i started doing pro wrestling like lucha libre type stuff like you know the dudes with the mask and everything and so i did this and this was a persona that we had uh running the scholarship running the fundraising events meeting the students and showing their the students and their parents the resources for college and stuff it was this person right here so there was nothing tied to eric jarrah to me who i really am it was all about my brother my brother my brother and that's the name that i wanted to push forward so i think that that's definitely cool that you're you know not they're not only just trying to get your education but also trying to help others and doing it in your brother's name is definitely amicable so so now as you're coming out of college and you've got your degree and i think you studied in south korea for a period of time is that right yeah i was in south korea on a study abroad but ended up there also with an internship thanks to another really amazing person one of i consider him a friend but he's also a great mentor cesar sanchez uh he hooked it up with this company down there that needed spanish speakers for their business it was like you know they're just barely coming up another startup story that's really really cool in my opinion and he said hey they need spanish speakers because their product is for the latin mark market like latin america that's where they're targeting and i was like oh snap hey i speak english i speak spanish i can learn korean a little bit if i need to um but you know i got you let me know what i can do and hooked it up there um you know it's honestly my first real ex like business experience um you know working directly for the ceo they said hey we need a sales channel that looks like this can you make it happen and i was like well i can certainly figure it out uh stereotypically mexican we're the hardest workers in the room um in my opinion and you know we might not be the smartest sometimes because education and like mexican aren't always correlated um but you know me being in the position that i was at i'm like you know i can figure it out i'll i'll learn something if i have to do hours of research like cool i'll figure it out um so you know that hustle kind of got me uh there as far as that that internship went so now and so you would did that internship you went down to and then graduated and worked in chile as a consultant as well is that right um it was before i graduated actually so chili was before as well okay so yeah so you do the internships and you graduate now when you come out because i if i remember when we talked a little bit before you got into kind of the music industry as a hobby and doing clothing was that your full-time gig or what were you doing at the time or kind of as you're coming out with you get your graduate you get your degree what did you do after that um so all of my businesses i started during college um none of them came after graduation at least not right now you know maybe in the future i start something else but um the record label that we started me and my brothers it's because we just been doing music as a hobby since uh my senior year in high school so this was the game before you know just on the side we love making music and that was kind of like our thing and we decided just uh last year 2020 to make it official we invested we created our own home studio um you know just like a random storage place that we had at one of their houses and you know we decided okay how are we going to do this if we wanted to do this full time what would it look like and i'm like well uh we need money if we want to do this full time like this is not going to pay the bills right away obviously you know being in music being an artist it's it's kind of difficult it's a two-part hustle where you ought to create the art and then sell it so you know we just kind of dove in said all right you know what we'll figure it out as we go uh that's kind of always been my attitude obviously with the scholarship at 18 years old i mean you know that's that's kind of who i am so okay let's run it uh we'll figure it out as we go uh we've been selling uh beats selling you know the instrumentals and stuff uh as part of you know the record label to get some money coming in so we can pay for photo shoots and videos um merch and like all of that stuff that comes with you know being an artist because that's honestly the only way uh to make money as far as an artist we're not that big so we don't have like sponsors or you know things like that um so you know it's it's an ongoing process i feel um but yeah it was my last year in college my fifth year in college that we started the record label officially okay no and so see it started the record label and i think that's you know awesome taking you know one getting through school and then taking the opportunities to say hey i'm going to start businesses i'm going to try things that they're let things fail let things succeed and then we'll continue to evolve so it sets up those opportunities as you're coming out of school as opposed to just simply graduating and looking for a job i think that's great to utilize that time so so now you're setting up the record label that's a you know as you said a bit of a lift take some time to be able to actually get the money coming in so what are you doing during that time as you're as you're getting that up and going in other words how do you you know pay for you know pay for a living kind of thing um so at the time when i started it i had two part-time jobs i was doing 18 credit hours in school so my two part-time jobs were mostly filling in um you know most of the time that i wanted to spend uh to make that money that we can just reinvest into the record label um besides the record label at the same time actually the exact same day that we legally registered the record label we also legally registered the streetwear brand that we also started together me and my brothers um shout out ivan meza jesus mesa you know penthouse and lavon is like their artists names but um you know we started the a streetwear brand because along with the music we were like oh what do we want to wear in the videos okay cool what if we had something that you know we owned you know we're not wearing the supreme and the gucci that all these basic artists are using like in all of their videos like something new something different and something that we have you know a strong tie to so we started the streetwear brand as well just kind of as an idea like hey what if we had something to wear it ended up uh i kind of took over as far as like where the streetwear brand was gonna go um and i wanted to make it a little more broader you know not just be a merch type thing you know it's like just with our names on it's like no this will be like a legit uh streetwear brand that anybody could benefit from and it's not just like tied to eric jarrah or you know my brother's names um we turned it into streetwear brand for artists creators and entrepreneurs because we feel like that's what makes the most sense to us um coming up the way we did and obviously being in music like i mentioned a two-part hustle creating art and selling it it's like it's tough and a lot of times people don't realize that you know when they start doing anything creative as far as like art goes whether it's music visual graphic um you have to be an entrepreneur like there's no other way to go about it you can't just create the art and expect bills to be paid like no you have to know something in business you have to be very business-minded to get things rolling so um we want to respect that kind of hustle with the streetwear brand and you know we partnered shout out larabara uh we partnered with her she's had her art in a bunch of different places she's amazing great great artist great great person and you know that kind of boosted where in dice it was headed you know what better way to make artists or streetwear for artists than with an artist themselves so we did a collab um this is a second collab actually that we have currently going on um and it's all just like you know based on her vision kind of help her uh come up get known as well that way more people can recognize uh you know the art and the creative talents that she has but it was because of that that kind of pushed us in that realm of okay you know streetwear for artists creators and entrepreneurs to me all three of those words mean the same thing uh but i know certain folks define them a little bit differently which is cool um but tonight they all mean the same thing and you're doing and so now you're doing that and i think that's cool you know it definitely sounds like first of all a fun business and second of all sounds like you know had a great path towards you know to actually bring it to fruition and if i remember as we were chatting in kind of in parallel with that or you know in addition to that you also had your father that was in the construction business and he left it and you guys started to work on a uh construction related business as well is that right yeah this was same year covet here last year was like you know the year that i'm like you know what better time to start a business so i started all three that year the record label the streetwear brand and the contracting business because um yeah like you mentioned my dad uh he quit his job uh last summer again stereotypically mexican what we most what you mostly see us working in is like construction and stuff like that but there's another stereotype when it comes to construction is that your boss is a really big jerk they don't really care about people they don't really care about their workers as long as they're getting things done they say okay cool and they're always like you know on their back saying hey you need to do this you need to do that you need to do that and my dad had been working in construction for 27 plus years um i say 27 plus because i don't know the exact number but it's around 28 29 years that he'd been doing construction and he was like you know what i'm just tired of this i'm tired i'm done like i hate not feeling appreciated i hate when you know the boss tells me i need to do this and this and this and i'm like i'm working on it just chill um i'll get it done and so he quit and he came to me he said hey um what do we start you know our own thing yeah obviously still in construction because that's where i know a lot of things um my dad you know he started from nothing pretty much just being you know the the heavy lifter the one that makes you know that actually is putting in the work to you know more management type stuff he had seen you know what it takes to bid on projects he had a really really cool mentor shout out brian olsen um who taught him he brought him up he said hey look come into the office for this day i don't want you to be out in the field today i want to show you something and you show them like the plans he taught my dad how to read the plans um how to make estimates how to bid on projects and what the whole process looks like so he said hey i know the construction side of things you know the business side of things let's tag team and do something cool like you know in our vision and i said okay cool but the first thing that i want to focus on is making sure that we're good uh leaders i don't want the same thing i don't want to create just another you know whatever other construction companies i'm trying to you know throw shade and say their names but i don't want to be another one of them you know i want to do this right so we started working together and you know he's been teaching me the construction side like the processing and stuff and i've been teaching the business side the the mindset that you need to have and how to best take care of your employees because it's it's competitive when it comes to anything uh you know any labor type job like oh he's paying me a dollar more i'm going to go over there and it's like well you know if it's not in the budget to pay him more then how about you treat him like an actual human so we go get our employee our workers our partners um we go get them lunch every now and then we invite them to like our parties our families type stuff you know the whole mexican hospitality we just bring that to the business um and make that part of like you know kind of how we run that business because yes construction is like you know it's its own thing but we want to bring in your our own little flavor of hey we care about you and it's because of y'all that we're winning and that we're able to put the bills like why wouldn't we help you with whatever your own personal goals are or whatever you're trying to do like not just in construction outside of it like you know how can we how can we make that relationship a lot better and it's like well for us stereotypically mexican we love to have fun we love to party so it's like hey come over this is kind of like you know the vibe of what it means to work with us uh i don't like saying working for us i say working with us um this is kind of the vibe this is kind of what you'll get and it's just like you know an all package type thing that it's like hey it's not just clock in and here's your paycheck it's clock in here's your paycheck here's some bonuses because we did really good on this job hey let me go take your lunches one day don't don't take anything for lunch i got you for that one like hey come over uh we're doing this uh you know we're having whatever type of party because mexicans love to party there's no like you know one reason why we party is just like it's a bunch of reasons but it's like hey we're having this come over um or you know what else are you doing what are your personal goals where do you want to go with this and kind of treat it that way as far as the leadership type goes with that business so now and i think that definitely sounds like you know great way to do business i think that a lot of times people are getting in business with you know with other people as much based on their relationship and whether or not they can trust the individual and work with them and have you know all those and i think that having that hospitality mindset definitely can set you apart in an industry that oftentimes doesn't necessarily have that kind of feel to it so well that kind of brings us up uh to a bit to where you're at today so if you're to kind of say okay we've got you know the record label we kind of got the clothing brand we've got the construction business and all of these things kind of combined and all these interests and and working on them looking now kind of a bit forward looking to the next you know six to 12 months of business in your life and where you think things are headed where are you kind of projecting things to go um i'm thinking a lot of people that are working with me are gonna quit they're gonna stop working with me uh not in a bad way though um i was gonna say that you might want to work on that so not ever you don't you don't have everybody leave you no no i don't i don't mind that because see here's the reason why it wouldn't be like oh they're not they don't want to work with us no more um i feel like for them it would be like i've seen what you know uh eric his brothers and his dad have been able to do up maybe i want to start my own thing and with everybody that i've worked with i've brought up this conversation i said hey if you ever want to do your own thing let me know i'm happy to help because nobody helped me i had mentors point me in different directions but there was no one person that i that could just tell me you know this has been my experience this is my entrepreneurship life this is kind of how it goes um and even like laura parra who's the artist that we've collabed with she's told me she was like hey maybe i want to start my own clothing brand maybe i want to do my own and i'm like awesome i'm happy to help you out you know if indicive if the streetwear brand isn't where you want to be always that's cool with me i don't mind i'm going to teach you and i'm going to help you build what you want because i i don't like the idea of like i'm not going to teach you know the people that i'm working with me all the little secrets and stuff so that they can stay with me to me that's kind of selfish and my parents always raised me on like you know share whatever you have even if it's a little bit so to me i feel like in the next five six years a lot of folks they're not going to be working um not going to be technically like i said i don't like saying this word but if we're putting it in technical terms they're not going to be working for us they'll be doing their own thing or they'll be working with us as like a partnership type thing they're going to be at a at another level you know something higher something great hopefully even like greater than me like you know that would be awesome for me um our my businesses personally i feel like you know we just continue to do what we're doing um obviously continuing to learn and grow as we're moving forward because i don't know everything my dad doesn't know everything my brothers don't know everything and we're humble enough to understand that and that's okay um you know we'll learn and we'll see where it takes us but as far as like the people working for us which is my biggest focus um i don't think they're gonna be with us i think they're gonna be off doing their own thing and it'll be awesome to see them you know go from you know just working with eric to now they're on the forbes list or something like that like that would be that to me would be amazing and i'd be so happy if that were to happen well i think that that definitely sounds like that would be an exciting time and i like the idea of hey people probably won't work for me but for a good reason because they'll either be you know improving moving up or we'll have a different relationship to where they can you know be a partner or otherwise you so i think that that sounds like definitely a fun path to be headed down so well that was we've kind of caught up to where you're at today a bit where you're heading i um always a good time to kind of jump to a couple questions i always ask in the end of each podcast which is the first question i always ask is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it uh easy worst business decision i ever made was thinking that i could do everything myself um this is based on the scholarship right remember i told you all that for three years it was just me and after those three years we had to kind of put it on pause and kind of hold and regroup and try to figure things out again that to me has been the biggest uh in my head the biggest failure that i had we had a really really big at least in my head what we had was this really really big event uh for fundraising right obviously catering to mexicans mexican culture we were going to have this big party um i had ads in mexican radio that were blessed to have gotten those for free we had ads on tv we had univision like the mexican news station that's big in the u.s i feel like it's not just utah um but we had all of them running ads and commercials and saying hey this is gonna be this party this is where the money's gonna go to uh we had raffles at the party we had food for sale um and we lost 200 bucks out of everything that i had invested into this event that i had uh put out of my own pocket we were down 200 bucks um worst worst decision in my head um you know trying to do everything myself um because i didn't really have a team i didn't build a team i said no i don't want to you know put anybody in that situation i have to struggle to make this event happen i'll just do it myself so boom there you go eric now your selfishness did this and now you're not able to fund some students for the fourth year and you have to put everything on pause and you have to say all right let me regroup and try to figure this stuff out when there's students that are still waiting on their scholarship it's like it's the biggest biggest in my head my biggest failure um that obviously i learned a lot from but it was just tough you know as a i think it was mike tyson who said it everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face well i got knocked out i didn't get punched in the face i got knocked out like i was it was bad um so that i would say is like my biggest failure so far no but you know i think it's one of those that it definitely a lot of entrepreneurs get into that because you're saying now i can figure this out i can do this not a big deal and you know and so you don't necessarily you don't want to rely on others because you think oh i can figure this out you know i'm kind of smart in that thing and i'm definitely of that mindset and i always you know say i always think people that are entrepreneurs are they're the smartest people in the room or they can do the best because otherwise they would never do it and yet until if you don't until you learn that hey why i may be able to do some things well or i may be able to hustle people or work them or come up with more creative ideas if you never rely on those they can offer the value that you may not innately have or not the skills that you might not have then you're always going to limit what you can do so i think that that is definitely uh you know an easy mistake to learn but something great to learn from on the second question i was asked is if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business what'd be the one piece of advice you'd give them one piece of advice um this is coming from two really awesome mentors that i met through the university of utah through another scholarship group um rich kofusi and latu kinikini they showed me this concept which is has become my greatest advice so far uh it's called aloha leadership uh aloha as most folks know is like uh you know way of saying hello we're saying hi uh what i learned from lotto and rich is that it's a lot more loving it's a loving way of saying hi it's not it's like a welcoming it's a feeling it's a vibe and they've always taught us that you know it's that kind of leadership that actually makes things happen so as any entrepreneur as any leader in whatever industry whatever field any artist creator entrepreneur you need that kind of leadership uh because if not you're gonna fail it just it doesn't work any other way if you don't care about the people that are working for you they're gonna leave if you don't care about the people who are working with you why would they work with you in the first place you know and it sucks because sometimes in business you think you know it's oh it's all about the money it's all transactional it's all um you know i win you win but we have to go back and forth like there's no end to it and you know that that might work you know in certain cases but i feel like if you're thinking long term if you're thinking i want to stay in this forever yeah it might be slower growth um but it'll last forever uh having that type of leadership that love leadership that aloha leadership where you care about everybody you treat everybody as an actual human and not just a number no i think that is definitely great advice and you know it's a balance if you if all you do is treat everybody just like a friend and family and you'll never let them go never cut them you'll never force them to improve your business can suffer in the sense that you can't be friends with everybody but i like the idea that you know i think that too often it gets pushed to the other side of you just think everybody's you know everybody's just a number on a page or everybody's just kind of a you know robot so to speak after you let him go oh well type of thing because then it removes that human aspect of it so i love the ability to find that balance that will allow people to improve and become better be encouraged and also feel supported so i think that's great piece of advice well people were to reach out to you they wanted to uh be a customer or a client of one of your businesses they wanted to be an investor they wanted to be a your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you find out more uh plenty of different ways i would say because of this platform and the folks who would listen uh you know to your podcast and everyone involved with you i would say linkedin would be uh you know the number one way to go about that end um because obviously i have like my social media um and you know my websites indicive.com the freddyscholarship.com uh but the number one way to really get a hold of me as far as this world goes the business world goes it would be linked in eric jarrah eric dara 300 like you know this this forehead and this mustache is very recognizable you look up eric jarrah and like yeah you'll see who it is so all right well i definitely encourage people to reach out contact you to find out more because i think there's um a lot of great things that you have going on you have a lot of uh it would be a great words of wisdom a lot of lessons learned um so with that appreciate you coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you that are listeners out there if you'd like to tell your own journey we'd love to have you on the podcast just feel free to go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show also if you're a listener as you hopefully are make sure to leave a review on the podcast so other people can find out on all of our awesome episodes and also make sure to click subscribe so you don't miss any of our awesome episodes and last but not least if you ever need help with uh your patents trademarks anything else with your business feel free to go to invent or go to strategymeeting.com and grab some time with us chat we're always here to help well thank you again it's been a fun it's been a pleasure and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thank you so much devon i appreciate you [Music]