The 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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and kind of going back to that first one as well before you go into the like the fun stuff like what what what is the design of my logo gonna look like and all this other stuff really figure out what transformation you're gonna take your potential clients through they're here you want them to be here figure out what those places are and how you fill that gap because without that you're just going to be spinning your wheels you're going to be pivoting a lot like i did um so really figure out ask those questions where are my potential clients at where do they want to be and how can i help them get there [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 ip law where we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com where we and grab some time with us and we're always here to help now today we've got another great guest on the podcast evan price um give you a quick introduction to evan so started in uh in the music industry as a drummer and in a band at about 15 years old um kind of uh took over and booked his own gigs as uh people in the industry otherwise wouldn't do it because they thought he was too young or wasn't able to do it and so took over did his own venues do his own shows his own booking kind of became the music and band promoter found he really enjoyed it um so then as he was trying to kind of figure out what he wanted to do when he grows up so the speaker in quotes um you know his mom gave him the sage advice of hey you should you know you're passionate about this so you're really excited it does you know something you would enjoy um why didn't go after it so kind of in the mix with that when did some community college for a couple years did some general eds um worked at a movie theater and then decided to pursue his passion also i think in in the mix and there also went to columbia university and then did chicago and started his own business doing um or working with independent artists small businesses doing a lot of what he did with for his band when he was in a younger phase so hopefully that's a reasonable summary to a much longer journey but with that welcome on the podcast evan thank you devon appreciate you yeah i think i think he hit everything all right perfect well i gave kind of that quick kind of brief 30 second type of a run through but now let's go back a bit to earlier onion journey when you started in a band at 15 and tell us a little bit about how your journey got started yeah i mean i i remember taking the test telling us like which instrument we recommend and they just they landed on drums i was like sure i'll give it a shot ended up falling in love with it uh played a jazz band uh ended up just starting a band with my friends just starting it out as a passion i had no idea it would not then become you know the music industry would become my lifelong dream so uh it was just really cool to jam with my friends no just out of pure curiosity not really necessarily as much as a journey what kind of music did you guys do what kind of band were you guys it was metal all right you gotta slam on the drums and make some noise yeah absolutely yeah start we started off as like a lighter rock band and then slowly got closer to metal music um but yeah you know nobody was there they're managing us we were just doing it ourselves and somebody had to step up and i guess i don't know if it was just the virgo in me or something just stepped i was like i guess i'm the manager now so it just kind of happened and i found that i loved the management and just the behind the scenes stuff more than the you know in front of the scenes actually playing so i don't play as much anymore i jam every once in a while in the studio or something but i just really love the business side of it that's really what's you know tickling my my passion right now so now and you can mention that it makes sense definitely on the one hand you know you have a you know you you have a band you're 15 years old and so you're going you know trying to get people to book you or do real venues and all that doesn't necessarily work if nothing else because you know they think you're too young you know you guys aren't a real band you don't know what you're doing so how did you kind of figure that out as far as okay other people won't book us we can't we'll have to do it ourselves how did you know and you didn't necessarily i don't think it unless i correct wrong you know you kind of it was i always imagine you're kind of looking around the room saying okay how are we going to do this who wants to do it and you're like well i'll do it kind of thank you so you rose your hand not knowing that this is going to be a passion but as you did that now you know how did you figure that out how did you get into it how did you actually you know get to work and make something out of it yeah i think mainly it was because a lot of the venues in our town were were bars and we just couldn't be booked there so we only had one option at the time which was this all ages like uh straight edge punk club so they didn't have alcohol drugs on the premises it was really really kind of made for for kids who want to get into the punk scene and the the rock scene of sorts so it really made sense i became friends with the venue owner at the time and it was just like there was no like raising of a hand moment it was just like i woke up one day i was like i think i'm the manager of this band that i'm in um but you know how i got started was i just figured it out honestly um at that point i didn't know what i was doing at all it was just i you know got experience by gaining experience i was just like you know researching things online i was uh when they grew past like the local bands i was just like okay the same i'm booking the same bands like let's try to get some bands we would love to play with so i'd go on to myspace and i'd find their agent's information i'd call them and i'll just say hey uh my name's evan i i play in this band we really did um dig the band that you manage or you know book or whatever and i see you have an open date in between these two cities like i can you can stay on my floor under the floor of my house i'll get you some little caesars pizza as a writer and um give me 200 bucks that's best i can do and started to you know gain traction and those bands started to get bigger and bigger and they just loved coming back so you know it just gained experience just over just trying it honestly i think that you know not to overlook you that you know that's engineered in the sense of okay you know we don't have a big budget we can't do it but hey we'll find some bands that we like or that are similar to us they have some time we'll offer to give them a few a free place to crash and a bit of food and pizza and a little bit of money and i think that's awesome that you kind of you know it's kind of that trial by fire and says hey i don't know what i'm doing i got to figure this out or it's not going to work so you know i'll fake it till i make it i'll figure it out and then we'll you know see what works what doesn't work and find some success so that's kind of cool that's how you got started into so now you you know so you can continue to do that you're working your way you know doing it after high school doing it with the band obviously going to high school as well you graduated from high school now what was that transition you know because i know that you kind of did you know you did some general eds i think it was the university of columbia and you're also trying to figure out what you wanted to do so kind of how did all that transition work yeah i mean i even when i was going through my gen eds at a community college in my hometown i still wasn't really sure what i wanted to do i just knew i wanted to save some money and get my gen eds out of the way it's literally the same classes so when it got to the point that i needed to apply for quote unquote real college or whatever i was like i definitely had that crossroad moment i was just like what do i really want to do and that was the moment that you spoke of before it's like my mom was just like you're literally doing it right now just continue doing that there's plenty of colleges there's plenty of outlets to allow you to grow your your knowledge base in this realm well just go for it so there wasn't very many places that had music business um all of the state schools were like yeah sure we'll stick in the music department and you can take some business classes i'm like that's not really the same thing but okay thanks um so yeah i went to ended up going to columbia college in chicago one of the very few places i found that actually had a real music business like department so yeah i transferred in uh as a junior and went there for two years and got my feet wet and was able to see like you know the city life of sorts and see what the industry is like here we had a bunch of internships and really was able to see outside of my me doing it myself um and it allowed me to see like you know some more entrepreneurs that were doing a similar thing for me internships i i took were not like record labels by any means i wasn't getting coffee for people i was like working side by side with these with with these people building their own labels or companies as well so i think that also inspired me to build my own stuff after and now one question on that because i think it's interesting so as you're going through and you know both the general leds and then you say okay what am i going to do i kind of got the general heads out of the way i got to either drop out of school or pick a major or do something and then i think it was you know inspired your mom said well you're already doing that is you know that's what you want to do now did you were you still doing your own business at the time doing bookings being in the band doing other things or were you more exclusively kind of going to school focusing on the the make their studies and that or how did that you know what were you doing during that that time yeah when i when i moved here to chicago i stepped away from the band i stepped away from the promotion company and i was just like okay now is my time to actually not just learn you know try by fire as you put it i'm actually gonna learn i'm gonna really learn so i had to step away from that a little bit um the band replaced me and then they eventually broke up you know because i was the glue that held them together let's be honest um but yeah even to this day we're still very good friends i you know grew up with those guys so uh it was bittersweet but i knew that it was just my the next step of my journey to really just get get my feet wet in the industry and learn more about the music business that i already apart from what i already knew well awesome and that that definitely makes sense you know and it's interesting i it's it's kind of interesting because i think there's a good mix of both it probably is a good thing that you have the trial by fire figure things out because you know i've done both i've done startup small businesses i've got the mba degree you know that teaches you or at least teaches you it gives you some skills on how to run a business but there is no replacing it for that on this on the you know on the street kind of figuring it out getting going on it but there's also i think in a good good mix with having some of the educational background so you really can kind of get it from all angles so so now as you're coming you know so you go get the degree you kind of focus on that give up the band for a period of time coming out of school then you know did you try and go work for the big labels did you kind of you know try and go do something else did you start your own band did you say hey i'm going to start my own business i already know how to do this or kind of how did you get going as you're coming out of college yeah um the first internship i got i of course i came in as a junior so i was like i need to apply for an internship as soon as possible because i'm a little bit behind already um there was a portal that we could use within the college that helped you connect people there were there's not a lot of labels here in chicago a lot of indie labels there's maybe one um there's one label i looked up to called victory records that was here but nothing was really available um but i ended up connecting with a blues musician in town you know chicago is known for its blues definitely wasn't my cup of tea in terms of of music choice but i was at college to to get out of my comfort zone so i was like you know what i'll give it a shot um ended up being the best decision of my life i was really able to see so he was uh he was building his own label his own publishing company he was doing it all himself very entrepreneurial mindset and i looked up to that and he was actually able to show me you know the old school way of thinking like he was still selling 20 000 cds you know physical cds at a time where like this was you know you know putting the time stamp on it this was when spotify was just being created like very new you know it was like giving it away free memberships to college students type of thing so the streaming was still up and coming so it was kind of cool to get that knowledge base of like how he's really booking his own shows he's you know he's charging five grand a show selling cds um tour in the world type of thing so i was able to get a viewpoint that i don't think i would have gotten if i was just an entry-level intern at a label so i think that also helped me get closer to the decision of starting my own business because i was seeing him doing it and he was being successful at it no and i think that's always it's always nice to kind of have the mentor and whether or not they're doing everything correct or they're doing something old-school new school or any mixture it's kind of one nice to see how others have done it been successful and how they built it and to have that kind of person that can guide you along the way or you can bounce ideas off with or just you know commiserate with sometimes in other words so so now you get you know you get going on you say okay i think i can do this i'm going to start my own business i'm going to start building it how did it go was it one were you able to find a lot of people to sign a lot of independent artists so you know startup or small bands was it difficult was it you know rocket ship to the top or kind of how did it go as you dived into doing your own business yeah i did a lot of work for free or for basically nothing um because i was just starting you know yeah i had i had the degree but you know the degree is one thing but the real life experience is something totally different and i understood that especially it's like it's not a degree you know it's not a law degree it's not a doctor you know i'm not a doctor it's like more of a great i have the underlying composition of like what it what all of this this means in terms of royalties and things like that but you really get that knowledge in actually doing it especially when you think of branding which is what technically our company is a branding company music branding company it's like i just needed experience so i worked with a lot of artists that i just was passionate about i love their music i love their vibe i felt like i could like add to it so i worked with a lot of friends a lot of people i saw in college um and just wanted to get experience as much as possible so it was a slow you know it was i remember it being a slow build because i was just like i want to work with artists but i'm not really sure what this is is it management is it marketing am i branding them so i i definitely saw the business pivoting quite often but looking back i don't regret it at all it looks messy for sure but um i think every startup or small business looks messy if you're to reflect back barry seldom have i seen a small startup or small business where they are they go that is exactly the direction they envision almost inevitably you're gonna have to pivot adjust figure out what works what doesn't so definitely makes sense so you know so now you start out you know you start doing it and working for free working for a minimal amount getting the reputation clientele referrals you know get making connections you know so fast you know kind of fast forwarding through your journey a bit you know is that still where you're at have you finally got people that are willing to pay you is still in the growing mode still in the you know kind of where where'd that all end up as you kind of pat or went through all of that uh journey sure i mean i always say this i feel like we're always in the growing mode i think we've stopped the constant pivoting though which is which is really you know i can have a sigh of relief where i'm just we know that we're on the right path now um and yeah we are we do have active clients um essentially we're coaching consulting uh young independent artists that love what they do but they don't really know how to build a business around it so we come in and we guide them we give them a path based on our experiences so it's myself and three other coaches that are involved in the business you know before it was just myself in my college store room so i'm very very grateful to have an amazing team to to back my vision and be able to tap into their specific expertise and bring that to artists so yeah we are i feel like we're in a good groove nowadays in the past couple years we found our our rhythm no and that's that's great and i like probably no no pun intended but rhythm with music was a good play at worst i was thinking that too now so now you so you can that kind of brings us up to where you're at today now you know kind of looking six to twelve months in the future kind of where do you see things growing is it just kind of a steady growth and continue along just doing what you're doing you have any future plans expansion contraction mergers acquisition kind of what do you see the next six to six to 12 months looking like yeah so recently we you know built out this program it's called the lifelong super fan program which is a very specific coaching you know curriculum if you will i think we're going to ride that out for a while it's basically the foundation that we believe is important for every single artist to focus on these four you know crucial elements without tho these four elements you know they're just going to be spinning their wheels wasting money on marketing and things like that so like i said i definitely feel like we've found found our rhythm found our groove and we're just going to continue to build that out and work with as many artists as possible a one-on-one coaching you know in a in a world of you know courses it's just like you know it's course heavy um i think what's i think what's missing in that is proper you know implementation i think people are concerned whether it's you know you're consuming a course to learn about you know ip law or uh financial stuff or music it's like people will consume that all day and then never actually implement it so i think that's why it's important to have have a coach there or a guide to be like great here's you know here's the things you can consume but i'm going to help you along the way and give you accountability um i always say this you know we are we're like the personal trainer for your music career like i could i could feed you courses and youtube videos all day but will you actually take action is the question usually it's a no so um i feel really really passionate about what we've built here and the our clients are really happy with with how we're helping them you know learn things and also implement on them well that's awesome that's that's that's a both a fun place to be in a fun direction to be headed so that that's that's that's fun on your journey so well now as we you know as we kind of walk through a bit of your journey and even looking a bit into the future we kind of reached a point where i always have two questions at the end of each podcast so i'll jump to those now so the first question i'll ask is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what'd you learn from it yeah i thought i've thought on this since you mentioned it before i think for me it was you know this was right before kovi we we moved out of it right before kovit hit but it was getting a brick and mortar like office space you know i would always had in my mind like this i made it i've got an office i got up four walls then with my name on it um i got a business card yeah exactly and it's like focusing on those things before actually figuring out how i'm going to help people um i think that's you know the shiny new object like yeah the business card thing is a great idea it's a great example but i think that was the worst decision i made you know it's just like you know several hundred dollars for me to just get out of my bed go there and work by myself um you know i had in my mind i was going to get interns and it was like then the interns came and it's just like well now it's a full-time job just to manage the interns and figure out what they're going to do so it's like i kind of jumped the gun a little bit so i think what i learned there is like you need your product service figured out before you kind of you know polish it with all these fancy tools and you know a shark tank and you're in your office or something it's like none all that's just fluff and it just takes you away from the actual business itself so um yeah you know like a lot of other people right now i'm in my home i've got a home office i love it i've been able to find a balance where a lot of people are like i can't work at home because then i'll just do nothing it's like i've been able to find that balance as everybody else has during this time and i'm feeling good and we're saving money on rent and i'm able to focus on the business itself and not just the flash if that makes sense no it definitely makes sense you know and it's funny because you know i do have an office but if you were to look the offense it's not like it's a bad looking office but it's far it's not immaculate it's not a downtown or in a high-rise and that's kind of what always people think on a lawyer is oh they have immaculate offices adorned with wood and it's in the big building and it's you know middle of the city and you know show success and yet i'm kind of with you it's like you know i often times when you start on the business you focus more on the things that make you feel successful as opposed to that actually make you successful you kind of oh i've got a i've got to get the the big office and the employees and everything else because then i then i made it and i feel successful and then you find out a lot of times those are detrimental to business or they don't help it or they have ever have increased costs and everything else and it doesn't really help to grow and build a business especially early on so i like that as a mistake to be made but also a lesson learned so now we jump to the second question which is um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting to a startup or a small business what'd be the one piece of advice you'd give them figure out again kind of going back to that first one as well before you go into the like the fun stuff like what what what is the design of my logo gonna look like and all this other stuff really figure out what transformation you're gonna take your potential clients through they're here you want them to be here figure out what those places are and how you fill that gap because without that you're just going to be spinning your wheels you're going to be pivoting a lot like i did so really figure out ask those questions where are my potential clients at where do they want to be and how can i help them get there no i like that and you know one of the things i'll piggyback on that because when i set up the the law firm there are a lot of law firms a lot of good law firms out there but most of the time lawyers are terrible about thinking about the journey that the you know the client actually takes and it's much more to say i'm going to give them good legal advice i'll do good legal work which is all important i'm not dissuading that at all but you don't really think of how do i get them from point a to point b what is that journey what does that feel like you know what information they need when do they get confused when do they need help and kind of how do i move them along so that it's a one to get to from point a to point b but it's also a good journey along the way and i think that if you focus on that most of the time especially if you're in a service based industry even really a product space industry but especially service you're going to be above the most of the competition because most of them they don't think i'm just going to provide them a service they're going to take it they're going to use it and they never really think about the journey so i i love that as a as a a takeaway for startups and small businesses well as we wrap up if people want to reach out to you they want to learn more about the year service they want to be a client a customer they want to be a they want to start a band with you they want to be they want to be an investor they want to be an employee they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out find out more sure um first place is our website it's artist artistcollect.com um our business is called ourscollective but artistcollective.com costs about 65 thousand dollars so no thank you so artistcollect.com or you know instagram i live on instagram uh you can reach out to me directly it's at ac underscore evan and just shoot me a dm let's have a conversation a lot of our services and how to get started in the program i talked about it's going to be on our website got a cool video that really explains our philosophy and that foundation those four elements if you're curious what those four elements are uh head to that website and check it out all right well i definitely encourage people to check it out hit you up on instagram check out the website do all the above and definitely worthwhile to find out more especially if you're in a band or if you're an independent artist and never need help on that journey well thank you again evan for coming on it's been a fun and a pleasure to have you on now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to share it we'd love to we'd love to hear it just go to uh inventiveguest.com and apply to be on the podcast two more things as a listener one if uh make sure to click subscribe in your podcast players so you know when all of our awesome episodes come out and two make sure to leave us a review so everybody else can find out about our awesome episodes last but not least if you ever need help with patents trademarks or anything else with your business just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat and always happy to help thanks again evan it's been a fun it's been a pleasure and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin appreciate you