Be Clear On Your Goals

Be Clear On Your Goals

Jenny Paul
Devin Miller
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs

Be Clear On Your Goals

Be really clear on what your goals are in this situation. I think we did it well, even some of the groups that I have worked with over the years. Being clear on what the goals are and what the responsibilities are amongst people really helps.


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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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be really clear about what your goals are in the situation so like you know and i and i think we did it well even even even some of the the groups that weren't as copacetic working together that i've worked with over the years that you know sort of half referred to before being clear on what the goals are and what the responsibilities are amongst people really helps [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 into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where we focus on helping startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to and we're always here to help now today we have another great uh guest on the podcast jenny paul and jenny grew up in texas went to high school wanted to be a doctor and always kind of was doing theater more kind of on the side there for fun uh went into undergraduate studied pre-med and after a first semester or two found out she didn't liked it so switched over um started taking a few uh theater classes it's extracurricular kind of fun classes ended up by the end to taking in theater and i think graduating with a theater degree or something of that nature moved to new york started acting for five or six years um started doing also started doing content creation kind of did a web series decided the next time that she was doing content creation uh for a web series and whatnot she was going to find a way to market it monetize it and uh allow people to buy things through and that's kind of led to a bit of where she's at today so but that much is a introduction welcome on to the podcast jenny hi wow you did that quick got to give that quick short or short introduction but now it's now we're going to rewind a bit back in time and walk us through a little bit more in detail kind of you know high school wanting to initially be a doctor going to medicine and then how your story went from there yeah i mean that's that's pretty much what happened i i sort of always knew that i wanted to do something that was uh designed to help people um whether it be you know sort of therapy if it were to be psychology or if it would be medicine kind of kind of proper um my dad my dad and my mom are both doctors and my dad was he was the king of the neighborhood he was the internist for you know all half of my teachers and you know most of my community and so you know people really appreciated and respected him for being their caretaker in some regard and and i think that was always attractive to me because i always sort of felt the sort of felt the urge that i that that i wanted to care for other people as sort of you know number one um or at least help you know help them in some way if i could um and so i ended up flipping over to theater because i realized i didn't love the science so much um where my father my mother both really loved the science so of course you know 12 years of science looking down the barrel at that didn't seem so tragic to them um but one question on that just because so i mean since really high school you've been kind of thinking about i want to be a doctor yeah you know the you know i had influence with your parents and whatnot so you know that you know the decision to switch to theater i'm guessing wasn't just a one day woke up and want to be theater so how did you kind of decide or what was the triggering point just saying hey i've been in a semester too this really just isn't as exciting or interesting as i thought it would be what do i want to do or are you already doing theater on the side so that's really where my passion is or kind of how did you make that initial transition i mean i i grew up singing in choirs and solos and things like that and um and being really invested in that and then when i got to high school i switched from uh choir to theater and was doing theater for you know most of my childhood or you know some sort of performing and so it was always a thing that i loved but i also grew up you know dallas um texas isn't necessarily a place where people necessarily decide to go be performers it's not like i grew up in the new york metroplex or in la or whatever so it wasn't so much didn't it didn't seem to me so much as a choice and then when i went to college and i was taking theater on the side while i was doing my pre-made courses the people that went to the school that i went to took it really seriously and i went oh this is a this is actually a choice like you can you can do this so that's sort of how how i fell into it is you know i got really very stressed out by the science and doing super well but realizing i just wasn't loving it and then um and then taking the theater classes and then dropping out of the science classes and then only having the theater classes and so until i i figured i would do that until i figured out what i really wanted to do and then i sort of realized that is what i really wanted to do um so that is sort of how all that happened and then um and then you know moved to new york to be an actor and have been doing that for 13 14 years and also um in the meantime learning how and becoming really good at content producing as well on top of that and so that's so that's how that all happened so now and this now backing up just because that was a good or a good p or space of time so you decide okay first thing is decided you know maybe pre-med and medicine wasn't or what you'd envision or what you wanted to do it wasn't what you're passionate to do so you said okay i'll move over to theater get the degree you graduate and you go to new york now you know i've imagined and maybe you can correct me where i'm wrong in new york there's a lot of people wanting to get into theater and acting and everything else so how did you once you what was your initial experience when you got to new york and you're trying to figure out how to actually get into theater and acting and do and you know chase your dreams how would that experience go i mean i think i came you know when i came to new york there were a lot of people my same age trying to do the same thing whether it was musical theater or straight theater or some tv film which wasn't as prominent when i moved to new york or it was but it wasn't something that a 21 year old could necessarily expect to get into right away without a lot of experience um so you know my experience was you know coming to new york with you know kind of a full community of people that were excited to do plays and figure out how to do little things in the park and you know and so basically i sort of uh sought out anything that seemed interesting to me i wasn't in the unions yet so anything was sort of possible and did a lot of little you know little developmental plays and met playwrights and um you know screenwriters and designers and directors and producers and anybody that i sort of clicked with found a way to do projects with and and so i think that that's sort of the the initial experience of coming to new york and i imagine it's still the same for people right out of school where they find those little groups of people where they're making craft together that have you know similar voices in the art um and then you know what i found is as time goes on people kind of left the business or a couple people you know people that are really uh you know some people made it some people didn't make it some people decided to do other things some people uh decided that the business was just not for them so you know now i'm now the the community of people is much smaller but it's also you know um it's still you know the same people the people from that i met at the beginning that i had really good relationships with and artistic work with are some of the same people i'm still working with now no definitely makes sense so so you do that and you did it was for five or six years um i mean i guess yeah i mean over the over the the course i would say i was those first few years i was kind of kicking around maybe three or four years before i got an agent and started really getting you know kind of elevated work i also had a full-time job excuse me that wasn't this so um so finding time to you know make money and do these other things um was uniquely a fun i think but also you know annoying and difficult in a lot of ways because just out of curiosity what did you do for the the full-time job as you're also trying to balance all of your your acting your theater career i was working as a manager for the 2010 census so and i did it for quite a long time so i was in charge of if if you know new york city well enough um roosevelt island in the upper east side um for quite a while and you know pieces of that and i got moved to you know bigger bigger jobs and smaller jobs because the way the census works is it works in uh in projects so we have this you know the first project and then they when they moved to the second one they moved you somewhere else and you know um so i was doing that for quite quite a long time um and then when the 20 2010 census ended probably in i don't know august or september of 2010 i'd been working for it since 2008. um then you know we all got laid off at the same time but i was working for them for for quite a while and managing anywhere from 20 to 80 people at any one time so um you know kind of getting my bearings and you know being an adult in some ways being you know being in charge of people that were far more experienced and older than me um because it's a you know very civic community oriented type of job so there are people from my age all the way up to you know retired and post-retired um um just you know coming to work because they thought it was an interesting thing to do and why not it definitely makes sense so now you do that you know you work on the census and i always like it really is side job is just another full-time job so you usually end up working as many or more hours on the side job but you're doing the theater you're trying to get that up and going as well as you know supporting yourself and doing the the census and that now how did you transition over to doing kind of your content creation doing that was that kind of just an add-on or an additional effort as far as you're doing the theater and acting and trying to get that up and going or is that different opportunity or kind of how did that start to lead you to where you're at today well i think um maybe so we're talking about maybe like 2012-ish possibly i think at that time um web series were starting to be like an inkling of a thing so before then people did not create their own content at least they did in theater and we did plenty of that but not in in tv and film because the networks were you know god in that way and and you were auditioning for them or you weren't and that kind of was it so i think 2000 i want to say 2011-12 is when when the concept of creating your own work started to sort of seep through the seams and what was happening is there were a lot of people that were around my age that were actors who hadn't booked a big network show myself included um who wanted to be seen to do film um because that's sort of where our heads were at i was always sort of my head was all i always wanted to do like sitcoms i was always that was sort of my pie in the sky goal um but you know they there weren't a lot of opportunities to do camera work um in new york especially but if you weren't if you didn't have an agent you weren't even getting auditions for these roles much less um getting you know getting seen for them and so um so i sort of took advantage of that pretty quickly and said well if people are making your own content now and that's the new big thing let's go let's make some content so that we have real to show people to get an agent to get you know to get booked on television shows and things and i teamed up with two other actors and one writer to create a show called that reminds me um that you know featured all of us in ways that we couldn't have you know sort of even imagined before this became a thing so that's yeah that was sort of the beginning of the content creation you know chapter for me i think one of the things you kind of learned if i remember when we chatted a bit before was say you know you got into content creation kind of started to explore that as a avenue to get your name out there get your content out there you know to if you're not necessarily a mainstream or a major actor that everybody knows there's a way to kind of showcase a little bit of your talents and that now you did the content creation i think one of the things you mentioned was you know you didn't necessarily think about how you're going to monetize that initially or how you're actually going to you know have a return on that so how did that kind of transition after you initially got into content creation to where hey i'm actually going to try and make a business out of this or make an income or actually you know start to make or you know have something more than just as a being a hobby i mean i think i think at that point that the goal wasn't monetization the goal was representation so getting an agent getting a manager getting people to see you know i've been doing plays in new york new york for years but none of the people that i grew up with that would have been you know happy to come see me in shows lived in new york i grew up in texas so you know i didn't i wasn't able to you know sort of show off my performance sort of talents to anybody other than the people in the immediate new york new york sphere unless somebody wanted to come up and see a show so that original goal was not money the original goal was you know exposure and then when i continued to make content for myself for other people help other people make their content as as the sort of genre grew and people started realizing that it was a good way to get their representation and to get so i i did get my agent from that show so um so when people started figuring out that it was working you know people started moving into creating their own content and then it sort of became this thing where you could absolutely create your own content maybe you did a kickstarter to get the funding for it that first time whatever you did but there wasn't really a way to keep it rolling if the product itself deserved to have a life rather than the people in the product so you make you know one season of a short sitcom and people are like oh this is really good we're season two and you go well we can't afford that we didn't think of that um so it's that concept of uh realizing that that these projects a lot of them not all of them you know not everything's amazing but a lot of them deserve to have a life that was independent of their creator um and to live the way that network tv lives or the way that you know uh cable tv or now streaming lives and so that was something that sort of was always on my mind as i was doing more and more of this was none of these you know go to web series festivals and the best web series you know whatever one best web series didn't have any money to make another season and didn't have any way of making that money and so that was sort of that's been on my mind for all of the years that i've been doing this is there's got to be a way for people to monetize these things outside of asking their friends for the money so that's that's sort of you know the the genesis of of what ended up becoming adulting with jane is let's let me figure out how to monetize this so that it actually is beneficial to whomever is you know giving lending involved with the money but also you know so that these projects could have a real life no it definitely makes sense so so now that kind of brings you up to where you're doing today so you now got adulting with jane so how did you kind of start to take and incorporate kind of the things you learned the experience you've got on the other ones and kind of all of that to now fold that into something that you could monetize or otherwise be able to at least support so that you can make the next series you can continue on you know and continue to do that without having to go to the friends in this family to kind of support it how did you kind of start to adjust that model or adjust to where you're at today um so i think you know over time if you're creating enough content you sort of develop a uh you know a drawer full of ideas and things and you're hoping that one day this one or that one will have a reason to get you know funded or you're just you know collecting ideas and and one of the ones that i really was in love with was this concept of you know we always go to youtube for how-to videos um but they're not particularly entertaining there's nothing real special about a how-to video it's just sort of a necessity um and google is uniquely suited to do that because they're google so you know if you're saying like how to change a tire and then youtube which is you know easily the most popular place for indie content to live um at least in terms of like longer form more structured not necessarily like tick tock videos this sort of thing so um you go and you watch some really dry dude like show you how to unscrew the you know nuts and then jack the car up and the dude and you're like okay you know and it you do the thing because you have to do the thing but i always thought you know like why not why not kind of why not feel empowered in the adulting rather than the word adult you know the the the original incarnation so the the original word adulting was uh coined by an author i think her name was kelly brown um and she wrote a book she wrote a book about you know 300 things you need to know to be an adult and so she coined that term um and so immediately when adult the word adulting started becoming a thing it was like adulting do not recommend you know adulting sucks adulting one star adulting i need coffee whatever whatever those things are and i was like well for me a lot of this stuff could and should have been interesting and fun because i'm one of those people that's just very learning forward and curious like i i like learning how to do things because it makes me feel like i you know did something right um so you know that i'm kind of like an adult girl scout in a way it's that that the stuff that people kind of think sucks i also think suck sometimes don't let's not play but if i were to learn it in a way that was interesting to me and that didn't feel like you know death and taxes and destruction i would probably enjoy myself versus like how to change a tire where it's like i'm actually stuck in the middle of a highway and i really do want to kill myself and i'm waiting waiting through 15 minutes of youtube because i'm literally on the side of the road and i think that was sort of the impetus for this even before sort of the monetary piece of it was i want to do a show that teaches people how to do these things so that they already know kind of how to do them so that by the time they are on the side of the road if that happens to them they don't feel so utterly scared and hopeless they go oh you know what i kind of know how to do this let me look it up or whatever they're going to do to finish it but not have a panic attack about it because it's not the worst thing in the world it's not you know the you know we're gonna die on the side of the road kind of thing i know a little bit about this i'm a little bit empowered here let me do that let me let me figure this out i'll figure this out um and i think that was sort of the impetus so so taking my two loves of you know sort of helping people and sitcoms i was like okay let's make a sitcom that you know helps people and it maybe puts them in a position by the time they do have you know a major issue that they're not feeling so overwhelmed by it and i think i think i kind of found a uniquely good time to do it when you know this is around the time that marie kondo came out and people were starting to get excited and you know and uh and ready to do things like clean their houses where like that would have been miserable before but now like a lot of people especially women but a lot of people are like oh i'm gonna do this for my house too it's very cool so kind of entering the sort of lifestyle diy at the right time and i was like between that and then the other factor was the money factor i didn't you know back to what we started talking about is is this something that would fit the model that the networks use which is advertising and the answer i you know really quickly was yes but it's too small for people to care so how do we make it big enough for people to actually care a and then b how do we make it interesting in a way that actually actually benefits the small businesses um to kind of weave it in so that it's kind of working for everybody so that's sort of how we did it's a sitcom and how to video and then we are working we're working with a shoppable video technology so basically this is one of the first ever to do this and everything's working now but it's like just barely off the ground but you can actually click around within the video you can literally click it and it pauses the video and then if there's a product you know you like my earrings cool i can click on the earrings and go shop them look at them put them in my cart whatever i'm gonna do come back to the video or in our case we're using the things that are like the tools so like the tire jack and the sewing kit and things that might actually complete the experience of the learn so okay i just learned how to change a tire click here there's the kit for the tire jack that i can chuck in my truck forever hopefully never have to use it one time for any reason but it's there um and so that's sort of how we kind of came to it as we wanted to make it beneficial for the audience and fun for the audience but also beneficial for any potential small businesses that were joining us to work with us on this um so that they're actually getting some you know value and benefit out of it as well um and enticing them to help us make the show so that we can help them advertise their products no definitely that's something you know it sounds like a interesting model to start to to monetize that to be able to you know both you know people see something in the show that they think is looks cool or is nice and that they can actually check it out and start to shop for it sounds like an interesting way to start to solve that hey how do we sustain doing these series and then you know make a job out of this or you know an income out of this as opposed to doing as a hobby so it sounds like a fun path to go down so well now as we start to get towards the end of the podcast i always have two questions i always ask so we'll jump to those now 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 um so i will be judicious about saying what i'm going to say but i will say that i think it's really important to make sure that you know who you're getting in bed with when you're working as a with business partners and and with people so in my world there's a lot of people and and you know you can't necessarily know everybody fully before you go in but um one of the things that i did reasonably early on as i sort of got really excited really fast and was like sure i will you know i will go into business with you know i will do this thing with these people that i don't know as well um and i think i think if i had gone back i would have said like let me let me figure out what i really want here get to know the people that i'm working with make sure we have a good working relationship that we are you know a good fit to work together and all of that before i you know before i kind of jump whole hog in so that's that's the thing i would say is that you know i i wouldn't let my excitement get the better of my judgment in kind of jumping into things as sort of how i would phrase it um because everything worked out okay and you know not too much love lost but also a lot of extra stress and like if we had known from the beginning you know like if we had really thought about whether or not this was a really good idea or or whether or not we were a good you know good fit to work then then maybe it wouldn't you know we would have been able to sort of like navigate it but with much less stress involved no definitely makes sense and you know it's one of those it's interesting how dynamic shift or things shift as you move from what would be friends or having worked together to now you're actually worker you know co-founders are working on the project together and just you know how that is all be adds an extra layer of complexity to where you may have a very good relationship with them outside of work or when your co-workers are when you work together but now when you're actually you know doing a project who invests and what time and what money and everything else it always add that extra lay of complexity that always is one where you have to look as to how to make that beneficial or whether or not it makes sense so definitely understand as we jump now to the second question which is if you did talking to someone who's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you'd give them um i think i think that you know if one piece of advice would be to be really clear about what your goals are in the situation so like you know and i and i think we did it well even even even some of the the groups that weren't as copacetic working together that i've worked with over the years that you know sort of half referred to before being clear on what the goals are and what the responsibilities are amongst people um really helps so you know that first series that we were all super really excited to do this and then you know we're rolling and we're rolling and then um and we all realized that the whole point that of this thing was exposure um but we were all getting very disappointed that you know we weren't finding more audience or we weren't finding a way to find money and we were able to take a step back at some point in the middle of all that and say wait whoa whoa that wasn't the goal the goal was to have exposure for the art so if you can look at that and say okay actually we succeeded in quite a lot of the ways that we wanted to succeed and i think that's i think that was really important and i wish we had clarified it for ourselves sooner because we were getting real wrapped up in what was working what wasn't working where we actually did do the thing that we intended to do and we did it quite well um so you know i think that's the big thing is is come in with the understanding and make sure that everybody at least is somewhat on the same page of what the goal is so that you know when you hit it that you haven't done all of it for not and when you're in the midst of all of this whether you're a startup and you're growing and you're going through all the growing pains and all the things you can look back and say hey actually we did really really well here like this was really really excellent and having those positive benchmarks and so you can have you know mini celebrations as you're you know trucking and pushing and huffing and puffing and doing all the things you need to do you can look back and say like no no we're we're doing well and and kind of keeping a little bit of that optimism because when you're knee deep neck deep in a startup whether it's going to last forever or whether it's just to do a show everything feels overwhelming no and i definitely could you know and it's it's always very easy when you get into it that you always have the next thing that needs to be done the next fire needs to put out the next thing you need you to grow or to income or anything else which is all true and the you should focus on that but to remembering the milestones but also to savor those a bit and actually take the time to reflect back and look at it i think is one that's important because otherwise you'll start to forget you know why you got into this and why it's fun and why you actually wanted to do it so to you know reflect back and uh savor those their entire times are definitely i think a good point as well well as a as a reminder to the listeners to the audience we are doing the bonus question we'll talk a little bit about intellectual property so for those of you want to stay tuned for the bonus question definitely invite you to do so otherwise as we wrap up thank you again jenny for coming on it's been fun and pleasure to hear your journey and for all of you that are now listeners if you have your own journey to tell we'd love to have you on just go to and apply to be on the podcast couple more things as listeners one 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 new people can find out about us so well last but not least if you ever need help with patents trademarks or anything else with your business just go to grab some time with us to chat so with that now as we transition we i always enjoyed the bonus question where we're going to talk about my one of my favorite topics which is intellectual property and patents and trademarks and whatnot it's also fun to always kind of flip the tables and have somebody else ask me the questions instead of me asking the question so with that i'll turn it over you jenny to ask your top intellectual property question so um i guess you know over my time with film and tv stuff i guess maybe my my biggest question is twofold at what point is it appropriate or is it needed to copyright a script of some sort or a concept and more specific to me do you have to both copyright the script and the final product and what are the benefits and you know disadvantages of doing that in terms of what's actually you know you know we've had i've been through a lot of things in my time where somebody kind of stole an idea but it was like different enough that they could do whatever they want you know so what are what are the best things to do in best practices and and expectations yeah i mean that's certainly a bit of a complex so i'll give you kind of the general answer and there's always you know any attorney's gonna say well it depends and give you all the caveats we'll try and give you a bit of a substantive answer i mean with copyrights which are a bit different than patents and trademarks copyright's a bit more unique in the sense that you do have inherent rights to your creative work as soon as you what they call put it in a tangible medium so if you write it down or if you put or take the picture you do the sculpture you film the movie whatever it is upon doing that in a tangible medium meaning you get it out of your head and you actually write it down so to speak you have inherent rights to the copyright now a lot of times a reason why you're going to register the copyright is a couple fold one is that you're wanting to establish the date so that it's not in question hey at least by this date i created it so nobody can come and say well i did it first and then you're in a battle of well no i created it first no i created it first because yes you know you may have created it first but now you have to prove that if you register the copyright at least by that date you can say i registered it the other reason a lot of times you'll get it registered is let's say you let's say you have really good proof so you're not as worried okay i can really very easily say hey i made this by this date a lot of times when you go to enforce a copyright is the other time you'll register the copyright and that that's usually to do with damages which is hey if i'm going to somebody ripped off my work product somebody ripped off my script or my movie or whatever it was and they're causing me to lose a lot of money or they've otherwise made a lot of money off of it that i should be getting as compensation then in order to go and force that in court you have to register the copyright in order to get a lot of those damages and so you have a lot greater ability to go after damages and get a recoup money if you have it registered so usually one of the reasons is register it early so that you can establish that date the other one is if you're going to go and enforce it you got to make sure to register so those are kind of the two triggering points they're beyond that it's kind of when i a lot of times i look at it the other question you hit on was kind of let's say i have an initial script and then i keep working on it and i have a final script or i wrote the rough draft of the book and then i'm re or polishing the book and i add an extra forward or a preface or something of that nature an index or anything of that well then the what you register in your copyright is what's protected in the copyright so a lot of times you'll either do one of two things if you're not as worried you may just wait until you get the final work so you don't have to spend the copyright to do both of them or if you're saying hey i'm going to go and take the script i'm going to shop it all around i want to you know a lot of people are going to see it i want to make sure it's protected you may do that initial rough draft so you have that on file once you finish it and finalize it you file a separate copyright just to capture that that final work so that's a lot of times a couple of the different approaches you take does that answer your questions that make sense yeah i think so there's always plenty more to learn and always plenty more but that at least is my initial crack at answering your top intellectual property question with that we'll go ahead and wrap up the the podcast appreciate you again jenny for coming on now for if you or any of the listeners have any other questions always feel free to go to grab some additional time with the uh with me to chat and definitely can go through your questions and more in depth but with that we'll go ahead and wrap up the podcast and uh wish the next leg of your journey even better than last thank you so much thanks for having me you

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