The Inventive Journey
Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Be PersistentIt's about persistence. I actually think it was Ryan Smith with Qualtrics he said the same thing about being all in. So if you are doing this be all in. Also be persistent in what you are doing. If you do run into some road blocks, and they are legitimate road blocks, evaluate that. Maybe you are not on the right course and maybe you need to make some adjustments. However that happens just keep at it. If it is something that is legitimately a great thing that will help whatever market you are in then you will see results but that persistence has to be there.
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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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it's about persistence so and and i i actually think it was um ryan smith with qualtrics he said the same thing about like you know be all in you know so if you're you're doing this be all in um all the way but also be persistent in what you're doing and if you do run into some roadblocks and they're legitimate roadblocks um evaluate that maybe you're not on the right course and maybe you need to make some adjustments um and however that that happens um yeah just keep at it keep keep at it and if it is something that is legitimately a a great thing that's that will help whatever market you're in or industry then you'll see you'll see results but that persistence has to be there [Music] hey everyone this is devon miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that has grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as a ceo and founder of miller ip law where we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks and today we have another great guest on the episode jared porter and uh jared just to give you a beat hey chair give you a brief introduction on jared um he lived in suburbia for a period of time and then his dad decided he was going to go off and teach at the navajo reservation so that's where jared went to school for a period of time then he went to lsu and then for after that worked at some blue collar jobs most of the time he was going to school came out of school um served a religious mission in in italy got married had two kids and started a national or started working at a national benefits company on 401ks went over to transamerica before jumping over to where he's at today so there's a brief introduction or overview of jared's uh journey but welcome to the podcast jared thanks for having me yeah um uh just one slight correction on that i went to utah state universities the usa oh i had it as lsu although worse utah state university actually lsu yeah yeah they they they did and those two kids have now grown to i now have six kids so that that's that's like all right more kids and went to a different school i was i was reasonably good you were you got you got most of it so i'll give you all right well now that you've corrected me let's go back into your journey start start out kind of tell us how you got into going with your dad going into the navajo reservation and let's pick up from there yeah i mean you wouldn't expect something like that to happen you have your set of friends you're used to things it's almost like you have your habitual things that you're accustomed to and then your your dad wants to change things up and you move and so i i went to high school in the navajo navajo nation um area and so monument valley so you know like forrest gump you know when he's running and then he he stops and there's all those people behind him he's like you know i'm kind of tired of going that backdrop was something i saw all the time so we'd travel back and forth from from that area but so it was a different experience it was definitely culturally a different experience and then i have a lot of friends from that and grew from that but i i never thought that i would slowly kind of move into the the position i i'm in right now i think i i think most people don't expect that it's kind of life kind of moves them in a certain direction um i i worked for ups for a while i worked again like you said a lot of blue collar jobs but i think that that was that was where i had a connection with a lot of people that were you know just hard workers and that's what they would do they just work work work um so the blue collar jobs or while you were studying at usu is that right or utah state university uh yes yeah so a little bit of both yeah yeah so there was a lot of that but i think that the the biggest thing with kind of the transition out of um when i when i finish my schooling and the funny thing is my degree is in english literature has nothing to do with what i'm doing right now but i guess the research part the research part is the the good thing but um when i when i started working at national benefits uh services which is a third party administrator for 401k plans um that's where i think it opened up something completely different uh for me as far as what retirement savings plans are and how they apply for businesses um but yeah let's dive in so you you're usu you're studying you said it was an english major is that right well no i started i started computer computer engineering and then i ended up dropping that and going into english literature i couldn't tell you why but i do love reading and research so maybe that was so is it when you graduated was it a sense of hey i'll apply to as many jobs like you know i think that i might be able to get in a scatter shot and happen to be national benefits or is that what you came out and you knew you wanted to do or how did you land well the initial company yeah i i don't think i was really set on what most people say what are you going to teach you know that's what they usually say are you going to teach um i had already kind of lined up my job with uh national benefit services right as i was finishing school so it was kind of the transition from the blue collar into into doing this and um so yeah i'm going to press it just how so how did you did you apply how did you line up the job so i'm just because it doesn't seem like it was your typical job it was uh one of those things where like okay i've been working blue collar i need to go into the white collar industry if i can do something with my degree and so uh that was my my gateway into it and and it was one of those things where it's like yeah i i sent i sent out probably a ton of applications and it just kind of that was the one that fell into place and worked worked for what i was doing so and i thoroughly enjoyed it i thought there was there's so much to to be learned from it while being there and so yeah uh no makes sense it wasn't some like cinderella story where it's like suddenly i just you know finished school and stumbled into this and saw this i was like oh my life has changed it was more like you have to work your butt off while you're in there and keep going through that and that's that's kind of where where it went with nbs so all right so you worked it's and that's i don't think is atypical hey you're graduating you're saying i need i don't have not living on student loans anymore i have to get a job life costs money so what am i going to do and you go and you apply to the jobs that you think you're qualified for or reasonably interested in and then they come back and you choose from the ones that you know you look like or line up well so you did that for a period of time started working with them sounds like it was overall a good experience and i think you said you moved over to transamerica next is that right yeah so i moved over to transamerica and that was uh um that was kind of it was something that came up where because my expertise while i was there at nbs was in a certain field within 401ks and so they they seek out certain kind of niches within the industry and so that i i feel that niche but that's that's really where there was uh kind of the transition that was there and and i had already been introduced to some people about uh starting something very interesting so that was kind of where that moved in from there um while i was at transamerica i was unable to do any consulting anything like that outside of working there for what i was wanting to do with 401 go and 401 go is the the company that um you know i i have partners we co-founded and came together and put that together so okay so now you do that you go work you know you get the experience in transamerica now kind of or how did you then get from that to deciding and do 401 go and do your own thing and start or you know do your own kind of business and startup how did you what prompted that transition or that startup um well that that was more of there was some consulting that happened kind of outside of that where we had gone through what it was more it was kind of ethereal at first you're thinking about well what what can we do and and let me just kind of tap into a couple of things working blue collar jobs and working with people like that and working at nbs you start to see a trend with these smaller businesses that are not getting the same features they're they don't even have access to certain features and their costs are crazy so they end up don't they don't do anything and so um when you look at even the numbers there's it's like over 80 percent of these small businesses do not have a retirement savings account or a plan or anything and it makes you think and so there was that interaction that was really like okay we need to do something about that my time at transamerica was just it was a good experience but i wouldn't say it was anything that kind of like oh well this is how i do it it was more of okay look there's something that we need to build out it needs to happen this way um and so when i left transamerica to do this full-time and put this together um with my partners and and everyone else that's put into it uh it was very thought out like how are we going to help these small businesses um have some sort of offering for retirement um so now did you start you know the so you know 401 go did you start that on your own did you have business partners how did what was kind of that genesis or how did you get involved with it how did you get that going so um i i had been in kind of a consulting role kind of outside of all that just consulting on basic 401k uh information and so we i do have some partners that are involved and we all co-founded this and put it together but um our cto is uh he would i mean his background is in automation automating like retail uh e-commerce and putting that sort of thing together and what he did is he took that same concept and he applied it to the 401k which is typically a process where it's like here's a form fill out the form is that what you want there's this back and forth and you know weeks of time before anything happens and so um through through what he was able to build as far as um the consulting and how do you need it how do you need to set this up to make this work that's kind of where this was born out of where you take the concept of can you automate a 401k plan and the answer is yes and so that's where 401 go is it's an automated 401k plan so there was a lot of thought into it back and forth just on the basics of a 401k and then what a small business owner would would typically want or need so yeah okay so you started out as consultant now you started out as consulting kind of figured out what startups small businesses need and how they might provide that as a benefit to their employees so now is this something that you continue to do on the side did you jump in full time what was that transition yeah full time i i came in uh as soon as i left uh transamerica's full-time i came into it um and really i mean we've seen just incredible growth from that so coming into it looking at what um what's been built you know even kind of tailoring some of those things improving some of those things and then um working the the line of partnerships we just found that there's so much interest for this and so much need that uh that that's that's where it came in you know i came into this full time to do it um because i want to see you know everyone getting ready for retirement something happening for them at least having something set up so you have like 401 go is synonymous with a small business 401k that's that's the end goal so okay no that makes perfect sense now so you left transamerica said okay i'm all in with 401 go gonna make this a success gonna you know take the market by storm was it you know all all roses and everything went perfectly as you left was it a uh you know hey this is a slog for a period of time was the ups and downs or kind of how did that go as you as it jumped over yeah i would say um anything if anyone tells you that it's all roses they're lying you know like and if you think it's all roses then you probably need to have a reality check because i mean it isn't and there are some really difficult moments but that's the the the biggest thing here and and i like to follow um the the philosophy that you know if you're persistent at something you keep working at that thing um you'll get somewhere and i think it it regardless of how intelligent you are or how capable you are if you are not persistent you will get nowhere and so it isn't just all roses it it's taken a lot of work there's been a lot of um stressful difficult moments throughout that but i and the way i put this is it's incredibly difficult to make something very easy to use and simple for people to use so you always have to um adjust and improve to make it even better as you go about it and that's that's based off of like user experience and stuff so so now walk me through a little bit more of what is those because i mean what you what the temptation is is a startup or a small business or as you get going and you're filing your successes you tend to just hit on the highlight reels right everybody gets to hit her oh yeah it was a little bit difficult or there's a few things but we figured it out and now we're raging successful dive in a bit so what was that you know was it difficulty from how do we make you know how do we find customers to how do we make this affordable to make it you mentioned a little bit of user experience but you know what were those difficulties and did they all come up front or did you initially have a great product you release and then it was making better kind of what was that part of the journey so i mean our product is amazing but you could have an amazing product that uh you have no clients for so i i think when you go through that you have to evaluate what is um what's working so you do have to have a time of looking at your product and kind of as you're you're moving to market you need to look at what is working and why is it working and constantly reassess that and see and so sometimes it you you could be really just nailing on one point and then find that that's not it's not working for you and that's where you need to always have that that data in front of you and be aware of it and then kind of find what route is best and we we have found that um partnerships partner channels has been the the best method for us as far as getting to those small businesses i mean there's always organic growth but in in our situation it might not be the same for everyone else but um partnership channels if you have a really good partner i mean it it can help you dramatically and where you need to go and even on the side i mean you can have organic growth that's happening while that is going on but we we found the focus on partners which you know like financial advisors cpas and um payroll companies has been oh and also peos but we found that those type of partnerships have been very very helpful because they are looking for solutions for their clients that aren't out there so i would just say if anyone else is looking at that or addressing that with their business that if something isn't working don't try to make it work you know like and so i'm gonna dive in how did you find out what didn't work for you right so you know what was that trial and error or what did you do and what or i'll back up what were some of the things that didn't work for you and how did you identify them well um some of the things that weren't working where we were we were trying to go about this as um very very much direct to market i mean we had our partnership channel but we were focused on the direct to market more than the partnership channel which we already had that build ready to go and we we started to see that even doing that that takes a lot of time and that takes a lot of effort that to go into that and so and we found that out by you know you can see relative to the the numbers where our partnership channel which we hadn't focused on as much was growing and it was it was producing while we were spending the time on the direct to market and so there are a number of different ways you can approach it but when you see something that's working and even if you just put a little bit into it and you start to see that growth that's where you're like okay you've found what needs to happen i i just think sometimes um you have to consider how far your your dollars go because if you were putting money into something you don't get that back if it is you know marketing things you whatever way you can uh get results without spending a whole bunch of money on it is probably the route to go right and so yeah it is there's not an exact science unfortunately i wish i had that code that i could just give someone they'd be good to go right so yeah so so now you if you finally figure things out you get things going you know get it up and running and and what remind me what was the when was it that you originally started or what was the the founding date so to speak um so original founding was 2017 um and that was coming together getting things going uh the release to market where we had some beta clients but at least to market was 2019 so so you launched 2019 been in business for a year and a half you know a year and a half two years somewhere in there so how do you know so now you take that you've you know started figuring out what has worked what doesn't work lessons learned and those type of things you know what what's uh what do you see the next six to 12 months going for you guys what's the the trajectory and what's the plan yeah i would say one of the big things that um we see happening is because we we have again we're focused on these partnerships and so we we have connected with some bigger payroll providers where we have a full integration with them we've also worked with some of the other partners that we have in in a way where we're hitting the market in different ways so we we project i mean just without giving you like the the hard numbers right um with something with just one of these partnerships we we're we're already going to see i would say um tens of thousands of dollars of revenue that come through one of these partners and we have multiple that we're really pushing out um and so i mean i see that i see us just continually growing through those partnerships but we also have other products that we're looking to funnel through that partnership channel like an ira and investment hsa so we're looking at building out that automation that we've already built out for the small business so they have more features to go through and when you have a partnership channel that's already established i mean as you add more things into that that channel that's where you'll you see quite a bit of growth so i just i i can already see us growing uh substantially through those partnerships that have already been finalized or already uh in the process of being finalized okay no i think that sounds like a great uh great trajectory to be on and a great place to head so so now as you do that i'm gonna as we get towards the end of the podcast i always have two questions i asked at the end so we'll jump to those now so we and we hit on them maybe slightly at least the first one a little bit but we'll dive into it a bit more so the first question was asked is without within your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it um well within that i would say uh maybe outside of four one go i've had some there's there's a number of ones where i've i probably uh put too much money into something that wasn't well thought out without giving any names on it i'll just say just be just be careful about how much you're putting into a a business that hasn't you know you haven't looked at all angles of it and if you put so much money into it you can't get back um yeah if you can't grind and get something back for that just just evaluate those decisions so that prior to 401 go i've i've had some of those moments where you know thinking this is this is the greatest thing and and then you know my wife would probably be you should definitely argue with me on that so yeah um probably a few years before even 401 go there are some some uh opportunities opportunities that that come up and um yeah i probably should have evaluated them better but bad business decisions based off of that but all right no and i think that that one's you know hey it's a common it's more common you think that one you know sometimes the temptation is when you're going to make an investment hey this is too good to be you know almost those too good to be true but you invest in something that you don't know or you can't add value or you didn't do your due diligence your homework on and that can turn out you know less than optimal and that or you can get into a partnership with people and i think that you have to look into a partnership not that different from a marriage in the sense you're going to be working with this person a lot of time you're going to be spending a lot of days and you know if everybody's working hard it works out great if you only have one person that's working hard and the other person you get frustrated or it doesn't feel like you're equally enjoying it you know there's all those things so i think when you're looking at investment opportunity you're doing things to your point you almost need to look and see okay is this one do i know enough about this industry or can i come up to speed or learn before i put the money in to you know can i can i add value in the in the project and then three is who am i getting in a bit in bed with and all of those can make the difference between it being a successful venture and one where you're continually frustrated yeah yeah absolutely i would agree with that yeah so and that's that's how you learn though i mean i unfortunately some people learn the hard way and yeah there's always lessons to be learned and sometimes you get to pay more more tax on to learn those lessons than others so yeah exactly excuse me now as we jump to maybe the second question which is so if you're talking to someone that's just getting into a startup or small business what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them [Music] um i i think that and this is the advice i i kind of give to myself is um it is it's about persistence so and and i i actually think it was um ryan smith with qualtrics he said the same thing about like you know be all in you know so if you're you're doing this be all in all the way but also be persistent in what you're doing and if you do run into some roadblocks and they're legitimate roadblocks evaluate that maybe you're not on the right course and maybe you need to make some adjustments um and however that that happens um yeah just keep at it keep keep at it and if it is something that is legitimately a a great thing that's that will help whatever market you're in or industry then you'll see you'll see results but that persistence has to be there and you have to be all in no i think that's great advice and i think it's one where you know sometimes people dream of being in a startup or a small business and then they get there and then they they're not all in or they have hesitations or they're only you know halfway in halfway out and it always is so difficult to do that and yet you know on the other hand i'll give them a little bit of slack it's hard to know when to be all in or when you have that you know the boat close enough to the dock that you can jump over into the boat as opposed to landing in the water so but i think once you make that decision you need to be all in then there isn't you know there shouldn't be a looking back or you know doing something else because it will just distract you from building the business so i think that's great advice well as people want to you know they want to find out more about 401 go they want to connect with you they want to be a client they want to be an investor they want to be a new employee they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to find out more or connect with you so they can go to 401 go.com or they can email me directly at jared at 401 go.com that's j-a-r-e-d at 401 g.o.com or um i i think that's probably the best way i don't want to give out too many of the numbers yeah check out the website or email you directly and they can hit you up and connect for any or all of the above yeah well it's been it's fun been fun to have you on jared it's been a pleasure now for all of you that are uh listeners that you have a journey that you want your you want to tell um feel free to apply to be on the podcast at inventivejourneyguest.com we'd always love to hear your your journeys if you're a listener make sure to click subscribe so you get a notification as all of our awesome episodes come out and last but not least if you ever need help with patents and trademarks feel free to reach out to us at millerip law and we're always here to help thanks again jared it's been a pleasure and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thank you i appreciate it thanks devin hey if you enjoyed this episode of the inventive journey make sure to go and check out startups magazine they're an awesome magazine and podcast centered over in the uk and if the magazine is a digital and print magazine where they focus on tech startups and entrepreneurs and they also have a focus on female founders and women in tech so if you want to check out their magazine neither digital or print it's startups magazine startups with an s magazine.co.uk and you can also look at their podcast which is called the serial entrepreneur so go check them out they're awesome and definitely if you like this episode you'll like them English (auto-generated) All From Miller IP Law Recently uploaded