The Inventive Journey
Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Be PositiveBe confident in yourself and be positive. You never know what will happen in the future. You will definitely have your ups and downs and you will never know where you will find your treasure. Have a plan but always be flexible and always be positive. Never think that something went wrong. Even if something went wrong it is a lesson and you need to study something.
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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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um be confident in yourself be positive because you never know uh what will happen in the future you will definitely have your ups and downs and you will never know where you will find your treasure and uh plan uh better plan in closest future have a plan but be flexible and always be positive uh never never think that something went wrong even if something went wrong it's a lesson and you need to to study something hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that has built several startups in the seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo 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 podcast vlad and i'll probably kill his last name so i'm just going to call him vlad r and he can tell us how to pronounce it but vlad um originally graduated with a degree in computer science and finance and uh i think moved to uh ukraine or the capital of ukraine after graduation and worked for some electronics companies as a product manager for a period of time um he then or got some promotions moved around a bit and then he had one of his friends that was uh doing an online store he jumped over to his friend's online store this or learned how to do marketing and and click creating funnels and doing growth and had er had some success there and they were profitable from day one afterwards he went back to some big air to a big company got the good salary and the big you know good salary and the bonuses saved up all the money he could and then i decided he was going to go back out to the entrepreneurial world and do what he's doing today so that with that is a very quick introduction to a longer story welcome on to the podcast vlad yeah thank you very much devon for uh inviting me to a podcast i i i really appreciate your work you you're doing great uh you are uh giving opportunity people to uh share their stories and this is great because internship i think this is one of the best adventures in people's life and uh everybody uh can share their opinion and uh when we share their uh our journeys everybody can learn from them from that because everyone faces uh their unique problems and solve them uh we can help each other and build community of entrepreneurs and uh you are doing great you you are i i really can't um show my appreciation i i want to donate to a channel uh you're you're so wonderful person hey well that's very kind words and i appreciate everything you said i don't know if it's all true but i'll certainly take the compliment so now as we start kind of diving in maybe with that is a great setup it makes me feel all great now let's talk about your story and kind of how you know we i touched on just a little bit we graduated were coming out of you know university had your computer science and finance degree and kind of walk us through what did you do after you graduated i worked for a couple years for a plant manufacturing aircraft engines so i wrote i was writing a code for the machines that cut metal and this this was very boring and detailed oriented work uh that uh didn't uh give me a perspective didn't give me uh opportunity to grow uh to to talk with people to communicate uh to fill my um impact on the world and this is why i felt frustrating at some point and then i i decided to jump into a new city a big city uh mega police i can say because the population is five million people uh high density city with the uh traffic jams uh the average speed uh in the city is about maybe in miles it's like 15 miles or 20 miles is average uh so it's it's it's kind of a problem to get from one point of the city to another point of the city and i will talk a little bit more about this uh during my um introduction to the my last startup because that was my pain problem i'm communicating commuting to uh different spots so you work so you move to the capital of ukraine and remind me what is the capital i guess i'm not here kiev okay now you say that yeah one one of the most beautiful cities in europe if you want to go to europe you can stay like for uh three or four days in kiev because one day is not enough for sure uh it's it has a big history it's more than a thousand years old and um a lot of buildings a lot of monuments and history of course and now it's quite developed and a lot of entrepreneurs come there because there are quite low taxes uh comparing to europe and a lot of uh companies they open offices in kiev because our people are hard they are well-educated and the and the prices are quite low so and you so you fell in love with kiev you you went to work there and you recommend everybody goes and visits and maybe you work there for sure for once once in life for sure all right i'll have to put that on my bucket list so now you're working in kiev you i think you work for an electronics company as a product manager is that right yeah that's right that's right i moved and i was lucky i jumped right into the headquarters the amazing program that uh we're picking young talents from the universities right from the universities i was quite old plus two years than average but uh still i was too young and not experienced and they taught me a lot they gave me uh like they educated people uh new hires they picked new talents and educate them and they uh promoted the the best people to product managers and then i used this company as my uh one more university because they gave a nice the best education in industry but they didn't pay well so i switched to the biggest company to the leader of the market and they had hunted me uh gave me a nice uh nice income and i switched to to the bigger company and then at some point you know everybody with interpersonal ex mindset they feel boring because i interpret entrepreneurs they uh want to to hit the borders uh to to grow really fast and in the big company you can't grow really fast because uh it's important market has shares and you if you have share of like 40 percent in the market you can grow two times or three times and one thing i thought just to jump in i thought was interesting kind of as you're working with the big company you mentioned you know because you kind of mentioned promoting and excuse me i'm going to sneeze maybe all right let's get it get some live action on is part of the podcast but so you're working with the bigger company and you said you know they kind of are we're good with promoting and providing at least opportunities and i think one of the ones you mentioned is you you went and asked for a promotion and they said that they you said hey they get first of all they gave you a promotion but also gave the opportunity to kind of start working on e-commerce at the time a newer platform or a newer venture for that you got to kind of get in on the ground floor is that right yeah that's right totally correct uh when i was working for this leader company i felt that okay i know everything about brick and mortar stores and everybody knows about that and the challenge for me was to jump into e-commerce because uh that was at some point five percent of the revenue of the company and it was growing uh year to year like five six seven every year it was growing and i j i asked for uh switching to that department to e-commerce department and i learned a lot by myself because nobody knew how to do a business in these uh online channels i mean in the company uh you had to reach out to experts to outside experts not inside the company but to to to get information somewhere on the market and that was exciting for me because i felt that i i knew more than uh my colleagues my co-workers and and i i helped my company to um to grow in some at some point as as much they could you know to to change business processes is hard when you have a big big company with 10 000 employees it's hard to change something in logistics or in in sales for example you can change marketing very well but all other departments are quite quite resistant to change so now so you were now you were and as you were exploring marketing getting e-commerce kind of up and going for them helping him to grow now i think that your friend was at the same time or similar time was doing his own online store and he decided you know to jump over and do that with him with his startup is that right yeah that's absolutely correct so how did you know one question i always ask you so how did you make that decision are you going from a company that you know it's treated you well give me opportunity to say hey i just got to do my own thing or i want to try startup you know was it an easy decision just made the jump one day or was it you know a little bit of weighing the pros and cons or how did you make decide to make that jump you know i'm adventurous person but i i prefer to uh to sleep with the idea like for a month uh to sleep like 30 nights and uh get to this idea and then uh jump into a new project a new country i'm easy going but at the same time i i need just to think about it i thought that well i can i can say that i will work for this company in a 10 years perspective and i will grow as maybe a chief commercial officer and this is like top of of the career in this company and i need to wait for 10 years and at this point um i can jump into startup and grow it in two or three years and become you know to me to make some some interesting project uh that's exciting for me uh to to grow really fast and not to not to fight with the departments inside the company but to grow you know i i'm excited to fight with competitors not to fight with my colleagues or other departments who is very very stable and they don't want to change rapidly so i i decided to to jump uh so i uh saved my all my bonuses all my good salaries from big company and i moved from one apartment to another apartment the cheaper one to save money because i i felt that i need to prepare for that cold water from water and yeah i i prepared myself so and so you you save all the company you know you take the 30 days you save up some money to make sure you have some savings you make the jump and i think you said you know you worked with your friend you learned a ton you did marketing you did you know created funnels you figure out how to do sales and grew the company you made it pro you know as profitable on day one you built a great beer a big brand and then you got married and you needed more money and so you ended up diving back into big business is that right yeah that's totally correct um i i just want to start a little um to stop a little bit um at my uh this startup uh because it's it's kind of exciting and i think that everybody will be interesting to listen about it um yeah you know we when we just started we had some uh flow of uh customers that through organic traffic and um the first step was to to create more white funnel so i uh i was responsible to to get paid traffic to our website this is this was my first step and when you don't know anything you just go into the courses you you start studying you you become a student and uh this is this is exciting part of the inter internship because you study all the time all the new tools and you feel that you uh implement the newest tools on the market and you don't have to buy a very when you work for a big company you buy a very expensive tool and then utilize it for years uh it's smart you know to to invest something and then to uh utilize it till the end and if you don't have investments you just take the tool use it and then take another tool this is that that's exciting we built it now to kind of now keep your story moving forward so you know you go back from the start up you go into hey i need more money i gotta you know getting married i wanted a bit of that stability so you went back to the big you know the big company and if i remember as we talked a little bit before the podcast it wasn't necessarily what the indent you're going intent you're going to stay at that big company for forever but you're going to go get some money you saved your bonuses up you found some inter you know interesting projects you know you worked you built a company and you did that but then you with those bonuses with the money you saved as you're getting going it was kind of with the intent of going back and doing your own startup is that right yeah that's totally correct i um i saved as you mentioned i saved my bonuses and my salaries in a big company because i didn't want to make the second mistake in my life i didn't want to be only employee for a startup i wanted to be a co-owner uh that's why i collected all my bonuses and i bought a pair in that startup and i was calling her so now you get so you you say you you scrimp and you save and say okay you know now i'm gonna jump back out i'm gonna go back into startup mode you know i have some of the funds i can afford it you know at least for a period of time and you're always gonna you know you can't afford to to live off savings for forever we have that kind of that safety net for a period of time so how was it jumping back here how i guess first question is this how did you identify as you're in the big company as you're saving the bonuses what was the right opportunity and which company you wanted to go in and be a co-owner and co-founder on to build again as a startup uh well when you work for a big company you have some time some free time because you you work your schedule and all your free time you are free you are totally free so i went to the uh conferences i met a new interesting people i talked about my experience they shared va experience and we i found weining one interesting uh my future partner who shared with me uh his ideas and i said that well i can work for you without money i just your idea is so great i just want to be a part of your idea and i want to work for you like search engine optimization specialist for free and just let me be a part of your project and we started cooperating i felt that well their project is growing a project is exciting why i want to join it on the regular basis that's why i decided to uh to buy the shares my future partner felt that i'm a nice partner and uh he he said well if you want to jump into my project you can buy some shares and we can start working together so so that you first of all that's it you know that's an interesting way and an exciting way to you know kind of get going saying hey founding company i'm excited about i want to work with them you know if they even get going i'm willing to go and basically work for free to prove my value and then as you're proving your value you start to buy into the company you buy into the vision and become a you know a co-founder or co-owner of the business as it's growing as you know as it's getting bigger and because you see the vision of the opportunity so now as you did that you buy into it you start to i assume at some point get a salary start to make you know money off of the business as it grows how has it gone since then is it you know i guess first of all i think the business is you know automatic roll or blinds and rollers and that for windows thought i'm automatically opening the shed is that right yeah that's that's right uh so we started our business that business is very complicated that's why i felt a passion about it because my brain needs uh tasks and that was a hard task to uh to pro manage that business because we were working uh with uh products quite a complicated product it was smart uh blind smart uh curtains all a smart uh window treatments and we didn't have actually the product we had an idea and uh every our customer uh reached out to us with his idea and we tried to implement a customer's idea in the apartment uh so we we just had some general uh concept of this product and then our customer uh said that well i i want this type of this type and we just customized our product to the needs of the customer and we were buying materials and we were buying materials across the world we were buying materials in china in turkey in poland of course in ukraine and we ended up with a big warehouse full of materials and we ended up with the b2b business because um we uh during our walk we ju we talked with different installators with different small businesses you know businesses of one person or two per uh people and they needed these components they needed our warehouse and we decided why not why not to join this channel of sales b2b and sell these materials and in this way we decided to create our own brand uh because we didn't want to compete with our competitors by price we wanted to compete with our competitors by the service and it was the idea of our business no i think that's cool that's it sounds like a fun and exciting business and certainly i could see why you'd want to jump into it and be a part of it well as we start to wrap down the or wrap up the podcast and you know there's always so many more things and fun things that could be that we could talk about that we never quite have time but i always ask two questions at the end of the podcast so we'll jump to those now so first question is you know throughout your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it um i know definitely my worst business decision was to hire a very uh talented very nice employee for as a salesperson we had hunted him from uh one of uh guerrillas on the market uh he was well well educated well um a really good professional but he was not uh enterpreneur in his uh spirit he didn't share this uh adventurous uh attitude to the to the work so he i expected to work like in a big company from nine till six and that's all and he expected um you know just stable business processes and uh he expected some a fixed salary and he expected a different uh different conditions for his work and he couldn't show a very nice result for us because we couldn't give him uh the tools he needed to succeed and that was the worst decision because he spent two months working with him our sales struggled uh we we had um at that point we had almost zero profit during two months uh and we didn't have salary that that were the the worst months in our business and then we fired him and we started uh from the scratch and that was uh a reset nice reset for a business well no it's certain you know in dealing with employees and finding identifying the right person i think there's you kind of hit on and even identifying the right person isn't just that they are they talented or can do the job but also do they fit with the firm culture do they have the work ethic are they going to be bought into the idea and it can make a big difference as to how good of an employee they are regardless of their skill set with all those other things as far as working with the company so i think that certainly makes sense and is a good lesson to learn second question i always ask that is now if you were talking to someone that's just getting into a startup or a small business what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them my advice number one is be confident in yourself uh be positive because you never know uh what will happen in the future you will definitely have your ups and downs and you will never know where you will find your treasure and plan better plan in closes future have a plan but be flexible and always be positive never never think that something went wrong even if something went wrong it's a lesson and you need to to study something so every on my uh journey i felt ups and downs all the time and i couldn't expect that in one year uh from the scratch my star starter will take part in uh international trade show i didn't even know before in one month before this trade show so you never know be be positive find the your ways and learn um learn all the time i like that i like the simple takeaway of just be positive because you're going to have a lot of good days and bad days as an entrepreneur and have that positive mentality is going to make a big difference in whether you're successful or not well appreciate you coming on to the podcast now if people want to find out more about where to buy your electronic blinds your um the automatic blinds they want to reach out to you they want to learn more they want to be an investor or a customer your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to connect with you i think the best way is just email me i'm open uh to any conversation i mean you as a resident in utah and i want to build my network just reach out to me uh i want to to meet new people with any question i can help you can help we can share our ideas i can drive to your house and we have we can have a talk and right under this video you can find my email that devin will will share i think all right sounds perfect well i appreciate you you're extending the invitation for people to be able to reach out to you via email and for you to also drive out to their house so that's awesome so well thank you for coming on it's been a pleasure now for all of those listeners um if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast feel free to go to inventivejourneyguest.com we'd always love to hear your journey if you're a listener make sure to click subscribe on the on your podcast listener so you get notifications as all our awesome episodes come out and last but not least if you ever need help with patents or trademarks feel free to reach out to us at miller ip law by going to strategymeeting.com and we'd love to chat with you and help you out with that thank you again vlad appreciate you coming on it's been a pleasure and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thank you you