The Inventive Journey
Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Create content and just put it out there. Write about what you like, do podcasts, do videos, write books, put everything for free out there. Then if you show expertise and if what you say makes sense then the clients will come to you automatically.
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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would be to create content and just put it out there write about what you like do podcasts do videos write books put everything for free out there and then if you show expertise and if what you say makes sense then the clients will come to you automatically okay no it makes perfect sense you know i think that's one thing is hey [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that has started several uh 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 bastian sieben or sieben and uh bastian uh after uh graduating from school when did some things within ngos built it up did some website building an app building built some other businesses uh joined another company or joined other companies now joined a company that's uh doing software development doing that and then doing also a side gig with asana hoping to hopefully turn that into a future full-time job but loving his job otherwise so kind of making that balance between side gig really two full-time jobs of doing your current job as well as a side gig so with that as much as an introduction welcome to the podcast thank you thank you i think you've said everything i don't have to say anything all right well we'll just call it there that will be the perfect episode no but i gave a quick introduction and uh but maybe just dive into a little bit more of your journey and kind of uh share how how it went for you yeah sure no problem uh so i think everything started for me during engineering school where i started to build websites and build mobile apps and this kind of a side project i always had side projects and it all started with an app that was built for ngos and with my colleagues associates we kind of built that into a small company small startup and uh we kind of failed after a while because we didn't find the market we were looking for and uh there was basically no need for the app we built at the time but every time we were discussing with ngos they were always telling us basically we don't care about your app but if you can build an app just for us or a website just for us we might be interested and we just didn't want to see this so we at the time we just said no we don't do that we're not we're not like a wave agency we don't we can't do that and after a while it was becoming some kind of a pattern so we just yeah we realized it was the right thing to do to pivot into being a web agency and mobile agency for ngos around us and it turned into a general agency where we would build websites and apps for people around us so yeah basically is the first step of the journey so is that so that sounds like almost you pivoted but not necessarily it wasn't due to you but more of that was what the market was telling you hey what you're trying to sell us we don't want but this is what we want if you sell this to us we'll probably pay you and that was kind of the motivation of that pivot yeah exactly exactly and uh i think the biggest mistake we made at the time which is the biggest mistake everyone does in business is to go too far to build something too far away so you do like a big app with a lot of features a lot of things and you put a lot of a lot of effort in that and then you go meet the market and it's too late they don't want what you build for the last six months or twelve months you just waited wasted like an entire year building something people don't want it's a big mistake and i will never do that mistake again so right now when i build something it takes me either one hour or one day i just build the first version of it and i launch and i see if there's market for you there's people interested in it and sometimes i even just ask people before if they would be interested and if i have no interest i just don't build that thing no i i think there's a lot of two things you kind of hit on there one is you know and i i would be on the probably the techie engineering nerdy side of things you always tend to make things more complicated you're saying oh we we can do these 10 awesome things and really what the market wants is one or two of those awesome things and by building the other eight things or whatever number it is you tend to complicate it make it more or too many things two or two feature rich and it almost detracts from it and i think that's you know i i'm of the opinion that you know the hardest apps or the hardest whether it's websites or apps or other software to build are the simple ones right that has a simple unifor unifi interface dead easy to understand everybody can pick it up it's intuitive those are the ones that aren't it's easy to build a big one with lots of features that are clunky much harder to build something simple that's straightforward that people just can pick up and get and they don't have to invest a lot of time to figure it out and i think the other one you kind of hit on was you know approaching the the marketplace and earlier and you know i think that there's a lot of wisdom in that and you know to go out and i think that when you approach the marketplace it's either with your you know something that you quickly built up to see if they want it or if you're even asking before but don't go ask your friends and families go ask potential customers ask people see if they'll actually willing to pay for it if they're actually willing to give you money for that type of product because if not if all you ask is is this a good idea or not they'll always be nice and they'll say yeah that's a great idea would you buy it no i wouldn't buy it and then that gives you a much better indication so so you did that you built the company you did the websites you did the apps and how did that go well did you continue to build a company did it eventually run out of gas or business or kind of where did it where did your journey go from there i think we ended up in a place where we needed to either hire people to get bigger or get acquired by someone or merge with someone or just do something to get bigger because we didn't uh we were not getting the kind of money we were expecting after two or three years of entrepreneurship so we needed to go to the next steps and the occasion just presented itself with someone needing like an id team like a team of developers like us and they actually they acquired the company and hired us to be their team of developers so we actually went into building someone else's ideas as developers so then you so did you guys was that the original founders people that were with you on the original company you guys pivoted and did that is that still what you're doing today i think you mentioned that you kind of transitioned over to a software company did you guys join that software company or did they acquire you or did you guys team up or how did that go yes after the first acquisition the three of us i was there for like two years and then we just part ways and went into different companies and i joined another company myself another software company uh we are much bigger we are 40 people now building a big b2b software and at the same time for all those years i kept all the side projects i had and all of those were all revolving around asana which is a software project management software and i started to discover the tool like six or seven years ago i started to write about it i started to really study the tour and see what you can do with it and um some people started to ask for help so i was starting to help people and then one thing led to another and now i became a consultant in that space as a side project from my developing full-time job so one question and just taking it back into just a bit but just hit on so you had you and your three or a couple other founders or friends that you'd originally started the company with you guys started to say hey we made the first pivot which was we originally built a software product but people didn't necessarily want it or wouldn't pay for it so then you started building apps and websites for other people how did you when did you get to the point you're saying hey were you gonna part ways or you know where it's gonna go our separate ways was it out of lack of revenue what people weren't enjoying it it was you know people had better opportunities or kind of what was the catalyst for you guys kind of splitting up and you you deciding to go to another company and then going other ways or how did you i think yeah the three of us had a disagreement with the team that acquired the company so it was just disagreement with the management um we were trying to be very agile in the way we worked and the people that acquired us did not want to be that agile i'm not going to get into the details but we just uh didn't get along that well after two years we just decided because that because that was it and we just needed to do something else okay so now you guys you say okay we the company that acquired the you know your company not everybody agreed with the direction why where are you going to go so did you stay with that company or the company that you joined on with a different company i joined a different company it was a different team i just reached out to people on facebook i think it was at the time just saying hey guys i'm just looking for a new job and uh someone i knew reached out to me saying hey i'm building that new company you want to join and uh yeah i think the months after that i was doing the interview and joining the company and a few weeks after that makes sense so so you did that so and what how do so when you make when you sold off the other company did was that a bittersweet thing were you excited to move on was it something you're saying hey wish we had more time or we had an opportunity in front of us didn't work out or you know what was the motive especially where you guys kind of all parted ways what was the motivation for selling the company just kind of worn out or tired or what was the reason he moved on yeah i guess for us it was a change a chance to see something else and maybe join some bigger project with more ambition more money more people and just see because we've been we were fresh out of college when we um worked together and we never actually had a real job with other people we just did three of us we were just working together like since day one after our degree so it was the occasion for us to just see what's out there and how it is to work with other people and have like a real job in a real company okay no makes sense so so you did that now you transition you go you go join i think you said you're like the 20th employee of another software development company and then in in parallel to that or in addition to that you also got involved with asana and doing a side gig so how did that go as far as you know or joining the other company and then how did you assemble on asana and then how have you been doing that as a side hustle i think it's um it's sort of a balance so you you need to find the right balance and uh when you lack motivation on one side you get the motivation on the other side and also one side of things actually feeds into the other one so for example what i learn at my main company i can apply in my code in my private site jobs side hustle and what i learned in my side project i can actually bring that experience into my main company so it actually feeds each other and in my case the chance i have is that the company the main company is in france but my main site project is actually worldwide so i work for for people in the us or in asia so it's totally different time zone so i can do my daily job at my french company and i can have something with like asia in the morning and the us in the afternoon or in the evenings like like we are doing right now and um so i can actually have two days two business days across several hours because of the time zones and the difference okay so and what was the in diving into a little bit of the asana work and the kind of side gig was that out of a necessity of hey i'm doing this for my current job and i'd like to you know i just need these tools or i need to become an expert was it a side interest hey i just like to explore this further how did you kind of because you talked about hey you know this kind of started out as a side gig it's growing it's slowly becoming the contributor and then the authority on it with the sauna but it's been a slow burn so what was the motivation for kind of saying hey i'm going to become an expert on this area while still doing the full get or full-time gig becoming an expert was not the plan at the beginning it was only i just needed a tool so i looked around for the tours and there was a couple of tools at the time and i just chose asana and i really liked it and i built i i thought it was missing a feature so i actually built a tool around that tool to give that feature to other people and then suddenly you have people you don't know like from the other side of the world emailing you and saying oh this is really interesting what you've done there and then you start discussing and you realize that the community around that tool is starting to be built so you start to be part of that community and then you're one of the main contributors of that community and then asana launches uh their official community forum and then you start and you start entering there and i became the first contributor in the world pretty quickly because i was enjoying uh helping other people and i wanted to try to write to books i wrote the first book and people liked it and i just kept going by building other tools writing content doing videos helping people basically putting out there a lot of free content for everyone to see and uh one day someone emailed me saying hey i need help can i basically pay you to help me and i was afraid of doing this because the lack of experience and i didn't have a good english level at the time so i couldn't help them so i kept pushing them away to other experts and one day i just decided that i was ready to actually help those people and do the consulting work they wanted me to do and i never stopped so i think i helped more than 70 different clients around the world and i do several hours per week of consulting time and i really enjoy the work around asana as a consultant okay no makes perfect sense so now one question you know because it sounds like and not putting words in your mouth but that you you know you're almost at where a lot of people that are doing side hustles or side gigs get right in the sense of hey i've got my daytime job to make the money to have the income to support myself and then i've got kind of a passion project or something i really enjoy on the side starting to make a bit of money with it and then you're trying to decide hey you know do do i keep this as a passion project there's a side hustle just enjoy the little bit of income do i put a more concerted or full-time effort on to it do i save the site or the full-time job and just dive into that and put or put this on the side so how do you kind of decide or make that decision is between leaving something as a side hustle planning for it to become your full-time hustle diving all in not diving in at all or how do you kind of weigh those away those things the first thing is it took years to have some decent money out of it so it literally took years to get some money it took a few years to get a couple of bucks a month and it took many many years to have like a decent income from this and um i really like the balance between my day job and that of hustle because for my day job i have it's a different ambition it's a bigger team i have colleagues uh i can talk to people during the day and for the side hustle i'm basically i'm alone so it's nice to be able to decide for yourself but also you don't have any colleagues it's really two different worlds and i really like to have those two worlds at the same time for now trying to balance each other uh the best i can and maybe depending on the opportunity i might be moving towards one or the other direction i don't know yet i'm trying to keep my options open hey it's always good to have options and always good to have uh diversity and work and in revenue sources so and that's i think the the hard thing is hey you know you can sometimes it's it's the best decision to dive all in and i think that's probably the number one note that a lot of entrepreneurs hit on is i wish i'd dive in earlier but you'll that's always looking back hindsight is always 20 20 right and if you knew that you're going to be successful dive all in on the other hand it's hard to know hey if this doesn't go well if it is just a smaller market or it's only ever going to support a side hustle then you don't want to leave what would be your full-time job and it makes it more difficult so i know you touched on a little bit but any projections as to how you see you know is it just i it's a plan to kind of continue to slowly build it build up a clientele be continue to be an authority on it and naturally let it evolve is it more you're gonna start or continue put a more concerted effort on it or how do you know kind of here to look at the the next six to 12 months how does that play out for the next uh six to 12 months i think i'm going to keep that balance the way it is right now and i'm i'd like to be in a place where i can actually choose my clients so i'd like to have my calendar full and just decide who i want to work with uh on what topic with what what rates i just want to decide this and in order to do that i need to build keep building my reputation and my authority and everything and all the also all the passive income i have on the side although the tools i'm building the box i'm writing i would need to keep doing this and i need to keep getting better at that job to make sure that i can choose what to work on and with whom makes sense so well awesome well now as we kind of uh shift to the two questions always ask at the end of the podcast and so we'll jump to those now so first question i'll ask is so what was the worst business and you talked about a couple decisions you made along the way but maybe maybe it's the same one or a different one but what was the worst business decision you ever made the worst one i've made a couple of times is to not launch early enough so just wait and wait and wait and build and build and build because i prefer to code rather than picking up the phone and talk with people so i just code i call it a code and it's always a waste of time you should always like try to pick up the phone first and then once you have people attention then you build what you know will help them because they told you it's the first step i think it's the biggest mistake i've made okay no it makes perfect sense so so doing that now jumping to the second question which is so now if you're to say hey for people that are maybe in your same situation that are trying to you know do both the side hustle do a passion project getting that up and going and taking that kind of that slow burn as you mentioned as well as doing the full-time gig and working for somebody else would be the one piece of advice you give them i think it would be to create content and just put it out there write about what you like do podcasts do videos write books put everything for free out there and then if you show expertise and if what you say makes sense then the clients will come to you automatically okay no makes makes perfect sense and i think you know i think that's one thing is hey you know it's too often we kind of get in the spot that it's we all everybody wants to be an authority but doesn't want to or be seen as the authority but doesn't really want to put in the time right meaning you want to everybody to look at you is to have the answers but really if you want people to put or receive the authority to generate business that way to get people to review you in that light it's got to be with putting in the time and effort of actually doing the work putting out the content building the reputation you know giving people that advice and everything else and as you do that over a period of time then it starts to grow but it's not if and not putting maybe it works him out but i think that that's the the myth that people sometimes get sucked into is i can become an authority within a few days or a few months and it's a much slower build than that is that a fair assessment yeah yeah it doesn't work it doesn't work and um what's good if you put free content out there is that clients actually come to you and they already know you because they've read about things you do they've seen videos of you interviews and they they know you so you don't have to convince them of your knowledge because they already seen that you know a lot of things so you just discuss the details but if they come to you it's half the work is already done rather than having someone that didn't share anything online and you have to defend yourself yet where you have to explain why you think you're the best and i think it's better to just show everyone what you do everything i when my clients pay me to teach them stuff everything i teach is already available for free online and they just buy the time and the knowledge i have so they can save time themselves they see everything you put out online and just come to you to get like a summary or very specific answer on their very specific problem no i mean that makes perfect sense well as we wrap up if people want to know you know whether it's utilize your software developing skills or more specifically on asana if they have questions if they want to hire you they want to pick your brain find out more follow you and everything else or anything in between what's the best way to connect up or contact you i can go to my website minimalist work dot com minimalistwork.com and they can also find me on linkedin perfect well i certainly encourage everybody that uh has any questions that is wanting to connect connect out or talk with an asana expert and get some expertise online to reach out to you bastion well thank you for coming on the podcast it's been fun to talk a little bit about your journey um now for all those of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd love to come on the podcast feel free to go to inventivejourneyguest.com and apply to be on the podcast if you're a listener and you make sure to click subscribe so you get a notification of all the new episodes as they come out and lastly if you ever need me help with patents and trademarks feel free to reach out to us at miller rp law we're always here to help bastion thank you again wish you the next journey even better than the last and excited to see where life takes you thanks have a good day bye English (auto-generated)