Do Something Right Now

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Do Something Right Now 

Phil Kirkeiner

Devin Miller

The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
2/27/2021

Do Something Right Now

If you have a business idea, do the smallest possible next step towards it right away. If you think that you want to start a new social network or something for dog lovers, call up five of your friends that love dogs and ask them what could be better about the social networks they use. If you have an idea for say I want to get into lawyer referrals. Maybe I should call up lawyers and ask them how you can help them out. You really don't need money or some big thing to start a business. It's usually just one step at a time. If you have an idea just, do something. Do something right now about it.

 


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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like if you have a business idea do the smallest possible next step um towards it just right away if you think that you want to start like a new social network or something um for i don't know dog lovers or whatever call up five of your friends who love dogs and ask them what could be better about the social networks they use or if you you know have an idea for you know like like i say i want to get into lawyers or something with referrals maybe i should call up a bunch of lawyers and ask them we can help them out but just like you really don't need money or some big thing to start a business and it's usually just one step at a time like if you have an idea just do something do something right now about it [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 i've grown several startups in the seven 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 if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com and grab some time with us to chat now today we have another great guest on the podcast phil kirkheiner and uh phil is um so originally he was in high school was very involved with uh i think drumline is and was hardcore into bands and was wanting to be a drummer um even made i think his own dance dance revolution step charts for his music and did that for a period of time got a scholarship for drumline to byu and on the first day that he was at byu felt like music wasn't what he was meant to do or wasn't what he was going to go into so gave the scholarship back decided to go into an accounting instead and then worked for an entrepreneur for a bit of time and sounds like that was it was an interesting entrepreneur maybe we'll share a little bit on that um got the accounting degree didn't like his internships did a bit of door-to-door sales during the summer and then started a couple side hustles i think that have started to grow into a bit more of a business that is uh working as well as doing a couple other things so with that much is an introduction welcome on the podcast phil hey thanks a lot devin happy to happy to be here it was fun to hear you tell me that story back to myself was like oh wow i've had a life that's right yeah you've been impressed you've had an impressive life so so maybe taking us back a little bit in time to high school kind of doing drumline being in band and then how that how cut or take us through your story a bit yeah sure um well i consider myself a creative person i mean i'm not a painter or an artist necessarily but i really enjoyed playing drums and and writing songs and you know creating things and you know i've always kind of had that with me even when i was studying accounting in school i mean i thought accounting was just a safe career path but it got really boring really fast because i wasn't really creating anything um but that's kind of why i've been drawn to entrepreneurship because you can take the business and the numbers side of things and create something in a way that makes money a lot more money than i could have made doing music so um so yeah so so you did that drumline you were talented you you know thought that was fun and exciting you did that throughout high school and you're obviously good enough to get to the byu and you know that's a compliment accomplishment in and of itself is to to be at that level that they're willing to give you a scholarship and to bring or bring you there but then walk us through a little bit because i think when we chatted before you got to byu or brigham young university and kind of the first day you just didn't feel good about the drumline or what kind of made you decide to switch from doing more of the drumline to doing going into accounting yeah totally um i don't know i mean it was one of those things where i really enjoyed drumline and music and maybe part of me was afraid that if i made that exclusively what i did for my career that i wouldn't enjoy it as much anymore and you know i liked all of my other classes in school and i was interested in a whole lot of things and um i don't know it was just one of those things where i maybe i was scared or maybe i thought that i wouldn't make that much money doing it but ultimately i just didn't want to pigeonhole myself into into that one thing but it was scary man i mean um i mean my teachers from high school and then you know all of the professors in the music school and then my parents and all my friends and everyone kind of knew me as the drumline guy and uh i guess i was kind of feeding off of their you know encouragement from it and i really enjoyed drumline but i guess in my heart i just feel like i i didn't want to commit a hundred percent to that and that alone you know so so now so you say okay you know whether it's a bit scared or you're not sure if you can make a crew out of it or where you'll be able to support yourself kind of making that decision okay while i you know i enjoy it and it's fun and you know it's an exciting type of thing i'm going to go in a bit different direction at that point how did you decide you know that um you know to go into accounting or to make that pivot or kind of how did you decide okay i'm going to do something different how did you decide what direction to go yeah um well um this guy that i worked for my senior after my senior year of high school i had a summer internship working for this guy who got his accounting degree and he was an entrepreneur and he ended up going to jail but um he told me that you know with an accounting degree you can do anything because it's this hard skill set and you understand the numbers you can make the numbers work for you um and i thought that was cool you know your curiosity i know i'm interrupting going to jail was it something to do with accounting or a bezel league or something of that nature or was it unrelated as to why you went to jail honestly i'm still not entirely sure what it was but it was something fraud related all right fair enough don't don't want to name names and don't need to know but i'm just curious you could do anything you want to do with accounting including in bezel buddy that's the first thing that came to mind so just was curious but so anyway so he kind of you know gave you that you know feedback and gave you that a bit of that direction that kind of sets you on the path to get an accounting degree is that right yeah and to be fair when i was on um i did a two-year mission for my church and i was in central america when he was going through all this stuff so when i left on my mission it was kind of deciding what i was going to do i was already let had this impression and it wasn't because he went to jail or anything that i wanted to do this but um so anyway um i really enjoyed the numbers stuff and um i thought it was really cool to make it all work for you and just like with drums i had to practice and get the tools and the fundamentals down before i could you know join and be a part of a band and create a song and um and make something really cool i felt like understanding numbers and accounting was all kind of the same way if i really understood how a business works and you know reading the music i mean like reading the the language of business which is the numbers like like reading music is for drums and everything else i thought that'd be pretty cool and it turned out to be really great i mean even now when i think of business ideas i um i can think of them you know in terms of like the actual dollar signs and how everything would work rather than just thinking this would be so cool you know sure um i think it's been an advantage i might have lost track of your question what it was just a minute ago but no you're good and i think he answered the question so now you're saying okay so you got the accounting you know you switched from drumline to accounting degree you had you know the mentor that while he may have he gave you good advice even if he didn't necessarily uh keep or take his own advice so to speak and you get the accounting agreement but i think you me if i remember when we chatted a bit before the podcast is that you also um you kind of did some internships in accounting and decided that while you know while it's maybe a good career path it wasn't one that you found exciting or wasn't one that you decided you wanted to do as a career path is that about right yeah um exactly i mean public accounting you know look for the companies that you know audit the financial statements of um corporations everywhere there's kind of this corporate grind culture where you work long hours and you're up late and there's this busy season it's just going going going and all you're really doing it felt like it's just checking boxes to make sure someone else did things right i didn't feel like there was any sort of creative juices behind it beyond like literally just getting paid to work really hard so that somebody could put like at the end of the day no matter how hard you worked or no matter how great you did all all the all the work just gets put like a stamp you know on the company that's all it is and um i didn't really get a lot of fulfillment out of that and so i said i don't really want to do this but i'm at the same time i was super jealous of everybody who really enjoyed it because if you're good at accounting and you like it you'll always have a job and it's very very predictable you know you know you get your an accountant and then your controller then you could be a cfo and then whatever else and it's just like very predictable and that's what traditional accountants like but um it's not what i was super attracted to part of the hours probably got to me as well i just didn't like working 70 hours for so now as you're so you know you kind of made a transition a couple times right one was from drumline he did enjoy but didn't have the you know didn't necessarily maybe a bit worried or didn't know how that would work with the career and whether or not it would ruin the fun of it so to speak and so you say okay i'm going to go into accounting and while you could do accounting you don't kind of have that same excitement or that same level of fulfillment so with those type kind of things playing how did you kind of figure out what you wanted to do or where did you go to from there yeah um so from there i figured okay well well i guess i should say i didn't really do anything super consciously after my accounting internships it was more like i need money because i'm getting married this summer so what can i do to make a lot of money okay well i'm gonna do door-to-door pest control sales um because my buddies say i can make a lot of money who knows if it's a scam or not like it sounds too good to be true you can make you know 30 to 70 000 in the summer but i mean i think i'm a nice enough guy i mean i'm sure i can sell something to these people and uh i actually had a really great time i was out knocking doors i was working just as many or more hours than i was at deloitte but i was out knocking doors outside talking to people all the time getting rejected most of the time you know people don't like their door being knocked and being sold something but i made way more money doing that in less time than i was getting paid overtime at deloitte even um with my internship in accounting i said okay well this is clearly a sign if i like getting doors slammed in my face and i'm better at this than than the accounting stuff then maybe i should do something that's um you know sales related or business related and kind of combine my my talents and do something like that and so you so then you went in did that for a period of time um you know it was realizing that hey this is i need some money i'm getting you know married got support you know gotta have an income and those type of things but then how did you i think that if we i remember you kind of at the same time you had an experience with opening bank accounts and looking at bonuses and how that might work and kind of that it started as in parallel to some of the other things you're doing and that's where you started to have interest or focus on or um transition to yep um so around this time um i got connected with some of my accounting friends who are opening up bank accounts very often and i had no idea why and uh i asked him it's like hey why do you have so many bank accounts why are you always calling banks or you give money troubles they can use some help and they said no i'm we're actually calling and opening all these bank accounts into different banks to you know get the sign up bonuses you know you set up you open an account you set up your direct deposit you get 200 bucks and uh that's it that's the whole thing and tons and tons of banks are doing it so it said oh this is really cool and i was a college student you know i was just an accounting intern between semesters and i said okay well i'm gonna do this so every single week of my whole 12-week internship i moved my money into different banks with my paycheck and made like 1500 bucks and i used it to fly back to central america where i did my mission i used it to go to southern california for some skating convention you know some like skating meetups and stuff and i thought it was so cool that i could just have this free kind of money and that was kind of my first experience with entrepreneurship i guess i could say you know just finding an opportunity and taking advantage of it and so i got back from school um after one of my accounting internships and then i kind of put together the spreadsheet of every single bank account offer that was being promoted by banks and how much the bonus was and where you needed to live and all the requirements and then i would tell my buddies about it at byu because byu's got people from all over the country right i mean people come there from every state um you know because it's a church sponsored school so there's church members everywhere and um so i would filter my spreadsheet to my friends you know states and how much money they made and i just send off a whole bunch of copies of these spreadsheets everywhere um until eventually my buddies like hey you know this is pretty cool you should make a website out of it so while i was at still school my friend matt and i we kind of took all this data that we were collecting in spreadsheets and prototyped out a website where you could go to it and right now now it's called everybankbonus.com and you can just go to the website you can put in where you live how much money you make how much you have money have saved and you can find all of the bank account sign up bonuses on there anywhere they're worth anywhere from a thousand dollars to 50 each and you can just take advantage i mean if you go right now you could probably search your state and find there's ten thousand dollars worth of free bank sign up bonuses wherever in pretty much any state um and it's been awesome we have a we we kind of built it out in school and then finished it up as part of a capstone project and launched it to reddit and especially right now with current events i mean reddit can love something and really rally around it or not maybe we can see how the gamestop stock's going crazy today but um in a very much smaller form uh this reddit group rallied around our website and has really been loving it for the past few years and that was like my first really cool success with entrepreneurship even if it was just really small i really that got me going for sure so and so now in in you know i i leave it up to the the starving college students so to speak to figure out how to gain the system as far as that to take advantage of the the bank bonus but i think that that's an engineered in ingenuitive way to making some extra side money or to be able to do a couple extra things so now as you kind of say okay you know this is one where you know there's a bit of demand friends are asking for it i'll do something there now is this going was the intent to make this kind of just a fun or side hubby side our hobby or side hustle is it something that you're looking to grow and kind of what are you doing in the meantime or in addition to that is it a full-time gig and you're making you figured out how to monetize it is it a hobby and you're working a full-time gig elsewhere or how does that work out yeah uh so every bank bonus um is definitely a side hustle it doesn't take much time to manage we have i mean there's four of us that were in a group together that kind of put it together and now we all have full-time things that we do on the side and just spend a few hours a week making sure the content's up to date making sure that we're adding you know features that people ask for and whatnot and it generates enough money that it's worth it to us and it can be sustainable so that's been really fun and since then you know after i graduated and decided i didn't want to go into accounting um i did work for about a year and a half for the pest control company that i was selling door-to-door for i worked for them as a financial analyst after i graduated and at that point after having sold all the products then i got to kind of see the back end of how you know all the operations worked to to service all of the pest control customers and i saw exactly the finances and um and why people got into the pest control business in the first place because it's really attractive industry i mean pest control is a recurring quarterly service with high margins and um and lots of really effective sales channels i was just really attracted to the the industry itself and learned a ton made a lot of friends in it and then my wife's a little bit younger than me and when she was going to graduate from byu we knew that we were going to move away from utah and somewhere new so i was kind of planning like okay in april of 2020 i'm going to be moving away from utah and have to figure out what i'm gonna do for work since i can't be working at greenex pest control anymore and um at that point i was you know for the whole year before that the whole time while i was working at korenex i was thinking of business opportunities and in ways that i could kind of see like i was looking for opportunities within the pest control space or within the home services space and or within you know even the bank bonus space you know just kind of finding ways to to monetize and came across this idea where you know all of these pest control companies are paying hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars for inbound sales leads you know they're having all these online campaigns to get people to call in to sign up for their service but um the average consumer doesn't know the difference between you know general residential pest control versus termite pest control versus bed bug versus you know raccoon trapping and other wildlife and there's all these different you know sub services within pest control and a lot of pest control companies don't do every single type of service so all of these companies are spending a ton of money to drive leads when you know anywhere from four to ten percent of them call in and they're unqualified like they don't do the service that they offer and no one was you know monetizing those calls even though they're you know customers wanting to buy right there no one was referring them or doing anything with them and the same thing when customers would call in they say hey i'm a current happy customer i'm moving to another market um we'd say oh sorry we didn't service there it was great knowing you goodbye or another time someone calls in hey i really want to sign up but i live you know in this city they say oh we don't service that city sorry it's just like all of these times like paying for customers to call just to tell them no you know so i'm like okay well there's got to be an opportunity here so just how uh the same kind of way that with the bank bonuses i saw like oh this is something people want and there's value here with like the the free money i guess um there's money that's getting wasted i notice that there's money getting wasted with people calling in to all of these pest control companies that you know weren't being helped so what i do full time now is i have a company called baton like past the baton where pest control or other type of companies can anytime someone calls in and it's unqualified they can refer that customer to another company and get paid for it right so they say hello services area but let me refer you to someone we don't do that service but let me refer you to someone and that's kind of what we're doing to help them help them take care of those customers and monetize those those interactions a little more so still young but got customers uh 2021's looking pretty promising and that's uh that's what i'm that's what i'm up to now devin well cool so now if you're now if you're to look kind of forward just a bit and say okay next steps what do you what you have planned where are you going to go you know you got a few different ideas you got the bit of the you know the banking bonuses type business that you know people are using and can get that information a bit you've also say okay i've got an idea as to how we can monetize or take advantage of the leads that people are working hard to drive and yet aren't able to service or how you do that where do you see the next six to twelve months going um man as an entrepreneur you it's like you have this vision but you never know what could come up right um basically i just wanna grow my referral network and the pest control vertical to cover every service across the whole country and just have a really robust network of companies that you could that any company can just jump into my network and refer to anywhere right and then later this fall once he really nailed the network and the processes invest heavily in just getting people in and growing the heck out of it but for the next probably six months to 12 months it's all about just dialing in the processes and gathering data and making our first customers happy before we you know take that a solid brand and business model and just ramp it up and then secondly i'm looking into um the lawyer space too i feel like lawyers refer customers to each other all the time and there's sometimes that lawyers don't know who they don't know someone in their network or they can refer to in the moment and i know lawyers pay a ton of money for leads so maybe there's an opportunity there but i don't know yet but um if i if this pest control stuff goes well maybe i'll dig into the law sector i don't know cool well sounds like a lot of different opportunities a lot of directions that you can take and grow the businesses and expand into different verticals so well as we start to wrap up the podcast and i always ask two questions at the end of each podcast so we'll jump to those now so the first question is so along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it oh man the worst one i ever made um i haven't done anything to high stakes yet but probably the worst business decision i made would have been when we launched every bank bonus to reddit we were just like super not optimized and i probably missed out on building a mailing list well i didn't i didn't ask anybody for their emails so we had like 15 or 20 000 hits right away when we launched this thing and i didn't capture anybody's email address and looking back like the growth ever since then has been like super you know kind of slow but i feel like had i done some had i just thought a little more um i feel like every bank bonus would be probably two or three times the traffic or size it is had been a little more you know methodical about how we launched um i just think it was kind of poor but it all worked out in the end but that was probably the biggest thing i missed out on was but the opportunity cost of that no i think that you know that's but it's an easy one you're just saying hey it's cool it's exciting i think people will like it and you don't necessarily think of now how do i monetize it or how do i capture people or how do i leverage people coming to the site so i think it's a good lesson to learn of you know one thing i learned as we brought on some marketing people is always kind of have a call to action right something that you want somebody to do and i think to your point is you know one of the things is to capture that information such that you're able to provide other services or give them notifications or updates or anything else of that nature second question i always ask is so along or if you're now 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 i just say start now do something um the the worst thing you can do when you're trying to start a business is just you know be all in your head and doubting and feel like there's some big barrier to entry to do it like if you have a business idea do the smallest possible next step um towards it just right away if you think that you want to start like a new social network or something um for i don't know dog lovers or whatever call up five of your friends who love dogs and ask them what could be better about the social networks they use if you you know have an idea for you know like like i say i want to get into lawyers or something with referrals maybe i should call up a bunch of lawyers and ask them who could help them out but just like you really don't need money or some big thing to start a business and it's usually just one step at a time like if you have an idea just do something do something right now about it all right well fair enough well i think that's great advice and it's honestly in different forms i think that's the the mo the most common advice that entrepreneurs have to other people if you're talking to someone saying get going figure it out don't worry about it don't be afraid and those type things because you'll always you'll you'll either find you love it you'll have opportunities you'll create it or you'll say hey this isn't a good idea and you'll move on and and whatnot but i think getting just getting going is oftentimes the best place to start well as p as we wrap up people want to reach out to you they want to find out more they want to use your you know either of your uh companies they want to be clients they want to be investors they want to be employees they want to be your next best friend and you're all the above what's the best way to uh reach out and connect up with you totally uh you can send me an email at phil bataanleads.com batonic b-a-t-o-n leads.com um that's probably the best way or you can uh hit me up on facebook phil kirkheimer i'm the only phil kerkhein on all facebook so hit me up all right hey well that that's a that's something in and of itself to be the only one or on facebook with all of us users so there you go well we're at before we wrap up we do have the bonus question that phil has um to ask his top intellectual property questions so for all of your listeners if you want us to stick around listen after we wrap up definitely can hear that question and that answer otherwise if you uh for the normal podcast listeners if you have uh if you have your own journey to tell and you want to come on and be a guest on the podcast feel free to go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show if your listener also make one make sure to click subscribe on wherever you listen the podcast and two leave us a review so new people can find out about the great podcast last but not least if you have any uh needs for patents or trademarks or anything reach out to us by going to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help thank you again phil if you'll hold on and uh appreciate you coming on now i'm super happy for thank you absolutely so now now that we've wrapped up the normal podcast you indicated that you were had or want to do the bonus question which is asking your top intellectual property whether it's patents trademarks or other things asking your top question and we'll have a quick conversation about that so with that i'll i'll turn it over to you that you get asked me a question i i don't get a pet for you with any more questions but what's your top intellectual property question yeah sure um i don't know i mean my none of my businesses have some sort of like really cool new invention right they don't have um i didn't reinvent the wheel for anything that i would think to patent but um for example my name of the company is baton and you know it's a pretty common word i mean is it worth something that i should trademark it right away and if so then how and or like even for every bank bonus i mean i don't expect a lot of people to use every bank bonus but like do i need to trademark that or what's what's the risk there yeah so i think the the the general genesis of the question or the way i'd answer the question is when you're looking at whether or not it's your trademark something so trademarks go towards a brand right so if you think of nike you're thinking of apple you're thinking pepsi coke eminem starbucks whatever it is there's a lot of different brands out there and they have a lot of their value tied up in the brand and so when you're looking at intellectual property in general including trademarks it's really where do you see the value of your business meaning are you trying to create you know the world's best widget and if that's the case you're going to go more towards a patent you're going to if you're going to create the next great iphone or whatever it might be then you'll patent it because that's the value of the business but on the other hand you're saying what i'm really looking to do is build a brand around this business so when people are looking for leads they go to you know and they're in the pest control business or if you scratch into the legal business then they're saying okay we go to the baton leads because they're a great lead generation place and if you're saying that's where we're going to value the businesses then you're going to want to protect it so that other people don't use it start using the same name or similar names and start to leverage off or try and play off of your uh your brand name so that's generally you know whether or not you should go to get a trademark or any intellectual property is really saying how we're what are we doing to or is our business and if it's in the brand or branding space and you're wanting to make sure that you as you grow the brand that you haven't protected that's when you jump onto and vice versa if you're saying no it's we're gonna there's a whole bunch of companies and we're going to just beat them on you know seo so we'll just make sure we're the top ranked one and we don't care about you know branding and somebody else has the same brand they're not going to beat us on search engine optimization then it's probably less important so that's kind of how i would start to tackle it is depending on if you have if you're seeing that either the plan either you have value now and you have customers they're starting to associate with the brand or that's a plan for where you're going to build a value into the business then you'd definitely want to look at getting it uh protecting that brand given that that's where the value is cool is it ever too late to protect it um usually if it's too late it's because somebody else is already protected meaning one is let's say you started to build a brand and either by happenstance or because somebody liked your brand they said they went and filed it first well then generally it's much more difficult if somebody else goes and files the trademark first for you to be able to get a brand on it yourself so let's say baton leads takes off has a million clients you know million customers hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue as an example and hopefully it does someday but but you never register the trademark and somebody else comes and registers a trademark then what can happen is is that they can start to box you out of places across the u.s so let's say as an example baton leads only focused on utah and that was a place that it was going to generate all the leads that's where i had all the connections but now and so you never register that you keep using in utah and somebody else goes and uh files a trademark for the federal registration for baton leads if they were to get that file on it first to get the trademark you can keep using that same trademark in utah because that's where you've already been using it but you can expand out so you can't go to any other states you couldn't grow the business and you're kind of stuck there because you don't have the rights to that name for anything outside of where you're using it prior to somebody else filing on it so that's one of the things is sometimes being too late if somebody else files on it first the other thing is that if you um you don't want to get into it to where you built if somebody else let's say it already filed on matanle so un unbeknownst to you somebody else already owns that name they've already filed on it they already have a trademark and then you start building a brand a brand on it and then you go years build a brand everybody knows it it's very it's a well-known brand and some then they come along and say well you don't own it and now you're infringing our rights to our trademark then you have to rebrand your whole you'll have to rebrand your business or you have to work at a deal or licensing from them all of which can be very costly and time intensive in order to try and rebrand or to pay them off or acquire their brand and so those are kind of the two times as you know when is it too late well if somebody else is already trademarked and it can be difficult or somebody else because either by happenstance or because they like your brand trademarks at first those are both issues where it can be too late and create some issues that make sense that's why there's lawyers like you go out and make sure there's no problems that that's that's the mission or that's the goal so well perfect we'll appreciate the bonus question great question and if anybody else has any other if you have you or anybody else ever has any other questions feel free to go to strategymeeting.com grab some time for us to chat with us we're always happy to help now as we wrap up the podcast want to thank you again phil for coming on it's been a pleasure it's been fun and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last awesome yeah thank you very much devon i'm super grateful for the opportunity it's good that it was good to talk my pleasure thank youlike if you have a business idea do the smallest possible next step um towards it just right away if you think that you want to start like a new social network or something um for i don't know dog lovers or whatever call up five of your friends who love dogs and ask them what could be better about the social networks they use or if you you know have an idea for you know like like i say i want to get into lawyers or something with referrals maybe i should call up a bunch of lawyers and ask them we can help them out but just like you really don't need money or some big thing to start a business and it's usually just one step at a time like if you have an idea just do something do something right now about it [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 i've grown several startups in the seven 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 if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com and grab some time with us to chat now today we have another great guest on the podcast phil kirkheiner and uh phil is um so originally he was in high school was very involved with uh i think drumline is and was hardcore into bands and was wanting to be a drummer um even made i think his own dance dance revolution step charts for his music and did that for a period of time got a scholarship for drumline to byu and on the first day that he was at byu felt like music wasn't what he was meant to do or wasn't what he was going to go into so gave the scholarship back decided to go into an accounting instead and then worked for an entrepreneur for a bit of time and sounds like that was it was an interesting entrepreneur maybe we'll share a little bit on that um got the accounting degree didn't like his internships did a bit of door-to-door sales during the summer and then started a couple side hustles i think that have started to grow into a bit more of a business that is uh working as well as doing a couple other things so with that much is an introduction welcome on the podcast phil hey thanks a lot devin happy to happy to be here it was fun to hear you tell me that story back to myself was like oh wow i've had a life that's right yeah you've been impressed you've had an impressive life so so maybe taking us back a little bit in time to high school kind of doing drumline being in band and then how that how cut or take us through your story a bit yeah sure um well i consider myself a creative person i mean i'm not a painter or an artist necessarily but i really enjoyed playing drums and and writing songs and you know creating things and you know i've always kind of had that with me even when i was studying accounting in school i mean i thought accounting was just a safe career path but it got really boring really fast because i wasn't really creating anything um but that's kind of why i've been drawn to entrepreneurship because you can take the business and the numbers side of things and create something in a way that makes money a lot more money than i could have made doing music so um so yeah so so you did that drumline you were talented you you know thought that was fun and exciting you did that throughout high school and you're obviously good enough to get to the byu and you know that's a compliment accomplishment in and of itself is to to be at that level that they're willing to give you a scholarship and to bring or bring you there but then walk us through a little bit because i think when we chatted before you got to byu or brigham young university and kind of the first day you just didn't feel good about the drumline or what kind of made you decide to switch from doing more of the drumline to doing going into accounting yeah totally um i don't know i mean it was one of those things where i really enjoyed drumline and music and maybe part of me was afraid that if i made that exclusively what i did for my career that i wouldn't enjoy it as much anymore and you know i liked all of my other classes in school and i was interested in a whole lot of things and um i don't know it was just one of those things where i maybe i was scared or maybe i thought that i wouldn't make that much money doing it but ultimately i just didn't want to pigeonhole myself into into that one thing but it was scary man i mean um i mean my teachers from high school and then you know all of the professors in the music school and then my parents and all my friends and everyone kind of knew me as the drumline guy and uh i guess i was kind of feeding off of their you know encouragement from it and i really enjoyed drumline but i guess in my heart i just feel like i i didn't want to commit a hundred percent to that and that alone you know so so now so you say okay you know whether it's a bit scared or you're not sure if you can make a crew out of it or where you'll be able to support yourself kind of making that decision okay while i you know i enjoy it and it's fun and you know it's an exciting type of thing i'm going to go in a bit different direction at that point how did you decide you know that um you know to go into accounting or to make that pivot or kind of how did you decide okay i'm going to do something different how did you decide what direction to go yeah um well um this guy that i worked for my senior after my senior year of high school i had a summer internship working for this guy who got his accounting degree and he was an entrepreneur and he ended up going to jail but um he told me that you know with an accounting degree you can do anything because it's this hard skill set and you understand the numbers you can make the numbers work for you um and i thought that was cool you know your curiosity i know i'm interrupting going to jail was it something to do with accounting or a bezel league or something of that nature or was it unrelated as to why you went to jail honestly i'm still not entirely sure what it was but it was something fraud related all right fair enough don't don't want to name names and don't need to know but i'm just curious you could do anything you want to do with accounting including in bezel buddy that's the first thing that came to mind so just was curious but so anyway so he kind of you know gave you that you know feedback and gave you that a bit of that direction that kind of sets you on the path to get an accounting degree is that right yeah and to be fair when i was on um i did a two-year mission for my church and i was in central america when he was going through all this stuff so when i left on my mission it was kind of deciding what i was going to do i was already let had this impression and it wasn't because he went to jail or anything that i wanted to do this but um so anyway um i really enjoyed the numbers stuff and um i thought it was really cool to make it all work for you and just like with drums i had to practice and get the tools and the fundamentals down before i could you know join and be a part of a band and create a song and um and make something really cool i felt like understanding numbers and accounting was all kind of the same way if i really understood how a business works and you know reading the music i mean like reading the the language of business which is the numbers like like reading music is for drums and everything else i thought that'd be pretty cool and it turned out to be really great i mean even now when i think of business ideas i um i can think of them you know in terms of like the actual dollar signs and how everything would work rather than just thinking this would be so cool you know sure um i think it's been an advantage i might have lost track of your question what it was just a minute ago but no you're good and i think he answered the question so now you're saying okay so you got the accounting you know you switched from drumline to accounting degree you had you know the mentor that while he may have he gave you good advice even if he didn't necessarily uh keep or take his own advice so to speak and you get the accounting agreement but i think you me if i remember when we chatted a bit before the podcast is that you also um you kind of did some internships in accounting and decided that while you know while it's maybe a good career path it wasn't one that you found exciting or wasn't one that you decided you wanted to do as a career path is that about right yeah um exactly i mean public accounting you know look for the companies that you know audit the financial statements of um corporations everywhere there's kind of this corporate grind culture where you work long hours and you're up late and there's this busy season it's just going going going and all you're really doing it felt like it's just checking boxes to make sure someone else did things right i didn't feel like there was any sort of creative juices behind it beyond like literally just getting paid to work really hard so that somebody could put like at the end of the day no matter how hard you worked or no matter how great you did all all the all the work just gets put like a stamp you know on the company that's all it is and um i didn't really get a lot of fulfillment out of that and so i said i don't really want to do this but i'm at the same time i was super jealous of everybody who really enjoyed it because if you're good at accounting and you like it you'll always have a job and it's very very predictable you know you know you get your an accountant and then your controller then you could be a cfo and then whatever else and it's just like very predictable and that's what traditional accountants like but um it's not what i was super attracted to part of the hours probably got to me as well i just didn't like working 70 hours for so now as you're so you know you kind of made a transition a couple times right one was from drumline he did enjoy but didn't have the you know didn't necessarily maybe a bit worried or didn't know how that would work with the career and whether or not it would ruin the fun of it so to speak and so you say okay i'm going to go into accounting and while you could do accounting you don't kind of have that same excitement or that same level of fulfillment so with those type kind of things playing how did you kind of figure out what you wanted to do or where did you go to from there yeah um so from there i figured okay well well i guess i should say i didn't really do anything super consciously after my accounting internships it was more like i need money because i'm getting married this summer so what can i do to make a lot of money okay well i'm gonna do door-to-door pest control sales um because my buddies say i can make a lot of money who knows if it's a scam or not like it sounds too good to be true you can make you know 30 to 70 000 in the summer but i mean i think i'm a nice enough guy i mean i'm sure i can sell something to these people and uh i actually had a really great time i was out knocking doors i was working just as many or more hours than i was at deloitte but i was out knocking doors outside talking to people all the time getting rejected most of the time you know people don't like their door being knocked and being sold something but i made way more money doing that in less time than i was getting paid overtime at deloitte even um with my internship in accounting i said okay well this is clearly a sign if i like getting doors slammed in my face and i'm better at this than than the accounting stuff then maybe i should do something that's um you know sales related or business related and kind of combine my my talents and do something like that and so you so then you went in did that for a period of time um you know it was realizing that hey this is i need some money i'm getting you know married got support you know gotta have an income and those type of things but then how did you i think that if we i remember you kind of at the same time you had an experience with opening bank accounts and looking at bonuses and how that might work and kind of that it started as in parallel to some of the other things you're doing and that's where you started to have interest or focus on or um transition to yep um so around this time um i got connected with some of my accounting friends who are opening up bank accounts very often and i had no idea why and uh i asked him it's like hey why do you have so many bank accounts why are you always calling banks or you give money troubles they can use some help and they said no i'm we're actually calling and opening all these bank accounts into different banks to you know get the sign up bonuses you know you set up you open an account you set up your direct deposit you get 200 bucks and uh that's it that's the whole thing and tons and tons of banks are doing it so it said oh this is really cool and i was a college student you know i was just an accounting intern between semesters and i said okay well i'm gonna do this so every single week of my whole 12-week internship i moved my money into different banks with my paycheck and made like 1500 bucks and i used it to fly back to central america where i did my mission i used it to go to southern california for some skating convention you know some like skating meetups and stuff and i thought it was so cool that i could just have this free kind of money and that was kind of my first experience with entrepreneurship i guess i could say you know just finding an opportunity and taking advantage of it and so i got back from school um after one of my accounting internships and then i kind of put together the spreadsheet of every single bank account offer that was being promoted by banks and how much the bonus was and where you needed to live and all the requirements and then i would tell my buddies about it at byu because byu's got people from all over the country right i mean people come there from every state um you know because it's a church sponsored school so there's church members everywhere and um so i would filter my spreadsheet to my friends you know states and how much money they made and i just send off a whole bunch of copies of these spreadsheets everywhere um until eventually my buddies like hey you know this is pretty cool you should make a website out of it so while i was at still school my friend matt and i we kind of took all this data that we were collecting in spreadsheets and prototyped out a website where you could go to it and right now now it's called everybankbonus.com and you can just go to the website you can put in where you live how much money you make how much you have money have saved and you can find all of the bank account sign up bonuses on there anywhere they're worth anywhere from a thousand dollars to 50 each and you can just take advantage i mean if you go right now you could probably search your state and find there's ten thousand dollars worth of free bank sign up bonuses wherever in pretty much any state um and it's been awesome we have a we we kind of built it out in school and then finished it up as part of a capstone project and launched it to reddit and especially right now with current events i mean reddit can love something and really rally around it or not maybe we can see how the gamestop stock's going crazy today but um in a very much smaller form uh this reddit group rallied around our website and has really been loving it for the past few years and that was like my first really cool success with entrepreneurship even if it was just really small i really that got me going for sure so and so now in in you know i i leave it up to the the starving college students so to speak to figure out how to gain the system as far as that to take advantage of the the bank bonus but i think that that's an engineered in ingenuitive way to making some extra side money or to be able to do a couple extra things so now as you kind of say okay you know this is one where you know there's a bit of demand friends are asking for it i'll do something there now is this going was the intent to make this kind of just a fun or side hubby side our hobby or side hustle is it something that you're looking to grow and kind of what are you doing in the meantime or in addition to that is it a full-time gig and you're making you figured out how to monetize it is it a hobby and you're working a full-time gig elsewhere or how does that work out yeah uh so every bank bonus um is definitely a side hustle it doesn't take much time to manage we have i mean there's four of us that were in a group together that kind of put it together and now we all have full-time things that we do on the side and just spend a few hours a week making sure the content's up to date making sure that we're adding you know features that people ask for and whatnot and it generates enough money that it's worth it to us and it can be sustainable so that's been really fun and since then you know after i graduated and decided i didn't want to go into accounting um i did work for about a year and a half for the pest control company that i was selling door-to-door for i worked for them as a financial analyst after i graduated and at that point after having sold all the products then i got to kind of see the back end of how you know all the operations worked to to service all of the pest control customers and i saw exactly the finances and um and why people got into the pest control business in the first place because it's really attractive industry i mean pest control is a recurring quarterly service with high margins and um and lots of really effective sales channels i was just really attracted to the the industry itself and learned a ton made a lot of friends in it and then my wife's a little bit younger than me and when she was going to graduate from byu we knew that we were going to move away from utah and somewhere new so i was kind of planning like okay in april of 2020 i'm going to be moving away from utah and have to figure out what i'm gonna do for work since i can't be working at greenex pest control anymore and um at that point i was you know for the whole year before that the whole time while i was working at korenex i was thinking of business opportunities and in ways that i could kind of see like i was looking for opportunities within the pest control space or within the home services space and or within you know even the bank bonus space you know just kind of finding ways to to monetize and came across this idea where you know all of these pest control companies are paying hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars for inbound sales leads you know they're having all these online campaigns to get people to call in to sign up for their service but um the average consumer doesn't know the difference between you know general residential pest control versus termite pest control versus bed bug versus you know raccoon trapping and other wildlife and there's all these different you know sub services within pest control and a lot of pest control companies don't do every single type of service so all of these companies are spending a ton of money to drive leads when you know anywhere from four to ten percent of them call in and they're unqualified like they don't do the service that they offer and no one was you know monetizing those calls even though they're you know customers wanting to buy right there no one was referring them or doing anything with them and the same thing when customers would call in they say hey i'm a current happy customer i'm moving to another market um we'd say oh sorry we didn't service there it was great knowing you goodbye or another time someone calls in hey i really want to sign up but i live you know in this city they say oh we don't service that city sorry it's just like all of these times like paying for customers to call just to tell them no you know so i'm like okay well there's got to be an opportunity here so just how uh the same kind of way that with the bank bonuses i saw like oh this is something people want and there's value here with like the the free money i guess um there's money that's getting wasted i notice that there's money getting wasted with people calling in to all of these pest control companies that you know weren't being helped so what i do full time now is i have a company called baton like past the baton where pest control or other type of companies can anytime someone calls in and it's unqualified they can refer that customer to another company and get paid for it right so they say hello services area but let me refer you to someone we don't do that service but let me refer you to someone and that's kind of what we're doing to help them help them take care of those customers and monetize those those interactions a little more so still young but got customers uh 2021's looking pretty promising and that's uh that's what i'm that's what i'm up to now devin well cool so now if you're now if you're to look kind of forward just a bit and say okay next steps what do you what you have planned where are you going to go you know you got a few different ideas you got the bit of the you know the banking bonuses type business that you know people are using and can get that information a bit you've also say okay i've got an idea as to how we can monetize or take advantage of the leads that people are working hard to drive and yet aren't able to service or how you do that where do you see the next six to twelve months going um man as an entrepreneur you it's like you have this vision but you never know what could come up right um basically i just wanna grow my referral network and the pest control vertical to cover every service across the whole country and just have a really robust network of companies that you could that any company can just jump into my network and refer to anywhere right and then later this fall once he really nailed the network and the processes invest heavily in just getting people in and growing the heck out of it but for the next probably six months to 12 months it's all about just dialing in the processes and gathering data and making our first customers happy before we you know take that a solid brand and business model and just ramp it up and then secondly i'm looking into um the lawyer space too i feel like lawyers refer customers to each other all the time and there's sometimes that lawyers don't know who they don't know someone in their network or they can refer to in the moment and i know lawyers pay a ton of money for leads so maybe there's an opportunity there but i don't know yet but um if i if this pest control stuff goes well maybe i'll dig into the law sector i don't know cool well sounds like a lot of different opportunities a lot of directions that you can take and grow the businesses and expand into different verticals so well as we start to wrap up the podcast and i always ask two questions at the end of each podcast so we'll jump to those now so the first question is so along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it oh man the worst one i ever made um i haven't done anything to high stakes yet but probably the worst business decision i made would have been when we launched every bank bonus to reddit we were just like super not optimized and i probably missed out on building a mailing list well i didn't i didn't ask anybody for their emails so we had like 15 or 20 000 hits right away when we launched this thing and i didn't capture anybody's email address and looking back like the growth ever since then has been like super you know kind of slow but i feel like had i done some had i just thought a little more um i feel like every bank bonus would be probably two or three times the traffic or size it is had been a little more you know methodical about how we launched um i just think it was kind of poor but it all worked out in the end but that was probably the biggest thing i missed out on was but the opportunity cost of that no i think that you know that's but it's an easy one you're just saying hey it's cool it's exciting i think people will like it and you don't necessarily think of now how do i monetize it or how do i capture people or how do i leverage people coming to the site so i think it's a good lesson to learn of you know one thing i learned as we brought on some marketing people is always kind of have a call to action right something that you want somebody to do and i think to your point is you know one of the things is to capture that information such that you're able to provide other services or give them notifications or updates or anything else of that nature second question i always ask is so along or if you're now 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 i just say start now do something um the the worst thing you can do when you're trying to start a business is just you know be all in your head and doubting and feel like there's some big barrier to entry to do it like if you have a business idea do the smallest possible next step um towards it just right away if you think that you want to start like a new social network or something um for i don't know dog lovers or whatever call up five of your friends who love dogs and ask them what could be better about the social networks they use if you you know have an idea for you know like like i say i want to get into lawyers or something with referrals maybe i should call up a bunch of lawyers and ask them who could help them out but just like you really don't need money or some big thing to start a business and it's usually just one step at a time like if you have an idea just do something do something right now about it all right well fair enough well i think that's great advice and it's honestly in different forms i think that's the the mo the most common advice that entrepreneurs have to other people if you're talking to someone saying get going figure it out don't worry about it don't be afraid and those type things because you'll always you'll you'll either find you love it you'll have opportunities you'll create it or you'll say hey this isn't a good idea and you'll move on and and whatnot but i think getting just getting going is oftentimes the best place to start well as p as we wrap up people want to reach out to you they want to find out more they want to use your you know either of your uh companies they want to be clients they want to be investors they want to be employees they want to be your next best friend and you're all the above what's the best way to uh reach out and connect up with you totally uh you can send me an email at phil bataanleads.com batonic b-a-t-o-n leads.com um that's probably the best way or you can uh hit me up on facebook phil kirkheimer i'm the only phil kerkhein on all facebook so hit me up all right hey well that that's a that's something in and of itself to be the only one or on facebook with all of us users so there you go well we're at before we wrap up we do have the bonus question that phil has um to ask his top intellectual property questions so for all of your listeners if you want us to stick around listen after we wrap up definitely can hear that question and that answer otherwise if you uh for the normal podcast listeners if you have uh if you have your own journey to tell and you want to come on and be a guest on the podcast feel free to go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show if your listener also make one make sure to click subscribe on wherever you listen the podcast and two leave us a review so new people can find out about the great podcast last but not least if you have any uh needs for patents or trademarks or anything reach out to us by going to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help thank you again phil if you'll hold on and uh appreciate you coming on now i'm super happy for thank you absolutely so now now that we've wrapped up the normal podcast you indicated that you were had or want to do the bonus question which is asking your top intellectual property whether it's patents trademarks or other things asking your top question and we'll have a quick conversation about that so with that i'll i'll turn it over to you that you get asked me a question i i don't get a pet for you with any more questions but what's your top intellectual property question yeah sure um i don't know i mean my none of my businesses have some sort of like really cool new invention right they don't have um i didn't reinvent the wheel for anything that i would think to patent but um for example my name of the company is baton and you know it's a pretty common word i mean is it worth something that i should trademark it right away and if so then how and or like even for every bank bonus i mean i don't expect a lot of people to use every bank bonus but like do i need to trademark that or what's what's the risk there yeah so i think the the the general genesis of the question or the way i'd answer the question is when you're looking at whether or not it's your trademark something so trademarks go towards a brand right so if you think of nike you're thinking of apple you're thinking pepsi coke eminem starbucks whatever it is there's a lot of different brands out there and they have a lot of their value tied up in the brand and so when you're looking at intellectual property in general including trademarks it's really where do you see the value of your business meaning are you trying to create you know the world's best widget and if that's the case you're going to go more towards a patent you're going to if you're going to create the next great iphone or whatever it might be then you'll patent it because that's the value of the business but on the other hand you're saying what i'm really looking to do is build a brand around this business so when people are looking for leads they go to you know and they're in the pest control business or if you scratch into the legal business then they're saying okay we go to the baton leads because they're a great lead generation place and if you're saying that's where we're going to value the businesses then you're going to want to protect it so that other people don't use it start using the same name or similar names and start to leverage off or try and play off of your uh your brand name so that's generally you know whether or not you should go to get a trademark or any intellectual property is really saying how we're what are we doing to or is our business and if it's in the brand or branding space and you're wanting to make sure that you as you grow the brand that you haven't protected that's when you jump onto and vice versa if you're saying no it's we're gonna there's a whole bunch of companies and we're going to just beat them on you know seo so we'll just make sure we're the top ranked one and we don't care about you know branding and somebody else has the same brand they're not going to beat us on search engine optimization then it's probably less important so that's kind of how i would start to tackle it is depending on if you have if you're seeing that either the plan either you have value now and you have customers they're starting to associate with the brand or that's a plan for where you're going to build a value into the business then you'd definitely want to look at getting it uh protecting that brand given that that's where the value is cool is it ever too late to protect it um usually if it's too late it's because somebody else is already protected meaning one is let's say you started to build a brand and either by happenstance or because somebody liked your brand they said they went and filed it first well then generally it's much more difficult if somebody else goes and files the trademark first for you to be able to get a brand on it yourself so let's say baton leads takes off has a million clients you know million customers hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue as an example and hopefully it does someday but but you never register the trademark and somebody else comes and registers a trademark then what can happen is is that they can start to box you out of places across the u.s so let's say as an example baton leads only focused on utah and that was a place that it was going to generate all the leads that's where i had all the connections but now and so you never register that you keep using in utah and somebody else goes and uh files a trademark for the federal registration for baton leads if they were to get that file on it first to get the trademark you can keep using that same trademark in utah because that's where you've already been using it but you can expand out so you can't go to any other states you couldn't grow the business and you're kind of stuck there because you don't have the rights to that name for anything outside of where you're using it prior to somebody else filing on it so that's one of the things is sometimes being too late if somebody else files on it first the other thing is that if you um you don't want to get into it to where you built if somebody else let's say it already filed on matanle so un unbeknownst to you somebody else already owns that name they've already filed on it they already have a trademark and then you start building a brand a brand on it and then you go years build a brand everybody knows it it's very it's a well-known brand and some then they come along and say well you don't own it and now you're infringing our rights to our trademark then you have to rebrand your whole you'll have to rebrand your business or you have to work at a deal or licensing from them all of which can be very costly and time intensive in order to try and rebrand or to pay them off or acquire their brand and so those are kind of the two times as you know when is it too late well if somebody else is already trademarked and it can be difficult or somebody else because either by happenstance or because they like your brand trademarks at first those are both issues where it can be too late and create some issues that make sense that's why there's lawyers like you go out and make sure there's no problems that that's that's the mission or that's the goal so well perfect we'll appreciate the bonus question great question and if anybody else has any other if you have you or anybody else ever has any other questions feel free to go to strategymeeting.com grab some time for us to chat with us we're always happy to help now as we wrap up the podcast want to thank you again phil for coming on it's been a pleasure it's been fun and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last awesome yeah thank you very much devon i'm super grateful for the opportunity it's good that it was good to talk my pleasure thank you

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