Find Your Niche
The Inventive Journey
Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Find Your Niche
There are so many places, so many pain point and struggles that no one is touching. I think what you want to look for is a pain point that seems obvious to you that should be solved that no one else really is interested in. If you find that then there's a lot of opportunity there for you. Too many people are trying to create either a copy cat product or something similar, Its not particularly unique. Its one of the reasons I wanted to get out of my original business. I just did not feel like I could differentiate enough from competition. Really finding a niche problem that you are super passionate about will give you a lot of business opportunities and will also bring a lot of people out of the rafters who are interested in that same thing and will support you on that journey.
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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if you're just starting out in business there is nothing more valuable especially in today's market than to be able to grow your network and to be able to find the right people in your network and so i think the best piece of advice i really have for you is whichever you know direction you want to be able to go into whichever niche you want to be able to go into study that niche but give yourself like a deadline like give yourself like maybe a couple weeks a month max to really like get your knowledge up to par where you understand the language you you know could kind of hold your own in a conversation the reason i say a deadline is because you want to get your knowledge up but you also want to be able to take action [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 has built several uh startups and small businesses to seven and eight figure companies as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks and today we have another great great guest on the episode jay wong and uh jay started out graduated in about 2010 and was a partner in a startup startup imploded and so he had to figure out what he went from there had a mentor referred him over to strategic coaching did that for a bit of time and then decided hey strategic coaching is not where i want to be in the next five or ten years and then started his journey on doing podcasting and production and otherwise offering that as a services and he'll expand about a bit more about that as he goes through his journey but with that and as much of an intro as that is welcome to the podcast jay yeah super excited to be here with you and uh yeah just excited to dive in and even even have you share about that journey it it you know it's like walking down memory lane a little bit hey it's always fun to take take that stroll right so yeah so with that i kind of stole a bit of your thunder but maybe go jumping back kind of uh take us back to graduate school and graduating and where your journey started from there yeah i i mean it's it's funny because i think even when we were doing uh some of the off record you know pre-interview stuff you know i was mentioning you know i don't get a chance you know sometimes when you know we're talking about marketing and how to get greater leads and how to get greater roi it kind of gets super you know into the weeds and and sometimes it gets super nerdy really quick right and it actually got me thinking that you know is is that where the beginning of my journey began right and and actually it reminded me that you know you know through through a whole through a whole series of of events i ended up you know becoming this graduation speaker for my you know i went to even though i'm from canada uh i actually did high school in the us uh so in maryland and um you know graduating high school in the u.s i don't know how it is in canada but it's like a very big deal right and i'm sure you could attest to that um but i ended up being this uh the speaker at graduation in front of you know i think it was like four thousand something people because we were in maryland it was at constitutional hall and uh i just remember and the reason i'm sharing this is because one you know i i wasn't this like straight a valedictorian like that that was really not who i was and and the way that i got that speech was really through this kind of open competition open contest but even back then 17 years old you know it reminded me that um that was really the beginning of it because i remember that was one of the first things i did like maybe it was that talk maybe it was the energy in the room i don't know what it was but it was one of the first things i did that i thought to myself you know what i have maybe the potential and maybe this could be something that i want to continue to do the rest of my life and maybe it's about sharing positive messages maybe it's some form of communication i'm not quite sure what that is yet um maybe it was just a high of the moment right i i don't know but it was it was so great devin that that really began this entire journey of just saying hey you know what how do i do more of those things that i'm really great at how do i access unique ability or or how do i get lost in in that one or two things that i can be amazing at um and that's what's always driven me um to do all things you know ever since that that point so you did that and graduated high school gave a great speech set you up on your course to where you're at now you went off to school and i think you did you grad you went to school and i can't remember where did you say you went to school again yeah so we i moved back to canada went to business school out there uh university of ottawa uh which is the capital of canada fun fact for everybody all right and uh so you did you went to school graduated and then i if i remember right when we talked before you you went and worked for a startup and then it imploded but talk a little bit about going to working for a startup out of school and how that went for you yeah so you know it's um i think at that time this was like 2010 2011 um shopify had just started was like becoming this like thing it wasn't what shopify is now today but shopify um started i'm pretty sure in in ottawa and so there was you know there was this like there was this you know energy buzzing around of people saying hey we want to you know go into startups and and be able to do do all these different things and i was working at a internet marketing company at the time um i didn't think back and and look back at that you know and and didn't think about internet marketing in the same ways but really they were like an online directory right they were across canada and they would sell listings right you know if you're a small business if you're ip lawyer or yoga studio or what you know whether you're an event for the city you would essentially want to list your events or list your business on you know said directory and you know essentially i hit it off of one of the partners there we went off and we created essentially a different variation of that directory we had you know a lot of you know businesses that you know bought in we had sold a lot of early contracts so like the momentum was there right and we were you know just obviously just thrilled i was like 20 years old 21. you know i was thinking devin that you know this is going to be it right we're going to make it big you know and it's kind of like that little meme exactly right and it's like you know look at everybody that's striving to get these 30 40 50k you know starting salaries right and and here we are you know making the push uh you know putting in right 12 14 sometimes more hours a day but you know you you you want to make it happen right and it's it's it's the dream and so when when things started kind of brave because you know it's it's great to have great momentum great to have funding great to have sales right but you know it's a completely different thing to be able to say hey we not just had a great quarter or a great few months but we have to actually build a company we have to actually build a team we have to actually be able to deliver on some of these things before we run out of capital right and you know just learning some of those lessons along the way um you know it reminded me that hey i want to be able to to do my own thing or i want to be able to you know have a business where we care about you know the end customers and who we make a difference for but maybe this is probably not going to be the vehicle because it just required you know so much more investment from a time perspective my partner he was you know essentially having you know entering a new phase in life right he was about to have kids and it was going to be his first kid so like it just didn't really make sense for us to really continue down that path um but a lot of hard lessons learned you know um just being able to go through that one of which is to maybe not spend all of your student loans and all the money into a potential startup maybe keep some of it you know uh but nonetheless you know a lot of hard lessons through that experience so no and first of all yes i don't know that i don't even know that you always fit any suit loads into it but certainly not all of it um but you did that and uh so you said okay you know first of all start out hey this is my dream it's gonna be awesome it's gonna be great and you know the the thing that every entrepreneur thinks is hey this is going to be the next you know billion dollar idea or billion dollar idea or whatever and sometimes it works out a lot of times it doesn't so it was a lesson to learn but so that kind of whether you say it imploded or you know kind of it didn't make sense to continue on people are going their different ways and any and all the above so how did you kind of pick up the pieces or decide what you wanted to do next from there you know one of the the things and even in having this conversation right you know a couple things come to mind one is that you learn so much from failures um that you don't even understand or even can think about it fully unless you have a great chat about you know with devin and he's able to almost reflect back the story to you because you know i the reason i when i went to business school was because my parents um had a failed business and you know they they were running a restaurant back back in maryland and that failed they had to declare bankruptcy and that you know it was just not a very pleasant experience for them but also not a very great experience for our family right and we already you know didn't have very much growing up and to be able to kind of see them kind of go through that now they've have had successful businesses in the past so you know that it's it's one of the failures along the way but i remember i i thought you know what if i go to business school maybe right maybe just maybe we can learn about money we can learn about how to actually run a business and maybe we can prevent that down the line right and even you know coming out of um this failed startup i remember thinking you know the the one thing that you know i think as a young person or anybody starting out the one thing that is high so highly valuable is not just your word but how you build up relationships around you right the the network effect that people always talk about you know it's why people go to certain schools it's why people want to go to certain neighborhoods right they want to be surrounded with certain types of individuals and for me when i was left with nothing or starting out and it felt like all the offers that all my friends are going after that whole period you know already went and passed i just went back to hey who who's in my network right that you know i could perhaps in the past have added some good value for right maybe i can lean on them right and just share with them what what's what's really happening you know and because of that i ended up connecting with an old kind of mentor of mine that you know it didn't really connect with over the last three four years up until that time and it was through conversations with that individual but he ultimately he ended up connecting me with somebody at strategic coach which ended up being my next role and you know obviously there's so many you know many conversations along the way but you know just the power of one connection the power of the right connections right sometimes just make a world of difference no and as an aside one thing that you kind of brought up or it came to or came to mind as you were talking is you mentioned kind of hey you can go to mba school or i can go to business school i can get a lot of insight and so and i i talk from it from i went to i did an mba school so i did i did an engineering degree a chinese degree an mba in a law degree so i ended up getting four which my wife always says is three too many but you know the interesting thing with with any business school or mba school is it doesn't really prepare you for a startup life i mean i always think of it more as it helps you to engage or to be part of a bigger business right so it prepares you to be on a marketing team it prepares you to help a bigger business grow to see a bigger picture but i don't remember really any classes that i look back and say oh yeah that helped me start prepare for start now deliver some of the knowledge but it wasn't just oh yeah i come out of a business school or mba school and i know how to run a startup and how to be successful so i think really a lot of kind of is what you've alluded to it's that learning on the ground and making the mistakes and also figuring it out you're going to have to go through that whether or not you have an mba or a business degree or anything else yeah well if there's just nothing better than real life experience right and and just you know even something as fundamental or as as basic as some people would say as like hey trust your gut listen to your gut right listen to your intuition it's like well what does that really mean and you need many moments of that of you not listening to your intuition right or are you not you know following through on something for you to actually see okay that that's really what that feels like and that's really what you know when when people say do those things that's what they mean yeah completely agree so now you you connected up with your mentor and you did any you know made that connection started to do strategic coaching and then i think you said kind of the next step was you do strategic coaching for a period of time and you as you got into that you're looking and saying now where do i want to be in the kind of the you know the old cliche question that you always get in the job interview as you're talking to your boss and i always hated that question like where do you think you're going to be in the next five or ten years i'm like i don't know i don't even know where i'm gonna be next year let alone in five or ten years or you give the answer oh i want to be you know a devoted part of the company when you're really wanting to go do your own thing anyway that's the complete aside but the next five or ten years but you did at least look out and say i don't see this as my long term where i want to be what i want to do and so as you made that realization as you're saying strategic coaching isn't where i want to be long term in my career how did you kind of make that next transition you know it's um it's a loaded question right because you know it's there's i i always think it's it's never one it's not like i went in one day and there was this you know somebody spilled a coffee on me and like you know i just had a horrific morning and then there was this just this one moment in the afternoon i just decided you know what this is gonna be it this is gonna you know forget the old life let's enter into the new life and then the next day new life begins right and and i always think in life it's it's it's always these like series of moments right and you starting to notice and ask yourself you know what am i going to be happy with with this you know is this is this still bringing me the same level of joy as before right and you know one of the things that at strategic coach for those that that are not familiar strategic coach they're kind of like a you know a training coaching program for high net worth individuals we're talking you know seven and eight figures for sure but some of them well into the nine figures a few billionaires that that they've coached and the whole you know the environment around running a company like that devon you can imagine everybody is bought into not just personal development right but we're talking there's language around the you know everybody knows each other's personality types you know kobe indexes um you know and so part of that is that we start we share our goals a lot right pretty much every time we come together hey what what are the great wins that's happening in your life what are you looking to do in the next 90 days what what are the big you know goals and so when you're around that environment a lot you know i realized that i was sharing some of the you know some of these uh go out and and be able to create a you know platform or maybe go out and be able to spread you know different messages of positivity and highlight different stories or write a best-selling novel and you know you know do a speech over here like all these like big life goals right and i realized that you know i i was just the idea of sharing these big goals sometimes was enough to really never do anything about it right it would just create just enough dopamine right i i would get just enough validation where i pretty much wouldn't need to do anything you know and i thought you know what i on one hand i should be so hyper grateful you know for having an amazing you know stable career right to you know to be able to you know live downtown with one of my best friends and and and just be like so present to this life but i also realized that doing that was not really i i felt like i was only gonna marginally get better in this way and i didn't know if i wanted that for myself in fact i thought you know instead of you know playing it safe right i look i'm 23 24 at this time i thought if there was really ever a time right to be a little reckless to say hey i'm gonna bet on myself and i'm gonna bet on my ability to be resourceful and figure things out and maybe not have the full answer but being willing to show up every day and and say hey i'm gonna figure this out you know piece by piece right and you know i realized i was i was fortunate because i understand we have some clients now they tell me what life is like you know with homeschooling and you know they have their their kids over here they have different priorities their business is massive right but it's it becomes a game of leverage you know and the the gift that strategic uh strategic coach gave me was it gave me access to what people were dealing with when their business was successful right and and how they they just fully dedicated their the their time to doing the best activities that they could add the most value to and they weren't apologetic about it you know they they were who they were right and and they understood who who they are in the marketplace and and in their company and had this amazing vision about it and for me i thought you know what it's great to be able to say i know all these things but just like we were talking about earlier how about putting these things into practice how about actually executing them and you know actually stepping into that individual being the best version of yourself and being able to lead your team and and have that vision for your life and it doesn't mean you need to run like some nine-figure business for you you know unless that's your definition of you know success and happiness um but i could do that for myself right and figure out who who i really was and so those were some of the thoughts and and things and decisions leading up to that transition and saying you know what i'm going to bet on myself and i'm i might not know what the next couple steps are but i'm confident i'm going to figure this out no and i think that makes complete sense so now with all that in mind had all those thoughts or started to make the transition you know you went and we won't dive into as much you went with vagabond in asia for about 14 months and bummed around and had a good time there but then once you you know decided hey what am i going to do with the rest of my life where am i going to go you kind of got into launching a few different podcasts or podcasting is that right yeah i mean you know i think you know everybody especially these days right especially the listeners your podcast when they hear these stories you know i heard uh there was a previous episode where uh the episode opened with you know the idea of you want to figure out where you want to go right and then you find someone in the world right that is actually doing those things and you figure out how to get as close and and work with them right whether you study under them whether you learn from them right and and you kind of attract them into your network in that way um you know i i think we're living in an amazing time so when i launched my podcast i had never had the thought uh to launch this podcast and then we'll teach other you know entrepreneurs and other people how to be able to do it right and you know i had no it was not on the vision board of saying hey we're gonna you know partner up with some of these you know fortune 1000 businesses or even inc 5000 businesses and help them put a voice behind their their marketing right but is one of those things that you know as you start putting it together this was around 2015 um people were noticing the podcast the podcast had won some some awards and it was it was hitting the top 100 very consistently in canada and in the us um back then people were saying hey it would be amazing if you could share right how you did it right step by step right and they would invite me to you know on their webinars and they would invite me to you know um when speaking you know in games and conferences was like a true thing right so like that that was like the beginning of it and i didn't have an email list i didn't have a product i didn't have a checkout page i didn't know how to take paint right like it was all these you know mini fundamental things like i didn't have those things in place right but when you see an opportunity there that's really where i started you know saying hey you know what i could actually serve in this way and i think i can help other entrepreneurs you know get their voices out there hit the top 100 and be able to create an amazing marketing channel while being able to do so and so we started with an online program you know ran a couple versions of the beta program that became this you know standalone you know do-it-yourself type of program um it was amazing you know we did events and memberships um and the agency was actually the last um and the most recent iteration that really came from that um and it's because we felt like we could serve at such a deeper level so and i think that makes sense so you know you get into podcasts and you figure it out start to build yours and then you say you know and i think it's a question that a lot of people get into when they get into podcasting is the sense of now i've got a podcast this is really fun now how am i going to make money with it right and so as you mentioned you can kind of do memberships you can you know in not saying which way to go on the political side the io you know i like to listen to ben shapiro and one of the things they always do the end of their podcast is that you know they have sunday specials to say now if you want to you know get in the the final answers you have to sign up and be a member so you know i never signed up to be ever because i'm too cheap to actually pay for it but you know that's one way to do it but you kind of get in this conundrum of you know a successful podcast unless you can get advertisers unless you can get to the level you just have so many followers you can really make a lot of money on advertising which for the majority of podcasts just isn't you're not going to make enough to at least sustain yourself you may get a few small advertisers but it's hard to get to the level where you're really going to have a significant enough amount of following to really make a full-time living off of a podcast and so then you have to say okay if i'm not there yet or i'm not going to reach that how do i make the money and i think that's where you started you know you started your agency that kind of does it end to end it's a podcast your brand dot co right that's right and so you guys are doing that now and you're growing your team and you're helping others to do their podcasts and so that they can and and create a podcast get it produced get it you know have the actual show get it posted get it promoted and everything else and that's kind of it seems like kind of through your journey that's where you've ended up today you know it's um it's it's funny right because i think there's a lot of advice i mean there's just so much of ice in today's world right it's just noisier than ever i'm sure you're listening to a lot of advice there's just a lot of advice right unsolicited advice right opinions on this and that i remember years ago devin somebody was speaking at a podcasting conference and um they said you know to monitor this is the the secrets of monetizing your podcast okay and their answer was some version of you gotta run this podcast for the next three years year one you're getting like used to it and um getting to know your audience year two you're building up mom you're three you're getting advertised like it was this like you know and i'm not saying like that if you were to do that for three years i'm not saying that that would not work i just looked at that model and thought to myself that that could not possibly be the most efficient way of being able to do this because especially if you know you have any type of a business regardless of if it's a digital platform or a sas or a service-based business like like a you know law firm or an agency there are ways for you to leverage the medium right to be able to further monetize your audience a lot quicker i think where people get trapped is they start a podcast hey devon we love um we just love gardening okay as an example right me and you we live in the same neighborhood we're friends forever we love the banter back and forth love to hang out and we just love gardening let's start a gardening podcast right and what ends up happening a lot of these times um is that it's totally fine to start it like there's nothing wrong to start it but i think people start seeing it and go oh we're spending all this time and money probably figuring out this gardening podcast and having it out there we're doing q and a's we're doing patreon here we're you know working out you know some advertiser over there and it ends up being this we we start looking at content and some version of an roi when in the beginning we never re that was never really the the beginning the the basis of it right i think it's on a really good point i think you have to understand what the motivation or the purpose of your podcast is right and sometimes it's hey we just want to get a big audience we want to get advertisers other times hey we may have a small audience we'll have a dedicated audience and it's a way for them to get knowledge that we can cultivate clients or it may be that hey we want to expand our audience reach new people or to your point it may just be a fun hobby and i think going into that knowing what your purpose is and what how you want to position it and what you're doing to position it makes it successful for whichever metric you're trying to hit on yeah and and look i just think that it's i think you're 100 spot on right i i'm a big believer that you know that we'd really just do two things with with all of our clients we really help them if they don't have a podcast already we help them hit the top 100 with their podcast and helping them put together that launch and even when they have a podcast or they fit the top 100 we really work with them on the roi side of things because i know for so many podcasters myself included we love the medium if we took out all the roi stuff and all the lead stuff and we took out we just stripped it all away like it doesn't exist right i think by itself podcasting is one of the best life hacks you know we get a chance to connect like this right it's one of the best business hacks even if you don't use it for business it's just like it's like the perfect relationship building nurturing tool that is on the marketplace and i am not a big believer that you should spend all this time all this energy on something that can be assisted you know in growing your business and to ultimately help fund whichever mission you're on right and so that's why we do what we do to help people get to the top on the right authority and celebrity within their brands depending on you know what it is that they want to be able to do and get the right roi with their podcast so there's a whole bunch of more things that we could go through chat on that would be fun there'd be lots of good rabbit holes we don't have the time to do it today maybe we'll have to have another conversation next time but um what i'll do is i'll jump to the last two questions i always said on the end of the podcast and so we'll hit those now which is first question i always ask is within your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it um well it's funny because uh my first thought was maybe i should you know reference maybe we should have saved the whole student loans thing um but no i uh honestly um i think the worst decision um that i personally made was that i actually resisted jumping all in into the even in helping people with their podcasts and brands and businesses with other podcasts for probably like at least a year probably 18 months be a little more reflective and it was you know i i think the the the reason i think it's a big mistake is because there's something in business as you might know called first mover advantage right and it's a lot of times it refers to businesses that jump into a certain niche and they do it they're the first to do it but they do it well right and it's kind of like no matter what once they do that you know everybody else is is really compared to them and even if a competitor comes up um you know they have to really be exceptional right and a lot of times that competitor is trying to pick one or two things and really going all in on that um you know i think it's a big mistake to hesitate you know in in i think it's a big mistake to not go all in in a certain business if you see that it's there's an opportunity there right and i think a lot of marketers make this mistake you know they find something that works or business owners in general right we find something that works and we're like oh that's nice yeah it works yeah and it's like instead of that it's like if it works then let's drive it all the way right and that's something i hold near and dear in my heart all right great answer so now we'll jump to the second question which is talking to someone that's just getting the startups or small businesses what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them um look if you're just starting out in business there is nothing more valuable especially in today's market than to be able to grow your network and to be able to find the right people in your network and so i think the best piece of advice i really have for you is whichever you know direction you want to be able to go into whichever niche you want to be able to go into study that niche but give yourself like a deadline like give yourself like maybe a couple weeks a month max to really like get your knowledge up to par where you understand the language you you know could kind of hold your own in a conversation the reason i say a deadline is because you want to get your knowledge up but you also want to be able to take action right you want to be just to hold my own and i might not even get the right terms or the right things right but i'm here to take action you know and i think when you showcase that to the marketplace and to people you're meeting people you know genuinely want to be able to help you um because a lot of times you'll end up reflecting back the best parts of themselves you know to you if that makes sense no i think that makes perfect sense and i like both the mistake you made as well as the advice you're giving so well as we wrap up people want to reach out to you they want to know more about the your company use your service they want to follow you i think you may have a podcast or a lot of the podcasts that you produce they want to listen to it they want to work for you or they want to be your friend any or all of the above what's the best way to connect with you i love it um so from a social stalking point if you're into that um probably instagram is is definitely something that we post on every single day if you want to see a little bit behind the scenes um so follow me on instagram uh at the jaewong on instagram if you want to dive deeper i know we talked a little bit about it into our entire podcast system we call it the top 100 buyers podcast system if you want to be able to see the entire system all laid out for you all you got to do is go to done for you podcast dot co done for you podcast dot co and if you want to see what our company is up to i think devin you mentioned it podcast your brand dot co those are the links and that is where you can socially stalk me professionally and personally all right perfect well thank you jay it's been fun to have you on now for all the rest of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell where i would love to have you on so feel free to go to inventivejourneyguest.com apply to be on the podcast if you're a listener make sure to click subscribe so you get notifications when all the new great episodes come out and lastly if you ever need helps with patents and trademarks feel free to reach out to us at miller ip law thank you again jay it's been a pleasure it's been fun to have you on and wish you the next leg your journey even 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