Go With Your Strengths
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Go With Your Strengths
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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so i say go with um something that you're you're passionate about go with your strengths go with something that you know i as i joked around earlier about looking around look at the things in front of you look at your actions your habits what are those things that you're doing that you don't mind doing and that you can translate into into a business you know if you if you like talking to people all day you know maybe you know being a counselor or something or opening up your own counselor and counsel you know counseling career counseling center isn't a bad idea know your industry know who you're up against right so um know your competition and if there's there's people that are or companies that are doing what you're doing and have a large market share you're going to be trying to fight contest a lot of that market share so try to offer something that separates or divides you um either in in a lower cost or in a just more of a what i what i've read as a blue ocean way so something that you know is different right that still offers the same value proposition [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host evan miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups in the seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law we help start up some small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast quan caradagi and hopefully i got it close and uh quan um is a quick introduction was born in romania raisin france and in his own words he was the word student in high school i don't know if it was really the worst but uh was that i got there was a or had a poor gpa and was building some of the main classes but made it through high school and went to community college studied business and finance and and then got i think acting and took some acting classes and had a friend convince them to move to l.a to get in to do even more of acting and then uh had a i don't know the same or another friend now that i think about it um but also got into more of uh doing training and working out and getting healthy and fit and that led to uh getting into getting a lot of certifications doing a whole bunch of crazy uh races and other activities and then getting into uh gym franchises so with that much his introduction welcome on the podcast quan evan thank you it's a pleasure to be here that's quite the introduction though if i can live up to all that oh i have the uttermost confidence you'll you'll even exceed it so um so with that i give kind of a quick run through of a much longer journey so maybe take us a bit back in time to growing up romania or being born in romania growing up in france and kind of how you got started in high school and and how your journey started from there yeah thanks evan it's basically you know it started out we my mom and dad at the time were studying in europe so we um they eventually got divorced i moved to to virginia there to basically start you know school and live with my my grandparents at the time with my with my mother as well and um we we sort of built a life there and i don't know if you ever been to virginia's a little bit um on the uh it's a good place to retire let's just put it that way and you know washington dc close by so it was always great to get there but um yeah it was an interesting move there and just getting to the states and and sort of you know learning everything from from the ground up i think it was like seven years old when i when i started and uh you know i love the united states and you know i wouldn't be where i am without uh about the u.s so um you know just uh yeah growing up and it was a challenging time to to be only speaking you know my kurdish and french as my as my languages so i was i was having a tough time communicating but then i i obviously learned um you know english and and excelled there so now so you did and so you you know you're growing up in france high school wasn't there wasn't quite your thing but you made it through went and got a business and finance degree now did you go right into you know deciding or wanted to do acting and doing acting classes after getting that you're done with the community college or was that your mind was that a shift during college or was that after college or kind of how did you go from hey i'm going to do business and finance with you i'm going to go be an actor how did that work out yeah great question devin so i you know everything i'm i'm where i am in my life because the people that took an interest in me and basically you know um just asked me the right questions and i i just you know rose to the occasion of answering them i guess so um i had gotten into it because uh business because i was always a little bit intrigued by my business and i thought it was the the cool thing to get into so you just have an answer when people kind of asked you what you wanted to do with your life and so i did that and then um after doing that i said okay well my heart wasn't really in that as well as much so i was traveling to iraq at the time and one of my mentors had asked me if i had ever thought about you know trying out acting so i had never thought about it and i was just um i was you know taken aback that someone would take an interest in me um and think that i was capable of doing something like that so it helped sort of validate i guess my um you know wherewithal or or someone that you know looked at me in that light so i i decided to pursue that in pursuing that i found a lot about my my identity who i was and all these different roles that that were available as an actor so you know i took acting classes and i was intrigued by it i thought i found out what i wanted to do and you know i moved to los angeles to pursue it full time and that's when i kind of stumble upon fitness there which was you know the vehicle um so i always look at acting as sort of the vehicle that led me to another um a dream or realization of another vehicle right so it was interesting now before you get into the gym and the getting into fitness we'll definitely dive into that did you ever do anything with acting did you get on a show were you in a play did you do anything or was it was it worthwhile to move into la for that aspect or was it that one of those there was a starving artist and it never quite worked out yeah yeah i was almost famous devin you know i almost made it no i'm kidding i i was i was uh you know going from from show to show i did theater i did um some some commercials very small independent films and i tried to you know get my my feet wet if you will and i did a bunch of auditioning and i loved it i loved the whole process of learning from it but i did have some small things that i did but nothing on a on a big scale there so but i did you know get to meet some some awesome stars so that was cool someday you'll return back that i have faith that you're going to be a big star and then we can say we found him all right so now you get you try acting for a little bit have some smaller parts do some you know fun things never quite have the breakout moment but in the meantime you kind of got into fitness and getting healthy and working out so you know was that just uh how did you kind of transition to that was it originally just working out yourself wanting to get healthy and then you found you know found that you were good at it and wanted to pursue further kind of how did you make that transition in your journey yeah thanks basically you know a buddy of mine knocked on we moved out to la together i met him in acting class he was a lot fitter than i was at the time and you know still kind of is um and he knocked on my door and i said hey you know you want to go for a run and i had never you know imagined doing that so i i was very very reluctant and i remember going on it and it just you know it just nearly killed me right i was i was floored i was tired i was in a lot of pain and i just remember that feeling and just sort of looking at my life thinking okay you know what what am i doing you know and this you know this wasn't a great thing that i had gone through because it was so difficult to do so that was kind of the moment that was a turning point and i then realized that i wanted to try again to see if i could do a little bit better and that's kind of how i stuck with it and then he had asked me if i had thought about joining a gym and i didn't really think of anything think of it at at the time as anything you know substantial i said oh no i haven't and i went the next day with my bike five miles i joined and then i started going to the gym and i started getting addicted to that feeling of progress of improvement of of you know making some strides so i had never really gotten that anywhere in my life so having the first you know feel or taste of that really um sparked me there so it just became sort of like a healthy obsession you know i just stuck with it and i worked out all the time and you know four and a half years later of just working out five six days a week i knew a lot of things about working out right go figure so uh later on you know that's when i met a buddy and he he got me into uh personal training so now you get into personal training and i think he did ragnars you did you know tough or tough mudder they did other ones and you kind of you know first of all get certifications you get into personal training you find that you enjoy it that you're good at it and everything else now were while you're doing this are you still doing acting or did you shift over to training or kind of what was that transition on a business level between what you were originally setting out to do with acting versus where you ended up yeah so i i basically had been working restaurants for a while and i was i took a break from the acting you know scene because i didn't know if that's what i kind of wanted to pursue anymore i wasn't getting that that fulfillment from it and that's when i was drifting for a little bit again and i didn't know what i was going to do i hit like sort of a financial crisis where i was forced to make a decision either moved back to um you know my homeland there virginia or go back to or uh you know pick up another restaurant so i can afford to pay the bills and that's when it made me look to what i was good at and or what i would what i knew my skill set and i'd actually had a realization yesterday when i was walking around and so many times we look all over the place for answers but sometimes it's just right in front of us right and it was in my habits it was what i was doing which was working out and i said well this is something that you can do and when i did that i picked up the certification i studied i i really mean i just got hit with with clients and i didn't have time to to do anything else so i think i went back once to try and make it work to go on audition but then it took out a big chunk of the day and i and i i just got so much fulfillment from helping others reach their goals that it was kind of doing it for me and that's kind of what you wanted a career is to get some fulfillment feel good about what you're doing learn in the process and make you know some decent money while you're doing it so it hit all those boxes and that's when i just ran with it now one other maybe additional follow-up to that is you got in you say okay kind of fulfillment find that i'm probably good at this so this it's kind of where your passion is now did you start out going with the franchise route did you start out trying to be a trainer at somebody else's gym did you start out your own gym or kind of how did you break in or find out which model worked for you yeah so i had basically gotten offered a personal training job at a big box gym and that's when i i stuck with them for about four and a half years and then after you know i left there was some time in between and then i decided to pursue you know the i met my business partner who said you know my friend at the time who became a business partner and he had asked me if i had thought about opening up a gym and that's when everything sort of changed we pursued it we figured things out one fell through and we're so i'm so glad it did because there was no way that we could have expanded with just sticking with a like a mom and pop gym model that would that would you know just basically pigeonhole us in one spot so the beauty of the franchise was but stump we looked and looked everywhere i mean we tried everything we tried selling breathalyzers t-shirts we were like man we got to do something and eventually you know lo and behold we looked everywhere except for the place that which is right in front of us which is what we were kind of good at your skill set so we got on the franchise and that allowed us to to expand you know fairly quickly there and it just they just make it so much easier now you've done franchising now how long have you been doing the the franchises with the gym so franchising we started off and the end of 2017 or 2018 is when we signed the um franchise agreements and it took about a year of negotiation between a lease to get the actual space to find the space get the the building um start the lease and open our doors in april 9 april 2019 is when we uh when we first opened the uh the gym there okay now i would be remiss just because you know as you may they're being made out of heard we've had lockdowns and covered for the last over a year and you always see in the news you know and i think there's some guy out and i can't remember it seems like he's on the east coast if he's fighting it keeping his jib open how has your experience been with you know when tobin isn't one where you've been able to navigate it has it been presented opportunities it presented hard times or kind of how has your experience been with that and kind of and then i'll i'm trying not to ask i try not to ask compound questions but i'm going to ask but anyway and then kind of where do you see things going in the future yeah thanks that's great i basically went into we had we just three of us total um dan david myself you know i owe a lot of if not all the success to them and what they did to sort of pivot in the times of adapting and being flexible and what um you know helped us to stay alive or survive so to speak so we we uh we pivoted man you know we we got the outdoor gym built and we had to shut down the first couple of months or three months was it then it was just overnight we had to you know with the lock this there was a second shutdown we had to reopen uh we had to open an outdoor gym and we had to do it in a matter of a few days because the shutdown was going to get mandated again and it was it was a very very challenging time but you know i always say to people um you know going at things alone is hard when you have a team or you have business partners you can accomplish you know two to three times more if you put your heads together and and work together and that's that's kind of what we did we just figured it out we built the outdoor gym we adapted and you know it was tough trying to mandate things because it's 24 7 franchise so once you close the door you can't you're not really there so some people you know abided by the mess some did and we were we were trying to chase people around so we did that we kept the outdoor gym and you know to touch up on the second question i just see that you know this was an opportunity for for business owners uh for everybody alike to understand that when black swan events happen you know it just goes to show your adaptability um and flexibility in in the times and how quickly you can you can change into those into those new shifts there because you know back to our ancestral days things like that happen they were you know i i don't know too much about history but ice ages things came and people had to shift with the time so the pandemic was sort of our mini you know um transition there and that's when you know people it exposed those businesses that were ready and those that um that weren't and so i think the future of fitness is kind of gonna you know i don't see gyms per se disappearing altogether but i do see sort of like a home fitness thing you know being integrated with that some personal training being delivered to the door there and then um you know who knows with technology you probably you know i joke around my business partner so pretty soon they're going to give you enough microchips you're going to walk into a facility and things are going to do the push-ups for you you know if that day comes then we'll adapt again i'm sure yeah i look forward to that dave you can i i like to run and that's usually what i do if i if i get out but if you can figure out a way that i don't have to do the running but i get all the benefits of it that's the best of both worlds so if you can invent that microchip i'll be your first customer no i think that's that definitely makes sense now one or one unrelated question then we'll go to my last two questions always asked before that when you shift into the outdoor gym and you'll have to excuse my ignorance can you do a 24-hour outdoor gym did you do a 24-hour outdoor gym or was it a rescale back version so we did um we shut it down during uh i believe in the a.m and 12 a.m to 4 a.m where we had security outside and just basically guarding it and then as we started to get more and more busy we we lacked the security and and we still shut it down during those times and then it was basically open from 4am to you know the 12 a.m of the of the following day so um we kept the indoors and then the outdoors is where the challenge was so we try to limit the indoors as well um during some points of the night all right makes sense i was just curious i'm like well do you have if you're an outdoor gym you'd either have to have 24-hour security because otherwise i would think that you would have a problem with people maybe saying hey i need to work out a whole let's go grab some of the 24-hour video yeah exactly so definitely makes sense so well now as we do wrap up towards in the podcast i do always have two questions i hit on so we'll jump to those now so the first question i always ask is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it a great question i got into e-commerce or online sales and i i looked at it and i was i didn't i abdicated a lot of it to i delegated over delegated a lot of the work and didn't really get involved in the day-to-day which i would say was the number one thing if you want to learn something about a business you need to know the ins and outs at least for six months to a year um to just kind of know how it works so that way you know everything about it and that way if it if there's something that goes wrong you know how to fix it because you you know it right so that's that's the one number one thing i learned um i didn't thankfully i didn't go in the hole too much there so it was a quick learning lesson for me and i know people i've read stories people losing hundreds of thousands of dollars so um for me that one and basically not to start off too big so that was another thing that i made a mistake it was i tried to go really really big and and you know put a lot of money and spend money on a bunch of things i didn't necessarily need for it to take off and my message there is start off small and and see if you can find success in something very small test it first okay it's working i'm i can make a dollar okay great now can we replicate this and can you can you keep this sustainable if you spend you know twenty thirty thousand dollars and you don't know if you've made a dollar yet you're gonna be having a uphill battle trying to get that money return on investment back so start small end and that was that was one of the bigger takeaways no i think those are both great takeaways i think that testing things out starting small rather than just dump a whole bunch of money in and hope it works and also knowing the ends of the house i think you're both good things that you know lessons that are learned because a lot of times you get excited with an idea or enamored with it or you think that hey i'll be the exception and so you go too fast or you don't know enough about it and then you get into problems then you learn from those you know from those issues but i think that that definitely is a good good lesson to learn and mistakes that are easy to make second question i always ask is if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or small business what would be the one piece device you'd give them so i say go with um something that you're you're passionate about go with your strengths go with something that you know i i joked around earlier about looking around look at the things in front of you look at your actions your habits what are those things that you're doing that you don't mind doing and that you can translate into into a business you know if you if you like talking to people all day you know maybe you know being a counselor or something or opening up your own counselor and counsel you know counseling career counseling center isn't a bad idea know your industry know who you're up against right so know your competition and if there's there's people that are or companies that are doing what you're doing and have a large market share you're going to be trying to fight contest a lot of that market share so try to offer something that separates or divides you um either in in a lower cost or in a just more of a what i what i've read as a blue ocean way so something that you know is different right that still offers the same value proposition uh never stop learning about you know your industry there so if there's something that's going on you're getting you want to get into something know everything about it just learn it master it and and just truly take the time to sit down with it daily read and that way you'll just know everything you'll be able to expect you know things to happen uh go the extra mile you know if you do offer a product go above and beyond give give that customer that guest and experience they'll never forget and make last but not least make your your product of of higher value than the dollar that's paid for it all right well that was more than one and that was great that's always a lot of great advice i think a lot of great takeaways and you know the one thing i'll add is i think on the you know there's a lot of times where people will say pursue your passion but i like how you kind of said but i think it needs to be overlaid with something that people are willing to pay you for in other words just because you're passionate about something doesn't know we mean somebody will pay you for it but if you can find that great intersection where something that is wanted in the marketplace both people are going to play for you pay for it and you're passionate about it then it gives you the best mixture and likelihood of success so i think that that along with all the other pieces of advice with great advice so now is this is a quick reminder to everybody we are doing the uh the bonus question we're going to talk a little bit about intellectual property so stay tuned if you want to hear or hear that question and answer but uh otherwise as we wrap up the normal portion of the podcast if people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to use their gym they want to be an investor they want to be an employee they want to be your next best friend any or all the above what's the best way to reach out contact you or find out more so at the at the gym space it's anytime fitness.com and then it's um you can just google san diego and we'll come up there it's um part of a franchise so there's like a url but it's like a long url but anytime for the san diego and we'll pop up and then as far as the podcast and and the value verse it's just uh the valueverse podcast on all streaming platforms and www.thevalueverse.com and i'm on instagram active on there at valueverse all right well lots of great ways to connect up yeah definitely encourage people to do so so that was uh as we wrap up thank you for coming on the podcast been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all the listeners out there if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to share your journey feel free to go to inventiveguest.com and apply to be on the show two more things as listeners one make sure to click subscribe to your podcast players so you know when all of our awesome episodes come out and two leave us a review so other people can find out about all of our awesome episodes and last but not least if you ever need help with patents trademarks or anything else to business just go to strategymeeting.com and grab some time to chat now that we've wrapped up the normal portion of the podcast it's always a fun time to shift gear just a bit and talk a little bit about something that's always near and dear to my heart which is intellectual property so with that i turn it over to you to ask what's your number one intellectual property question man yeah thank you for for taking the time out devin um basically you know and i'm sure you've probably heard some people have some people haven't but you know everything's going towards this digital age now right where we're shifting towards um nfts or non-fungible tokens right so i'm looking at that and i asked my question to you is you know what is the future of intellectual property as far as because you know now it's like here i got this digital baseball card or i have this digital thing here and that and you have a certificate that goes with that now that it belongs to this person now so it's no longer an original if you screenshot it so my question is you know where what's next is it are we going to have intellectual property on like conversations is our ideas like hey i said that first and here's my certificate number to back what i'm saying like what's the future of intellectual property and and how will people uh you know get things i guess patented yeah and that's a great question short answers i have no idea um i mean there are there are some there are some truth that i don't know where it's going to head or had the non-punjab assets i think it was i don't know for those of you that may repair listeners and maybe remember you know you had the charlie bit me video that went viral and i think that one just sold for 700 000 plus dollars the rights to it they're actually taking it off youtube so it's not off youtube and you want to see it one last time you only have a short window but you know those type of things where it's now just all of these non-fungible assets as you mentioned you know you have people that are selling you know digital images for exorbitant amounts of money you're also moving into you know cryptocurrency and other crypto related things and you know i think where will end up as you still kind of one of the tenants of intellectual property is it has to be in a tangible medium in other words you have to define it so you know can depends as an example you may it may be an idea in your head you have to be able to write it out you have to be able to describe it to a level with somebody else you can understand it with their brand you actually have to you know brand it put it on your products or put it on your services you have to have a website or you have to have a storefront or you have to sell it on a product and so and same thing with upgrades you have to write the book you have to do the movie you have to paint the sculpture or paint the painting or do the sculpture and so i think where it's going to head is it will probably expand into new areas it's technology and things continue to develop with this core tenant being is it still has to be something that is tangible or at least be able to have a way for people to understand it because if it's in your head or it's a conversation other things it's going to be so ill defined that it's going to be hard to say what you actually own and what you can stop others from doing so i think that will be kind of the core tenant beyond that your guess is as good as mine because there's a lot of different things that are continuing to develop and they're all going to be interesting to see where they come or where they had absolutely i think that's a that's a great point it's got to be tangible and written out so that that makes a lot of sense and then i can see that being something that someone can i guess um you know trademark or or or um you know patent and say hey this is the conversation here and here it is recorded here it is written down but it's just a fascinating time to be to be living in and obviously i just see intellectual property getting bigger because um you know now you have all these things happening with with digitization i just uh it's a it's an exciting time i'm sure for you as well just to kind of see how this industry is going to grow even more because um before man i mean it was probably tough to to you know keep an idea or something um protected right so i imagine that it grew and this is sort of like an upcoming um field and a lot of growth in it yep and it'll be exciting to see how it all turns out and uh wait and see and uh we'll see what what uh how life evolves so great question appreciate you asking it now if you uh if you have any other follow-up questions or if any of the listeners have a question that they'd like answered feel free to always ping me at strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat and we can always explore things further otherwise thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a pleasure and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks a lot devin really appreciate you having me on awesome podcast you have and keep up the great work