Innovate And Adapt
Where Are They Now?
Devin MillerThe Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Innovate And Adapt
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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my greatest fear is running out of innovation to me innovation is what keeps us afloat you know it keeps me going every day and sometimes that worried me like okay as i grow older will i you know get more out of touch with what's happening in social media new apps coming up you know how much do i want to keep up with because technology continues to advance and so as you grow you wonder how much of this technology do you need or how much can you handle and so my fear is not being able to adapt because i think once i stopped adapting that's when i'll stop growing and then it'll be time for me to hang up 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 grown several startups and seven and eight-figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law we have startups and small businesses with their pads and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat now today we have another great guest on the podcast forest tough and uh just to give you a bit of introduction of forest so uh in high school lightered in three sports track football and i can't remember the third one still have to remind me and uh while he was growing up he was also kind of a geeky kid in his own words so he collected cars played video games and got his scholarship in basketball had dreams of going into the nba but then got injured and that ended his career aspirations of the nba so graduated in sports management and went into or worked for foot walker for a period of time while he's in school did some internships at the clinic and then decided to start his own business um went after he got into doing some videos with birthdays and music videos and everything else so that will lead a little bit to where he's at today if i'm also doing some professional speaking coaching and mentoring and whatnot and with that much is an introduction welcome on the podcast for us wow devon that was a great 20 second recap of a life that was awesome awesome job man awesome job now great to be here so glad to be back this is uh awesome to sit here and chat it up with you again yeah so kind of with that in mind uh walk us through a little or tell walks you a little bit of your journey you know kind of i gave the 20 you know 20 second overview of a much longer journey so tell us a little bit about uh what you have or how you got to where you're at today well that third sport that you were mentioning was basketball that was the one that i settled on and went to college and you know couldn't finish due to an injury but that led me on a journey to kind of figure out what's next you know that was my passion basketball was a passion it's like being a doctor you don't have a plan b you know i didn't have a plan b i really thought i wanted to go pro and it didn't happen so i found myself you know working in retail in sales and so that sales background i think really helped me out when i started on my entrepreneurial journey so in 2004 i started my business and sales was one of the things that really stood out it was in media production of course because over the years one of the things that i probably told you in our conversations that i always had a camcorder so i was always recording my life from the time i was in high school until i was an adult but it was more just about the you know the stories of just you know having fun with my friends and things of that nature but that's what turned it into a business and so my background and sales and customer service and retail is what really helped me grow my video production business so later on it kind of branched out into you know media production and branding and we began to work with government agencies and corporations and so now 17 years later i've been an entrepreneur for 17 years right and so now i'm branching off into other things such as film and public speaking and you know we do a lot of community service so that in a nutshell is kind of where we are in terms of how it's evolved over time no that sounds great and just as a as a reminder just for those that didn't uh catch it uh as fortune mentioned so we had you on a few months ago um chatting about your journey kind of what we just talked to and this was giving people a bit of a refresher it's a bit of your journey and so you know with that in mind you know as we are you know kind of now reminding everybody and bringing people back up to speed you know give us a bit of a just a refresher kind of the audiences too you know six months ago kind of where were you at what was going on uh what was what was happening and then we'll hear a little bit about what's happened since then yeah maybe give everybody a bit of a refresher so yeah six months ago i was kind of in the heat of this thing called the pandemic gary are you familiar with that but i may have heard of it yeah that pandemic had happened so i think we were all trying to figure it out you know it was the start of a new year and the pandemic had happened of course in march of 2020 but there was this rebuild of different things and so to give you a backstory here are some areas that i'm focused on i focused on my business which really works with small businesses and government agencies and non-profits i'm also a film producer so i was making films at the time and i had started my journey as a professional speaker so i had these three things that were really my bread and butter of what i was doing well of course when the pandemic hit my first thing was to step back and sustain my company because i was really the lifeblood of all these other venues that all these other things that i had began to get into the film industry had come to a screeching halt so i didn't have to worry about that i just had to kind of hold my own on projects that i had and continue to market projects that i had completed before the pandemic but i didn't have to worry about new productions because we weren't able to do anything and public speaking had changed i had gone from talking to audiences and people and getting over that fear to now having to talk to a little bitty video camera and try to motivate people and and get a message across on screen so that was the challenge that we were faced with at the top of the year is how we now going to make things work so that gives you a recap now here that's a great recap and it definitely leads to a question i have because i mean that is difficult you know that's the kind of the all venues people that were used to whether it's crowds or public speaking or mentoring or you know doing seminars and all that you know are now looking and saying the business model at least for a period of time has shifted you're not able to do those crowds you're not able to get everybody in the same room or get them together or if you are it's in a much reduced setting and so as you're doing that looking in that and that's kind of the setup you've had how did you kind of look to tackle that you know kind of as you're going through that you know was it just one where hey we'll wait out for a period of time we can't wait anymore and we have to pivot or early on you saw this was you know this was going to require you guys to pivot so you made that decision early on or kind of walk us through how that went one of the things that was good that i really wasn't aware of is my company had been structured already for a virtual environment you know we provide a lot of post-production services and then again there are contractors that started to get out so my company actually thrived we picked up a lot a lot of more a lot of business and so we had a great quarter and things were really swinging that way so to my surprise the company flourished the film as i told you stop but public speaking is where i now had to kind of dig in and try to figure out how to tackle that monster so i began to as i'm a member of toastmasters i you know started working more with the organization a lot of virtual speaking opportunities came up a lot of them came that were free i took as many speaking engagements as i could free and paid because i wanted to continue to hone the craft and get better so over time i've become more comfortable and i've also been doing podcasts which have helped because there was an influx in podcasts during the pandemic and so that gave an opportunity for you to really get on the screen and talk with somebody and actually hone your message in so for me that process was more about getting out and doing it not so much worrying about oh am i going to get paid to do this event or i'm so used to a crowd it was like listen there's a new environment get used to it right get over it and get used to it because in business that's one of the things that we always talk about is you have to be able to adapt and so for me that was the change that i had to do in order to continue to grow and even as a public speaker is adapt to the new environment and embrace it now one question you know as you're adapting because i think that you know easier said than done or at least it requires a higher degree of changing at least a mindset because you know at least my limited you know public speaking and doing other you know talks or presentations and that is you tend to feed off of the crowd right in other words it's easier to get them to engage they're more willing to or you know to answer questions that you can you know you can gauge how the audience is receiving things and everything else and now as you're shifting to video and online and doing it remotely and everything else it kind of removes a lot of that ability to engage and to work with people in that way so you know was that an easy change was a difficult change or kind of how did you adjust or adapt to that for me would work it was a challenge it was a challenge adjusting the mindset but what i had to do is i had to rely on skills that i personally had and everyone has different skills that sometimes take you to sit down write them out and figure out what is it that's happened in your life that could prepare you for this change and i realized that i've had an active imagination you know i'm a filmmaker i'm a storyteller i had to find ways to envision that people were enjoying my talk that my talk was giving them the fulfillment as as it would in person you know i had to imagine that when i cracked a joke or if i said something that i thought would be a little catchy that they responded i just believe they responded whether they did or not and i proceeded in that same manager man in that same manner and i had to focus on my energy so one of the things i would do is i would set up a zoom call with myself and i would do a presentation until the point i got comfortable doing that presentation by myself so i no longer worried about what the crowd did i just responded as if i knew the crowd responded a certain way and whether they did or not i think that the crowd would start to feed off of your energy because even when you speak people feed off of the energy you give them you know if you give them this energy like you're uncertain or you don't know what you're talking about they tend to feel the same way but i tried to show confidence i tried to show energy enthusiasm about what i was doing and hoping that it would transcend through the camera so that was my process of doing it and i'm sure there are many other ways that could help others you know get through that same process themselves no that definitely makes sense and i think that you know it's either one where you have to figure out how to adapt your process and you know imagine it kind of you know in your mind's eye practice it a lot get that confidence and doing it or you're going to you know if the venues aren't there you're going to just your business is going to wither and and you know not going to succeed or that so as you're now making that transition doing that you know going more online doing more remotely and uh in kind of a adjusting or adapting or pivoting you know what was the success like was it well received did your business rock it up and it took off or did it you know kind of took a while and it was you know leveled out or took a bit of a downturn he had to adjust you know and all of those are kind of different ones that people are facing you know some of them are saying hey this uh covet has been you know while it's not been a good for the you know feel better feel for a lot of people it's been great for our business other times it's been tough and rocky time so how did that work out for you guys well in terms of are we talking about speaking business right now yeah in the speaking business there was a little bit of a downslope and so you know budgets are cut off and people are trying to figure out what's next so for me i said like i said devin i began to take events that were free you know i wanted to spread my wings as much as i could i would have the ability to speak at other clubs in other countries so i was actually able to further my blueprint because now i had access to people that i might not have had access to you know companies that were like yourself you know look we're talking we're in two totally different states i might have never met you in this situation so my footprint became broader became wider and so therefore i began to create relationships that were setting me up in the future for other opportunities and so i began to as a resurgent started i began to book more speaking engagements and things are picking up and i still continue to work with other organizations and and hone my craft and become better because now things are getting hybrid so some are like hey come on in and some are like let's do it virtual so it's now another adjustment to get used to that balancing ballot balancing act because once you get used to doing it in front of camera now you have to get back in front of people and get acclimated to that again so it's always a learning curve i think that's the part that i really enjoy is the challenge of continual growth and not just being stagnant at where i am now that definitely makes sense now to kind of follow up on that i think in addition to some of the public speaking you also got into a bit more of film and tv and community service and a few other things in addition to that or on those fronts as well so maybe tell us a little bit about you know how that worked out well i started a show called tough talk show it was something that i planned on doing and since i couldn't go out i decided to start it virtually and the idea came after i did a few podcasts and i said wait a minute i could go ahead and start a tv show the only thing with my tv show is it included psas and there was a lot of production value so the show had a lot of editing in terms of graphics and things like you would do a normal tv show except the interviews were just on zoom and so i created this production we were able to finish 10 episodes for a season and the show did really well we won several awards and we also you know went in for an emmy we didn't get the emmy nod but it was something that i felt was an opportunity so i tried to look at everything as an opportunity and not just see it as like oh this is just something we're doing i took the tv show serious it was similar to a podcast format but as i said there was a lot more production to it so that was something that we were able to do and i think for that season it worked really well because it it was a part of the branding and marketing strategy it kept myself and my company in the forefront you know we didn't fall off and that was one of the things that i was concerned about is not letting the company just go stagnant during this time no i think that definitely makes sense and you know there's uh i think some people started out saying oh we got to hunker down we don't you know this will just be a temporary thing and as it became more you know more people being again understand it's going to take longer it's not going to just be a you know a shorter temporary thing yeah just definitely adjust and adapt and i think those that can figure out how to adjust and adapt and how to leverage things and you know take advantage of the change in the marketplace and the ways of doing things those that can figure it out first are going to be the one successful it definitely sounds like that's kind of the direction that uh you went and the success that you found so now as we you know as you're kind of talked a little bit caught us up as to what you've done over the last six you know what where you're at six months ago what you've done over the last six months now looking a bit into the future you're kind of saying okay to a degree depending on where you live and which state and whatnot you have some there are some states that are pretty or well opened up you have some that are going back into way mass or lockdowns and they have somewhere in the middle so as you kind of are dealing with all that where do you kind of see things headed in the next you know six to 12 months for you you know how did that how does that look to plan or play out for you well one of the things that's helped is i've been able to reach out with new contractors to work with my company so there are there are contractors that are willing to go out and be more in the field and so with that being said it's created an opportunity for us to continue the work you know right now this hybrid work is is really working and i am you know for me there's been the concern of my kids you know last year i had two of my children here with me and they were in college so now they're actually gone they're back in school and i have a young one that's still here because she's not in school we decided to keep her still at home so there's that dynamic of now working from home with my wife with my kid every day and that balancing act because you know that's one of the things that also makes a big difference when you're running a business you also have to be aware that now as a person who has a family that dynamic plays into how i can run my business and how i balance that thin line between working too much and you know having too much fun with my family so i can see myself in the next six to 12 months sticking with this model because i feel like you know there's a new variant that's coming out and now everyone's kind of unsure and even in georgia you know georgia is just wide open but you know there are things when georgia shuts down it shuts down so i feel like with this variant coming there's going to be some things that shut down a little bit unfortunately but i think it's necessary because if we're going to thrive we have to be aware of what's happening and we have to now look at this model of a hybrid or even virtual as something that will be a staple for what we've done and i'll make this last point my daughter was in the first grade so now she's in the third and she's been virtual since first grade this is going to really affect the way that age of children do things you know in the next decade or so and also the way how many of us look at how we do business now as entrepreneurs and business owners no i i agree with that all friends so now you know i think that that definitely makes perfect sense so well now as we've kind of talked a little bit you know where you're at six months ago walk through your journey where you're heading in the next six twelve months and as we start to wrap towards the end of the podcast you know normally on the the normal episode of the first episode that we had i have my two questions always asked on the where are you at now episodes i always ask a different question so we'll jump to that now and before we dive to that we are doing a bonus question where we talked a little bit about intellectual property as well so for those of you that like to stay tuned and hear us talk a little bit about patents and trademarks and other things definitely stay tuned but before we get to the bonus question on the end of the or the last question i asked on the podcast is you know now as you got into you know continuing on your business you've had to adjust adjust you've had to pivot you've had to do different things as an entrepreneur and as a business owner what is your greatest fear and how do you deal with it my greatest fear is running out of innovation to me innovation is what keeps us afloat you know it keeps me going every day and sometimes that worried me like okay as i grow older will i you know get more out of touch with what's happening in social media new apps coming up you know how much do i want to keep up with because technology continues to advance and so as you grow you wonder how much of this technology do you need or how much can you handle and so my fear is not being able to adapt because i think once i stopped adapting that's when i'll stop growing and then it'll be time for me to hang up to get up and maybe find something else so that's my greatest fear hmm no i think that you know it's in that that opens up a bigger a much bigger topic and probably a topic for another day but i think you know technology and first of all how it adapts how it or how it uh continues to evolve how you use it should you use it you know there's a question of is it too intrusive in your lives is that you know on the one hand it's great you know as the pandemic came along and as you're having to go to online and do it remotely it's been you know it has those benefits to allow businesses to continue on the other hand you're also saying now it's you know it's hard to find that balance in the sense that you're you can be working 24 7. you always have your phone with you you have your emails you can you know it's hard to disengage sometimes with technology so as it evolves and as it continues to and benefit our lives i think there's that definitely that balance that makes sense that we have to find so definitely a fear understandable fear and also something that has to be dealt with so with that before we dive to the the bonus question as we wrap up the normal episode if people want to reach out to you they want to uh watch yours or watch your show they want to hire you as a public speaker either in person or remotely they want to have it get any other coaching or other feedback or just want to be your best friend they want to be an investor they want to be a employee they want to do any or all the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you find out more well you can reach me at forcetuff.com that's forestuff2rs 2ts 2fs.com and you can reach me at 678-754-2882 that's my direct line and just contact me that way and let's have a conversation and see where we can fit all right well i definitely encourage people to reach out connect and uh and make and explore things further so well thank you again for us for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you listeners and now for all of you listeners if you have your own journey to tell them you'd like to be a guest on the podcast definitely feel free to reach out to us just go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show we'd love to share your journey uh two more things as a listener one make sure to click subscribe to your podcast player so you know when all of our awesome episodes come out and to leave us a review so everyone else can find out about all of our awesome episodes last but not least if you ever need help with patents trademarks trademarks or anything else just go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help so with that now as we've talked a little bit about your journey how things are going where things are ahead of the future your fears and everything else now we get to shift gears a bit and we get to talk about that you know one of the topics that i love talking about as you can probably guess which is intellectual property and so with that i'll turn it over to you to ask your uh your top intellectual property question all right so 2020 december i trademarked the term filmpreneur so now i own that mark and so as i'm ready to now go back out and brand i want to ask your expertise on how can i use that mark if this pat if it's trademarked for anything that relates to the film business how does that actually relate now if i want to get into apparel or other things of that nature is there something else i would need to do yeah so there's a couple kind of questions within that and i'll break it down okay the one question that often comes up you know as a general question is people start a business whatever it is service product business whatever and then one of the first things they want to do is or get or start to sell what i'll call swag you know whether it's t-shirts is you know or bags or is you know hats or other things socks or you know a whole bunch of different types of swag and they say well do i need a trademark for those things and generally the answer for swag type of bottoms or promotional items or those type of things is that the answer is no you don't need to get a trademark for those and the reason is is trademarks are set up to be source identifying of a brand and so when you're putting it on like a mug or you're putting on a t-shirt it's not it's not identifying a brand that's selling shirts it's really identifying your brand as a services you're providing as a coaching or as a tv show or whatnot so generally if it's the kind of swag type of items unless you're starting a new clothing line or you're starting a new mug line or you're starting whatever line and you're actually selling those products swag usually you don't need to you can it usually doesn't provide a lot of value and it's not typically worthwhile the other question that i would hit on is now let's say it's not the swag type of items but rather let's say as a kind of a made up scenario the original trademark was only for podcasting it was you know it was a description of goods and services which hey i'm using this trademark for podcasting but now you've branched out and you're going to write a book and you've also done a tv show and you're going to start a whatever you know services or products and so you started doing branching out so what your original trademark doesn't cover those goods and services then you're gonna what you have to do is file a new trademark for the same word or the same logo but for those new categories or the new areas that you're expanding into so if it's swag probably wouldn't worry about it if it's other areas that are new services new products or other things that you're doing then you'd have to file a new trademark application given that or that the other one has already been written or filed and registered great advice thank you so with that we'll go ahead and wrap things up and if you or any of the listeners ever have any other questions about patents trademarks or anything else business as i've already mentioned you go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat and then in meantime thanks again for coming on for us and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks so much for having me devin it's been a pleasure absolutely you