Keep Solving as the Market Evolves

Keep Solving as the Market Evolves

William Bevan

Devin Miller

The Inventive Journey

Podcast for Entrepreneurs

8/29/2020

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Keep Solving as the Market Evolves

“Always focus on solving a problem, and having a differentiator. From the time you start your business, to the time it's ready to launch, or you are raising money, the market may be evolving. Anything may happen, etc.

One thing that I think we've done well, and what I would recommend to any new entrepreneur is to adapt to the situation while still trying to solve the problem that you were trying to solve in the first place."

 

 


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.

ai generated transcription

entrepreneurs they are going they want to do do it themselves so piggybacking on on the previous conversation uh you are right it is easier to do it yourself it is faster to do it yourself because guess what you have been doing it yourself uh but draw a line [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey and i'm your host devin miller the uh serial entrepreneur that's uh done several seven to eight figure startups and also runs his own uh patent and trademark law firm miller ip law where we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks and today on the uh podcast we have another great uh guest that's gonna tell us all about their journey uh nader and uh if hopefully i say her name right i i have a hard time with the with names sometimes but i think it's nader right uh not her not her all right it doesn't sound quite right so it was close so not er and uh notter he uh has uh run a few companies have three failures and i'll let you talk a little bit about that and now is on to a hopefully much more successful company um and so welcome to the podcast thanks thanks for having me pleasure to be here so i gave it just a very brief introduction but maybe if you want to share with everybody a little bit more about your journey and the three failures the ones that made money the ones that didn't and what led you up to what you're doing today for sure for sure it just uh i'll take you back to exactly yesterday we did our third launch so same same person same idea trying to put the right package together so it took three launches and i think i finally have it right okay so now now with yesterday let's go back in time just a little bit farther so what brought you know taking a couple steps back from that where were you at before this what brought you up to where you're at today for sure i got into college back in 2003 graduating old seven so i had a little bit of a rough start since i graduated right into the recession graduated in december 2007 so recession was already announced in november so i graduated was right in the first month of the last recession so i had a tough journey but all it took for me was about three years to find my feed within the corporate path to change industries began in telecommunications moved on to i.t and sales and i just knew that neither of them was that was the right choice for me that's where i really began to reach out and learn from other entrepreneurs start building a network and i started connecting with a lot of recruiters so i was pretty interested in what recruiters do and i just wanted them to help me find you know find the right path for me and uh believe it or not they they decided to hire me you know so they uh yeah i don't know i don't know what led to that but there was there must have been some sort of value they saw in uh in what i had to offer they offered me an opportunity to work as a recruiter and that took my entire life in a different direction so what made you when you started out so you graduated from college at the other than maybe the covet area or a great depression era certainly top three as far as worst times to graduate as far as for finding a job the about you know found some jobs but you know you said they weren't the right fit for you so what made them not the right fit or what made you decide to kind of switch directions or paths yeah quite frankly uh like i i went to school for engineering so when i graduated in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in electronics engineering and i specialize in software and robotics programming i was that was hot today is hot too but like we're talking about 13 years ago so being a robotic software engineer it was even hotter back then that it was today so i had this whole plan item yeah i had all these promises of you know graduating starting making you know at least 30 an hour well guess what my first starting salary was ninety 15.90 so almost half not not quite half of what i was promised but almost half so uh that was tough so i had a tough you know tough it out through just you know it was tough on the on my wallet but just on your mental health you know which is ultimately today was which is our primary focus but it was tough for me on my mental health so you know all those dreams crashed you know i couldn't i couldn't do what i wanted to do three years later when i got into recruiting when actually when i approached that recruiting company i wanted the job from them i wanted to go back to becoming ultimately a robotic software engineer but i learned the hard truth and realized that after many years after three years at that point i'd forgotten so many things especially when it comes to coding programming you know we're talking about engineering principles so it's not as easy as all right let me just open up the book you know just quickly brush over no it doesn't work like that anymore you know and like there's been developments since then so it'll mean that i had to start from scratch so uh that's something that i know that it left a mark and when i got into recruiting it just gave me this new uh purpose this new mission to make sure like if i couldn't do it on my own if i couldn't go on the path that i was on i'm gonna make sure everybody else like nobody else makes the same mistakes than i did you know nobody else makes those mistakes now and that's been a pattern like a theme of what i've done over the last 10 years i started recruiting this is back in 2010 so up until today you know going through these businesses and ideas and just starting something you know first first endeavor was in toronto uh so you know was a failure so you you went from you tried the robotics gave or you know got the engineering degree and came out and decided well that was a good four years decided it wasn't for you or didn't work but he said hey i don't want everybody or others to go through the same thing i did so you went into recruiting you got hired on yourself like for a period of time and then after that you decided hey i can do this myself or i don't need to work for another person and so you start to try to start up your own recruiting firm is that about right that's absolutely right so two years into that experience which was like ridiculously fast for the average in that industry i was able to fast forward through it get on my feet as an entrepreneur because i had that technical background you know i had the education i had the solid education i had solid work experience so i could actually use it to help companies hire recruit uh two years into it so one thing that maybe i didn't tell you last time this is a special detail i was actually recruited out of my first job i don't know if we talked about that by another company by a smaller uh competing company and like they almost doubled my salary so that was fantastic i was so happy you know but on that new job it was before the three months probation ends i walked into that my manager's office and resigned so basically hey it's been a pleasure working with you but um you know i got a new mission to pursue and you know that's where my journey started i was september 2012. okay so you do that you say hey walk in three months appreciate all the work i i've got to do my own thing i want to start you know start my own thing and so then you switch over you say you know and i think you mentioned at one point you had a non-compete you had to wait out a little while is that right exactly exactly so i had to that's why i started coaching and recruiting at the same time back when i was uh in the corporate world the first two years i was literally taking unpaid vacation days to go to the local community center and just help new immigrants build their resumes you know figure out what the hell they're going to do in the new country so i was super passionate you know so that's that's really what fueled my entrepreneurship so i was already doing it i was already those extra times that i was taking off i was building that business on the side but as volunteer work at a community service community center when i left i had i did have a non-complete six months so i started continue full-time coaching went through that and then re-established conversations and relationships so and just give for those of the or people a lot of times may have heard of an uncompete don't really know what they are so the 30 seconds is a non-compete basically says you know if you was hire or sign it with an employer it says for a period of time whatever that period is you're not able to go and work in the same industry and you can't go and approach any of the clients that we were of the company it kind of gives you basically for that job or for that industry you're not able to do anything until you wait out your non-compete so that's just to give them a heads up so you waited out your non-compete you said okay i'm gonna do the kind of the coaching and the strategy on the side wait out for the non-compete and then you'll start your own recruiting firm doing you're doing your own way and doing being your own boss so you wait out the non-compete and then you started the recruiting how did that go oh none of those old clients hired me i went from uh at the time that i was in i'm not going to set a company's name you can see it on my linkedin profile but i think that globally they did 26 billion dollars so this is a second largest globally second largest staffing firm so i got my training in the right place but and i felt like all right i'm just gonna go be a lone wolf call up the same fortune 500 companies they're going to hire me of course i was their lead recruiter at this big corporation but none of that stuff come true came through i started working i just had to totally shift from big business that i was into startups so that's where i was helping startups starting startups in toronto did that for four years fast forward to back in 2000 and back in 2016 when i moved to the us california came down here re-established the business for a second time same thing i tried reaching out to bigger businesses as a as a one-person entrepreneur one lesson that i learned is that you gotta find your audience you gotta be realistic and you gotta manage your own expectations because you can you can save a lot of time and effort prospecting so and you do that and before we before we jump down to moving down to california so you did that for a few years and i think we talked about how while you were still in toronto and you did that he started to build the business you know first year didn't go well could none of the big clients you'd had before wanted to come to the lone wolf they wanted to stay with the name recognition um but then you did finally start to get some traction you started to make some money after working at it for a few years started to also do the the coaching and the career and the writing interviews and writing resumes and then you met a girlfriend right so if i remember basically yeah so like it took me three years to break even first year it was a total loss i moved back to my parents house and uh with so like i had my rent was like 2200. so cancel that move back to my parents house got a very small office and like a industrial area behind western bakeries so if you're in toronto you know where the big western bakeries are industrial manufacturing like food production place so i got a little small office for 700 bucks a month which fit a desk you know and it was a shared office so it wasn't all me it was in a room like this two people two two businesses shared the office so that was it you know i stayed in the office for as long as i took uh because they closed down eight so pretty much with their you know from eight to eight if not earlier just go back crash on the couch parents basement you know so i did that for two years just to break even and then started traveling came down to a few sales seminars entrepreneurship seminars down in down in anaheim no met whom is presently my wife and hopefully for the rest of your life your wife right absolutely so if i were to so you work and work and work you have to move back from your parents finally get things going you start to make a profit go to a conference meet who will then be your wife and after dating for a long enough period of time you decided okay long distance isn't gonna work for forever do you decide to move down to la and you know basically start over how was it to you know working for so long you know three years i mean in some sense it goes by quickly but also some years that's a long time to work and try and build a business get things going make it profitable how was it you know and i get i get following your love following your heart um but how was it to say okay i'm going to leave what is a profitable business because i want to follow follow love want to go down to la and have to start over yeah it was nerve-wracking because uh because i'd never again it's a totally different market you know so especially when it comes to recruiting it's all about relationships so i had some but i was coming here as a one person you know one person entrepreneur so i didn't have a business that was that had a brand awareness or anything like that so it was nerve-racking um i even started interviewing so i had two options at that point i was coming here either with like an entrepreneurship like a business visa or get a job offer so i wanted to try you know hey i need to make money i couldn't do business here so let's just get a job fast because i knew i could get a job fast i actually went back to the same company i used to recruit ad uh got an offer didn't take it which was uh i don't mean to laugh at that because i feel bad we had five interviews and i declined the offer uh that's not nice but it was like a i don't know maybe it was like a test it was like you know what like what's wrong with you you can see you did it there in toronto you can do it here it was like an awakening if you know what i mean it was like i felt like i was going back to what i was doing before which is just like for me it was like slaving in an office make him a million bucks take 100 home you know if you're a high performer take 150 home you know and then maybe you'll be happy one day and you don't even get to do the coaching stuff because that coaching stuff is clearly defined like you wouldn't be able to do that that was a big reason why i was doing unpaid vacation days or i was doing on the weekends going to community centers because like these staffing companies they don't want you to do it's not a total conflict of interest like you're the lawyer you tell me but like i made sure you know i'm not doing something wrong but what i felt like i was doing at the time is helping people grow and if i met someone at the community center who i could place as a recruiter which happened zero times then that would be great for the business too you know but that's just not where you go for recruiting you know top-of-the-line candidates whom fortune 500 companies are willing to pay a hundred thousand to just to hire you know so i saw it as a non-compete as that there's a no conflict of interest but it's interesting sometimes you have to color outline outside the lines a little bit or take risks so you did that and i think so you went got here and you said oh i've done an interview and i've got a great job or a great job offer and at the end of the interview and they make you the offer you said everybody so then you have to start you know and then you start you said hey i want to do this my own way i can do this you know i got the cop got your confidence back your mojo back he said okay we're going to do this and so you went out and you decided i'm going to build this again almost again from scratch with a little bit of connections in the bay area and how did that go for you yeah i started in l.a before we moved to before we moved to the bay for my wife's work but i started right downtown la south of la looking going back after those manufacturing businesses because in toronto i i did all of my experience primarily it was around manufacturing so i started working with a few robotics firms a robotic farming company a couple of software companies out of santa monica and that was it that took and i summarized a year right there because like i had to wait honestly man for like eight months for my visa and like paperwork and then i just went and killed it from there i hired four companies and that's all i had until we moved to the bay pretty much stopped it was a year later we moved to the bay in in 2017 i stopped recruiting because it would have been another from scratch i had to go and start doing business development and my heart was at this point fully you know given to mental health support and helping the average person figure themselves out figure their career out so they can just you know overcome their anxiety stress you know be happy okay no it didn't make sense so so you did that and you you finally you know see you takes a year with what you just summarized we started to get traction and then you know if i remember right when we talked a little bit before the podcast you kind of have two passions or two different things that you like to pursue one is that you'd like to you know build the recruiting and help people out they also enjoy the coaching and helping people to figure out their career path figure out how to find a job figure out how to do a resume figure out how to do job interviews get a better offer negotiating and i think you mentioned you almost ended up taking more of that path to where you left the recruiting more or at least less focused on it to go more for the coaching is that about right no that's right uh 2018 i made like about 80 grand less i remember because it's a big hit to your pocket you know when you start making good money you're like okay but i'm gonna make this business decision i'm gonna close this line of business this revenue you know i'm just gonna let go of my clients it was only four you know but that that pretty much means like if you have a terrible year you make a hundred grand from those if you have a good year make like you know two to fifty three hundred that's nice that absolutely pays everything i'm not i'm not i don't have a problem yeah but um so it wasn't a year like that but you know i could have made it something like that in two three years uh but it wasn't so the year falling to that i just stopped the recruiting took a big hit because uh you know i estimated one placement per four businesses that's 20 grand each that's 80k so to be fair you know so i said okay well i lost some money there how can i get it back i just need to scale up and uh really grow my coaching business so one question on that because you know i've been i like to re i always the type if i ever have time which i usually don't to read business books and you get into that and you you look at reading the business books and you know so i'm backing you up so if i ever have a time to read a book it's a business book my wife always laughs because i always do work i mean do startups i do work with small businesses and it's like well how was reading a book about exactly what you do day to day a fun thing to do and you know that's but anyway that aside one of the books i like to read or i have pre or read recently was on netflix and so netflix if you remember they started out now everybody knows streaming service right and they still have their dvd service but when they started out it was much more of a store where you could either go and buy a dvd and they had the largest of that time dvds are brand new so there wasn't there's only like a thousand or two thousand out there so they had almost every dvd on the market and they also you could then they kind of had a split business market or business thing of hey we can either do the selling of the dvds which is where they're making most of their money at the time but they also have amazon up and coming or they can move over to more of the dvds by mail and then they later pivoted to or built into that streaming but they had that kind of that critical junction of most of our money is coming from dvd sales and yet we see the future of either where we want to go and where we need to be is you know the mailing the dvds by mail and that's what we need to figure out so they left basically for pennies on the dollar left the selling the dvd market to focus on the mail so you know that one's always an interesting and sometimes it's a hard one because you're saying hey i'm making good money we're you know this is the core of the business how do we switch over so when you made that switch over and you decide okay i'm going to focus much more on the coaching on helping people negotiate write resumes do everything that they need to do to land the best job they can how did how did that and so you made that transition did it go well did it not go well and you touched on a little bit but you know how how did that making that first of all how did or how did you arrive at that decision that you're going to make that switch and then then then what did you how did it go after that yeah for sure it wasn't it wasn't all feeling and you know it wasn't all emotion it was definitely let's just give it 50 emotion and heart and passion but the other 50 that forced my hand was um you know software and ai hasn't been taken over recruiting for a very long time and for me very long time is like five years is a very long time in tech right so i noticed the changes um right away with with a company called hire view so i actually they're they're amazing you know so the ai interviewing and video interviewing where even aisses assesses your video so it's fully robotics interviewing you know side note interesting previous one one of the firms i work with actually did some of their patent work so i'm actually fairly familiar with it i love higher view and they're out here in utah and i've done some of their patent work previously that is so cool man so like a small connection see things like that small world things like that i was like oh my god like the staffing industry is in business you know and uh that's one pattern so if you're in the business you know that a lot of businesses organizations are have been bringing recruiting in-house through corporate recruiting and internal talent acquisition programs talent acquisition has been growing for about again three to four years extensively creating new departments diversity and inclusion inequality you know equality and equity programs uh there are so many extensions to hr right now and they're all coming in house that's what i saw i saw the staffing industry the third party recruiting industry being a lot of problem in a lot of trouble and uh fast forward to code with 19 one of the top three among the top three biggest hit industries as a staffing industry you know a lot of people that i know i have a big obviously big network within recruiters a lot of them have been unhappy to say it at least no i think that you know looking at the trends looking at where it's going and sometimes you know while it can be hard to make that pivot or hard to make that adjustment it can in the long run is more or makes it much better so making you made that pivot you made that adjustment both from looking at the trends what you just enjoyed where you're thinking had the most impact kind of roll that all together made that jump how did that go for it was it enjoyable went well more of a starting over doing a new build or how did how did that transition go for you it was stressful because uh i knew i had to ramp up you know like from as a revenue source i had to match up the revenue source that i chose to shut down so it was challenging to just fill my time with one-on-one consulting it did give me an opportunity to sort of prove a process validate a strategy or an idea or a concept and turn it into like a end-to-end coaching program but it's it's never easy you know anytime you do it for a second time it's easy obviously it gets easier and easier but it was very challenging to just decide because i knew i could pick up the phone at any point hustle for a couple of weeks get a job order from a business fill it within a month i make like you know 30 to 50 grand at a high level especially at this point i'm in the bay area so with all those years of experience and i'm like oh my god how much do you make you're a software developer you make 300 grand and i'm doing the math i'm like if i place you i make 60k i used to place you in toronto and make you know like 9k now i can make 60k in the day you know but i'm not gonna do it because i love coaching so it's a it's a mental it's a mental game you know so no and i get that but you know i think it's a lesson of you can sometimes the things that can make you the most money in life aren't going to make you the most happy right so if all that was it if all you were chasing is hey i want to be make as much money as i can you wouldn't you'd make me make a different decision but money contrary to the you know common thought money doesn't always make happiness now if you don't have enough money or you have no money it's also hard to be happy so you do have to find that balance but i think it is you find what you enjoy and a lot of times you know me at the the front end maybe more take a hit but if you if it's still something that's needed on the marketplace and people want and and you can make a good living at it because you you're going to be passionate you're going to want to do it you're going to wake up excited to do it as a and say i'm going to go out and help a lot of people so so as we kind of start to wrap up the podcast and people are saying okay now i want to reach out to you i want to you know get involved i want to um you know use your service i want to uh have or have your coaching and so i can land that 300 000 job in the bay area what is the what's the best way for them to connect up to with you go to our website engineeryourmission.com okay you can definitely find me on linkedin that's where i spend all of my days you know making connections building relationships you know sharing videos content but on our website engineeryourmission.com you'll have access to more information okay perfect invite everybody to go there so now as we hit the end of the podcast i always have two questions that i always ask so i'll ask you those now so the first question i always ask is is what's the worst business decision you ever made um not delegating soon enough you know right now i have a team of four and i feel like we now i feel like wow how how are we functioning like this we need more support why is everybody's working full-time and i just rewind the tape back a couple of years i'm like how was i doing all of this on my own and then i realized well i don't have the success that i have now back then because i was all on my own so just deciding to do everything on your own i still have those tendencies it's a personality thing but as long as you become conscious of it it allows you to uh to delegate as best as you can no i think that's a hard thing for a lot of people that are kind of have the entrepreneur and startup spirit in the sense that you always do you always think you can do it better or hey by the time i train somebody else or have somebody else do it i can do it just as quick or quicker and it's going to take more work to do it than if i just try to do it myself and so you know i think that that's one where you always have to say now short term that's probably the case maybe i can do it quicker but long term if i want this to grow if i want to make it bigger and they want to you know be able to or have more people on the team i can't control everything and i can't do everything myself and so i think that that's a hard lesson that a lot of people you always have to learn no matter who you are as you go through the processes how you delegate how you let people have that um roles and responsibilities that you need you you can do it all yourself and which ones you hand off and how you hand it off so so do that and then second question that i always hit on is um so if you're talking to somebody that was just getting into a startup or small business what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them i was gonna say don't do what i did but uh i would say especially since a lot of entrepreneurs they are going they want to do do it themselves so piggybacking on on the previous conversation uh you are right it is easier to do it yourself it is faster to do it yourself because guess what you have been doing it yourself but draw a line you know so when you look at your business plan when you're looking at your uh launch plan just draw a line at one point of of the process and just stop there at that stop at that point and know that you wouldn't move forward so if you do everything you do all the planning strategy and everything draw a line at designing the website you know like that is not you and everything that comes after that and in that category because i felt like i i've been trying to do a little bit of a little bit of help out of kindness let's try to help everybody out you know in the team or you know even if you're on your own let's see let's see how many things i can do rather than if i'm good at these two things just do these two things really well and just draw a red line around the other stuff that i haven't started i know i'm not going to good at it so just draw those lines have boundaries around things that you should do yourself and do them well do more of them do it for longer you know sacrifice your time or whatever you need to do get it done but the ones that you have to go and learn from scratch like mistakes i've made is like going to learn online marketing taking courses i should have just got someone to do this three four years ago rather than take two years to learn it and then delegate it so everything i've learned i'm not even using so it's it's goes back to time management and delegation and just deciding what to learn even what not to learn because we feel good when we're learning new stuff we're starting a new business i'm like okay i'm gonna go learn project management well why are you gonna be doing the project management or would it be better to do you know someone else no i think that's and i think learning how to delegate it's a it's a thing that it's a hard thing yeah and where i always where i found is two things is the things i usually keep for myself and otherwise i try and delegate and one is things that i really love and i'm passionate and enjoy i try to keep those to myself or at least keep involved with it because those are where i want you know if i'm passionate about it i'll probably do you know do a lot better job at it and then two are the things that others can't do meaning if i got some specialized experience or expertise or i know how to do this and others don't and it's going to take way too long too difficult to bring them up to speed or doesn't make sense i'll usually keep those for myself and everything else i usually i think it's if as you grow and it is a kind of a growth thing right so if you're starting out you're doing a bootstrap your one guy show you can't delegate you don't even have the budget to necessarily pay yourself a little on other people but then as you grow i always look and say okay now let's how do i reinvest this i can sure i can take home a bigger paycheck now but if i do that then i'm never i can't never grow it in the long run it's not going to help the business so i think that those are a great lesson learned is to learn to delegate and partners i'll leave them with that so you know partner with someone uh trying to always you know like oh well if i partner they take half my money like no don't don't let your animal brain speak to you like that you know it's not about automatically they take half your money or don't go towards cliches if you need someone just just partner with someone especially if this is your first business what if it fails the chances are it will fail you know so the sooner you fail the sooner your second business is going to be better this is my third one the one that i launched yesterday you know like totally different business plan same me same business but completely different business plan so um look forward to failing you know and partner with people you know don't don't don't hate friends when it comes to businesses you know because i've had the opportunity to work with friends i didn't because like all right well oh friends i don't want to hurt our friendships you know cliche watch too many movies just find the right people if you trust them you know start working with them and if it fails it fails you know you learn from it you you keep going no that's all all great advice and certainly something people should take to heart so well as we reach the end of the podcast i appreciate you sharing your journey encourage people to reach out to you and use your services you use your coaching use your ability to help make more money and find the job they love and uh wish you all the best of luck on your journey and your future part of your journey and the success for those of you that are wanting to come on the podcast and tell your journey um feel free to go to inventive journey or inventivejourneyguest.com and apply to be on the podcast and for those of you that are current listeners make sure to subscribe so you can catch all the new episodes and if you need any help with uh patents and trademarks feel free to reach out to us at miller iplod and we're here to help thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a pleasure it's been fun to have you on and i wish you the next uh or the next part of your journey the best thank you i appreciate it English (auto-generated) All Recently uploaded

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