Know Your Why
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Know Your Why
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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the first thing you should do is read the book uh start with why by simon sinek i really truly believe that if you know your why you're going to be things will be easier not things are going to be really easy but the you'll be on on a good path know why you're doing something and if you're just i mean because that's going to dictate really how things move forward that's helped me tremendously knowing why i made it knowing why i want to work with the the community i'm working with literally sets everything down a great path for me and you'll also learn why you don't want to do something but for me that's the most amazing book start with why i would read that [Music]
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 into seven and eight figure businesses as well as a founder and ceo of miller ip law where we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks and other things related to the business if you ever need anything any help just feel free to go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast as always uh ben wolfe and uh ben never necessarily thought he'd be an entrepreneur until he got to his mid 40s but backing up a little bit when he was in high school kind of always wanted to be an actor and went to college and school for uh musical theater and then went was in la and then went to broadway in new york for a period of time and then about 10 years ago he was kind of having or had a conversation about whether he's on the right track whether he's going where he's at kind of made some pivots and did some styling for executives or business executives and then in 2008 when things crashed a bit had to pivot and adjust and uh when or went on a bit of a path there tried a couple other startups including one that's called faster pan so i think it was and uh you can talk a little bit more about that and then about a year and a half or i think it was about a year and a half ago kind of was getting into different things and then uh had a hospital stay came up with an idea and brings him a bit to where he's at today so with that much is a quick interview or quick introduction not quick interview but apologies quick introduction welcome on the podcast ben
hey devin it's great to be here and wow man that that was like flashing before my eyes what you just said that was like your life in 30 seconds or less that's right so i did now the the kind of quick and brief introduction but take us back a bit in time to a bit in high school and you wanted to be an actor in college and coming out and tell tell us your journey from there sure you know growing up in la i was probably like most kids bitten with the showbiz bug um i had a talent for singing and dancing and um i just started doing that and that's where i really thought my life would head i mean even into college it was a search to find a musical theater program which i did find in san diego at a university called um um oh my god my head is uh i can't remember the name it's been so long it's just insane but anyway yeah so got my degree in musical theater tried it out in l.a ended up moving to new york in 1999 to try my hat at theater and i'm going to tell you it didn't work i wasn't working as an actor i wasn't making much of a living and rather than just keep going down that path i decided it was time to pivot or persevere as we say and pretty much in my mid 40s i was like this isn't working what else can i do and that's when i uh decided i wanted to be a fashion stylist so before you jump into fashion style so you've been in you've been trying or been doing the acting kind of broadway kind of route for what was it 15 10 15 years yeah pretty much for 10 15 years so did you did you i assume in that i won't assume did you ever get in the show did you ever do acting did you ever try it out was it was it the starving artist lifestyle were you successful or kind of how did that work out i'll tell you man it was much more of the starving artist i did have some successes i did a few tours i worked on a cruise ship i did off-broadway never did broadway but you know they're just so it was okay it wasn't great i wasn't really making a living i i made more money at my day jobs as we call it um the stuff you do in between acting gigs or the stuff you do after the contract ends because as an actor it's always about your you always contract a contract and there's a lot of space in between um and that's kind of what happened to me and it was actually during those uh in between times that i became aware of my um how much i liked re um dressing men and women and men and women's clothing and that's really when i had that epiphany of do i pivot or persevere do i stay as an actor and uh go down that path or i move on and that's where i decided to move on and that's really where redress came about that was my uh business of styling business executives so now so you so you got in you said okay i've tried this acting for a while i've had some success i've had some failures type of thing but i you know i'm kind of moving on from that and you know and you had the idea of okay i like styling i like you know dressing so people so speak you're having helping them to be fashionable and that type of a thing
so you get into that and you know how did that business go making that transition from being more on the stage or doing the acting or doing the shows to being a bit more behind this or behind the stage so to speak or helping people to look successful and to be you know be that aspect was it everything you wanted was it a fun business did it grow or how did it go for you
yeah so i'll tell you this it really was a fun business um by the time i had transitioned i had pretty much acting kind of out of my system so it was there wasn't any regret there was just that i needed to move on this is my past and now i'm into my future um i actually uh really let me let me just say this dressing business executives was really different than i thought it would be i mean normally when people think of fashion stylists they think of the red carpet and that kind of a thing the emmys the oscars that really wasn't my deal i was very good at dressing the everyday businessman and businesswoman i was able to take uh uh just a general amount of pieces they would have in their closet and create multiple looks and that to me was so fun because it was all about creativity how to put patterns and colors and styles together in order to create something that that person would love to wear in their business meetings in their board meetings meeting their customers or clients that's what i really loved about it so now one question on that and more just maybe a curiosity on my end is you know how do you having a passion sometimes is hard to build a business around right in the sense that you can be very passionate about something but getting somebody to pay you for it and finding those customers that are willing to pay you can sometimes be the difficult so now that you kind of found you enjoyed this and you were good at it and that how did you go about finding you know finding customers and clients and people willing to pay for it and building a business around it that's a great question and you're absolutely right i um back in the day i decided to kind of hone in on real estate brokers because real estate brokers have to dress well all the time so what i did which you cannot do now because they kind of figured it out as i went to their website and you were able to access an individual real estate broker and their email so i was basically email bombing kind of all these brokers until somebody said yes and i probably sent out thousands of emails from various different websites in order to get people to at least show an interest and that's really how it started um that's kind of how i did it and then it became kind of a word of mouth and then it became oh i have these clients what do you you know would you do you want to hire me because i'm already working with these people and they love my work so you know that was kind of my first foray into email marketing because i really didn't know how to meet anybody i didn't really have any guidance on this i didn't have somebody i could say how did you do it so i kind of just had to fend for myself and i tried this out and it seemed to work so now so you try that out seems to work going going along well and when or what year was it that you started it i'm going to say i really think this was about 2000 end of 2005 2006. okay so you do that 2005 2006 so it sounds like two or three years the kind of things are going well you're starting to get reputation word of mouth building up a bit of a clientele and then you have a bit of the economy crash or the housing market which kind of pulls everything else down so how did that how did that kind of affect things or where did that what direction that put you well it really put me in a bad place because not only were executives being let go or the people who would hire me to let go but real estate fell apart so i had the majority of my customers were real estate brokers and so that kind of really was a double whammy for me so i quickly lost i'm gonna say like 85 percent of my customers um i had tried to start to reach out to other businesses like i was uh working with the head of pearson education i was dressing him but still they were everybody was in the same boat because although he wasn't a real estate broker he had people working for him and they had to let them go so everybody was tightening their belt and i was not on the top of their list of people to keep so now so and you kind of see that and i'm i'm guessing it was a bit of an in slow mo in the sense that you know housing market starts to crash a few clients start to leave a few more start to leave things start bills get kind of get tightened so as you kind of see that that's the direction things are headed kind of what did you do at that point did you pivot did you adjust did you take a step back or kind of how did you navigate that well what i did is i ended up getting another day job because i really didn't know excuse me i really didn't know what i was going to do next so i kind of just pulled everything back and went and got another day job i can't remember where but it was probably retail because that's kind of where i excelled at but even those were hard to find just because of the nature now now it people were still shopping at that time right we didn't have like a pandemic so people were still out and about and still shopping so retail was still alive it just wasn't as it just wasn't flourishing as much but it was probably not i'm going to say a good year year and a half until i came up with my other idea which became faster pants which was built upon what i learned with redress so now you have the idea for faster pants and if i remember that was kind of taking what you did on a one-to-one or in-person basis of helping people to restyle their um wardrobes into multiple styles and kind of taking that to a software kind of an application is that right yeah you're exactly right what i wanted to do what the question in my head was can i take what i did uh physically like i physically with redress i would go into their closet i would sort through everything that was not good i take out everything that was good i kept and then i would arrange outfits and i would photograph the outfits make it make a like a photo book of it and they would have like usually 20 brand new looks that i would put together based on a set of criteria that they would give me and i thought can i do that and make it into software turn that into some kind of electronic thing and um basically what i did excuse me um so basically what i did is i bought colored construction paper and each color was a certain item of clothing and they would be like a circle so i would cut out circles for dress shirts pink circles for dress shirts blue diamonds for ties square brown squares for pants something like that and i took every piece of clothing out of my closet and i made outfits you know suit shirt tie or sport coat blazer trouser or polos or things like that and everything got a colored and a shaped uh piece of paper and what i did is after i made an outfit i would write those down on a piece of paper like a spreadsheet to see if there was a pattern to what was going on and i actually found one i actually found that the the biggest piece of clothing or the clothing that was the most predominant became the star of the show and everything else became supporting characters and by doing this i was able to come up with kind of a pattern you know in a way of like a light shirt and a dark tie on a on a this color of a suit that's very basic but something like that and i made it came out to be like 68 pages of spreadsheet a lot of really what i would define as if then that if this then that if this then that kind of a thing if they choose this type of tie then this type of shirt pops up um and that was really the basics of it and the next thing was i set out to find uh somebody who could make that into software um so now so you kind of come up the idea you find the pattern saying okay now let's turn this into software and i think you know you find someone they help you build it for a period of time um but you know how did that go was it did you did were able to get the software up and running was a program success did people want to buy it or is it difficult to sell or kind of how did it go for you well oh my gosh so i did get it up and running it ended up becoming everything that was in my head my developer was able to create um but like a lot of entrepreneurs i built something that nobody wanted i built something i spent a lot of money it looked amazing it worked great but nobody bought nobody wanted it no um i was i was thinking it was going to be more software as a service and i couldn't get any takers and to be honest i it was about 50 grand that i spent all together um a lot of it much of it from friends and family so there was a lot of uh guilt on my part a lot of pain on my part because i was one who had to tell them that this wasn't going to work and so that ended and i was kind of in a stasis after that like of not knowing what to do for probably another year year and a half um until i could figure out my next step but yeah i learned a lot from faster pants my god i learned a ton of a lot of what not to do a lot of um how to make your money work for you how to really make sure you listen to the right people and how you find the right people and everybody has opinions but not everybody's opinion you should listen to so yeah man it was a really expensive lesson that i learned but i really think it informed how i built um beanie sleeper and how i'm making that into yeah no and i think one thing you mentioned when chatted a bit before the interview is that you know not only did it fail but it kind of you know it sucked out a bit of the creative nature emporia for a period of time that was almost like okay i put kind of my heart and soul into this nobody wants it and this was you know and i like how you kind of put there's too often and i think it happens with a lot of entrepreneurs is you have a idea that you think is really cool that you fall in love with that you're really excited about and you know and uh and then you go out and you're like but other people don't want or even if they want and they may not be willing to pay for right they may say oh that's a cool idea but then getting people to say it's not not only a cool idea but i'm willing to pay for it it's going to be a difficult thing and sometimes you kind of you know drink your own kool-aid or you buy into your own idea and it can be hard to step back and see that so once you finally kind of figured out okay this isn't going to be able to quite make a go of it it's not going to work out the way i anticipated you know you had that period of time that was kind of hey i need to take a pause from the creativity before you circle back is that right that really is i mean i i think i was just talking to somebody about this earlier and then i think there's two ways to approach uh i guess entrepreneurship either you see what the world wants and you create that or you create what you want and you see if the world wants it i'm more of the latter i mean redress was something i wanted to do and i really didn't know if there'd be a market for it until i found there was um faster pants was something i really wanted to do i was like this is a no-brainer men can't shop they're going to love that you pick one piece and you get multiple outfits that you could buy all at once sure nobody wanted it and then and then beanie sleeper was something that i needed for myself when i was in the hospital and i couldn't find so i created it for myself hoping others would like it so dive into that a bit more so now because i think that's a good transition so you took that kind of year and a half off i think you just said you kind of work again retail or just kind of general jobs you know to make their pay the bank but said okay i'm going to take a bit of breather from the creative aspect and that and then you had an uh issue where you had to go in the hospital and then you kind of came up with what is beanie sleeper which is what your current product is yeah so yeah the current product is beauty sleeper but i'm going to say really practically all of 2019 was like a creativity wasteland i had there was just nothing going on in my head i was you know i was working at a job that i actually liked but it it was starting to weigh on me i was just not there were no creative juices flowing and i think the worst thing that happens to anybody is that once they those juices stop flowing you think they will never flow again and that ends up building on itself and that's what it did it built on me until finally um i ended up in the middle of october i had some medical problems and i ended up having to go into the hospital for a couple of weeks and it was really in there that this need for something it was really cold the lights are always on doctors and nurses coming in and out i couldn't sleep and it was really such a basic need for sleep that led me to create what is now beanie sleeper i would um it was october so it was cold so when i went into the hospital i had a winter beanie with me you know the traditional winter beanie that's made out of like nylon or wool it's it's very warm it has those things that fold up i was trying to use that and i tried and it really didn't work it worked enough but it was always hot the fabric always laid on my eyes was incredibly uncomfortable but when i left the hospital i got home uh two weeks later it just hit me what i wanted to make i wanted to make a better version of that something that i could sleep with that didn't have the elastic i hated those was more than just a sleep mask because my head was cold i hated that and basically that's how i came up with the idea of beanie sleeper and that's what set me on the path to where i'm at today um i mean i could tell you exactly how i did it what i spent what the process was i'll let you tell me what you want to know but basically it was from that that my creativity was born again and i i set out on a path of beanie sleeper literally from that moment of idea in my head till selling it actually selling it um so maybe one question to follow up on on that is so you know you have the idea you're sitting in the hospital bed you're saying okay uh and everybody's been in there if you've ever had to own an overnight or more you know multiple night day hospital stay you're saying like you know they they come in they turn the lights on then turn the lights off you leave the door open they get brighter it's hard to sleep and everything else and so definitely trying to figure out how can i get a bit of peace and quiet or at least not be woken up every half an hour an hour and kind of out of that that motivation to why don't i take kind of a beanie that can then kind of fold comfortably fold over your eyes so at least it blocks a bit of the the light and the the that out out to make it a bit comfortable sleeping from that kind of idea how long did it take you to develop it and then did you is it in the marketplace or how did you get in the marketplace or is it still they're still working on or kind of how is that transition from the idea to where you're at today yeah i'll tell you man i moved really quick i it was in my head that this was going to happen literally i started to think about stuff i would need to try and make a prototype uh pretty much out right after i got out of the hospital i would go on to amazon and i bought things that i thought i would need like scissors like sewing stuff like velcro stuff i just bought things i thought i would need so that when i got stuff at home i could literally cut and paste and glue and to make what i thought this could be so i'll say between like november 1st and the end of november i think i had my first prototype it was quite a mess but because i don't know how to sew or anything but i would it was from there that i set out to find uh like a tailor to find somebody a seamstress somebody could so sew it together to kind of get an idea of what i wanted and i'm gonna say that that lasted through maybe the end of december of 2019 um but i'll say this the first part of january i started to see some light on finding somebody to help me with this i was talking to one of my best friends uh my friend ed ed sylvia he's a fashion designer now he's a busy guy i didn't never would have gone to him to help me with this because he's really busy but i was calling him to see if he could direct me where i can go to find somebody so i'm telling him about this and i need this done i need it to look really good i need to be able to show people um do you have any idea where it can go and he said well i'll do it i'm like you're busy how can you do it he goes no i really like this i think it's a great idea i'll help you so my friend ed and i got together and he actually um worked with me to create the final product which is actually this so this is actually a beanie sleeper and what was great is that i you know of course i paid him for it i don't like people working for free i don't think that's right even if i pay him up five bucks which i paid more than that but i want p i want people to know that i value what they do so he made my first 10 my first 10 pieces um and that hap i got those about mid february and i was putting up i decided i was going to put up an etsy site um and then pretty much what march 15th life was normal march 16th new york was in lockdown a pandemic had hit so that takes us really into end of march beginning of april where i had my etsy site up and i tried to sell them on etsy i sold one but what was interesting about etsy is that it allows you to cert to see how people found you and one of the big searches that people were looking for was something called the chemo beanie and i never heard of that i didn't even know that was a thing so i did some reach research and it turns out that's a thing men and women going through chemotherapy will wear something on their head to cover because they're they're cold and it's called the kibabini or and for a woman it's called a turban so i started to reach i started to look at that look out to that and i found these websites where they sell these things and i started to reach out and it was from that reaching out that i met beth over at mastectomyshop.com she deals mostly with women who have gone through or going through breast cancer and it was from her that i basically sent her an email kind of like similar to me working with the uh real estate brokers so i i sent her an email but this time they said i said my name is ben i have a product called beanie sleeper i and i told her my hospital story and her reply to me was wow i wish this was around when my daughter was in the hospital so we had a connection and it was really from that connection she bought my last six and then it was like when can i buy 50 more so it was really from there that i s that i realized that i could possibly have something that might work that people may like and i kind of found this community that i never thought about that i thought well let me see if i can help this community and make a business no and i think that definitely makes sense and that's that's a cool story of kind of you know but it's also kind of the hey i've got a cool product people are wanting it now you're finding that market fit as to where do you have that entrance and how do you actually start to you know pre or sell it and actually or find people that are wanting to buy so now that kind of brings us up to today so now looking kind of out of the next six to 12 months where do you see that heading or where is that where will that take you well that's a great question so i'm i still reach out to um i'm going to call it the chemo community the cancer community and i'm always searching i i sell wholesale by the way i'm i will say 95 of my sales are wholesale and i did that for a couple reasons and maybe people listening could get something from this because i think it really worked for me that nobody knows who the heck i am nobody knows beanie sleeper and i have no money for marketing so i have a great website but i have no money to bring eyeballs to the website so what i thought is what if i bring my product to a site that already has eyeballs and by working with beth she puts my product on her site and instantly i'm a product i'm a brand because her site only has great brands on it so that's kind of what i did and i think wholesale is really the way for me to go because i can also scale at wholesale it's better for me to sell 60 at a time than to sell one it makes more sense to this business model so i'm where i'm at now is i will say 95 of my sales are wholesale mostly to people in the chemo community cancer community like um uh beth at uh a fitting experience that's her that's her brick and mortar mastectomyshop.com hello courage um met about you too there's um i also just but what's really interesting is i was able to reach into um bedding company which i didn't know would be a good fit i knew sleepwear but fine pillow was a betting company that took on beanie sleeper because they think it makes sense for their customers so now they're selling it so that's kind of where i'm at right now um i i did the whole factory thing i ordered i had i ordered 7 500 pieces between the middle of december and up until about a week ago i had sold around 200 of those it's very slow but i'm reaching into um i'm trying to reach more into hospitals and like cancer centers i work with lemonsoflove.org which is a really great organization run by jill swanson um who's a cancer survivor colon cancer and she makes chemo kits or chemo baskets that she gives to chemo patients so beanie sleepers are part of that i'm going to be working with broca strong who's another um cancer foundation and we're working together to create some kind of a a give by give or a gift give kind of thing so i see that um my i really want beanie sleeper to be a business i really believe i can do good and make money i'm a really big believer in that and that's kind of every day that's kind of how i do i try to create um opportunity by contacting people in this on one side or the other to see if somebody will buy or we can create some kind of arrangement i'm marketing all the time i even have my own instagram live that i do weekly called sleeping with ben where i interview like like interesting people like you do and i want to find out about their story and maybe how sleep um helps them or hurts them in their story or what they've done i find it really interesting so that's kind of where i'm at like at this moment well cool i think that is uh definitely a fun direction to head it sounds like you know it's as with a lot of companies you know you always see the movie always read the book and it always makes it sound like it's an overnight success when really it's an overnight success 10 years in the making so it's always that slow burn to build in to grow up and it sounds like it's on a great trajectory so now as we kind of you know always more things to talk about than time to talk about them as we start to wrap up with the podcast i always ask two questions so we'll jump to that now a bit you know so 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 i'm going to say i think the worst business decision i made was around the last four months of faster pants i was convinced by people i shouldn't have been convinced to to redo the entire site and i dropped another four grand in that i think that was the worst business decision because i really didn't follow my own gut i followed the advice of somebody else and i think mentors are great but you got to listen to yourself and if it doesn't make sense you've got to at least put the brakes on um no and i think that's a good point in the sense that on the one hand it's great to have good mentors around people who can provide you feedback and it's you know they can always provide you with the invaluable thoughts on that but at the end of the day you take all that in and then you have to decide what does that make mean for me in in this sense of do i agree with it ultimately i'm gonna be half the one to live with it and i'm gonna have to pay for it and it's got to make sense so you kind of take that all in aggregate it and then say okay now with that in mind i'm going to make the decision but you got to balance that so they don't influence they don't have an undue influence to push you in a direction that doesn't make sense to you it's really true and and that lesson was big in my head before i decided to sink a lot of money into beanie sleeper i decided that if my if the feedback i got when people tried it was oh this is great but if you only added xyz if that was the only response i got i was going to scrap the whole thing because that was my problem with faster bands i was trying to build i kept adding features adding features adding features before anybody paid a dime so i really learned that i'm going to listen to the people who pay me money because they're the ones who are putting down their cash and they should they have more of a say and it's really worked because that's how i learned that beanie sleeper would be good for camping or be good when people have headaches or be good for train travel or plane travel i learned that because this is what my customers were telling me people who paid their 30 bucks they were telling me so that to me was the best that was an expensive lesson but the best lesson oh i think it's a great lesson to learn and the people that are going to pay you or off or the ones that you should listen to because otherwise people are there's a lot of people who are willing to give you advice right up until you ask them to write a check or give you money and then and then they then all of a sudden their tune changes well i think this is good but it's not a product for me so i think listening to the one where is a product for them definitely makes sense so now as we go to the second question which is if you're to take you know if you're talking now just to someone that's getting into a startup or a small business what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them that's a really good question i actually help people i call them newbies people are just starting out with an idea and i say the first thing you should do is read the book um start with why by simon sinek i really truly believe that if you know your why you're going to be things will be easier not things are going to be really easy but you'll be on on a good path know why you're doing something and if you're just i mean because that's going to dictate really how things move forward that's helped me tremendously knowing why i made it knowing why i want to work with the the community i'm working with literally sets everything down a great path for me um and you'll also learn why you don't want to do something but for me that's the most amazing book um start with why i would read that no i think i think it's a great book and definitely it gives you a different insight as to motivations and why you're doing it and how to navigate things so i think that that's a great piece of advice well for those normal listeners we'll be wrapping up this podcast and for those that want to stay tuned we are asking the bonus question we chat a little bit about intellectual property but if uh if you're one of those that don't want to listen to intellectual property or otherwise want to get back to your day definitely appreciate you listening and thank you again ben for coming on um thank you if you are a listener and you have your own journey to tell feel free to go to inventiveguest.com and apply to be on the podcast love to have you on and to have you share your story if your listener also won make sure to click subscribe in your podcast player so you can get notifications when all our new awesome episodes come out and to leave us a review so new people can find us and if you ever need help with your intellectual property visit us at miller ip law by going to strategymeeting.com so now as we transition so you i i always get asked all the questions and talk about your journey and we now always get to flip the table or a bit and you get to get or ask a question so i'm going to flip it and say what is your top intellectual property question i can answer for you yeah this has been a huge one for me and that's basically because i have a product so i i already have a trademark i have trademarked bb sleeper that is mine i own that but the thing is i've been told i should patent the beanie sleeper and that just makes my head explode because i this is what i know of it and you can and please set me straight this is what i know of it patenting is very expensive and even if i did it somebody else could come along and make another beanie sleeper and the best thing i could do is maybe send them a cease and desist or take them to court but that would take years and a lot of money so is it even worth it yeah i i think it's an absolutely fair question a fair point and so and i and i'll give it it's a bit of a bystander but i think a fair one is when you're looking at a patent you got to kind of look and see what is what is the motivation the reason you're getting it in the sense that and there are a few right one is that you're going to get it because it's an investment as an example if you're going to go out to venture capital angel investors other people that are going to want to invest in or otherwise join the company a lot of times they're going to want to see has something proprietary and that you protected it so one is it can be an asset another one it can be a bit of a defensive position in the sense that hey i'm not necessarily going to go out and sue anybody but if somebody comes tries to come after me it's a bit of mutually assured destruction right if you come after me i have this as a defensive weapon and then i'll be able to protect myself and then the last one you hit on is kind of more of hey this is an offensive weapon where if somebody starts to knock off what i'm doing then i'm going to go after them and so then your question goes a little bit more to that last one is okay let's say you were saying i got this and you're usually looking at through the whole process if you go with us and there's other firms you're probably looking at ten to twelve thousand over the space of about two to two and a half years to go through the process and get all the way through upwards if you go to other firms that are you know east coast west to coast type of thing you're up to fifteen twenty thousand so you're right in a sense it can get more expensive and then you're gonna have to say well is it worth it and so the question is as to whether it's worth it is let's say you did have something you got a patent you got it issued you go in through the process and somebody comes alongs and knock and knocks you off then you have to look at a bit of your understanding of your of your you know what the industry you're in and kind of what the competitors are if it's another small business and you may that cease and assist letter with the you know legal threat and showing that you have a patent may be enough to scare them off and you can get them shut down or it may be hey let's say i sell a ton of these on amazon or on online marketplaces you can use a patent as a way to get a takedown notice and you can otherwise have it removed down and it makes that path a lot more or more quickly another way is just saying let's and let's say you're an industry that there's a lot of big competitors and at some point you want to get acquired you want to do a merger an acquisition or something of that nature then you may get a higher valuation bump and so that way may also be saying hey i'm looking up to someday five years down the road 10 years down the road i want to make an exit from the company i want to be able to retire from it or whatnot then that can help in when you go to sell in order to do that the last thing is let's say you you just say hey i'm going to go they they're not going to listen to my cease and desist letter and i'm gonna have to go to court then you're right that can get expensive an average patent lawsuit you know if you're to go all the way through which very seldom they make it all the way through they usually settle if you go all the way through you're upwards of seven figures a million plus dollars to go through the whole thing the question is is depending on the industry a lot of times what i say for startups or small businesses hey don't you don't necessarily go out and sue everybody today but let's say you do make a multi you know six figure seven figure company over a period of time that investment to keep others out and keep that or competition at bay may be worth it so you may not see them today but in a few years when you do have a bigger company it may be worthwhile the other other kind of thought and avenue you can often go is if on the other hand let's say you're going to you're not a big company but there are other pig companies and i always use the example let's say apple starts to in apple not when necessary with your product but they started to infringe your product they made the knockoff of it every big company has a big competitor apple has samsung they have google they have other companies that yes you don't have the pockets to go sue it or to enforce it but the other companies will you can a lot of times go to their direct competitors or someone that is second or third in line in the in the industry and say hey this is a great thing apple is obviously knocking it off and they they find it valuable would you want to acquire so there's a bit of strategy when you do it so you have to look and say step back and say do i fit into any of these or boxes does it make sense for me to do it sometimes it doesn't sometimes you're saying the best thing is it's going to be a small business i'm going to try and compete as quick as i can i'm going to sell as many as i can i'm going to be the next snuggie i'll sell the market until it's full and then i'm just going to simply retire i've had a good business and not going to protect it other times you're saying no there's reasons why it's kind of a went over that it makes sense so with that there's a question or at least my input to the top intellectual property question you had and i appreciate you asking it appreciate you coming on to the podcast and now people want to reach out to you they want to find out more about your business they want to buy or buy your product they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to fight or reach out to you and find out more um definitely instagram beanie sleeper is a great way um go to my website beaniesleeper.com you can also reach out to me through their um via their the email there um yeah that's the best way to reach out to me awesome well i definitely encourage people to reach out to you find out more support the product use it if you're looking for a good way to sleep when you're traveling you're camping or you're i'm in the hospital definitely makes sense appreciate you again for coming on the podcast ben it's been fun it's been a pleasure and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last all right devon thank you so much i really appreciate it you