Devin MillerThe Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
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.
Get New Episodes
Get 2 brand-new podcast episodes sent to you every week!
ai generated transcription
there's two of them make sure you got money number one everybody knows that but secondly i think an example that i can share from from what i just shared with the um uh dropping the ball and all those opportunities is remain humble [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 in the seven and eight figure businesses as well as a founder and ceo of miller ip law we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help now today we have another great uh guest on the podcast ivan devostim as close as i can get to his name um and pretty good pretty good all right this is a quick introduction to ivan so ivan was born i think born in haiti um and migrated to the us with his parents at about six months uh or six months of age um and then grew up in new york till he's about 10 years old and then moved over to ohio and went into sales so i think it got into sales while i was in school doing something else and decided our sales was where he wanted to be um and then got a job at uh ge or general electric later moved over to career builder built up a lot of relationships ran into a guy started talking became his business partner and didn't know what they wanted to do but they were going to do something and that led to where he's at today so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast ivan oh my pleasure devon awesome job you take good notes hey gotta make sure that we give a good introduction for you so yeah i just gave the and i gave the 30 second kind of quick run through of your whole journey and you know pretty hard to take it into 30 seconds so why didn't take us a bit back in time to where your journey started in haiti and how he got to where you're at today yeah so i was a baby when i came over this was uh 1970 uh so the the uh disco 70s and lived in new york my my father who's a physician psychiatrist um uh decided he wanted to move to of all places lima ohio moved there diversity kind of became the forefront of everything i was because i went from a neighborhood and schools that was really the united nations of uh neighborhoods of communities going to a place where i stuck out like a sore thumb and trust me when i say devin there weren't a lot of haitians living in in lime ohio at the time uh fair enough i'll take your work there i lived in my word wow but never been to there so so now you've grown up yeah did you know i'll go ahead yeah so i went to school thought i was going to follow in the family the family uh legacy of medicine uh uncles and aunts all in medicine surgeons etc um but had the opportunity to to discover sales and out of uh college uh became very intrigued with the behavior of uh the sales process right uh the the the uh the uh uh relationship building the uh picking up on sales cues etc it was just fascinating to me so one question for that just because so assuming went to high school adam did you kind of go into sales out of high school did you go to some college and you signed sales this year i was graduating work kind of work i went to the universe yeah so i when i went to the university of cincinnati which uh since you you spent some time in cleveland you you know it's the uh it's by far the best university in the state of ohio let alone the country i'll go i'll go but i'll give you a second best yeah yeah second best yet uh but close close second but still second uh but go cats and um yeah i uh my undergrad was in natural science with a concentration in biology with uh with the hopes of going into medical school and following in the family footsteps and you know along the way you know we all have our own our own little journeys and i had a buddy who who uh was in the retail business he owned a chain of furniture stores you know kind of unusual for a young 20 mid 20 something someone to have a chain of stores but he uh he came from that type of background uh both sides of his family were in that industry so literally uh he's two three years older than me and uh needed somebody that he could trust to come on board next thing you know i'm working with him and he was great at sales he'd been living this his whole life i mean he he could zero in on somebody who had no intention of buying anything uh to by before they left they were signing their their name on the dotted line right um you know what brings you into the store today you're looking for anything in particular all these nuances you know reading the customer picking up on cues etc uh and building those relationships so those customers would come back right so a lot of repeat customers and as uh as my sales abilities grew i i ended up going to ge uh great company and uh you know so people just recognized my my abilities and then um suggested what yeah because one question because you know going from a smaller sales position to ge i mean ge certainly a big company has a lot of branches so how did you first of all what made you decide to make that transition over and then how did you accomplish it well devin that's a question not a lot of people have asked me in a very long time so you gotta imagine this was about uh 25 years ago you know over 20 years ago uh so my buddy like a lot of friends uh fell in love and decided to get married and uh it was now a family business rather than just one person's business and uh a lot of the reports that we had during work and after work didn't necessarily fly anymore so basically we weren't going to all the parties that we were going to before right so uh made sense to move on and uh had the opportunity at general electric and we were selling um it hardware and software at the time uh ge was one of the largest if not largest uh it software and hardware resellers in the world they had uh purchased several entities to to create one huge huge company within ge capital at the time and it was based here in cincinnati which was pretty cool to be part of all that and then uh my one of my supervisors came to me um he said that the only thing i was missing was was uh was the better business sense better uh you know more more acumen in business and he recommended that i that i pursue my mba which opened a whole new world to me i had no idea like the business world really existed even though i was in it i was so focused on sales but now i realize the true and full impact of sales i started seeing you know everybody sales person from the person behind the cashier register asking if you want extra socks to go with your outfits to the salesman at the at the car lot to uh professionals that are providing a service such as attorneys accountants everybody they need to make you feel comfortable right there's certain type of sales that goes to that you need to feel comfortable from somebody that you're uh seeking a service from and through that um i had the opportunity to get on board with career builder and really that was my my wheelhouse i feel as though i'm a people person so one one question on that so working in ge decided hey i want to get kind of a bit more business background or acumen or kind of whatever that might be so when i assumed that you went and did the mba full time and left ge is that right no i did my mba while i was uh still working on it okay yes yeah i'll go ahead i was yeah yeah so i would i was so i was a grown-up just uh trying to better myself at that point you know working full-time and the program that i went to was through a liberal arts college which i happen to adjunct their new uh upper level students seniors getting ready to graduate it's an advanced course and really a lot of the things that i learned along the way and through mba because i really feel strongly feel that good sales people are ethical sales people they're ethical people and they see the the uh impact that they have not only on their customers being a good advocate for their company as well and really when you're a good sales person you're really bringing new ideas new methodologies new thoughts new technology to organizations that they that without you they may never have the opportunity to even consider let alone try right so i i like to think salespeople make the world go around even if you don't have the title as a salesperson uh you you're bringing yourself you're selling yourself in in certain instances you're selling your products you're selling your ideas all those things so now one because so because one question to follow up on that so you were working at ge saying okay i'm gonna better myself when got the nba at what point did you decide to go to um you know switch jobs and go to the they're more of the uh recruiting side with the next you know the next step for your inventors hey you know i've gone as far as i can with ge or this is a better opportunity or kind of what my era caught you to make the switch yes so at that time if people want to look it up when uh ge made all these purchases to become this huge entity within ge capital they went from a multi-billion dollar company to 30 million dollars so billions to just a handful of millions it was um fortunately i was in a division where we were really the only things keeping the last few people afloat so we so i was in transition when the opportunity to come on board to careerbuilder uh presented itself as a matter of fact it was a friend that had recommended me to to uh careerbuilder because she had just given her resignation that day because she she got a job at procter and gamble they were starting a new pharmaceutical division at the time and she just got on board and said hey i know for a fact they're looking for someone because i gave my two weeks today be more than happy to to uh uh recommend and refer you and i'll tell you it was a great experience i made some great friends there uh the manager there himself i gotta tell you if if i didn't have that mba on my resume i don't think he would have hired me we uh we're great friends now we support each other's families i love their kids and he uh he's been over to every event family event here but i remember him looking at that he was kind of perplexed and he looked at the bottom and said oh you have your mba i'm like yeah and he's like you're hired right on the spot and uh taught me uh taught me a lot of things i i realized that this was really my my natural space in the human capital uh uh world because i love talking about people i love connecting people and focusing on talent acquisition really you know gave me gave me what the energy for not only my sales ambitions but to connect uh present uh provide and seek out relationships to grow my business my personal book of business and everything else that you can imagine so it was really a great fit for me and then as chance would have it monster came calling came on the monster continued to do that and right about that time i started putting some things together so all those things i mentioned to you before it's like hey you know i my whole my whole career i've primarily been transactional you know like these cold calls when i would get somebody on the phone although i'm a relational person always open to meeting people wanting to to share everything that i had to offer to them i was really transactional you know i really coveted that one call sale that one call closed uh or speeding through the process to deliver whatever i needed to deliver and what i discovered is when i did my best and when i when i when i really brought it home the big ones it was through relationships and solution selling right now let me so now you you know and it makes sense you know okay you get into love sales evolve in your business or evolving your kurdi you know to expand and to take on additional roles and you go through you know a couple companies come calling now maybe jumping forward just a bit in time now looking kind of at the how you got into doing you know startups small business working with the other individually doing how did that transition or how did that come about yeah so um you know pretty much with the relationships that i'm building right i learned how to hey we're not just selling these widgets they're i'm not selling a commodity yeah i may those may be what i enter or start the conversation with what begins the whole process so i started seeing how building these relationships led to multiple opportunities that recurred over and over and over again i like to call it being a trusted advisor right so my wife when we got married she would get angry at me because my phone was ringing all time all hours of the day and night and on weekends and i would just smile at her and i'm like hey if a client calls me on a saturday morning then i know i've got a great relationship with him so pushing that to where taking that to what you asked me i had the entrepreneurial spirit and ran into a gentleman called sean hamilton who i like to share with others that he is an air force veteran and as we started chatting getting to know each other we had a lot of similarities and our approaches to to business were very very similar um and he really wanted to find ways to to grow career-wise grow professionally and at the same time give back to not only those that he that he served with but his community and as much to the country as he could and one way that we thought that we could do that was you know through recruiting and providing opportunities to individuals that all these companies had to offer match them up right and with um and when um the opportunity arose we provide some diversity uh diversity recruiting because the military is and veterans and their family members to us are considered part of that diversity spectrum right you've got you've got they travel around they bring it they bring up different perspectives different global knowledge to whatever organization that they want and truly in my eyes and in my partner's eyes we view diversity as bringing deep diversity of knowledge and experiences to whatever group entity organization that that you're uh able to bring into so we created our organization hamilton demo around that premise and then we also certified ourselves as a certified veteran owned company in vbe within the department of veteran affairs which we're very proud of and with that we've done some pretty cool things so to my point uh we've started conversations where we're doing executive search replacement maybe filling a recruiting need that is immediate but from there we've helped consult around the whole talent acquisition or recruiting process within organizations we started off working with enterprise companies but over the past few years and we've been around going on our fourth year but over the past few years we've realized that the bulk of our revenue comes from small and medium-sized companies that are growing there's a lot of them out there and you know they they as they ramp up and as they grow they have a lot of uh recruiting needs not just only with human capital but with technology and processes as well and we've been able to integrate different solutions from strategic partners and and other resources that we have to help those organizations so we've become stickier we've become more valued we've become that trusted advisor where we help them with pretty much a lot of things outside of even talent acquisition right so it's been a fun ride so far uh got a lot of things on the deck that we're super excited about from uh a new clients to clients that we've worked with with um in the past couple years that have introduced us to uh other clients in uh everything from non-profits to uh colleges and universities and um also other growing companies and gosh devon um it's it's exciting i mean we're getting ready we're getting ready to embark on um some deeper opportunities for government sales as well so this is an exciting time for us well sounds like a lot going on and a pretty exciting time so no that was a fun walk through a bit of your journey and hearing kind of the the different pivots and transitions you make so with that in mind you know time that kind of leads us to the two questions i always ask the end of the podcast so we'll jump to those now so with a longer journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what'd you learn from it oh wow so let me um this is a this is a good one so people share that you can drown from opportunity and i experienced that firsthand i never thought that could happen uh but we we uh connected with a wonderful person who who uh shared with us his his ability to help generate leads for us and we were like hey let's let's take advantage of this well devin and let me tell you this is one of the worst business decisions we made because not only because it didn't work it worked too well we were not prepared for the influx of leads that came that came to us we didn't have the internal uh infrastructure to support and to manage it and what that led to was a lot of confusion uh within our company to the point where we did not look professional at all we dropped the ball so many times it was really a bad experience and those clients that we missed out on that we didn't put our best foot forward i uh although although we may never reconnect with those individuals or companies uh we want them to know that we learn from it and we're better that will never happen again right no and i think that that that definitely makes sense and you know it's an is this one where you you think you'll never have and it's a good problem to have in the scentsy it's always better to have too much work than it is and not have enough work and yet people think oh you can get taken care of you can handle it but if in the other hand if you are now your quality is suffering if you're not able to make the deadlines if you're not meeting expectations because you have so much work then it makes it difficult and then people start to have a bad experience and they can actually have the reverse effect of people or you know you get a bad reputation or they give you bad reviews or they don't want to come back and and so i think there is that balance where you have to make sure as you grow that you can maintain the same level of service and you have the ability to grow with that so that you can make sure to keep a good experience for everyone so i think that's a great uh great or an easy mistake to make but something great to learn from yeah now as we as we jump to the second question which is um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you'd give them so if i can use that same example that that i use there's obviously tons of examples um examples of advice that you can give um there's two of them make sure you got money number one everybody knows that but secondly i think an example that i can share from from what i just shared with the um uh dropping the ball and all those opportunities is remain humble because you can be humble but still not be humble i feel like i'm humble but truly as you're gaining success and you start to feel really good about yourself um i really felt like i could handle anything my partner felt that we like we were just things were just everything that came up to the plate we were we were knocking it we were knocking out the park so hey if you're going to generate us leads just send them over we'll we'll we'll make it happen well you know what uh that was probably an opportunity that hey even as good as we were feeling and the right we had the right to feel that way a little bit of humble pie may have allowed us to take a deep breath and kind of gauge things a little bit better so we would not have experienced that so i'd say remain humble and uh uh you know in connection with that too i guess i'm answering three questions giving you three answers but as you remain humble always try to do the best for your clients and for everybody around you i think if you if you try to to keep to that um seek success um and as you're being successful in growing and and attaining all these great things that entrepreneurship and being a business owner can give you you bring others up with you and make other organizations better there's no better feeling than that i think that's great advice and great answers to the questions so thank you so yeah my pleasure well as we as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to hire they want to be a customer they want to be a client 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 reach out to you contact you find out more well i i love to share my phone number people tell me not to but i'm going to share my phone number because i'm a salesperson and every salesperson at their heart wants to give out their phone number and that's two five 513-257-9683-513-257 nine six eight three and devinal really quick story i said that number so often uh in front of my laptop on the phone that my kids memorized that number and when they were little at school they whenever i was late to pick them up they would recite that that number just the way i said it there so please give me a call also you can go to hamilton demo that's hamilton d m and you can find out all you want about us and my number is on the site as well or you can feel free to send us an email that email is there you can send it to ivan with the y y v a n at hamiltondemo.com or you can send it to admin at hamiltondemo.com or give uh or give devin a call shoot him uh shoot him a line he'll be more than happy to share the information with you absolutely i think that's great ways to connect and definitely encourage people to to reach out and do so yeah thanks again ivan for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on a podcast we'd love to have you just go to inventiveguest.com to apply to be on the show two more things as a listener one make sure to click subscribe and your podcast players say no one all of our awesome episodes come out and two 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 or anything else just go to strategymeeting.com we're always here to help thank you again ivan and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last yeah thanks man