Talk To New People

Talk To New People

Ammon Collins

Devin Miller
The Inventive Journey
Podcast for Entrepreneurs

12/2/2020

Talk To New People

If you feel like your business is stagnant, or not moving like you would want it to then focus on talking to new people. If you set aside an entire afternoon and just talk to new people then you will fill up your next weeks schedule. It does not have to be people in your industry. If you sell shoes talk to the guy that sells carpets and see how he dose it. Talking to new people I think has been one of the biggest drivers for our business. We are always looking for new people to connect with via linked-in, Instagram, and Friends and family. New people that have not heard about your value propositions yet, I would take time to talk with those people if you feel like things are not moving like you want them to.

 


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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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if you feel like your business is stagnant or not moving like you would want it to then focus on talking to new people and do that and just set aside like an if you set aside an entire afternoon and just talk to new people for the whole afternoon then you'll fill up your next week's schedule um and you know it doesn't even have to be people in your industry like if if you sell shoes like talk to the guy that sells carpets and see how he does it um talking new people i think has been one of the biggest drivers for our business we are always looking for new people to connect with via linkedin instagram friends and family like whatever but new people that haven't heard about your value proposition yet um i would spend time talking to those people if you feel like things aren't moving like you want to [Music] hey everyone this is devon miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that has built several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the ceo and founder of miller ip law where we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks and today we have another great uh guest on the epis on the podcast ammon collins and uh ammon um going all the way back to his journey started out a window washing company while in college in order to pay for it and then after that got a summer sales job doing uh alarms or alarms and solar system uh did got into roofing cells for a bit and uh and then he'll he'll talk and do a little more he had a business investment that sunk a whole bunch of money in and it didn't work out and then he got into more of the software sales um that started out with some dentists and doing some services for them and has evolved that into the business that it is today that kind of focuses a lot on lawyers so a man after my own heart as well as salon so with that much as an introduction welcome on to the podcast ammon thank you devon i appreciate you having me so i gave a the 30-second uh quick uh quick introduction to you which never does your journey journey justice and so tell us a little bit more about how your journey got started and how you got to where you're at today yeah absolutely um so like you mentioned i i started a window washing company in school i just realized that there was no way my 7.25 uh hour job would pay for school so i started that and then the the year after that i actually did get into summer sales i did that for about five years um but i i just i really towards the end of it was just really unhappy i'm feeling really unfulfilled and so i decided to uh that i wanted to pivot into something else and that's when i got into software sales which was which was a i i think a much better fit i i preferred selling to b2b after i got into that and and so that's kind of how i landed here so diving into your journey so now winding back so with no washing so give me an idea so you're in college and you're saying okay i can go get a minimum wage job which you know shocker you can't you can't go to college on minimum wage but some people may not realize that but so how did you you know how did you land on window washing was it just an easy job you had experience you just said ah this sounds easy enough i can go wash windows or how did you land on window washing to do during college yeah so i'm the oldest of seven kids um and uh yeah minimum wage like my parents weren't gonna be able to help me with school so i just wasn't gonna cut it and i remember so my mom like historically never pays for anything like she i'm cheap but she's next level um so i remember when i was a kid that windows she actually paid one time to get her windows washed and that was like in my head i was like you paid how much to get your windows washed you know and like so that's just kind of stuck in my head i think i was like 15 or 16 when the guy came to watch our windows and so i just watched some videos on youtube and then literally all i did is i watched videos on youtube and i went to home depot and bought the stuff to do it and then i just started knocking doors and uh just lined up some jobs and the people that i lined up had no idea that i was just starting so i didn't you know i didn't see that that was a relevant fact and i just went for it but yeah i actually started out my my business on a bike i would carry like my bucket in one hand and drive my bike with the other hand and then i saved up enough for a car eventually so that was a big a big point in the business transportation wise so you did so now i can just imagine i can almost see hey i've got all my window washing gear and i'm just going to show it to a bike and for that's got to be impressive they're going to say oh yeah he's got to be with the big company but no just just uh think that i can just imagine in my mind's eye you know riding your bike with all of the all the window washing gear and trying to juggle it not fall over and not get run over so so now you graduate from you know graduate from college you know was was the summer sales after you graduated and doing the alarms or solar or was that still during college so i did it for two years during college and uh i don't know two or three years during college and then and then a couple years after um and summer sales taught me a lot of really great skills but it just it just turned into something that i really didn't enjoy um and so you know you and i so you reach that and see you say you did it was a year or two after college that you said uh with summer sales yeah no so the first so i did the window washing business for one year and then the next year i went out and did summer sales and i made a lot of money i made good money with window washing but i made way more with summer sales so i did summer sales for the next after that first year i did it for four more years um so five years total and i graduated college in like 2016. so i think i did like two years of summer sales after that all right so and so when you so you're making good money at you know summer sales more than you made at the window washing so then how did you you know what was the was it just you finally reached a point they're saying hey i can make good money but it's not fulfilling or it's not enjoyable anymore i'd rather you do something else is that kind of the tipping point for you to kind of go on to the next thing yeah like i know it's cliche and people say you know like money doesn't buy happiness and stuff like that but it like i was making more money with that than than you know any of my peers were making out of college you know still making out of college like summer sales if you do it right you can make a lot of money so i just was just super super unhappy just like i hated knocking doors by the end of it i i felt like because you have to like move every you know every summer you basically uproot your whole life and just move to a new place and so i was sick of moving around and not being able to have like a girlfriend because long business never worked and so i was just being the movies lied to me that long distance relationships aren't magical oh i have zero [Laughter] more power to everybody that makes that work so so then no i don't think there's a glitch i would say i always look at it this way if you don't have any money money can't buy you happiness you have to have almost a minimum amount of money right if you're always living hand-to-mouth if you can't pay the bills you do need money in order to have money but once you hit kind of out and everybody that's different but once you hit that minimum threshold then it has a much more diminishing return right now the mon the extra money doesn't really give you a whole lot more happiness because you've gotten you've got life covered so to speak and now you're going to look for that fulfillment hey if i'm going to be doing this for a lot of hours a lot of my life let's do something that's enjoyable so when you did that now what what was you know you had that realization where did you jump to from summer sales where did you go after that so i uh that's when i got into software sales so i i got done with the summer and then in september i just i made up my mind i said i'm gonna take a massive pay cut i i went from making over you know six figures a year easily i think my salary starting with the software company was like 45 000 or something plus like commission it came out to like 70 thousand a year or something like that so um just decided that you know if i'm gonna do it i'm gonna do it and then the pay will figure itself out so i i started that job in september um and i i know a lot of entrepreneurs start their businesses by working you know for an employer in a certain area and then kind of branching out from there and that's the way it worked out for me it it was like a huge blessing to take that software job even though um it was a pretty big pay cut so and and i think that you know a lot of times you find that but i also think a lot of times not always that you find that thing that you do enjoy that you are passionate about and even if you have to take the pay cut up front either one you're a lot happier and a lot of times as you get happier you find a way to make up the money and or you make even more money because you're really into it and you really have an enjoyable time so you get into software sales and i remind me because i know we talked a little bit about the you know before the podcast and you mentioned somewhere along in that journey you had kind of your 50 000 investment mistake where where did that play into things yeah that was during the uh the time of summer sales it was you know i i'd had it i think it was my third or fourth year or something i made a bunch of money that year and um so i i had money to lose but it was still which is never a good a good position to be in oh so yeah i uh and i know that you ask about our worst business decision so this is this is going to play into that we'll give the prelude so that people want to listen later on yeah i know i uh i just had a bunch of money um after the summer and i had a buddy that that found an investment that we could you know go in on together and so um we did that and it it worked out terribly so all right and now with that much as a prelude we'll jump into that as the last question you can give a bit more detail yeah so so now we jump forward you do get into software sales and i think you started out selling software to dentists is that right yeah it was a uh basically like a communication software for dentists to communicate with their clients and sort of like a crm and communication software wrapped up in one okay so and then you know so you did that and i now how did that transition to just doing your own thing or doing your own startup so you're selling i assume you're selling the software that's for somebody else you're still in sales now how did you get into starting your own business which you know is where you're at today how did that transition go yeah so um i still had some money left over from summer sales you didn't lose all of it all of it no luckily so so i had some money left over and uh basically part of the part of the the product that i sold was this this little tiny feature called missed call texting and um i thought it was a super cool feature and that it could apply to way more businesses than just dentists but our price point at the company that i was at was was like four or five hundred dollars a month um it was like 400 on the low end like 500 normal and um i was just sitting there like man so many businesses could use this but the price is just way too high for like smaller companies like salons or like you know like the one-man shops you know that would really need it you know the people that really need it are the people that miss calls right but yeah the people that can't afford to have a receptionist at the front office or front desk all day long taking calls and if they don't have a call they just sit there and play on their phone exactly businesses that can't afford that are the ones that need it the most so i looked at that problem and i said you know this is a good fit um let's figure out a way to make it cheaper i figured out a way pretty quickly to do that and then um i you know i quit the or i i started looking i started talking to developers while i was still with the employer and then once it started getting more serious then i quit that job and just focused on you know managing the project and stuff like that and we had a lot of uh we had like three false starts with this company it was a nightmare getting development off the ground we my partner and i uh his name is carter smith he's been awesome to work with um he's he uh he and i really didn't want to spend a lot of money on development because we weren't 100 sure if it was going to work out or not so we tried to just keep it really cheap and we went through sites like upwork um we had a developer in pakistan that didn't work out and we wasted about three or four months with him then the same thing happened the developer in nepal and then another one in pakistan and then finally that third one led us to our fourth and current developer [Music] so we if we would have found the right developer to begin with we would have been about a year ahead of schedule maybe like eight months but we did waste a considerable amount of time not necessarily money but a lot of time with these developers it didn't work out um it is true that you get what you pay for but you can find the developers for cheap you just have to you have to hunt for them no but i even say in the us i've had experience with great developers even in the us whether you go foreign or not some of them are spot on in every bit the money they're worth and others you know they're just there and they drag things out and they're not really that helpful and they're just it always seems like they'll tell you that it's going to be done this week and then you have another month before something gets done but the money still is they're still charging the money even though there's not so i certainly understand yeah so i was it was funny i actually got a call from like so we were working with this one guy and then he was outsourcing the development to somebody else which was the developer that we have now and he calls me and he's like hey the reason stuff isn't getting done is because i haven't been paid for two months and i was like let's fix that so we just cut out the other guy and just started using him well sounds like after a few different fault starts and figuring things out so you get the software you know up and going and you're you're this is still why you're doing this as a side hustle right where you're still doing the software sales are you doing this now full time no no i was i moved away from the software sales company because i thought it was too close to the product i didn't want to get in trouble with non-competes and stuff um and then i actually went back into some sales jobs but yeah i just kind of i just kind of did some like of my summer sales experience but on a part-time basis okay so you you basically kind of have the jobs that give or have enough money to pay the bills and to get or keep things going as you're doing this development you finally get the software all done you know you do it you jump in full time now how what how did it go once you finally jumped in you know had the the software programmed or at least an initial version started to go out and sell it you know how was that was it a quick and easy to find customers did it take a while was it accepting did you have to go back and re-rev it again or how did that go for you yeah so um we had an awesome response i started i just to to go out and sell it like we didn't have an app developed yet it was everything was just web-based um like a mobile app or anything so i actually went out to these businesses i i just went out to salons and i just knocked on their doors and i said hey um you know i'd love to talk to you about the software that we that we've developed i signed up like 10 customers in like two weeks for that which was huge for us like um you know it was it was awesome and we were stoked on it so it really was not hard to find customers that were interested in using it the challenge like a month after we started selling in person then covet hit and we didn't have things up and running to do anything on the phone like no our system was not clean enough to support phone sales at the time so we um we got a group of customers which was really like a huge blessing we got those customers got a bunch of feedback from them during covid and then during covid we worked on revamping everything getting the mobile app doing a bunch of like design and then in like like earlier like middle of june is when we when we relaunched kind of but then we could do it on the phones and so it wasn't an issue with covet as much no and i can i could you know that that would always be tough on the sell side if you're used to doing the face to face in person going to the businesses sales and now you're saying now we got to stop pivot and figure out how we sell this thing when we're not doing face-to-face and so i'm sure that that caused a bit of an adjustment in the business plan yeah but um yeah the acceptance was awesome and it it wasn't we actually started out with auto shops and salons at first and um i mean the first day i went out i i went to one of the salons like literally like half a mile from my house and the lady was like yeah i'll try it so it was it wasn't um it wasn't hard and that's always exciting you know the first few sales of any product or any business you get up and going whether or not they're million dollars or they're five dollars is to say hey somebody actually i built something that somebody actually will pay for and then then you usually thought i hope it works you know that kind of a thing so now you do that so you guys are up and running as of today you know you've had to adjust a bit with coved now where do you see the next you know six to 12 months going for you guys how's that going to play out um so right now our focus is finding sustainable sales channels um and we uh we're getting to the point where we we have some sales channels that are producing um positive roi and it's it's actually it's looking good um with these sales channels but um i mean we you know we'd like to once we find something that works then we'd probably go out and get some get some money and just you know be able to say okay you know here's the here's the numbers on you know acquisition costs and stuff like that for these different channels and go ahead and start ramping it up um but yeah the i mean i guess uh one of the big focuses with us too is finding different like crms to partner with and potentially acquire our product like license it or something like that or or even an acquisition we're talking with a crm for um legal uh legal companies right now that you know we're hoping that that goes through um so yeah i i think uh you know our goal in the next six to eight months is we want to we have a certain target for revenue that i think we can hit and then um you know if we can prove all these sales channels then we'll probably go ahead and raise some money that's cool all right well good luck on the next or the next six to 12 months as you guys uh both you go through the fundraising make the pivots and everything and all the above so so now we are going to jump to the part of the podcast where i'll ask the question that you we gave the pr prelude on which is you know so within your journey when we hit on it already a bit but what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it yeah absolutely so um like i said i i gosh i wish i would have just invested in something safe like real estate or something you know but um i've always been super okay with risk so um my buddy uh my buddy carter smith he's my business partner um he you know he was we were looking into different businesses and we found this uh this business that was looking for investment up in seattle and so um we were stoked on it we flew up there and uh we met with the owner and like and you know we had just like stars in our eyes uh and we had basically no prior experience in that industry like none whatsoever and we made a uh i don't know sixty thousand seventy thousand dollar decision um off of you know a few google searches and talking to this guy um so that turned out pretty bad uh the there were a few reasons why it didn't work out i think one of the main reasons was that we kind of our mentality was okay we're going to put this money into it and you know if this guy says that he's going to do what he you know what he says he will then we're going to get xml out but it was everything depended on this manager up in seattle doing his job and and it was just like that was too much to depend on and uh everything just kind of went south about 12 months later and so i lost it and life moves on but i mean i did get you know so car like i mentioned carter smith he's my business partner um one of the one of the biggest things that i got out of that was uh was him as a partner um and knowing that we could lose a bunch of money together and um still come out as as friends and and not hate each other so that was that was a big part of that no that's you know that's a good lesson to learn it when it's easy to have partners in a business when things are going well meaning everybody's making money everybody's happy but what really reveals who's a good partner is when it's not going well and it could be everything from you know losing everything or just sales and downturn to having to you know slow down in sales having a layoff or furlough or even going to covet and you know lock downs and everything else i think it reveals a lot more of the type of partners you have in there and i think the other thing i get out of that is you know if you're go nobody's going to care about your business like you care about your business and so you know if you're in if you're putting your your business in the hands of somebody else it's just never i don't think it'll ever work out nearly as well because they're just not you know if they're not fully invested if it's not their business they're just not going to care as much and so i think that's a good you know lesson to learn is hey when we invest it's got to be our business we have to know what we're doing and we have to be the ones to drive it so i think that's that's a great lesson to learn so now i jump to the second question you're talking to someone that's just getting into a startup or a small business what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them um so i've listened to a few of your episodes and i i agree with i don't know that this would be like my number one advice but one thing that i don't that i that i didn't hear that would be like super up there for me is if you feel like your business is stagnant or not moving like you would want it to then focus on talking to new people and do that and just set aside like an if you set aside an entire afternoon and just talk to new people for the whole afternoon then you'll fill up your next week's schedule um and you know it doesn't even have to be people in your industry like if if you sell shoes like talk to the guy that sells carpets and see how he does it um talking new people i think has been one of the biggest drivers for our business we are always looking for new people to connect with via linkedin instagram friends and family like whatever but new people that haven't heard about your value proposition yet um i would spend time talking to those people if you feel like things aren't moving like you want to no i love that and i'm you know i do it slightly different but in a similar way because you know so i have some people on my marketing team that you know that do implement different things and i'm usually the guy that comes up with a crazy idea and tells them now go figure out how to implement it but you know they always joke that you know most of the i'll always go i like to listen to podcasts so i do my own podcast but i'm also an avid listener and they'll always joke that yeah devon goes for a run and that's usually when i listen to him is in the morning when i go for a jog and they'll you know they'll say you know what happens is devin will go listen to a podcast he'll come to the office and he'll have a new idea he tells us how so all of denver's ideas come from the podcast i'm like well not all of them but to your point it's a dif you know and the thing i do with podcast is i don't just listen to you know there are some law firm marketing podcasts i listen to in business ones but i also listen to ones that are in real estate i listen to ones that aren't just in the us or australia and europe and it's really i think you know kind of along your point is you know talking with new people going outside your industry listening and learning with new things is a way that gives you the ability to import what works well for other people and in other businesses and other locations much better than if you just keep in your kind of silo and only talk to you you know in your example shoe sales if all you do is talk to other people that are selling shoes and they've sold the same way for 20 years sold those shoes you're not going to get your inspiration from them so i think that i love i love that thought and feedback well as we reach the end of the podcast if people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend they want to work for you an employee they want to be your partner any or all of the above what's the best way to connect up with you um the best way is probably to go to our website it's uh and there's a form to fill out to contact us our website is www.getinca that's g-e-t-i-n-c-a dot com and then you can also look me up on linkedin i'm on there all the time for our different marketing stuff but um just ammon collins and all pop-up all right well i definitely encourage everybody to reach out to you and and either on linkedin or on your website directly sounds like an awesome product and certainly something that a lot of startups and small businesses could use so with that thank you for coming on the podcast 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 come on and tell your journey feel free to go to inventivejourneyguest.com apply to be on the show if you're a listener make sure to click subscribe so you get a notification as all the new episodes come out and last but not least if you ever need help with patents and trademarks feel free to reach out to us at millerip law we are always here to help thank you again ammon it's been a pleasure and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thank you sir you too hey if you enjoyed this episode of the inventive journey make sure to go and check out startups magazine they're an awesome magazine and podcast centered over in the uk and if the magazine is a digital and print magazine where they focus on tech startups and entrepreneurs and they also have a focus on female founders and women in tech so if you want to check out their magazine neither digital or print it's startups magazine startups with an s magazine.co.uk and you can also look up their podcast which is called the serial entrepreneur so go check them out they're awesome and definitely if you like this episode you'll like them you English (auto-generated) All Recently uploaded

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