The Power Of Networking
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
The Power Of Networking
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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I can't tell you the power of networking and of reaching out to people and just asking for things directly and not beating around the bush. I think that we really underestimate the power of being super direct with someone instead of just kind of like sending in your resume and hoping for the best find the side doors. And that's not just for starting a business or getting your dream job like find the side doors to everything. Do you want to start a podcast or write a book or anything like that? I mean, I guarantee you, your network is going to have a huge power and helping you get there. And so networking and asking direct questions and reaching out and just asking questions to people you look up to that would be number one.
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 founder and CEO of Miller IP law where we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks. If you ever need any help with yours, just go to strategy meeting calm and grab some time with us to chat. Now today we have a another great guest on the podcast, Allie marchin or Marchand marshland close enough. And Allie grew up in Boulder, Colorado, went to college, I think in Orange County and studied in business and finance. And then after she as she was graduating, the professor gave her a scholarship to go to a business conference with them at the conference, she heard us speak, you're talking about international inclusivity. If I can not get Tongue Tied and kind of got your interest in that area, also got an internship in Switzerland and went to work with wealth management company there for a while, or a lot of a lot of hats. Notice that there was a big difference in the way that US companies did things versus away Switzerland, in their companies in Switzerland did that first leveraging technology and the internet and LinkedIn and other aspects. And so started a bit from that started a business and digital marketing and the finance industry in Switzerland, I believe, and it's kind of gone from there. So with that much as an introduction, welcome on the podcast, Ellie. Thanks so much for having me here. Devin. I'm excited. So I just gave the quick 32nd overview to a much longer journey. So why don't we go back a bit in time and tell us a little bit about going up in Boulder going to college and kind of how your journey got started there?
Yeah, definitely. So as you mentioned, I grew up in Boulder, Colorado, which people tend to refer to as the boulder bubble. We are very, I don't know, very outdoorsy and sustainable. And there are a few bad traits too, but I can't remember them. But I became conscious of the environment and sustainability from a very young age. So that was always a value that I kind of held near and dear. I'm from Boulder, I, as you mentioned, went to college in Orange County at Chapman University. And I picked business as probably many people picked business because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do in the world. And I thought that would be a good way to start. Um, and I actually emphasized an international business because I had been always curious about traveling the world. I didn't travel much when I was younger. And I studied Spanish from when I was five years old, I went to a bilingual elementary school and middle school. And so I just kind of had this yearning for traveling and learning about other cultures.
So So now you say you go into you go to Boulder, Colorado, you know, then you go. And I think if I remember right, it was Orange County where you got the your business and finance degree, you're coming out or getting ready to graduate. I think you mentioned kind of the thing that got your journey started was the professor they gave a scholarship or a grant or whatnot to go to a business conference with them. And that kind of got you going on that part of the journey. Is that right?
Yeah, definitely. So um, I was studying, I was taking some finance classes, because I had always been interested in math and numbers. And I knew finance was where you made money, quite honestly. So, um, there was one of my professors announced to the class that he put on an investment conference in Las Vegas, and he wanted some of his students to join. But he knew that none of us had the money for the flights or kind of would do it on our own with our own resources. And so he provided a scholarship just to cover the flights, the conference, the hotel room, and things like that. And I was really interested in not a lot of students, I think ended up applying for that scholarship. But I was like, hey, a free trip to Vegas, maybe a chance to do some networking. I'm about to graduate, maybe a chance to meet some people on Wall Street, so I was really excited to go. And so he did end up giving me the small scholarship it took to get me over to Las Vegas and into that investment conference. And as you mentioned, once I Was there, it was kind of a little bit of everything, a lot of talk about gold, even some talk about blockchain and Bitcoin way early on this was back in 2016, I think. And then there were, I don't know, it wasn't the best networking environment. And so I kind of gave up a little bit early on, didn't go to all of the talks. But on my way down to the conference, the very last day, I was in the elevator, and a man started talking to me. And he was like, he saw that I had the same badge for the conference. And he just was curious. He's like, oh, what are you doing here? What are you interested in? Kind of just asking questions sparked up a conversation. And he was I couldn't tell what his accent was. But he was from Switzerland. And he ran a wealth management company for American investors. And so we sparked up a conversation in the elevator, and he was curious to learn more about what I was doing after graduation. And I'm not kidding when I say I got my first internship from a literal elevator pitch. So we ended up talking and this was the first time that I really learned the lesson. If you don't ask directly for what you want, you have very little chance of getting it. But if you're very outspoken, and kind of just ask straight up what you want, then chances are a little bit higher. So I told him that I was really curious about working abroad, I told him that I really was curious about wealth management and finance, and that I loved the outdoors. So Switzerland sounded like a great place. And I followed up with some emails, and I asked directly if there were any opportunity for an internship, can he please let me know.
So now you followed up, I assume. But I'm not going to assume that then you got an internship or you went over to Switzerland or you started out? That's where you started out your journey journey in Switzerland are kind of what's the end end of that story? Or the beginning of that story?
Yeah, absolutely. So yes. So a few weeks later, a few months later, I think he didn't have an opportunity right away. But we kept in touch. And he was very keen on just keeping me in the loop. him his company, and another wealth management company, were actually emerging in Switzerland. And I was very lucky because they were looking for some extra help. And so a few months after graduation, I got the email that I got the internship and was invited to kind of spend the summer in Switzerland, learning from these two merging into one wealth management companies. And that is the start, that was my very first job out of college. And that was kind of like the first place that I had lived abroad. First, one of the first places that I've ever even been abroad. And let me tell you, it exceeded expectations, but also just changed my perspective on the world and Americans and everything. I mean, I think that was part of my journey that made me grow the most and the fastest was getting out of my comfort zone.
Hmm. No, and definitely, you know, anytime you go to a different country, different is, you know, different culture, different way of doing things and always introduces new ideas, new ways of doing things. And also gives you kind of that stark contrast between what you're used to and how, you know, the way that they do that. So, so now you go in, you get the internship, you work there for a period of time. And I think that after the internship, did it turn into a full time job? Did you do work for them for a period of time? Or where did you go after that?
Yeah, definitely. So as I mentioned, I moved to Switzerland with the idea in my mind that I had a summer internship that I had a three month long internship. But after the three months, my boss was very happy with me. And he invited me to stay full time on the portfolio management team. And since this was a very small company, and I think many people can relate to this, you it's very cliche to say that I wore many hats. But in a small company, I think you, you kind of have to do that. And so for the next two and a half years, I worked mostly in the portfolio management team, but also talking with clients, getting to know kind of their investment strategy. I learned so much. I even attended client meetings, I was a part of the investment analysis team. So it was a crazy journey from going from just a three month internship and then calling my parents and telling them that I was maybe gonna stay there indefinitely, and I'm still here. So pretty big shock to my parents,
huh? So now you stayed there, you worked for the wealth management, you were a lot of hats. And then how did you know then I think that as we chatted a bit before the podcast, he noticed that there was you know, because of the different ways that people network and build business and manage things in the US versus Switzerland, there presented a bit of an opportunity to you know, bring them you know, bring a new or different different avenue for making connections and networking everything else into Switzerland that wasn't being done. So did you you know, as you're doing that, did you start your own company do it as a side hustle that's still a side hustle the full time gig or kind Of how did that idea percolate?
Yeah, absolutely. So I should mention that when I was in college, I had a part time job or kind of an internship with this consulting company in Boulder. And what they did was help business to business tech companies market towards other partners. So it wasn't client facing it was towards kind of like other businesses. And I didn't do that much there. But I did learn the power of marketing and being online. And I just learned so much from my first boss there, and the people that worked there that I have no idea how that was going to impact me later in life, I really didn't think I was gonna keep going in that industry. And I didn't see myself like staying at that company. So when I came here to Switzerland, I was so shocked, because big tech business to business like they are, these are the really kind of nice guys in business and technology. They don't think about marketing, they don't think about LinkedIn, but even they kind of knew more about marketing than the finance industry in Switzerland. And I was shocked when I came here. And you know, all of these private banks and asset managers and wealth managers, they didn't have a LinkedIn profile, they didn't have, you know, that grade of a website, they weren't doing anything online, like nothing, because they all said it was from word of mouth, and just trusted clients. And, you know, at first I was like, okay, it's, you know, it's a different industry. We do like to be private, and finance. So maybe you don't want to be online and things like that. But as I stayed there, I kind of realized there was such a big opportunity for these financial professionals and financial companies to take advantage of the online world. And this was before the pandemic, this was before, you know, everybody had to work at home, and everybody had to work for him online. And I honestly just started talking about this to my colleagues to some other people that I knew in Switzerland, and, you know, I was making connections in the industry, I've always thought that networking is a very powerful tool for yourself, whether you want to stay at a company, or you want to start your own company, or you're looking for another job. So I always make it a point to meet new people. And I kept telling them how surprised I was at this and how different it was from a lot of the companies that I knew of in the United States. And something about Switzerland that is very inherent to the culture here. They are very much more private people, they are kind of less loud. And I think they would say that Americans like brag too much, and that they're too loud online. But I definitely saw a big opportunity in like, okay, at some point, the world of Swiss finance is going to catch up, why not kind of play a part and doing that. And so I brought it up summit, the company that I was working for quite a bit, didn't really gain a lot of traction there. But when someone that I knew mentioned it to his boss, and his boss thought that this was just brilliant, he was like, he wanted me to come in and speak to their team about getting on social media as soon as possible. And I didn't have a company, I didn't have anything with me, I kind of just went in and pitched my ideas. I was like, well, this is what happens when you are online. And you know, this is these are the possibilities and things like that. And the people in that pitch. It was the CEO of this other company, this other wealth management company, and then someone on the board who had a different company, and then someone who was working part time who had a different company. So out of this very first meeting two people, all three people approached me and they were like, hey, Allie, how do we start working with you? Are you taking on new clients? Like, what's, what's the 411? And I was so shocked. I was like, wow, I guess this is really needed. And that just showed me that there was there was indeed a huge opportunity.
Hmm. So so you have that kind of had that opportunity to, you know, present, give the education you had people approached you taking that now, did you start to build a business around it? Did you do it as a side hustle? Did you say hey, I'm out of my old job, I'm gonna start this as a new job. And I'm, you know, I'm gonna make the leap or kind of how did you make that transition?
No, definitely wasn't right away. And to be honest, when I first heard that these three people wanted me to work for them. I was really overwhelmed. Because marketing wasn't what I majored in. It wasn't really what I did. And I was I was kind of like telling them how important it was without knowing the technical marketing skills. And so I took a step back, and I have a really good friend that I'm so lucky to have. And she worked in one of the biggest PR and ad firms, or actually, it was just an ad firm in Switzerland. And I went over to her house right away. And I was like, Hey, I have a proposal. I have these three clients already. Would you be able to help me with the marketing and just getting them online and getting them up to speed creating some content for them? And she said, Yes. And so I actually started a business with my co founder, who was my friend who many people told me never to do but we can get to that Later, and it started definitely as a side hustle for the both of us.
I'm so excited to start as a side hustle now kind of bringing it up until today, you're kind of over that journey. Is it still a side hustle? Did you pick up enough clientele or enough business? So you turn it into a full time hustle? Or kind of how did that transition go?
Yeah, it was really interesting. Um, actually, we went full time with the business right before the pandemic. And of course, neither of us knew the world was going to change and have a complete lockdown and this global pandemic affecting every single industry. So yeah, we both went full time with the business right before the pandemic. And my co founder actually picked up a part time job, so that we could kind of pay our bills because we weren't bringing in like so many new clients, especially when the pandemic hit, I noticed that a lot of businesses, even the ones that were focused on growth kind of just took a pause, they took a step back on spending or hiring new partners. And so that was a really interesting start to the business. But so we've been live full time for about a year now. And it's going really great. Both of us are working full time on this new business, it's called impress them and the play on words there is that we're out there to teach financial companies how to impress them, which is like the next generation of investors or, you know, more diverse investors or things like that. And so that's, that's what's going on today.
All right. Sounds like it's been a fun journey. And there are a lot of opportunity, the future, which kind of leads me to my next question, which is, so now you guys, you know, that kind of brings us to where you're at today, looking at the next six to 12 months, kind of where do you see things heading? What's the next steps? Or what's the next opportunity that lays in front of you guys?
Yeah, that's a great question. I think anyone who owns a business knows that the business has a life of its own, almost like you don't, you can't always proceed where the business goes, I know, when we started it, we had really different ideas than we do now. And definitely, through the pandemic, we've been really lucky because things are moving towards more digital, they're moving towards, you know, people want things to run when they're not in the office. And people want to be building their business when they don't have to pick up the phone or fly to an in person meeting or drive to an in person meeting. So that part is really great. But I think even for ourselves, we noticed the power of an online digital business. And so we're really trying to be kind of more accessible than other marketing agencies. And so we're focusing on trying to produce more kind of digital content, maybe digital courses, and learning how to work one on one with people that won't break the bank. Because I think a lot of times with marketing agencies, you're not very flexible, and it's, you know, really expensive to hire one, and you kind of have to lock down a certain budget in order to start that. And so we're trying to move to a more flexible digital business structure.
Sounds like a fun and exciting journey, Adam, yes. So Well, now, as we kind of, you know, brings you up to where you're at today a little bit, looking to the future, good transition to go to the two questions I always ask at the end of each podcast. So the 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?
So the worst business decision that I ever made was also a blessing. So it was a biggest mistake. And biggest blessing was just starting a business with a really good friend, you don't like a lot of the times, I guess I didn't understand the the impact and the weight that had on the business on the friendship on the business partnership. And so when I heard that advice, like don't start a business with a friend, you'll regret it, you guys won't end up talking, I definitely understand where everybody is coming from. And it has caused lots of friction with the business because my head is over here, her head is over here. We're thinking different things. But we are trying to raise this company as our child, right. And so I'm very open and saying that we're actually going to kind of like co founder therapy, co founder counseling, and I have found that that has helped monumentally, but it has, it was definitely such a big learning process of starting a business with a friend. And I think a lot of people will say, when you get friends involved with business, it can result in a little bit of a blowout. So
I think that, you know, there is I think there's probably some truth to it. And everybody basis, you know, I've seen some businesses and friends get together, they work very well together, they complement each other's you know, strengths and weaknesses. And it's a great experience. And other times, you know, it's a little bit like, you know, you know, marriages in the sense that you can have people that you know, are do very well in a marriage and yeah, they can try and work as business partners and then the stress of Hey, now now it's not only you know, you see each other at home, but you see each other at work or same thing as a friend you see each other after work and a stranger or it can work out great. So I think that You know, there's always those people that have biases one way or the other. And you always have to decide which way works best for your business for your relationship and which way to leverage it. So definitely make sense on on things learn there. Yeah. Second question I always ask is along your journey, or sorry, not along your journey. But if you're talking to somebody that just get into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them? Can I give two pieces of advice? Absolutely. Go ahead. Great.
So number one comes from just how I got my first opportunity to come to Switzerland. I think so many people when they hear that are like, Oh, my god, she's so lucky. Or, you know, that would never happen to me or things like that. And I can't tell you the power of networking and of reaching out to people and just asking for things directly and not beating around the bush, I think that we really underestimate the power of being super direct with someone instead of just kind of like sending in your resume and hoping for the best find the side doors. And that's not just for starting a business or getting your dream job like find the side doors to everything. Do you want to start a podcast or write a book or anything like that? I mean, I guarantee you, your network is going to have a huge power and helping you get there. And so networking and asking direct questions and reaching out and just asking questions to people you look up to that would be number one. And then number two kind of has to do with that. But definitely, if you want to start a business, you've got to start building up a voice and doesn't matter what platform you use, like whether it's YouTube, or podcasting, or Tick Tock these days, or like anything, but just really use the power of online and that will help you with your network to because you never know the opportunities that will come out of you telling your ideas and like just talking about it publicly, because I think a lot of people don't think that they have something to add to the conversation. And I'm here to tell you, literally everybody has an individual voice and everyone has something to add to the conversation.
No, and I think those are both great piece of advice. And I like the idea of networking. I think every sometimes people are hesitant to network. And either it's because you're scared, hey, I'm going to alienate the people in my network, right? If I tell them what I'm doing, they're going to feel pressure that I have to support me or any you know, or I'm going to not know what to say, or I'm going to make a fool of myself, right? You know, any number of hesitations or to your point, they don't have something to add or anything like that. And I think that holds you back from utilizing what is one of your greatest assets. If you don't a lot of people that can give you ideas. And most people are pretty willing to bounce ideas off of you give you input, give you a feedback. They know someone make a connection help you out where they can, and it can make a much bigger effect on your business. And you know, and your success if you're willing to overcome that fear that sometimes people have so I think that's a great piece of advice. Yeah, definitely. Well, as we wrap up, if people want to get a hold of you, they want to be a client, that customer they want to be an investor. They want to be an employee, they want to be your next best friend, any or all of the above. What's the best way to reach out connect up and find out more?
Yeah, definitely. So we have a website impress them.com or we have a LinkedIn page i m p r e s m, and we also have Instagram and Twitter at let's impress them, and my name is Allie marshawn. I'm on LinkedIn or Instagram or even tik tok. And I try to answer all of my DMS I love talking to people about their ideas and things like that. I have gotten so many of them and I just really love it. So you're welcome to reach out to me.
All right, well, I definitely encourage people to reach out connect up find out more and definitely a great resource there. Well, thank you again, Allie for coming on the podcast. It's been a fun it's been a pleasure. Now for all of you that our listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you like to be a guest on the podcast, feel free to go to inventive guest comm apply to be a guest on the show. We'd love to hear from you. Two more things as a listener one make sure to click subscribe in your podcast player so you know when all of our awesome episodes come out and to leave us a review so other people can know when all the awesome episodes come out. Last but not least, if you ever need anything, any help with patents, trademarks or anything else with your business, go to strategy meeting comm grab some time with us to chat and we're always happy to help. Thank you again Alli and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last.
Thanks so much Devin. This is great.