Write Down Your Ideas
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Write Down Your Ideas
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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was uh the people a million dollar ideas every day um they just maybe don't necessarily have the um experience or the networking or uh the know-how to get it started or up off the ground or maybe even the motivation but um there's so many times that people have these million dollar ideas that um i i think it's it's really valuable to write those down and then you know maybe later nine months later when your friend texts you and says hey there's desks for sale or whatever it might be you you can get those off the ground and get running but um i think there's a lot of value in not forgetting uh what some of your ideas are when you're motivated and inspired hey 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 the founder and ceo of miller ip law where we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always happy to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast uh jesse yeager and jesse is a brief introduction planned on being an english teacher took a psychology class loved it switched in that direction and then went to or after doing her studies went to work with kids in autism after graduating um and did that you know started a couple clinics for kids with autism and was working with the one or one time with the client and had an idea and i won't or take still too much of his thunder but had an idea joking around said oh it's not really a joke it's not a bad idea thought about it for a while and decided to circle back to it and actually build a business around and get it going so um you know he'll you'll get a bit more details from jesse but it's a fun journey to tell and with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast jesse hey thanks for having me so i gave kind of the real brief run through kind of a bit of your journey but uh maybe take us back a bit in time to originally envisioning yourself as an english teacher how your journey and then how your journey went from there yeah so i i wasn't i was the smartest kid in school and i i usually got pretty good grades on uh reading and writing assignments and that was pretty much it so i kind of pigeoned myself my pigeon holding myself into uh into that kind of field and profession and um and i really grew to love it uh right before i graduated high school though i i took a psychology course uh and it kind of changed everything for me and i decided to kind of pursue something in the human services field rather than you know my my plan to to be an educator so so you take the psychology course and kind of directs you to in a new direction which i think it sounds like it makes sense you know follow you know find the thing that you love and then find who will pay for it and i think that's the best mixture of it so you went into psychology now how did you so you and you got the degree you graduated now how did you kind of get into working with kids with autism after you graduated yeah so i uh i moved out to california for a year um and just kind of did some stuff out there i got away from where i went to high school and needed a job went to a job fair and the first place that called me back was a an organization that provided in-home services for kids with autism um fast forward a little bit i moved back to utah got some more experience and really kind of fell in love with with that work and that population and decided to continue my education to get my master's degree in behavior analysis and really set myself up to be able to work with a diverse group of people but primarily um kids who who have autism and related disorders so now you get into that and you know did the job search find hey this is one that's an opening i think it sounds interesting he did that and then it sounds like you know you again found a bit of passion because you stayed with it um you opened up a couple you know clinics or whatever you'd want to call them um to help kids with autism and so it sounds like that was uh and it still is a bit the direction where your your path or your journey has continued to head yeah i love it um i think i'm kind of at the the point in my career where i really enjoy mentoring people who want to do what i've done in the past and hopefully do it better and learn from some of the mistakes that i've made and so i'm kind of at the point where i want to um expand on that and uh and i think that's kind of where the idea for some of these these desks um came in as well so uh we can kind of provide other supports or additional supports to uh to the population that i've grown to enjoy working with so much so now so now you just touched on it and you know that kind of dovetails into what you're doing with business today but tell us kind of how that idea came about what you know and what or what you're doing at the time that um arose there kind of spurred that idea that now is uh evolved into an actual business yeah so uh my business partner i will say her name is rebecca and she is uh she's completely type a so we uh we were worked together um with with a couple kids actually and we're working with one and uh the mom just happened to be really uh nervous about sending him to school for the first time he was about uh you know to come up on his his kindergarten year and um you know he had this toy that he really uh really enjoyed working with and playing with and we used that as a motivator for him and a lot of different things and you know we kind of joked around like oh if he could just take this toy to school with him uh everything would be fine and he would be you know really successful and and all that and so that kind of got the wheels turning a little bit and rebecca and i uh you know joked around thought a little bit about um you know creating this desk uh that just had sensory stimulate on it so things that are you know visually appealing uh while still being minimally distracting uh and also uh things that are you know tactilely pleasing especially for kids with those sensory needs like so many kids with autism have so now you you have that idea and you do it you know you kind of you know and i always love because i've been the same way you have an idea like that's kind of a stupid idea that's never going to work then you start thinking about such a bad idea you know you kind of go through that and so you guys you know had the idea i said okay you know there's that maybe there's something to it but then i think you mentioned that you kind of either got busy or shelved it for a period of time and let it sit there and you know linger for a bit before circling back is that right we did yeah so it's man it was probably nine months later uh pretty much all of quarantine had come up and and there are so many kids who weren't even in school anymore and they were doing online school and then just randomly one day uh rebecca texted me and she said you know she saw some some really inexpensive desks online uh that one a local university was getting rid of and she's like hey remember that time we had that idea and uh and i've had so many yeah yeah exactly exactly yeah that's one of one of the consequences of being all over the place sometimes but um but she she uh you know sent me a picture and i was like oh yeah that we should we should still do that that sounds like a good idea let's just buy some uh and see what happens they're very inexpensive and i've got a basement that's not even close to being done so just throw them all down there and uh you know let it sit for a little bit and we we completely destroyed one of them trying to figure out how to most effectively create this um this desk and uh after that we were able to kind of figure out what the best way to kind of put it together was and how we could use it not only as a as a tool to get kids to sit down and be motivated to learn but also um to not be distracted because that we knew immediately that would be one of the the biggest barriers that we ran into so he did that because you know and i think that that makes sense in the sense that you want to you want them to have something to fidget with but it can't be that the whole class is now hearing them fidget with it or you know playing with it and it distracts the whole class and so i think that makes sense to kind of find that balance and you know that's kind of you know i like the idea of you know oh you remember this idea we had several months ago that we didn't do anything with i found some deaths that are really inexpensive that we can try this out let's do it and it kind of reinvigorates the idea that you've had that you kind of sit there and linger but it also kind of points to you know the time he has to be right the opportunity has to be right and you kind of have to go through that exercise so now you guys get the desk you kind of play with them you kind of get a prototype you kind of see what works what doesn't work and you start to build that into a business so help us you know give us the audience an idea is that business launch can they go buy it is it still no prototype stage have you had sales or kind of where is it at now yeah so uh so we have a website that's launched um and we are an official you know uh started business uh we um you know it was interesting uh one of the things i think is so important is just knowing people and um through my experiences with the autism community which is a very uh very tight-knit community and a very supportive community i was able to um you know remember some of the contacts that i've made five six seven eight nine years ago and reached out to them and they actually have a grant system so we applied for a grant and we we actually you know won that that award and uh we're able to be approved essentially to provide 20 desks to schools throughout utah and support our special education classrooms so we we completed that grant uh and now we are um really just in the business of uh figuring out how to work with schools um work with uh parents and you know other caregivers and really make sure that we're um these these supports uh these customized uh unique looking desks to um to motivate kids to to learn and sit down instead of spending so much time and energy and resources trying to get like redirected back to a seat so you know these these kids who are oftentimes very energetic uh a little hyperactive can um can then you know be motivated to sit down and get some of those needs met while they're um learning and going through instruction so teachers can uh can spend more of their time and energy educating rather than redirecting oh cool so no and i think that uh definitely you know it's kind of it's fun to see how an an idea starts to take shape from hey we had a crazy idea we didn't do anything with that okay we found some desks now we're going to start to build it we build the website and it's kind of fun to see that iteration and that growth and our hope that it continues to grow and build or build uh further out so so that kind of takes us a bit to where you're at today now looking a bit into the future you know the next six to 12 months where do you see things headed where do you know how do you see things working out and kind of what's the direction you guys are going yeah it's a it's a great question um we have really ambitious goals um to to get you know at least 50 desks out by the end of this year you know we're at that 20 mark right now um the other thing that i that's really important to me is figuring out and ensuring that these work we want to make sure they're they're effective and we have some data we want to get some more data some more people who are willing to um you know track how how often kids attend or um how much they're on task during uh instruction time um the data that we have are really positive uh for for example the first kid that we use this with uh he went from 24 percent attending to like 98 attending um and staying in his seat and just learning that way so um we want to make sure that that's not just a one-off we want to make sure that you know these uh we're getting good reliable data um to show that these actually can be effective teaching tools or um assistance to uh to our tour educators as well so i'd say those those are really are our big goals get more just evidence that these are effective and get more of them out there well cool that sounds like it you know it is fun i think that the best thing is hey proof is in the pudding let's get them out there let's show that they're effective that they work the people are going to want them and that it is beneficial to the kids you know with autism that gives or gives them that to something to to play you know to play with her to deal with as their as they're learning to aid them so excited to see how things continue to go for you guys well as we kind of wrap up or wrap up your journey we hear a little bit about kind of how you got to where you're at today and where you guys are headed you know um always have two questions with the enemies podcast so we'll go ahead and jump to those now so the first question i always ask is along your journey what was your worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it yeah so i think the worst business decision uh that i made uh was just poor time management in in general uh so um it's really difficult to to start a business while you're doing another business or while you're you know have your full-time job and i think it was it was really hard to just uh stick to a schedule of spending one two maybe three hours a day i'm developing these desks whether it was our like intellectual development where the actual manufacturing development for these deaths so the worst business decision uh i think that that i made was just um delaying uh or not prioritizing spending the time on these desks because uh it sounds so easy on paper uh and and very very fast uh very very quick and uh that's that's not the case at all so um it is now it wasn't then so um i think that was definitely the the worst business decision uh that i made and as far as what i learned from it um scheduling i think organization has always been a pretty strong suit for me but i think that was um that that became even more needed uh as i as i learned to really like allocate time towards towards these projects no definitely makes sense so cool well then now let's jump right to the second question which is if you're now talking to someone that's just getting to a startup or a small business what would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah this is this is tough i uh i talked about networking i can't stress the importance of that there are i i really feel like if you um if you don't learn something from everybody you've talked to then then you've almost done yourself a disservice uh so that's kind of like my like 1 1a my main um i think point is going to be uh to compartmentalize um it can it can sound so stressful to just be like oh i'm gonna i'm gonna be a business owner now i'm just gonna start a business and it can be really overwhelming um but really uh when you when you break it down and when you say like i'm just gonna start my business like i'm literally gonna go to a website i've done this a million times before uh i've gone to some some sort of website it takes like 30 minutes depending on what you're offering and what state you're in uh it might even cost less than 100 bucks and and let's let's be honest you're going to spend 30 minutes scrolling through instagram before you go to bed anyway or you're going to spend you know 100 bucks on something stupid on amazon so um so just being able to break it down and just say like all right i'm just going to do this today i'm just going to get this out of the way and then i'll at least set myself up for success or for opportunities to further develop businesses um or whatever the business idea might be um in the future and i also uh i know i'm going long on this i have so many uh so many ideas but i think the the other thing that um is really valuable that i heard on a podcast once was uh the people million dollar ideas every day um they just maybe don't necessarily have the um experience or the networking or uh the know-how to get it started or up off the ground or maybe even the motivation but there's so many times that people have these million dollar ideas that um i i think it's it's really valuable to write those down and then you know maybe later nine months later when your friend texts you and says hey there's desk for sale or whatever it might be you you can get those off the ground and get running but um i think there's a lot of value in not forgetting uh what some of your ideas are when you're motivated and inspired yeah i i love that and i think that makes sense i mean the thing i would probably add to that is there's a lot of people that have million dollar ideas the difference between it being a million dollar business versus a million dollar ideas execution in other words you can oh you can have a lot of ideas but if you never actually execute never build on and never do anything with it it will stay in an ideal stage it'll never go anywhere so i think that you know the thing i'd add to it is now once you have the idea execute on it try it out figure it out and make sure that it works and you know if it doesn't work then you learn a lot of lessons and you are able to you know take or get takeaways and take that to next business and if you do make it work then it is certainly worthwhile so i would say you know not just have the idea get out and execute on it so well as p as we wrap up if people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer client they want to buy a desk they want to be an investor in your business they want to be an employee and help out they want to volunteer they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out and find out more yeah i uh so there's two ways um first of all i'm into all of those i love volunteers i'll have best friends uh the the first uh way is our website it's www.sensoryintegrationdesks.com the second way is just through our email it's just sensory integration at outlook.com and um the other thing we we have you know some products on our website that families can buy or the individuals can buy but we also really stress the importance of um you know if schools want to reach out and they say well we want 20 desks but you know we don't want to we don't want to buy 20 desks we can go in and repurpose existing desks as well and we'll work with them on a a reasonable quote as well so we can go in and get those done over a weekend or something like that but ultimately we just want to get these out there and we just want to help kids and so anything we can do to uh you know customize or make it work or fit for a specific school or a district or a family we want to hear from you so we're we're always willing to work with people and just make sure that it's the the best fit and increases educational opportunities for for students all across the educational platform awesome well i definitely encourage people to reach out connect up find out more and support and use a product if you have a kid in need that would be beneficial to well as we wrap up thank you again for coming on the podcast now for all of you that are listeners love to if you have a journey to tell we'd love to share it uh just to apply to be honest as a guest on the podcast just go to inventiveguest.com a couple more things of the listeners or two more things one make sure to click subscribe to your podcast players so you know when all of our awesome episodes come out and two leave us a review so other people can find out about all of our awesome episodes last but not least if you ever need help with patents trademarks or anything else feel free to go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat now we do have um just as a reminder as before we wrap up we also have the um our bonus question we'll talk a little bit about intellectual property so stay tuned for that otherwise as we wrap up if anybo if you're not going to listen to the bonus question don't have any or what don't or learn about ip thanks for listening and appreciate you coming on the podcast absolutely okay so with that now we get to go right i dive right into the bonus question because it's one of my favorite things because it's kind of fun uh we get it i always get a chance to uh you know i'm always the one in the driver's seat get asked the questions don't have to answer anything but now i get a we get a flip gears flip the table and i get a chance to talk a little about the thing that i love i'm passionate about which is intellectual property so with that i'll turn it over to you to ask what is your number one intellectual property question yeah so um man number one question i think i think the biggest question that uh that both rebecca and i have is um how do we um prevent this or how do we make this really ours so right now there's not a patent there's not anything like that so what's the best way to take the the thing that we've built and make sure that you know uh like a major company with a lot of resources that we don't have just you know doesn't buy one for cheap and then you know replicate it over and over and then send us uh back to our other jobs no and i think and that is always a hard because i mean it's a fair answer you know startups and small businesses are always i would say it a bit of a disadvantage as opposed to a big business when it comes to intellectual property because and i think that's generally life in general the people that have more time money and effort especially money are able to you know take advantage of that and utilize that and leverage it to their advantage and so if your startup or small business a lot of times with uh with you know having a great idea a great product you know you always worry you know what is somebody else says hey this is a great idea and now they come along and replicate it so you know part of that is intellectual property part of it's done we'll touch on help or touch on those just a bit you know on the intellectual property side you what you need to do is figure out what's part of your business what is the thing that makes you unique and differentiating gives you that competitive advantage and then see if it's protectable and you know and that can be hey if it's an invention you know you guys this is a physical desk you know that can be anything from it see how you make the desk what do you integrate in are those different unique are they going to be something that is going to be patentable or protectable and sometimes it is and that's great sometimes it's not the other thing you can think about is on the on the patent side is you can also go by what's a design patent so now you're looking at are you making a unique looking desk and it has something that's kind of design wise maybe not in utility and functionality unique or different but it has a unique look and feel such that hey if it looks like this we want to protect this you know we put in a ton of time and thought and effort as you where should this be placed what should it be how should it look what's you know what is that aesthetic nature to it and all those and so those are always a couple things for tag and also sometimes you get to the end of it and you say you know what we don't really have anything that's patentable but what we're going to do is build a really good reputation and brand we're going to give a really good story you know this is how we came we work with kids with autism all the time and you know this is why we came up with this product and this is why it resonates with us and here's our mission and that and you build that kind of that story and that following in that brand and that can also be very valuable and you can protect that with a trademark so those are always you know and so that's what you kind of the process you go through is what is essential or core to our business what really makes us you different and then how do we protect it now on the other kind of or side of your question which is okay so let's say we figure all that out we still have the question or you know what ends up a big business comes along and says yeah that's a great idea let's copy it all or let's just make our own how do you protect that and you know a couple things if you don't have any protection if you're not able to say hey we don't have a brand or we haven't built it yet don't have anything patentable it's gonna be you need to be you know first to market you build it and then you continue to innovate you know keep ahead of the competition sometimes you know bigger businesses they have a lot of benefit time money and resources but they're also a lot more slow moving it takes longer to make decisions to iterate through products to listen to customer feedback to roll out new programs and that can be a benefit to a smaller startup for a small business is to say hey we can we don't have the timeline and resources but we can pivot we can adjust we can listen we can enjoy we can continue to innovate and keep ahead of them the other thing is if you do have it let's say you had let's say you went got a patent or a trademark and you you know you were to secure it doesn't mean that the big business may not just say hey we're going to spend them under the table even if we do infringe we're just going to simply rip them off then you know there's a few options one of which i think is always a good one is every business has a competitor he doesn't you know samsung has apple or apple has samsung pepsi has co ford has chevy you know any business you go through they always have a competitor and there's very seldom any business that doesn't have somebody that's a competitor so a lot of times what you're saying is okay maybe this competitor comes knocks us off but we have this or you know valuable intellectual property we're gonna go to this other business their direct competitors say hey we've got a good following got a good brand we've got a good you know patents and that to cover this now would you guys like to acquire us to license from us or otherwise do it and it gives that competitor that advantage where they can go and enforce that they can utilize and leverage what you've done and there are a few other ways you can go about it as well so i think that you got to kind of start to look at the landscape what do we want to protect how do we want to protect it what's the business overlay can we protect it and then how what are our options if somebody in his uh if we need to enforce it or otherwise do that so that's a much longer much more summarized discussion to something that i could talk about for hours but it's a great question definitely one that's interesting so with that we'll go ahead and wrap up the podcast now if you or anybody in any of the listeners have any other questions about patents trademarks or anything else and we didn't answer it on this number one question feel free to go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with me to chat and always happy to help otherwise thanks again jesse for coming on to the podcast and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last awesome thanks so much i'm sure we'll be in touch absolutely have a good one