You Are Not Alone
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
You Are Not Alone
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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one the biggest piece of advice is you're not alone right this is where i found myself after going through there's so many entrepreneurs feeling they carry this weight on them i've i made myself alone feeling i had to be able to carry this weight so much that made me contemplate my own life right so don't do that you are surrounded by amazing individuals especially in so many cities like when you find your tribe you find these people reach out connect don't feel like you have to do it on loan because if you stay in your super and bring the right people in it will really allow you to be because like i always say we all rise up when we rise up together so take a allow those people in your journey and know it's okay you don't have to be the best at everything understand your superpower and truly when you're starting that company that's the closest people to you right [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host evan miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he focus on helping startups small businesses with their patents and trademarks and if you ever need help with years just go to strategymeeting.com now today we have another great guest on the podcast joshua lee and uh josh or joshua whichever i whichever i uh whichever i end up saying but whatever comes out josh uh started out uh selling candy out of his locker in school and uh played a little bit of uh football in high school and did well went to college um followed a girl i think and played football for a bit of time and i went to university of texas and then stopped eight hours short of finishing the degree which we'll have to talk this a little bit about and then worked in wireless and mobile sales for a period of time got into real estate and then got into the online advertising space and one of his uh first clients was i think myspace which i don't think anybody still uses myspace but if you're old enough to know what myspace is uh that was certainly what in his heyday was a good a big thing made some good money and also made some mistakes and then got married had kids had seven more uh years to do things or do a few other things and then wanted to hit a bit of a reset and they'll talk a little bit about what that reset is um and then started uh starting what he's doing today so but that much is a as an introduction welcome on the podcast josh gavin man happy to be here yeah i know it's a as you kind of go through that entire thing i'm like okay wow that's a lot of things to be able to go through you know we'll be here for hours no but man it's excited to be able to kind of jump in and be able to share you know i look at it this way right we can be able to share that journey it allows maybe one person right that's listening to be able to maybe not make that misstep that some of us have have put into learning the the right ways to be able to do things absolutely and couldn't agree more so now with that all as an intro take us a bit back in time to how how the journey started was selling locker out of the canyon school or selling candy out of the water and uh how it got started from there you know man i mean that's the thing i think you always kind of look into it i've had these different conversations with different people it's like are you born an entrepreneur or you made an entrepreneur and i mean i i think it really it's different from everyone i think i kind of came that way just because i mean being only a child i saw a lot of opportunity just the way i kind of communicated and engaged with people so with me i mean i always said i thought that you know i saw that opportunity right kids needed candy my parents were actually willing to buy it for me so that was an opportunity to be able to go in um it's it's funny though devin i made one miss one bad mistake though that was that entrepreneur back then even in high school was like how far can we take this and i remember it was like middle school or something like that and it was for social studies and my family's from germany um on my mom's side and so we brought non-alcoholic beer to be able to kind of show off and afterwards i was like man i bet i can sell this they no matter not alcoholic or not the school was not too pleased with my entrepreneurial finesse of even at that age so it was interesting to kind of see where that kind of played out no and i i agree probably they're probably going to be even if it just has the appearance of alcohol schools probably in a place where they say well let's not do that so so now you started there started your journey and i agree it's always kind of i think some people are probably born entrepreneurs some people become entrepreneurs and it's to make some kinds of both of them or they discover they're they want to be an entrepreneur um but so with that now you kind of went through high school you played some football and went off to school now how did school get going because i think you if i remember right you followed a girl part of it you dropped it it did you smile you know eight hours before you finish the degree so tell us a little bit about school before you got into the working world yeah man no worries well i mean i kind of went in like going into uh college i mean i kind of had those two different worlds where i did really well in school like i almost aced my s.a.t scores way back when uh but also played football so initially it was like you know i live in texas so you know football is you know it's life you know so that was kind of that thing and like a girlfriend of mine at the time was going to a specific college that had opportunity to be able to play with him for the first year university of um nacogdoches you know way back when we got a knack of nowhere because it was out in the middle of nowhere and that's really what it was and eventually i said no this is not for me and i left i went to university of texas um you can follow more the academic side but even with that man i got distracted i started working in the wireless world this is back when digital was first kind of hitting and i became one of the youngest corporate accounting executives over at singular wireless you have to dive in and just stop yeah please click on that because you get all the way you go go to degree even if you're saying okay i'm not gonna i'm not gonna use this degree to get all the way to eight hours left on the degree and then just stop short what was the decision or the thought process it was just hey i'm worn out i'm done i don't care how many hours i have left or hey i'm never gonna use this degree why pay for eight more hours and i have to and i'm not going to give them another dimer because you know most people say well i put in all the time and effort i'm going to just finish it because i'm already 95 of the way there so kind of what was that oh yeah my parents said the same thing like what what's going on and you know it really was i just think of the last semester i was like you know what i'm done there's a couple more classes i need to finish out and i kind of was i was already at a point where i was making six figures a year doing wireless sales as a corporate accounting executive at singular slash at t wireless way back when so i just didn't i was like and i was at that point in time i initially gone for a finance degree then shifted to business development i mean and honestly i was looking at the jobs i would get from the degree and i'm like i'm gonna make a lot less money so can then this is where you know a lot of my initially you know as humans as entrepreneurs as as men stuff like that we as you just everyone you're driven by that almighty dollar and that's kind of real it took me down a path it was like well i can make money i can monetize it let me go that way and to me money was the driver point i mean i've had many shifts since then but early on in my career money was my driver point which is which is for a lot of people and that's kind of where it kind of you know dove off devon to be able to kind of go in that field so now one last question that will continue on the journey yeah man no worries wishes that you would go back either had finished or you ever desired to go back and even if nothing else just to get the degree to say okay i finished is there any part of you saying hey it's passing my journey i don't look back no worries you know my wife says the same thing like when you feel better because i mean she got her you know got her degree got her mba all those things and i look i was like look there's a lot of you know really smart people out there that sort of big companies that never got their degree um you know you look at steve jobs look at you know these these guys that are out there that so i want to be able to go back and be like oh well you know look at josh is just like these other people you know i have big aspirations on where we're going and how we're actually going to be able to affect this world so look i can't look back i can only learn from the the steps that i made my my past to be able to make better ones in the future all right i think it's again i mean i think there's a port i would probably still you know no i'm on the opposite i end up getting four degrees which my wife always tells me is three degrees too many so i took the opposite extreme to not finishing and probably finishing way too much but i get that you know there is a thing of saying hey i learned a lot i got the education i wanted or i decided that wasn't for me and all you know it a little bit you know almost at some point at some point or cost analysis and let's move forward rather than go back and do or finish something that i don't really have if i thought it was eight hours too devin you know probably but i'm pretty sure like there's a statue of limitations i'm 42 now so i'm pretty sure that a lot of those hours that i put in i'd probably have to repeat and on it i just now look i got i got two kids so it's the same thing like we kind of go back i'm entrepreneur like look if it makes sense go my wife is they need to go to college so we'll definitely have this conversation again coming up in about you know eight to ten years fair enough so so now you do so you go off and say okay wireless sales i got into that this is going to be a you know great opportunity making pretty good money you know is on the uptake and that now how did you or what caused you to kind of transition from wireless mobile sales over to real estate that was the thing right it was it was that there was that almighty dollar it just it kept on i was able to really kind of pay attention and see trends and i mean that's what's allowed me to be a good entrepreneur once i started my own companies was i was able to see around the corner i was able to kind of see what was coming and where the bigger opportunity was this was you know early 2000s when i had made this shift so when an opportunity came so i was like look man there's amazing money in this and so i started because you know i went in there and i got in that real estate and got my broker's license and you know i started to kind of play in that world but even that world i mean yes there was a lot of opportunity but i didn't like some of the people that were in how they were doing things i mean i remember back then i moved from austin texas out to long beach california and yeah people were leveraging their home making more money on refinance every year than they were actually at their jobs they buy their houses for two three hundred thousand now they owed 800 i'm like you're going the wrong way this is like back in those days like negams and reverse mortgages that would just really hurt a lot of people because there wasn't wasn't i explained to him it just my heart wasn't into it anymore and i had a kind of it's a great opportunity i saw that i took the advantage of the situation when it was but as soon as i you know i just couldn't handle anymore like i had to get out it makes sense and you know there's there is always that you know hey i'm making good money but do i feel good about it and if you don't feel good about it at some point the good money doesn't you know it doesn't uh doesn't matter it's quite as much anymore so with that you went for mobile sales and you kind of changed the trend and said okay real estate's a good place then you say okay i don't feel good about this anymore i don't my heart's not in it anymore so now you went to online advertising you know these are kind of three distinct or different you know kind of industries yeah how did you get into or what was online advertising yet again kind of this is where i think the money's at or where the trends at or kind of what got you now into online advertising kind of how did you get there and then how did you get myspace as one of your first clients so this is the interesting thing right yeah they're 100 different verticals as you kind of go through but what i've learned over the years is i mean when you kind of go through it's all dealing with human beings right you're talking about you know mobile cells you're talking to the human behind it you know and you're in the real estate you're still dealing with other human beings and same thing on the advertising side like honestly it was initially a friend of mine brought me in and i i just needed to get out so i out of the real estate side and i had actually left and i was you know in between jobs and so i was like alright cool yeah let's try this out i mean i remember yeah you know this is before alexa was a thing where like hey alexa can you she's not going off right now but um you know this is alexa listen and alexa actually just went off in this room so i heard you big brother is listening so those are the things right so you know kind of going through this we use the alexa list which is how every all the online sites are ranked across the globe and i'll stop saying that name moving forward so we don't have to worry about that anymore but you know and so i would just go through thousands of websites but i saw this opportunity and the biggest shift for me and where i was able to start my own company was i was only there for about four months i saw the opportunity this was about 2003 and the owner became in here and he was a business owner not a business operator and shortly after i started there he's like he decided he wanted to become a business operator and that's a massive shift in difference and actually someone being actively in that's not actively always in the company and if they don't know where they're going and how to operate that business it took a real left turn and eventually they closed the business fairly quickly after he kind of came in because it came very apparent he was doing it for his own reasons and funneling money the wrong way so but it built those relationships right it allowed me to be able to get in there because at that time in the early 2000s you had to know someone to be able to get in that industry and so that was my door in and when when he closed the door i'm back on my couch again i said hey there's an opportunity all these relationships that were there are left unchecked and i said let me pick them up and i was the person that they knew so that's what those relationships kind of started and it just so happened one of those relationships was with was an early startup called myspace and we kind of went in there and i had the relationships with a company that did the advertising side of it which was yahoo um overture at the time but everyone knows them as yahoo now and i kind of paired those i was a middle man i did you know what we call arbitrage i brokered the relationship i i bought the traffic low for myspace and provided the ads and then sold it to yahoo for for a substantial difference and made money on that margin and so that's kind of where my entire online advertising world started was leveraging relationships you know finding the relationship with the advertising companies not just the advertisers directly and then finally building the relationship with the people that have the traffic and then making the margin on the middle no i think that that's cool and definitely um makes that perfect sense and it sounds like a fun opportunity now myspace is gone and like thank y'all who's still around i see an email address every once in a while on the end i'm like you may want to know you know yahoo got a lot of their user information back at one point somebody else probably has your login maybe it's that person but no i think that that's you know definitely is a fun place to you know take the career and it sounds like a great opportunity at the time um you know now i think if i remember right he did that was that seven years around seven years yeah i mean i well i mean i started that company in 2000 in 2003 beginning of 2004 and then i ran that and was in that world up until about seven years ago so you know and that's where i kind of it kind of took me down a path that i mean like i told you that all my dollar like really affects so many people and i realized after building multiple different companies in that realm of monetizing every every acronym you could think of cpc cpa cpl all the different online stuff that's all it was was just monetizing traffic and there was no value and i wasn't seeing that i was helping anyone and honestly by chasing that dollar it led me to a path that i've gotten 45 pounds overweight never been overweight in my life my relationships became monetary and i had no vision about where i was going i just knew where i was at and it was all like this whole work life like play as hard as i could and i wanted to start a family and and really after starting a family i started shifting my perspective on what i really wanted to be on this world and be able to connect with other people and that's kind of hit my reset which was honestly i found myself at a point contemplating my own existence on this world and that was the wrong way to be able to think of it i was blessed to be able to you know have it more of a divine power to say look take back your own your own you know being and give that to you to my wife my former and we got divorced and look man i they were looking at like three years to be able to go through i was running 10 different companies at the time ranging anywhere from six seven and eight figures and i had two kids and i didn't want to take them through that so i walked away from everything at 36 and moved back with my parents with a little bit under a thousand dollars my name to be able to save that time that one resource we don't get back and kind of restart my life to be able to build up to where i am today so now you and that you know i think that you know sometimes you'll in your life you're going to hit a crossroads and for everybody it's a bit different i think for a lot of times these with entrepreneurs it can be you know sometimes you're working for a big business you're saying you know do i really want to do this for the next 20 years and saying you know even if i can make more money i just don't love it i don't enjoy that i'd rather go do my own thing be my own boss and sometimes that is you know i've been i've been huddling i've been burning or burning things you know the candle on both ends for a long period of time i need a break i need to take a step back and whatever that is i think a lot of times and in one form or fashion everybody kind of has that i need to hit a reset or i need to take a breather so now as you do that you know and it sounds like you know you pulled back from some of the companies that you know ended up getting divorced walking away from everything i think as we talked a little bit before you said hey the ex-wife can take everything i just want to reset basically my reset on all of life and kind of doing you know starting over so to speak so now as you're starting here hitting the reset button where how did you figure out what you wanted to do next or where you were headed or what that meant for you that was that was a rough patch man i'll be honest you know i kind of left feeling free but then really found out very quickly that i got used to you know not worrying about money for a while and you know running those companies so it was that kind of battle and i went through you know like a mini depression for a little bit because i was trying to find myself right at first to be honest i was like i'm going to be a life coach i wrote my book balances bullsh i'll try not to cuss and stuff like that all about living more of an integrated life getting rid of this whole work life balance that had led me to a demise trying to achieve this balance that's unachievable and you know i realized really quickly that i didn't want to be a life coach i was taking on a lot of people's uh issues that were kind of going through but i was good at really connecting with other human beings and so really what i did was i paired that that level humanity being able to help people and connect and engage with others and i paired it with my marketing background and then i kind of felt fell into you know a platform that i found very unutilized which was linkedin and you know being able to help people that's kind of where we we built standout authority which was how do we actually instead of sell right i'd done that how do we how do we get rid of traffic and actually bring in truly engaged individuals and linkedin where everyone goes oh it's b to b i said wow you know what i get it everyone goes b to b or b to c but every company is run by another human being a lot of marketers just forgot that so truly it's all h human human and then that's kind of where it was built like how do we actually educate inspire and draw people in rather than having to sell them because if you they choose to work with you man that ltv lifetime value becomes so much more you know powerful in the relationship as you build that and grow your company no i think that that you know that that makes a lot of sense and you know it sounds like could be a fun opportunity i'm a big big believer of linkedin i think that they're you know there's always these spam bots and things that are aggravating and sometimes things you don't like but there's also a great opportunity on the business side to make connections to have access to actually make those connections that a lot of times and otherwise in life you wouldn't make those connections again to stand out to be able to grow to be able to make connections be able to do all that so i think that that definitely sounds like a great next pass so that kind of brings us up a bit to where you're at today and so now kind of you know you've got standout or standoutauthority.com which is where you just mentioned so now if you're trying to take the next you know six to 12 months kind of looking to the future what it holds and where you guys are headed what does that look for you guys man you know it's actually kind of beautiful because my wife my wife just actually left corporate she had worked at microsoft for many years running their branding and then moved over to gartner and was running the digital marketing branding for them as well and she actually just left a couple weeks ago to be able to come partner with me at this company because you know to be able to do that to be able to build that that's this next six to 12 months look like how her and i are not only affecting people you know truly humanizing the way that people are online because your personal brand is where that stands out and she's amazing at that along with pairing that with what we're doing on that that messaging side and really being able to bring those opportunities on linkedin so you know we're building out communities we're building out different master classes to be able to teach people on a greater scale and you know it's interesting like we even got devin um it was a couple a couple weeks ago i'm not sure if you're ever on clubhouse or not but we're active very active on that app over there you know i would have been but i you know first of all i'm an android user my wife loves apple i like apple if my problem with apple and this is a complete aside apple is one where if you like it how it is out of the box it works great for you right you like to customize it or do what you want to do with it it doesn't let you customize it so i'm too much of a person that likes to customize it sorry clubhouse only come on apple yeah their clubhouse came out it was on apple and so then i couldn't use it though i think they now have it on android they do i haven't ever actually tried the point that i would have tried it out is it may have passed and so now i have never actually circled back and tried it but everything alone this is slightly digressed yeah no man you're not alone i mean there's a lot of people on there i mean but you know it's interesting it's brought some amazing opportunities for us on that app just because it's inter it's worldwide we're reaching audiences we've never had before and a couple weeks ago we talked about the next six to 12 months um we might actually be doing a tv show because we actually pitched a a new tv show called um to this new entrepreneurial tv network that's launching was called love and war the entrepreneurial journey so again love your podcast because that's about that entrepreneurial journey and having my wife and i talk about those different things from the corporate side to the other so for us linkedin and what we do there is just the vehicle you know where we see us going where we're going is we want to be able to humanize the entire way people are online we want to remind people that we were all born human beings we just need to remember to be able to be that online too and there's a better way because devin i mean i i do feel a little bit i i had a hand in how we monetize this everyone's just a number especially social media because back way back when myspace i was there i helped them create one of the first social media ads and so you know i feel like i had a slight hand in some of where we're at now and i want to have a bigger hand on bringing us back to to getting away from everything just being a number because that led me down a bad path and i want to be able to on a greater scale be able to help you know work with people like yourself work with the people that are listening because man i try to change this world on my own and i can't do it i have to be able to work with other amazing people to be able to change this world not only for my kids but for everyone so we can all you know leave a better leave it better than what we we was given to us and that's that's it hasn't happened in a while over the past couple generations we can kind of we got to flip that around we start making this world better rather than you know where it was kind of going and i think we got a good opportunity with this new reset that we just went through with kovitz so excited sounds like you know you found a place that the fun exciting enjoying and it presents a good opportunity which are all certainly great positives and flicked out a whole lot in the future so well now as we we start to wrap up the podcast and you know as we kind of have reached where you're at today and a little bit of where you're going at the future i always like to transition to the questions i hear i have about the journey which 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 um worst business decision i ever made was i'm going to be honest i was sitting at the the playboy club in in las vegas um at the um and we was playing um forget we were uh texas hold him or something like that i was sitting with a friend and he was pitching me like he had just sold his business and he was like hey josh you know i know you're building something right now um and you should just you know buy this you know my our quote unquote source code you know for our platform because we just sold it and i didn't do any due diligence it was two guys trying to you know talk about who's two's tougher right you know and be able to go through i'm like yeah of course and it was a 1.3 million dollar bet that i made and it actually resulted in me losing almost 10 million dollars in revenue over the next year because i didn't do any due diligence the process wasn't done whatever he had sold he ended up having to get his company back because even the people walked away from it so it was just as i always say duct tape together so with anything if you're going to do any investor go make any business decision due diligence it's really important to actually take time out to be able to look and see what you're buying before you do that and just don't don't let your ego get in the way no and i think that you know is you know you hear that like wow that was a big mistake you know that's a lot of money and yet at the time a lot of times i think with you you want to jump by the due diligence either is he going to say oh i know more i don't need to build children so i'm smart enough right i can read people or anything else or two you get so caught up in the idea and you're like oh there's so many things i could do here so many opportunities and both of which you know you kind of go on more of that emotional side and then in the meantime you get you get caught with the things that if you had done your due diligence you would have caught but because you got so excited about the opportunity what's going on that you didn't do that it could be a mistake so i am a big proponent of due diligence it's easy to overlook or it's easy to not do even though you should be doing it but i think it's definitely yeah man no 100 and that's kind of where you see these things i think it affects a lot of entrepreneurs they get excited right like oh shiny object you squirrel you know my dog you jump in right now i said i said the magic word and that's kind of happens with entrepreneurs too like oh i'm going to be able to save time and i'm going to jump sometimes it works but if you if you are just take your time out you know take that second breathe and then make that decision because i guarantee it'll it'll benefit you in the long run no i i mean i absolutely agree with you so second question i always ask is if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup for a small business what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them if you're gonna get in there i mean one the biggest piece of advice is you're not alone right this is where i found myself after going through there's so many entrepreneurs feeling they carry this weight on them i've i made myself alone feeling i had to be able to carry this weight so much that made me contemplate my own life right so don't do that you are surrounded by amazing individuals especially in so many cities like when you find your tribe you find these people reach out connect don't feel like you have to do it alone because if you stay in your super and bring the right people in it will really allow you to be because like i always say we all rise up when we rise up together so take a lot allow those people in your journey and know it's okay you don't have to be the best at everything understand your superpower and truly when you're starting that company ask the closest people to you right go in there like if devin you and i were like buddies for like 15 years i go to you like devin okay i'm gonna start a business if you had one thing you would pay me for what would it be if your friends can't think of anything you might want to just kind of take a second back and kind of reevaluate and be able to work on your pitch first no and i think that's good you know and we'll be buddies in the next 15 years we're not exactly anybody yet but we started a good relationship as of now yeah man no i think that um you know if you're to take that i think there's a lot of wisdom in that you know oftentimes as an entrepreneur i think you have to do it all you have to do it alone you have to do here you know and it could be everything from you don't think others will do it right or you know it's gonna take too long to get people up to speed or any number of things and yet oftentimes you forego the resources you have it that would make you successful because you're trying to do you're on your own and you still may be successful on your own but there's so many times that you have such a higher likelihood of success and a higher likelihood of being successful if you just utilize those resources so i think that's a great piece of advice yeah as we as we wrap up if people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer or 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 the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact your find out more devin man of course they can always go to standardauthority.com but honestly you know kind of where you and i met as well too linkedin i love when people listen to your podcast the podcast that i'm on and they reach out and they tell me why they listen to your podcast right send me a personal message on linkedin you can find me at joshuabealy you know i'm on there on linkedin and you know when you reach out be like man i listen to devin because of x y or z right because then that helps me build a better relationship with you because then i can go back in like devin dude look look at these things that people said about you they and i'm able to be able to share that so not only does it let me understand why they're listening but it also lets me build a better relationship with you as well too awesome well i definitely encourage people to reach out whether it's on linkedin whether it's on the website or any other ways i'm definitely a lot of resources there a lot of knowledge and a lot of expertise so well thank you again 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 the podcast feel free to go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show we'd love to have you and share your journey two more things as the listeners one make sure to click subscribe in your podcast players so you know when all of our awesome episodes come out if you leave us a review so other people can find out about all of our awesome episodes last but not least you ever need help with patents trademarks or anything else for your business just go to strategymeeting.com we're always here to help thanks again josh it's been fun it's been a pleasure and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last appreciate it my friend you