Believe In Yourself

Believe In Yourself

Steven Sylvester

Devin Miller

The Inventive Journey

Podcast for Entrepreneurs


Believe In Yourself

We had a lot of people on our rookie roaster and I was leader in charge of the rookie class because I was determined, I believed in myself, and I made it happen. Even in business when I discounted myself sometimes saying oh your just an athlete, oh you don't know much about business, This and that. Just believe in yourself and make things happen. It's literally the truth. If you can tell yourself that you really believe that, not just tell yourself that but really believe it, I think anything is possible so you can make it happen.


The Inventive Journey

Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.

Get New Episodes

Get 2 brand-new podcast episodes sent to you every week!


we had a lot of people on our uh rookie roster and you know i was leading the charge for the rookie class and it because i was just like determined and i believed in myself and i made it happen so um even in business when i discounted myself sometimes oh you're just an athlete oh you don't know much about business uh this and that just believe in yourself and make things happen it's literally the truth if you can tell yourself that you really believe that not just tell yourself that but really really believe it i think anything is possible so you can make it happen [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that has built several businesses into seven and eight figure companies as well as the founder and ceo 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 podcast and it's stephen sylvester and uh stephen first of all just as a complete side note but he went to the u of u i went to byu i feel like a little bit lacking that he's wearing he'll see you he's wearing you of you outfit i don't have my byu garbod so i feel like it's i lost a competition already but with that so stephen grew up in l.a got a full ride to u of u played football for him drafted to the um i think pittsburgh in 2010 played for about five years until he had an injury and then was trying to decide what to do what to do from there where to go um did some non-profit work with for a period of time and promoting leadership and leaders and improving society and then uh decided that uh non-profits are hard to make money off of and was trying to figure out the next thing so he liked barber shops he liked haircuts and he decided to go into kind of what i would describe as an airbnb for cosmetology so that's kind of a very quick overview of his journey and we'll dive a bit more into it but welcome to the podcast stephen thanks man thanks for having me on i'm excited so walk us through a bit of your journey i mentioned you kind of grew up in la so maybe pick up from there and we'll have a good conversation well i grew up in las vegas okay i i messed it up i said l.a lofts they both have they both start with lna so that's where i got it right there's a lot of um a lot of californians that come to los angeles vice versa so i definitely get it i definitely get it but yeah i grew up in las vegas um fortunate enough to grow up in the same household as my six cousins and my older brother so we had eight kids in the house that my mom was taking care of so it was a little chaotic but um extremely extremely beneficial to my development you know i did not lack in social skills at all um so it was awesome into that fact we were all very heavily into sports multi-sport people whether it was soccer track baseball um basketball was our our main sport and then of course i i grew into football so um you know life was life was great growing up in fact i get married here in the next few days and i was making i'm in charge of the wedding slideshow so i was going through old photos and now just looking at you know where i came from what i've done is uh it's truly uh amazing to look back on on those times to know that um where your mind was you know at that age just like i didn't know what i was gonna be when i grew up i didn't know what my future lied ahead who knew that i would get a full-ride football scholarship or i played the nfl you know as a kid you go to recess and you're like oh i'm playing for the dallas cowboys oh i'm doing this and that i'm edmond smith today i'm deon sanders um but to actually play at that level and you know it was definitely a dream come true so walk me through first of all i'll give you my 30 second assignment has other than you mentioned marriage so the funny thing as you mentioned and just gave me a flashback so i've been married for 13 years now yeah 13 years i had to give it a second thought so i didn't mess it up but we were going through and um going through pictures you know same thing for you for a slideshow and doing all that it was actually my my wife's dad that did a lot of that he loves photography and that and he was going through pictures from their side you know that he'd taken my wife over the years and all suddenly saw a picture of me on a soccer team and he was sitting there well this is brook you know this is my wife's picture come to find out we played on the same like six or seven year old soccer team not nobody in either family remembered it we've it popped up in the middle and we're like wait there she is there i am so we didn't meet again we didn't meet any chili uh again until college we met at byu but it was just funny that so you never know what you're gonna have pop up in the pictures because we had one where we played on the same little league soccer team had no idea until we got married so that's destiny i like that that's awesome all right so with that as an aside now jumping back to your story so you did you played you for you of you and although they're the byu rivals still uh still like to see you guys win and you got to draft it in first of all i can't remember so you view in 2010 now now you guys the u of u just dominates everybody was the football team still as good then as it is now or or what was the where were you guys ranked at so byu uh was a lot better when i played i know sad day no no it's it was it was the definition of a rivalry it came down to the last play every single year except for our undefeated year when we played alabama in the sugar bowl i think we won by 20 in that game but every year it was like there's a storyline it's like oh john back to harleen oh um fourth and eighteen were colleague caught a pass or my senior year overtime with uh max hall to andrew george um it all came down to like the last play as far as defining uh who won the game but um i don't know my experience i love playing at level edward stadium um i love away games anyway because i love to hear the booze i love the the crowd like when i played for the steelers i loved going to cleveland cleveland was never great but their fan base oh man they didn't care if they wanted they would let you have it so um i love that atmosphere that competitive atmosphere where nobody likes me where uh it's kind of like the odds are against me and um so i kind of relish in those moments that's awesome so well awesome so now you did played for the u of u for or during college and then you got drafted to pittsburgh and he's kind of said this was your dream you know it i mean every i assume it's every football player dream to make the nfl doesn't matter how long you play how much time you get just to make it to the absolute top of competition is kudos to you it shows how how well or how skilled you were how was playing in the nfl for those those years that you played cloud9 um i get asked this question often it's like i don't have an answer it was like my first year there um you know going through my years at at utah and then my first year in the nfl i went to the super bowl and it was just like is this how it's supposed to be this just feels it just feels great i mean like we're winning we were 12 and four it felt like we were unstoppable number one defense roethlisberger was killing it we had uh heinz ward antonio brown rashard mendenhall mike wallace uh emmanuel sanders heath miller our offense was just amazing and then our defense was the number one defense in the league it's just we felt like a jungle bat and so i was like is this how it is so as a rookie you don't really see that adversity and then you know the first year you have so much success so all of my the other four years is kind of like it's either super bowl or nothing so um yeah but literally my experience in nfl was tremendous uh i played with the best players that you know you only dreamed of you know uh when these guys were first getting into the league i was in middle school for some of them like james ferrier and i we we were in the same linebacker room uh he got drafted in 1996. i was only eight years old at that time and so we were we were playing at this it's incredible like i was a big michigan wolverines fan um when i was younger as far as football it was michigan wolverines and florida state and lo and behold larry foote was on the teams that i liked so it was like i'm playing with guys that i've only watched on tvs that i loved and it was just like i was it was a dream come true who thought that i would play with ben roethlisberger and line up next to troy palamallo some of these hall of famers uh dick lebeau was my coach like it was um i just didn't believe where i was at i was like i'm dreaming and i don't ever want to wake up and so um it was just an amazing experience to know that i put in a lot of work before the nfl to know that this is the pinnacle this is this is the results of your labor and so um it was awesome something that i can always put on my resume and a conversation starter so hey i'm sure that it's a great much better conversation to start what i tell people i have a patent here like oh that sounds boring so you have a much better conversation starter than i do um so he did that one aside so i assume it's a misconception but i'll ask anyway everybody that plays in the nfl is millionaires and you're set for life is that a as a true a true assumption or a myth that's a big myth um you know you just see the big contracts as far as there's just tons of other players there now you do get paid good there that is there's no denying that but if everybody was like oh you played in nfl you must have made millions of dollars that's not true at all um in fact you know the the longevity uh the actual length of a career the average length of a career is just two and a half years so um and then if you're at you know just minimum salary that's only 600 000 bucks if you're active if you're non-active it's only like 200 000 bucks in like a two-year span so uh this millionaire talk is not what everybody expects but you know once you get to a certain level it's like all the things you've ever wanted in life are just now at your feet people are throwing it at you as far as look here's an option it's like oh crap i have some money you know next year i could probably make a really good amount of money so it's not like i'm being losing anything and that's the mindset that goes on it's like i could spend ten thousand dollars on this i'll i'll definitely get this back in a year don't worry about it and next thing you know it's like you get an injury and you don't have that money so it's like dang i had plans on doing this and that so i think what people's impression needs to be on how well did you budget you know how well did you take that money that you do have because you have money that you made in two years that people don't make in five to ten years right um so how did you uh make that last or how did you improve yourself to set yourself up for the future because most people are done with football by the age of 26 27 and so it's like you still have a whole life ahead of you and so it's like how did you set yourself up to be able to uh be okay at 50 at 55 and at 60 because it doesn't a lot of people say nfl stands for not for long and so it's right so it's like um you know how well did you plan how well did your game plan or did you get greedy and just be like i'm i'm so good i made it to this level um i don't have to worry about anything it'll come to me just like everything else in life um but you know it's a lot of work that went into that and people that lose focus um lose focus on that as well as as for not planning for the future no i think that's very insightful and i assumed it was a myth but i thought i'd give you a chance to just to confirm that so so now you mentioned a little bit of you know career and or career ending injuries and those type of things i think that's kind of where you got to as well you played for about five years and then you bumped in or you had an injury that you had to then pivot and do something else is that right correct yeah i got an injury um so my last year was with the buffalo bills so i played my five years with the steelers and then um i started the year with buffalo um i got taken in right before training camp and i got started and i was starting for the bill so it was awesome i was gonna have a great year and then all of a sudden we're playing the panthers and i'm chasing cam newton out of the pocket and i go to hit him and my defender actually uh hits him first so i'm coming to hit him this way my defender hits him this way and just before i do he nicks my knee a little bit and like i don't it was like a real it's like a flick that's what it felt like so i didn't think anything of it i was like ah it felt a little weird and i went and played the rest of the game and then after the game like my knee is killing me but i was like we got the steelers next week so i'm not really telling anybody anything and so um we play the steelers and then after the game the doctor's like this thing is 97 torn my patella tendon was dangling down on my knee and he's like i don't know how you played this game you said you've been feeling like this all week like uh that's impressive is one but your knees torn like that's that's what's going on so i'm like dang i had a uh had to have surgery i had to rehab um i was training like crazy actually got i felt like i was in better shape than i was before my injury you know um they they uh fixed a lot of old stuff that was in there some calcification build up that was making things hard to to operate in it they cleaned all that up so i got a completely clean knee and it felt better than it did before but um the nfl looks at things weird so i think teams looked at my injury and what i had and they were just like uh people that have that injury don't come back so i really i didn't even get another opportunity to to go for a workout to do anything for the next two years um so you kind of seen that you got to get the feeling is like nobody's giving you any love nobody's doing this and that and um it just sucked so bad so so now you do that and i gotta imagine i mean that's gotta be kind of the you know polar ops is on the one hand you've got cloud nine you gotta make it to the nfl you get a play for forever you know play play with the players you've always grown up watching and everything else and then you get an injury and that you know and you're taken out and they won't give you another shot and you have to figure out what do i do next so how did you kind of pick up from there how did you make the transition or where did you go from there after you kind of saw that with the nfl you weren't going to get another shot to come back even if you were in better condition what did you do right so um i i took that you know i took that as i probably wouldn't get another chance nfl just in case it happened i still stayed in shape so i tried to figure out what it is i like to do um so actually before i moved to buffalo i started building my house and i had a general contractor come in and he was an awesome guy we developed a friendship and i remodeled my whole basement so my basement was custom and um i love that and so since we built a relationship he was like why don't you just come work with me while you're training so i would go at six in the morning i'd go do my workouts um and then i'll be done by eight eight thirty and then i'd go work with him at nine nine to five or i would work uh that entire time at demolishing and remodeling houses um so i love the whole fact the whole remodel houses the demolition phase is my favorite and just get the brakes get a smash that's always my fault whenever i watch like all the housing shows and demolition they get to just take a sledgehammer smash that always looks like the most fun to be it's so awesome i loved it but um i was considered like a grunt so i essentially did another workout while i was working him so all of the drywall all of the uh the wood beams the framings uh we would have and there's no real outside accent all of the stuff so i would have to so that would serve as my workout so i additional workout so i would bring up like 1200 1300 pounds of lumber up and down six flights of stairs on a couple awesome phones in and just hammered it out and after that after a day's work i'd go do my second workout at the u i would go lyft so i'd run in the mornings i would do all the general contracting stuff during the day and then i would go lifting afternoons so i was training like crazy so i was in really good shape i loved it and then um i was just like what do i love to do and so i started a non-profit with some friends of mine some of my friends knew that i loved to do community service work i did a thing every single year called shockwood sly i started when i was in pittsburgh i take kids shopping so i wouldn't necessarily about 10 to 15 of them shopping every single year give them a hundred dollar gift card and i just have them go crazy in the store it's uh go through when they're like seven eight years old dollars what do i do at that point and it's um it's it's truly truly great um but uh so i started working at that and then i jumped um i realized that i couldn't make money um doing a non-profit you know i love to do it it's awesome but i wasn't making any money doing it so i'm like okay bank account here planning for the future i have to get a job i have to have something stable to where um i can make some kind of money what do i actually want to do for work and so i started looking at other things i love i love to get haircuts i know it doesn't look like it now but um i think your haircut looks great and you got the facial hair going on so yeah i think it looks good i appreciate it you know i'm kind of saving it up i want a fresh haircut as i walk down the aisle on on thursday so it's going to be great um but i love to get haircuts and i love the way it makes me feel after you know even though on the football field uh i'm wearing a helmet um or something like that but if i got a haircut i feel that much more confident and better and i played better just because i got a haircut and it was universal like during the nfl we had people come to our hotels or come to the football facility and cut us up before sunday night football or monday night football and um it was just a luxury that i just loved so um i was just like okay that's awesome and i was like how many other people feel that way started talking with a friend it's like man i have so much trouble communicating with my barber i wish he would just come to me and cut my hair i'm just like oh okay we got uber we got left we got um grubhub delivering food uh picking people up transportation technologies talking i was like what about uber for barbers or what about you know uh people coming to you to give haircuts i'm like oh that's an idea so i started exploring started doing research my cousin um that we grew up 12 days apart is our age and so we grew up together and the eight kids in the house he's a master cosmetologist so he does men and women's hair and i just started talking to him i was like what are some problems in the industry what are you guys um going through and you know i found out that i have a lot of problems on my side but they got a lot of problems on their side too so it was just like okay there's a common problem here where can i find a solution so i developed an app that's going to be like airbnb for cosmetology as you said it's it's to improve and enhance connection in the cosmetology industry we want people to con connect on on many different levels um as a client uh there's a vetting process i don't know if i like every single barber i don't know if i like every single nail technician but what research do i need to do to find that information out i wish i could see their portfolios individually you know if you go to google you're pulling up a salon it's like the salon doesn't cut my hair the individual does so yeah it's a five-star salon but you might have a one-star stylus that ends up cutting my hair and so that sucks i need to know who's cutting my hair it's very important and i found out that it's a very intimate relationship client to provider so um you know they have to feel comfortable with you you have to feel comfortable with them um so i created a platform where you can literally find out all the information you need to know about a provider beforehand and whatever a provider needs to know about their client you know what allergies do they have what um what pain points do they uh not want if they want a certain hair color if they uh need all this information about their client you can do this on this platform that's for easy communication you know i sit in a barber shop and my barber's literally on the phone while he's cutting my hair makes my hair cut take 15 minutes longer because he has to take those calls that's business and so i was like what if there was an automated platform that can get him to essentially focus on the client that's in his chair and improve the quality of service and um and so that's what we've created we created a product for barbers hairstyles nail technicians eyelash technicians makeup artists estheticians anybody in the cosmetology industry that performs a service you can jump on the app clip and um and get clients to come to you or you can go to the clients so so that so that's what's going to be my question so you can either still go into their their shop or wherever they they're set up and you can still they're scheduled that way or vice versa you can have them come to you and actually do it in your house is that right no question so uh the key goal is communication right we're enhancing all of that if you're a stylist who's like i'm cool with being in the shop i don't want to go out anymore but i do need more more clients i do need organization um that we're enhancing that communication is letting you know that somebody wants to come to you so they can book in your chair or this person say say you're a younger stylist and i was like look i make more money being mobile um i don't like to be in the the comforts of a salon because all i see is these four walls every day i love networking i love talking to people i love getting out and i'm providing a convenient service to clients i would come to you there's so many people out there like that but there's not a platform to communicate or even know if somebody does that so i've got to imagine it's a way for a lot of people that don't have a salon or don't want to be in part of the industry they want to be independent they want to be on their own but they can then start to build up that clientele because they can get a great reputation without having to have a building and a lease and or a loan or anything else in order to get going so that's awesome precisely precisely so well now as we we start to wrap up towards the end of the podcast and we there's always more things i'd like to talk about than ever time to talk about it but um jump to the two questions i always ask at the end of the podcast so the first question i was asked is throughout all of your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it i you know the i i've been blessed with a lot of luck first of all you know if you go through my resume me even getting a scholarship to college me uh getting drafted to the nfl uh meeting the people that i've met with in my life um i'm lucky um but you know there are some times where you take some punches and all of that and as far as entrepreneur and business um i i wouldn't go into business with somebody who didn't invest just as much as you you know um it's it's really hard you know because there was and it's not it's it's not necessarily financials you know everybody has their uh their place but as far as somebody being able to put in the same amount as work as you the same time um the financials is a huge emotional part of it but um i i definitely want somebody that i'm going in level with it doesn't matter if i'm a millionaire and they're not i need that something needs to be able to be on the same plane i went through a couple different partners with this and either they couldn't support me in time it could support time energy the deal a lot of time for me finances i had to cover for them on some things um so that that's my is going in the business with somebody who's not willing to put it you no i think i think that makes great sense and you know i think i liked how you pointed out that you know it's not only just are you going to go 50 50 in the money you know and not the money is not important for a startup but it's also hey you know if you're not going in clear and you're saying hey i'm going to be doing all the work and i'm putting in 50 of the cash and you know it starts to create the tension and it may even be that the partner is going in thinking that this was well understood that it wasn't that it was malice or them trying to take advantage it's just hey i didn't realize you were thinking we'd have to both do 40 hour work weeks i was thinking this would be a side hustle 10 hours a week and i think that that taking that as an idea of a lesson learned is you know going in making that clear and understanding what or what the expectations are on both ends can oftentimes avoid a lot of contention and loss a lot of issues with you know with different partnerships you made for them so all right we so we take that that's the first uh question always ask now we'll jump to the second question which is now you're talking to somebody that's just getting into startups just getting into small businesses what would be your one piece of advice you'd give them my one piece of advice is is really cliche you hear it a lot but it's it's really really true uh believe in yourself it's simple as that as i look back on my life and and where i have gotten to in the re there is is is believing in myself i was the little brother my brother my older brother he's six six six seven 240 250 pounds and he's a specimen and he was great and there's as copying when he was getting coached i was right on the side trying to get better um and so when i got to being uh you know my stature um you know there was times where i was like i don't know if i could do all this but as soon as i was just like okay you are better than this you you can do this you have the ability it just took off it all came everything that was in my thoughts of me dunking on somebody or me going in between the legs and and being lebron james or being michael jordan at that time i could do that as soon as i just said i do have the capabilities and it went on into college i started my freshman year because i said i'm better than all of these guys um and and i can i can come in here and really make an impact i do have athletic ability and then when i got to the nfl i was the first rookie out of antonio brown uh emanuel sanders jonathan we had a lot of people on our uh rookie roster and you know i was leading the charge for the rookie class and because i was just like determined and i believed in myself and i made it happen so um even in business when i discounted myself sometimes oh you're just an athlete oh you don't know much about business this and that just believe in yourself and make things happen it's literally the truth if you can tell yourself that you really believe that not just tell yourself that but really really believe it um i think anything is possible so you can make it happen no i didn't and i think that's awesome you know interest i think it's it's a good point in the sense so the one thing that i always and it's either the worst business decision and or the piece of advice a lot of people that i've had on the podcast will give is just get started and i think that the reason a lot of people don't get started is they're lacking that belief they don't just believe that they can do it to your point is whether it's hey i don't have the education or i don't have the experience or i don't have the money or whatever it is and they they start to talk themselves out of why they shouldn't believe in themselves and to your point if you just would have that belief hey you know i'm as good as anybody out there i can do it i can do it better and i can make a difference it makes all the difference in the world and i think makes or sets you up for success so i like that was people want to connect up with you they want to get on your platform they want to be a you know be or be one of the you a user they want to be on your platform to give haircuts or to do other things that you guys provide find out more information reach out to you any or all of the above what's the best way to connect up with you social media um i'm not great on social media but i do answer um so i would connect with me on stevenson underscore sylvester 10 on ig facebook steven sylvester or even reach out to my website go to my website um there's plenty of sources on there to get in touch with me uh or my my business ig is clip official somebody could definitely get in touch with me on there so um if anybody has any questions i i love to have these conversations i love to help people as i said that's why i started my non-profit i give lots of experience i wouldn't say business advice because i'm not the best at it i'm still working towards it i'm still trying to be the best at it um but if anybody wants to know anything about my experiences from from athletics to getting started with businesses i love to have those conversations so reach out to me on social media linkedin whatever platform you use and i'd love to get in touch with you well awesome well i definitely encourage everybody to reach out to you connect with you check out the website any or all of the above because i think it's it's a it's a great journey you've had and a great uh great uh product and service you're offering now well for those of you that are listeners on the podcast if you have your own journey to tell feel free to sign up to tell your journey at love to have you on if you're a listener make sure to click subscribe so you can get a notification as all the new episodes come out and lastly if you ever need any help with patents and trademarks feel free to reach out uh to us at miller ip law and we're here to help stephen thank you for coming on it's been fun to hear your journey and wish you the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks deb appreciate it [Music] English (auto-generated) All Related From Miller IP Law Recently uploaded

Download This Episode & More  on the Following Platforms

Podcast for Entrepreneurs on Apple Podcasts
Podcast for Entrepreneurs on Spotify
Podcasts for Entrepreneurs on Google Podcasts
Podcast for Entrepreneurs on Simplecast
Podcasts for Entrepreneurs on Pocket Casts
Podcasts for Entrepreneurs on Stitcher
Podcasts for Entrepreneurs on Tune In
Podcast for Entrepreneurs on Deezer
Podcast for Entrepreneurs on Radio Public


← Another Awesome Article Another Awesome Article →

We love to hear your Comments/Feedback | To chat with us directly grab time at

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published