Don't Waste Time

The Inventive Journey 
Episode #330
Don't Waste Time
w/ Mick Smith

What This Episode Talks About:

Don't Waste Time

"Anything that you don't think you can do. If you are an entrepreneur, don't waste time trying to figure it out. It's going to waste time and, it's the one resource that you can never get back. People will ask what's the most important thing in your life and you go well you know there are a lot of things love, money, what have you but believe me time. The older you get to realize this, that is the one resource you don't have enough of and, it's limited so, it's going to end. So the best thing to do is to do what you can do. Use the talent and skill and the knowledge that you have and everything else; if you are starting out as an entrepreneur, make sure that money is going to the things that you don't know cause you are just going to be wasting a lot of time and resources and, you won't get the return on it. ROI is the bottom line here."


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What Is 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.

ai generated transcription

 anything that you don't think you can do if you're an entrepreneur don't waste time trying to figure it out it's going to waste time and it's the one resource that you can never get back and people ask you what's the most important thing in your life and you go well you know there are a lot of things love money what have you but believe me time and the older you get you realize this that is the one resource you don't have enough of and it's limited so it's going to end so the best thing to do is to do what you can do use the talent and skill and the knowledge that you have and everything else if you're starting out as an entrepreneur make sure that money is going to the things that you don't know because you're just going to be wasting a lot of time and resources and it won't you won't get the return on its roi is the bottom line here [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur has thrown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to grab some time with us to chat now today we have another great guest on the podcast mick smith and uh mick uh when he was in high school was interested in in history and probably came out of uh school in the 60s and 70s or was in school so there was certainly plenty of history here plenty of things in history going on at that period um graduated right at the end of the draft went into college majored in history and i think minored in religion became a professor or taught at school for a period of time um then the internet hit around 94 became interested in the internet i got into broadcasting and also was putting courses online early on which seems to still be her education sometimes still is catching up to that so it was way out of his time i did some consulting work as well um then hit a low point in life realized that he uh it was making money for other people as a consultant but not necessarily himself and was wanted to change that a bit so i decided to get into digital marketing with marketing with the internet i'm at the same time also i was working for startups and i got it or got out before the internet bubble burst and then focus on the digital marketing agency and has been doing that ever since so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast mick oh thank you so much i appreciate the opportunity to speak to your audience and also like to help people if i can and learn from all the mistakes that i have made over the years so i'll try to avoid those awesome well definitely it will be a great conversation and uh looking forward to it so with that um you know i took and uh packed your you know a much longer journey into the 32nd version but let's unpack that a bit so tell us how things got started for you in high school with the with your interest in history yes i was at a very contentious time in american history two things really dominated my generation growing up and that's civil rights and the vietnam war so i was fortunate i got the tail end of the draft but you know i was wondering what would happen to me and how my life would be very different so i'm also very grateful to all the veterans out there especially the vets in the vietnam era because that could have been me and i could not be having this conversation potentially so if i had been drafted to my two closest buddies in high school said we definitely would have gone there's no question about it because i love my country i love america and all the things that you can have is an opportunity and i was fortunate i live to put it simple as that so trying to figure out what my place in the world is and that's what i think really motivated my interest in history and religion trying to figure out things first from a personal point of view but then also just trying to figure out what was going on during that time so my parents beautiful people wonderful parents and the best in the universe ever had been but they were from another generation and the 1960s and into the 70s was very very different from their very isolated area in northeastern pennsylvania so they didn't necessarily know what was going on i had to figure it out for myself and that's kind of what got me on my journey kind of intellectual and kind of and then eventually trying to get into academia as early part of my career so and that makes sense so yeah you're coming out and it's certainly a interesting point in time that with a lot going on so you say okay uh you know end up going off to college and i said you got the degrees um in in religion and uh and uh and whatnot and as you're coming out of getting your religion and history degrees you know which makes sense you had an interest in history you know what made you decide to go into professorship is that the typical path for a history and religious major or degrees or how did you get into professorship and then where did your journey go from there yeah that's what people say well if you're gonna major in history and religion what are you going to do with that right so especially coming out of a blue collar family as i did my dad was a factory worker so he was one of the people who would always chide me from time to time when are you going to be a permanent student so my answer to that in emphasizing in liberal arts or understanding those kinds of things you're articulate you can read you can write you can do those kinds of things when people ask me what are you going to do with those degrees and my answer was short and sweet anything i want so i think i turned that into an advantage and again knowing something about the world the context the background history and religion are helpful because it really gives you an in-depth view of things and if you can understand the past that gives you insight into the future and i was thinking in terms of career this is something that just really helped me i have the advantage of being able to look into the future a bit because you see patterns because you things that have repeated things have happened before and you can get a better idea and able to predict things are going to happen in the future as well so it's really turned out to be an advantage and i got to be honest i have done everything that i've ever wanted to do in my life and so i'm pretty fortunate in that regard hey if you can accomplish everything you want to in life there's no better place to be so now you did that and how long did you go into the educational and do academics yeah i did that early part of my career and that was the goal to answer your question because there really isn't a whole lot other than what you can do with those degrees at least initially and just teach so teaching and researching and what have you so you had mentioned in the introduction so about 1994 which again really early kind of like when the dinosaurs roam the earth and internet speak i said yeah there's something really significant going on here and i'd want to be a part of that so i started doing some consulting work at that time and i realized that after a while really being able to consult was very rewarding as well too so i got into say the digital marketing era and sort of understanding how the internet was evolving at that time but early on it helped students and that was the bottom line because they're pressed for time well one question i had on that because i mean you started to get into the internet and show interest in that was that you're still doing a professorship and teaching or did you say hey this is too good of an opportunity you know put academia aside and get into the world of the internet and find a career there kind of how did you make that transition as the internet came around yeah the thing is odd because when i first started doing this i worked with a graphic designer computer science person the content expert there was a number of us but i noticed like after about nine months and i definitely don't have a computer science background but i'm like well i almost know everything that this guy does and he's a professor so i thought well in another field well if he can do it and i've learned it i must have some skills there and then you find consulting work and they said you know it's lucrative so you realize well there is a financial advantage in this as well too because other people are getting into it and getting into the fact that you could offer distance learning courses so that's what i did so i'd see it kind of like was a a transition that was easier than you might think because i would say i don't have i know enough about the technology to be dangerous but i'm certainly not as sharp and good as programmers and other people but realizing that other companies and other organizations also are interested in the internet and it was a growing field so i think that was the attraction the movement the idea that this is growing and there's perhaps i had some talent and skill in that area as well that makes sense so and partially answered my question now i'll follow up with just the rest of it which is um you know so did you as you're figuring that out you're saying okay hey i don't have a degree in this but most other people don't either we're all figuring out together and i know as much or as more as the next guy type of a thing did you say okay i'm gonna put you know and you originally started kind of incorporating that the classroom doing online classes and that now how did you how or when did you decide to make the transition to doing it more full-time or is it endeavor doing consulting or going and working for others on it or kind of what was that that part of the journey yeah it was that's a good question so i was in the philadelphia area which is not known for its technology although that was actually where eniac was that's in world war ii when they were trying to figure out how to shoot artillery accurately the eniac was one of those early computing applications and it did come from the university of pennsylvania so there is and was a computer industry in that area but actually i got an opportunity at a startup and i thought well okay again pretty strange transition to answer your question like well how does a liberal arts professor end up at an internet startup well it was an interesting experience i walked into this room and i'd never seen anything like it there was a secretary at the front they open up the doors and all i see is about 50 or 60 computers and people sitting at desks and they were like the picnic table type desk no offices no separation of it this is a very bizarre work environment but what it means that of course it wasn't totally internet-based business so again something new something fresh and i think that's where the intellectual attraction came and then you know there is a certain amount of money involved in it as well too so it turned out to be lucrative so it was an opportunity and you know occasionally opportunities they come your way and you open the door and you walk in and that's basically what happened and then to kind of cap that story again this ability to sort of look to see what was happening i get out just before the dot-com bubble bursts because again i can see well this is not sustainable because the founders would get something like they'd run out to the silicon valley get 11 million dollars and they say we're successful but i'm asking some basic questions like hold on a minute you know you guys are not profitable you know you're raising money but this may not be a business which is going to actually be successful so it's also time to get out as well no and i think that makes sense and you know some people that were you know there and that that still goes on a bit today you will you'll see companies that will be living off investor dollars for a long period of time and you're saying sometime they either have to get profitable or have a path to profitability or they're going to go under you can't live off of that for forever now there are a few exceptions that have been living off in a very long time but at some point they still have to do it as well and so you say okay have the sure a bit of the the foresight see that that's coming and that it's not a sustainable model let's get out before the bubble burst which it certainly did so what did you or how did you get out or where did you go as you were getting out or trying to figure out what is the next step if it's not working at a company that's living off investor dollars for the foreseeable future where'd you go from there yeah it's kind of interesting because you know the this path to success does not take a straight line there's no question about it because i still had to do some soul searching at that time and well where am i going so at roughly the same time the american association for history and computing was just getting started so i go okay well got part of the academic background got part of the internet background let's go in this direction so i did start seeing that in academia they also were getting on board and knowing the fact that the internet was going to change things in terms of marketing in terms of their recruitment and in terms of driving people who are going to attend a university or college so again kind of a transition there it was also unfortunately kind of a low point in my life so everybody's been there at one time or another so everything was not going as planned my wife was unfortunately terminally ill she passed away so it was also a time where i realized i'm a full-time dad not necessarily by choice but i raised my daughter from the time that she was eight years old on so now i got another problem a lot of bills legal bills financial bills medical bills and an eight-year-old daughter to raise by myself and at the time i had all of five dollars and 20 cents in my pocket and when i say i had no money i had no money so my car had also broken down at that point so low point everybody can relate one time or another doesn't necessarily be the same details but had to do some soul-searching and said you know i've got to be able to make a living and also being able to raise a daughter at the same time as a full-time single father so looked at consulting work because it does have the advantage of being both lucrative and then available in terms of time because you've got to be able to juggle the home responsibilities with the work responsibilities so did that started to see also again it's a soul-searching moment i'm making money for other people but hey wouldn't it be great if i was making money for myself and support my family and my household and what i need to do so i think it was very fortunate because you know i looked upstairs and there's the big man upstairs who's got a plan for my life and i said well yep thanks god because you're giving me a little bit of direction when i really really need it so relying on god was really helpful at that point and i think then being able to help other people because i could see the kinds of things and mistakes they had made having been in the internet game and marketing now for some years starting to see that they also were realizing that the internet is a way to go and so you know you can see where we get into social media and how the internet has evolved and it's a continually interesting field because it is very dynamic and that appeals to the intellectual side of my nature one and i think that's definitely an interesting journey and path that you took and one kind of maybe follow-up question to that which is so you know you get consulting and say okay got knocked down a lot or certainly uh grieving from the passing of your wife having to figure out how to pay for all the bills how to take care of a kid as a single father now plenty on your plate and so he's saying consulting is a good path that i can go about be able to you know earn that greater income have a better path maybe have a bit more of the flexibility in other ways go down that route and now as you're doing consulting what you know it makes sense also you know i think a lot of people initially get into consulting going to find out hey i think i can do this as well or better as the people i'm helping consulting and yet they're the ones that are i'm helping to make a lot more money than i'm making or doing the consulting instead of saying i'll do that on the side but you know that's a lot of times it's an easier transition it's kind of like you know the employee that is looking in and saying i can always do it better than my boss and i can always do you know anything better and then you get into the the boss seat or they kind of go and do it and they say oh there's a lot more to this i have to you know run payroll i have to do marketing i have to do sales i have to manage other people do hr and all those other things some people thrive and love it and other people are saying this is a lot different than what i envisioned as you're kind of figuring all that out how did you figure out what you were going to you know what it was that thing was going to be that now you're no longer going to be a consultant you're going to do your own business how did you kind of arrive at what that would look like yeah i think you know there's a strong case to be made about things that you like and you don't like but any position that you have is going to have a job aspect to it in other words there's things that you enjoy doing and then there's the job part of it but it doesn't matter whether you're working for yourself or you're working for somebody else so i said look if you're an entrepreneur which is what i would tell anybody who wants to start a business or is in a business if you're an entrepreneur you're the guy who unlocks the office door in the morning and you're also the guy who takes out the trash so you got to keep that in mind it does mean that there's everything that you do need you're the one who's going to be making all those decisions so again something i learned from the internet outsource the things that you are not strong in but able to keep the skills and the talents that you have and everything else is cheaper to outsource so for example i'm not really a accountant i don't really know the financial part as well as other people so again i outsource that it takes time away from my job and when i'm applying with this to other companies i'm saying the same thing to them look if you're running and you're selling widgets let's say right whatever it might be you're not going to be an expert in social media and you're not going to be an expert in having a website so that's where i come in i said all right well i will strategize with you but if you're going to try to figure out google ads believe me it's going to take you a lot longer and you're going to waste a whole lot of money outsource that stuff run your business and i think i can apply the same thing to my own life and my own journey as an entrepreneur i'm going to do the things that i can do and i'm going to take somebody else's talents and pay them for it so again it kind of transitions into when i didn't mention when i was back in college many many many moons ago i also started out in radio so i've always had a love of the audio medium so that's why i too like you i've got a podcast a doctor a digital podcast i said well that i've got a skill you know i've got something i can do and it's also something that other people can do when i talk to business owners i go number one do you have a voice i say yes number two do you have a business that you are somewhat of an expert in they say yes all right well you know think about podcasting you know if you're an expert in something and you know a field then tell the world and that's your journey and that's your passion because there's people that run businesses that know far more about things than i do and i'm always trying to pick other people's brain because they know a field that i don't and i respect them for that they need to tell the rest of the world no i think that's a that's a great outlook and a great way to continue to gain knowledge and experience and make the business successful so so now you do that you say okay i'm making that transition i am going to go from consulting to building my own business and we've now i think been doing it for 15 20 years something like that yeah right so now you're doing that 15 20 years i'm sure you have your ups and your downs and your your bumps and things that you learned but as you're figuring that out now you've been doing that for 15 20 years where is you know if you're to look now kind of in the next six to 12 months where do you see the business going is this kind of keeping it even kills like continuing to grow is it evolving into different areas or kind of where do you see things headed you know there's a great line by bob dylan because at the doctor digital podcast the subtitle is marketing tips with a musical twist so i do love music and there's a line from bob dylan he says he who isn't busy being born is busy dying it's a great quote so i'm one of those people who say themselves despite the age and the look on my face i'm like i'm still wondering what i can do when i grow up because i think the point that dylan is addressing is the fact that you always have to reinvent yourself and those of us who are living in these tumultuous times look change is constant and it's something that ancient philosophers would talk about you know you can't put your foot in the stream at the same point because everything is changing therefore you have to adapt and i think when i said things having to do with digital marketing or the internet because it's such a dynamic area it appeals to a person like myself who understands that dynamism is really the nature of the world things change very quickly and a lot of us have experienced a very different lifestyle in the last two years for obvious reasons than they did previously well what did you expect did you expect the world to be stable it's not things are going to be changing so knowing and really getting yourself centered on what is real and true and what have you that you have in terms of your skills and the journeys that you are on and the journey that you can the path that you can follow i'd come back to saying you know look i can't figure it out and this is where i say i'd rely on the big man upstairs because a lot of these things i don't have an answer and i'm not sure but i do know that following the true path and following path that god has outlined for my life is gonna continue and that's what have happened because i have enough experiences in my life social media is changing drastically if you think about drill down you talk about facebook you talk about instagram tick tock what have you these things are not standing still they are constantly evolving and changing and that's what makes it an exciting field and it also means that somebody needs to consult with a person like myself or someone else who stays on top of this on a daily basis no and i think that that that's there's certainly a lot of truth there and a lot a lot of points hit on so that's uh definitely a a great uh great opportunity to do in the future for those that are continuing to to get busy living and sort of get busy die and so i think that's that's a great takeaway so now as we you know as we arrived at a bit of where you're at on your journey today or where you're at the present always a great time to transition to the two questions i always have at the end of each podcast so we'll hit on those now okay so the first question i always ask is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what'd you learn from it yeah i think that's an excellent question so i appreciate that and here's what i would say the worst business decision that i ever made is consistently almost the same thing and i can't center on one thing but i would tell you this the worst decision that you make is to do nothing and there are times when i got stymied there are things and times where i didn't know what to do and i sat on it and i go that's a mistake because you need to constantly be moving and constantly be looking and whatever you think you ought to be doing it's probably something that you know in your heart and it's probably something that you think you should be doing well don't wait it's the worst business decision that you can make is to not do anything and to be stagnant and i think you gotta move so that's always the worst thing every time i've been stymied every time i delayed it was a mistake i lost opportunities and i would say encourage everybody else to do something if you feel you should do something in your heart and it's in your gut you should go for it and don't wait awesome well i think that's definitely you know i think that sometimes you know the not doing anything can be more you know bigger mistake or be more impactful is to you miss out on opportunities or you don't take advantage of things you could have then it could be for a myriad of reasons whether it's you know fear whether it's complacency whether it you know risk aversion or other things and so i think that uh when you sometimes become that complacent it can have that negative impact that you're hitting on so i think that definitely is a great an easy mistake to learn to make but a great one to learn from with that the second question i always ask is talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i think um it kind of goes back to what i was saying anything that you don't think you can do if you're an entrepreneur don't waste time trying to figure it out it's going to waste time and it's the one resource that you can never get back and people will ask you what's the most important thing in your life and you go well you know there are a lot of things love money what have you but believe me time and the older you get you realize this that is the one resource you don't have enough of and it's limited so it's going to end so the best thing to do is to do what you can do use the talent and skill and the knowledge that you have and everything else if you're starting out as an entrepreneur make sure that money is going to the things that you don't know because you're just going to be wasting a lot of time and resources and it won't you won't get the return on its roi is the bottom line here no i think there's a there's a lot of truth to that i mean i think that you know which is or there's a bit of ironic because i think that as you're doing a startup or small business people that's where they focus all of their time and efforts and i am a big believer that that's not the only part no i love it i'm a big startup guy there's a lot of fun to it and i i definitely wouldn't uh change it on the other hand if i were to then focus all of my time and effort just on the startup on the small businesses at the expense of my family religion and even just you know personal satisfaction hobbies and enjoyment i would never have that balance in it and and so i think that looking at where you're going to invest your time and where you're going to get the greatest return whether that's business money you know or giving back serving others or you know having a family or whatnot is definitely a great takeaway because i think that looking at your time as your biggest investment is a great way to look at it with that if people want to reach out to you you know if they want to be a customer 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 of the above what's the best way to reach out to your contact here find out more yes well i try to be as visible and audio available as possible dr digital podcast but you can also get a hold of me at mick like jagger except he's got a lot more money mick.smith at we simplify the internet mic.smith or you can call me direct 619-389-360 619-389-3636 all right well i definitely encourage people to reach out connect and take advantage of a lot of experience a lot of opportunities and the the great services you guys offer 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 you have your own journey to tell you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we always love to have our great people great journeys on the podcast so feel free to go to and apply to be on the show a couple more things listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because we want to make sure that everyone finds out about all these awesome episodes and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks anything else your business just go to grab some time with us to chat well thank you again mick for coming on the podcast and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last let's hope so and if you need intellectual property help say is the guy a lot of us are not expert get a good attorney absolutely couldn't set it better thanks mick thanks for your time i appreciate it be well you

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