Don't Worry About Other People - Miller IP

Don't Worry About Other People

Don't Worry About Other People

Nick Cianfaglione
Devin Miller
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs

Don't Worry About Other People

Don't worry about other people. I use to get bogged down with that at the beginning of my company. I would see other people running startups that were getting more attention and publicity. I would think they are not doing anything. I am here slaving away 22 hours a day and think no one even cares about me. They are out partying on the weekends and, they are barely doing anything and being published in the media. And they are realized that behind the scenes, it's all a façade. Now five years after that, look what it came to, my 8-9 years of no one paying attention to me is now paying off.


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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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don't worry about other people i used to get i used to get bogged down with that in the beginning of my company um because i was i would see other people running startups that were getting more attention more publicity i'd be like they're not doing anything like i'm here sleeping away 22 hours a week you know 22 hours a day all this stuff and i'm like no one even cared about me and you know they're out partying on the weekends and you know they're barely doing anything and they're getting published in this media blog and then i really realized behind the scenes i was like it's all a facade [Music]

you know now now it's like you know five years after that it's like look what it came to my eight years nine years of no one paying attention to me is now paying off [Music] 

everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that's uh grown uh several startups into seven and eight figure businesses coming up on nine figures on one of them so exciting and uh and i've also the ceo and founder of miller ip law where we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks and if you ever need help with yours just go to millerip law and or go to and grab some time with us to chat now today we have another great guest on the podcast nick and i'm going to i'm worried i'm going to slaughter the last name so i'm calling him nick c even because the name is much longer and he can tell me how to pronounce it when what he joins in just a second but nick is um has been in the music industry for about about nine years kind of and got involved originally as a freshman in high school lost his dad um was looking and then was looking to kind of rent a venue for a concert to raise some money for cancer awareness which is where he lost his dad from first year it failed but learned a lot of things from it and then second year came back was much more successful and by the end of i think by the end of high school they were doing something like 75 concerts a year then went off to college saw that there went off to school college university saw that there are still some common problems within the industry within the music industry decided that there was a better way that he could solve some of those so came up with kind of a software as a software solution started out in 2017 and then has been building it ever since and growing it so with that much is a introduction welcome on the podcast nick thank you 

no thank you for having me man 

so and i i i've hunted because i was i usually i try and tackle last days but it was one that scared me off so how do you actually pronounce or pronounce the last name so it's it's a lot easier than it looks um it's championing all right that that does sound that does sound easier than what it looks like 

yes all right well now with that out of the way so take us back a little bit in time so in high school kind of a freshman in high school loss of the dad kind of tell us how that kind of first of all condolences for the loss of your dad and then tell us how to you know kind of set you on on a trajectory to where you're at today yeah no 100 and yeah so pretty much after that i got uh deeply involved in relay for life which was a huge charity event that you know was was predominant in connecticut um and it definitely was predominant in a lot of other places but was very predominant in connecticut and uh my freshman year we were absolutely getting you know losing to this other team and i was like guys we even you know i was doing this since you know probably middle school and stuff like that i was like guys we've never lost like we've always been the highest donors i was like what are we doing here and uh this other team was you know having like wine nights and stuff and i was like guys we can't just host a big sale we can't host a car wash we can't be those normal people and uh i was like you know let's there's an old music venue in our town let's throw a party and uh that was how it all started i you know first year i tried to throw a party um ended up the same night as my high school had prom and about 10 of my friends showed up um that's probably not the best tidy just as heads when i laugh but if you're going to throw a party competing with pros probably a hard way to start out yeah yeah that was definitely that was definitely not the best way to start out um you know looking back maybe we should have even marketed as an anti-prom and you know really really maybe that's where he should have gotten and everybody that didn't want to go to a problem you could have a great year yeah exactly but uh you know went back to school obviously being a freshman you know you're obviously the underdog already and you know everyone kind of looked at me like oh look at this kid it completely failed and i was like i'm going to show all these kids and uh you know i ended up coming back the next year the same exact music venue kind of you know got my together started learning uh you know little things about you know how concerts work promoters um you know the marketing side of things setting up instagram pages reaching outside of just my town you know all that stuff and um i ended up the the big selling point was it was when edm was on the come up and i bought about 100 pounds of neon paint powder and uh we had neon paint powder we had fire extinguishers with neon paint powder in it just the whole nine yards and uh ended up hosting this massive glow party ended up selling out like a week and i remember sitting there just the end of the night and i was like dude this was sick and um at that point i was like there's no way i'm working you know a normal job you know at that point when you're 15 16 everyone's looking at you know the normal high school jobs you know the working at mcdonald's working at my town there was a west marine which is a boat store so like you know everyone worked there working at the local coffee shop or starbucks or dunkin and i was like i'm gonna host concerts for a living and um that's literally what i did at 16 out of my first llc and i just started you know hosting concerts all across connecticut um and then by the time i went to school i was like i need to get into something else um and i got deeply ingrained in music marketing and because i had all those connections from the concerts and um after that was when i started realizing how screwed up the music industry was and that was 

awesome before we dive into that so just kind of going on high school so you did this all four years you're in high school is that right 

yes yep all four years through high school 

so now what did it become was it all for charity was you know not a right or wrong answer was all for charity and hey we're gonna keep doing it did you expand out and he actually made an income made a business and was it was profitable or kind of how did that portion go 

so the first four concerts were charity then after that i was like i want to do this for a job and i was going to non-for-profit and i was like this was just it was too complicated being a 16 year old to go through that route and i was like look i'm opening up an llc i came up with i i named the company northeastern entertainment solutions because i was like look that is such a legit name no one's going to question that it's a 16 year old running this thing and um you know it's not like all the classic names like super lit parties and um i was like northeastern entertainment solutions like i had like gold lettering and all this stuff i was like no one's even gonna notice and um and yeah that that was how it started that's what the actual for-profit company was um and every year a part of that i would run you know one concert so there's definitely more maybe six or seven um i would run as you know a charity event um most of them were for-profit um and yeah how i you know paid my way you know through high school got my first car where they got you know everything just through hosting concerts so so not that first of all kudos to you i always i wish i did i was entrepreneur in high school but never to the point that i did a full-on business i always thought it was interesting i always loved it and that and i did later when i got into college especially in the graduate school but kudos to you first of all to first of all get knocked down as a freshman get back up and actually turn this around and make it profitable i think is awesome and that's always what i'd love my kids to kind of have that entrepreneur or bug and i want to do that but so then you so you build the business you do it for four years you know you're able to get a car get save up some money for college have some spending money for dates or whatnot and you go off to college so did you kind of just once you hit your senior year shut it down did you keep doing it somebody buy it buy you out or kind of how did that go and now that you went off to college so it started going downhill the end of my senior year um i started getting you know focusing on a lot of other things and also you know concerts really have a four-year run um and then you know you got to change out and get you know new things together and i also learned you know kind of my second lesson in business you know first one was timing is everything as i learned with prom second lesson i learned is if you change money the money won't come and that was the reason the concert company really started declining for me because it started turning away from as i got older and you know actually started caring about revenue that's when i started turning from hey let's you know just host the biggest concert ever and whatever we make we make and then start turning into like okay how much revenue can we make out of this concert and that was for me when ticket sales started declining and when things started declining and i was like okay i need to totally go back to the drawing board and figure out what i'm doing um and when i built my second company i didn't care about the money and that was when the marketing company grew so quickly for me because i just chased building the thing with the biggest value and at the early days of the concert company i was the same way um i just chased the biggest way to make the best concert ever not care about how much money i made and so yeah that's that's why i started getting out of the concerts at the end was it just started going downhill and i realized you know i was i was at my time you know i was like i did this for four years you know now it's time to bounce into something else um because i think you know kind of going off that quickly i think that's the third lesson of entrepreneurship which is you got to know when to walk away and i i knew at that point i was like look now it's time to walk away no and i would caveat it with one thing i don't think chasing money is anything wrong with it but it shouldn't be your main pursuit right every business in the end of the day is still you still need to make a paycheck you still have to live off of it and if you're in the business but to your point of all you're doing is chasing money meaning hey what's the way that i can make the most money then you start to lose a passion loses the fun and the excitement and then you're not going to perform as well i mean that's why you know as an entrepreneur there's people and i'm probably a little bit in the same camp but once you build a business to a degree when it starts to be more of a full-on business it loses some of the excitement because you're not building things you're not figuring it out you're not doing things and so i think that you know kind of add on to that finding the things that you're passionate about and be able to continue to find a way now things that you're excited and you're passionate about figure out how to make money off of it but not focus on that money aspect to the point that now that what you're chasing is the money not the fun and the excitement so yeah so now you go off to college and you say okay i've you know done some success or successful venues i'm going to get an education you're going to you know you go and do that for a problem with school or you see that problem as you continue with school now how did you kind of decide um you know to get into the next thing of gra tackling those problems you know software solution doing those type of things did you come right out of school did you drop out of school did you come right out of school did you dive into that directly or did you kind of go work for corporate or work for the man so to speak and do that for a period of time or kind of how did you make that transition out of school to now what you're doing yeah so i've actually joined the the long list of entrepreneurs that have dropped out to pursue their dreams um and we'll see which list of those i end up in the list that dropped out and then went back or the list that dropped out and made it happen um one is much shorter than the other um so but yeah so i got into it basically when i was running the marketing company i wanted to come up with a tech solution for the marketing company that basically was a data analytics tool and i had all these other ideas like cool programs and stuff in the music industry but i'm not a tech guy and so i hired a development firm to kind of build this tool about halfway in we had the tool idea and then we had the kind of byproducts of it and we realized that the main tool was not going to be feasible we just were not able to collect the data we needed and um so but the byproducts started getting me curious and i started looking into that more and that was when artist's public started to form because i was like this doesn't exist and really what it was was i had to take a step back i basically looked at all my ideas of cool websites from the music industry and i was like they'd be decent as standalone products but if we built them all into one website and it was one website that offered all these individual services now that would be a million dollar idea and so that's what i started working on was bringing all these things because they all were basically the same themes a tech website help a music artist do this one thing and i was like okay but if we just combine them to do it all then that's that's that's the company um it kind of goes back to like what you know people get shut down a lot on shark tank but they're like you have a you know you have a product not a business 

um i love shark tanks so thanks for the reference i think i've watched every episode so i was there since the beginning but anyway not to interrupt your journey and that's a big point is like you have a product out of business and there's a lot of you know a lot of those things i had were products or digital services not a business when i put them all together i was like okay now we have a business um you know like amazon is not just a marketplace it's a web hosting company it's everything about nice law sites we go all right we just we'll call that a nice uh strobing effect or color yeah yeah i'm still figuring out the lighting switches in the new office so so now you say okay i've got now a product is opposing business and i don't know there's anything wrong with the product but you have to understand that that's what you're you're not a full-on business you have to be a product and sometimes you can sell what snuggie they were a product company but they sold a lot of snuggies and they made a lot of money but they were still one they were a product business right in the sense that they their product because once everybody had their snuggie or was going to buy it they went you know they went out i don't know where they're at now maybe they're still in business but they certainly are not the same as what they were before and so i think that finding out what a business is a full-on business instead of a product definitely makes sense so you figure that out you continue to build so i think you started in 2017 built in 2018 and 19 and then you've really launched you know last year right and then that's really where you guys have got traction and so as you've launched is you've kind of now got your business in place how has that gone so far you're in your new offices you just moved in but kind of how is that build gone has it been a hockey stick straight to the top and you're already a million dollar company still figuring things out starting to get clients on or tell us a little bit about that 

so it was it's kind of been a for anyone who could see my face it's been a ziggy zaggy um you know i i think i like to compare it as like people there's there's like they always say like there's like you know success what people think it looks like and then you know what what it actually is but i think it's deeper than that it's like you know you have like a flat line of like what the public sees and then you're working your butt off behind here and then the public starts to see it go up but then you're still going through hell behind the scenes and that's kind of the point that we're at right now you know we had between january and may of 2020 um was when it was really behind the scenes it was just starting to get publicized people were just starting to talk about it um we had a lucky go with an investor off the bat that really you know positioned us strong and then over the past three months now it's been public eye shooting up and then we're still you know in that startup phase you know it's literally just been a year since launch we launched our alpha in january we launched our beta in may so it hasn't even been a year since we launched our beta um and so it's been it's been a rocky road mainly just because of how quickly we launched and a lot of times with marketplaces with tech companies 

you have to launch quickly um a lot of competition enters very quickly it's very easy for companies to you know there's no ip really in tech on the lawyer side uh you know there's really not a lot of ip in tech and you know it's very easy for people to dupe uh your platforms and so you know unlike a lot of other companies where you can kind of like take your time to launch promote bootstrap with tech companies and you know especially tech marketplaces there is no time to bootstrap it's like you got to bootstrap it for maybe five months and then you have to get a lot of capital very quickly and you just have to grow it very rapidly and that's kind of the point where we're at right now where we're in you know capital growing publicity and then we're trying to catch the platform up to that capital to the publicity and um you know really get it cranking um because you really have to build a 10-year company in six months and that's that but that's kind of the fun of it for me in the sense that you have to figure it out you know and there's you know i think that it's one where you know if it was any other way it wouldn't be as exciting and fun but i always like you know it's always you know 10 years 10 years you know overnight success 10 years in the making in the sense that it always feels like everybody's like oh this was you know you just got lucky and you got overnight success and it's like no if you're to really look back at your journey you started in the music industry as a freshman in high school a lot of the experience you built and you gained you continued to build on top of that you went to school you continued to build on top of that and then you got the software platform and then you had to figure out how to make a business as a hopeful business not as a product and so it's all of that is a you know kind of but you only get to see that last six months or whatever it is until the it takes off and it starts to do well so but that's a that's a fun place to be yeah so now as we catch up that kind of brings us up to today and a little bit of looking into the future as you kind of now we're in that trajectory of building it getting as many users getting you know kind of building the platform and getting that you know threshold amount of people that make it now sustainable as you go through that you know i always transition i always have two questions i asked towards the end of the podcast so we'll jump to those a bit now so the first question i always ask is so along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it 

worst business decision i ever made was actually when i was i was probably been a couple recently but those are those are i feel like definitely confidential don't don't break any confidentiality i don't want to get you soon um well the one i know i can say is uh when i was a junior in high school it was the first time i was like this was when i started getting you know crazy for me um and things started getting stressful with concerts because i tried to expand i was like look we host concerts from march through april um and then we host them or march the beginning of may and then we host them september through the first week of december i was like let's add a uh winter summer series i was like no one has anything to do with the summer let's launch a summer series and uh i lost the most money i ever lost probably in you know the history of you know that time um in that summer and because i never went into the summer before i never hosted a concert in the summer before i never knew what the market was and i just went in with literally signed deals i just went hard i was like we're gonna sign a show every other week we're gonna host a show every other week and at the end of the year we're gonna host a mini festival and everything bombed and i remember just sitting in you know the green room at the end of the festival with the venue owner just breaking down i was like i don't know what to do i just completely bombed and uh you know it was really just that decision of like i infiltrated a market that i wasn't ready for i didn't have any experience and i didn't have any research on it i didn't do anything prior experience i was like well the concerts work in april so they must work in august i was wrong 

hey that that is i like that as a but i think there's a story to learn from that in the sense that you know sometimes you get complacent or you think you know more than you do right you get into industries and it's maybe it's a vertical or maybe it's building onto it you just get a sense of complacency or comfort that oh i can do this i know what i'm doing without really diving and doing the research and yet sometimes sometimes you get lucky and you're right and you can do it but other times if you don't do the research you don't know what you're doing you can certainly have those harsh repercussions so i like the idea of you know doing a bit of homework knowing your market knowing what you're doing and be able to understand it so that it can increase the odds of success doesn't guarantee the success but it definitely increases the odds so as we jump now to the second question which is so now if you were um you're talking to somebody that's just getting to a startup or a small business what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them 

don't worry about other people i used to get i used to get bogged down with that in the beginning of my company um because i was i would see other people running startups that were getting more attention more publicity i'd be like they're not doing anything like i'm here sleeping away 22 hours a week you know 22 hours a day all this stuff and i'm like no one didn't care about me and you know they're out partying on the weekends and you know they're barely doing anything and they're getting published in this media blog and then i really realized behind the scenes i was like it's all a facade [Music] you know now now it's like you know five years after that it's like look what it came to my eight years nine years of no one paying attention to me is now paying off and you know their nine years of faking it is catching up to them and i think that can always be a lesson is like don't just focus on you your success your goals um and it'll get there and then i think the the last piece of that going off the goals is it's very easy to look at running a company as this big thing and it's scary it's daunting you know you look at everything you have to do and you know even to what we're doing right now or like i look at like our goals for the year and i'm like this is huge like this is huge it's not 100x it's not 1000x i think we're close to like 10 000 x we have to grow this year and that sounds huge until you break it down to each month you're like okay i just have to be 10 better than last month i have to be 50 better than last month and that then breaks down to okay today i just have to be two percent better than i was yesterday one percent half a percent and if you're able to break it down to a month if you're able to take a year goal you know four or five yearly goals break them down into micro goals and then break them down into daily goals you're going to hit those goals but if you look at it as a yearly goal you're never going to do it 

no and i like both of those pieces i even like you know maybe to tag on to the first piece of advice you know there's always it's it's good to know what your competition is doing in the sense that if you're trying to be or can maintain a competitive edge understand where the market's at not a problem to understand what the competition's doing but on the other hand there's a difference between comparing yourself especially saying oh i'm the seat you know i'm i'm this position why is this person doing better because one is to your point there's a facade there's a lot of times we we see now social media we see the highlight rails and you don't ever see what's going on underneath sometimes they are putting in a ton of time and effort and just looks like they're not doing much and other times they're not doing much and then you're saying you kind of almost get that jealousy factor of why am i putting all this time and effort why am i not more successful than them when they're not putting it and either of them can be detrimental because one they're they may be out working you maybe they're working 100 hours and they just make it look easy or you don't see the 100 hours behind the scene or they're not working very much and they're not building something that's sustainable but because you're trying to compare yourself to them you start to go down routes or avenues that aren't beneficial to you that don't or don't build your business so they don't grow so i think that that is a definitely a good piece of advice well as we wrap up so people want to reach out to they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an investor they want to be an employee they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out and find out more 

yeah so if you want to learn about the platform it's artist public on everything on socials um if you want to find me i'm on linkedin um you can probably my name's probably in the description of this so copy my name um you find me on linkedin shoot me a message just tell me why like what's up um i get a lot of random people connecting with me on a daily basis um and uh yeah no i mean connect with me whatever i'm always down to talk i love just networking with people that's just what i do um you know you just want to hop on a 15 minute call you're like hey nick i heard your podcast and i just want to talk to you about startups that's fine just shoot me a message and be straight up um you know that that's what i'm here for so yeah i know that's pretty much it you want to find anything on the platform or artist public on any socials me nick champion on linkedin 

all right and that's just a reminder is artist republic with the k instead of a c to make sure people get that straight but i think that's a great offer i definitely encourage people to check or check out the platform uh become a subscriber be a supporter and also reach out to nick for any questions you might have so now as we wrap up thank you again nick for coming on the podcast for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you want to come on the podcast and share it feel free to go to and apply to be on the show um if you have a journey to tell also as a listener make sure to uh click subscribe on any of your podcast players so you know when all the awesome episodes come out and leave us a review so everybody else can find us as well and check out the awesome awesome podcast as well last but not least if you ever need help with your intellectual property patents train trademarks or business or anything else feel free to go to grab some time with us we're always happy to chat thank you again nick it's been a fun it's been a pleasure and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last 

thank you it was awesome [Music]

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