Find The Holes In Your Business

The Inventive Journey
Episode #325
Find The Holes In Your Business
w/ Brooke Alpert
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What This Episode Talks About:

Find The Holes In Your Business

"As soon as you think you've done enough research, you are only halfway there. You need to do more. You need to act as if you are currently running a business and find out where those holes are. If you could be where I was a year into my business when you first start, which I think entrepreneurs can be if they just know more. It's a great system. I would also ask to speak with other start-ups in similar industries. Not someone who would be a direct competitor because that would be strained. But if someone is willing to say well with me and CBD and someone is launching a different type of nutritional supplement. Approach someone like me who is obviously willing to share but learn where these holes are. I can listen to as much expert advice but, if I can't really see where other people have made mistakes it's very hard. That's why I think it's such a great question. It's very hard to then know what your potential mistakes are going to be. So as soon as you think you're done, you are only halfway there when it comes to preparing to launch or actually make it happen."


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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

 soon as you think you've done enough research you're only halfway there you need to do more and you need to really act as if you're already currently running the business and find out where those holes are because if you could be where i was a year into my business when you first start which i think some entrepreneurs can be if they just know more um it's a great system and i would also ask to speak to other startups in similar you know industries not someone who would be a direct competitor because that could be strange but if someone is willing to say you know look if it's me as cbd and someone's launching a different type of nutrition supplement like approach someone like me who's obviously willing to share but learn where these holes are you know like i can listen to you know as much expert advice but if i can't really see where other people have made mistakes it's very hard and that's why i think it's such a great question i think it's very hard to then know what your potential mistakes are going to be so as soon as you think you're you're done you're only halfway there when it comes to preparing to launch or actually make it happen [Music] everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller a serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups in the seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he held 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 our we have another great guest uh brick alt or alpert if i can say it right hopefully um and uh brick was a competitive horse jumper um in their competitive show horse jumper in high school um then went to college on and did writing as well majored in psychology um went to work for vogue magazine then to team beau went to new york working for a while and then went to back to school for time for a period of time and then uh went to do be into being a dietitian husband had some health issues and moved over into the cannabis and cbd world so with that much his introduction welcome on the podcast brooke that is me in a nutshell thanks for having me on absolutely well let's uh let's unpack that nutshell a bit i packed everything into 30 seconds so why don't we go back a bit in time to when you were doing a competitive or show jumping and go from there sure so um i mean i was the barn girl so i would leave high school early every day and head over to my horses where you know i'd help take care of them as well as train uh so we could compete all you know around the tri-state area and more um and it really i'm i think that it's any sport in general is so important for kids i have two daughters they both figure skate i just think anything that you have outside of school really helps with confidence really helps with independence i i think it's an incredibly important skill set to learn um and i'm grateful for it mine was certainly unique dealing with live animals um and the time that it was required but i'm really really grateful for it and high school was funky for me i fit in i didn't fit in all at the same time so but i was always very good it just about describes everybody's high school experience or almost everybody's so so now you say okay you did you know that was high school experience you did the show jumping and i think they even did that as you started out in college is that right yeah i wrote all through college i went to a very small school called goucher college that had an amazing equestrian team and that's why i went and it was a great going from a small school and really living at a barn more than anything it would have been a big jump to go anywhere else so this was a really nice step to move to like a small liberal arts school with an incredible team and a great coach well that's awesome that sounds like it was a a great opportunity and so now you're saying okay go do that throughout high school do it in college you know it's a great opportunity it sounds a lot of fun and then in the meantime saying well i may not be able to do this as a full-time gig when i graduate so i have to get a degree in something else and so you went into psychology or majored in psychology and then you know help us understand how you went from psychology in college to working at boge magazine that may be a great fit it just wouldn't have been the first thing that came to mind for a psychology major so how did you kind of make that transition it's a good question i came into college being a biology major i was convinced i was going to be a vet like i never lost that idea um that i had as like a four-year-old kid right um and then i got creamed during classes my freshman year just creamed um and between having to keep up with my classwork for you know the pre-med world to as well as keeping up with the team i was i was drowning um but i loved a psychology course that i had taken there a teacher it's funny all of the things that have really affected me in life it's always when there's that one teacher that just sees you for who you are and every so often you get a teacher that sees you when you feel like nobody else does and i i just really connected with the psychology head there and really loved her and felt very like welcomed and accepted into her program and i dove head first into it and i'm grateful for it because it was a great i mean no one's gonna ever not use any sort of psychology classes right like for the rest of your life but um you know when i left school i went and i got a job i moved right to new york city where um i was from right outside of the city and i i somehow during one of my internships over the summer i was in the magazine industry so i had a little bit of an in and so my first job that i was offered and accepted was at vogue because you don't turn that down when that comes your way no it and i said it's a big magazine well known and you know and i agree that there's a lot of psychology one of the complete a side note but i think is i always find psychology interesting i always look at it more from the buyer psychology of you know how you make decision new decision making for uh making a purchase and what the what is that process and how people think about it and what is subconscious or conscious and i always love to dive into that so i think that that definitely makes sense there's a a lot of overlap there and so you say okay good opportunity came my way decided that i couldn't pass it up type of thing so you go to work with teen air with vogue and what did you do with bogue as far did you use your psychology degree or kind of what did you do when you were there i mean i used my degree in order just to like help me survive being like you know a young 22 year old new to the city new to this life it was a pretty you know there was no um warm-up time you know you were really sort of thrown into the defense and i was so ignorant about what i was getting myself into um but i ended up loving it and i had a great boss and she was also taking the lead of the they were doing like a an insert of teen vogue into the regular magazine of vogue every couple of months so maybe it was quarterly or or or twice a year um and so i was already had like a little bit of an in with team vogue and so it was great to get to watch her you know it was a startup magazine basically but it had the foundation of the name vogue so it was very cool to see the startup world from that aspect um but at vogue i worked in the beauty section so i was you know doing beauty writing beauty editorial um meeting with pr teams it was it was a great you know it paid terribly but it was a great like way to sort of like meet people in the city because you know i was introduced to people like you know 17 times a day um it was great oh and it sounds like it'd be a definitely a fun opportunity so so now you say okay you've done that for a while now you transitioned from just a vogue magazine to what is teen vogue um so you know what was what was the genesis for that transition and you know what or how how did that go for you so my boss that was the editor in chief of team vogue so while they were just doing it as like a addition to regular vogue um i was already working with her and i really enjoyed working with her so when she had the opportunity to leave vogue just really run the startup of teen vogue i hopped in with her you know she offered to take me with her so then i became you know the assistant to the editor-in-chief so it was a bigger title a bigger promotion for me more responsibilities um i'm very type a when it comes to my organizational skills so uh it was a really good fit as well and the cool thing was while i was there i got to sort of really learn more about the other departments where i was really just stuck in beauty editorial and i it was really fascinating to get to learn you know about what other other sections were doing and what could possibly be of interest to me in the future um ironically when i was really ready for the next step and to get a promotion my boss was not ready to lose me as her assistant and so she kept sort of holding me back but i'm grateful for that because if i had continued to go up in the ranks i probably never would have looked to change right so also and i started thinking about what else were my passions and nutrition was definitely one of them so from there i basically started taking nighttime classes uh just to see if i would be okay going back to school and learning about dietetics and nutrition and then when i never got that promotion officially i was like i'm out and i went back to grad school full-time you know it makes sense you know i i can get it on both sides on the boss i do a great job and you're helpful and i want to keep you in this position because there's an impact going on in the end on the other hand you're saying hey i want to have the ability to expand and grow and have other opportunities and i don't want to just be you know stuck so to speak in a given area and never have an opportunity to rise and so you know make sense why you go back to school started exploring that and then you know as you were to as that didn't their opportunity never became available to finish that up so you come out of school now as a dietitian and did that how long did you do uh the dietitian or how long did you how did you what did you do to get started as a dietitian how long did you do that for sure well graduate school took four years so in order to become a registered dietitian it also includes like a full year of what we call like our it's called the dietetic internship but it's basically like a residency so i was working in the hospital um you know i was really sort of like thrown into the clinical dietetics world where my real passion was going to be more and the community working one-on-one with people um less clinical more health focused more you know wellness um so after the four years at that time i'd already met my husband uh we were engaged to be married by the time i got my masters um and my full degree so it was we didn't own property we only had like a small rent to pay or small by new york standards um and so utah standards but at least small by new york city yes yes yeah for the two of us you know to be living in a one-bedroom apartment we were living like a very nice life and so at that point he's like listen if you're gonna do a startup if you're gonna launch yourself this is the time to do it because there's mortgages weddings babies all in our future and so i i dove in and i started my own practice with nothing i rented a tiny office twice a week and i had to wheel my scale in and out of the closet in the beginning because i shared it with a psychologist who thought a scale would be traumatizing to their patients so there may be some truth to that it might not have the right impressions i know i'm excited about wrong but i mean i still remember like you know i'd be like all dressed up in the outfit i'd want to be in you know trying to look this part of something that i really felt like i was an imposter for trying to like wheel this giant doctor scale in and out of the closet each time um but i started with no patience and slowly you know got one and it just sort of builds uh and snowballed into i needed to move and get a full-time practice and associates and you know it was a really lovely growth and then i could just expand as i went so it worked out really well and sounds like it was a great a great timing and a great opportunity so now you do that and how long did or how long did you build your practice for how long were you doing that i still have my practice even though it's really one of the small percentages of time that i spend my my energy on now but it's been 15 years so in that course i've written three books two best-selling um it's been it's been quite um it's been an amazing experience for sure yeah no and i think that that in you know it's it's fun to build a practice and then you also have opportunities that come along the way and you kind of expand almost as you kind of did with the you know cannabis and cbd and you're saying you know it feels to some degree it's like a natural extension out and so now help us understand so you're building your practice doing a dietitian that's still going as of today and then along the way i think you mentioned your husband started to have a bit of health issues and you know how did how did that evolve into getting more into the cannabis cbd world so you know i i always say like i come home feeling so satisfied with the work i was doing you know i had other you know new happy patients i had people feeling better telling me that you know their aches and pains or whatever their issues were gone and then i'd come home to my husband who was struggling and in hindsight he's been sick much longer than we ever realized we just always had something else to blame it on oh he's not a good sleeper oh he's in pain because he hurt himself you know but in in you know if we're totally honest with ourselves we were kind of blind that there really was something brewing and and eventually he was diagnosed with a severe autoimmune disease that basically prevents him from standing or walking for any period of time about eight years ago it spread to his arms from it was originally just in his lower legs and feet it spread to his arms and hands um right around the time of our second daughter's birth um so it's it's been you know living in new york city and having a husband who can't walk um very far it's a challenge so it really did interfere with our quality of life and his chronic pain is a big deal being married to a dietician and i think you and i spoke about this offline earlier like it's no fun being married to a dietician when you've got some health problems because i was on that poor guy um really like i'd you know find research that said like gluten free dairy free grain free i mean i was throwing everything at him just to try to give him some comfort and nothing really worked and i eventually put him on an insane diet called the wallace protocol which is an incredibly effective diet for people with ms his symptoms are very similar to emma so i was like well this isn't going to hurt um and i just tortured him he was eating liver and red cabbage for most of his meals um he really he hated me at some points so the joke is that he fired me as his practitioner uh but kept me on as his wife and his baby mama so um you know it's very hard to stand back and watch your partner struggle and not be able to help i mean you know even something like if he couldn't open a jar like you know i want to jump in and help and i'm sure people can relate to that right and telling me to back off was was a real challenge um it was almost harder for me to deal with than like the the reality of his disease so i backed off but during that time i'm always doing research and that's when i luckily stumbled across some really cool information about cbd and pain and eventually i just approached him after i got my facts straight enough and i said i don't know what this is i don't know much about it it's made from pot and he's like all right this i'll do and uh that's like fun why not if nothing else i'll have a good time he's like you've never offered me this so um and it was the first time that anything i've ever recommended or anyone as it recommends it'd be signed up besides pain medication has given him relief and that's when i knew i needed to learn more and you know i'm a science nerd at heart right that's always where my my passion has been i like research i like proof to say what i'm doing right like i like facts like i drink this because i know it's good for me based on these like 17 studies so i started doing more and more research on my own and the more research i did the more i realized like i need a full education so i went back and uh enrolled in this awesome program and became certified as a cannabis practitioner and while like i was doing my certification and studying and it was incredibly intense i just i fell in love with cbd my degree like would give me you know i could work with people with medical marijuana i could really sort of expand outside of cbd but i fell in love with cbd and it's what helps my husband and it just was you know any time that that was like part of the coursework i was like double focused on it so i found like a new passion within a you know a passion already which was pretty cool well that is cool you know it's it's one where i ca i could get that in the sense that you know my wife always hates when i i play the the lawyer type of a thing when i'm sitting there and i'm arguing and debating and poking holes and it's more of like it gets frustrating to her because she doesn't want to have discussions with the lawyer she wants to have discussions with her husband and so i have to kind of to the degree i'm able to which is difficult for me to kind of turn that off and just have a normal discussion or turn off that part of the way that i like to approach their solving things and i can only imagine there's probably something you know some overlap here similar to what you found of hey i don't need to sometimes i don't need the dietitian i just need the the wife and the spouse and that type of thing to help me through this heart issue but it's also great that you're able to kind of continue to figure that out and find a solution that works for him and then also find that that expounds onto your passion so that kind of now brings us a bit up to where you're at today and so you have the continuing to do the cannabis cbd for part of the practitioner they're also running the dietitian so now you kind of say okay that's what i'm doing today if you're to look into the next you know six to twelve months where do you kind of see things headed or what's the next next part of your journey really for the last like four years it's been i'd say 90 cannabis and cbd 10 nutrition um and it's so easy to fall back on nutrition because it's it's fast it's i can do it quickly like it's old hat right and the money is solid and in a startup world like i constantly need that but i find that it really distracts me from my focus and that when i spend too many days with a couple of patients and preparing for those sessions i i really lose a lot of my focus for my own business um so there's it's you know it's it's a it's a really hard tight rope so i'd say now five percent of my time max is spent on the nutrition side of the world um i use it more now with my daughters so i can torture them instead of my husband about why that you know boxed food isn't good for them but um yeah it's mainly mainly um the cannabis world that i'm in and what happened was falling in love with cbd and seeing what it did for my husband was you know mind opening and i could find tons of products for him but i couldn't find anything that like would make sense for someone like me to take right so learning about what cbd can do for anxiety for sleep for stress relief you know all of those things were what i personally would always deal with and what my most of my patients in my practice were dealing with so i couldn't find something that felt like not medicinal that didn't feel like a product for an illness you know versus like i wanted a product for wellness so like my husband is sick right that he has a true disease he needs help he takes these pills right he takes these tinctures all of that makes sense for him but i already take enough vitamins i didn't want another pill i wrote a book against sugar i couldn't create a gummy or it didn't feel authentic to eat or consume you know or recommend gummies so it was really hard to find like well where's cbd and then they were like vapes but i'm like i'm literally a health you know expert like there's vaping is not happening for me and i have children so what i realized was missing in the field was really a cbd product that met all of like the obnoxious standards that i have right but that especially was you know focused on wellness right where i'm not fixing my husband's autoimmune disease with my own product i'm not changing you know someone's psychological makeup or taking them away from the meds that they may or may not need but where are people like me and the hundreds of people that i saw in my practice what kind of product would be meant for them and that's why i created daily habit no and it sounds like that you know it's it's fun to kind of hear that going through all of that and what that journey was led up to and then it kind of also puts you on a maybe a trajectory that you hadn't necessarily thought of is one that you find that you enjoy and are passionate about so that's a definitely a fun journey to hear and for you to share well with that um now as we kind of reach uh you know to your to where you're at in the present even looking a bit in the future now is um it kind of reaches that point of the podcast where we i always ask two questions at the end of each journey and so we'll jump to those now 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 you know i think i've made a bunch of worse decisions there can only be one worse there could be a lot of bad decisions but only the worst is one you know i think the hardest thing for me moving from really just like a single practitioner right or even the people that worked for me my business model when i was just doing nutrition work was really simple right how many people could i see in a day what was really expected what was my overhead it was very very simple and it was really all based on the amount that i was able to work because i could work up to 20 hours a day if i wanted and i could make that money moving into e-commerce and moving into a consumer product was a world that i didn't even realize how different it was i thought i understood numbers i thought i understood business because i had run mine really really well right i was doing incredibly well as a dietitian it's a completely different animal shifting over into a consumer product you know uh company and i just didn't know enough going in and i thought a lot of it i could win and i couldn't and so that first year i made some decisions and i'm proud we i chose no outside investors even though we had some offers because i wanted full control you know i really made all of those decisions but my ability to know where the holes were in the business right of like knowing i didn't even know what i didn't know and so that's where like i have had like the steepest learning curve and some of the hardest times because i wasn't even aware that i needed to be doing so much more it was it was shocking to me as someone who was a workaholic and i get it all done that there were so many like things that i was missing so i really could have used a little bit perhaps more time although i don't think i should have taken more time because of this market right but really more of a deep dive or a crash course more so i was so focused in creating and the science and the development of the product and the communicating and the writing about it which is what i specialize in you know this the the public face of it that there was a lot of the business end that i i just could have done better i think like legitimate one of the worst decisions were right at the height of the pandemic is when we launched our single serving to go packets which were like oh people bring these on their way to coffee shops you know like that was supposed to be this big launch that timing-wise was terrible it was a great product but the timing was terrible so i can definitely say that was a bad decision in hindsight but i i think just not having enough of my ducks in a row to know what i was missing when i first launched was the the worst mistake i made and i think that that one that's always a hard balance you know a multiple kind of competing interest in the one sentence you want to get things out in the marketplace you've done in other areas and you're saying in a lot of times you don't even know where i'd go to get more of the information and so you kind of say well i've done this before i've run other businesses i've been successful and it gives you a bit of that false and security and so then you get going and i've done that multiple times as well where you find out there's a lot more involved there are a lot of things you didn't think no and you didn't figure out and sometimes it's you know years down the road before you really said well it would have been really helpful if i'd known this before and yet you have to get going somehow and you dive in anyway so that's a certainly an understandable to make and a mistake to make and the one that's great to learn from second question i'll always ask you is this so if now if you're talking something that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you'd give them as soon as you think you've done enough research you're only halfway there you need to do more and you need to really act as if you're already currently running the business and find out where those holes are because if you could be where i was a year into my business when you first start which i think some entrepreneurs can be if they just know more um it's a great system and i would also ask to speak to other startups in similar you know industries not someone who would be a direct competitor because that could be strange but if someone is willing to say you know look if it's me a cbd and someone's launching a different type of nutrition supplement like approach someone like me who's obviously willing to share but learn where these holes are you know like i can listen to you know as much expert advice but if i can't really see where other people have made mistakes it's very hard and that's why i think it's such a great question i think it's very hard to then know what your potential mistakes are going to be so as soon as you think you're you're done you're only halfway there when it comes to preparing to launch or actually make it happen no and i think that that's a it's a great uh takeaway because to your point there's you can do a lot of research now i don't know that you know you can go to the extreme and i'll carve out it with you can get some research paralysis or you always are looking at it so much and i'll see occasionally you'll be people that hey i've been working on this or thinking about it for 10 years and well at some point you have to say i'm never going to know everything but i think that the other thing is is to continue to learn as much as you can push it as far as you can get going but then don't just turn it off and say well we'll figure it out as we go along but continue to learn and to grow and i like the idea of going out in a sick it could be somebody in the exact same industry but at a different marketplace maybe it's geographic location so go five towns over somewhere that you're not gonna be a competitor with but learned a lot of mistakes or to your point if it's someone hey this is something that they are gonna be a competitor then go find a similar vertical and go learn that from them and i think that it gives you the ability to learn from others as opposed to having to always make those mistakes yourself so i think that's a great takeaway well as people excuse me if people want to reach out to you they want to find out more they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor if you ever decide to take on investors or they want to be your next best friend what's the best way to reach out to you contact you find out more everything can be found at our website which is so every everything there if you want to invest come on over right now because i think my mind has definitely changed after you know three plus years of doing it solo um but all right well i definitely encourage people to reach out connect and otherwise find out more because it sounds like it's a great opportunity on all on all friends to whether it's anxiety health or you have a specific needs or if you'd like to work there be an investor so or maybe just make a new friend so definitely check them out on their website thank you again brooke for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to share your story so go over to apply to be on the show a couple more things make sure to click subscribe leave us a review and share it as much as you can because we want to make sure to help out as many startups and small businesses as we can and share all the stories along the way and so with that if you ever need help with your patents or trademarks or anything else with your business feel free to reach out to us at millerip law just go to grab some time with us to chat thank you again brooke for coming on the podcast and uh wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thank you so much for having me [Music]

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