Know What You Can and Can't Do

Know What You Can & Can't Do

Tom Milligan

Devin Miller

The Inventive Journey

Podcast for Entrepreneurs


Know What You Can & Can't Do

My business partner Jill, she owns several companies and has a parent company that runs them all. Since she owns a portion this company, I now have access to her CFO and all the accounting and book keeping that she does. That is part of her investment. She has a cash investment as well as a sweat equity investment in the form of development resources as well as some financial resources. Financing and accounting resource. She did some cash investment as well as sweat equity, so I was able to off load the thing that I will put if off till I am dead cause I hate it. I think my advice is just make sure you know what you like to do and what your good at and find people to come up and help you with what you are not good at.


The Inventive Journey

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

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my my business partner jill she owns several companies and and uh has a kind of a a parent company that that runs them all and so since she owns a portion of this company i now have access to her cfo and all the accounting and bookkeeping that she does and so um that is part of her investment she has a cash investment and also a sweat equity investment in the in the form of some development resources as well as the financial resources financing and accounting resources not um so she did she did some cash investment as well as some sweat equity and so i was able to offload the thing that i i will put it off till till i'm dead because i hate it so i think my advice is just make sure you know what you like to do and what you're good at and find the people to come up and help you with what you're not good at [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that has grown several uh startups and small businesses to seven and eight figure companies as well as the founder and ceo of miller i p law where we help start uh startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks and today we have another great guest on the episode tom mcgillin and uh tom is a graduated from high school went on a mormon mission for those of you that are as myself or members of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints or known as mormon um learned how to sell learned a lot about data and then uh went through a couple different things in his life worked at the call center for i think it was 31 years so long call center industry i don't know if you were necessarily on the phones the whole time but at least the industry 31 years um went through a couple different uh divorces along the way and um kind of after the second divorce kind of said hey there's got to be a better way let's write out a plan let's figure this out so we don't have to go the traditional route of spending a ton of time money and effort everybody's mad at each other it doesn't work out well and figure out a much better process and kind of brought that up to where it's at today of and we'll get dive into all the fun details and a bit more but with that much welcome on the podcast tom thank you so much it's great to be here so i gave the very brief ten-second overview but maybe let's uh start at the beginning of your journey and tell us kind of how you got to where you're at today well you know i think a lot of us fall into our careers 31 years in the contact center started out as a phone agent um listeners that are in utah it was uh for about five years i learned the call center business but certainly hated being on the phones that gets pretty boring um but what uh after about homework i became a call center supervisor and manager and worked my way up through and ultimately got into these uh sales side where i sold outsourcing services and and career there for 31 years but great things to say about the contact center space never planned on leaving i figured i would retire from that um uh earlier this year when covet hit um there were it was a little a lot of people experienced that it was a little tougher to sell pretty much anything uh and um and i had had this plan and i guess we'll probably spend a little bit more time talking about this plan in fact a lot of it is what what is uh behind me here on how to have a divorce go smoothly and just a couple of weeks away from a divorce i knew i felt it was coming so i put my and my uh a friend of mine who happens to be an attorney suggested that package that plan i'd be able to help a lot of people get through a really tough part of their lives and so that's what we decided to do okay so diving into that just a bit more so if i were to do that you know first of all call center you know or call center industry or i think you call it contact center is that to make it sound nicer more friendly no it's just i'm old enough to remember when phone calls were the only service but over the years that we've added email chat um thing else so rather than call they just kind of switch the c uh to us to from a call to contact so it's just contact center instead all right i just didn't know it's kind of like the i you know every so often a company rebrands because they get a bad reputation i didn't know if the industry was saying everybody hates call center because they are it's the people that are calling me in friday night when i'm out with my wife and you know we're out on a date and they just interrupt me so i didn't know if it was a rebranding but it makes more sense to do it as a contact center if you're expanding your avenues of contact so you're at the contact center industry and apologize if i keep calling it call center um you did that for you know 31 years which is a a long time to do that so first of all is was it called you know was a call center industry did you enjoy it or what was the you know that's a long time to do what was the motivation for switching over you know was it that you're worn out wanted something different it was a i have to do this or what was kind of you know changing careers after that long period of time and i get covet hit but was it you know just hey i got to find something new or was it something or you know what was that motivation two motivating factors uh the first one the the mother of invention was the fact that i um i was going through a divorce at the time and i was possible and and the fact that what the plan that i had written for our divorce turned out to be quite effective um and and when my friend suggested that i could help a lot of people that way of course i like you i'm kind of a serial entrepreneur and i thought well there's got to be money to be made so my plan had been to continue working yes um work in acquaintances um contact center industry to develop the product and just kind of do it on the side it was just but when kobit really hard um more or less furloughed for about a month i couldn't really do much uh that month working full-time uh on this new product called our divorce and when i started to see the uh the divorce rate go up which is uh depending on the estimate that you that you read it's anywhere between 40 and 50 higher this year than it was last year i thought you know what there's i need to make this happen as quickly as possible um so i decided rather than make it a part-time gig i decided to just go in with both feet and so i jumped right in partnered up with a business associate named jill blankenship and between the two of us we um we had we hired our development team and designed the product and stood out that way it was it was more i could have stayed in the industry but i just i saw a great opportunity and decided to go for it all right no i think that you know it's a testament to you in the sense you know not necessarily on the divorce i'm sure that's painful but at least saying hey things have changed with the contact center industry and with covid and you know i'm a bit as i've got to adjust or i've got to pivot otherwise who knows what's going to happen here so i think that was you know kudos to you for saying rather than you know get down in the dumps or say hey this is not my fault they covet hit and i'm now unemployed or i don't have that revenue source let's figure out something that we can do to you know make up for that or to pivot and adjust and to still um have that as a a way to you know continue to provide for yourself and for the family so you did that and you you know you said okay call center industry or contact center industry and i'll get it right eventually um but you did that and you said okay i've gotta i've got this idea was going to do it on the side now i've got to do it full time in order to you know kind of shift where i'm going at how did that go when you dived in you know first of all i guess backing up when you did it as a part-time thing you know was it was it difficult to balance both of them at the same time did you make it work and you know you said you were kind of on the path to keep it as a part-time how is it first of all going doing that part time with the other job and then how is it transitioning to going to the full time well we we didn't start after the divorce was final um and my divorce was final on valentine i want to have a really romantic valentine's day um so edge literally signed it on valentine's day and so we didn't start anything until after that was completed and so and then i left my job um in the contact center space in may so i was only doing the part-time thing for a couple of months before i said you know what and so it was more still in the planning phases and the planning stages so it was a lot of long hours but quite frankly it was kind of cathartic it was almost a therapeutic thing to be able to work you know i mean i was already working a lot in the contact center space but of course this allowed me to drop 15 16 hours a day working on something which you know allowed me to immerse myself and get your mind off of the the personal troubles in your life so and and once you so now you decide okay i'm gonna devote what it was going to be a part-time thing doing it time diving all in you know couple questions so you know diving in cope you know covet took away the previous revenue of income was that hey we're going to live off of personal savings for a period of time was that you're you have a huge inheritance and you're a millionaire you didn't have to work and you just do this for fun or how did you kind of say hey if i'm going to dive into this i'm how am i going to support myself as we get it up and going well i'll tell you if i had a huge inheritance i would have retired a long time ago and just green bay packers games but um the uh the answer is that it's a combination of savings um but more than anything uh when i was fortunate enough to sell a home in um in march um and uh used the proceeds we had a lot of equity in the home it was a beautiful home that we had together and so when we sold the home after we split the proceeds i lived off of that and have continued to live off of that until very recently actually um and as our divorce has started to produce income it's been nice so no and i think that and that makes sense in the sense of most of most of the time none of we don't have just a huge amount of inheritance or something that just allows us to just uh take it easy so you know living off of what you've you know in investments or money you've accumulated over a period of time and going all in certainly makes sense so now as you did that and you jumped over to full time is it being all roses and the perfect you know perfect path no problems you just dumped in built the product and it's taken off like a hockey stick or what is that i don't think that's likely in reality so what is that how did it really go for you yeah i don't i wish that it were that easy um no we we ran into um several problems the first problem that alone from from the get-go is the fact it has its own set of of laws [Music] and so to to service every state plus jurisdictions uh for divorce means i have to have 51 processes if you will now same process with a few exceptions child um i'm forgetting two of them oh requirements and um something else there are four of them four uh different in each state but actually are the same another difference in that the documentation let me hold on give me one and pause it let me pause the thing we're getting just a bit of interference i don't know if it's on my end so give me one second to see if i can correct the internet and just started to cut out so hold on one second i'm going to hit pause i'll be back in just a couple minutes and we'll pick up from there does that work so what the other one was so all right you think of that let give me one second i'll go see if i can get things uh working better on my end and we'll circle right back so hold on all right so we're back so for all those that are the the listeners we had a bit of technical glitches or difficulties i worked on my side and hopefully we've got them all remedied and worked out so tom was just for those of you if it was cutting out just a little bit you were saying a thing that really one of the difficulties with the divorce industry and that in general is you have 51 states that have 51 different sets of law because divorce is generally state law so you have different processes to do it and then you're saying there are a few different within those laws that they have a few different things including alimony child support and you're saying a couple others so hopefully catching everybody back up i'll turn it back over to you to pick up from there excellent so so basically as far as the processing of the documents or the of the divorce itself we have to every state is fairly uniform except for their child support alimony residency and waiting period some students actually have a 12 to 18 month waiting period after you file for divorce before anything can happen um other states require you to be separated for six months before you can file for divorce so there there are some of the some of those things we call that the craw so child support residency alimony and waiting period um so those are the four things we have to think about during the processing of the divorce once we have completed everything in our process to reach agreement for their kids for their pets have to print it out and so each state has documentation um and so we have formatted um our documentation our output if you will for every single state so once they click print it will print out for their state and they can take it to the courthouse and sign it and they're ready to go no i think that makes makes complete sense and i feel for you in the sense that to try and account for every variable and even just those ones it seems like oh that should be reasonably we'll just build a robust system but it can make it difficult in the sense of trying to figure that out so i can get why having the account once you figure that out it gives you a bit of a secret sauce right or you can you can roll that out so you so you figure that out you said okay we're gonna we've got all the 51 states we've got the variables how you can do it what the rules are build that into your system and i'm sure that you know that took a lot of time time sweat pain effort and all any and all the above and then you rolled out your system how was uh was the rollout smooth did you have a lot of people was is it a slowly building momentum or how did you kind of once you have that in place how did you roll or how was the rollout go for you well because uh uh decided to to roll it out here in utah and so we actually started here in utah and ran it here in utah just for about two or three weeks before we started opening other states we wanted to make sure we had all the kinks worked out so thank you to our utah customers for being our guinea pigs we did do the first few customers at a very reduced price because we knew that we were going to find problems but once we have once we got a couple of customers through the system we raised the price up to what our target price has been all the time so it started out at 99 and then we raised the price after uh several couples went through to 2.99 which is a was our target price all along no and and that i think that makes sense in the sense that hey if you're going to have a little bit you know not not guinea pigs but people that work through the system figure it out to give them a bit of a reduced price to say hey this is a great system but we're still working out the kings so let's we'll give it to you to reduce price once we've figured out we're going to charge our normal makes complete sense one other question i'm sure other people have so i'll ask it for them because they can't ask it themselves is you know i and i have no idea i haven't been through a divorce crossed my fingers never have to go through the course never wouldn't want to wish it on anybody but for those that do have to is legal zoom as do they offer divorce systems or how does this compare how did you make it better does it they don't offer it or kind of give an insider ideas to you know because that's a little bit and i'll let you i know i answer the question that i keep talking but i'll circle back to it you know legal industry in general seems to be moving to to or at least with some areas to kind of whether it's a diy or reduced fees or hey at least for the simple things this is you know let's do it as a where i don't have to go pay a huge attorney piece i know i'm an attorney and i wanted a certain amount of work but i certainly get that people are saying i don't want to pay a attorney for something that i'm not getting as much value so with that was is there a legal zoom are you guys the first in the industry are you just doing it better or kind of give maybe an answer to that one sure they're they're actually um you know you never want to advertise for your competitor but there are several competitors legal zoom is one and i'll give some names of the others there's another one called we voice there's another one called it's over easy which sounds like an egg egg dish to me but um um there are a few others maybe you can get an egg with your divorce that's right there's another one called get divorce papers now or something along those lines anyway but i have signed up for and actually processed a divorce my business partner and i have been divorced about 30 times um in this throughout the development of this uh system but we did sign up for you haven't been married anymore you just got through the system 30 times if it's a 30 times a divorce then you guys you're doing you've either i don't know what that means but it would that would be a lot of time so 30 times that you've gone through the system is that right exactly and i always joke with her that she she owes me i think at least a million dollars in alimony by now but uh anyway no we did sign up for most of our competitors and we went through uh a complete process with them and basically the difference i mean there are several differences but i think the main difference is is that almost um to a to a competitor almost every one of them has they kind of assume that you and your spouse your your soon to be ex-spouse you've already made all of these important decisions uh and so it's really just a give us this information so we can fill out the forms for you which is valuable there's no question about it i'm not denigrating what they've done but unfortunately a lot of couples haven't made those decisions or they haven't thought of everything yet like for example what are you going to do with your amazon prime account have you made that decision what are you going to do with your audible account who gets to keep the books i mean it seems silly but there's a lot of detail that i mean i realized this was i was writing up my plan that we were married for 18 years amazon prime didn't exist um and and you have to think about silly dumb things like that i know it seems silly but those are things people fight over for weeks and they'll go to court over the dumbest things well anyway so our competitors what they do is they assume that all those things have been decided you answer a few questions and they spit out some forms um what we've done is we've taken a different approach and that is that we assume that there's at least a level of friendship or amicability that they can at least compromise and cooperate through this thing and we walk them through a three-step process where we first identify the things that we have to deal with so we ask a series of questions and the first step which is do you own a home do you have children do you have pets they're all yes or no questions no decisions are being made that narrows the field because if they say we don't have kids well then of course we're not going to ask them anything about their children and so once we've once we've done that we call that the synopsis then we get to step two which we call the inventory because it's kind of a data entry step because once they have said yes we have children well we need to know who they are we need to understand how old they are if they say they have a house we need to understand if they own it outright or if they owe money on it so it's a kind of a data entry again no decisions are being made here we're just doing data entry then we get to step three which we call the division and this is where both parties enter their desired outcome for each of these items so for example if it's a house you basically have five options you can either sell it husband keeps it wife keeps it you can donate the house or you can share the house and those are the five options that are outlined for every asset and then of course with children there are different options with pets there are different options with retirement accounts there are different options so each party enters in what they feel is the right answer and then if if they agree great we're done if they don't agree well then we go through this is where what makes us a bit different a lot different is that we actually put them through an online mediation so there are no humans involved but we actually created a series of mediation steps that helps the couple reach the same conclusions hopefully obviously not all of them will get there but we try to mediate their differences and get them to an agreement and if that works then we spit out their their documents and they're good to go if it doesn't work let's say they've agreed on sixty percent of the things and the other forty percent they'd still disagree on then we spit out a what we call a mediation report which they can then print take to a mediator and say hey these sixty percent were good all we have to do is worry about this forty percent um and hopefully that saves them quite a bit of money on the mediation process no i think that one is i i think that kudos to you guys because you know and this is a complete a side note but kind of related to you so we're actually as i mentioned i think that's where a lot of the legal industry we're actually getting ready to roll out several kind of of those things not for the divorce but more for patents and trademarks but i think that to your point there's almost uh legal zoom in in those times and i keep picking on that just because it's the one that always comes to bite quickly but all you know all those type of things is it's become almost too automated or too hands-off that hey we're just trying to do there is no personalization there is no customization there isn't any listening to you we're just going to try and do a one-size-fits-all and i get it if you're trying to hit a big market but it doesn't account for it as you mentioned whether it's the pri or amazon prime or the audible or who gets a cat who gets the dog who gets the you know the car who gets the trailer who gets the memory books who gets the whatever there's just a lot of variables and if you try and just overlook all of that as you said my guess is is that it creates almost as many issues as is resolves by just trying to go with the legal zoom so i think that i like you guys approach of hey we're going to put a bit of the customization or letting you you know helping you to make it a successful plan as opposed to just trying to spit it out and then leaving you guys to figure out whether or not it works and creating more issues so and i'm a big proponent of i think mediation is a good way not always and sometimes it just needs to be figured out in court but a lot of times mediation or those type of steps are a lot better approach of trying to keep everybody on friendly terms because honestly once you get the attorneys involved and you got the going to court it becomes very adversarial and you can kind of kiss goodbye a lot and they're good attorneys so i'm doing it in general but a lot of times you can kiss goodbye that amicable kind of separation and now it's just we're going to butt heads for the until we we haven't figured it out type of a thing so yeah we actually have um throughout the process we've we've filmed several uh instructional and motivational videos that that pop up at appropriate times throughout so if it seems that we are getting to a point where there isn't a lot of agreement we pop up a little video from we had a couple of actors help us with uh some great videos where it's like do you really want a judge to decide this in essence that's what you're saying um any time you decide to go to trial you're just you're spending a lot of money for some stranger to decide something that you really should have just decided yourself no i i think that makes complete sense so well as we get towards the end of podcast and i know we had a little bit of technical difficulties which i apologize for but aside from that as we get towards the end of the podcast i always get to the end of these and all the i always have so it doesn't even matter which er episode every episode i really just get into it enjoy because it's so fun to hear what everybody does always more things to talk about than times or time to talk about them but with that as we get to the end i always have two questions that we hit on so we'll probably we'll jump to those now first question i always ask is so um what is the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it uh wow um fortunately we've made more good decisions than bad decisions um but i i would have to say that the the worst decision i made is that when i started this um you know i didn't want to spend any money um i was still working i hadn't sold the house yet so i wasn't sure so i didn't want to spend any money so what i've tried to do is form a team of people that were willing to work for equity and and what i learned through that is 100 percent isn't a lot uh it sounds like a lot but when you start giving away five percent to this guy and ten percent of that guy pretty soon you don't have a lot left for yourself um and the other thing about that is um well i think that's pretty much it is that so so what i learned don't give away your equity and i think it's a hard balance because i agree with you and i've been in companies on both sides one where you give up equity and you're well i don't have the money to pay for this or we only have so much runway and i'm trying to extend the runway and so i'll give up already sometimes you're saying i want this key valuable player and i think sometimes there are good reasons let's say you have the best guy in the world that's the best programmers can do the absolute best job you want him involved and so he may give him a little bit of equity but i think one thing maybe even to build on that is don't give up equity too easily is i think even the better sometimes equity but sometimes you give up equity to people before they've even started and then they have the equity and you're saying now you're not doing anything and why did what you know you you're now you're just writing on my coattails and so i also would just almost of all as the advice of sometimes put in their milestones or as you do so much as you prove out your work to the company and then almost to your point is up front it's always easier to give up equity in the long run you almost can dilute yourself so much you're saying i don't even owe my own company or run it and even if this goes great i'm not going to make hardly anything so i think that it's something to be much more judicious about than oftentimes people are yep all right second question so now you're talking to somebody that's just getting into startups or small businesses what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them well besides what we just said um you know remember equity is forever um the um the best piece of advice i would say is um make know what you do well and surround yourself with people who shore you up uh the example i have is i hate i mean i literally have a visceral hatred for anything to do with accounting it drives me crazy hey i'm right there with you and so everything i do taxes accounting and payroll are my least favorite exactly they're horrible um i'd rather be on fire than do my taxes but um my business partner jill she owns several companies and and uh has a kind of a parent company that that runs them all and so since she owns a portion of this company i now have access to her cfo and all the accounting and bookkeeping that she does and so um that is part of her investment she has a cash investment and also a sweat equity investment in the in the form of some development resources as well as the financial resources financing and accounting resources not um so she did she did some cash investment as well as some sweat equity and so i was able to offload the thing that i i will put it off until until i'm dead because i hate it so i think my advice is just make sure you know what you like to do and what you're good at and find the people to come up and help you with what you're not good at no i think that i think that and it's a lesson that yeah i had to learn i'm on the flip side i think i can do everything better than everybody else not that i can but as an entrepreneur i think that that's oftentimes a need your creation oh i can do that or i can do it better or i can they you know and i don't want to pay for it even even if you made the assumption that you could do everything better than everyone else which is completely flawed you can't get everything done and still build the company right and so where i always came what lesson i had to learn kind of along the same lines as you have to be able to figure out what you do best focus your attention on that because that's where you're going to add the most value and the things that you can't do best or that you hate or you're not going to put your time and love and passion into it then let's find somebody that does do that the best and that's that's what you bring on so i think that's a great point well as we wrap up people want to if they are getting a divorce hopefully i wouldn't wish that on anybody but it does happen and especially as you mentioned with covet it's only probably getting worse but people are getting divorced or they want to find out more about your system they want to be an investor they want to be an employee they want to just pick your brain or they want to reach out to you any or all of the above what's the best way to connect with you well if you if you do know of someone that needs to get a divorce go to our if you want more information just info and we'd be happy to answer those questions all right well that's simple and easy enough either go to the website or give you guys an email and i'm sure you guys would be happy to to reach out and talk with them so well tom thank you for coming on it's been a pleasure thank you and now for everybody else if you have a journey to tell that you'd like to come on to the podcast feel free to go to sign up to be a guest we'd love to have you on and hear your journey if you're a listener make sure to click subscribe so you can get a notification as all the new episodes come out and lastly if you ever need help with patents and trademarks feel free to reach out to us at miller ip law we love to help startups and small businesses thanks again tom it's been a pleasure and fun to have you on thanks so much English (auto-generated)

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