"The Power of Streamlined Documentation" The Podcast For Entrepreneurs w/ Elizabeth Greene

The Inventive Journey
Episode #568
The Power of Streamlined Documentation
w/ Elizabeth Greene

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


I'm kicking myself for not practicing this habit of documenting as I progress. It might appear overly simple, but if you find yourself repeatedly performing a certain task, consider creating a Google Doc to outline the process step by step. This document can be straightforward, perhaps just a Google Doc with a spreadsheet that includes descriptions and links. The key is to maintain simplicity while documenting your work in real-time. Remember to keep these documents organized and readily accessible because, at some point, you might need to hire someone. Having a well-documented process makes it much more efficient to onboard new team members, sparing you the effort of teaching them from scratch while on the job.


 

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







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"Unlocking Social Capital: A Powerful Business Asset" Expert Advice For Entrepreneurs w/ Alan See

The Inventive Expert
Episode #126
Unlocking Social Capital: A Powerful Business Asset
w/  Alan See

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


The most significant misconception lies in the very topic we were just discussing: the notion that social capital holds no significance. I believe the primary focus should not solely be on investments like Google AdWords spending, the development of a sales process, CRM lead generation, or content creation. Instead, it should be placed on the often underestimated value of "knowing, liking, and trusting" individuals. Building and nurturing these connections is what truly unlocks opportunities, maintains client loyalty, facilitates deal closures, and shortens the sales cycle. Therefore, the most prominent myth in my view is the insufficient emphasis on encouraging employees to cultivate their social capital.


 

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 Apply to be on the show! We accept entrepreneurs of all backgrounds.

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







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"Customer-Centric Business Strategy" The Podcast For Entrepreneurs w/ Farmon Akmalov

The Inventive Journey
Episode #567
Customer-Centric Business Strategy
w/ Farmon Akmalov

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


The primary piece of advice is to truly understand your customers. It might seem obvious, but many individuals assume that a particular customer will require their service. They become enthusiastic about their solution and technology, and only after developing the solution, platform, or service, do they begin seeking out customers who might match their offering. However, the issue with this approach is that entrepreneurs can end up wasting a significant amount of time and money trying to create something for a small number of customers. Instead, the better approach is to first define the problem, identify a broad audience or a large group of individuals, and then craft a solution that addresses a specific niche problem that, for example, might be shared by around 100 people.


 

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







About the Firm...

Miller IP Law is a firm that focuses on small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs/solopreneurs. We’re easy to use. We offer affordable pricing that’s transparent and flat-rate. We focus on the little guys who actually need our help. If you’d like an attorney on your team, simply schedule a Zoom call, and we’ll take care of the rest.


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1. Cheapest Way To Get A Patent

2. How Long Does It Take To Get A Trademark?

3. Why Are Patents Important?


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About Our Firm…

Miller IP Law is a group of attorney's, based out of Mountain Green, Utah, who are excited to help you build your business and further innovate market places and economies. Please consider looking at our services, billed at flat rate, and be sure to grab a free strategy session to meet with us!

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"Marketing Insights: A Look Back" Founder's Advice For Entrepreneurs w/ Natalie Cook

The Inventive Founder
Episode #11
Marketing Insights: A Look Back
w/  Natalie Cook

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


I would have dedicated more of my focus to developing a robust sales and marketing strategy. Looking back, I realize there were many aspects I was unaware of at the time. I had a knack for resourceful networking, a skill that still serves me well today and has contributed to the growth of my business, which I take pride in. However, if I had possessed the knowledge I have today, I would have established a more effective sales and marketing process three years ago, which would be yielding significant results by now. Unfortunately, I only truly grasped this concept earlier this year, so there's a bit of a waiting period before I can see the benefits of these changes come to fruition, if that clarifies things.


 

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







About the Firm...

Miller IP Law is a firm that focuses on small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs/solopreneurs. We’re easy to use. We offer affordable pricing that’s transparent and flat-rate. We focus on the little guys who actually need our help. If you’d like an attorney on your team, simply schedule a Zoom call, and we’ll take care of the rest.


Top Blog Articles

1. Cheapest Way To Get A Patent

2. How Long Does It Take To Get A Trademark?

3. Why Are Patents Important?


Miller IP Law

Find Us On LinkedIn

About Our Firm…

Miller IP Law is a group of attorney's, based out of Mountain Green, Utah, who are excited to help you build your business and further innovate market places and economies. Please consider looking at our services, billed at flat rate, and be sure to grab a free strategy session to meet with us!

Start Your Journey

 

 

Get weekly stories and information about protecting intellectual property with our e-mail Newsletter today!



Need To Get In Touch With Us?➡

Schedule A Free Strategy Session Today…

Miller IP Law




Flat Fee Pricing

Straightforward for Patents and Trademarks



Miller IP Law

Patent Application

Miller IP Law

Trademark Application

Miller IP Law

Copyright Application

Miller IP Law

Patent Application

Miller IP Law

Trademark Application

Miller IP Law

Copyright Application

Read more →

"Guarding Your Intellectual Property" The Podcast For Entrepreneurs w/ Christopher Alesich

The Inventive Journey
Episode #566
Guarding Your Intellectual Property
w/ Christopher Alesich

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


Protecting your intellectual property is paramount. Take proactive measures to safeguard your brand even before it becomes widely recognized. This applies not only to trademarks and patents for inventions but also extends to software. It's crucial to secure your intellectual property rights, as once you gain popularity, there will be a rush to capitalize on your success.


 

Join Us!

 Apply to be on the show! We accept entrepreneurs of all backgrounds.

Click to learn more!

 


 

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Listen to hundreds of entrepreneurs share their wisdom.

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







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"Unceasing Learning: A Key to Ongoing Growth" The Podcast For Entrepreneurs w/ Dan Rodman

The Inventive Journey
Episode #565
Unceasing Learning: A Key to Ongoing Growth
w/  Dan Rodman

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


My top advice closely mirrors my own approach to continuous self-improvement, emphasizing the role of perpetual learning even after completing formal education. It involves staying updated by delving into essential books in your field, actively participating in webinars and seminars, and tapping into the vast educational resources on YouTube. I once committed over a year to exclusively watching documentaries and educational content on YouTube, forsaking movies and TV shows. This dedication to ongoing learning, despite having graduated, has been instrumental in my personal and professional growth.


 

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







About the Firm...

Miller IP Law is a firm that focuses on small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs/solopreneurs. We’re easy to use. We offer affordable pricing that’s transparent and flat-rate. We focus on the little guys who actually need our help. If you’d like an attorney on your team, simply schedule a Zoom call, and we’ll take care of the rest.


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Miller IP Law is a group of attorney's, based out of Mountain Green, Utah, who are excited to help you build your business and further innovate market places and economies. Please consider looking at our services, billed at flat rate, and be sure to grab a free strategy session to meet with us!

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"Debunking the Biodiversity Measurement Myth" Expert Advice For Entrepreneurs w/ Drea Burbank

The Inventive Expert
Episode #125
Debunking the Biodiversity Measurement Myth
w/  Drea Burbank

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


The prevailing misconception within my field is that assessing biodiversity is more challenging than quantifying carbon levels. I hold a firm conviction that this belief is misguided, as we possess a well-established methodology that has demonstrated the feasibility of measuring biodiversity with greater ease than carbon. In fact, biodiversity might serve as a superior metric for evaluating the health of pristine, untouched forests, as the very presence of various animal species can serve as a natural sensor. Dispelling this myth is a primary focus of our work.


 

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







About the Firm...

Miller IP Law is a firm that focuses on small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs/solopreneurs. We’re easy to use. We offer affordable pricing that’s transparent and flat-rate. We focus on the little guys who actually need our help. If you’d like an attorney on your team, simply schedule a Zoom call, and we’ll take care of the rest.


Top Blog Articles

1. Cheapest Way To Get A Patent

2. How Long Does It Take To Get A Trademark?

3. Why Are Patents Important?


Miller IP Law

Find Us On LinkedIn

About Our Firm…

Miller IP Law is a group of attorney's, based out of Mountain Green, Utah, who are excited to help you build your business and further innovate market places and economies. Please consider looking at our services, billed at flat rate, and be sure to grab a free strategy session to meet with us!

Start Your Journey

 

 

Get weekly stories and information about protecting intellectual property with our e-mail Newsletter today!



Need To Get In Touch With Us?➡

Schedule A Free Strategy Session Today…

Miller IP Law




Flat Fee Pricing

Straightforward for Patents and Trademarks



Miller IP Law

Patent Application

Miller IP Law

Trademark Application

Miller IP Law

Copyright Application

Miller IP Law

Patent Application

Miller IP Law

Trademark Application

Miller IP Law

Copyright Application

Read more →

"Embracing Business for Personal Growth" The Podcast For Entrepreneurs w/ Kevin White

The Inventive Journey
Episode #564
Embracing Business for Personal Growth
w/  Kevin White

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


In my work guiding personal growth, I've come to cherish the way businesses can serve as catalysts for personal evolution. Nowadays, the business landscape has evolved, and while the traditional "hustle and grind" approach still has its place, what often proves more effective, especially with our clients, is authentic connection. Embracing vulnerability, sharing your growth journey, and using your business as a vehicle for personal and spiritual development can be immensely rewarding. So, my advice is to shift your perspective, focusing not just on what you offer but on the profound opportunities your business offers for your own growth as a spiritual individual and as a business owner. It's an often overlooked but vital aspect of being.


 

Join Us!

 Apply to be on the show! We accept entrepreneurs of all backgrounds.

Click to learn more!

 


 

Listen To More!

Listen to hundreds of entrepreneurs share their wisdom.

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







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"Starting Sooner: A Regret and a Lesson" Founder's Advice For Entrepreneurs w/ Fong Chua

The Inventive Founder
Episode #10
Starting Sooner: A Regret and a Lesson
w/ Fong Chua

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


I often find myself thinking about how I wish I had started my journey into business and real estate much earlier, back in 2008 or 2009. I jumped into the intricacies of these fields during that time. My regret stems from growing up in a family that lacked significant business experience; the prevailing belief was to work diligently in a stable job for one's entire life. Reflecting on this, I recognize the missed opportunities for learning and growth. If I could travel back in time, I would advise my younger self to dive into the world of business and real estate much sooner. I'd tell myself, "Read this book now, don't wait for three years or more." That's the lesson I've learned along the way.


 

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







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"Zooming Out for Success" The Podcast For Entrepreneurs w/ Juana Sky

The Inventive Journey
Episode #563
Zooming Out for Success
w/  Juana Sky

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


The most valuable advice I can offer is to adopt a holistic perspective and shift your focus away from your primary passion or expertise. For me, music is my core passion and my comfort zone. However, in the day-to-day operations of growing my business, I find myself engrossed in various other tasks that may not be directly related to my passion. To succeed in expanding and scaling, it's essential to broaden your view beyond your immediate passion and acknowledge the multitude of other aspects that require your attention, understanding, and consideration. This foundational approach is vital for long-term success.


 

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







About the Firm...

Miller IP Law is a firm that focuses on small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs/solopreneurs. We’re easy to use. We offer affordable pricing that’s transparent and flat-rate. We focus on the little guys who actually need our help. If you’d like an attorney on your team, simply schedule a Zoom call, and we’ll take care of the rest.


Top Blog Articles

1. Cheapest Way To Get A Patent

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"Leading with Passion: A Key to Success" The Podcast For Entrepreneurs w/ Matthew Perlman

The Inventive Journey
Episode #562
Leading with Passion: A Key to Success
w/ Matthew Perlman

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


It stems from my ability to ignore the doubts of others and lead with unbridled passion. Leading with passion is essential. It not only provides the fuel to overcome challenges and uncertainties in your entrepreneurial journey but also ignites creativity and motivates you to go the extra mile for success. Personally, my passion is deeply rooted because I am the customer. I created this venture because I had a unique idea and the means to bring it to life. As a result, I intimately understand what our customers and the community want in this space. I serve as their sounding board, where ideas bounce off each other, ultimately leading to the creation of something truly special. My fervor for this project is unmistakable, evident to everyone who enters Artist House, and I am genuinely thrilled to be a part of it.


 

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







About the Firm...

Miller IP Law is a firm that focuses on small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs/solopreneurs. We’re easy to use. We offer affordable pricing that’s transparent and flat-rate. We focus on the little guys who actually need our help. If you’d like an attorney on your team, simply schedule a Zoom call, and we’ll take care of the rest.


Top Blog Articles

1. Cheapest Way To Get A Patent

2. How Long Does It Take To Get A Trademark?

3. Why Are Patents Important?


Miller IP Law

Find Us On LinkedIn

About Our Firm…

Miller IP Law is a group of attorney's, based out of Mountain Green, Utah, who are excited to help you build your business and further innovate market places and economies. Please consider looking at our services, billed at flat rate, and be sure to grab a free strategy session to meet with us!

Start Your Journey

 

 

Get weekly stories and information about protecting intellectual property with our e-mail Newsletter today!



Need To Get In Touch With Us?➡

Schedule A Free Strategy Session Today…

Miller IP Law




Flat Fee Pricing

Straightforward for Patents and Trademarks



Miller IP Law

Patent Application

Miller IP Law

Trademark Application

Miller IP Law

Copyright Application

Miller IP Law

Patent Application

Miller IP Law

Trademark Application

Miller IP Law

Copyright Application

Read more →

"Unmasking Toxic Workplaces" Expert Advice For Entrepreneurs w/ Samm Smeltzer

The Inventive Expert
Episode #124
Unmasking Toxic Workplaces
w/  Samm Smeltzer

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


I believe the most significant misconception revolves around the origin of toxic workplaces. In my experience, toxic work environments often stem from the unintentional cultivation of detrimental habits and survival mechanisms, rather than a deliberate intention to harm others. It's something that can naturally develop over time, and sometimes we may not even realize we're fostering a toxic workplace until it's already there.


 

Join Us!

 Apply to be on the show! We accept entrepreneurs of all backgrounds.

Click to learn more!

 


 

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Listen to hundreds of entrepreneurs share their wisdom.

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







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"Preserving Financial Stability for Startup Success" The Podcast For Entrepreneurs w/ Vinny Williams

The Inventive Journey
Episode #561
Preserving Financial Stability for Startup Success
w/ Vinny Williams

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


The most crucial piece of advice I can offer is to maintain your stable income source. Under no circumstances should you abandon your steady job. Unless you're intentionally reducing your expenses, refrain from relocating as well. It's imperative to maintain financial stability while you navigate the process of launching and establishing your startup. So, that's my top priority. And to introduce a touch of diversity, this would be my foremost recommendation.


 

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







About the Firm...

Miller IP Law is a firm that focuses on small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs/solopreneurs. We’re easy to use. We offer affordable pricing that’s transparent and flat-rate. We focus on the little guys who actually need our help. If you’d like an attorney on your team, simply schedule a Zoom call, and we’ll take care of the rest.


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1. Cheapest Way To Get A Patent

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3. Why Are Patents Important?


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Miller IP Law is a group of attorney's, based out of Mountain Green, Utah, who are excited to help you build your business and further innovate market places and economies. Please consider looking at our services, billed at flat rate, and be sure to grab a free strategy session to meet with us!

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"Choosing the Right CPA" Founder's Advice For Entrepreneurs w/ Angela Thurman

The Inventive Founder
Episode #9
Choosing the Right CPA
w/ Angela Thurman

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


If I could go back, I would have been much more discerning in my selection of a CPA. The current CPA I have now truly comprehends the intricacies of my business and the broader realm of small businesses. They have been instrumental in improving my financial planning and providing timely reminders, such as quarterly tax obligations. In hindsight, my initial decision to prioritize proximity when choosing a CPA was unnecessary and ended up being detrimental during my first year.


 

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







About the Firm...

Miller IP Law is a firm that focuses on small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs/solopreneurs. We’re easy to use. We offer affordable pricing that’s transparent and flat-rate. We focus on the little guys who actually need our help. If you’d like an attorney on your team, simply schedule a Zoom call, and we’ll take care of the rest.


Top Blog Articles

1. Cheapest Way To Get A Patent

2. How Long Does It Take To Get A Trademark?

3. Why Are Patents Important?


Miller IP Law

Find Us On LinkedIn

About Our Firm…

Miller IP Law is a group of attorney's, based out of Mountain Green, Utah, who are excited to help you build your business and further innovate market places and economies. Please consider looking at our services, billed at flat rate, and be sure to grab a free strategy session to meet with us!

Start Your Journey

 

 

Get weekly stories and information about protecting intellectual property with our e-mail Newsletter today!



Need To Get In Touch With Us?➡

Schedule A Free Strategy Session Today…

Miller IP Law




Flat Fee Pricing

Straightforward for Patents and Trademarks



Miller IP Law

Patent Application

Miller IP Law

Trademark Application

Miller IP Law

Copyright Application

Miller IP Law

Patent Application

Miller IP Law

Trademark Application

Miller IP Law

Copyright Application

Read more →

"Network Your Way to Success" The Podcast For Entrepreneurs w/ Jayce Grayye

The Inventive Journey
Episode #560
Network Your Way to Success
w/ Jayce Grayye

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


Build your network relentlessly. You remain anonymous until you become known. Immerse yourself in the company of influential figures, attend conferences, invest in that $300 VIP ticket or the $1,000 elite pass. Position yourself to connect with those who appreciate your true value. If you inquire about the rapid growth of my business, it's because I have already adopted this approach. Many entrepreneurs may possess strong skills, excel in sales, or acquire marketing knowledge, but without continuous engagement with exceptional individuals like yourself, Devin, or others in the industry, it's likely that your name will remain obscure. Trust is the foundation of commerce, so strive to surround yourself with the right people, even if it means a little extra investment; I assure you, it will be worthwhile.


 

Join Us!

 Apply to be on the show! We accept entrepreneurs of all backgrounds.

Click to learn more!

 


 

Listen To More!

Listen to hundreds of entrepreneurs share their wisdom.

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







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"Success Through Mentorship and Masterminds" The Podcast For Entrepreneurs w/ Shane Baldwin

The Inventive Journey
Episode #559
Success Through Mentorship and Masterminds
w/ Shane Baldwin

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


Surrounding yourself with a network of mentors, individuals who possess valuable experience and expertise, is invaluable. If you can connect with individuals who operate in a similar domain and enlist them as part of your support system, that's even better. Beyond just mentorship, consider forming a mastermind group consisting of intelligent individuals who can provide guidance on your entrepreneurial journey. When embarking on your path as an entrepreneur, it's wise to glean insights from those who have traversed it before, learn from their lessons, and often, this knowledge can propel your success to new heights.


 

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







About the Firm...

Miller IP Law is a firm that focuses on small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs/solopreneurs. We’re easy to use. We offer affordable pricing that’s transparent and flat-rate. We focus on the little guys who actually need our help. If you’d like an attorney on your team, simply schedule a Zoom call, and we’ll take care of the rest.


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"The Website Overinvestment Misconception" Expert Advice For Entrepreneurs w/ Jason Ciment

The Inventive Expert
Episode #123
The Website Overinvestment Misconception
w/ Jason Ciment

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


We discussed a prevalent misconception: the belief that business solely comes through referrals. Another common fallacy suggests excessive investment in your website or video production is necessary. In my opinion, if your website is well-designed, user-friendly, and contains professionally curated content, there's no need for overinvestment. Avoid generic templates that lack quality. Remember the era when Flash was popular, despite its inefficiency and invisibility to search engines like Google. Similarly, today's focus should be on a sleek, fast-loading, and SEO-friendly website, rather than extravagant expenditures.


 

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







About the Firm...

Miller IP Law is a firm that focuses on small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs/solopreneurs. We’re easy to use. We offer affordable pricing that’s transparent and flat-rate. We focus on the little guys who actually need our help. If you’d like an attorney on your team, simply schedule a Zoom call, and we’ll take care of the rest.


Top Blog Articles

1. Cheapest Way To Get A Patent

2. How Long Does It Take To Get A Trademark?

3. Why Are Patents Important?


Miller IP Law

Find Us On LinkedIn

About Our Firm…

Miller IP Law is a group of attorney's, based out of Mountain Green, Utah, who are excited to help you build your business and further innovate market places and economies. Please consider looking at our services, billed at flat rate, and be sure to grab a free strategy session to meet with us!

Start Your Journey

 

 

Get weekly stories and information about protecting intellectual property with our e-mail Newsletter today!



Need To Get In Touch With Us?➡

Schedule A Free Strategy Session Today…

Miller IP Law




Flat Fee Pricing

Straightforward for Patents and Trademarks



Miller IP Law

Patent Application

Miller IP Law

Trademark Application

Miller IP Law

Copyright Application

Miller IP Law

Patent Application

Miller IP Law

Trademark Application

Miller IP Law

Copyright Application

Read more →

"Smart Business Tip: Organize Corporate Affairs" The Podcast For Entrepreneurs w/ Brett Story

The Inventive Journey
Episode #558
Smart Business Tip: Organize Corporate Affairs
w/ Brett Story

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


I'm going to offer two pieces of advice, and the first one may appear bothersome and costly, but it's crucial. Please ensure that all your corporate documents, intellectual property, and related matters are properly organized. This includes finalizing your partnership agreement, buy-sell agreements, and all corporate aspects before your business gains momentum and begins to expand. It's important to remember that the more successful you become, the more challenging it can be to rectify any errors or address issues that arise within the company, especially in terms of partnerships or familial relationships with team members.


 

Join Us!

 Apply to be on the show! We accept entrepreneurs of all backgrounds.

Click to learn more!

 


 

Listen To More!

Listen to hundreds of entrepreneurs share their wisdom.

Click to start listening!

 


 

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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







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"Investment Strategy Reflection" Founder's Advice For Entrepreneurs w/ Mariam Ispahani

The Inventive Founder
Episode #8
Investment Strategy Reflection
w/ Mariam Ispahani

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


We should have considered pursuing investment opportunities earlier, even though it presented challenges. When we initially approached investors, their response was to return when we had achieved post-revenue status. We also explored the possibility of partnering with some of our customers for investment, although we didn't actively pursue many of these opportunities. Looking back, it's possible that we missed out on potential benefits for our company by not being more proactive in seeking investment. While we did approach some potential investors, they expressed a preference for purchasing our products rather than investing in our company, which was not in line with their usual practices. Reflecting on this, it's clear that we should have put in more effort in this area, especially considering our presence in the manufacturing sector.


 

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







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"Time Management Insights for Entrepreneurs" The Podcast For Entrepreneurs w/ Robert Lee

The Inventive Journey
Episode #557
Time Management Insights for Entrepreneurs
w/ Robert Lee

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self


Create a plan for managing your time effectively. Many entrepreneurs believe that they must constantly hustle, projecting an image of unwavering success and dominance. This often entails appearing victorious every single day. However, for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and those working in non-corporate environments, stress may not disappear but merely change form. In this context, it is crucial to prioritize your own needs. Looking back, this lesson became apparent to me as a critical aspect of business success—one that I initially failed to heed. I cautioned myself about the need to reconsider how I allocate my time.


 

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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

a hundred thousand percent in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast asim khan and uh sim um with there is a quick intro um him and his brother are immigrants originally from pakistan um his parents came to the u.s to uh for additional or to for additional opportunities um grew up uh grew up humbly or in his words poor or humbly and parents were two or three jobs growing up went to high school played sports and then went to college and went to the same schools his older brother did um got a finance or both of them got i think both him and his brother got finance degrees uh worked as investment bankers more fulfilled in the job or in the job so him and his brother i decided they wanted to uh or wanted to work together and do something else and so got into the health and wellness business and i started something with this brother so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast to sim hey devon thanks uh for having me on good to see you again and looking forward to this podcast hey i'm excited to have you on and have a good conversation so i just took a much longer journey condensed into the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit and tell me a little bit about how you uh your journey got started uh with your uh migrating from pakistan yeah no i appreciate that i'm uh i'm honored to be a guest on your show so just a quick backdrop we are immigrants as you mentioned from pakistan uh moved to the states in 1984 uh suburbs of chicago we came here for the same reasons every other immigrant comes to this great country with this is the best land of opportunity out there and we've been thankful uh we came from humble background and uh you know have been able to become successful along the way so uh just work hard and uh went to school uh at marquette university um here in milwaukee we're headquartered out of here as well now so now you and just to kind of or back up a little bit so you guys came makes sense coming to the us looking for additional opportunities and then he also mentioned uh beforehand or but when we chatted a bit before the podcast um that you know you grew up humble beginnings your parents are working you know two or three jobs but it provided a bit of an opportunity so you went to high school and played sports but then as you were coming out of high school you both you and your brother went to college is that right correct so um yeah just backing up uh we we did go to high school together he was a year older than me and then i actually followed him to marquette university up here in milwaukee and uh he was doing accounting and finance so i figured i'd do accounting and finance so uh after college we uh then went on to do the wall street stuff uh he went and did investment banking at merrill lynch i actually went and did investment banking at merrill lynch and for a while we lived together in chicago then he moved out to san francisco i moved one real quick question before you get too far in just because i had a question maybe backing back up to college so maybe i'm oversimplifying it but it sounds like it was basically as simple as my brother went to college here i'm gonna go to college here my brother got this degree i'm gonna go get this degree as well and it wasn't as simple as hey i look up to my brother and whatever he's doing has got to be a good decision was a bit more in depth of that or i just you know it was interesting that you went to the same schools you got the same degrees what was the the motivation there yeah i don't know if you've seen that movie with uh drew carrick uh what's his name uh yes man yes man i'm blanking on his name but uh anyways i i actually started out at a different university in uh pittsburgh called carnegie mellon uh where i had a full scholarship for computer engineering and uh that's what i thought i was gonna be because uh when you're an immigrant from pakistan there's two expectations either you become a doctor or an engineer and i didn't like the medicine side of things i guess i wasn't good enough for that but i was really good at physics and math and engineering type of stuff and so i tried my shot at that but then quickly realized that i wasn't going to be a good fit so i took a semester off then i went to a community college for another semester and by that time my brother was a junior at marquette and i was uh going to be a sophomore so i didn't want to stay in a community college in the chicago suburbs so i figured why not just move up here so i do have a lot of respect for him i do think very highly of his decision making and so that definitely did play a part in uh to my decision to ultimately end up at marquette university and then i did accounting advice at least to the creditor a bit of the background you did say okay i am going to go to a different university i tried that so it wasn't simply just following in your shoe sets but after you try and tried that you're saying hey we're a lot more alike and i'm going to go down the path that he's enjoying because it looks like i'd enjoy that too is that about right right right i wanted to get into business and he was doing accounting and seemed very practical and mechanical in some ways uh you know just logical numbers i like numbers so that was the reason i went into accounting i've never actually used accounting in my career other than you know uh just from an observer saying i was never a cpa so okay so it makes sense so now okay now kind of continuing on with the story so now you both you and your brother you've got the finance degrees you're coming out of college and then how did you guys kind of decide where you were going to work or what the next step of your journey was right so you know part of coming over to the states was to get good jobs build a good career start families and finance careers have you know a lot of money associated with them and so investment banking was the big thing at the time still is today i'm guessing and uh it was more fun more interesting than going to be a public accountant not that there's anything wrong with public accountant my personality just wasn't suited for that neither was my brother so we tried our hand at investment banking worked incredibly long hours slept a lot of times under the desk you know at the office and a lot of face time as well uh you know putting together pitch books and then going to presentations etc so i did that for two years my brother did that for four years out in san francisco and then i went into the startup world myself uh in the uh early 2000s i i was involved in two software companies uh back to back neither of them worked out and that's why still working my ass off no i think that that makes sense and so and i think you know one of the things you'd hit on with uh i can't er with the job is that you went into investment banking and you know i hear that a lot from you know friends and other people that i know the industry which is a lot of hours long work high burn out hard you know job satisfaction super competitive and you're looking to say okay while it may pay well or maybe you know a good opportunity from the outside it's not what you necessarily want to do or it's not fulfilling and it's not what you're saying hey i don't want to do this forever and so as you guys because you're kind of coming to this realization saying okay not getting the fulfillment here it made you know all these long hours a lot you know their work days and you know it burnout and everything else is not what i want for long term and no i don't think anybody would or very few people would and so as you're trying to decide okay now you're hitting the the pause button so to speak on that so how did you get you and i think both you and your brother kind of had this at similar periods of time but how did you decide what you're going to do next or if you're not not going to work for the investment banking what you where you're going to focus on right so for myself i went from investment banking into the tech startup world for a couple years and then i went into private equity after that so prior to starting um zen with my brother i spent 15 years in an uh private equity firm it was a total of two billion under management i was one of the partners uh again i was not fulfilled my brother on the other hand did investment banking for most of his career and then he did have a stint starting a hedge fund out in denver and we ended up in wisconsin our wives are from here our family's here now and so that's how we boomerang back boomerang back into uh this nice community they say okay i'm gonna boomerang back and so now you you and your brother you went out did a few startups you tried a few different things you worked for you know or a little bit more of managing funds and kind of getting into a different area you know how did that you know bit bringing it full circle or kind of up to where you're at today and i think we talked a bit before something you wanted to do was get to do something in health and wellness and start a business there so how did you kind of make that transition or what prompted that and how did you kind of get into that area yeah no i think that's a great question so we had been talking about doing something together for about three to five years prior to actually getting into this fun venture i would say that for us to actually make the transition from making decent money to betting on ourselves at the end of the day that was based on an aha moment and uh we're very blessed we were traveling back to pakistan with our parents and our father he's 80 some years old he's a diabetic and as you may know diabetics from time to time get neuropathy which is severe inflammation and pain and extremities so hands feet joints etc and after a very long you know journey back home to visit family our father experienced a very severe episode of neuropathy while we were at our aunt's house it's his younger sister who we were staying with at the time and she did what a typical pakistani or an indian or a south asian in that part of the world would do which is to take turmeric and she ground it into a powder blended it with olive oil made a gritty kind of nasty disgusting looking paste it's in our language it's called hold the haldi and uh we actually used it extensively while we were playing sports to recover from injuries so it wasn't anything new it was just timing and uh by chance that that happened to our father and so after she applied the gritty pace to his foot where the inflammation and pain was uh within an hour his pain was completely gone and you know that was the aha moment that started this fun little journey uh they were in year five of and at that point we saw you know his pain go away using nature excuse me and my brother and i had been talking about getting together and doing business startup uh particularly focused on health and wellness and so we started researching turmeric so when we got back uh so this was december of 2016. we went full force into researching the science of turmeric and if i may briefly turmeric is uh about the length of a finger it's uh cousin of the ginger root there's over 300 different ingredients in the turmeric root itself potassium zinc iron etc but the main compound that's responsible for its anti-inflammatory power which makes it a superfood if you will is this little compound called curcumin and so all of the studies the medical and the academic research studies were pointing to this compound curcumin so we went full on into researching curcumin today there's close to 60 000 scientific and medical research studies globally on curcumin's anti-inflammatory and immunity boosting properties since covid started research has increased dramatically into covid's immunity boosting properties and so uh for the first seven eight months after we returned from pakistan our focus was exclusively on the science of turmeric one other important point curcumin is has low bioavailability which means it doesn't absorb as readily into your bloodstream so you could consume the equivalent of the turmeric roots that are in our beverage which is about 15 turmeric roots worth of health benefits and still not feel the impact because that curcumin is going through your system so we figured out a way to supercharge the absorption by taking the curcumin and combining it with the black pepper extract uh to make it absorbable into your system it actually increases absorption by two thousand percent i say okay you know there's merits to tumeric it has some you actual health and my brother have always wanted to get into this do a business together and explore that so now you know catching us up a bit toward today where's the business out of you guys started it are you doing this full-time is it a side hustle you're still building it or kind of where does that bring it out today or as you guys have wanted to explore that and get this up to speed kind of where's the business at sure so i'll step back just one more time uh so we knew turmeric was becoming popular it was a quote-unquote newer trendy ingredient in the west it's been uh trending for 5000 years in our part of the world we saw a bunch of other turmeric products out there we looked at those products and figured out that there isn't enough turmeric or enough uh binding agent to make it absorbable so most of what was turmeric out there in terms of food and beverage products was just a hodgepodge of you know marketing and we wanted to do the real thing so in terms of why we decided to get into this we didn't want to get into another uh crowded market like a kombucha or energy drink we we we went from a finance industry to the hardest thing that we could possibly imagine which is marketing to consumers uh you know and uh we wanted to do a white space we wanted to get into a white space where nobody was at and so there weren't at the time any curcumin infused you know food and beverage products there were supplements curcumin supplements have existed for decades but there was no non-gmo project verified curcumin infused beverage or drink mix powder or anything else and we said okay no one knows about this space but people are learning more and more about turmeric and this is where we're going to focus so in january of 2018 after doing all the research sourcing lab testing you know developing the brand and marketing strategy et cetera we launched we had our first sale i think that first uh you know 40 dollar bill or 220 220s that we got from our first sale in cash is sitting somewhere around our offices uh as a you know uh token to what we started and so today we're in over 6 000 retail stores where nationwide uh we have mass concentration on the east coast uh in the midwest and uh to some extent the south we're expanding westward we're in uh you know a good amount of the professional and collegiate sports programs whether it's football basketball hockey et cetera we work with a number of athletes where in all the u.s military bases globally in their commissaries we are actually a dietitian approved uh item food item in those commissaries by deca that's the agency that's responsible for those commentaries and then we have come out with a second product which is a powder version of our drinks uh it actually includes zinc in addition to the vitamin c vitamin d curcumin and pipe brine and it has electrolytes so there aren't any other products like what we have in the market today and we're looking to continuously expand distribution expand our direct to consumer business and then uh our goal is to launch one to two new products per year based on curcumin and pipeline sounds like an awesome you know uptick and i've been able to get into a lot of stores and hit it hard and find a lot of success so that's definitely exciting for you guys and so now as we've kind of reached the present point of your journey and kind of where you're at today always a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each episode 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 yeah i think uh i don't know if it was the worst business decision but in hindsight we would have done things differently it was to start out with a heavy product like a beverage each bottle weighs roughly a pound a case of uh you know our drinks weighs about 15 pounds and it's hard to build a direct to consumer business and then also all the costs associated with trucking logistics uh perhaps uh you know other types of things that may go awry it's more costly of a business than let's say a powder business or the future products that we'll come out with but what it does do is it provides a banner and retail so you have a bottle that's uh you know almost 10 inches tall or nine inches tall that's sitting on a cooler shelf and your logo is ever present your brand is ever present in retail so it's another call it a billboard uh advertising and so we look at it both as a marketing investment as well as a hopefully a profit center down the road oh definitely makes sense and uh you know it's a good lesson to learn and here it sounds like a a good mistake to learn from so now second question um if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you give them yeah i would say like us this is uh also answering one of your earlier questions we're uh 100 000 in to this business there this is not a side hustle this is a full-time day and night even while we dream type of job uh that's what my dreams consist of today is uh dreaming about zen and so the one thing i would say to entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business if you believe in yourself go all in you know take the risk there there's no body better to bet on than yourselves uh if you're in the stock market you're investing in stocks those prices are going up and down you have zero control over those companies and what happens to your wealth if you believe in yourself go all in uh work your tail off and you know a lot of bad things are going to happen along the way a lot of mistakes are going to be made learn from those mistakes but uh you know just continue to work hard and keep moving the ball forward every day little incremental uh movements forward will definitely add up and eventually you'll get that hockey stick curve that everybody dreams about i and i like that and i think that there's you know i like i dreamt that it's not just hey you start a business and it's going to be a hockey stick out of the the shooter there is a lot of time sweat blood and tears and those type of things and it's also effort you know the that's why it's always interesting to hear the journey because everybody just see wants to see the hockey stick at the end they don't see hey we went through multiple or different paths we went into different jobs we had burnout we had things we weren't fulfilled took us a while to land on the idea even once we had the idea we had to get through to get into different stores we had to you know be able to figure out the market and whether you know what make the mistakes all that goes into the hopefully the hockey stick at the end but there's that whole journey before and so i think that having that desire to go all in but then also having the understanding even with all of that it's going to take a period of time it's definitely a great uh take away well as p as we wrap up but people want to reach out to you they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you or find out more yeah so um people can learn more about uh us at www.drink d-r-i-n-k zen z as in zebra why is in yellow and is in nancy.com or they could email us at marketing drinks in dot com or at revive like you revive and rejuvenate so r-e-v-i-v-e drinks in dot com and our rest of the contact information our phone number is on our website as well awesome well i definitely encourage people to check out the website uh check out the health benefits and then support a great business and with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you the listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you so let's go to inventiveguest.com apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click subscribe share leave us a review because i want to make sure everyone finds out about all these awesome journeys and last but not least if you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with the chat thank you sim for coming on and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin likewise nice meeting you







About the Firm...

Miller IP Law is a firm that focuses on small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs/solopreneurs. We’re easy to use. We offer affordable pricing that’s transparent and flat-rate. We focus on the little guys who actually need our help. If you’d like an attorney on your team, simply schedule a Zoom call, and we’ll take care of the rest.


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1. Cheapest Way To Get A Patent

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Miller IP Law is a group of attorney's, based out of Mountain Green, Utah, who are excited to help you build your business and further innovate market places and economies. Please consider looking at our services, billed at flat rate, and be sure to grab a free strategy session to meet with us!

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Miller IP Law




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Miller IP Law

Patent Application

Miller IP Law

Trademark Application

Miller IP Law

Copyright Application

Miller IP Law

Patent Application

Miller IP Law

Trademark Application

Miller IP Law

Copyright Application

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