IAM683- Entrepreneur Supplies Licensed Goods To Bookstores Across The US

Podcast Interview with John Allen

John Allen is a 27-year-old graduate of Temple University. John launched his first major company Ivory Ella, an online apparel brand committed to selling good clothes for a good cause, in 2015 which has donated over $2mill dollars to various charities most notably Save The Elephants out of Samburu Kenya. John now runs an apparel manufacturing company which is the only certified living wage apparel company in the world that supplies licensed goods to over 600 college and university bookstores across the country.

  • CEO Hack: Communication
  • CEO Nugget: Consistency, don't be scared to fail
  • CEO Defined: Being the ultimate team player

Website: http://www.altagraciaapparel.com/

Twitter- @postage
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/1u989fckdheiefjf

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[00:00:02.20] – Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

[00:00:29.69] – Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have John Allen of Ivory Ella. John, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:38.10] – John Allen

Hey. Excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

[00:00:40.00] – Gresham Harkless

No problem. Super excited to have you on for all the awesome things that you're doing. And before we jump in, I want to introduce you to John and, read a little bit more about him. John is a twenty-seven-year-old graduate of Temple University. John launched his first major company, Ivory Ella, an online apparel brand committed to selling good clothes for a good cause. In twenty fifteen, which he has donated him in twenty fifteen, he donated over two million dollars to various charities, most notably Save the Elephants out of Samburu, Kenya. John now runs an apparel manufacturing company, which is the only certified living wage apparel company in the world that supplies licensed goods to over six hundred colleges and university bookstores across the country. John, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO  community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

[00:01:18.50] – John Allen


[00:01:19.29] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to, I guess, rewind the clock and hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story. We'll let you get started with the business.

[00:01:27.59] – John Allen

Yeah. Absolutely. So, again, thank you for having me here. You know, it really started when I was in college. I've always been an entrepreneur. You know, I think, even, my parents would tell you as a kid, you know, I would do lemonade stands, and really, you know, get all the kids in the neighborhood to do kind of multiple stands and, you know, pull them together, not just, you know, your typical lemonade stand. So I've always been an entrepreneur. So throughout college, you know, tried various things to make money, worked multiple jobs, did some network marketing things, and just really any way I could make money. And, one day, a a buddy approached me actually about, creating social media accounts and specifically Twitter accounts. And so he had started an account, which don't laugh at me, was called lady boners, which is literally just pictures of hot guys on Twitter. And after about two weeks of growth, you know, it had gotten so popular, somebody offered him thirty thousand dollars for it, freshman in college.

You know, thirty thousand dollars might as well have been a million. And so, you know, he came to me and, you know, kinda said, hey. You know, let's look at turning this into a business. So, you know, we went to our tech center one day as a junior in college and put together kind of a business plan for what it would look like to run these parody accounts on social media. So, like, you know, one was called bucket list, which was just cool places and cool things to do all over the world, you know, and kind of niches like that. And so we built together a business plan. We raised money. My parents gave us twenty-five thousand dollars to start the company. And so we started by really buying, selling, and making Twitter accounts. And so, you know, we started with, a a couple million followers across a few different accounts that, you know, we actually went and purchased, from other people around the world. And then we use those accounts to start our ideas and grow them.

And so it kinda had a snowball effect as we came up with an idea we would promote on our other accounts. You know, we had a more Disick one, which was based on, you know, Scott Disick from the Kardashians, and we were able to grow it to almost half a million in a week from other accounts. And so we snowballed it. And, at the same time, we were, you know, trying to make money by selling ads. We started by building our content site, and, you know, every day, I'd be making new articles like top ten celebrities and just clickbait stuff for people to click on. And, honestly, we made really good money. We were able to pay that for my parents in about two and a half months. Nice. And I kinda thought, well, you know, this is great.

I'm just gonna tweet for the rest of my life, as we started going. And we're doing ads for companies like Disney, Coca-Cola, you know, we kinda said, you know, what are these guys making on the back end that they're paying us? Why don't we just promote our stuff? And so, summer of my junior year, we launched our first store called Boho Outfitters, which was really this bohemian jewelry style, company. But we were just buying stuff from Etsy, you know, China, Alibaba, and just kinda doubling the price. And so it took off by promoting it through our social accounts. We were doing about anywhere from thirty to sixty thousand dollars a month. Again, being in college, I was basically a million dollars. Right? I was just kinda sitting on my couch tweeting. I had, some roommates working for me. My mom and sister were doing the fulfillment and customer service.

And, you know, we kinda said, this is what we're gonna do for, you know, the rest of our lives to make money. We're just gonna build a bunch of these kinds of micro-stores. And so we started coming up with the concept, of our next idea. And throughout Boho and, as we're still growing our social accounts, we noticed this trend of elephants online. Whenever you posted something about an elephant, a baby elephant, you get seven to, you know, twelve times the engagement, the retweets, the likes. And so we saw this affinity and love for elephants. At the same time, HBO released a documentary called An Apology for Elephants, really highlighting the Ringley brothers and circus. And for boho, we had this little elephant ring, which, you know, the tusk wrapped around to make the ring, which we couldn't keep in stock.

I mean, we would sell two hundred a day if we had them in stock. And so we decided to build a brand around this elephant. And rather than just kind of wholesaling jewelry like we had with Boho, we decided to really make it more of our own. And so, and my partner, we brought in three other people on social who were doing, really the same thing we were doing, with building these parity accounts. So taking, you know, our network, which at the time had grown to about seven million followers, brought in a few other people, and now we had a following of almost forty-five million people throughout all these different accounts that we can market to. I brought in another buddy in college who was very entrepreneurial like myself, and, honestly, it was, you know, really three days before launch. He kinda said, you know, don't you think it's, you know, not right to make money off an endangered species? And, you know, I talked about it. We're like, yeah.

That is, you know, kinda messed up. So, we did what really any, you know, college kid does or person does now we googled how to save the elephants. And the first thing that came up was, you know, save the elephants dot org. We did our, you know, due diligence, so to speak. We looked them up on Charity Navigator and they looked like, again, a really good call that's committed to saving elephants. So I remember it. You know, we called them, and we're like, hey. We're thinking about starting this company. You know, we wanna donate to you guys. And they're like, well, we don't do sponsorships. And we're like, well, if we send you a check, will you take it? And they're like, yeah. Absolutely. So, we built, the brand around elephants and had determined our business model that we were gonna donate ten percent of our profit to this organization, Save the Elephants. And so we made five hundred shirts, you know, with the mindset of, hey.

We sell these in a month. Amazing. We sell them in a week. You know, life-changing. And, we launched on April eighteenth, twenty fifteen, and we sold out in about seventeen minutes. No apparel experience at all besides just kinda wholesale and stuff in college. My other partners, I'll be in social media people, same thing. So we all got on the phone. This is at, like, 12:30 at night on a Friday night. Mind you, I'm a senior in college at this point. So I'm actually at my buddy's college party, you know, at a random house party trying to turn down the music, you know, kicking people out of the house that's not even mine just because I can't even fathom what's going on. You know, we had made about sixty thousand dollars in, again, like, fifteen minutes. Got on the phone. We all determined just, you know what put it on preorder.

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Let's see how many we can sell. We'll figure it out come Sunday. So we put it on preorder, and through the weekend, we sold over six hundred thousand dollars worth of t-shirts. We had none of the t-shirts, or any plan to do with my one partner because I was doing all the fulfillment and operations for Boho was gonna do it for Iriela. He was a high school teacher at the time. At the time, we had only met in person once because we had met through social media. And so he calls me, so he said, Johnny, you know, I don't know what I'm doing. I don't even know how to turn on the printer. I'm supposed to go to work tomorrow. You know, we've got thousands of orders. What do I do? So I said, you know, mad.

I'm in college. No worries. Like, I'll come on, help you up. We'll get you on your way. In two weeks, you'll be good to go. So I moved up to Connecticut that Sunday to help him. It was me, him, his parents, his wife's parents. He had two little kids, Griffin, and Audra, who were, you know, five and seven. They're poking out elephant tags, folding shirts, wrapping in. We are just shipping whatever we can. And then, honestly, I ended up never coming back after that, because it got so crazy. I ended up just moving to Connecticut and, I went to school at Temple at the time. So I ended up never coming back to Temple, with that. And so it really took off. And so the next seven months are, you know, kind of what we call the dark times.

They're honestly such a blur. We were working twenty, twenty-two hours a day, seven days a week. Anything we could do, you know, at one point, we were about thirty thousand orders back-ordered. A thousand of those were over a hundred days old. And so we contacted all the customers. They didn't want a refund. You know, they just wanted their Iriella shirt. And so we knew we had some special. That summer, in late August, I ended up actually, getting in a car accident. I ended up falling asleep at the wheel. You know, you get to a point where you were up for, you know, usually day three or four, no sleeping, usually your body starts to run on adrenaline. And, actually, it kinda becomes hard to sleep. And so I thought, you know, I wasn't tired. I could make this five-hour drive, that I needed to, to get to a graduation ceremony.

And so I fell asleep at the wheel going about eighty miles an hour and hit another car. Thankfully, everybody was perfectly fine. My car was towed, but I walked up and walked out, you know, it's kind of a miracle. And so, big mama's boy, you know, that day, my mom basically said, alright. This lifestyle is not sustainable. You know, you're working too hard. You're gonna run yourself in the ground. You're gonna end up killing yourself or somebody else. And so, that was the first time we, as a company, really stepped back and said, okay. You know, we have something here, but we are working way too hard. How can we start working smarter? And so we brought in an experienced COO who helped us set up a full print and fulfillment operation. A year later, we brought in a CFO, with funds experience to set up, you know, all of our finances because, again, we weren't keeping receipts or anything at this time.

Right? You know, we're spending, money left and right, and I'm just collecting receipts and throwing them in a box saying, hey. I think these will work. You know, we'll need these sometime later, like, keep them for later. I remember my brother, who's a year younger than me, came up, after that summer for three weeks with seven buddies. He's a finance major. Seven of his finance buddies to kinda help us get all of our taxes and paperwork in line. My and my partners are sitting in a room, one day just kinda discussing different ideas. How do we do this, that? And my brother goes, you guys gotta stop doing what you're doing. We're like, alright. And, you know, he goes, you spent twenty thousand dollars at Dunkin' Donuts last month and twenty-five thousand dollars at Five Guys.

And because we were working so much, I mean, we didn't want employees to leave, so we're like, what do you need? Coffee? You know, there was a time I was drinking about eleven cups of coffee, two turbo shots in each cup every single day. We're giving to everybody again. There's a Dunkin' Donuts to our left, and five guys to our right. So you oh, you're hungry? Here, we'll go eat cheeseburgers. Are you thirsty? Here's more coffee. You know, whatever you can do to work because we had so much work. So we eventually did work, smarter and not harder, and got it to kind of where it is now, you know, at a peak, you know, almost thirty million dollars a year. And, again, over two million dollars were donated, which has been impactful and special to me. So, Noah threw a lot lot of in there, but tried to condense it as best I could. It's definitely been a wild ride for the last few years.

[00:11:21.70] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. That definitely to say the least. And you know, happy to hear, you know, every you and everybody else came out. In a good a in a not bad place, I should say, with a car accident and everything. But, yeah, when things come at you fast, you kinda just have to move and figure out how to kinda put things in place at a later moment. So, I appreciate you for obviously telling me that and doing so many things to kinda help out, as well too with the with the charity. So, for people that haven't heard of Ivory, Ella, can you take us through exactly what we'll find on the site and exactly what you feel kinda maybe sets you guys apart and makes you unique?

[00:11:50.10] – John Allen

Yeah. Absolutely. So we are, good clothing for a good cause, and we do try and stand by that. So we donate ten percent of all of our profits to some charity, the primary charity being Save the Elephants out of Samburu, Kenya. But we also do a lot with other charities, Boston Children's Hospital. We have a spokesperson, Megan Bugg, who does childhood cancer every September with us, which is a big, and super powerful thing. So every piece of product we sell on our site, in our stores, you know, does give back in some way. And so when we say good clothing for a good cause, we do mean that. And, you know, for us, I think it was kind of a, you know, a timing and, you know, a timing and, you know, a little bit of luck and, obviously, the advanced marketing we had behind us with that lightning in a bottle.

At the time in twenty fifteen, Tom's was the only probably major brand doing, a really large giveback model as kind of their, you know, key to success almost. Other people had done smaller things, but it wasn't, you know, the base of their marketing and what the company was around. So I think when we came out, it was really one of the first to do that. So that with the ability to show it to, tens of hundreds of millions of people for almost no cost, again, kinda made that lightning in a bottle. So, yeah, you'll find it on our site. Most things are unisex while our customer is primarily female, obviously. You know, I'm even wearing one right now. I wear one every day. So, there's a lot of, again, stuff on there. We're very colorful. We like to be colorful and comfortable. Honestly, everything on our site is extremely comfortable. So, that's, you know, kind of what you'll find if you get on our site, and that's kinda who we are. Just, again, a company that's trying to do its part and give back.

[00:13:31.79] – Gresham Harkless

I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So that could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what do you feel kinda makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:13:40.29] – John Allen

Yeah. So I think, you know, kind of a generic thing. Right? Like, I'm a big podcast guy. So, like, Business Wars, NPR Planet Money, This is Success, you know, just I love podcasts and learning what other people are doing, I think is that it's kind of that generic answer. But for me, you know, communication is something I find, and, you know, now I'm not as involved in the day-to-day with Iriela, after being the CEO for five years there. But, I do run the day-to-day for a few other companies. And what I find is, you know, everybody has a, you know, communication problem. And what I find when somebody tells me that communication problem is they have a lack of organization and routine.

[00:14:14.79] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. Not just for yourself, but for so many people. So, I was gonna ask you for what I call a CEO nugget, which is like a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. And sometimes I'll even say, if you hop into a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self? Do you feel like that consistency piece, is that part of what advice you would give?

[00:14:30.39] – John Allen

Yeah. That I think just, again, that being comfortable, being uncomfortable, and just, you know, don't be scared to fail. I think, you know, a lot of times when I talk to people or stuff, they just immediately think I was successful, and that just couldn't be, you know, farther from the truth. We failed at a ton of things before I realized success. You know, we had way more failures than successes. Even I realized we have way more failures than we do successes. The key is how you learn from those failures.

[00:14:56.20] – Gresham Harkless

And so, I want to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO, and we're hoping to have different quote-unquote CEOs on this show. So, John, what does being CEO mean to you?

[00:15:05.00] – John Allen

So I think, for me being a CEO is, you know, being the ultimate team player. I'm a I'm a big sports guy, and so, you know, LeBron is somebody who I look up to very much for leadership. You know, what LeBron does is anytime he joins a new team, the first thing he does is players-only meeting, and he brings everybody in, and he tells everybody exactly what their role is gonna be from, you know, the star player who's gonna score the points to the guy who's gonna get two minutes off the bench. And his primary purpose again is to give, you know, this person rest.

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[00:15:38.79] – Gresham Harkless

Truly appreciate that perspective, John. I appreciate your time even more. What I would want to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know and, of course, how best people can get a hold of you, find out about all the awesome things you and your team are working on.

[00:15:47.29] – John Allen

Like I said, my email is john, j o h n, at iBrella dot com. My other email is j allen, a l l e n, at Altagracia apparel dot com. Either of those you can reach me at or, you know, my cell phone's fine too. So

[00:16:00.10] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Thank you so much again, John. We will have the links and information in the show notes, but we definitely, obviously appreciate that reminder. I think that there are definitely, seeds of success that we can always learn from each other in our in all's perspective, different perspectives. And I think reaching out and connecting with people is one of the best ways to do that. So I appreciate you for, providing some insight some information, and some, really great nuggets for us today, and I hope you have a rest of the day.

[00:16:22.60] – Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Title: Transcript - Sat, 06 Apr 2024 07:12:33 GMT

Date: Sat, 06 Apr 2024 07:12:33 GMT, Duration: [00:16:23.15]

[00:00:02.20] - Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, start ups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkness values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I am CEO CEO podcast.

[00:00:30.10] - Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have David Moyes of Decide Consulting. David, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:38.89] - David Moise

Thank you. Thanks for having me.

[00:00:40.60] - Gresham Harkless

No problem. Super excited to have you on. And before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more David so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. And David is the president and founder of Decide Consulting, an IT staffing and recruiting company based in Houston, Texas. Prior to starting Decide Consulting, he had a career as a software developer holding titles such as a technical architect and practice manager. In an industry dominated by companies run by recruiters and sales, decide is different by having a technologist running the company. David, are you ready to speak to the IMCO community?

[00:01:11.50] - David Moise

Yes. I am. Let's go.

[00:01:13.00] - Gresham Harkless

Let's do it. Let's make it happen. So to to kinda jump right in, I wanted to hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story, how you got started with your business and all the awesome things you guys are doing.

[00:01:22.00] - David Moise

Okay. So right out of college, way back when, started working for one of the big four four consulting companies, just as a staff person doing programming projects, worked there for several years, left there to take take more money at another IT consulting company, and did that a few times. And some trends happened in all these companies. I was the person who was, going out on sales calls with the salespeople, helping them close deals. I was writing the proposals. I was, if a project was going sideways, they'd stick me on it and I'd make it better. They were trying to hire people and wanting someone to do some technical technical interviewing. They were calling me on doing that, and they kept on doing that. And what I realized at the time was I am making a lot of money for a lot of other people, and maybe I should do that for myself. So decide to start it that way. At the time, there's some new technology that was coming out, and I was definitely an early adopter with it, and decide really started off as just a software project development company, doing custom software development. And that was great. We had several several good years with that. The issues were is that I eventually wound up burning the candle at both ends. I'm doing the work. I'm hiring people. I'm doing sales. I'm trying to do marketing. I was taking care of my clients, but not building as I fast as I could have. And then two thousand eight happened, and, all of a sudden, our pipeline just dried up and a lot of projects that we had where we thought they're gonna go on longer, they dried up, and we definitely shrunk. And coming out of that, it was, you know, some decisions that we had to make. Do we wanna keep on going with this custom software development? But what I realized was, you know, when the phone rings, we're getting a lot more people asking us for, I need a program or I need a network engineer. And we just shifted to, let's just focus on the staffing and recruiting components of the company. It's easier to find salespeople to do that. Selling software projects is very abstract for a lot of salespeople, so we've just been focusing on that for several years now and, doing well. So there we

[00:03:39.80] - Gresham Harkless

go. Nice. No. I definitely appreciate that. I know, you know, obviously, that was a difficult time, but I think some of the things that I've read and even it sounds like you you've experienced as well too is there's often sometimes tremendous opportunities that come out of, you know, things or, I guess, economic changes that are happening. And a lot of times, it it opens up opportunities. It forces us a lot of times to think more creatively about things, and you see in that trends and those trends over time, being able to kinda make that pivot just because you already knew that people were asking on that is is definitely, incredible foresight.

[00:04:09.90] - David Moise

Speaking of, we're in the middle of one right now. That's right. So we are doing this in the middle of the COVID lockdown, and, it's gonna be a very different world when we come out of this. And hopefully, we're trying to prepare ourselves for that.

[00:04:23.30] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And and I I think that's one of those kind of quote unquote muscles that is always great to have and to know that there are opportunities to be able to see those opportunities, to be able to pivot and understand, you know, there will always kinda be, you know, things that happen, you know, economically and changes in the world. But the muscle that you probably need maybe the most is probably that ability to kinda see and be able to make those pivots and changes. So it's great you've been able to do that. Yeah. And and a reminder for us to do that as well. So, I know we touched on a little bit in when I read your bio when you when you, talked about your story. Could you take us through exactly, you know, how you work with clients, some of those things that you provide, and how exactly that process goes?

[00:05:00.10] - David Moise

So ultimately, there are many, many companies trying to find IT software developers, scrum man or scrum masters, masters, a variety of technical positions, and we help them with that. It's a interesting place right now. According to some places like an organization called code dot org, there are over half a million open IT and software development jobs here in the United States. And just if you wanted to grow g GDP by one percent, fill all those roles. And, you know, wanna skip a recession if we could do that. And that's just how many there are. Colleges are not cranking out enough people. The demand for technical people is incredibly high. It's gonna stay high. So we just work with companies. I mean, there's a lot of, at the end of the day, we're a staffing company, and there's a lot of varieties of staffing companies. And we just focus on the IT and technical spaces.

[00:06:00.39] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. And I had no idea, you know, based off those numbers and those statistics just how, you know, big it is. I have heard it, you know, a lot that, you know, people are always looking for, you know, tech those technical people, but I think, you know, just even you as speaking on a from a sales aspect of, like, how, I guess, you know, it's harder to plug and play when it comes to probably tech technical, positions, so you have to really make sure that you're getting the right people in the right seats.

[00:06:26.00] - David Moise

The right people, the right seats, the right skills, and the skills are changing and they're evolving. The way I describe it to a lot of people, the menu of technical skills is ever growing. And just to put it one way. So seven, eight years ago, if you had a software developer who had SQL, dot net, c sharp, JavaScript, jQuery, you could find twenty jobs for that person. And now there's fifty jobs, but they need you know, it doesn't have to be jQuery. It has to be Angular two or React Native or something like that. Across the board, the amount of technical, things you could focus on is just increase, which makes it harder for companies to find that right right person. Then you wanna throw in a good culture fit, and someone who can get along with the team and then someone who's got the soft skills on top of that, which is across any type of, recruiting and staffing industry. So no. It's an interesting time to be in this business.

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[00:07:29.00] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. No. And and that's what I was imagining too, you know, as I I see, you know, technologies everywhere in all different industries. It's not just its own industry that with that happening, it's starting to be a requirement for everybody to have at least some technical skills. And if you're in a technology position, as you said, you probably have to have a robust kind of knowledge about different types of technical skills as well.

[00:07:51.19] - David Moise

Yes. Absolutely.

[00:07:52.89] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So I didn't know if I kinda touched on this when I read your bio, but I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. I didn't know if it was that technologist, aspect and that perspective that you felt kinda set you apart and the organization apart. But is that your secret sauce or is it something

[00:08:07.30] - David Moise

There are a couple of them and yeah. Absolutely. That's one of them. In our industry, it is dominated by people or companies run by someone with a recruiting background or sales background. And nothing wrong with that. We have recruiters. We have to ask people on our staff. We have to have them. But myself, coming from a technical background, gives us an edge. It's something different. I can get my team together and I white board a lot of things. This is what they're talking about when you heard this phrase. Here's how this came to evolve. And where they were kinda scratching their heads and trying to do a Google search, I can break it down for them and help them understand what they're looking for, good questions to ask the clients and the candidates. So that definitely gives us a plus on several things that we do.

[00:08:53.60] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. No. I love that. And I wanted to, switch gears a little bit, and I want to ask you for what I call a SEO hack. This could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:09:06.60] - David Moise

I'm gonna go I'm gonna throw a book out there and then one other thing. Okay. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. There is a book that really kinda affected me a particular way years ago when I read that, it was that. And it just gave me a different perspective on how to solve problems. Another CEO hack, and this is more tangible for people Mhmm. Automation. Automation. In in for bigger companies, you're gonna hear the phrase digital transformation. How do we get the orders from our supply chain directly into the, c e into the invoicing or whatever the case may be. Mhmm. And And and that's great for bigger companies, but for smaller companies, startups, people with, you know, ten or less people, you can automate things too. There are some great tools out there that are easy to use, low cost, Zapier, IFTTT, which stands for If This Then That, Microsoft Power Automate or Power Automate.

[00:10:11.79] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. No. I I definitely appreciate those two hacks. And so I I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. So that could be, like, a word of wisdom or piece of advice. Could be around staffing or or hiring, or it might even be something you would tell your younger business self.

[00:10:26.10] - David Moise

To other CEOs, establish core values. Think about what they are and don't make them these. Our mission is to make the world yeah. No. No. No. What are things that you would hire people for, fire people for? What are those guidelines if you were to sit back and say, if some if this is an action that we wanna do, that's a core value. If someone does this, I would fire them or hire them or give them a raise or promote them. That's a core value. Think about what your core values are. Go through the exercise of defining them, writing them down, letting people know what they are. Put make posters of them. Put them in your office.

[00:11:08.39] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote, unquote CEOs on this show. So, David, what does being a CEO mean to you?

[00:11:20.39] - David Moise

I mean, there's some, clearly some selfish things in there. I mean I started this, I'm like I'd like to make more money and make do it build it for myself and those are the clear things and you know you know, anyone who's gonna start a company wants that. But there's nothing bigger with this at all. How do you build that tribe, that community for the people that are working for you? How do you get them to feel like they are part of something bigger? How do you get them to feel like, yes, it's more than just them and then we can't coming in and clocking in and clocking out. How do you get them feeling like they are part of something, part of a tribe? How do they grow? And that's a challenge. And there are some people that were with me that really buy in and they're all in, and that's great. And those are the ones that fit to the core values. And I've had some people before and did not really care, like, why why are they here? Always looking for those people and what it means to me is, can I get those people who wanna be part of this tribe? And can I provide them with something? Can they provide the tribe with something? And when all that's clicking, it's great.

[00:12:28.29] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Well, David, truly appreciate that perspective, and I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and listeners know, and, of course, how best they can get a hold of you and find out about all the awesome things you and your team are

[00:12:43.79] - David Moise

working on. Yeah. And I, gonna throw one thing out here just, when I get into how do you, you know, the automation, what do you do? I I mean, we're not a big company. We're not on the four yeah. Fortune one thousand, even close to that. But with some simple tools, something that we've done and just as like during this COVID period here, a thing that we'd automated was going out and finding out what are the open IT roles in Houston. And we've done have a couple of things that we're scraping or calling some some APIs to get that data and we're holding that. And we started this a few months ago and then when everything started going crazy and everyone's getting laid off, we very quickly changed tax in that and started posting on our website, decisconsulting dot com, all of the open IT roles that are in Houston and not just us, our competitors, all the companies that we're hiring, consulting companies, and we just put it out there and told the community look we know a lot of people are hurting right now, you're trying, you know, there's a lot of people just need another job, need to know what's going out there and we placed all that out there and we started our, you know, we configured our email campaigns and our LinkedIn campaigns to just point people to that and did it as a public service and really with the hope of helping people. And what happened is while everyone else is seeing their traffic go down on the web, on their websites during COVID, we're seeing our web traffic is tripled. And we got so many more people coming to us and saying, thank you for doing this. This is a great thing that you're doing. And the way that we just had some automation going on behind the scenes, very simple stuff, we're not a big company but we were able to pin a few things, we're really getting some big benefits from this and we hope that will continue. So I encourage know, companies to think of creative ways that you can use some of these automation tools. And where you can find us, deci consulting dot com, best place to get out there. We have links to our Twitter and Facebook and, LinkedIn pages from there. But, yeah. Just go to decide consulting dot com.

[00:15:01.70] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Thank you so much again, David. We will have the links and information in the show notes, and everything I think you mentioned that, that you that project and and the things you're working on is also available on your website as well Yes. That you can check out. No, I I think that's phenomenal, and again, we have that in the show notes that, you know, again, how we kind of talked about a couple times during this interview about how important it is to kind of, I don't wanna say think outside the box, but maybe think differently about some of the things that you might already be doing and some of the value that you're able to provide and think, kind of from a service standpoint on how you can help out people. And then sometimes those ancillary things that we do have those benefits that happen to us as well too, as you've, you know, talked about as well. So I appreciate you for reminding us of that and how we all have the ability to do that as well too. And, I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

[00:15:47.50] - Outro

you for listening to the I Am CEO podcast powered by Blue sixteen Media. Tune in next time, and visit us at I am CEO dot c o. I am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five star rating. Grab CEO gear at w w w dot CEO gear dot c o. This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.



Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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