Welcome to the Steve Jobs based Join Up Dots Free Podcast Interview with Matt Miller
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Introducing Matt Miller
Todays guest joining us on the Join Up Dots free podcast interview, is a man with a fascinating tale joining up many dots to where he is today.
Spending the first nine years of his career like Maverick in Top Gun, he felt the need the need for speed, as an Air Force Pilot, before entering the corporate world to work for Abbott Laboratories and then Valassis.
And he was on top form working for both companies, and was recognised as a top performer.
Which is of course great, but underneath lurking in his passions and dreams, was a desire to go out on his own to start his own business.
The old leap of faith was beckoning, but like so many people across the world, he had the desire but not the direction.
He wanted to do his own thing, but was unsure what that thing was supposed to be.
How The Dots Joined Up For Matt
And as we see time and time again on Join Up Dots, that path can reveal itself at anytime, and this was certainly the case with today’s guest.
As fate would have it, a random conversation with a friend about the gum ball machines his family owned started it all off.
That one conversation sparked an intrigue and planted the seeds for what would eventually become his business School Spirit Vending.
But not before disappointment, frustration and the downturn in the economy in 2008 knocked his confidence for six.
And then a knock on the door happened at his home, and the path got clearer.
So what was it about that knock on the door, and the conversation that happened upon opening it,that really got the juices going?
And does he now look back and think, “Man, the clues were floating around me all the time, I just couldn’t see them?”
Well let’s bring onto the show to start joining up dots, as we discuss the words of Steve Jobs in today’s Free podcast, with the one and only Matt Miller
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Matt Miller such as:
How he feels the speed of the group is determined by the speed of the leader, and he is aware that everyday he has to be on top form to inspire that momentum.
How he often advises entrepreneurs that when you start a product be aware that you will end up in a 180 direction change down the line.
How he remembers the time, that it first dawned him that he had achieved the tipping point in his life and he had now achieved the time freedom he craves.
How he now knows exactly what his key skills are, and actively seeks for people who are excited to do the things that he can’t. Which powers his business forward massively.
How To Connect With Matt Miller
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Full Transcription Of Matt Miller Interview
David Ralph [0:00]
Today’s show is brought to you by podcasters mastery.com, the premier online community teaching you how to podcast like a pro. Check us out now. podcasters mastery.com
when we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:38]
Yes, hello there. Well, how are you if you’ve tuned in for the big milestone 400 Welcome aboard, but it’s just a day early or a couple of days early, but that doesn’t matter because this is gonna be I reckon this is going to be a better show than the 400 because we have got a guest on who’s really showing the old hustle muscle. Yes, he’s flexing it on a daily basis. even getting out at four o’clock in the morning to record this just before we press record, I actually had to ask him, is it really four o’clock? You must be a lunatic. Why do you want to get up and do Join Up Dots? And he said, Well, you got to do what you got to do. And that’s a good sort of way of operating. Because today’s guest joining us on the show is a man with a fascinating tale, joining up many dots to where he is today, spending the first nine years of his career like Maverick in Top Gun, he felt the need the need for speed, and as an Air Force pilot, before entering the corporate world to work for Abbott Laboratories, and then the lasses, he really was going through it big time. But that was nothing. Then what he showed later on because when he did move to the companies, he was on top form working for both of them, and was recognised as a top performer. Yes, he’s a top form top performing Top Gun, which is of course great, but underneath looking at these passions and dreams, we will set desire to go out on his own and start his own business. The old leap of faith was beckoning but Like so many people across the world, he had the desire but not the direction. He wanted to do his own thing, but was unsure what that thing was supposed to be. And as we see time and time again on Join Up Dots that path can reveal itself at any time. And this was certainly the case with today’s guests. As fate would have it a random conversation with a friend about a gumball machine had he’s his fam, and a family actually owned it funny enough, it started it all off. And that one conversation sparked in intrigue and planted the seeds for what would eventually become his business school spirit vending, but not before disappointment, frustration and the current downturn in the economy in 2008. Not these competence, but six and been a knock on the door happen that he’s home and the path got clearer. So what was it about that knock on the door and the conversation that happened upon opening it that really got the juices going? And does he now look back and think, man, I could see the clues were floating around me all the time. I just couldn’t see them. Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show today. Join Up Dots with the one and only Mr. Matt Miller. How are you Matt?
Matt Miller [3:05]
I’m doing awesome. David, how about you?
David Ralph [3:07]
Well, I’m probably not doing as well as you sir because I made a fatal mistake of having my microphone in the way of my introduction. So you couldn’t see me then but I was doing yoga to try to see the words when I was reading it. People think I just make it off the top of my head but no, I do read it so I’m no I’m a white now because I’ve done that part. So I’m just focused in on you and you are four o’clock in the morning Have you been to bed or you are sort of late how’s it working? What’s happening in your life?
Matt Miller [3:35]
No, actually I’m in the middle of a trade show here in Austin Texas here yesterday and today and and just got to bed early and and got up to do this. So and as far as the microphone on the way Don’t worry about it. We made all that that stuff up anyway, so you added a little bit to it. It’s no big deal.
David Ralph [3:54]
application, but now he proves the point that even after 400 shows I should be set up like a professional Sometimes you get kind of too much too relaxed with something, but you don’t do the extra stuff that needs to be done every single day. Do you find that in your own life, but sometimes when it’s going so well, you kind of relax and get a wake up call.
Matt Miller [4:15]
Yeah, big time. In fact, it’s kind of kind of interesting you talk about that I, I’ve always felt especially in our in our business, that the speed of the group is determined by the speed of the leader and, and as our team and business continues to grow, I felt it necessary to make sure that I’m continuing to learn and get educated and, and kind of stay ahead thought process over and above. You know, the rest of the team was at an event about 18 months ago, ran into a gentleman that’s completely changed my life. He’s got the name of Aaron Walker. He’s actually a business coach and started working when they were in about six months ago. And he and I were several months into getting to know each other and I realised exactly what he said that I was just kind of in a place where I was getting up and going through the motions and, and had already achieved a fairly sizable level of success. You know, I was able to kind of live my days the way I wanted to live them. And, and he just hit me like a tonne of bricks one day with just one of the questions he asked about. You know, so what are you going to do next? You know, what’s what, what are you going to do to take this thing to the next level? You’ve already done well, but but you’re just in a scratch on the scratch of a scratch of, of the the clients, the customers, the schools that you could it could be in, look at how much opportunity is out there. And and that question completely jarred me out of that state. And life has been crazy and fun ever since. So,
David Ralph [5:52]
and do you think man, that is one of those things that entrepreneurs really need to see every so often Every month every quarter, they need to see things go a bit rocky so that they can refocus.
Matt Miller [6:07]
Yeah, I think definitely, I think definitely I think
you’re talking with somebody on another episode here I was listening to the other day about how it’s so easy for for entrepreneurs to kind of see the golden bobble and kind of chase this and chase that and, and what have you and, you know, to have those conversations or have something to kind of recap each one’s focus and bring it back to to what’s really important. I think it’s huge. Or else we can we can spend a lot of time doing a lot of stuff that really has no impact whatsoever, on on our future on our businesses, future etc. Well, before we actually
David Ralph [6:49]
Delve back into your life and move forward, I was sitting there on Netflix last night flicking around, and I found these programmes about Steve Jobs. Now the whole theme of this show is based Around the words of Steve Jobs, and funnily enough, I was never a big advocate of him. I don’t own any Apple devices. So I’m not so one of these followers. But I’ve grown into appreciating the main and on this show last night, he was saying, one of the big mistakes that people have is believing that a great idea is a great product. But it’s actually the ability to take that great idea, and then work on it and then add something else and then add something else and then change it so that the end product becomes so much better than that first, great idea. Have you seen that in your own life when that first idea come to you with that knock on the door? Is it totally different from that first? Oh my god, I know what I should do with my life.
Matt Miller [7:48]
Completely. In fact, I’ve been a part of several different friends businesses here in the last couple of years that I’ve kind of helped them launch and the advice I’ve told them ever Time is listen, what the direction that you’re heading as you start is probably going to be 180 degrees out of what you actually do here a year or two from now, you just got to be aware and and build to
that, you know build to what
the market truly demands as you get out there and throw this idea or this product out and be willing to change a lot. I mean to begin with initially with our vending company, my target to start with was, you know, high school kids, sporting events, football games down in Texas where we live. Football, I mean is huge. at the high school level, there are stadiums that are as large as as many college stadiums as an example. So initially, my thoughts were, you know what, we’ll put together something where where We can produce you know, mascot logos and all that kind of stuff temporary tattoos stickers for the for the kids for their games. And I was sadly disappointed after our first couple of tests schools when we found out that the kids of that age didn’t interact with our machines at all. So great idea, but it didn’t work for the market that I thought it would work in. But then we had these PTA moms and volunteer moms and, and an elementary schools that just went absolutely nuts about what we’re doing. So we pivoted and our target market is completely different today than I thought it would be when we got started.
David Ralph [9:40]
And did you have despair when you put it in and thinking right all the kids are gonna go for this big? No, hang on. They’re not was that that moment when you thinking it was a failure? Or did you just think now, this is a learning period?
Matt Miller [9:53]
It’s no I thought it was a learning period. I mean, I had been inventing for Several years before and and knew the value of vending knew the power of vending knew how much money could be made vending. So there was never a doubt if vending was going to work. It was just a matter of figuring out exactly what the correct audience what the correct spot was going to be for us in our business.
David Ralph [10:21]
So if we take you right back to the young Matt, obviously you went through the military. First of all, was that always your path? If we spoke to these sort of young eight year old Matt was the belief that you were going to become a pilot that the forefront of what you were gonna go for.
Matt Miller [10:38]
You know, it’s funny, I never had a dream of being a pilot. I tell folks that on a regular basis and they just kind of scratch their head but the reality is, I got to my junior year in high school and didn’t know what I was going to do. I made great grades. I was involved in football and ran track. I was in a bunch of Different plays and musicals. Sal was very, very busy, was very well rounded, was involved in a lot of things but actually had a good friend of my father’s, who was a liaison officer for the Air Force Academy and the Air Force Academy is the Air Force’s equivalent of West Point or Annapolis. It’s a Military College. And we ran into him my junior year and he asked me what my plans were and I said to be honest, I don’t know the only goal I had David was to go to school away from home. I wanted to go someplace new to experience life in a different place and kind of venture out on my own for the first time I’m why was
David Ralph [11:38]
that man? Why did you feel that need to sort of spread your wings so early?
Matt Miller [11:43]
Well, so many of my classmates went to school at at a place called Northern Illinois University and I you which was just five minutes from from where I lived, it was kind of my playground growing up growing up, and I didn’t want to go to school didn’t want to go to college. There were I spent my junior high in high school years, running around hanging out with my friends. So it was just it was just a desire to explore and to try something new. And it just so happened, that my dad’s friend brought up the idea of the Academy. I’d never heard of it before. But my background fit perfectly with with kind of the well rounded background they were looking for. I had no military background and my family I had, honestly, I never had a desire to be a pilot. I just literally just fell into the whole flying thing being a graduate from the Academy. But I figured what the heck could be an opportunity for me to get my school paid for, for me to go to school away from home.
David Ralph [12:45]
In the single world, he said, Yeah, sure, why not?
Matt Miller [12:49]
Why not? Yeah. It’s funny on the whole pilot thing. No, because I got to my junior year at the academy and we had to decide what our career was going to be. Once again, I wasn’t quite sure what I want. To do, and I found out that if I was medically qualified to fly, meaning My eyes were good and all that. And I didn’t want to go on to pilot training afterwards, I had to go talk and talk to the three star general in charge of the academy and tell him why I didn’t want to be a pilot. So the reason why I became a pilot literally is because I didn’t want face time with a three star jet. as stupid as that sounds. I mean, it’s funny how it all works. You know, many of my buddies their dreamed was to fly all their life. In fact, many of them are still flying today for the airlines or what have you. It wasn’t my dream. It was just something that came along that I had was blessed to have the opportunity to do for a while. But I have not sat in a cockpit since 98. Once I got out of the military and don’t miss it, to be honest.
David Ralph [13:49]
So he’s what you’re doing now your dream?
Matt Miller [13:52]
David Ralph [13:53]
Big time. How do you know how do you know because this is a question. I get a lot of people asking me questions through the show. And they are all looking for the dream before they even start making moves towards it. And I keep on saying to them time and time again, as you said already, you alluded to it already, just do stop. And be aware that it might take time and you’ll do one thing and you’ll do another thing. And then suddenly you have a conversation, and you’ll get to that path, and then you start moving towards it. But that won’t be the path that you end up. That’s not your big path. But it’s just your starting path. And then you end up where you are. And we’ve you are you on the big path. Can you see that? This is the dream, you don’t want anything else?
Matt Miller [14:35]
Yes, for years and years and years and years. I wanted to put myself in a position to where I did not have to trade time for money and to where I wouldn’t have to answer to anybody else. And could do what I want to with my life and and through vending through developing a passive income stream that vending allows yes I’ve got I’m living that right now, you know, I have the ability to get up when I want to get up and go to bed when I want to go to bed to do what I want to do each and every day, you know, in your introduction, talk about broadcasting from the back of your garden or whatever, would love to hear more about your garden. But for me, one of the things one of the passions that I have is actually is, is growing a vegetable garden during this time of year. And I’ve got the time in the morning and, or anytime during the day to get up and do that. And on top of all the business that I’m deep into on a daily basis. So just to be able to have control over time has really been my dream all along. And thankfully, you know, we’ve been able to figure that out over the last few years. And it’s created a lot of options for ourselves. If I had to get up tomorrow morning and be up here and another hour or so to to get ready to go to work to fight traffic to go into the big city somewhere and do what I would do. Many do. You know, we wouldn’t have done this interview at this time. But you know what, I can just sleep in a little bit tomorrow and we’ll be good. He is
David Ralph [16:07]
the dream. I don’t care about money. Obviously, you want money to pay the bills. It’s nice to have your nice holidays and all that kind of stuff. So if somebody is gonna say to me, David, I want you to be the host of Join Up Dots, and I’m going to pay you a squillion dollars an episode, I’m not going to turn it down by the fact that this morning, I took my daughter to school and I had a nice walk in the first probably sunny day we’ve had in the United Kingdom this year. I’m wearing a pair of shorts, I’m talking to you. I’ve got five shows today, but I’ve got gaps in between them, and I can go for a walk and stuff. You just can’t do that in corporate land, can you and I think what you’re saying is really the dream. I think that’s what people want when they’re looking for the dream life. They want the money they want the big house, they want all that kind of stuff. But I think ultimately they want to do what they want to do when they want to do it and I don’t want to be too You’ve got to be at your desk at nine o’clock. You’ve got to get on that train. You’ve got to you’ve got to you’ve got to that’s kind of where the dream starts, isn’t it when you’ve got the choices to do what you want?
Matt Miller [17:11]
Yeah, I mean, I found out after 13 years in the military that I hated people telling me what to do. And and then I got into the corporate world. That Are you married?
David Ralph [17:21]
Yes. So you’re never gonna stop having people telling you what to do.
Matt Miller [17:27]
Yeah, yeah, it was a strong type A, my wife will even attest to the fact that there’s times when I get a little bit upset when when she tells me what to do too. So it’s just, you know, I guess it’s all in a matter of degrees and the military it was the ultimate of, you know, tell you what to do. The corporate world, I thought it was going to be different and I found out it really wasn’t that much different. And, and so ultimately, yes, I’ve still got my customers telling me what to do and I’ve still got my wife on occasion. But But
David Ralph [18:02]
come on, man. Be honest. Every day.
Matt Miller [18:09]
David Ralph [18:11]
I bet she’s awesome. I bet she is, but he’s still got that title of a wife so they tell you what to do. You can’t You can’t break free from it. So when you first realised that you could lie in bed and not get up, because what you find on the entrepreneurial route is the first maybe two or three years you are slogging it slogging it big time to just get momentum and get people to recognise you and notice you and start building income in and it’s very hard work and there’s no getting away from it. When you suddenly realise that you could have the time. How did you feel at that point?
Matt Miller [18:47]
I mean, it was it was incredible. You know, what, four and a half years ago? Well, five and a half years ago, I was still working in the corporate world. I was actually delivering pizzas as a as a Pizza Hut. delivery driver part time to bring in additional money to fund our business, you know, a father and active in my church and all those types of things as well. So it was crazy, crazy busy. But But all of that work finally paid off here four and a half years ago when I was able to quit my corporate job, we were able to buy our first house, we were able to move out into the country onto about six acres and kind of live a much slower, easier, quieter life. When I was in the city, I couldn’t see the stars at night. But we’ve got the ability to do that where we are now without all the traffic and the noise that the city held.
And it’s awesome.
David Ralph [19:48]
And did the military teach you organisation and skills and being structured because I see that with a lot of the people that I speak to, they say although I have no intention Not being back in the military, a lot of the practical organisational skills really apply big time in what I’m doing now. Do you find the same thing?
Matt Miller [20:10]
Yeah, I mean, my time in the military was foundational for a lot of what I do, you know, the leadership skills, the discipline, the willing to do whatever it takes. I mean, all those things are a function of the 13 years that I spent. You know, being a pilot my last three years I flew what’s called the sci fi, it’s the second largest aeroplane in the world. And and I literally flew all over the globe for those three years and you never knew when you’re getting up, you never knew when you’re going to bed you never knew when you were going to get home because an aeroplane that large oftentimes can have, you know, issues that sideline you for a couple of days and in some pretty neat places around the world, but sometimes some pretty god awful places. And so you learn how to be flexible. You learn how to roll the punches. You’ll learn how to, to not just get all upset about stuff that you can’t control, because there is so much outside of one’s control in that situation, you know, this 4am to talk with you. I mean, that was normal, you know, being at four 4am somewhere in some timezone, you know, having the, the clock, internal clock all messed up. But so that was just a way of life for three years and you just kind of get used to it and, and not that you want to live that way on a daily basis, but you realise that there’s going to be times when stuff gets thrown your way that you gotta just gotta roll with it, and you got to do some things that oftentimes you wouldn’t want to do. But that’s part of life and, and learn how to do it and get on.
David Ralph [21:47]
Yeah, absolutely. And I’m gonna play some words now that really emphasise that point when you just do stuff, you go for it because it’s something in front of you and you don’t even know if it’s gonna be right or not, but you just go for it. This is Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey [22:00]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [22:27]
Now profound words. But what interests me with you is, as we said in the introduction, you had this desire to go out and do your own thing as Jim Carrey was saying, Now, where did that entrepreneurial spirit come from? Was it just in you or was your parents very entrepreneurial? Were you surrounded by the people that sparked my interest?
Matt Miller [22:50]
My mom and dad gave me creativity, not not the entrepreneurship side of things. My dad is a is a woodcarver. He’s on Because Because he likes to live in obscurity in that way. But I mean, he could take a picture of you, David and and carve you. I mean, he’s that incredible. My mom is a painter and and does stained glass and does quilting and, and their houses is literally a museum. As over the years they have literally built that home together and most things in it they have created so I got the creativity from them. The entrepreneurship, to be honest, I didn’t realise I had it in me for a lot of my life. You know, I did paper routes and I mowed lawns and i and i shovelled snow and did those types of things growing up. But actually, it was a good friend of mine. When I was early in my Air Force career. I just gotten out a pilot training and was in Lubbock, Texas, about ready to start being an instructor pilot. And my good buddy called me up one day after being on airline flight with a with him together down in Houston unknowingly. And he just asked me if I ever looked for ways to make some extra money. He was involved in a multi level business called Amway and got me involved in that. Spent a lot of time in that, with varying success. But the one thing about that business was, it was the world’s best self help programme in my opinion. And even though we never accomplished what we dreamed to accomplish there, much of what I learned was foundational in the success that we have today. And that entrepreneur desire, the desire to do my own thing to be my own boss to not have to answer to anybody else. All came from, from time with Brian and and learning that business.
David Ralph [24:50]
And deep buy into those words of Jim Carrey, when he says you can fail at doing something you don’t like. So you might as well just take a chance on doing something you love. Especially now that we’ve got the online environment where you can set things up reasonably cheaply, and you don’t actually have to put your life savings into something. Did you think that most people should take those words on board?
Matt Miller [25:12]
Heck, yeah, the, the sky’s the limit. And life is too short. There’s more opportunity today than there ever has been in the history of this planet. And I mean, think about this. All I’ve got here is a laptop, I could have my smartphone and be talking to you. You’ve got I assume a pretty sophisticated rig on your end for what you’re doing as a podcaster. I’ll go slow
David Ralph [25:36]
running around just powering it. That’s how primitive it is.
Matt Miller [25:41]
But But the reality is, it’s not that expensive to be all in, you know, and here we are talking halfway across the globe. I mean, we couldn’t do that five years ago. You know, so the ability to for folks to just do whatever they want to do and take advantage of And for, for the money aspect, the investment aspect to be very, very limited in most things today. People just have to get out and do it and figure things out, be willing to fail a lot as you go through your journey, but but keep at it, keep with it, and and in doing so eventually you’ll find your thing. As long as you stay focused on what your what your goals, dreams and aspirations are along the way.
David Ralph [26:30]
So when you had that knock on the door, and the people said to you about vending machines and stuff, did you kind of go oh, my God, how stupid was I? Or was it something that you’d been sort of mulling around in your mind for a while until they actually saw spoke those words to you?
Matt Miller [26:49]
No, I, I mean, I was. I was excited about the vending business that I had at that time, though, when the economy took a hit in 2000 Seven in 2008. You know, we were impacted negatively on the revenue side, so I was looking for a way to make more money for the time that I was working even on the vending side of things. So when these kids came by knocking on my door, several of them over the span of a couple of weeks, it really struck a chord with me because at that point in time, I had kids about that age. And, and, and for parents to allow their, their kids to be running around the neighbourhood without any supervision, going door to door and houses trying to raise money. I mean, that struck a chord with me. And I was like, you know, there’s got to be a way that I can help these get some kids off the street. Oh, by the way, and also improve my numbers when it comes to vending. And so the two thoughts, you know, collided at that point. And, and the rest is history, as we say. I mean,
David Ralph [27:56]
he doesn’t have to be a genius idea, but this is what I struggled Ever since I’ve been doing this show, I’ve realised many, many times, but I have an idea in my head. And I think is an amazing idea. This is absolutely brilliant. And I saw money over over a few days, and it becomes bigger and bigger and idea. And so I think, oh, how am I gonna pull this off? How am I going to achieve this? Now, I will say to people, no, you don’t almost want the inspiration to hit you. You want to look around, you want to see what other people are doing? And kind of replicate that if, if you like doing that and just put your own spin on something. And I hear time and time again. People will say to me, yeah, but will they be angry if I’m taking their business? No, they won’t even notice. Because there’s so many people out there. You’ve got such abundance, haven’t you? Man, you got such abundance to go out and tap into a market but even if 100 companies are doing the same thing as you you can still make a living on it and love what you’re doing at the same time.
Matt Miller [28:59]
Yeah, in fact, You know, I was actually reading an article yesterday that goes on Business Insider, about how taught getting back to Apple and Steve Jobs. How Apple is so wildly successful because there were there were always second. They were never first to market. They were second or later to market and then improved on what somebody else had already figured out. I wasn’t the first one into the vending world by a wide margin. I don’t know why it is bonehead, Air Force pilot figured out some things that some others have it along the way, but there but the reality is, yeah, that you don’t have to be the, the, the, the person that creates something brand new. In fact, if you do that you’ve got a much longer road to hoe in order to achieve success. Find something that that you see there’s a need in whatever niche it is. And then go about exploiting that niche. Go go go about maybe building a better mousetrap. That’s all I’ve done. And that’s that’s all most people do. You know, we started a second company called School News guru. It’s in the same fundraising space in schools here about a year ago, because I ran into a company at another trade show, in another part of the country that was doing something similar. And being that I spent 11 years in the advertising world, before leaving that to do my own thing. I was like, well, this fits perfectly with what we’re already doing. We’ve already got the relationships in the schools, why not bring them something in addition to what we’re doing to even simplify their life further, so we just built a better mousetrap and, and, and, you know, we’re growing gangbusters there as well. So you got to put your pride aside, not like I said, have to be an innovator necessarily. Just be a really, really good duplicator. And the path to success is a lot shorter, at least from what I’ve seen. Now. I think that’s the gold in this episode.
David Ralph [30:59]
We can stop recording. Now Matt, we can just sit here and have a beer bit early for you. But um, that that is the real nuggets of gold on this. And I’ll tell you my own story. I’ve got a programme called podcasters mastery, which we advertise at the beginning of the show, and we advertise at the end. And that was never part of Join Up Dots in any shape or form. Except when I started doing the show, I got so bogged down with the technicalities and how to do certain things. But I realised there was no one out there teaching me the kind of stuff I wanted to know, I wanted to know how to record a show and edit it really quickly. So I could move on to the next one and not spend hours on it. And that’s how my platform came about. There’s other platforms out there that do similar stuff, but I was almost trying to solve my own issues. By learning these ways to Ben share with the world and the success of fat has been astonishing. And it’s not new, it’s not new. So, to sort of emphasise it again, guys, if you’re out there listening and you thinking to yourself, I don’t know what to do. Get on the web and look around and start making notes and see what people are doing. And every time you look at something, and you think that’s interesting, and in, in internet land, as soon as you look at a web page, there’s interesting stuff there. That’s why we get sucked into it. And we’re there for hours. just jot it down. And after a while, you’ll start to get a blueprint of the things that are interesting you most, then you’ve got to pull it together and think, Well, how do I do visa? Can I do these locally or do these globally? Do I need somebody else to help me build a website, all those kind of stuff, but those later things are easy to do, really aren’t easy to do. And there’s, there’s companies out there, there’s fibre that can do things for $5. There’s web developer guys, there’s, there’s always people out there that have got the skills that you haven’t got. All you’ve got to do is try to find that thing that you think. Yeah, every morning. I like to wake up and do that and not have a boss and be like, but great Matt Miller. That’s about it, man. It
Matt Miller [32:59]
is And you know what, David, I’ll tell you what, I can’t speak enough. I haven’t taken your course. But I’m actually in the middle of a course here in the States very similar right now. It’s a four week intensive course and a week and a half into it. I recorded my first podcast now we’re, I’m doing a podcast internally for my business team. So I don’t know if you’d actually considered a podcast in the truest sense the world word, but the reality is, I didn’t have a clue. And for me, to be literally told, okay, this is what you need. This is how this plugs into that and all these other things. I mean, that would have taken me I don’t I don’t know how long because, first off, I’m not the detail guy. So I’m not the guy to get in the trenches and figure a lot of that out. I’m the big big picture guy. So to have a course like yours, to literally take me from point A to point B, and and to be able to very quickly ramp up as a podcaster as an example. was huge. And in today’s day and age, there’s those types of opportunities for any any number of businesses or, or occupations or skills that are available right at your fingertips online so you don’t have to figure it all out yourself. And especially when you’ve got somebody of David’s calibre, you know, next episode is number 400. Most podcasters don’t make it to 100 so to be at 400, David’s in rare air and so if you’re looking to do something like that, he can teach you and and you can learn from all his mistakes and wisdom along the way. And, and shorten your trip from point A to point B, significantly in the process.
David Ralph [34:44]
Man, I’m gonna sign you out as myself as a marketing guy basically, this is this is brilliant, you just sit back and you promote it. But no, actually most podcasters funnily enough, don’t get past episode seven apparently. That is when the enthusiasm and The the production line dries up just because they’re not taught the right way at the very beginning how to do things in a pleasant way. And so just get the content out there. And that’s the main thing. And that’s what you’ve done with your job as an IT. You’ve taken all those inconveniences that maybe don’t play to Matt Miller’s strengths, and you found a team by thrive in those areas. So you can do the blue sky thinking and the big dreams, and you can get people to deal with the boring stuff that we don’t like, man.
Matt Miller [35:30]
Yeah, God, I mean, God gives us each skills and abilities. And what I’ve learned along the way is I need to spend my time where my skills and abilities are, and then find others who have the skills and abilities that I don’t have that compliment mine. And as a small business owner, that’s very, very difficult. I’ve had to do this bootstrapping the entire way. You know, I haven’t had any kind of funding or, or venture capital or anything. So literally, you know, every last penny is Been reinvested. And I’m finally to a point where I’m able to start to hire some folks to really complement what I’m what I do. And to enable me to focus had. It’s scary, the opportunity ahead now, because, you know, I’ve got the ability to really focus on on my strengths all the time, where it’s taken me years to kind of get to this point. But it’s exciting because there’s no telling where we’ll be five years from now because of that fact.
David Ralph [36:32]
And it becomes easier as well, doesn’t it? That’s the thing when you when you when you’re in a job and you’re in a corporate gig, they say, right, can you do this bass and bass in the interview, and you will pretty much say anything because you want the job. And then you get there. And then for the first maybe six months, it’s reasonably exciting because you’re learning it and then afterwards you get bored and one of the reasons you get bored is because most of it you don’t really like doing the company are asking you to do it, but it doesn’t sort of inspire you in some way. Once you get to that point where your platform is established and is not easy as we say, you really have to work hard at it, then it but it does get to that closeness of play, where the Matt Miller can sit there and go, yeah, this is what I’m gonna do. How can I get the bits I don’t want to do somebody else does. And it moves forwards to that that hybrid of time, location time freedom, but also playing as well. And that’s what connects you to that young man, the eight year old man, that’s the real essence of what makes you successful, isn’t it?
Matt Miller [37:32]
Yeah, yeah, definitely. Most definitely.
David Ralph [37:36]
You might be very ranty. Today, Matt, I don’t know what Come on, I think all inspired and passionate. So if we look at your business, how long did it take to actually start seeing a profit? How long did you actually have to work for nothing?
Matt Miller [37:52]
Well, I tell folks that someday I’m going to write a book called 13 days or tease me 13 years to overnight success. No One No one will ever buy it’s off to change the title. But the beauty about vending is the return is pretty quick. I literally had about $100 to my name here 910 years ago, when I bought my first gumball machine, I bought it on eBay for 32 bucks and and just literally bootstrapped this thing from the very beginning. But the beauty of it was, I wasn’t making money for a long, long time that I can really do anything with except for reinvested into the company. But that $32 gumball machine, I went out, knocked on some doors found a location and within a couple of weeks, I was able to see the results of that work now because I didn’t have any other money to grow with. I literally reinvested every last penny from our business for years and years back into it and was able to do that because I was working full time. And and in the bills, you know, putting a roof over the head food on the table for the for the wife and kids we’re taking we’re taking care of. So, you know, the biggest thing I would tell folks is you got to be patient. Most importantly though, you got to continue to feed your baby and you can’t syphon money off too early from what you’re trying to put together. You know, I was it was four and a half years ago, when when we moved out on our own that I first started doing that, you know, after after doing a variety of business things for, like I said, nearly nine, eight and a half, nine years at that point. So you got to be focused. I always tell the guys on our team Hey, even though you may not like it, keep doing it, you know and full time for a period of time longer than you really want to, because you want to put yourself in a position to win. You want to put yourself in a position where you’ve got a strong foundation to move forward, off, off and And sometimes people don’t delay gratification quite long enough. And that can be problematic.
David Ralph [40:05]
Because we always talk about that on the show, we call it the slider faith where you work towards something for maybe six months, a year, two years, whatever. And I can actually join my dots up maybe six years, I would say would be the first time I started dabbling online to where I am now. And I was always doing other jobs. And I’d go there eight o’clock in the morning, and then I would work on my slider favour at lunchtime, and then I work again in the evening, and I look back at all of it. And I think to myself, how much of it was wasted opportunity. And part of me kind of things. Yeah, a lot of it was because I’m not doing it now. But of course you learn the skills of what works and you sort of move forward. But I am not a great advocate for the old puncher boss in the face leap of faith business and just walk out and make it up as you go along. Although I know some people say burn all your bridges go out there and you will hustle like mad to do it. I’m not that brave to do that.
Matt Miller [40:58]
You know, I think those stories are very Very few and far between of those that have succeeded in that way. It takes a very special individual, it takes a very it’s difficult to do that in the position that I was in as an example with a wife and three kids. I ended up having to continue in the corporate slog a lot longer than somebody who was single earlier in life. It would have been irresponsible for me just to jump off a cliff and hope that it was gonna work out. And so I found anyway, that there’s very few people that are in a position where they can truly do that. And when in most cases, you got to burn the candle at both ends and, and do a hybrid of things for a while. Always stay in focus, though, on what the ultimate dream and vision is. I tell everybody, I’m like a duck on water. You know, that duck. It’s on water above water just just kind of hanging out. Right? But underwater, it’s paddling like there’s no tomorrow. And and that’s the way I was, for the last 678 years of my career is, you know, I was one of the top performers and what I did corporately, but but man when when it was my time when it was after hours, I was paddling like there was no tomorrow. growing my dream growing my vision, you know, striving to live that American dream that, that that I’ve been taught all my life,
David Ralph [42:32]
but he’s one of those things that you look back on it and the energy, you know, starting this show, for example, literally killed me. It really did. And now I look at it and I think God, it’s so much easier, and it allows those opportunities. Now one of the things is you get better at doing it and you get quicker at doing it. But I think also you toughen up and you find time where you didn’t have before. But last night I sat and watched those two Steve Jobs interviews. I Remember last time I watched me before that, and I used to sort of come home every night after work, or I’m tired and just pull up in front of the TV. But you find that extra time because what you want to do, I think, is to and I think there’s a phrase, some somehow like this, you want to live your life like for three years like nobody else so that you can live the rest of your life like nobody else, something along those lines. And that’s what you’re finding now, aren’t you?
Matt Miller [43:26]
Yes, yes. I was willing to do things that most people around me thought I was completely and totally nuts. And that’s okay. But the reality is I you know, I tell the story of Texas is a pretty big place. And there’s a lot of driving that we’ve got to do in the state. Well, to give you an idea when I was in the Houston area living one of one of my schools and Far West Texas. A principal called me out of the blue and said, Matt You know, I met you at this event, really like your programme. I know that I’m not even close to where you are. But would you be willing to help me and I had a decision to make at that point as a as a fledgling entrepreneur, am I going to tell her no? Or am I going to figure out a way to make it work? She was 1300 and 76 miles round trip away from me. And literally, as I was working full time, I would once a month, it would it would be a 24 hour day I’d get up at about two in the morning. I drive to her location to get there right before school was led out. So I could take care of her machine and make sure she was squared away for the next month. And then I’d get on the cut in the road and drive back home. Many times I, you know, pull along the side of the road for an hour or two and sleep or what have you. But I mean as a 24 hour a day to make no money at that point. But once again, you got to do what you got to do. You got to do whatever it takes. What ended up happening though, because she saw my commitment to her and her kids in her school. In the next year, she helped me get every other school except for one in that district. And my family could live off of that school district today in our business, but I had to be willing to do 1300 and 76 miles round trip in order to make that happen. Most people I know wouldn’t be willing to do that. And that’s okay. But they just need to understand that there’s the success that they achieved, may be limited as well because of their, to the limits that they put on what they’re willing to do to achieve it. Now, I agree with that
David Ralph [45:45]
totally. And I’ve mentioned this several times, and it there’s a phrase by TS Eliot, and I’ve got this little mat by the side of my bed, and it’s something along the lines of only those that are willing to go anything’s possible can possibly find out how far they can go. And when you were driving along, and you were doing those miles and you were winding down the window, because you’re falling asleep, because Miley Cyrus you Berta 900 times on that journey. It was one of those times that really what you’re doing, you are showing that you’re consistent. You’re here for the long haul, and people will buy into that. And when you said earlier, yeah, David’s done for 100 episodes, people are more likely to trust somebody who’s done that, then somebody who’s done too, and the fact that you’re willing to put yourself out when she had that opportunity for you. Who do I trust? Do I trust this bloke around the corner, but I’ve got no idea what he’s like, or do I trust this Matt Miller, who might god he drove all the way over here to do the job. That’s demand for me. So you can’t see at the time. But all that extra effort will reap rewards. I’m convinced of it.
Matt Miller [46:57]
Yep, no doubt about it. No doubt about it.
David Ralph [47:00]
So when you are sitting bare now in Houston and obviously you’re a family man, do you find that a struggle being separated from your family? And certainly did you find it a struggle when you were trying to get the business going to support the family, but actually, you probably weren’t seeing the family that much at that time.
Matt Miller [47:19]
Um, you know, actually, if family is I see my family probably more than most, believe it or not. And the reason for that is because I work out of the house today, and we homeschool our kids. So we are all in the same house every day. My oldest is now off to college. He’s home for a couple of months. But you know, in August he’ll be back to school. So why
David Ralph [47:45]
beginning when you were coming back from the corporate gig, and then going out and doing pizza delivery in the evening, and probably the kids would go into bed and by being put to bed by your wife and all that kind of stuff was it was that struggle with?
Matt Miller [47:58]
Yeah, it was but to be honest, I’ve always always tried to involve my kids and my family and what I do. And that’s actually one of the foundational principles of our company, is that family is the foundation of it all. So one of the beauties of what we’ve put together is the fact that that we encourage families to work together. I brought my kids with me when I was doing my vending route. When I was building machines, our living room for several years in our little 1200 square foot house there in Houston, at the time, was literally full of vending machines. The majority of the time, it wasn’t a living room. It was it was a workshop, because we had no other space to do what we needed to do. And teacher. Why
David Ralph [48:43]
did she say, oh, man, you’re bringing another one in you haven’t finished the other ones yet.
Matt Miller [48:48]
She, she, she’s a champ. I mean, the stuff that she put up with and was willing to deal with especially, you know, she likes to have the house nice. She likes to have everything in its place. She likes to not have to deal with clutter. So it was his biggest struggle for her during that time, I’m sure it was for me, just because she was so far out of her comfort zone when it came to building her nest, you know, building her home for for, you know, her family. But once again, we did what we had to do. And today we we have a much larger home like I set out in the country in the middle of Central Texas and, and she’s got to space to do what she wants and and you know, the house is much more to her liking in that regard. But it took us years to get there.
David Ralph [49:36]
You got more room, vending machines in every room. Now I can imagine. Actually, the garage is now where I do all that. So none of that has to venture into the house anymore. Thankfully, thankfully, indeed. Well, what I’m gonna do now I’m gonna play the theme of the whole show and these are the words that the the chat we’ve spoken about numerous times on today’s episode. Steve Jobs said back in 2005. And afterwards, I’m going to ask the question that literally two a day I asked all guests, this is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [50:09]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [50:44]
So is that how you feel your life’s been when you look back on it? Can you actually join up your dots?
Matt Miller [50:51]
Oh, big time and, and what’s wild is, you know a lot of the low points in my life that we all have that we do. Don’t want to go through the struggles that we hate dealing with and going through a lot of those points, I can look back on now and see that they were dots in my journey that if I hadn’t gone through them, I wouldn’t have been in a position mentally or otherwise, to be able to handle or to deal with the business that I have today. You know, God puts us in places for a reason. And, and the other thing I’ve learned is that that the real learning occurs in the valley of life, not on the peak on the mountaintop, we got to go to a mountain I went to school, obviously, in Colorado at the Air Force Academy, those beautiful mountains. But at the very top of the mountain, nothing’s growing there. All the growth is down in the valley. And that same thing is true in our lives. The growth occurs when you’re down in the valley of your life and those challenging times in your life, not when you’re on top of the mountain and it was many of those times That I didn’t understand. I hated being in the middle of. I think that’s one of the reasons One of the things that motivated me to move on. But it also gave me the skills and the understanding of things that that were necessary to be where I am today. No doubt about it.
David Ralph [52:17]
So when you look back on everything, this is the question I always pose. What would be your big dot? What would be the moment when you go? Yeah, I think that’s probably when it all started going in the direction that I’m on now.
Matt Miller [52:32]
I no doubt about it. I can I can pinpoint that I was. I was trying a couple of new things with the sticker machine. This was man. This is probably seven years ago, eight years ago, I guess. And I went into my accountants office at the time. And I had these two different ideas. One was the school spirit vending idea and one was this advertising idea that I had, and I was really, really jacked up and it Excited about the advertising thing because I was I worked in the advertising space, sat down was talking with my accountant about some stuff and kind of shared with him what was going on. And he said, Matt, that fundraising thing for the school is going to be huge. He said, You know, my wife is in the middle of that with, with the PTA at our kids school, that’s going to be a home run. Well, I was thinking all this time that the other thing I was doing was going to be the home run. But for but for Kyle would to be able to say to me, and share his insights, as a parent was life changing for me, because it was that dot that made me decide that it was the school fundraising thing where I really needed to put my time and then things started really kind of kicking off and taken off at that point. And, and here we are, you know, almost eight years later, and and I’m eternally grateful for him and his insight and Little though he doesn’t realise the impact he made on me by by sharing his thoughts that time.
David Ralph [54:05]
He is astonishing Bo and I was talking to my friend down the pub the other night. But you slug slug slug slug slug. And then suddenly you find a lucky break and all you’re doing is finding the easy route. There’s always an easy way of doing something and more often than not, we can’t find it. And then you slug slug slug slug. And then you find the easy route and it moves through. And it’s at Bo’s times like a little twig on that stream. Suddenly you go flying forward with no effort at all. And you think this is how life is gonna be. But then you get to those obstacles again, don’t you and you have to find your easy route through and you certainly look like at the moment. You’re, you’re riding that easy road until the next obstacle when you’ll have to look around and assess how long How do I go again?
Matt Miller [54:50]
Yep, yep. And you know, it’s wild David in today’s society, you know, we kind of have this micro microwave thought process where we can go to the internet And we can get access to anything instantaneously or whatever. Or, you know, we’re in the middle of the NBA Playoffs here in the us right now. And LeBron James, of the Cleveland Cavaliers is arguably one of the best, if not the best player ever to play the game. And everybody will talk about the amazing basketball game that LeBron played today or what have you. But they don’t ever talk about the years and years and years and hours and hours and hours that he spent in the gym, with nobody looking to see what he was doing. The dedication that it required behind the scenes for him to have the success that he has today. Yes, some of it is God given talent, but a lot of it is pure work ethic, and pure willing to go through the slog like he said, in order to achieve success, and we don’t spend enough time talking about the slog, and how it’s required and how everybody goes through it in their own way. In life and because of that, I think a lot of people are ill prepared because they think that someone like rebel LeBron or someone like yourself just rolled over and were successful at what they do.
David Ralph [56:13]
Now I’ll tell you why I think we should do to David and Matt show we should do our own spin off of Join Up Dots. They won’t be on fire every single day. What do you reckon, man?
Matt Miller [56:23]
Let’s do it man.
David Ralph [56:24]
Yo, podcasting legend. Now you’ve got the mic. You’ve been through the course you know how to do it. I’ll just be I’ll be in your your slipstream. Right like Top Gun once again.
Matt Miller [56:36]
Well, you can you can say all the witty stuff and all that stuff. And then I’ll just throw some stuff in here and there and and then we’ll make a go of it.
David Ralph [56:44]
Now y’all come on, man. You’re kind man. Well, I’m gonna send you on another journey. Now probably not quite as speedy as the jet planes you used to do. But we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young man, what age would you choose and What advice would you give? Well, we’re gonna find out because I’m gonna play the theme tune and when it fades you up. This is the Sermon on the mic. With me
Matt Miller [57:31]
awesome. Yeah. David, I would say that for me if I was looking back, I would talk to my my younger self, maybe in my early teens. The first thing i would i would tell myself as a trust my instincts, but secondly, to tell myself that entrepreneurship and and making your own way will ultimately produce the life that you really want. I didn’t start being an artist. Till I was in my late 20s. And I’m excited about the the youngsters that are within our team of families that we work with, because they’re being exposed to entrepreneurship at a much earlier age. And if they’re willing to listen to the wisdom that their parents and, and those around them can pass to them, you know, there’ll be 1520 years ahead of where I am today. Because they, they’ve been given the permission to go out and make their own way much earlier in their life. Now, I do have to say that of course, my experiences in the military and advertising and all that stuff are foundational for what I do, but but, you know, the belief that Uncle Sam, the government is the only one that can provide or a big corporation is the only one that can provide, I think, in some ways held me back for quite some time. So I’d love to go back into myself you know you can do it and and you don’t require those those larger entities to live and thrive in this world today.
David Ralph [59:10]
Matt, how can our audience connect with you sir?
Matt Miller [59:16]
The best way to reach me David is either via email, Matt at SS V for school, spirit vending business comm or on the web at SSV business COMM And if for those folks that are in the States, who might have interest in or be looking for a way to diversify outside of what they do, and to develop a passive income stream on the side, we now franchise what we do across America and would love an opportunity to talk to them about what we do and how it might complement and supplement what they’re doing. corporately in business wise as
David Ralph [59:56]
well. Yeah, great stuff and I hope you get lots of contacts from analysts. Because I know that’s what everybody wants. They want the passive income you got to put your effort in to make it work. But once it works, you can never sleep, can’t you and money comes to you.
Matt Miller [1:00:09]
David Ralph [1:00:10]
Well, thank you so much for spending time with us today, joining up those dots. And please come back again when you have more dots to join up, Matt, because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Mr. Matt Miller, thank you so much.
Matt Miller [1:00:25]
Thank you, David. Appreciate the opportunity.
David Ralph [1:00:30]
Thanks for listening to today’s episode of Join Up Dots brought to you exclusively by podcasters mastery.com. The only resource that shows you how to create a show, build an income and still have time for the life that you love. Check out podcasters mastery.com. Now,
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices. Including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.