RG 233 – How To Create X-Factor In Your Business For Growth w/ Andrew Phelps
Andrew Phelps is the director of User10 which is a boutique studio focused on Saas product strategy and design. He leads design teams in start-ups and enterprise brands. Andrew is an expert in product strategy and design and has been names as one of Arizona Republic’s 35 under 35. Andrew made his first dollar as a child dog sitting and baby sitting.
Andrew started his journey growing up doing t-shirt design and then freelance graphic design. He went to college for design and afterwards lived in a shared apartment and built his network – he still knows some of the people today. User10 has a focus on UI and UX design and strategy for Saas companies; he helps them build the 2.0 version of their products. Good design can’t make a bad product great but it can make a good product great. Design is the process and the most important thing is communication – a lot of hard work from a lot of people goes into the finished product.
To make a good product we need to solve the problems from the customers which means asking the right questions and listening to the answers. A good product will meet expectations but a great one will exceed them and surprise you.
- Most important habit – Journaling
- Most influential person – His mentor in college
- Most important tool – design tools
- Contact at user10.com
Listen to Podcast
Reed Goossens (00:00):
Now, before we dive into today’s show, I just want to give you a quick heads up that the audio recording on my guests, sod, Andrew Phelps is a cracking guy that knows everything about user interface and design. We had an incredible show, but he’s audio was a little bit in and out because he was in an area where the service was a little bit poor. So if you can just bear with the bad audio for a period of time, um, he has some incredible advice. So please pay attention and I hope you enjoy the show,
Andrew Phelps (01:03):
Make a good product. You really just need to ask questions, listen to the answers and, um, try to solve the problems that the customers are telling you about. And so that’s about, um, refining things to meet their expectations, and that’ll make you a great product and great, I’m sorry, a good product and good products can make you a lot of money to make a great product. You need a little bit of that X factor when something that goes above and beyond, what’s unexpected, what’s going to surprise a user and what’s going to surprise them in a good way.
Reed Goossens (01:43):
Welcome to investing in the U S a podcast for real estate investors, business owners, and aspiring entrepreneurs looking to break into the U S market join Reed. As he interviews go getters risk takers and the best in the business about their journey towards financial freedom and the sheer joy of creating something from nothing
Reed Goossens (02:03):
Good day. Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to another cracking edition of investing in the U S podcast from Los Angeles. I’m your host Reed. Goossens good as always every with us on the show. Now, I’m glad that you’ve all tuned into learn from my incredible guests and each and every one of them are the cream of the crop here in the United States. When it comes to real estate, investing, business, investing and entrepreneurship, each show, I try and tease out their incredible stories of how they have successfully created the businesses here in the U S how they’ve created financial freedom, massive amounts of cashflow, and ultimately create extraordinary lives for themselves and their families life by design. As I like to say, hopefully these guests will inspire all of my cracking listeners, which are you guys to get off the couch and go and take a massive amounts of action.
Reed Goossens (02:50):
If these guys can do it. So can you now, as you know, I’m all about sharing the knowledge with my loyal listeners, which is you guys, and there’s absolutely no BS on this show, just straight into the nuts and bolts. Now, if you do like this show, the easiest way to give back is to give us a review on iTunes. And you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter by searching at Reed Goossens. You can find the show, every you podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Google play, but you can also find these episodes up on my YouTube channel. So head over to Reed goossens.com, click on the video link, and it’ll take you to the video recordings of these podcasts, where you can see my ugly mug, but the beautiful faces of my guests each and every week. All right. And I’ve had a me let’s get cracking and into today’s show.
Reed Goossens (03:39):
Send the show. The pleasure of speaking with Andrew Phelps. Andrew is the creative director of user 10, a boutique studio focused on SAS, product strategy and design. He leads design teams at small startups, as well as enterprise brands. Andrew has conceptualized new products for some of the largest software companies in the world, and an expert in product strategy and design. He understands that every client is different and that good design equals great business to top it all off. Andrew was named as one of Arizona. Republic’s 35, under 35. I’m really pumped and excited to have him on the show today to share his incredible insight and experience. But not for me. Let’s get him out outta here, get, Hey, Andrew, welcome to the show head on today, mate.
Andrew Phelps (04:17):
I’m doing great. Thanks a lot for having me. I’m excited,
Reed Goossens (04:20):
Right? My pleasure. Um, before we dive into the nuts and bolts, uh, the, the stock standard question on this show, uh, we’d like to have a bit of fun is, uh, rewind the clock and tell me how you made your first ever dollar as a kid.
Andrew Phelps (04:30):
Well, the first one, I’m not sure, but it would be dog sitting or babysitting. I started really young, uh, here in heroin. It’s super hot in the summer and plenty of people go away and they leave their dogs behind. So my sister and I would walk around the neighborhood, unlocking different houses, given the dogs the attention they need and collect a little money in the process.
Reed Goossens (04:52):
Great. And so growing up in Arizona, did, uh, did you have parents or, uh, was it instilled in you the value of a dollar?
Andrew Phelps (05:00):
Absolutely. So, uh, compared to my, compared to my friends, uh, our allowance and our allowance was at a, at a lower rate. So I think go ahead and work a little harder for my allowance at a young age. Um, but my, my, my parents are incredibly, uh, incredibly, uh money-conscious and thrifty folks. So I definitely learned the value of a dollar at a young age. And I, I learned a lot about hard work and the expectation that if you’re going to do anything, you should, you should do it to the highest quality you can.
Reed Goossens (05:28):
Awesome. Well, yeah, I love that type of upbringing cause I, and the reason that I asked that question is to tease out that little bit of upbringing that people know the value of a dollar, because this show’s all about understanding how people have built businesses and typically built up understanding one, the value of a dollar and to a bunch of hard bloody work. So, um, so, but with that being said, walk us through the journey of how you’ve got to from, from babysitting dogs and kids to all the way through to now being announced as Arizona, Republic’s 35 under 35. And, and what’s the journey been like?
Andrew Phelps (06:01):
Well, I think like everyone’s journey, it’s not a straight shot. It’s a lot of bouncing around and looking back, you can connect the dots, but it’s not always, you don’t always know where you’re headed. So, uh, I’ve been entrepreneurially minded and interested in doing things, uh, from a business perspective. So, uh, growing up did, um, t-shirt design when I was younger, when I started college, then freelance graphic design, um, you know, anything from like a coupon layout for, uh, a real local restaurant to business cards, that sort of thing. Um, and I went to, went to college for design, uh, got addicted to process and to the career there, uh, with the help of a mentor. And, uh, at the end of my college career, I thought I had a job lined up, but it ended up falling through. And I took that as a sign that I needed to continue on my path of entrepreneurship and do my own thing. So out of college, I moved back with my parents back childhood bedroom and started freelancing online and slowly saved enough money to move out, um, in a matter of months. And then in a shared apartment, uh, had shared Jeep apartment, uh, did the same thing for a few more years, built my network, build connections, and started working with some of the folks that I’m working with today. And
Andrew Phelps (07:23):
So over the course of the last few years to build a user 10 and to, uh, you know, a really high level of boutique studio focused on UX and UI design, uh, and specializing in strategy for SAS companies and building the 2.0 version of products.
Reed Goossens (07:39):
Got it. Got it. And so are you, I guess what’s the, the desire to get into user interface? Cause it seems like you geek out a little bit on the design element of it just based on what the description there of how you add a little bit of money as you got out of your parents’ house and into your own, um, apartment, but why is it so important to have that, that design element of any business, you know, key and looking professional and, um, to, to attract, you know, brand, to attract customers and to attract talent and, uh, to attract partnerships and all that sort of good stuff?
Andrew Phelps (08:13):
Well, I think one of the metaphors that, uh, I like to lean on is it’s a lot like the outfit you’re wearing. Um, it’s about dressing, you’re looking your best. It’s not about telling a lie of who you are, but it’s about putting your best foot forward. And so design is a powerful tool for storytelling and, um, and also for products to make products great. You need to use the process of design to make them as easy to use and as wonderful as they can possibly be. So that, that process, uh, plays such an integral role in everything. And Steve jobs said it best that a design isn’t how it looks, it’s how it works.
Reed Goossens (08:50):
Mm mm. So how, I guess, do you bring the, how it works into the designer element of it to make sure that when people do look at a brand or do look at a company that they’re typically the first thing they see is their logo or the branding. So how do you make sure that I’m not being, you know, uh, hoodwinked with really awesome design and branding, but actually that nothing bloody works.
Andrew Phelps (09:11):
That’s a great question then. And you will see it all the time. I mean, I think the reality is that a good design can make a good product or a good business. Great, but good design is never going to make a bad business for a bad product. Great. You may hoodwink some people you may tricks and people and steal their money, but at the end of the day, you’re never going to grow a successful business or successful product. Um, you know, using disaster as a, a shade from the truth.
Reed Goossens (09:39):
Um, I guess when, when you talk about design, you’re not just talking about branding design, you’re talking about the whole ecosystem of whether it’d be the product itself, or you specifically work with software interfaces. Um, but you know, um, w you mentioned, uh, Steve jobs before, but like, you know, the simplicity of the, uh, the iPhone or the iPod back in the day, which such an incredibly sleek, simple design, uh, and that is what you’re talking about, right. When you come to encompass the word design, correct, correct.
Andrew Phelps (10:07):
Talk to them about design thinking, which has been popularized, uh, in the startup world and, and the, and the software as a service world. Uh, and it’s the process you use to really tackle any problem. But my company does focus on software. And so point of this conversation, it’s making a product good, which is meeting user expectations and meeting customer expectations, and then making a product great, which is exceeding customer expectations. What can you do that puts a, puts a smile on their face that makes people live in the moment a little, even if it’s a boring software as a service tool.
Reed Goossens (10:44):
So I guess what have been some of the challenges that you’ve seen when you are designing, you know, good branding and good products for these companies that may necessarily might be a little bit more like, ah, boring software company?
Andrew Phelps (10:58):
You know, I think the biggest challenges is probably just, uh, communication and teamwork. So design is the process. It’s not initial product, um, the finished product we like to [inaudible], but a lot of part work from a lot of people and to those finished products. And it’s really important to have, uh, an aligned front and deep, truthful conversations based on data and based on strategy to, uh, you know, lead the process in a direction where you can produce good results. And the biggest things I’ve learned are about communication leadership and understanding the pitfalls of the process that, you know, keep good ideas from, uh, ever reaching, ever reaching the market where they can have an impact.
Reed Goossens (11:44):
Right. Right. And I guess what we’re really talking about is that you’re essentially building assets within the business. You talked, you spoke about brand, you spoke about leadership, you spoke about teamwork. Um, and, and that is, these are all individual for, for better defensive purposes assets, right. That they, they, each, each company has its own assets. They’ve got good leaders, they’ve got good teamwork, or they might have good leaders, but they don’t know how to tease out that, um, the, the good ideas. And so they need platforms and operating systems to make sure that that design quote unquote is, is the harmonious glue that brings it all together in order to bring products out and, and have services or whatever the business might produce in order to have an outward facing co you know, client interfacing type of feel, and look to it that people are really gonna love the product and love that, that love the service or love the output of what you guys come in to do and help these companies, um, you know, come up with these great ideas and design at the end of the day. Is that, is that something that, that you would agree with in terms of the asset portion of it?
Andrew Phelps (12:42):
Absolutely. I think there’s a, there’s probably a million different factors that lead to a successful design process. Um, but the best stuff is, is made by really creative people who are usually really smart and really opinionated. And it’s about being able to navigate all those things and getting alignment and saying, you know, that’s great for now, this is great for later. Um, you know, that doesn’t really serve us from a strategic point. So let’s figure out how to keep that person happy. And when you’re building these larger products, you’re working with a lot of people and, um, it’s, uh, it can be a challenging, but very rewarding, uh, orchestration of, of all those talented folks.
Reed Goossens (13:23):
And I guess, what is the difference between great user experience and interface and, and just, you know, average user experience?
Andrew Phelps (13:31):
I would say what it takes is a, is that meeting expectations versus exceeding them. So to make a good product, you really just need to ask questions, listen to the answers and, um, try to solve the problems that the customers are telling you about. And so that’s about, um, refining things to meet their expectations, and that’ll make you a great product and great, I’m sorry, a good product and good products can make you a lot of money, uh, to make a great product. You need a little bit of that X factor. Once something that goes above and beyond, what’s unexpected, what’s going to surprise a user and what’s going to surprise them in a good way. So that’s where you get into the territory of, uh, three, four talking about, uh, if he asked a customer what they wanted, they would set a faster horse. Um, but he decided to give them a car. So that’s kind of where I draw the line is a good product will meet your expectations. Uh, but a great product will surprise you and probably give you something you didn’t know you wanted.
Reed Goossens (14:28):
And I guess how much all buy in and you, you bring a lot of thought provoking emotions. My head’s spinning a little bit now, but how do you, when you’re coming into these, cause you, you, you, you act as a third party vendor to come in and create products and create design and all that sort of stuff for software companies. So if you have bad leadership or bad business culture, does that hamstring to CRE to creating better services and products and overall designers, design, and user interfaces for that company. And does it, does it hurt your ability to do what you’re good at?
Andrew Phelps (15:02):
Absolutely. I mean, I think the, one of the things that I talk openly about with my customers that never ceases to amaze me is that most of the time we’re hired by executives. And then we go to the people on the front lines and we say, Hey, what are the problems? What are the issues? And the people on the front lines tell us the problems. And then we go back to the executives and say, Hey, here’s what our research, you know, here’s what our research said. It’s what your people said. And they like, wow, how did you come up with this stuff? You know, it’s amazing that the ideas you guys came up with and at the end of the day, we’re just out those folks how to improve. And those are the people we’re dealing with the customers or are trying to sell the product, you know, they know it best.
Andrew Phelps (15:41):
So, uh, it’s very strange, but a huge, a huge part of our job is, is bridging that gap within, um, bridging that design gap within companies and helping, uh, you know, teams of people in their internal structures understand what’s going on with the product, how each of their individual concerns fit into the overall strategy and playing some of that, um, ambassador and, and relationship, uh, to, to again, make that United front, because a big problem with the production of new products and especially software products is timing. They can be very complex and new ideas are added, um, added to the mix very consistently. So a huge piece of the puzzle is being able to manage that process. So you are continuingly turning out products, new features and iterating on those features. So a massive part of design is testing what you’ve made, making sure it does what you wanted it to do. And then, uh, you know, explore the new ideas that come from that. So sometimes you’ll roll something out. It doesn’t work how you expected, and your next focus is fixing what you just broke. Um, more than likely you’re going to roll something out and that’ll give your customers, your customer service folks, your sales people, your engineers, um, and your, your executive team, new ideas about what comes next, because we’ve taken things in a whole new direction
Reed Goossens (17:07):
In speaking about new direction. Like we’ll go back to the Steve jobs analogy a lot, but, you know, with the, the Apple, um, Mac and then into the iPod and then into cloud storage, which wasn’t necessarily the primary product that he was trying to sell, but these whole, you talk about the iterations. Um, when you do great design, you do great products. You do great user interfaces with the Mac and the iPod, but then when it comes to all these other, other ancillary businesses that can STEM from that. So working in that software world, do you see a lot of those things pop up as you start to, I guess, weed through, um, the design elements that you do in your business and help these clients come to a better product come to a better user interface. And then all of a sudden these other ideas are popping up, that you can go and add it to an ecosystem of that business.
Andrew Phelps (17:55):
Absolutely. I mean, I think the bigger challenge is knowing which of the many, many new opportunities to pursue and, and feeding through, um, all the different factors that could make one of them, a great idea, and another one, a huge flop, and you can never mitigate all the risks, but a big piece of the strategy side that we do is, is saying, Hey, which of these are ripe for the picking. And, and sometimes, uh, and Steve jobs is a great example of a number of products that are ready for, um, and, and they flopped, but the ones that they were ready for made him a household name. And it’s a very common thing. Um, with the people we know certain software companies will fail and then a year or two later the same exact concept from coming from someone else will succeed. And there’s a whole slew of reasons why that could be, but most of the time, just whether the market is ready.
Reed Goossens (18:48):
Mm mm. And back to my earlier point is obviously market factors, but going back to the internal conflicts and all that sort of stuff and leadership and culture and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, like, does that have a, does that have an impact as well? Like it probably, as you said, there’s a whole slew of issues that why SAS companies don’t necessarily, might be not the right time and place in the market, but there’s also in a conflict that also might force a company not to launch properly a product, or might not get out into the world where it can be successful.
Andrew Phelps (19:17):
Absolutely. So there’s two scenarios of failed SAS companies. I’ve seen a number of times. One is a sales led company. So the founders probably sales person, probably a marketing guy. And he knows how to tell the story of how things, of how things will be in this glorious future. So they can rile up interest or investors. They can rile up interest from enterprise, enterprise clients, and they kind of launched with a bang and there’s, the expectations are high, um, from the investors and, uh, from the business itself. And then the enterprises are, you know, given access to the product and it doesn’t do much. It’s like a lot of vaporware. And so then the enterprises say, well, wait, I’m paying you hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars a year. You need to make me these things that you promised me. And so that company will start, uh, scrambling to make their big enterprise clients, all these custom solutions.
Andrew Phelps (20:14):
And so they end up being in a customer service business, not a product business. And over the years, they are putting all their effort into these custom solutions with no unified single product and sell and scale. And so it kind of fizzles out. And then on the flip side of the coin is the opposite problem. So that I would describe that problem is over-servicing individual clients. And then the product suffers from not getting the attention it deserves. So the scalable side of the business doesn’t get the attention. It deserves on the flip side of the coin. You have founders who are, uh, completely stressed with the scalable product, and they won’t make any concessions for their first customers, right? So they’ll get their first customers on the platform. The first customers are the only people paying in their bills and they say, well, can you do this for us? Can you do that for us? And instead of, you know, getting distracted by those things, they’ll say, no, we’re building a scalable product. Well, those initial customers will get frustrated and leave. So I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum, but I think it’s important to find that balance between how do we serve our customers and collect the revenue we need to grow versus how do we make sure that our scale, the products getting the attention it deserves for long-term prevention,
Reed Goossens (21:28):
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Andrew Phelps (22:27):
I mean, I would say it’s, it’s everything. So I’m a huge believer in the power of words. And I’ve joked with my team that if I were going to start a design school, the first year to two years would just be writing and type biography. So you wouldn’t be allowed to use any photographs or graphics or anything, because I believe it’s just the foundation language is the foundation of how we communicate and how we think. And, uh, if you haven’t mastered it, uh, you’re kind of wasting your time on with the things that sit on top of it. So storytelling is huge, and you have to be able to paint the picture of that beautiful vision in the future. And you have to be able to navigate conversations, um, of any kind to paint that picture of the future, and then make concessions that and help people understand.
Andrew Phelps (23:12):
That’s why we’re doing this today. And so storytelling is, is, is instrumental for, um, visionary people to communicate their ideas, to people who are more logistical and process oriented and vice versa. It’s imperative that those process oriented and logistical people, um, can tell their story, uh, to the visionaries because it really takes both sides. And it it’s like a healthy tension between the two that makes the best stuff. So storytelling is paramount to that communication. And then I say, other thing to add is that storytelling and the visual storytelling that comes with getting investment for new products, uh, is huge. Um, we’ve helped a number of companies raise millions of dollars just with designs and prototypes that look like a finished product. Um, and those, those visual storytelling tools, you know, helped show an investor. Um, but this is where we’re going. And it, you know, on a practical sense, you can say this is a prototype, but it doesn’t really matter when, and when they see it move, when they see it look like a finished product, you can’t help, but feel it already there. And the storytelling is imperative for that kind of emotional, um, the ability to tap into those emotions that really drive all of us to do what we do.
Reed Goossens (24:33):
Yeah. In, in it’s where we all are human beings at the end of the day. Right. And we all have a reptilian brain in there, and it’s sort of, it’s, it’s appeasing that reptilian brain of terms of, well, this design and this story really resonates with me and I like it. And that’s, I’m going to invest in whatever this is. So, um, rather than the, uh, maybe the, the, the behind the scenes nuts and bolts of how a product actually works. And, you know, you talk about building prototypes and people investing just based on the prototype, because if it looks and feels good and there’s a good story attached with it, and then Elliot let’s get involved. So it comes out of good pitching, I guess, is what, what you’re also saying from, from a design point of view. Right?
Andrew Phelps (25:09):
Absolutely. And I’m a big believer that we make all our decisions emotionally and then find the logical reasons for why we made them after the fact. Um, so I think storytelling is a key part of that.
Reed Goossens (25:22):
Yeah, no, a hundred percent. And it’s storytelling is part of how you get your message across for the business, right? Like whether it be a personal storytelling, like with a little bit personal branding or with, or personal branding, personal design, or with a, maybe more of a big corporation where it’s trying to be more accessible to the average folks. So coming in and trying to change that design change, that look, um, is really, really important to, to resonate with the, the part of the brain that people want to feel like they’re being touched by. So it’s, it’s really, really important. Um, in one of the, what are the, some of the bigger opportunities that you see with SAS, SAS companies in their innovation as they grow here in 2020 and beyond?
Andrew Phelps (26:00):
That’s a great question. So I think the biggest opportunity are kind of at the middle and the back of the pack. So, you know, technology has made it incredibly easy and inexpensive to automate simple things. And I think there’s still a ton of opportunity for entrepreneurs to find that one thing where they can save someone some time in their industry, um, are some of our successful products, you know, don’t do anything impressive. They just, uh, replace a process. That’s usually, um, usually done with spreadsheets and emails and, uh, you know, a lot of and headache. Uh, and I think there, if you have the ability to kind of identify those inefficiencies in legacy industries and industries that are maybe behind the pack of technology, there’s a huge opportunity to grow products that are, you know, doing one to $10 million a year in revenue. Um, and when they’re so stupid, simple, you can build a number of them, right?
Andrew Phelps (27:09):
So I’m a huge, give me an example. Uh, so gift cards, um, there’s a million services that Dole out gift cards. We have a platform that is just the simplest easiest way for people to reward their salespeople with gift cards. And these big enterprises have a lot of trouble with their other vendors. Their customer service is terrible, their systems are terrible, and it doesn’t really alleviate any of their headache. And so, you know, our product I’d be lying if I told you it’s a great product, it’s not, it’s a good product. It’s just, it works well. It’s super simple. And when people call with questions, we pick up the phone, it’s a pretty bar, low bar to hit for something that’s such a moneymaker.
Reed Goossens (27:50):
Hmm. Interesting. Um, in terms of, you know, for those clients out there, listening to this podcast, uh, the, the lower end where there may be more micro or boutique level style of size, but I’m talking between one to 10 employees. What can, you know, the founders and leaders do within those companies today to make sure that they are looking at themselves in the right light and saying, Hey, do I do need a better user interface or do I do need to replace that really pain in the neck, uh, process with something that could be a better user interface or a better experience to help drive up sales or to help drive just productivity within the company? What, what, what, what are some of advice? Can you give to those people out there?
Andrew Phelps (28:30):
Absolutely. So I think, um, one of the new things, uh, one of the new hot topics is called no-code, there’s a whole bunch of tools that let you build simple software for your business, for your personal life, whatever you want, um, using no code at all. So I’m not an expert in it, but I’m amazed by some of the things I’ve seen. And I think you can start by taking a step back and, uh, looking at your processes. Uh, and I always say, what do you hate doing that will take the most time? Not what, you know, if you’re going to be a, you don’t have to pretend to be a data scientist, like think about your last week and what did you hate doing? What, you know, what brought you down, what drains you of energy. And one figure out, figure out if you can make that any easier on yourself with software to see if you can hire someone to do it.
Andrew Phelps (29:19):
Because in my experience, the energy is the energy and your excitement for your businesses, everything, and the things taking it away, um, are the highest priority. But, uh, on the note of no-code, there’s amazing things you can do to automate, um, your spreadsheets. You know, my business partner has all of our finance stuff automated from QuickBooks into Google sheets. And he could probably for a whole episode on that stuff, but it’s amazing. Um, you know, we do such, such minimal stuff with our finances. Um, and every week I get to check our, check our scorecard and see exactly how things are going. So that’s kind of one big thing. I think the other thing is just talk to your employees, talk to your customers, ask for feedback. So few people ask for feedback and interview, you know, in the software world, call them users, but customers interview the people you interact with.
Andrew Phelps (30:10):
They’ll give you best ideas and they will tell you things about your business. You don’t even know, you know, going remote over the last few weeks. Um, I’ve seen three zoom updates rollout. So as a zooms customer customer base expanded, you know, we’ve been using zoom for, and they have these new features popping up now that their volume is at a significant place and they have a new user base that has new mission, right? So listening to those customers and, and not jumping on everything they tell you, but at least listening with an open mind,
Reed Goossens (30:43):
You know, I think it’s really important that you, what you, they’re very basic fundamentals of what you’re saying. It’s stop self-reflection things you hate, and then trying to develop a system around it, which maybe can involve a better user interface or a better process, but also getting that feedback. And again, it comes back to that stopping and asking for the feedback. And there’s so many companies and leaders and founders don’t actually do with that. Right. And it’s just getting into the habit of doing it consistently to, in order to enable you to build better products in your business to drive the revenue. Um, but sometimes we’re so enthralled with the business that it’s hard to take the blinkers off and step back and okay, where are we? Where’s the North star here, and we need to make the process better because it’s currently not working great right now.
Reed Goossens (31:26):
So, which is to be honest, sitting here in COVID-19, we’re all in lockdown. Um, a lot, hopefully a lot of people are working on that, right? Like I know I’m, I’m personally in my business working on, you know, the different assets I spoke before, uh, before we press record here about the different business digital assets that I have now, I have a real estate investment company, and I’m talking about digital assets to attract more investors. So, um, there’s just different things that we all need to look at when we come to making sure our business is running smoothly and using this time, I think around COVID-19, uh, when business is a little slower to maybe doubling down on, on some of the assets within the business or the processes, um, to make that user interface better, to make the design better, to make it look and feel, um, better.
Reed Goossens (32:04):
But it also, it starts with getting that feedback from clients, um, customers and, uh, and your employees. So, so yeah. So what have you got planned, I guess for 2020 and beyond, uh, given that we are sitting here in COVID-19, I don’t want to be too well there’s hope, hopefully topic to be evergreen, but, you know, we are, you mentioned zoom before. I think everyone zoom seems to be the only company, probably making a bunch of money in this, in this COVID-19, but, uh, what are you doing personally, to help you grow more, uh, in your business to help your business grow more in the next six to 12 months?
Andrew Phelps (32:35):
So our plan is pretty much the same. We haven’t seen, uh, a dip in business just yet. We are in a lagging industry service industry lags behind for, by a few months. So not, uh, you know, it’s, it’s very possible that we’ll be hit here in, in a matter of weeks. Um, so, but until the, until the data suggests that we need to worry more we’re on the same path, we’re helping clients, um, doing everything remote it’s very easy in a software business, uh, is a nice part of the design process is done in person, but we’re managing, um, online just like one else does and putting more, putting more effort and time into our software products. So the gift card product I told you about, and then its sister product, which is a little bit more sophisticated, lets sales managers run incentives for their team.
Andrew Phelps (33:25):
And then when they achieve the results they’re looking for, they choose from a bunch of online gift cards. So again, just an efficiency tool that puts sales managers in control of the incentive programs they want to run, but without a ton of overhead of time and money and distraction. So those are the big things. Um, we’ve also reached out to our clients who are in the healthcare industry, who are in a nonprofit sectors who serve, uh, job seekers and the members of our community that, that may need more help during this time. So we’ve reached out to support them and are offering a number of, of, uh, services and, and, and time free to them to try to help with the crisis as well.
Reed Goossens (34:11):
Interesting. No, I think it’s, uh, it’s super important to double down on your current relationships because they’re going to be the people that are going to help you see this, any sort of, you know, waves or turbulence that we’re going to, any business may experience in their coming six to 12 months. So I think that’s, that’s very, very wise. Uh, what are you doing on a personal level? You know, you’re stuck at home with the family at all and pulling your hair out or what?
Andrew Phelps (34:34):
Um, I was, uh, I married my wife in January, so this is our, uh, I mean I jokingly called it. Our homie moon were trapped inside, but, um, it’s been, it’s been great. I’ve actually liked being at home. I do love being in the office as well. Um, it was always a dream of mine to have kind of a creative space. So it’s hard not to go in every day, but, uh, I really have no complaints. Um, I we’re making it work and I do love the flexibility to enjoy the weather in Arizona while it’s nice. And, uh, I’ve been doing a lot of walking and running, uh, up in the Hills and the mountains, uh, here near my home.
Reed Goossens (35:11):
Awesome, awesome stuff. Or maybe at the end of every show, we like to dive into the top five investing tips, ready to get into it.
Speaker 4 (35:17):
Yeah, let’s do it.
Reed Goossens (35:25):
The first question is what is your daily habit that you practice to keep on track to it?
Speaker 4 (35:30):
What’s your goals? Uh, journaling,
Andrew Phelps (35:33):
I think journaling is going back to the conversation about language and writing. I think, uh, for me, it’s a fundamental tool to be in touch with how I feel, what I want to do and keep myself accountable. Cause that can be a little bit scatterbrained, especially when I get excited. You and your listeners have probably gotten a taste or an on this podcast.
Reed Goossens (35:51):
Yeah, no, it’s a, it’s super important to have that journaling to get the, uh, the noise out of your brain and onto a piece of paper. So many of my guests that I interview talk about journaling and how important it is I use in my daily practice as well. Um, so for those people listening out there, uh, take, take, take note, literally take notes. Uh, question number two is who’s the most influential person in your career to date?
Andrew Phelps (36:15):
That’s a good question. So I’d probably have to say my mentor in college Jackson, bolt’s professor university of Arizona. Um, I met with him very early in my college career. He was, uh, at the time the chair of the design department at the university. And, uh, you know, I joke, but it’s true. He was the first middle-aged man I met who loved what he did and was like happy, you know? And, uh, he just had such a youthful energy and I could tell that he just loved coming to work every day. And it made me think twice, like, man, there’s something to this. And so probably that got me started on the path, but there’s been a number of folks. And, uh, I’m sure I’d have to think a little bit more to give you a better answer.
Reed Goossens (36:56):
That’s it, whoever’s inspired you in a point in time along your journey, I think is, you know, change that way of thinking or being that the, the, the aha moment. Uh, so whoever that was awesome stuff, um, in your business, you know, day-to-day business question number three is I’m sure you have an influential tool and not what I mean, tool. It could be a hardware, it could actually be software related, but what is the most influential tool? And you’re in a daily basis that you use in your business
Andrew Phelps (37:25):
Influential in terms of impact on the business? Yeah.
Reed Goossens (37:28):
We use day in, day out that you couldn’t, the business couldn’t run without it. Um, um, you know, I’ve had people talk to me and tell me in the past about their phone is their most influential tool that they have in their business. So what is yours,
Andrew Phelps (37:41):
Man? I mean, I guess it be, if we’re moving beyond the computer and the internet where our entire business exists, it’s the design tool. So, um, I, the, the revolution and design tools over the past three years has been unbelievable and they’re all so cheap and so powerful. And there’s like a new one every six months. And it’s unbelievable to me, the power that’s being built into, uh, the things we use every day, because at the end of the day, they help us make more money and it’s mind blowing. Yeah,
Reed Goossens (38:16):
No, I completely agree with all of that. Um, maybe question number four in one sentence, what has been the biggest failure that you have you’ve had in your career and what’d you learn from that failure?
Andrew Phelps (38:27):
Biggest failure of my career, man. That’s a great question. I’m not sure if there’s any one big failure. What I would say is my biggest failure, um, was all the times earlier in my career where I failed to speak up, um, or speak my mind or step into the leadership position that I know I needed to. So it was my own lack of courage, your own lack of discipline. I don’t know if there was a single moment, but there were certain a number of certainly a number of moments where, um, you know, I had the opportunity to do more than I did and, and that’s probably my biggest failure. Right? Exactly.
Reed Goossens (39:13):
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, Andrew, last question is where can people reach you to continue the conversation they want to be in your sphere a little bit more? Where do they go?
Andrew Phelps (39:21):
I don’t do a whole lot online, but I’m happy to have a conversations and meet new people. So you can see me on LinkedIn, uh, or you can visit our website, uh, user ten.com [inaudible] dot com.
Reed Goossens (39:35):
Got it. Awesome stuff, Mike. Well, I want to thank you so much for jumping on the show today. I just wanna reflect a few things that I learnt or took away. I think the number one thing is understanding that there are other ways in which you can have better use a user interface through quality design and that the design element of it, isn’t just about the brand or the final product, but it’s actually the tapestry of everything that goes on behind the scenes, you know, the leadership and the talent and making sure your processes are in the right space and in the right place and, and rejigging that and making sure that, you know, you have the right people like yourself coming along to help you guide you along the way. Um, so I think that w that was probably the biggest thing that, that I took away from today’s show.
Reed Goossens (40:15):
And, and I think the other one is, is storytelling. You know, it’s so important to have storytelling as part of your tapestry in the framework of the business, and also people can recognize your brand better, and that all ultimately helps with the overall design and, and the, the services that you produce and people can recognize you. Okay, well, that person has, I know I liked this, this particular business because I resonate with their story that they have. So I think that’s super important when you’re out there building businesses to stop and think about the story, but also stop and think about some of the processes inside the business that maybe could be outsourced or, and, or developed better design processes to help the business go forward. So, um, did I leave anything out?
Andrew Phelps (40:54):
No, this was great. Thank you so much for having me.
Reed Goossens (40:57):
Oh, my pleasure. Well, we’ll enjoy the rest of your week. Enjoy COVID and staying at home and the homie man, and we will catch up very, very soon. Thank
Andrew Phelps (41:06):
You so much.
Reed Goossens (41:09):
Well, they have another cracking episode. Jam pack was an incredible advice from Andrew. And please, if you are interested in learning more about what he does get over to use it. ten.com, that’s U S E R one zero.com and check out all the services that his, him and his team do to help businesses grow and scale through better design. It’s really, really impactful. And making sure that you do have an impact on the world and you’re attracting the right clients to your business drive revenues really, really important. I want to thank you all again for taking some time out of your day to tune in, to continue to grow your financial IQ, because it’s, we’re all about here on this show. If you do like this show, please give the show a five star review on iTunes, and you can follow me on Facebook and Instagram, and you can follow me also on LinkedIn. We’re going to do it all again next week. So be bold, be brave. Remember, go good life.