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Today We had the pleasure with speaking with Drayden Dunn, Founder of Envision Media & Marketing.
In this episode of EntreNetwork we cover several key topics including:
· From Banker to Business Man: You learn something from Everything (2:55)
· Being yourself in a Corporate World (9:00)
· What, really, does success look like? (22:24)
· Starting a Business: The Ups and Downs (34:05)
· When should I buy a building? (37:14)
Connect with Drayden!
· Connect with him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drayden-dunn-2939573b/
· Visit the Envision Website: https://www.envisionmediateam.com/
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· Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3BOCLtcgUmpIbPjDZsg1IM
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Team RMG 00:00
Welcome to entre network brought to you by revisione marketing group. This podcast is meant to serve as an entrepreneurial knowledge base of wisdom and practical tips in marketing, branding and technology to help grow your business effectively.
Sidney Jackson 00:17
So we’ll, we’ll kind of get started. As far as like the podcast, this is the entre network. So it’s a podcast dedicated to helping small businesses through wisdom, knowledge and on practical tips. So we’ll just kind of go ahead and get started. So great for having me. Of course, man, so great. And Dan, welcome to the entre network. Super excited to have you on man. So, of course, drayden done 32 year old husband, father of two, business owner, man of God. So all of these things, tell me who are you? individually, you
Drayden Dunn 00:56
just said it, um, you know, I’m a creative. I like to create, I like to like, go get things. Huge, huge imagination, that I try to manifest a lot. And sometimes you’re successful, and sometimes you’re not. But I’m, I’m a product of my parents in my environment, which I got great parents and a great family. So a lot of my mom and my dad is embedded within me. And as I get older, I started to see more and more and learn like Dang, okay, I adopted this, and I adopted that. So, but that’s, that’s really a hard question to some of them want to be honest with you, indeed.
Sidney Jackson 01:36
So with that, how did you get into entrepreneurship?
Drayden Dunn 01:41
So, so entrepreneurship, for me, it’s always kind of been in my family. My dad took interest in path like he actually worked for ups for like 39 years, I believe 3730 nights around it just a ridiculous amount of time to stay committed to one company. But during that time, he started autom Auto, Scott Auto Expo, but it was a car business, as well as stepped into real estate life, a rental property. So when I was in high school, he he wanted me to start selling things because I had this gift for gab. And so he comes home and he throws me a brochure of Nikes Jordans. Air Force ones not sure if they were fake or real, okay, I’m sure they weren’t real. And I started selling those and selling candy and just hustling and at the time, I did a lot of music, a lot of rap poetry, Christian Rap, and me and my high school buddies, we did music and once we kept recording music, we took that opportunity to monetize it, and start recording music, writing music, mixing, mastering and producing just for like local artists around Shreveport.
Sidney Jackson 02:56
Indeed, man so so you’re the owner of envision media marketing, why specifically a media marketing company?
Drayden Dunn 03:04
Yeah, kind of found me. Because I’ve always been like a salesman. And I’ve always been interested in business, like the operations, the logistics, on the growth of a business, the sustainability. And I think I really fell in love with like, the business sector. And when I became a banker, I was a banker for about seven years. And during that time, I was like a small business specialist. So every day all day, I just talked to business owners, that’s, that’s all I did. And not just how to I was in their accounts, I was doing loans for them. I was being nosy that was part of being a banker. So when you’re doing that your subconscious is just being filled with so many gems and wisdom. And I was like, okay, so business wise, okay, how can I do what I love to do, which was really media production, it was like entertainment, music, videos, you know, things of that nature, how can I monetize it, and I think having this twofold life which was like suit and tie during the day at the bank, and getting off and going to a studio and producing music and meeting different artists and stuff, it just kind of morphed into like monetization and how to pivot outside of music and really grow it so I like to think that marketing kind of found me it’s a way to show my business activity but still be creative
Sidney Jackson 04:23
indeed with that how have How has your background on in banking and then the food industry and then wrap and then why p e? How did all of this kind of shaped you as a business owner and prepare you for the path ahead?
Drayden Dunn 04:38
That’s a great question. I number one for like, I’m 100% on God’s path. Like I feel like the life that I have right now is ordained by guy like, it’s just a crazy how the opportunities and things mesh together that are not supposed to mesh together, right? Like very, very well. But you learn something from everything from every one, every experience, every person has something for you to learn, for you to be taught. And I think if you go into situations, we open minds and understanding that things are malleable, you can change things, you can form things. You can learn things, you can share things. That really fills you up. And I remember, right before I started, like, working at the bank, I was serving tables, it shatters. And when I was serving tables and chairs, I didn’t feel like I was like a server. I was just draining working chairs, and I still will get off, I still will do music, I still will do video. Like, no job is beneath anything. And I learned from that job, customer service. I learned from that job humility, right. But then on the flip side, from banking, corporate world white collar, meet, meet it meeting meeting, meet the goals, stretch goals, you know, I learned how to carry myself in front of the business people, I saw a million dollar check, you know, as a banker, so I got out of me at 21. So as you move up, and you start seeing some opportunities, experiences, there, they’re not to, you know, you’re not going to be intimidated by it as much, because you’ve seen so many things that have so many experiences. So now, when I hope to grow my business or to do bigger things, I’m comfortable being uncomfortable. And I think that’s what I learned being comfortable with. Because I mean, when you I was uncomfortable in a lot of areas, even rather, it was a white collar. Rather, it was like starting a business from scratch and not knowing if it’s gonna succeed or not losing it, business, I lost businesses, I took a huge loss and I went into debt. But I also was able to understand how like office was ran successfully. You know, how human resources is important. At the end of the day, you’re dealing with people and people matter and how they feel matter. And you have to galvanize them and motivate them. I learned all those things. And I think it was perfect. I think it was perfect. And I just kind of like take things for what they are. If God gives me opportunity and it falls in my lap, I go get in, I manifest it. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you guys. If it doesn’t fall, Thank You, Jesus, thank you God because losses add up to wins. You know, some experiences are gonna cause some experiences are gonna hurt, some experiences are going to teach more than others, you know, you just take them as they come how the chips fall. And that’s what I learned. I’ve been fired, I’ve been rehired, I’ve been promoted, I’ve been demoted. I mean I’ve done those things and I think they all have really helped me to have resilience you know and be persistent and really just trying to expand my business and create a better opportunity for my family and for my staff.
Sidney Jackson 08:10
Indeed man so within these last couple of couple of years it’s been a lot of growth at envision. So your media marketing company I remember quite a while ago when we went after this contract and we was at the office downstairs in the conference room so there was I was in the room when we was just kind of working through different work on workflows and processes and it was a lot of late nights before you even got the contract right um so that just kind of speaks to the commitment that you have and then once you got it you shared and you brought additional people in sort of power of collaboration is always there with you and I’m definitely appreciate it because as you grew we grew as a company as well revision media marketing well revision meeting I love you is similar but yeah, man it is it’s just a lot of growth that I have seen you go through and then you see me go through and some of the stuff like when you get into meetings and you’re with all of these quote unquote important people, you always just kind of bring it down and you be yourself and I can definitely respect that. Um, so how have you been able to maintain who you are as an individual while also growing as a company
Drayden Dunn 09:28
that’s good, um, for so for so long. And for for a lot of times in the corporate world, I was not able to be myself. And I remember like saying when I when I pivoted into my own business like 100% ownership, I want to bring me out more because people know drayden is like crazy dry, funny, dry. By a noxious I like I have fun. A lot of times, no filter to but To turn it on and off. And I think, for so long, I have so many people question my capabilities, and certifications and credibility, particularly in the corporate world, and white collar, that when I got an opportunity, and I got into an environment, that people allow me to be myself, and they wanted that, and they rewarded that, and they bought into that, that moment changed my life completely as an entrepreneur. I was, I can be myself, and y’all can accept that. And a lot of people are walking around on eggshells, and a lot of people are scared, especially in our canceled culture right now. And everything being posted in social media, you know, everything so judgmental, you have to be very careful. So if you get into an environment that people like, except you, and let you be who you are, and you are able to perform and deliver, which is the most important thing, you have struggled lightning, you have it in a bottle, and I had to allow people to show their confidence in me, I have stellar confidence. But I think when I was a young adult, a young professional in my early 20s, people were not just pouring into me. And the people that I surrounded myself with, we kind of was just out there shooting just in the gym, like, I don’t care, because you just you have you’re missing some things upstairs anyway, as far as like, you’re a little naive. So which gives you more courage, so you don’t care, you just you just go go, go. But looking back, we had a lot of people not pour into us. So as I grew in our circle, people started pouring in back into me for being drayden. I was like, This is dope. I don’t ever want to leave this. And it took me having to start my own company, right? And kind of create my own culture and create my own mission and create my own environment. And I got that from like Ava DuVernay who I love one of my favorite directors, at Eva talks about creating her own environment, if you create your own environment, and then you enter the environment that you create, you have more satisfaction, freedom, confidence, and you’ve set an expectation. And when people like meet that expectation that you said, it allows you to perform comfortably, you know, and I think that’s, that’s that’s my goal. Or at least one of them,
Sidney Jackson 12:33
man, with that I’m talking about setting the environment. I remember, I’m super bad with dates. But it was probably like a year ago, when I walked into envision. It was like, he was talking to me about just the overall concepts on design and room on font font sway or something like that. And he was like, hey, the sound, it matters. Because it sets sets the atmosphere, and then how the light bounces off the wall and stuff like that. So you were extremely strategic in terms of setting up the room, and making sure that everything felt right. And that experience was good. So can you talk to me a little bit about that
Drayden Dunn 13:12
just traveling exposure, like you see some real cool stuff. When you go on exploration, I got challenged everyone to be curious and explore. And sometimes you see things that stick with you. And you say well, that’s cool. I’ve never saw this before, is given me a vibration, and then now you’re chasing that nostalgia or just that same feeling. And I’m you know, I just believe there’s not a lot of rules when it comes to like, I’m creating a space that complements you. And I wanted to see myself in what everything I did. So yeah, that’s why my furniture matters. And this aesthetic matters. And having breakfast club on, you know, some days when I walk in. I think that’s cool, you know, there’s this different. Other people do it in bigger cities. And there’s just so much lacking, you know, Environment Matters. And I really care about like, what my team feels and what they think and what they want to see, you know, because they have to work in that environment. And I’m more of a like energy person. So I prefer to work in person I prefer, you know, tag towel, I prefer us getting in a room and sharing the space and filling the energy. Because you see, you know, expressions, you know, it’s more focus, you know, so why everyone’s moving to digital, I might put a mask on and get in the same room. So like, not as cool as this. creative outlets. You know, very important. You know, think about it like, you know, we’re we’re creators because of our Creator. So we haven’t, we have to be creative. All of us are creators. All of us are creative. And I think for when you’re creative, you get creative blocks. So you have to be real intentional about being diverse in what you’re creating, you just can’t create the same thing, you know, create something new that you haven’t tried before. I’m not a good like, draw, I can’t draw too well. But I still draw. I do because I’m creating something. And while you’re drawing you, you start you just your mind goes, and I’m just I got a bunch of ideas, Sydney, all the time. And now I just like, I like going for him. And I like creating them in Toronto, man, that is so fulfilling. Yeah, yeah. So that’s what the whole like office space kind of thing was, it’s like creating an environment. Something that talks to you something that absorbs and gives off energy. And that is something that I just want to continue to move into, as a serial entrepreneur is really development and creating spaces for other people to really thrive.
Sidney Jackson 16:00
So creating spaces and creating businesses Why? Why the big jump into 100% ownership? Because you you started a business with YP back in 2007.
Drayden Dunn 16:13
Yeah, to senior year of high school, and then we incorporated 2008.
Sidney Jackson 16:18
Yeah. So how much freedom? Well, why the big jump, and then how much freedom has that allowed for you to really have that creative freedom.
Drayden Dunn 16:28
So why the big jump is because bread, one of my best friends, the majority owner of young pros, has his vision. And I respect his vision. And he has to be married to that vision. And I needed to give him space and give myself space to carry out my vision. And their compliment, it is complimentary. Because the manifestations and the fruit of envision comes from hallward that I deal with young pros entertainment, and us spending nights there and not sleeping and doing groundwork, which is pro bono free stuff. Or taking the string pay cuts and things of that nature, we learned so much together, we push one another. And then you get to a point to where you like, Well, God has given me a separate vision, not a better vision, not a not a lesser vision, it’s just a different vision. And it’s so much we need more we needed that he needed that I needed that. Come on, Tony, we all need it. Because there’s so much for all of us to give. And there’s so much out there to be taken. So that’s what it did now freeing it up. For me, what they did was, you kind of have no you have to get in a room and battle everything out for the decisions that you made for the business, I made the decision and I carried out brothers win, lose or draw. So with that, you move more expeditiously which ideas and sometimes you get more fulfillment because it is your sole idea. And you get to manifest that idea. So it allowed me just to kind of go into this different type of niche marketing and communications that focuses more on a lower quantity of clients with more upside. And that’s kind of what where I want to be I want to be married to my clients for a long time. And I want to see their initiatives and their businesses grow. And with that, that keeps us sustainable. It also like gives me an opportunity to be fulfilled with their growth. So yeah.
Sidney Jackson 18:41
With that, Brandon, so he’s one of your late friends and he has a really incredible influence on you. How in the building that you’re purchasing or that you closed on and you’re renovating is named after him. So how much influence has he had on you?
Drayden Dunn 18:59
Yeah, Loris is so my best friend is boom comb. Brandon Alexander lost them two years ago plus, and literally just put that out there imagine you talk to someone every day. And out of that you get stronger, and you make them stronger. And then you just abruptly take that loss. Um, you know, that was a still is a difficult time for me. But in that season, it was crazy because it was a season opportunity and it was a season of a loss for me. Um, and for me, it really hurt it hurt me creatively, because that was my creative go to. Brandon wasn’t about business. He was about living in the moment creating, let’s go for it. Like period. We balanced each other because I was the business acumen to our relationship. So if I lost a portion of my balance board, because I still have great friends and colleagues that are balanced creative ideas, but I lost a creative bounce board and they made me go dormant creatively. So now they forced me to be more intentional about looking for ways to create again, you know, because we used to create music together and film together and write scripts together, you know, and that kind of went dormant a little bit. But it also gave me an opportunity to stand on my own. And he gave me a why, you know, do this for him, you know, Do this in remembrance of him, do this, in spite of the lost his show, like don’t let this stop, like, keep moving forward. So it was crazy how we kind of, to the building that we purchased how we acquired that, which was, again, nothing but God, like people don’t understand how attainable that actually was, you know, because he aligned it, it literally was aligned by him. Hi, when, and I remember when I when I viewed the building and start thinking of what we can do for it. And I wanted to make it a industrial, modern creative space, that you can have social lives and going on, you know, creativity going on, but also business. And I was like, man, like, Brandon will go crazy because we both love downtown. And when I walked outside, and I don’t know why I didn’t notice it. But when I when I made the decision that I wanted to somehow bring him into it in some way I looked up and the building name was Percy Alexander, which is brand his last name to because of the former CPA, his family that owned it that we bought it for from so I was like, how is Alexander repetitions here? It has to be, you know, has this is a fate, right? That the building was owned by Alexander named at the Alexander and I wanted to name it after it just happened and is perfect. So now I can pay homage to both. Percy who owned the building was a CPA who invested in Shreveport, Louisiana, as well as my best friend Brandon. So not it’s gonna be dope. He’s gonna somehow find his way Brandon will find his way once we renovate the building because he loves kitchen Pokemon downtown. And we probably got some dope Pokemon at our building.
Sidney Jackson 22:22
Yeah. I don’t catch them. All right. So for you drayden at 32 Yeah, what’s your definition of success? Because I’ll tell you a story. As far as like my entrepreneurial journey. It’s been fun, stressful, and extremely rewarding. So back in 2014, I was still in high school, I was graduating high school. And success for me was money. Yeah, I’m so super young, super broke, or just realizing that we’re the family, our family wasn’t well off, right. Um, I realized that senior year of high school, and it was like, Oh, and I picked up a camera and I started doing photography and video, and all of these things and started doing music videos funny enough. And it was like, Okay, I need to make more money, people pay for this service. So money is success. And then fast forward. 2017 when I started the business for time for time, success was kind of defined by more so understanding business. So I was green, super fresh, new into business. And working downstairs, it was like, hey, I need to understand how business kind of works. Because it’s, it’s tough. And I found out that relationship building was a critical component of business. And then fast forward to 2019. father, husband, Success to me at that point, was more so getting more sleep. So it was a lot of stuff that I had to go through as far as like, becoming a new dad and then being a husband. So success was always kind of changing. And then 2021. Currently, success is defined by personal happiness, and sustainability on a personal side and on the business side. So that’s how success has kind of been defined throughout my journey. kind of tell me about your success and how you define it
Drayden Dunn 24:30
may sound like an echo chamber, you did a great job. I think you just define what success is on the tail end of the soliloquy, but success. It’s interesting. Um, it’s gonna be different for everyone. Let me put that out there because it’s tied to goals and expectations and everyone has different goals. Now sometimes you achieve a goal and you think you have success and just nice I wasn’t it’s not what I thought it would be. But particularly for me, it’s about lifestyle. uncomfortability and family, putting them in positions to thrive to be healthy, to do things that they love. People are not doing things that they love everyday man, they just not. I go ask somebody that’s at work and say, Do you love what you do? No, I have to be here I have bills, you know. So if you can find that happy spot to do what you love to do, whatever that is, that is success, if you can sustain and maintain that, you have to by monetizing it, right. So for me is waking up doing what I want to do what I want to do, I want to like direct film, I want to galvanize and motivate individuals, I want to inspire them, I want to learn, I want to be challenged. You know, like these are things that I look for I chase curiosity, you know, if I can do that everyday, that’s fine. And then guess what go travel. And traveling is linked more to exposure, right? We have a lot of great people that came before us, it created great things, you know, infrastructure architecture, you know, in in the number one person who created the most beautiful things this guy, so nature, I, we have to go see those things. They take resources. So there’s going to be sacrifice, you got to sacrifice some things that you’re uncomfortable doing and don’t want to do. But that’s part of obtaining success. But of course, it’s about being uncomfortable and loving what you do every single day. Dad is in family, right? And the reason I can say families because family will always be your family. And sometimes we find friends that are more family than our family and their family too. But I learned is like of course I got Kayden who’s a six month baby right now six months. All right, call me from a hard day, or I’m frustrated or just wasn’t great. He sent us Malin. And that moment right there, of going in and seeing this mountain and Sam, my wife and seeing Christian and you know, being able to see her parents, my parents, and they be proud of us like dad. That puts things in perspective.
Team RMG 27:08
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Drayden Dunn 27:40
Because social media is like killing the definition of success by comparison facades, you know about pressure in the society. So you have to unplug because you can’t allow anyone to define success for you. Or happiness. And success is happiness. That’s pretty much what it is. So we’re talking about two interchangeable things. And you have to make a decision of what that is for you. And that’s important. And only way you can do that. It’s really about unplugging, shredding everything off and saying like, what really makes me happy. You know? And how can I do this every day? How can I do that? What makes me happy every day? And is this sustainable? Okay, it cannot leave cannot leave something. And the leaving part is important because everyone left something for us. So God blesses you with some things, and people invest into your life. And all the stars align, you have a responsibility to leave something behind. And to teach, reach one teach one. So for me, you know, that is all of that combined is success. And it needs to be goal oriented. You need to set new goals all the time. And that sense of accomplishment kind of helps you really measure the success that you obtain.
Sidney Jackson 29:02
Success is always resetting. Yeah, yeah, indeed. So definitely. So from business, a business standpoint. It’s always a roller roller coaster ride. So you have these high points and these low points. For you personally, what has been one of the highest points in your business? And then what are the lowest points and how you were kind of able to overcome that?
Yeah, the highest point of my business. Honestly, I used to be able to employ the people that work with me every day. And they’re phenomenal. They’re great. They have families, they’re making money, they’re learning, they’re being challenged, trustworthy. And, I mean, I think I take pride that I have all of my African American staff, I really do. That’s super dope to me, because in this marketing world, as well as serial entrepreneurship, that is a very difficult thing to do and to have, you know, so the highest point is saying, I have a company that has employees, they get paid. And that, to me is dope, because we’re creating a resource and giving back. So that’s the high point, I want to continue to grow that and, you know, Share, share and things of that nature. And this moment right here, just this moment, I don’t, I’m not a regretful person. So like, this is the, this is the, the, I guess, the apex right now until tomorrow, I, you know, I take it all in stride, you know, I’m the lowest of the low, let’s see.
Drayden Dunn 30:44
I mean, I had this company one time, in transportation, and we had a bunch of trucks. And like in a month span, two of them was stolen and one completely sold out. Yeah, we lost a lot of money. So that was a low point. And I had to start all the way over, I built a nest egg, when we bring in the business partner, and they didn’t go too well. That was a long time. But I don’t even I don’t even know if it was low, because it just like, hit a reset. And I pivoted into something else. And I learned so much from that and gave me an Acer strategy to force me to exit the industry. So I mean, I don’t know, it’s really hard to say low points, because it’s like,
Sidney Jackson 31:34
it is a learning experience. Yeah, high points to really allow for you to push toward a path.
Drayden Dunn 31:42
But just because it’s for business people as well, I want to stay true to that for envision it was when I did have a staff, and I didn’t have money. Because what happens is like you get into a cash flow. Cash Flow is very important indeed. And when you’re talking about performance services, and then having like a net 15 or net 30, or a pay when paid clause in your contract, that you also have a biweekly pay schedule, we have payroll taxes, with expenses that are not really thought about. And with aggressive, like equipment acquisition to make things happen, that was difficult for me. And I really don’t know how I got through I think we just skin and bones is cut, I had to cut my salary temporarily, and just not pay myself and just get by until the cash flow caught up. Because like the margins is hard to like, sometimes be profitable. And get an understanding your profit when you have so much in accounts receivable. And then you have your your reserve cash reserves, that you have your debt, that you have your expenses, and then you have like unforeseen liabilities as pop up. So like getting my footing for all of that, at first was extremely difficult. But I knew it was going to take around six months to turn it and it happened. And so that was that was a low point for envision. But for me, there are no low points I put out, I just want to put this out there because I think this is important I shoot a lot of shots, I shoot a lot of shots, I go after a lot of clients, I go out to a lot of like opportunities and knock on a lot of doors, I do a lot of proposals. And the majority, the majority of them fail 95% fail, maybe a higher percentage than that. So like some people may look at it, you know, people get discouraged or like I don’t, I don’t just keep shooting, you know, and um, because at the end of the day, the quality upside of it going in and happening. It just out is no downside to attempting to market your business and to promote your business and to take an opportunity and to take a chance. So when it doesn’t happen, you get up the next day and you try again like it’s not that bad. So like, um, I went through a period of time to where I was shooting a lot of shots and they were breaking, breaking, breaking, breaking, breaking, breaking, breaking. And I went through another period of time when I started envision when I started and when I quit my job at the bank. And I started envision number one my wife did not want me to quit. She told me to go ask for my job back. I didn’t get we talked about everything. I didn’t get her blessing for it. Okay, I did not blast off my company. After I quit the bank. We lost money. I asked her to sell some personal things. Um, my credit score dropped tremendously. I got behind on all of my bills, I had a 505 credit score. I had a negative net worth. Like all of that happened when I quit the bank. And I started my own business envision and that was a very troublesome season. For me and my family, I lost trust in my wife, I lost trust in my parents. I just kept pushing. And I took work as it came. And it was extremely difficult. But even during that time, just like I mentioned at the beginning, like when I was a server, I was drayden. When I was losing, I was draining. And draining is someone who’s gonna keep pushing I’m, I’m just gonna keep pushing and try and like, I know what has been promised to me. I’ve seen it go up, I’ve seen it go down, I seem to go up or go down, like we can go get it again. And persistency cane, kept pushing, and then a few shots went in, and then you build momentum off of that. And the perfect time to win is right after you won. So yeah,
Sidney Jackson 35:47
geez, that’s a good one, the perfect time to win is right after you won. So funny story I had back in, I think 2017 2018. When I went full time, it was like a period of a lot of stress. But at the same time, I was young, right? So I didn’t have a lot of responsibilities. My girlfriend, my wife at the time, well, wife now girlfriend at the time. We didn’t have a lot of personal expenses, of course, you have student loans, but who’s going to pay that right? But realistically, it’ll get paid. But I had an opportunity come after three months. And it was like, Okay, this is some pretty good money. Um, so I’m focused on sustainability for this contract. I mean, it lasted probably three months. So no money, negative cash flow within a business wife, my wife, I’m paying all of the bills, the little bills that we had, and I’m just like, Okay, how do I get more revenue? Because I had the space downstairs and it’s like, you have to go ahead and pay for this space. I had a cash reserves, but it’s depleting quickly. And then I get this contract and it’s three months and I’m living like I was but the business has some revenue Lin and I failed to go after additional opportunities. Why I had that one. Um, so it’s extremely important to always shoot your shot. Always try to sell always go after the next thing because sustainability growed. You have to have it. So what envision what made you decide to purchase a building? Why is that the next step? Because you’ve been here at the office up for two years,
Drayden Dunn 37:37
yeah, two and a half years, because I worked out in an officer conference room every day for six months, like, every day, I had to flex This is all I could afford. And I will just book a conference room every single day, and work there and leave so and I and at the time, I was meeting with Brandon, I was working on a script that I’m gonna wind up shooting. And I remember I told him, I was like, Man, I’m gonna get an office here next and that, you know, he passed away in like, two months after that I got an office. Right. So that was crazy. I wish you could have saw that. But to answer your question, Why buy a purchase, why we’re purchasing a building? It’s because we have a burn rate. I mean, this business, Jesus, I mean, I don’t, I mean, I pay do do both businesses. I’ve paid rent downtown for over 10 years period. But for envision, specifically, I mean, my expenses, just just do the roof. I mean, it’s time to invest. And I wanted equity, I wanted something that I can invest in. I wanted to see ROI, right. And frankly, I outgrew the space, we have five members of staff with three offices, we share offices, we share space. Also, I wanted to bring in a media production in house studio, that we can do more videography, audio recording that we can build sets for and things of that nature. And then also you just talked about it, additional revenue, right? We got to be creative and how we are like producing revenue and income for your business. And sometimes it’s kind of changing the services or the goods that you offer or expanding on those things. By having a building I can also do subleasing. By having a building, I can do event coordination or event rental space rental. By having a building I can look forward three, four or five years and say if my staff grows, I can bring them in and I don’t have to worry about where I’m going. As well as you’re building equity in the property the same way if you purchase a home and you pay the mortgage down and increases your net worth, and you get equity in a home that you can later Later leverage to acquire more capital or new asset to really grow your business. Plus, I just freaking love Shreveport. I live downtown. I always have I wanted to be there. I wouldn’t have thought that I would purchase a building on taystee Street. I if you asked me now cuz it’s probably The state and it just was ridiculous that that building was on sale for so long. So I guess it was for me. But that’s why and I think, for other businesses like, I why, when do you know, because this thing is about when do you know, right? Or it’s about a lot of stuff. But when do you know it’s time to purchase ability for your business, it depends what type of business that you have, right? If you are producing a good and you’re in manufacturing, and you have a cost of goods and a whole process to create something, you need space for that, right, and you can use your home unless you have people that needs to help you or you outgrow that space. Also, it depends if you’re selling something and you need foot traffic, if you want people to occupy your space, and you have a showroom, and they need to engage in a product and they don’t trust bondages. online, you need to create a space for people to come in and engage with your product, and really don’t have that face to face interaction that helps sale what you have. So that’s important, right? But it’s kind of a catch 22. Because I do think envision could operate remotely or digitally, but I just don’t want that I want to create space where I can kind of work with my people. And I think in a society today, especially with business, everything is going to digital, everything, right? So I’m just old school sometimes. And I like some brick and mortar stuff. And I like seeing people and inviting people and being a showman and having guests and being a great host. And, you know, that’s not dead. I mean, where people you know, so we need to humanize some stuff. So my people are moving that way, I’m moving the other way. And I think that the investment in downtown is important, they need to see what what happens when a city and a group of people, or a community of people invest in one another. And that person is a good steward of the resources and they reinvested into the community, and give them opportunity to see growth. Number one, that’s the best thing to do is what you’re supposed to do. Number two, you have youth in people that are upcoming and they’re they’re cognizant of what happened and there’s, they want to see what we are doing. So if they see revision InVision young pros like grow and acquire things and give back and now we’re doing community, you know, events and art shows and giving back and festivals and things of that nature. They see it, they believe it, they get exposed to it, you know, so it’s an inspiration thing to it as well, your downtown to be seen and to invest in the future of Shreveport, right? Um, and we I just like selling our city, you know, so all of that, all of that. But, you know, my wife’s a CPA, only get a building if you can afford it. It’s not for everybody, only if it’s necessary. But literally my mortgage for the building is a lot less than my rent, right? Even with the utilities. So it’s not like I just took this big financial risk either. So yeah, it just made sense.
Sidney Jackson 43:14
He was man, I can definitely hear all of the passion for Shreveport. And that’s been this sort of theme. Ever since I kind of met you. I came from NEC edition. And we I think we met at this event for the African American Chamber of Commerce. Oh, when I was doing well when you was doing um, photography or video for them, right? And it was just passion leaking off of you for Shreveport. And he was like, yeah, we can definitely connect we can collaborate from that first interaction with you. And then fortunately enough, we moved to Shreveport and it was like, I fell in love with Shreveport because I fell in love with the people on my fell in love with the atmosphere that we have here at the office up and all of the interactions that we have. So personally, I think you are one of the biggest advocates for Shreveport that I know, and it’s extremely contagious. So when people talk down on St. Paul, he’s like, No, I know drayden done. I know candies about teas. I know all these people who love the city and really do positive things for the city. So you invested in downtown Shreveport, man, it’s it’s really good to see that see that passion been fulfilled? In a sense? Yeah. Um, so yeah, of course, man.
Drayden Dunn 44:37
I just wanted to shout out James thrower who owns the Office of because, you know, he bought this building that we’re sitting in right now. And he renovated he put a lot of bread in this facility for small businesses to occupy to grow their business, right? And so look at that. Alright. He built this for or renovated this or purchased this to create a space for micro businesses to get a good start to grow. So they can do the same thing. And literally, that’s what happened, you know, like, he allowed me to come in, I got to flex this, I’m paying 175 a month, to be a member of the Office of and I’m working it, you know, I’m using every, every, almost any fire, right? Then get an opportunity to move upstairs, acquire a few offices, grow my business, hire more staff, partner with you. And then after, you know, two and a half years, it’s time for me to, you know, acquire my own and do the same, that, you know, just we need that as mentorship, that’s showing us how to do it and on Yes, I’m an advocate for Shreveport, and I want everyone to know that, you know, the mentality that we have here is so important. You know, it’s so important to believe it’s so important to aspire so important to affirm, you know, there’s times where I’m in the right, I’m in this, you know, funk that everybody gets in, and I’m always gonna still speak goodness, I’m always gonna still be positive. This is me, and we all are going to have our moments because there’s a real realistic, like, thing happening in the city. Everything is we’re human, everything is not going to be great. But it’s about how you respond to things when they’re not so great. And the solutions that we offer, and the persistence that we have, and the endurance that we show, like we need to continue to move forward. Because the goal is growth, the goal is to give back, the goal is to invest the goal is to bring in, the goal is to bring up and like that’s not going to be easy. And I get tired of like people acting like everything has to be easy to accomplish. And when things are difficult, we don’t attempt it. And that’s not how we should be it’s just because things are hard. That doesn’t mean you run away, the difficult we do the impossible we strive for it is doable, things are doable, even when they’re hard. And it is hard to change the mentality of a community, it is hard to take away generations of way sometimes and bring that forward to take a population of people that maybe didn’t believe or didn’t have the same shared resources or the equity that’s necessary to be successful. I that is hard, and it doesn’t happen overnight. And it may not even happen, you know, for us to see, I don’t know, I just know we need to move it forward. And we need to pass it back, you know, or pay it forward. But they really say so. Yeah, I love his report.
Sidney Jackson 47:43
Indeed, man. And I’m showcasing that it’s possible, because who knew who knew that you were able to buy a building in downtown Shreveport. So with that, going back to the build and right, um, he’s, I think you spoke earlier on in the podcast, he was like, people don’t understand how attainable it is. And with that, this is probably one of those points where you can talk about your wife. Yeah, Hint, hint. Right. Right. But because shameless plug, indeed, um, because it matters given back. Um, but how attainable is it? In a sense, what’s the biggest challenge you had, when closing on a building that you didn’t really foresee before
Drayden Dunn 48:25
is, is having your paperwork together. That is everyone’s challenge for micro businesses, for minority owned businesses. For new businesses, right? You have to keep track and be and be accountable for everything, your dollars, your taxes on your forecast is your payroll, your liabilities, of course, which is debt, your business plan, which is how you’re going to monetize and be profitable, um, the way that you personally handle your business too, because if you’re a business that is under two years of establishment, you have to personally guarantee all your loans for the financial institution, that is very difficult. So if you don’t have a 750 and you don’t have a debt to income ratio, that is under 45% on your personal side, but you have a newer business, it is going to be damn near impossible to get funding and access to capital. So you have to clean up your personal side. You have to pay down your debt and liabilities take your collections off. Make make sure that you have cash on hand a little bit of it at least, and get your credit score up. If you have a business under two years, because when you go to get a business loan, they’re gonna refer everything to your personal so once you do establish your business and it is after two years, you have to make sure that you have everything taken care of on your paperwork. You That you’re profitable. This is ideas, man, listen, I lost all of my money, Sydney, and I’ve been losing all of my money for last two years. And when I say I lose, like I literally lose it, and I just fall out my pocket. People take it from me. But can I get $1,000? Oh, and I’ll pay you back next week? Don’t say no, because you’re not credible. You’re claiming losses, you know. So the bank in the financial institutions and angel investors, they’re looking at how you’re handling the current cash, and the cash flow and the profitability of your company. And they take that into consideration when you get alone. You know, think about from a personal standpoint, what is one of the easiest things to acquire when it comes to a loan is a car, a car is something that is a it’s a it’s an asset that you can’t take back. So yes, they’re gonna give you the car because the guy was take the car back, it’s a secured loan is secured with collateral, right? So the Impalas they want to sell a bunch of cars, because they make a lot of money with good interest rates. But, um, it’s easy to acquire, for a business to get unsecured money, like just a line of credit, or a cash loan, how you gonna pay me back? Are you profitable? I mean, is it coming in? You got clients, what’s your plan for next year? If there’s a five year term on it? What is your plan for five years, I say what you have now, but what are you going to do in year three, so you have to, like, take care of your personal first. And once you do that, you need to make sure that you’re being very, very conservative in the way that you spend your money for your business, any investments that you choose to make, right, and, um, but we were talking about, I said, it wasn’t as hard to obtain. What I’m saying is, it was a piece of real estate that was affordable. If I’m already paying X amount of money for two and a half years for rent, that means I can pay less over here. So that makes sense for the lender to give you that opportunity. I mean, everything is logical. Now I will point out that we still have a long way to go with fair lending. And that’s why one of the biggest like asset pass to close the generational wealth gap, which is very important to me, was the Fair Lending Act. And working in the bank, I learned a lot about how people judge you when you come in, and what assumptions they will make for certain businesses and certain people that they won’t make for others also learn how how paperwork is viewed sometimes subjectively, and how things are manipulated in that industry. And so there’s some there’s some, there’s some obstacles other than the legitimization, that the lenders are responsible for, to really change the way that they do business, right. So the best thing that we can do is to get our stuff together. And I will say another word, but get it together. Yes, plug my wife, she’s a CPA, you need someone to help you with your forecast, though, for tax savings, to make sure your payroll is good to make sure that you’re not going to get a tax lien, or you’re not going to go into much debt with with, you know, the state or the face or the city right for the taxes. You also are going to need an attorney that makes sure that all your things are good, you know, your client relations, his scope of services, the protection against your goods, you know, and sometimes honestly a business consultant of someone who has been successful before you that can add value to your company. Those are things that you need, and they help legitimize your business. So you as a business owner can focus on your product or your service, because everyone’s not going to want to tap into accounting, and in lending and stuff like that. You may just have a passion for baking cakes, you may have a passion for teaching or tutoring, you may have a passion just for building this product or being a stylist or barber or starting a sports league or it’s so many different things that passions can be monetized. And it’s important for you to focus on these things, and you need other people to help you legitimize your business. So when it’s time for you to grow, or it’s time for you to have a moment of sustainability, and you’re not getting a cash flow, you can go get access to capital. And the last thing we need is for the NSA out your paperwork. Now, now we’re gonna get that together. You know, I’m saying so that’s why I happen is because we had our stuff together. And I have to commend my wife who’s a big part of the success for envision, and she’s my unofficial CFO, right? So it allows me to focus on my craft and my day to day operations.
Sidney Jackson 54:51
Beautiful man. So what’s so I’m just kind of wrapping up the podcast. This was incredible By the way, man. Appreciate the time. Energy and space? Well, of course. So entrepreneurship, from all of your years of entrepreneurship and constant improvement and just learn and overall, what’s a last piece of advice or wisdom that you would give to someone try and grow this
Drayden Dunn 55:15
too. So it’s twofold. So first, I’ll speak to entrepreneurs and just say go, if you get nicked up, or if you hurt, or if you lose, that is a part of your story is not the conclusion. Keep pushing through period. It’s okay to pivot. Everyone pivots when COVID happen, how many new drive throughs that we see how many new curves and we see how many new businesses that we see hail if he was making, if you have fabric, you can make a mask. You had L’Oreal who may make up switches, hand sanitizers, you have to be able to pivot and it’s okay to do that. And just because things are hard, that doesn’t mean give up. And if you go and cry, cry to keep going not to give up, you’re gonna cry, this stuff is hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it. But I do want to speak to a professional who loves what they do, but is an entrepreneur because I think we have audience that they’re just interested in everything. And I want to say this everyone is that we cannot continue to romanticize entrepreneurship under professionalism and having a great job, okay? It is not for everyone, if someone has a nine to five, or a five to nine, or they’re a professional, and they work within a network or a great Corporation, they are successful, too. Right? Because we’re pushing people that are not made for entrepreneurship sometimes into it, and they’re getting ate up. And they’re getting compared to entrepreneurs, because we have this romanticizing energy with being a boss. And I don’t think that’s for everyone. And we need to stop like encouraging people to be a boss and just to be leaders, and all of us can lead professionals can lead entrepreneurs can lead, you know, and and at the end of the day, you asked the question earlier about success, you know, what is it like, owning your own business does not define success. I don’t give a damn how profitable it is, or how much money you’re making. It’s about getting up and loving what you do and bringing it home to your family. So that’s what I
Sidney Jackson 57:17
got, indeed, man, hitting it right on the head. Because I’m getting into business. It’s like, it’s to romanticize and it’s a lot of hills and valleys, there’s a lot of constant worry, I mean, you once you get off work at five, it’s not like you’re really truly off, you still have all these thoughts, you still have to say, hey, how can we increase cash flow? How can we increase revenue? How can we keep these people on? How can we go after additional contracts, it’s a lot that’s always spinning constantly. So it’s a balance that you have to have. And as far as entrepreneurship, just know that you want to go into it. And before you do that, consult with somebody who’s already did it, because they’ll let you know hopefully, how much crap that you have to eat. How many late nights how many sacrifices you’ll have to make in in the world of business. But yeah, man, thank you.
Drayden Dunn 58:17
Welcome, man. I appreciate the opportunity, man. We’re proud of you as well. What you’re doing here, y’all just keep pushing. You got a great team, great energy, creative space. I love it. You know, entrepreneurs, man, just push through, just push through. Probably y’all are proud of the city proud of the people. All positive energy, you know, I appreciate it.
Sidney Jackson 58:38
Of course. Thank you for coming on to that network man
Drayden Dunn 58:41
that your network is going down envision revision. Yes. Thanks
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