Building a 7 Figure Software Business… Without Knowing How To Code – Seye Omisore / Pic Pic Social

EPISODE 4 – Seye Omisore, Founder of Pic Pic Social

Listen in to this conversation with Seye Omisore, Founder of Pic Pic Social, a very successful software product in the photo booth industry.

Seye shares:

  • how he was profitable within the first month
  • how to build a 7 figure software product in a niche industry, without knowing how to code
  • why software is such a great business to be in and what are the pitfalls to be aware of

Show notes:

[expand title=”Click here for the raw, unedited transcript:”]

This transcript was automatically generated using Descript.

Ismail: Welcome to the bound to be rich podcast, where I attempt to reverse engineer people who seem to be successful, no matter the circumstances, so that you can apply those lessons to your own life. I’m your host is ed. In this episode, we are joined by Shama sore, the man behind one of the most successful software products in the photo booth industry pick, pick social, an iPad based social sharing program.

He was profitable within the first month and built it to seven figures in revenue, in a niche industry without knowing how to code he’s now branched out into two more software products for photo booth business owners. We discuss why this software business is arguably the best business to be in how he discovers ideas for new products and how he builds them to millions in revenue without knowing how to.

Let’s dive in.

Shay. Welcome to the show, man. Thanks for coming here. Hey man, 

Seye: it’s a pleasure. Thanks for having me. 

Ismail: I, I appreciate it. I know you, uh, I’ve known you for years. I think you’re most known for being the person behind probably one of the most successful software products in the photo booth industry ever. Um, but before we get into that,

Backstory of Seye

Ismail: I I’d like to hear more about, like, where were you before that?

What were you doing before you got into that software product? 

Seye: Um, so before I got into pic social, um, I was actually just running a photo booth company, a photo booth rental company, like everybody else. Um, and just with, and I guess even before that, Right. What was I doing before that? Um, I was trying to start a staffing agency actually, even before I got into.

Yeah. So initially I was trying to get into the staffing agency to do staffing for experiential. What’s known as experiential marketing. And I started working initially with DJs because I was actually trying to, uh, build actually my first software, uh, platform to manage all the brand ambassadors that we were gonna have nationwide, ideally.

And I started just working with DJs on the local level, just hiring them out to schools and birthday parties and weddings, et cetera. And I was just kind of making, you know, little profits off of sending them out to go do their events. But then I still had the hassle of, you know, going and helping them set up equipment, et cetera.

And actually one of the schools asked about if we had a photo booth. and I had, I don’t even think I knew what a photo booth was, but I’m the type of person that never says no to anything. And that’s always been a challenge of mine. So I went online, researched what a photo booth was. And I had before I knew what I had said yes to them.

I looked at the prices and I was like, all right, if I can get seven more of these high schools to say yes to this photo booth idea, I would have enough for the deposit. I I’m, I could take it enough ins to go and build my first photo booth and buy all the equipment that I would need to, by the time I was gonna do the first event.

Uh, so, you know, that’s kind of how I got my start is trying to staff people at events slowly turn into actually just staffing DJs initially. And then from there, from the DJ perspective or from the DJ staffing, Just got into photo booths and just ran with it ever since. 

Ismail: So you mentioned even with the DJ staffing, like you were focused on making it into a software, right.

Did you have a background in software? Did you know development? Uh, where did that come from? 

Seye: So it wasn’t the DJ staffing portion of it, but it was the, it was the event staffing for brand ambassadorships. Like, you know, like, have you, alright, so you’ve been to like Costco or those big chains and they’ve got people hanging in there and they’re giving you samples right, right.

Of things to eat. All right. So all of those, those, those people are basically brand ambassadors and they’re staffed from an agency, let’s say. So there’s this company in, uh, California called on coordination wide. I used to do a lot of events for them and they would basically just have staff nationwide that they would just send out.

They’d send you an email. Hey, these are the job assignments that are available and you kind of just choose what job it is that you wanna go and, um, apply for. And you work as a 10 99 contractor to give you the information and you go to the event and you, you know, you go do whatever you gotta do. And then you get paid within, let’s say 90 days.

Um, there were things in that process that I didn’t like. So my goal was to basically I wanted to rebuild what they had done and do it better. Um, so that was the initial software idea that I had. 

Ismail: But I guess what 

Did you have a background in software?

Ismail: I’m trying to drill more into is like, now everyone wants to build software, the SA software as a service model, everyone thinks it makes a lot of sense.

But back then, why were you so focused on like improving the software, billing something better? Did you have a background in software? Did you like learn about the business model? Why were you so like pulled in that direction even from back then? That’s a 

Seye: good question. Um, and I, I, I, I’ve never actually thought about it really until now.

I just knew that I didn’t, I just knew that I wanted that that was the type of business that I wanted to get into. So I didn’t really understand the concept of SAS. It wasn’t until like, maybe like, like two years into pick social that I, that I realized with a SAS product was. But initially it was really just, uh, just, just an idea.

Um, and I, so I didn’t have like any formal training in, in technology or in computer science when I was 14, 15 years old. I was I, how old are you? Ish. You like 30 something? 

Ismail: Oh yeah. I’m I’m, I’m around there. I’m in my low thirties. 

Seye: So you, do you remember a, you remember AOL? Yeah. All right. I’m gonna, I’m gonna throw something out, out loud that I probably haven’t said in like ages.

Have you ever heard of punters from AOL? 

Ismail: No, I don’t think so. 

Seye: Okay. So punters were these programs that you could create. For AOL that, you know, they kind of messed with people like that were in the chat rooms. Right. They were like, basically they were bots. So I actually first started programming by learning how to build those punters way, way, way, way, way back in the day.

Um, I, and I, I reached a point where I hit a plateau with the level of knowledge that I knew at that time, the level of knowledge that I had at the time, there was no YouTube university and there wasn’t anybody around me who was a programmer that I could connect with to, I guess, break past that knowledge barrier that I had.

And then I kind of was overwhelmed with computers at that time. Cause I was like, cuz it was, if anybody had a computer issue that would come to me and it was just too much. And I was like, you know what, screw computers like I was, I just kind of gave it all up and I actually went to college to, to, to be, uh, to do, um, to be a psychologist.

So I completely was going the O the full opposite spectrum. Of doing computers. It wasn’t until, you know, uh, when I got started with Plet social, that I actually took a return to it. So no formal trainings to answer your question. I 

Ismail: mean, that’s fascinating though. So first of all, my wife studied psychology too, which present its own challenges with us.

um, but you, you seem drawn to computers even at a young age. Unlike not many people are sitting there building these, what is it? Punter? I guess those are the things that kick people outta chat rooms. 

Seye: yeah. That’s the part I didn’t wanna say. 

Ismail: Yeah. I’m guessing I’m guessing from the name, but if you didn’t have people around you that were into that, um, like how did you get that seed planted in you so early?

I have no 

Seye: clue, man. Just spending way too much time on the internet being, uh, at fourth and fifth grade and seeing some people do some cool shit and I’m like, how the hell are you guys doing that? Um, and then just kind of being sent on the, on the path of, of, of discovery, you know, it was interesting. Yeah.

Or just a lot of self toward stuff at that time. 

Ismail: So on top of that, right? You have the tech leaning, 

Photo booth entrepreneur to software business

Ismail: uh, for whatever reason, it’s interesting to you. You wanna build a software product, you still have the entrepreneurial mindset of like, just doing whatever it can make money. It sounds like cuz you were, you saw the photo booth opportunity and you went in that direction as a rental company.

That’s very different from software. Were you just looking at that as a way to make money or like why’d you chase that? Yeah, 

Seye: ultimately it was, uh, it was just a way to, uh, just a way to make money and it was, you know, like I said earlier, I was staffing of DJs and what I was making off the top of the DJs, wasn’t really anything in comparison to when I realized how much money I could make staffing up, um, staffing.

Oh, I’m sorry. Renting out the photo booth. Um, so all of a sudden, you know, I could pay somebody let’s say 20, $25 an hour to run the photo booth. Um, and. and, you know, the photo booth was going for maybe a thousand, $2,000 or whatever the heck it was at the time. And I’m making way more profit than I was doing the, um, the staffing out the DJs for the event.

So we were staffing the DJs and the photographers, but again, it was just, it was just so much more of a headache. Whereas the photo booth was just simple and straightforward and the profits were so much more. 

Ismail: Yeah, that’s something that always kinda stood out to me is when I first came across photo booth, I was organizing like these little community events and I’d hire out the band, I’d hire out entertainment.

And I remember one time for a new year’s party. I hired out the band. I got like balloon artists and all these other things. And the most expensive thing was the photo booth. And I’m sitting there at the party. And I’m like, I paid, you know, the band where they have to learn how to play an instrument their whole life years and years of practice.

And this guy just shows up with a box making more money than them without having to learn, like you, it’s still a business, you still gotta learn how to use the tools, but it’s not like learning how to play a trombone for 15 years. Yeah. So that, it just stood out to me as a, as a easy way to, um, increase like your revenue without learning a whole new expertise.

Seye: Yeah, yeah. A hundred percent. And I mean, I guess the challenges that, well, I mean, I definitely had a lot of challenges even within the photo booth portion of it, but when you, when you get past the technical stuff or I guess like their hardware technical stuff, and you get to the point where like, you’re like, okay, I can run this, but how can I actually make this look good?

Right. Especially when you’ve got professional photographers who are walking around. Staring at you in your box and like, what is this? What is this thing? , you know, you, you want it to look good. You want the outputs to look good? So that was, I guess, the next plateau that I reached, which was, you know, reaching out to my photographer friends and actually going online and learning about ISO and aperture and all of these things that I had no clue, you know, I was the guy shooting on, on, uh, on, on full OTO.

I mean, I still shoot on full OTO if I have a DSLR, to be honest with you. Uh, but it was, you know, understanding those things so that you can actually take better photos when, once you kind of reached that base level of competency with, uh, with running the booth. 

Ismail: I don’t know if people

Your PicPic transition journey.

Ismail: really know that I didn’t know this, that you had your own rental company.

Did that get really big? Uh, I assume that’s where the idea for pick pick came from, but I’m curious, how did that rental company go and then slowly, how did that transition into like finding the pick, pick idea? Yeah. 

Seye: Yeah. So the, the rental company was running for, uh, pretty full steam for us. Um, I was operating it.

In new England. And I even at, I, even at some points, I actually started branching out into Florida and I was doing, you know, I would go, I would have gigs out there. If they paid me enough, I would go to Florida and do gigs. And then sometimes I would kick it out to people that I had met, who were in the local area in Florida.

Um, but ultimately I just found that, well, to be honest with you, I just didn’t like leaving the host to, to go make money. And I was just like, Hey, listen, I can sit on my ass and make money and not have to leave. And I can travel at the same time and I don’t have to carry equipment. And I don’t worry about staff.

And you know, that that’s a whole challenge when it comes to running a photo booth company. And when you’re trying to expand is now you’re relying on other people even more so. And, you know, we were using college kids. I was using some of my cousins who I still have problems.

But I, I just got to the position where I was like, you know what? I can make money while I’m at home. I don’t necessarily need to leave and go do events. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t just fully concentrate on this. And that’s when I kind of just slowly let the photo booth side of it go. I had a cousin who kind of stepped up and started her own company.

So I helped her with that on the back end. But you know, the photo booth is probably five, 10%, um, of, of, of income at this point. You know, if I go to events, it’s really just to, to test things out or I’ll go to other people’s events. If they’re having really big events, if we really need to do like a full test or if we’re rolling out anything new.

But other than that, it’s, you know, all software 

Ismail: was, 

Risk involved while shifting to software business

Ismail: was that like a big risk for you? Cuz you have this thing that is a high profit margin. You make a lot of money with the rentals and then you’re just deciding to shift into software. Did you have some revenue in the software before you shifted completely or did you just make the leap and figure it out?

Like, was that a risk for you. Um, 

Seye: no, no, it wasn’t really a risk only because things were profitable at that point. Um, you know, to be honest with you, I was, I was profitable the first month, pretty much that I ran Fifi social and, you know, been profitable ever since never took any investment money. Um, been a hundred percent bootstrapped.

So, so within that first month I knew that I was on the right path. It was really just a matter of fine tuning the software and, you know, kind of getting it to a, to a certain level of, of where we needed it to be. And then ultimately transitioning, like I said earlier, maybe two years into it into a SAS model.


Ismail: you mentioned, all right, so you were a really early

Idea of software for ipad.

Ismail: adopter of like the iPads as a tool in the photo booth world. Like what made you, you, you have the rental company, what made you think, Hey, we need a software for the iPad to do social sharing. How’d that come to you? 

Seye: We had a lot of people who were, who were asking us if prick social could take photos and, you know, at, at the time we had to say no because it didn’t, but again, like always, it’s really hard for me to say no to ideas.

Uh, mainly just as challenges to myself, Hey, let me see if I can actually do this. So we, we did the first version we made it work in. I mean, I think at this time, maybe Mark Anthony Mateo, I have no clue in the world where this guy is at this point, but he was probably probably the first, well, he was probably the main proponent at least like the photo booth world specifically that was pushing iPad photo booths.

Um, and I think we came in shortly after him. And again, that started taking off like hot cakes to the people who. We’re really who really, who really caught onto it. The rest of the industry kind of looked at it crazy, like a photo booth running on an iPad. I would never, um, and here we are today and you can’t go to a photo booth event without tripping over at least 10 of them.

Ismail: You, you mentioned you were profitable in the first month, so I’d love to, I’m curious about that because a lot of people are afraid to get into software, cuz it requires upfront money to develop it. And you don’t know yet if it’s gonna make money, 

What made you successful so quickly?

Ismail: how did you end up being profitable that quickly? 

Seye: Um, it was really just, I think I did a really good job at marketing it in that first month.

To be honest with you, we got, we got traction really quickly, but even leading into it, I had people beta testing it, trying it out and I kind of built, uh, a little tribe right of loyal users at the beginning. And that base of people, ultimately when it was released. Kind of helped me spread the word. Um, and so from those folks, and then compounded with how active I was with internet marketing at that time really helped drive sales within that first month so that it, that it was profitable.

And it just, again, just continued 

Ismail: from there. I’ve read this blog

Building a 7 figure software business

Ismail: post that you wrote. I don’t know if you meant for this to be widely consumed, but I found it in, um, you mentioned in there that you had, uh, started six figure and seven figure software products, um, and had it on autopilot. And to me as someone in this space, it sounds like a dream, like a seven figure software business on autopilot.

How do you get to that point? Um, I know there’s a lot in there, but for example, profitable in the first month you gotta pay software developers to build the tool, to improve the tool you have to market. It there’s a lot involved. Right? How do you get to a point where it’s automated. 

Seye: That’s a good question.

And, and you also have to define automated. So it’s automated in the sense that I had my right hand, man, Matthew, who was kind of able to sit there and manage things for me. And I was able to be very hands off, but that was at a time where, you know, there wasn’t anything crazy going on. Right. You know, the, the software was, was running.

If, if we had issues, it was very minor issues that were sporadic and things that we would, you know, be able to commonly soundly deal with on the back end, there weren’t any like huge fires that ha that were happening. So I was able to kind of like sit back for two years, which is where I’ve kind of been, um, just hanging out until Corona hit.

Um, but yeah, you know, it, it, it took a lot of hard work at the, at the upfront, you know, at the upfront. And that’s the great thing about software and SAS in general is once you do the work. The work is done and you can kind of, if you want to, you can sit back. I was kind of modeling the philosophy of the four day work week.

So you can kind of sit back and just hire, um, uh, freelancers. Right. You know, there’s only two full time employees and that’s me and Matthew right now, everybody else’s is 10 99 and, uh, freelance employers that we have from all over the world. So you can find people who are, you know, capable more than capable of, of doing their job.

It’s tough. It’s, it’s not easy. I, I lost a lot of money at the beginning trying to, trying to find good people that I could trust. Uh, but like anything in life, you’ve gotta take the risk and you’ve gotta be able to work and put in the work to, to, to, to achieve the outcomes you’re looking for. 

Ismail: This is something I still 

Is it a good idea to hire people?

Ismail: struggle with.

Honestly, like I, I find myself so busy doing so many things. Like, I, I definitely need to hire people to help me, but I look at things like, okay, this project isn’t really making a lot of money. So I can’t support hiring someone, this other project isn’t making enough money to pay for someone. And I just tell myself that, Hey, I gotta keep grinding and hustling to make enough revenue to then hire someone.

Right. How do you think about that? What would your advice be like? Do you hire someone before you can afford it? At what point do you start? Like, I dunno if that makes sense, but that’s kind of what I’m struggling with personally. 

Seye: No, no, no. It makes a hundred percent sense. And geez, how does it, how, how does that saying go?

All right. Do things that you can’t do at scale, right? Um, basically meaning like, alright, so there was a point in time where I would, I would be the only person answering phone calls and I’d have like a phone call from a user in China. So they’re like 12, like 12 hours ahead. So, you know, it’s one, o’clock two o’clock in the afternoon for them.

It’s 2:00 AM in the morning for me, and I’m picking up the phone and answering their, their, uh, their questions. So doing things that, that don’t scale, meaning I could do that thing once in a while for that one customer, but that’s not something that I’m able to do now, or that I, I would’ve been able to do if we had 300 or 500 or a thousand customers at that time.

So, you know, at the beginning, you’ve gotta, you’ve gotta do a lot of those things that don’t make sense. Like if you had a, a whole bunch of users. So I guess to answer your question, yeah. You’ve gotta, just, you’ve gotta, you’ve gotta do the hard work up until the point where you can no longer do it yourself, and then it makes more sense to hire somebody else out to do that for you, because your time is more valuable at that.

Ismail: So I, I appreciate the honesty cuz I’ve, I’ve been trying to get input from people on this a lot lately. It sounds like the truth that no one likes to talk about is that you just have to grind yourself until you can afford hiring someone. Right. Just keep working late hours like you were doing with the guy in China, until you can afford it.

Is that right? 

Seye: Yeah. That’s the, that’s the not so glamorous part of owning a business is, is all the hard work that, that you really need to put in. You know, people, you know, especially depending on how flashy you are, but they might see with all of these nice things, but behind the scenes you’re really, or even not even behind the scenes, but previously you were really busting your ass to get where it is that you need it to go.

Um, even all while, while I was building Pittsburgh social, I wasn’t really, I wasn’t spending that money on me. If that makes sense. All of that money was going right back into the business. So if you didn’t know what I was doing. You would just think that I was working a regular nine to five job, or you might, you, you might even think that I was homeless the way that I left the house sometimes.

Cause I would just go, I would leave the house fully. Scruffed you know, I’ve got a Baldy. So, you know, if my, if my, if my Baldy wasn’t wasn’t properly shaved at that time. And my, my beard was a little bit outta whack. You might be like SHA Shay, is everything doing okay, brother? Do you, do you need a dollar?

Can I get you something to eat? Um, but I, on the back end, you know, I’ve got this beast that I’m feeding on the, that, that, that I’m trying to, you know, that I’m trying to fully. But yeah, you’ve got a grind at the beginning. 

Ismail: That whole appearance is normal now with the quarantines. I mean, I’m sure everybody looks like that now.


Seye: oh no, no, not me, baby. I’m GQ all 

Ismail: day. well, I see, I see you now, man, you look fit. You working out. You got a gym. I mean, you look, you look good, everyone. Everyone else kind of fell back and you’re storming ahead. What happened there? Listen, I listen. 

Seye: I’m ready for pool’s pandemic, baby. I’m I’m ready for the beaches.

Ismail: I mean, all kidding aside. I, I find that to be common with successful people, right? While everybody else is kind of chilling, laying back, like whether it’s a pandemic or usually the end of the year, the holidays people start like coasting. The people who like are really successful that’s when they push.

When everyone else is chilling. So, um, yeah, I, I saw you, uh, getting jacked working out in the gym. Good for you, man. I gotta I, I gotta get up and move. 

Seye: Yeah, man. Don’t let that dad by take control of you. I’m not gonna lie. It definitely did. It definitely did for me three kids. I finally got rid of my baby weight, uh, in the last two to three years.

So. All right. 

Ismail: So I got time. I’m good. Yeah. so it, it sounded like, uh

 How did you get clients for PicPic?rker

Ismail: , for pick, pick you first got the idea, um, from hearing it from your customers were there saying, Hey, we wanna share this. We wanna be able to do this. Right. So you got it from the customers. How was your, when you first decided to build it, did you build it for yourself to sell to your rental company?

Or did you find a first customer first before you invested in it? How’d you go about like those first few clients for pick, pick how’d you get them? 

Seye: We, we had people who were constantly, um, hitting us up, asking us. Again, specifically, if it could take photos and I actually remember a, a conversation with a, okay.

So around the time when had, was kind of coasting, right? I was looking at other business ideas. And one of the ideas that I got from a good friend of mine who worked in the car car industry was to create, um, what’s called the digital dealer jacket. The dealer jacket is, is what it is that you put together.

When you’re, when you’re finalizing all your papers to, to buy your car, everything is still done on paper, right? They give you all this paperwork, you’ve gotta sign it. And long story, show it. A lot of that stuff gets lost in the shuffle, but by the time you leave and come back and it just creates a lot of customer experience issues.

So we were working with a, a car dealership to create a digital version of this dealer jacket. And at that time I had a prototype of a pity booth, right. Which was our, our iPad photo booth. and they saw it and they wanted to buy the software for a bunch of their, they wanted to buy the software and some kiosk for a bunch of their locations.

So we ended up doing that. And then around the same time we had some agencies, ah, geez, what country? I think it was a, it was a agency from Brazil as a matter of fact. And they were coming down to do brand, uh, some, uh, some, some type of experiential marketing to promote, travel to Brazil. They were gonna do it in grand central station in New York.

So, and all they wanted were iPads loaded with the software. And I was like, what in the world? Like, I’m about to send you four iPads, right. And some software, and you’re gonna gimme how much that’s when I was like, okay, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re onto something here. And although the photo booth industry is looking at it crazy.

These agencies get it. 

Ismail: You kinda were fortunate to be in a position where you saw people that wanted it before everyone else realized that people would want it. And then you kind of just went after it. That’s what it sounds like. Yeah. Okay. So one, one other thing that I thought was interesting is that 

How did you think about branching into other products?

Ismail: you, you had pick, pick huge success, and then you started going into other products that are related, like Patty virtual booth, et cetera.

How do you think about like branching off into other products versus whether like, is, how do you know you’re not chasing trends, I guess when you’re building these other things. 

Seye: So it definitely wasn’t, you know, a trend, obviously, because there wasn’t anything that was established there. Um, and I guess kind of staying specifically photo booth related Patty was just always like a passion pro project of mine.

Again, you know, I come from the school of thought that no idea is original. There’s always an idea that you can take from another industry and you can apply it. You can apply it in a new way to the industry that you’re currently in. So if anybody’s heard of Canada before they know exactly what Patty is, and, you know, obviously I saw a marketplace that was nothing but Photoshop files and kind of already with as much as I dealt with our customers.

And, you know, you’ve got high, um, highly technical customers who can do anything that it is that they need software wise. And then you’ve got customers who are not so, uh, technical that need a little bit more help with things. So I just saw a huge market of folks who needed help in that Capac capacity with their photo booth templates that I was like, okay, let’s take the concept of Canva and apply it directly to photo booth templates.

And that’s where the idea for, for, for Patty came about. But to be honest with you, Patty was like a, a big stressor for me for like the first year, maybe year and a half. I, I expected it to take on the type of life that did meaning the first, you know, couple months I’d be profitable. It took Patty almost a year before it became profitable.

Um, and

Story behind Paddee templates

Seye: even before I released Patty, I kid you not, I, I probably talked to over a hundred people who said, yes, when Patty is ready, I will sign up. When Patty was ready, I could not find those hundred people. And I was like, what the hell have I done? So 

Ismail: why was that? Why was it that’s interesting. 

Seye: That’s a, that’s a great question.

And I, I mean, like I, like, I’ve read a lot of different books about customer development and product development, and ultimately people, people might tell you things just because they they’re trying to be nice or, you know, I, I can’t really say to be honest with you, but ultimately I’ll say that for those particular customers that we were talking to, it wasn’t the right product market fit.

I think that that’s one piece of it. Okay. But I’ll also say that I think the bigger issue with it at that time is that we didn’t have a huge enough template of, uh, a big enough template library. And it wasn’t really until after a year, because so we had Patty done, but for the platform itself to be done is one thing.

But then to have a template library is a completely other beast. So spending that year. Kind of loading it up with templates and then people starting to slowly, you know, see what’s possible with it and how efficient it could make their life. That’s when it kind of started to reach a point of, uh, I guess you could, what you would call critical mass and people started to, to gravitate towards it.

And you know, it’s one of those things that we’ve never really put marketing dollars behind, but the people who know it, like they love it. And, you know, it’s, it, it kind of really runs on, uh, without too much fus right now. 

Ismail: Yeah. I know people who use

Understanding the Iterative process

Ismail: it and love it. 

And I’m, I’m curious, like you talked about how difficult it was to get going.

When you first come up with the idea, you said it’s a passion project. Is it just, you know, you seeing Canva and thinking, Hey, we can do this here. Is it you hearing it from people complaining about something? Do you first try to like pre-sale people and show the mockups? How is that very early iteration process for you when you have an idea?


Seye: a combination of, it’s a combination of things. Um, and you can, you can go through all of those things, but ultimately you don’t really know you’ve, you’ve, you’ve hit something until somebody’s willing to put money up. So that, so when we first launched Patty, I was, I was doing Patty actually with all right.

So I actually tried to launch Patty twice with two different partners. The first partner didn’t end up going through with, uh, but you know, we partnered amicably the second partner, we tried to launch it and I wasn’t as concerned, like if it was gonna be a flop or not, because, you know, the financial responsibility was, was shared between me and somebody else.

Um, but then it didn’t things weren’t going the way that the partnership should have been going, um, in, in a, in a perfect world. So we had to go, we had to go separate ways. And in going separate ways, I basically bought out that person’s shares. Um, so in doing that now, all of the financial responsibility was on me.

So like, it was, it was pretty stressful and it was like, okay, like, you know, let’s see what happens here. This is no longer like me losing 50% of, of, of the startup startup costs for this it’s a hundred percent. So it’s, you know, we’ve gotta find a way to 

Ismail: make this work. Ha have you heard of this guy called Dan Maxwell?

Seye: I have not tell me what. 

Ismail: Okay. Uh, I basically, uh, he was one of the, he’s not very famous, um, except for like in SAS podcast world, but he was one of the guys that really inspired me to create a software product because, and his whole spiel is like, you have to find a pain point. You have to talk to people, um, and find out what is their pain, so you can sell it to them.

And he like really advocates for pre-selling a product before you hire developer. So I was like, all right, let me, let me try this out. And that’s how I started my first software product, where I threw a word document together. And I was like, you know, what, if anyone will pay me, if I could get three people to pay me for a year’s subscription, based on a word document, I’m gonna build a software.

And I was shocked that it worked. And I feel like that was my personal big eye opening experience getting into software. Cause I was like, wow, people. Want it so bad, they’ll pay for it before it’s built. And like, there was no sneakiness about it. It was totally upfront. Like, I wanna build this. It’s not built yet.

Here’s what it’s gonna look like. Would you pay for it? If so, give me money. Yeah. Cause like, like you said, everyone says whatever they wanna say, but when the time comes to put the money up, that’s when you really find that if people are buyers. 

Seye: Yeah. Yeah. So with, uh, and what, what was, what was his name?

Dan Maxwell. Dan Maxwell. Yeah. Yeah. So, so I’ve heard, I’ve heard that school of thought. Right. And that’s basically, you know, launched with an MVP. And I started when I was, um, building pick social. I, I launched with the book, um, the startup, well, geez, what’s the name of it, but it’s it’s I think it’s by Eric.

We, yeah, the lean startup. Yeah, the lean startup. So I, I, I started with that as a framework. And then when I started building Patty, I was building with the mindset of, um, Eric, have you ever heard of him? I don’t 

Ismail: think so. No. Peter, Peter. Peter. Yeah. Yeah. Zero 

Seye: to one. Yeah, zero to one. Yeah. So that was like my Bible at the time.

And that, you know, Peter Theo basically said, you know, build something that’s 10 times better than whatever is out there for that particular niche. So in his instance, or in his philosophy, he’s like, you know, don’t, pre-sell it just build what it is that, you know, that, that particular niche is gonna need.

And then just go and like, just be 10 times better than whatever is out there. So for us, right. You know, we, we know that we’re not going after people who are, who are Photoshop users. We’re not gonna build anything that’s 10 times better than that. But for those folks who don’t like Photoshop and are struggling with, with photo, with photoable templates, we’re already winning in that 10 times better than arena.

Um, so that was the philosophy that we took when we started. 

Ismail: So that’s interesting because he he’s like

Dealing with the competitors & losses.

Ismail: , I’ve read that book too, where he talks about, you want to be a monopoly in the beginning. Right. Just build something quietly, be the best at it and have a monopoly. But I feel like, yep. Uh, and, and this is for any industry, not just like the photo booth software world, but I feel like whenever you’re succeeding and you’re growing quick, it’s inevitable that eventually you’re gonna have competitors kind of creeping in and taking market share.

What’d you learn from the, that experience of like losing ground to competitor? Cause I feel like this happens to everybody, myself included, like what do you learn from it? Uh, in case other people listening encounter that and they, they don’t know how to handle it. 

Seye: I mean, how do you, I mean, you you’ve just gotta take it.

You’ve just gotta take it as it comes. Uh, for me specifically, when it comes to pity booth, I just had a lot of personal stuff going on around that time. So that’s when I started kind of mentally checking out from the, uh, photo booth industry, just cause I couldn’t put as much effort into it. So, and I guess that’s kind of, oh, and, and I guess the other piece of it too, I guess is if, so again, we’re, we’re self-funded um, from what I understand, I, I’d probably venture to say, I think the, the other three big player, three big software companies in our industry are like, they have, they have, they have some type of capital behind that, but I could be completely, could be completely wrong, but ultimately if you’re in a position to get funding, you know, it’s not a bad idea to take funding.

Um, and it wasn’t until it wasn’t until let’s say pandemic during the pandemic hit that. I started looking at other projects outside of the, of, uh, the photo booth industry. And I started pitching to investors and I started seeing how much money I could get. And I was like, holy shit. Like I can, you know, I could, I like, although I could start this company right now with my own cash, the fact that I’ve now got a few hundred thousand that I could run off.

You know, I can get this, this MVP well so 

Ismail: much quicker. Yeah. It’s fascinating that you said that, so I’m sorry to interrupt, but I feel like I’ve 

How do you get motivated?

Ismail: thought about this a lot where I’ve seen the same thing. There’s people out there that want to invest capital. They have ton of money that don’t know what to do with it.

And they’re happily, they’ll happily give it to someone to build a software product. Right. But you, you talked about this earlier, when you talked about Patty, where you said, uh, because you had a partner and it wasn’t all financially on you, um, maybe you had less of a fire to make sure it worked. Uh, not, not like on purpose, but I feel like when it’s all on you, it’s just a different level of, uh, pressure that you have to make it work.

So do you think about that when you’re trying to build something new, would you rather build it with your own cash? Would you rather take people’s money or do you think that would make you less motivated? I guess? 

Seye: Um, it would, it would definitely still keep me just as motivated cause. If anything you’re probably more motivated when there’s other people’s money on the line, or at least, at least for me, I think there would be, there would be more motivation because if I’m taking your money now, right.

I know that whatever you’re giving me is probably just a small fraction of whatever you, you probably really have. So if I can take whatever cash you’re giving me now, and I can go and, and I can prove this concept that we’ve discussed, and then you’ve made your money back. Plus some, I know the next time I have another idea that you’re gonna come probably with the same amount of money times too.

And you might bring a couple people with you. Um, so I’m more motivated from that perspective. Um, so yeah, I, I can’t say that my level of motivation ever really changes. Um, but just in terms of investors, I’ve just never really liked the idea of having and you know, somebody else over my back and kind of.

You know, wondering, you know, what’s going on and you know, what are we gonna do next? And I just never really wanted to do all of that. So that’s why I always enjoyed, you know, having pic social as a private company with, with no funders, I’ve had multiple people approach me either to buy pic social. We’ve had people within the industry approach us to buy pic social, um, and you know, never needed, never needed to do it.

You know, it was, it was something that was that we could still maintain, operate and grow without any, um, without any 

Ismail: help. So why would you not sell it? Because I know some people, I know people that have sold it, um, how do you think about that? Like, why is it worth selling versus not worth selling? So 

Seye: a, the money’s gotta be right.

Um, so it, yeah, the money’s gotta be right. And, and I don’t have any immediate needs to take that money and go do something else that I can’t do already with what we’re generating, if that makes sense. Um, and then also on top of that, there’s. There’s just so much more that could be done with it. Uh, if that makes any sense, I mean, there’s, there’s always like, there’s always like a new level that you can, that you can take things there.

There’s so many untapped ideas in untapped markets within the photo booth industry that, that haven’t been touched. And then you’ve got new things like virtual photo booths that kind of came about out of nowhere that can, you know, propel you in different, um, different ways. 

Ismail: Yeah. I, I wanna dive into all the extra, all the stuff that you can do.

That’s more, but before I just leave this topic, I I’m curious. Mm-hmm

Funding for first project.

Ismail: um, I, you said it it’s so much easier to raise money from investors now, I imagine it’s because you already have a big success, right? So for people starting, they may have to make something work on their own first grind hustle, and then once you have that first big win, um, I imagine it’s a lot easier.

Or do you think you would be able to get funding now, even if it was your first project? 

Seye: No. Well, let, let me not say no, I haven’t. I’ve never tried previously, so I can’t necessarily say, but I’m sure it would be significantly harder. Um, it, it would be easier let’s say from the perspective of me approaching friends and family, right.

Um, because they’ve, they’ve always known my work work ethic rather, but the fact that I’ve got two successful software projects, um, you know, that it just makes it easier. Right? It’s, it’s less of a conversation. And as a matter of fact, the, the, the project that I was trying to jump off around when the pandemic hit the type of equity that I was giving up was it was some people were insulted with my term sheet when, you know, when they saw the term sheet, but I was completely okay.

with giving them that term sheet, knowing what it is that I was about to build. And knowing that just having full confidence that okay, if you give me the money cool. But if you don’t, I still have funding by myself that I can launch this off. So I wasn’t in a position where I was giving up 20% equity right off the bat.

I knew going into it. I didn’t wanna give up more than 5% equity, so, and it’s okay. Do you wanna be a part of this? And if you do sure, great. Let’s go. And if you don’t, it’s fine. There’s no hard feelings, but I guess just go, don’t go into it. Def desperate, I think is the point that I’m trying to make. 

Ismail: Yeah, that’s definitely, I mean, I think that confidence comes from having some success, like not needing money, you could do it on your own and, and then you get to that level where you that confident.

Um, but, but it sounds

Seeing opportunity in pandemic

Ismail: like, alright, so you’ve built these tools. They’re doing very well. You’re doing very well. And then like everybody else, the pandemic hit the event in pit industry is like, shut down. Everyone’s struggling. No one’s spending money. Um, I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s really, really not like it was a year ago and.

You were already kind of checked out what made you say, Hey, you know what, now I see opportunity. Now I’m gonna come back, double down, expand it and build a virtual booth software. Even though still like today. A lot of people don’t believe in it. Um, I do, but I know a lot of people still are skeptical about it.

What made you say, Hey, that’s a pandemic or not event vision. Industry’s dead. I’m coming back and I’m building this out. 

Seye: Well, so even pre pandemic, I was already coming, I was ready. I already had my fire back. Um, and I was actually, I was coming back in with a different angle around when the pandemic hit, um, about how we were gonna approach things with picnic, social, the pandemic basically had us put all of that on hold so that we could figure out what to do with the software and how to stabilize.

So for us, right. Um, we probably got hit the hardest. Out of any software company, because we’re primarily a sharing station. So with the other software is people can still do events. They can still do drop offs, but in, in a situation like, you know, Corona, you probably wanna, you wanna have as, uh, as, as few things to bring to an event as possible to have touch points.

So, you know, there’s not really a real need for, uh, for a software, like pic social in that, in that instance. So for us, it was really about, okay, what can we do to pivot? That makes sense. And that’s why initially we were looking outside of the photo booth industry and it was, and it was just a matter of, okay.

I had the idea for the virtual booth in my head for a little bit, and I was just trying to see how much sense it would make. And, you know, if people would, would people be able to actually sell it and get events? Um, so we started, you know, sending out se sending it up to some of, you know, our, our closer customers that we, that we had a.

A more ongoing, I guess, a continuing relationship with, or that I talk to more, more often than not, and just kind of getting their feedback. And they were like, you know, absolutely we can sell this. This is something that, you know, we can start to pitch and we had some of them start to pitch it to their customers and we’re starting to get bookings immediately right off of the bat with it.

So we decided to, you know, go all the way in, in as I just kind of, you know, looked at the landscape and just kind of saw where virtual booths could go. I just saw, okay. All of this tremendous opportunity for anybody in the industry who was willing to embrace the new technology. And again, just looking at it the same way that we did with the iPad photo booths, that this is something that people are gonna look at.

Like it’s crazy. But they said the same thing when people had iPad photo booths, like, oh, this is wild. Why would anybody wanna do this? And you know, all of the same conversations that people are having now about virtual photo booths are the exact same conversations that people had seven years ago, six years ago, however long it was when, uh, when iPad photo booth started, uh, started coming on the scene.

It’s the exact same conversation. 

Ismail: Is that frustrating for you? Because you see the potential you’re telling people about it. This is a way for them to make money when they need it most and people just don’t believe it. Don’t see. It don’t want to hear it. Is that frustrating or do you get more motivated to keep pushing it?

Seye: Oh yeah, absolutely not more. Um, absolutely not frustrating at, at all. If anything, I just laugh. Um, cause I just feel like I, I, I got a free ride on a, on a, um, on a time travel machine and I already know how it’s gonna end up. So, 

Ismail: you know, so that that’s a lot of confidence. Like, 

Your Self-confidence.

Ismail: why are you, why are you that confident, like for people who are skeptical about virtual and they’re hearing this, like, where does that much confidence come from?

Oh man. 

Seye: Okay. You you’re gonna make me, you’re gonna make me show my underwear in public. I’ve never been wrong. It’s 

Ismail: the truth comes out. I, 

Seye: I, ish I’ve never been wrong. to be with you. So I’m just, you know, every time I swing, I hit. Um, so I know, and, and if you, and if you just look at this from, so you’ve gotta look at it from a different perspective, then I think a lot of people in the industry, um, don’t, can’t see it from that perspective.

Um, you can’t look at it as a photo booth. You have to completely step away from there. So even before I got into the photo booth industry, I was working as a digital marketer. So I look at virtual photo booths and, and I I’ve always even looked at photo booth in general. As a digital marketing tool. So that’s really where the, the power in virtual photo booths lie and, and anybody who who’s in the industry, who’s really, who’s really doing big events.

They’re not photo booth companies. They’re, they’re marketing companies, they’re marketing partners. They, they work as a, as a partner for those agencies that they work with. So if your mind is still looking at your photo booth is a photo booth and that you’re not doing digital marketing, it’s not until you can shift your mindset to that, that virtual photo booth start to make sense.

And you start to see the omnipresent nature of virtual photo booths and having QR codes on pizza boxes that somebody can scan and take a photo. And, you know, and you, and you’re able to capture the, the company’s able to capture the email address of that person. And then that person is then sharing to social media and you’re helping promote that company online.

It’s not until you start to look at yourself as a digital marketer and you start to see how. A virtual photo booth can help local businesses grow and market themselves or how you can help brands market themselves on a global platform that you’ll, that you’ll truly see the value of it. So, yeah, it’s cool that people are doing these, these, these online virtual events, right?

And there, there, there are people making big bucks from it, but truly from a digital marketing perspective, I think that that’s really where people will be able to get into virtual photo booth and jump into making recurring revenue, um, and virtual photo booth, ultimately replacing the permanent install.

That we, you know, all known and loved. 

Ismail: That’s a, I think that’s a huge opportunity area personally, because it’s hard to pitch people on per and for people who listening, who don’t know the photo booth world, it’s like, uh, salons, uh, they pay to have an actual photo booth in their store for people to take before, after pictures or whatever to promote the store.

Um, I think that it’s hard to sell them, cuz it’s very expensive. But if you have a virtual offering, that’s a lot cheaper and it’s recurring revenue to me, that’s a home run. So it’s just frustrating a little bit. I know, I know you said you laughed at them, but like there’s a huge opportunity here and people don’t see it.


Why are people skeptical of virtual Photo Booth?

Ismail: I, I interviewed people that were doing very well with virtual and I think the way you explained it right now is perfect because, um, everyone’s skeptical. While they think about it as a photo booth. Right. But it’s really much more than that. It’s a marketing tool. And when you start to see it being used that way, your mind opens up to other ways that it can be used as a marketing tool.

And that’s why people often say to me, Hey, what about when in person comes back? You know, who’s gonna use virtual then maybe, maybe the confusion is virtual photo booth, the name photo booth. Maybe there’s a better name for it. But even if in person comes back, the things that you just talked about, the pizza box, the permanent install, marketing online is not going away.

If anything, there’s more and more photo marketing online, social media online, like that’s not going away. It’s only growing. I dunno if you agree. I, sorry, I ranted a little bit there. 

Seye: No worries. Agree and pitch. But so as a part of what I see, so I see a big knowledge gap, right? Between the folks who are gonna be able to have huge success with virtual photo booths and the people who are not, and the people who are gonna be able to have success with it, they understand it from a digital marketing perspective.

And they’re able to do all of those things that, that, that, that come along with digital marketing, email marketing, social media, marketing, content, marketing, et cetera. So part of what we’re launching in the next couple weeks is what we call the virtual booth academy. Um, and our goal right, is for it to be an accelerator program where we can give people the competency level and digital marketing so that they are able to.

Run and launch a virtual photo booth business that generates them recurring revenue. And it’s something that, again, they’ll be able to bolt on as a part of their existing photo booth business, or it’s something that they can do completely separate as a, as a completely new entity that offers virtual photo booth as a marketing tool.

So you can actually go to virtual booth to learn a little bit more. 

Ismail: Awesome. And I’ll, I’ll put the link in the show notes to everybody too. And I think this is also something that separates you SHA from everybody else is that, um, you know, there’s other software companies pushing. Their virtual product, but I don’t see anyone really teaching how to sell it, how to use it, how to pitch like that to me is the biggest hangup that I see is that people, they either don’t get it.

Like you said, there’s a knowledge gap or they see it. And they’re like, yeah, but no one’s buying and they don’t know how to position it. So I think that’s the most valuable education right now that they’re possibly could be in our industry. So I definitely urge people to check that out. I’ll put the link in the show notes and I think that would be really helpful resource.

So I’m not like I I’ve done, uh, I took some programming classes in high school. Right. But I’m not a programmer. I, I just know some very basic stuff. It sounds like you were

How to build a scalable software business without knowing programming?

Ismail: never trained as a developer either, even though you played around with it as a kid with the chat rooms, what do you tell people that dream of building a business, like a software business it’s scalable.

Um, you can make money from anywhere in the world, uh, but they don’t know how to code. What’s your advice for them? 

Seye: My advice for them. And you don’t know how to code. So, so this that’s actually funny, right? So part of, I guess what you can say, my personal mission for myself right. Is to, is to build my personal brand.

And the reason behind that is at some point in time, I would like to teach people how they can start their own software company with no, with no knowledge of how to program. So my simple advice right. Is to try it but yeah, it’s a very, it’s a very high chance. You’re gonna lose your money, right. As you, as you get into it, but try to find a mentor, try to find a coach, try to find somebody who’s who’s done it.

And that might be a hard feat, but you know, feel free to reach out to me in whatever capacity, but try it. If you’ve got an idea, um, you know, Outline like a skeleton of what are the must have features, right? What, what, what is, what, what does this product absolutely need to have before it can launch? And then try to find a developer you can go to, you can go to

I think is another website. And don’t give that developer all of the bells and whistles and all of the shiny, cool things that, that project or that that app needs to have, but give them like a very small task. And you just give them very small task by very small task and allow them to build out the project and show you.

Um, but ultimately like any business that you wanna do, or like anything that you wanna do in life, the only way that you learn is by doing so there’s only so much reading that you can do. There’s only so much talking that you can do at the end of the day. You’re the rubber needs to meet the road and you’ve gotta start running.

Ismail: Yeah. I mean, I feel like. Coding developing. It’s not, not that it’s a commodity, but like you said, you can just hire people, you know, pretty easily. It’s a whole other thing to find good people and test them and give them like stepping stones, like you just alluded to. But I, I actually had a story where one of my business mentors, very successful guy.

Um, I, we had, we had someone else that we knew that was a programmer. And this kid was like, to me, he was like a rockstar. He’s building this building, that making money and all this stuff. And remember I went to my mentor and I’m like, man, I wish I knew how to code. Like I need to learn how to code cuz that’s where the future is.

And I’ll never forget this cuz that the mentor looked at me and said, he’d rather be like me because a coder is just like, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna diminish it cuz it’s still important. But they’re a. The more important thing is that business mindset like Shay was talking about you find opportunities, you find things that need to be built.

Um, you market it, you put the pieces together, you hire someone, you manage them, you build the business. And I feel like, uh, a lot of times it would get distracted by, Hey, I should learn how to code. Maybe you should, maybe you should learn how to build the business and hire people to do the coding for you.

Um, so I that’s how I look at it, but again, my personal biggest problem Shay, is like I told you before, and I appreciate your advice. Um, when do you start hiring people? When do you get more and more people, if you don’t have the revenue yet to support them. So my homework is to, to build the revenue up so I can hire more people.

sounds like. 

Seye: Yeah. Yeah. Have you heard this book called the, 

Ismail: the ETH? Yep. Yep. I’ve recommended that book too. That’s a, a classic. 

Seye: Yeah. And I, and when I read that book, like I read, I saw all of the mistakes that I had had made in previous businesses of trying to do everything yourself. And not knowing when you’re at the point where it is that you need to let go and, and hire up to other people.

Um, so you know, very, very important to, but you know, you, you you’ve acknowledged that already. And I think as entrepreneurs, we don’t, and you end up creating nothing but more than a job for yourself, and we’re not here to create a job for ourselves. We wanna create businesses that we can step back from and actually enjoy our life.

Ismail: And, and if you’re, if, if you’re starting something where you’re gonna be talking more about this stuff, I I’m in, I’d love to listen. Maybe I’d bring you back onto promoted, but that sounds to me like a great direction for you to go into. Um, you mentioned the, and I was gonna ask you about the personal

Importance of Mastermind Group

Ismail: brand and I’m glad you, you talked about it.

Cause I saw that in the blog post, I also saw you talk about a mastermind group. Can you tell me like, why that’s important? Why should people try to create a group of people around them to talk this stuff about. 

Seye: It, it ultimately, it’s a way for you to hold yourself accountable. Um, and especially if you’re all learning the same thing, like, so my mastermind group, we’re, we’re, we’re all on the same kind of personal mission right now.

So we’re, we’re all working our personal branding, but then also learning the same things within our business that we’re applying to our businesses at the same time. So it allows us to, to bounce ideas off of each other. And it’s things that like we all get, because we’ve read, let’s say the, the same book we’ve watched the same video or we’ve gone through the same course.

So we’re, we’re applying the same knowledge of the same skills that we’ve just learned as opposed to talking to somebody else who’s not in business or they’re they’re in business, but their, you know, their mind is completely somewhere else. You know, having that mastermind group allows you to have people who are connect.

Connected to you in one capacity who are holding you accountable and who also have the same level of knowledge or a little bit more, but to can help push you and move you forward with, uh, with whatever your, your, your tasks are super important. 

Ismail: So before, before I get to the last couple questions that I ask everybody I saw on top of everything

Why & How did you get into real estate?

Ismail: that you’re doing, you also got into real estate.

I saw you bought a piece of land and you’re building it. How did you get into real estate? Why’d you get into real estate? Are you like looking to deploy cash flow and build, build recurring income? Like where did that come from? 

Seye: Yeah, so, so that was part of me looking outside of, uh, outside of the photo booth industry.

Uh, so that was the second property that I was working on. This was the, actually, this was the first one that I was constructing from the ground up. It’s still actually in process right now. Um, but. You know, there’s, you don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. Uh, so for me, uh, a lot of the time, or for the majority of the time, all of my eggs were within the photo booth industry.

So it was like, okay. I was just looking at other places outside of the photo booth industry that I could invest in when you’re a business owner, right? You’ve got the option of putting your money into a 401k. You can buy stocks, you can buy all of these different vehicles to fund your retirement. So for me, I’ve always looked at real estate as a way to fund my retirement.

Um, and ideally, I, I wanna be in a position where I’m not paying my own rent. Um, so to have a series of multifamily houses, apartment complexes that are all paying for themselves and then ultimately pay for me to sustain and, and live. So that’s, that’s where the real estate stuff comes from. 

Advice to people looking for properties

Ismail: Do you have any advice for people looking for properties that say, Hey, I can’t find them.

It’s too competitive. 

Seye: Oh man. If, if that’s all you’re gonna say, you’re never gonna be able to do shit in life. um, I, I, I, I, I kid you not, I probably knocked on, so I knocked on maybe no, no. I sent out maybe 110 letters before I found a piece of land that I was able to buy. And that piece of land that I bought for 70 grand is probably worth almost 150,000 right now, especially because of the way that, you know, housing prices are skyrocketing, but that’s 

Ismail: after you built it or just the land is still just worth 70 grand.


Seye: that’s no, no, the land itself is probably worth like 150. Wow. Right now that’s that’s with no development on it. Um, but I say that to say, so another one of the big things that people always say is, oh, it’s, is this a good time to buy property? Right. There’s never, there’s never a best time. It’s do the numbers make sense for you.

So you’ve gotta learn how to analyze the numbers and see if the numbers make sense. Cause I don’t know if you know anything about, or it’s like, it’s like jump roping, right? If somebody’s jump roping, you can’t always try to time it. You’ve gotta time it for whatever is I’m sorry. You’ve gotta time it for how it works for you.

As things are going, you, you can’t just wait for the, for the perfect time. Otherwise you’re always gonna miss it. 

Ismail: Yeah. That that’s great advice. Um, so looking at this whole

Imagine your younger self, what would people around you tell me about you if I had interviewed them?

Ismail: conversation, um, I’m curious, and we kind of got a taste of this with you. I think you said you were 14 or something, uh, tinkering with coding.

But if, if I interviewed people around you, when you were a kid, right, what would they describe you as would they say like, oh, Shay, I knew he was gonna be successful. Like were there signs back then of someone that would, uh, be a successful entrepreneur in the future? 

Seye: Uh, yeah. I mean, let me see. I was always selling something as a kid.

I remember at one point I couldn’t, there was like this area that we couldn’t drive off to, or we couldn’t ride off to, it was like all the way on the other side of the city. So none of the, none of the little kids. Right. And when I say little kids, I mean like 12, 13, 14, like our parents would beat the hell out of us if we went that far outside of the city.

But you know, me being me, I took my bike and I went anyway and I went because I knew that’s where the guy who was selling firecrackers was. So I would go to him, I’d buy a pack of salutes for 25 cents and I’d come back and sell ’em to everybody on my block for a dollar. Um, so I say that to say, I’ve always kind of I’ve, I’ve always had little businesses as I was young and not really, I guess, knowing that it was driving a, an entrepreneur in me.

Uh, but my dad has been an entrepreneur and that’s where I, I got the idea of, Hey, I wanna start this staffing agency from like he, to staff. Yeah. He used to run a staffing agency. Um, my mom used to run and operate stores. I’ve got my cousins who, you know, who I work with now that are PA um, part of my mastermind that I’ve always looked up to who have run businesses within the, the music industry.

So, I mean, I’ve got a whole tribe of entrepreneurs around me, so I, I, I, I guess, I guess they wouldn’t be so surprised since everybody around me is, uh, are entrepreneurs, 

Ismail: did you feel different from your friends? Like if, if you had that kind of mindset at a young age, were you different than everybody? Or did you have no problem fitting in?

Seye: Uh, I felt different from the perspective of, I was, I was always like, all right, I’m gonna end up having to give you these guys jobs. Cause they were all bullshitting and I D I dunno, what’s gonna end up happening with them. I , 

Ismail: I can’t. I love hearing these stories and that’s kind of, that’s the whole motivation for the podcast.

I feel there’s a lot of people that feel that way. Um, like they’re bound to be successful. They’re bound to be rich. And usually if you talk to people who are successful, they all have those kinds of stories where they were doing weird things, even at a young age. Right? So I think you just keep going. You keep grinding, you keep trying, and eventually one day you’ll have your pick pick or whatever, whatever it is for you in the future.

Um, but my final question that I ask everybody SHA

What is a rich life to you?

Ismail: is like, we touched on a lot of different things. Um, I, even, when you talked about seven figure software business being on autopilot, checking out, mastermind everything, what is a rich life to. Because clearly we all know money, isn’t everything. Right?

There’s other things that motivate us that fuel us. And I know you were talking about this on a clubhouse conversation recently. Like what is your, why? So what’s a rich life to you. 

Seye: Yeah. So I used to always say, I wanna, I wanna be rich. I wanna be rich. I wanna be rich. Um, and I would kind of just say that not really knowing, or understanding what I meant by it and just thinking that it was, you know, the dollar amount, right.

I want this certain number of, you know, dollars in my bank or for me, it started, you know, when I saw my dad’s W2 one day and, you know, I saw that he made six figures and I was like, alright, so this for me, this is my be, this is my benchmark. When I, when I made this, I made it as a man in life and, you know, I can sit back and chill.

Um, but you know, when it, when, when you kinda get there and you realize that, okay, that’s and this is so cliche, right? Like you hear it all the time. But you’re like, okay, that this isn’t really bringing you the type of happiness that, that you thought it would bring you like it does. It does. It definitely does make things a whole lot easier in certain aspects.

But when I sat back and just thought of right, like SHA you always say you wanna be rich, but what does that really mean? I found that it’s not that I really wanna be rich. It’s more so that I wanna be free, right. And free meaning I don’t wanna have to wake up every day and go work with somebody else and be on their time.

And I wanna be able to travel when I wanna be able to travel. Like I, I just wanna be able to move completely unencumbered in this world. Um, it’s just so happens that money is needed in order to do that. So my idea of being rich is just being able to live a free life, to be able to experience all of the things that life has got to offer, but to also show the people around me, All of these things and to

Thank You & Wrap up!

Seye: allow them to live life on their own terms in the same way.

Ismail: I think that’s a great place to leave it, man. Thank you so much. Uh, I appreciate you coming on here and sharing your wisdom and I hope everybody checks out the virtual booth academy and whatever other projects you’ve got coming up. If you’re talking more about this, I, I would definitely be a listener.

Um, I think you’re someone, uh, really good to learn from about this stuff, for sure. 

Seye: Thank you, ish. Uh, and I’m definitely enjoying your podcast and everything that you’ve got going on as well. So we will absolutely connect and I’ll, I’ll be watching everything that you’re doing as well. 

Ismail: Appreciate man.

Thank you so much. And I’ll talk to you soon and there you have it. If you enjoy this episode, please remember to leave review. I may give you shout out on the, for any and all resources that we discussed. Check out the show notes or head on over to bound.[/expand]