From the archive: This episode was originally recorded and published in 2020. Our interviews on Entrepreneurs On Fire are meant to be evergreen, and we do our best to confirm that all offers and URL’s in these archive episodes are still relevant.
AJ Picard is a full-time entrepreneur for 3 years now. He has a passion for design and creating products. He loves playing, talking, and watching anything related to technology and basketball.
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Sign up for Clava! – Check out the Clava App for FREE and start promoting your brand today! (Sorry! This link was active when this episode was first published in 2020 but is no longer an active offer.)
3 Value Bombs
1) Clava App helps you feel more connected to your surrounding community.
2) Trust in self-intuition. If you notice an opportunity, take action.
3) Be open-minded. Life is constantly changing and you have to adapt to it. It is important to continue to build new skillsets and learn new things.
HubSpot: HubSpot CRM’s powerful tools will help marketers WOW prospects, sales teams lock in deals, and service teams improve response times and overall service. Get started for free at HubSpot.com!
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: How to Pivot and Persevere with AJ Picard
[1:43] – AJ shares something interesting about himself that most people do not know.
- He had a video from a Sixers game and the Bleacher Report used it. The video went viral, and it has about 10 million views.
[3:17] – AJ shares more about his background
- He is from Philadelphia, PA. He is now living in Baltimore, MD.
- He started his entrepreneur journey back in 2017. He went full-time developing a social media app called Clava.
- Clava App helps you feel more connected to your surrounding community.
[4:12] – How did you come up with the idea for Clava?
- AJ thought of Clava while he was sitting in the food court at the King of Prussia Mall just watching the people around him.
- He thought of an app that would connect you to people who are in the same location as you.
[5:33] – AJ talks about using Clava for your business.
- Your business can use the app to create location-based announcements or promotions.
- Clava users can collect all the announcements or promotions for a specific location.
[7:00] – AJ shares some of Clava’s case studies
- Case study for Covid19
- Some users created chatrooms representing local grocery stores near their location.
- Real-time updates of what the groceries had in stock were being posted for other users to see.
- Use of chatrooms to share ideas.
[9:11] – What was the biggest pivot you have made to date?
- The biggest pivot was deciding to create Clava.
- If he had never entertained that pivot, who knows where he would be now.
- Putting in a lot of time each day to honing his craft allowed him to increase his runaway and continue to pursue his dream of getting Clava off the ground.
[10:43] – Why is pivoting so important, and how do you know when the right time is?
- During the Covid19 Pandemic a lot of businesses are pivoting.
- Trust in self-intuition. If you notice an opportunity, take action.
- Pivoting is important because you can branch out and learn new skillsets.
[11:41] – A timeout to thank our sponsors!
- HubSpot: HubSpot CRM’s powerful tools will help marketers WOW prospects, sales teams lock in deals, and service teams improve response times and overall service. Get started for free at HubSpot.com!
[15:25] – AJ’s advice to entrepreneurs.
- Be open-minded. Life is constantly changing and you have to adapt to it.
- It is important to continue to build skillsets and learn new things.
- Get out of your comfort zone so you can grow as a person, and as you grow it will help you get to where you want to be.
[17:39] – What are the next step for Clava?
- Get users to start creating communities around them inside of Clava
- You can quickly navigate through the announcements page, connect with locals in a specific location, and start meeting new people using the chatrooms in Clava.
[19:18] – What advice would you give Fire Nation if they want to take the first step in the app space?
- You can start by connecting with someone from your network who is technically savvy, and ask that person for help.
[20:31] – AJ’s parting piece of guidance.
- Ask yourself:
- How eager are you to make it as an entrepreneur?
- How enthusiastic are you about getting your product out in the market?
- Know that it will take a lot of effort, but do not give up because you will learn a lot from your journey
- Sign up for Clava! – Check out the Clava App for FREE and start promoting your brand today! (Sorry! This link was active when this episode was first published in 2020 but is no longer an active offer.)
2134 – Thank you to our Sponsors!
- HubSpot: HubSpot CRM’s powerful tools will help marketers WOW prospects, sales teams lock in deals, and service teams improve response times and overall service. Get started for free at HubSpot.com!
Boom. Shake the room Fire Nation, JLD here and welcome to Entrepreneurs on Fire, brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals with great shows like Marketing Against the Grain. Today we're pulling a timeless EOFire episode from the archive, so the giveaway may not be active, and we'll be breaking down how to pivot and persevere to drop these value bombs. I have brought AJ Picard into EOFire Studios. AJ is a full-time entrepreneur for three years now. He has a passion for design and creating products. He loves playing, talking and watching anything related to technology and basketball. And today our nation will talk about trusting and self-intuition. If you notice an opportunity, take action.
We'll talk about being open-minded because life is constantly changing, and you must adapt and so much more. And the big thank you for sponsoring today's episode goes to AJ and our sponsors Business Made Simple hosted by Donald Miller is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network. The audio destination for business professionals, Business Made Simple takes the mystery out of growing your business with episodes like How to Get Out of the Day-to-Day Operations Without Crashing Your Business. Listen to Business Made Simple. Wherever you get your podcasts. AJ, say What's up to a Fire Nation and share something interesting about yourself that most people don't know
1 (1m 24s):
What's going on. Fire Nation happy to be on board here. Something that people don't know about me actually happened two months ago. I was at a Sixers game and I was recording our point guard Ben Simmons shooting three pointers in the corner and he happened to hit seven in a row, which is very rare cuz he can't shoot. And Bleacher Report actually asked to use my video and it went viral and had about like 10 min 10 million views. So that was pretty cool.
0 (1m 55s):
That is au Do you get any kind of compensation for that or you just are like That's mine? Yeah,
1 (1m 59s):
I was just like, you can have it for free, it's all good. I just thought it was really cool that they wanted to use it.
0 (2m 4s):
That's super cool. I actually have queued up on my real sports with Brian Gumball, an interview with the guy from Bleacher Report because I've always followed that company and I just love the things that they've done. So I'm looking forward to watching that episode personally. But what I wanna do, AJ is really focus on today's topic, which is gonna be all about how to pivot and persevere and these are two things that have never, never been more important. And then this post covid 19 world that we live in, for sure there's a lot of pivoting going on, there's a lot of persevering going on. And guess what? Fire Nation, if you are falling short in either of those categories, you are gonna struggle. But if you are just thriving in both of those, then you can be thriving as well.
0 (2m 48s):
So let's start off with your background. Aj, who the heck are you, where are you from? And then what the heck got you here to this point today?
1 (2m 58s):
Yeah man, so I'm actually from born and raised from Philadelphia pa I am now living in, in Baltimore, Maryland. And I kind of started my entrepreneur journey back in 2017 when I started going full-time on developing the social media app that I am now pushing right now called Lava. And what lava really does is just help you feel more connected to your surrounding community by providing our users with a way to easily connect with locals in the area and discover things to do in their community as well.
0 (3m 33s):
So let's maybe talk quickly about lava because I am kind of curious like how you initially came up with this idea. Like I love talking about the aha moment, like that origin and like why that happened for you. And then also share just like one or two what you think are kind of cool case studies of people that have used lava successfully. For
1 (3m 53s):
One, I was actually sitting in the king of Pria mall in Phil near Philadelphia. It's this massive mall and I was in the food court and I was just people watching one day and it was around the time back in 2014 when Instagram started kind of picking up traction and, and and Twitter and we had Snapchat as well. And I was thinking to myself and why couldn't I, why can't I, I guess, hone in on a specific location and connect with people in that same location as me, almost like a, a hyper-local platform. So that's kind of how I, I I thought of that idea of lava and because
0 (4m 28s):
You were basically just like, I want to connect with people that are in this mall right now. Correct.
1 (4m 32s):
Correct. Got it. And I was like, you know, this could be a great way, you know, if I'm in college to meet new people at a party that might be super crowded, it could be used at a networking event or even at a sports game, just just to connect with people in, in that same location that you're currently in. That that, that was the goal of it. And
0 (4m 49s):
Is this for businesses too? Because like what kind of pops into my mind is like, I'm walking into King of Prussia mall and I get an alert on my phone that says, Hey, not sure if you're hungry, but if you are for the next 10 minutes, we're gonna have 50% off pretzels, you know, over at pretzels are us. And like I would just be like, well I wasn't actually that hungry until you just kind of made me think of a pretzel in my mouth. So here, off I go. Is that like one of those things that could happen?
1 (5m 13s):
Yeah man. So these businesses can create location based announcements or promotions so to speak. So when users go into that specific location where their promotion is located in, they're gonna collect it, which means that, you know, if you did walk in through that king of Pria Mall front door, you would collect every promotion that that business in that King of Pria Mall is currently promoting. So, you know, we offer that that I guess easy transition to discover discovering things to do in your surrounding area and active promotions in your surrounding area from from local businesses located around
0 (5m 49s):
You. I mean one thing that pops up in my mind is kind of like a potential user is at what point is there overwhelmed? Like if I'm walking into a mall and there's 124 stores and I get 124 promotions, like at what point does that just become like spam mail that we all get in our inbox?
1 (6m 4s):
That is a great point. We actually plan on fixing this issue as we start to grow and we're gonna limit the amount of promotions or announcements in a specific location. So it's gonna be super exclusive. Obviously we would, we would have to charge these businesses more, but as of now we're just trying to get businesses inside and and willing to promote for free
0 (6m 25s):
Supply and demand baby. I love it. Yeah. So again, without going into too much detail, cuz we do have a decent amount to talk about today. Give us maybe like one or two quick case studies that clients of yours or just individuals and users have experienced over the lifespan of lava.
1 (6m 41s):
Yeah, so actually right now, one case study I'd love to share is, is for covid 19, we actually are, we've had some users create chat rooms representing local grocery stores near them. And what they've done is they've actually posted updates of what these grocery stores have in stock for other users to kind of jump in almost like a real time update so that users don't have to navigate or travel to this local grocery store just to find out that the supplies that they're looking for aren't in stock. So we had a user that created a shopper's market chat room and they just posted, hey, that, you know, they're still out of paper towels, you know, and, and so it's not a good idea to come to come to shoppers if you're looking for paper towels, but the goal is that these users will continue to update this chat room whenever they're in shoppers so that other users can get these real time updates instead of having to again, travel physically to shoppers and risk getting, you know, infected by Corona.
0 (7m 44s):
Fascinating. Okay, so that's one. What's another one? Another
1 (7m 48s):
One is actually we had a couple of users use these chat rooms to chat about business ideas, chat about stocks, chat about sports, specifically sports here in Baltimore. We have like a chat room just talking about the Ravens and Philly. We have a chat room talking about the Sixers. So it it's, it's almost like a location based thread, which is really cool to see.
0 (8m 11s):
Let's be honest, one of the Sixers gonna make a legitimate title run. Be honest with me.
1 (8m 16s):
I mean, honestly, I think, I think they're, there's, I guess the roadblock is to me, their coach, unfortunately, I think he is a great player development coach, but we need someone that has that, that championship experience that teach these young guys and develop a leader out of these young guys to get to that next step.
0 (8m 33s):
Sounds like the Sixers may need to make a pivot, which is a phenomenal segue because the topic and focus of our episode today is all about pivoting and persevering. So AJ, break it down for us. What is the biggest pivot that you've made to date?
1 (8m 51s):
Yeah, so that's a great question. So when I started this journey back in 2017, every entrepreneur is so optimistic that, you know, when they first start their journey, everything's gonna go, you know, as planned and they have the best idea in the world and it's gonna be so easy to raise venture capital. And that first year of, of building lava, I had, I had a lot of wake up calls and I was living off my savings at the time. And obviously when you're not having any money coming in, those saving, that saving starts to dwindle very quickly. So I didn't want to go back to corporate. I I wanted to continue to pursue my dream and continue to work for myself. So I was trying to figure out other ways I could create money in my industry and that's when I started really diving into design and website development.
1 (9m 40s):
And to be honest with you, John, if if I never took, if I never entertained that, I guess pivot, I don't know where I would be right now considering the fact that I, I put a lot of time each day into honing in on my craft and it allowed me to start doing a lot of freelance projects for a lot of my friends, my family, which allowed me to increase my runway so that I can continue to pur pursue my dream of getting Clive off the ground. Let's
0 (10m 8s):
Talk about why pivoting is so important. Like for you in your experience and the pivots you made, like what would you wanna pass on to the Fire Nation as to the importance of pivoting and, you know, maybe when to know when the right time for pivoting is?
1 (10m 23s):
It's a lot of self-awareness. You know, during Corona and, and Covid right now, you know, we have, we have a lot of businesses pivoting. I I saw a shoe company pivot from creating shoes to creating masks. And you know, you just gotta figure, it's gotta be a self intuition where you, you, you're, you're noticing an opportunity or you're noticing that something isn't going correctly and you need to make a change. And at the time I just knew that if I continue to go down the same route I was going down, I I I would probably need to get a job very soon, which is why I, you know, pivoted and started learning new, new, I guess, skill sets so that I could branch out and still were for myself, but at the same time continue to do what I love doing.
0 (11m 7s):
So, Fire Nation, I think it's just very important to recognize that, listen, a great idea is just that a great idea. The next step you have to take action, you have to take action upon that idea. Why? Cause then within that action, you can start getting feedback, you can be getting engagement with the audience. You can actually start seeing people reacting and hopefully talking with them and seeing what they like, what they don't like, so that you can adjust, so that you can evolve, so that you can pivot as you move forward. And Fire Nation, we have so many more value bombs coming up as soon as we get back from thanking our sponsors, we all want the same things for our business. More leads, faster sales and better insights so we can serve our customers at the highest level.
0 (11m 50s):
One thing, we all don't want to waste time and money trying to figure these things out. So, what's the solution? A CRM that's easy to set up and customize sounds too good to be true, right? But this CRM exists, and it's called HubSpot. What sets HubSpot apart is it's easy to use and integrates instead of wasting days or even months trying to figure everything out. HubSpot gives you tools like their AI content assistant, which helps you save time on tedious manual tasks right away. Looking to step up your game with email broadcast and landing pages? HubSpot’s drag and drop builder makes it easy to create attention grabbing emails in pages in minutes, and that's only the beginning. HubSpot has 1300 plus integrations that you can add for customization like you've never seen before.
0 (12m 30s):
HubSpot CRMs powerful tools will help marketers wow prospects, sales teams lock in deals and service teams improve response times and overall service. Get started for free at hubspot.com. That's hubspot.com. So, AJ there's a lot that's going on in this world right now. I I'll say there's a lot of people that are reaching out to me and saying, you know what John, sometimes good is getting in the way of great, you know, I had a good job, I had a comfy existence. I didn't like my job, it was good, it was paying the bills, but man, I've always wanted to create something great, something that I'm passionate about, something that I'm excited about, and now I'm either furloughed or I got fired or laid off because of everything that's changed in this world.
0 (13m 13s):
And in some ways I'm, I'm, I'm like secretly excited about it because now like I'm forced into this world of entrepreneurship and to make it on my own. So for those individuals, you know, that, you know, I've always kind of wanted to take this path, that's obviously why they're listening to this episode right now. What's some advice that you would give to them right now?
1 (13m 33s):
I would just be open-minded. You know, sometimes you end up going down a path that you would just never think you would end up going down. And that's just how life works Sometimes life is constantly changing. The world is constantly changing, which means you have to be constantly changing and constantly adapting. You know, you see a lot of businesses, for example, like Bo Blockbuster who didn't adapt and now they, they've been, they they ran out of business. It's just very important to continue to build that skillset and, and to continue to learn and push yourself to, to learn new things even though that might make you feel uncomfortable. It's always a good step to get out of your comfort zone so that you can grow as a person and as you grow it is gonna help get you to where you ultimately want to be, which is, you know, your end goal
0 (14m 19s):
Fire Nation. There's a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. That I'm obsessed with. You don't have to see the whole staircase to take that next step. And that's such an important just understanding to have because so many people don't even take one step or two steps because they're like, well I can't see the whole staircase, I don't know exactly where I'm going. Like of course you don't, you don't know what's going to unfold. It's that next step that's gonna show you what's possible in that next step and so on and so forth. So you don't have to see the whole Staircase Fire Nation, please just take that next step. Surround yourself by the right people. Consume content like this from people like AJ and others who have been there, done that, who have pivoted and persevered and come up with ideas when they're sitting in the mall.
0 (15m 1s):
I mean, these things do happen. I mean, my idea came when I was on a walk, you know, by the Bay. I mean these things happen, but you're gonna put yourself in the right situation. And that blockbuster comment was so true because guess what? They weren't saying Fire Nation, what could put me out of business? They weren't having that conversation. If they were, they would've realized what could put them out of business. And guess what? They would've been the Netflix. They would've created the Netflix or they would've bought Netflix when they had the opportunity to for just, you know, a fraction of what it is worth today. I mean, it's unbelievable when you think in that way. So let's talk about Claver real quick. Like, you know, we've talked about, you know, that advice that you gave as far as like taking that next step.
0 (15m 44s):
What do you think the next step for Clave is today?
1 (15m 48s):
I think the next step for cl Ava right now is to obviously build our user base, but to show, to start to build this community where people understand, hey, this, this app is adapting to my location no matter where I'm located in, in, in the world. As you open up lava, you're greeted almost with a map that's similar to Google Maps and on this map there are chat rooms that you can join and you can quickly navigate to your announcements page to see what's going on in your area. So if you're in an area like myself, which was Baltimore two years ago, where I, I didn't know anyone but my girlfriend, it, it's a great app that I, I could have opened and start connecting with locals and meeting new people and discovering what, what, what is there to do in Baltimore.
1 (16m 33s):
So that's the main goal, just getting the, getting the, spreading the word about what we're doing and showing how it can help people and how it can be a tool for people to, you know, have fun in in their surrounding community and connect with locals easily. And right now, you know, during Corona and Covid, it, it's a great tool to just meet new people because of social distancing. I mean, you can really just jump into a chat room and start chatting with people in that specific location and that chat room might be right next to you on the map. So it's just a great way to just kind of just network in your area and in your community. And I'm really excited to spread the word about it.
0 (17m 9s):
A lot of people AJ, are intimidated just by the thought of even creating apps. I mean, I'll put myself in there cause I'm not a techy person. So like what advice would you give Fire Nation if they have an idea and they want to take that first step in the app space, but like me, they aren't techy people. So
1 (17m 27s):
I would definitely find someone in your network or in your group of, of people that is technically savvy. I can't tell you how many times I thought I could do it on my own and the result wasn't good. And, and if you have someone that's technical behind you that can kind of break down or translate that language for you, it just gives you the upper hand hand to someone that doesn't understand the technical world. Because at the end of the day, this, the tech industry is like a whole other language that you have to learn and I'm still learning it and it's something that's constantly adapting, constantly pivoting and, and growing. So, you know, you're, you're pretty much playing catch up if you're, if you're gonna dive into this market, which is why I highly suggest you, you, you really find a connection that has been in this market for years and understands the ins and outs.
0 (18m 16s):
So, let's wrap this up, AJ with you giving one final piece of guidance, like of everything we talked about today, when it comes to persevering and pivoting in what you have going on, give us the one key takeaway that you wanna make sure that we get after this episode. And I know you have something special for Fire Nation, so share that and of course let us know how and where we can connect with you.
1 (18m 39s):
For sure. The one advice I just want to give to everyone out there is I just want you to look into the mirror and, and really look at yourself and ask how bad do you really want to make it as an entrepreneur? Or how bad do you want your product to get off the ground and into the market? Because it's gonna take a lot of effort and you're gonna really need to be real with yourself on how much effort this is gonna take. It's, I don't want you to be scared to take this jump, but I, I want I want to encourage yourself to take it because you learn so much along this journey. I mean, I can't tell you how much I've learned over the past three years just doing it on my own and, and teaching myself and I've just become a better person than where I was three years ago. And I just want to encourage you, you know, get the people that support you that are there for you and want to encourage you to chase your dreams because you know, if you continue to push back your dreams, you're never gonna chase them.
1 (19m 31s):
When, when it comes to finding me, you can obviously find me on Instagram @AJ Picard_my Twitter name is a little difficult. It's actually @Pic_AcardNeCard and it's @Pic_AcardNeCard. And last but not least, I wanted to offer to any business that wants to partner up with Clava and start promoting inside of Clava. We would offer this to you for free. All you need to go, all you need to do is go to our website, www.clava.xyz/fire, fill out the application and we'll start promoting your brand inside of Clava for Free
0 (20m 11s):
Fire Nation. Get on the Clava platform. I mean this is important to get that marketing out there. Get that word out there. Be a first mover. The first mover advantage. This is critical cause’ you know this, you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you've been hanging out with AP and JLD today. So, keep up that heat. Head over to eofire.com. If you just type AJ in the search bar, his show list page will pop up with everything that we've been talking about today. But of course, Fire Nation, your call to action is this. If you have a business and you want to drum up some more leads and you want to just try a different marketing channel because we should always be trying new, exciting and different marketing channels, clava.xyz/fire, check that out.
0 (21m 0s):
And AJ, I want to thank you brother for sharing your truth, your knowledge, your value with Fire Nation today. For that we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip side.
1 (21m 9s):
John, thank you so much man. I really do appreciate it.
0 (21m 12s):
Hey Fire Nation, today's value bomb content was brought to you by AJ and if you had your big idea already, well you would be ready to ignite. But if you haven't, well I got good news for you. I have a free training that will get you to your big idea in less than an hour. Visit yourbigidea.io, yourbigidea.io and I will catch you there or I'll catch you on the flippity flip side. Business Made Simple hosted by Donald Miller is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network. The audio destination for business professionals Business Made Simple takes the mystery out of growing your business with episodes like How to Get Out of the Day-to-Day Operations Without Crashing Your Business.
0 (21m 52s):
Listen to Business Made Simple wherever you get your podcasts.
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