Engineer turned entrepreneur to solve problems worth solving - Success Inspired

Episode 49

Engineer turned entrepreneur to solve problems worth solving

My guest today is Dillon Mitchell, an engineer and entrepreneur who left his job working work long hours designing commercial buildings as he realised he was getting stressed out and knew there is better solution to this. He moved across the country, and started a software company that generates electrical designs in minutes allowing engineers to focus on engineering and be home with their families in time for dinner.

Links:

Highlights:

  • (00:00:16) - Introduction of today's guest
  • (00:02:48) - Benefits of living off the grid
  • (00:04:08) - Solving problems for construction industry
  • (00:10:34) - Thank you for what you do, what inspired Dillon to start working on solving this problem?
  • (00:16:06) - Finding passion for running & overcoming initial challenges
  • (00:20:59) - Magic happens outside your comfort zone
  • (00:23:24) - Some of the toughest moments Dillon had to overcome in his business
  • (00:24:42) - Lifestyle pros & cons of owning your own business
  • (00:26:03) - Dillon's story of finding a developer to build his software (great insights in this story).
  • (00:33:30) - Take ownership and have positive outlook on life
  • (00:34:47) - Starting a new business? Here's some advice from Dillon for you
  • (00:36:11) - Dillon's best go to routines to de-stress
  • (00:40:56) - Final tips & how to get in touch with Dillon or Kowabunga studios

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Transcript
Speaker:

Welcome to the success inspired podcast, a business and personal development podcast to help you accomplish more in life and realize your true potential.

Speaker:

And now here is your host Vit Muller

Vit Muller:

Hello, everybody.

Vit Muller:

Welcome to another interview on the Success Inspired Podcast.

Vit Muller:

I'm your host Vit and today with me, my guest is an engineer entrepreneur ultra runner, completing two iron man's, multiple 50 mile runs in numerous marathons is a

Vit Muller:

To design the projects in minutes through his software.

Vit Muller:

So we're going to talk about that.

Vit Muller:

We're going to talk about his entrepreneurial journey and how he came about to figuring out this solution, that helps so many other electrical engineers and also about his marathons.

Vit Muller:

So please welcome to the show, Dylan Mitchell.

Dillon Mitchell:

Hey, thanks for having me Vit, pleasure to be here.

Vit Muller:

Nice to meet you Dylan.

Vit Muller:

Nice to meet you.

Vit Muller:

So tell me, how did this whole thing come about?

Vit Muller:

Did you always wanted to be an engineer?

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah, so for me, I moved to Oregon for high school.

Dillon Mitchell:

So in the US like on the coast, right above California and where we ended up moving ended up being Off the grid.

Dillon Mitchell:

a house that we provided our own power, right?

Dillon Mitchell:

We had solar panels, windmill, hydro, all that kind of stuff.

Dillon Mitchell:

Generator in my next door neighbor was a electrical engineer that worked for national laboratory.

Dillon Mitchell:

So through that experience, I fell in love with our production, how the grid works, how homes worked like we never lost power.

Dillon Mitchell:

And so many, like other towns and cities will lose power.

Dillon Mitchell:

Like our power never went out.

Dillon Mitchell:

So for me growing up as a kid, like that was a big thing.

Dillon Mitchell:

And just how systems worked, how electricity got stored and transported.

Dillon Mitchell:

So all that kind of stuff, really just, and I was good in math and science.

Dillon Mitchell:

So it just was an easy route to take, to becoming an engineer

Vit Muller:

And having that experience growing up in that safe environment, would have naturally inspired you to, to pursue that as well.

Vit Muller:

Right?

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

It gave me a very different appreciation for how many people have that type of experience.

Dillon Mitchell:

So in growing up in that environment, allowed me to one, have some hands-on experience with, renewables.

Dillon Mitchell:

So this was like 15 years ago when renewables are not like a thing, People didn't really talk about solar and wind farms and all that kind of stuff where it's pretty common today.

Dillon Mitchell:

So it gave me an experience, that was just years ahead of where things have taken anyway.

Vit Muller:

And for somebody that, you know, may have heard about renewables and solar panels and all that, but haven't really started looking into anything and not even considering.

Vit Muller:

What are so the most obvious, but are there some benefits that are a little bit less obvious that people don't even consider that maybe they should know about?

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

So with any type of renewable source, it's going to get you most of the way there, right?

Dillon Mitchell:

Like solar is not going to be a full solution for your house.

Dillon Mitchell:

You're not going to power everything about it.

Dillon Mitchell:

And probably some of the things like living off the grid that I became aware of is like how much power, something really takes right.

Dillon Mitchell:

For your, your coffee pot, your tea, kettle, your microwave, like all that kind of stuff.

Dillon Mitchell:

It takes a lot of power and I, most people don't understand like how much it actually consumes would be probably a more lesser known fact when you're connected to the grid.

Dillon Mitchell:

And you just don't, you don't think about it

Vit Muller:

And with yourself, are you living off the grid right now?

Vit Muller:

He's still living off the grid or?

Dillon Mitchell:

No, no, that was I really just lived there through high school, my parents and I so it was, we were there for a while and it, it was a great experience.

Dillon Mitchell:

but no, I don't plan to do that any anytime soon.

Vit Muller:

Why not?

Dillon Mitchell:

It's there's a lot of maintenance to everything.

Dillon Mitchell:

so that's like the other side of it is, you gotta upkeep everything and I just it's not something that I want to spend time on.

Vit Muller:

That's alright, fair enough.

Vit Muller:

Let's talk about the software business that you've got.

Vit Muller:

So obviously I assume a lot of people develop things like that when they.

Vit Muller:

come about a struggle and they want to figure out a solution.

Vit Muller:

Was that it was that like the journey, was that like for you?

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

So in the construction industry, there's a, a lot of things that people do that are, or need to be done, but are very like time consuming and tedious and all these just very repetitive tasks.

Dillon Mitchell:

So did you ever take like a drafting class or something like that in high school or primary school?

Vit Muller:

No,

Vit Muller:

I'm just drawing just an arts, but nothing like drafting no.

Dillon Mitchell:

even like 20 years ago, it was still a very common practice.

Dillon Mitchell:

Like when you think of blueprints, right?

Dillon Mitchell:

all those are drawn by hand for a building.

Dillon Mitchell:

even 20 years ago, so 2000, they were all still done by hand enter the computer.

Dillon Mitchell:

Now you can click some stuff, right?

Dillon Mitchell:

It's now an electronic drafting table.

Dillon Mitchell:

And then maybe six years ago.

Dillon Mitchell:

It really took over to where it's a three-dimensional model and all of this like database type stuff, but still very, very repetitive.

Dillon Mitchell:

Me working in that industry.

Dillon Mitchell:

I just saw all these repetitive tasks that take hours and really months to create commercial buildings is what we're talking about.

Dillon Mitchell:

So we're not talking about your residential house or talking like schools, hospitals, big office towers, those types

Vit Muller:

Lot's of rooms, lots of levels.

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah, they're, they're just massive.

Dillon Mitchell:

And they, they take a long time to design cause every, every switch, every outlet, every light needs to be put in and placed in that model so that everybody knows what to build.

Dillon Mitchell:

So, what we did, we created a software that automates the placement of all those thousands of devices throughout a building.

Dillon Mitchell:

So instead of it taking what could be months for a given project, you effectively do that in minutes.

Dillon Mitchell:

So that's what we've done to take out the tedious time consuming portion of design for commercial construction, and then allow people to really focuse on

Dillon Mitchell:

The nice architectural features versus all the kind of rote and tedious.

Vit Muller:

No.

Vit Muller:

And how do you generate these calculations?

Vit Muller:

Are they based off like a 3d model or do you have to put a look at some metrics?

Vit Muller:

How does it work?

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

So in the process of designing a building, the architectural team, the design team will create the building floor plan, right?

Dillon Mitchell:

So they'll create that 3d model.

Dillon Mitchell:

And once that's created, once all those rooms and plan is generated and models generated, then our software can come in and populate the rest of that model with all the electrical equipment.

Vit Muller:

Because they're true to scale.

Vit Muller:

So it's usually just to scale it up and calculate.

Vit Muller:

Okay, cool.

Vit Muller:

And what else does it take out?

Vit Muller:

So obviously material that the electricians would need a cables and switches and all those bits and pieces.

Vit Muller:

Does it also take into account?

Vit Muller:

I'm not an electrical engineer, but I assume, there's, there's laws around engineering and.

Vit Muller:

Yeah.

Vit Muller:

Amperage and things like that.

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

So for, for what our solution does, it's calculating where lights go.

Dillon Mitchell:

So it's doing all the lighting calculations.

Dillon Mitchell:

This is something that like in a house you don't really need to think about.

Dillon Mitchell:

You just put a light in and it's good enough but in commercial, we actually do calculations to make sure you have the right amount of light.

Dillon Mitchell:

In a particular space.

Dillon Mitchell:

So like a classroom is going to be pretty bright, but you go into a restroom and there, darker, It's just not as bright in a restroom as it would be in like a classroom or an office space.

Dillon Mitchell:

So all those need calculations.

Dillon Mitchell:

So we perform all those calculations and that's what our software does to place all of your lights throughout a building, where they need to be placed.

Dillon Mitchell:

for all the rest of the devices, it's gonna play some.

Dillon Mitchell:

Kind of, as you would need throughout your, your model, and then it's up to the engineer to do the actual engineering.

Dillon Mitchell:

So we're still leaving the engineering up to the engineers, but during the design process, we're taking about half the work out of the process.

Vit Muller:

Is that something that plumbers, plumbers could use as well later on?

Vit Muller:

Or is it just for electricians?

Dillon Mitchell:

So that's definitely in our development is for all the other engineering disciplines.

Dillon Mitchell:

We've got a small solution for the mechanical engineer.

Dillon Mitchell:

So for HPAC to put in, air terminals and all that kind of stuff.

Dillon Mitchell:

and then we're working on other solutions for like plumbing more mechanical solutions and other engineering disciplines.

Vit Muller:

So you're pretty confident.

Vit Muller:

This works really well.

Vit Muller:

Pretty accurate.

Vit Muller:

Everybody's happy.

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

Great solution.

Vit Muller:

One thing, if I had a business like that, the one thing that would be like worried about is if somebody uses my software and

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

for us.

Dillon Mitchell:

So we're, we're taking it to where the the counts are in and we're, it's not going to be for every building, There's still going to be corner cases.

Dillon Mitchell:

So it's going to get you 90% of the way there and cut out that tedium, so there's still going to be spaces that, as an engineer, you're going to need to go back

Dillon Mitchell:

A lot of the circuiting, a lot of that kind of content, but the initial, like big bulk of work phase is what we handle.

Vit Muller:

That's awesome.

Vit Muller:

And how long you guys been around for.

Dillon Mitchell:

So we've we launched in our full version in December of 2019.

Dillon Mitchell:

So just little over a year.

Vit Muller:

Excellent.

Vit Muller:

Excellent.

Vit Muller:

That's good.

Vit Muller:

it's innovation, it's it's always going to happen and this is a perfect example of it.

Vit Muller:

this is going to help so many people and look, I've got a friend is my neighbor.

Vit Muller:

He's a.

Vit Muller:

he's an engineer.

Vit Muller:

He does welding.

Vit Muller:

so all the, all the steelworks.

Vit Muller:

So he does engineer all the, all the, all the projects, steel work projects, and he tells me, on Sundays he sits in front of computer and just does all the.

Vit Muller:

Quotes, the all the calculation and obviously he's got to get it right.

Vit Muller:

the projects that he does it, I don't know on a, quite a big scale.

Vit Muller:

So he's got to get him because there's obviously a profit margin and if he does it wrong, then obviously then he, then he's biting himself in the foot.

Vit Muller:

And then after all that hard work, he ends up with very, very little profit.

Vit Muller:

I can see how this is so useful.

Vit Muller:

So many people not just.

Vit Muller:

Not just talking about business but obviously people have families, people have businesses, but people also have families and it's important to get it right and important to provide family.

Vit Muller:

Yeah, just wanted to say thank you for what you do is it's a great software.

Vit Muller:

And I can imagine, how, how many, how many benefits laterally as a result of having this, using this?

Vit Muller:

there are so that's great.

Vit Muller:

Now, what was that journey like starting this?

Vit Muller:

So you had an idea.

Vit Muller:

So you started working in the industry one day you woke.

Vit Muller:

Woke, woke up up and realised, there needs to be a solution like that.

Vit Muller:

How did you start it with this?

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

One of the initial kind of light bulb moments for me was I was working with a team and.

Dillon Mitchell:

This was in 2013, 14, where we were working on the one of the initial development or releases of the Oculus rifts.

Dillon Mitchell:

So that 3d headset we were at a initial release of that.

Dillon Mitchell:

So are there a development kit to before Facebook bought Oculus?

Dillon Mitchell:

And in that we were putting our 3d models of buildings through that.

Dillon Mitchell:

So then you could walk through a building in virtual reality before like virtual reality was the big thing.

Dillon Mitchell:

And in that site, seeing that like software is a big portion behind all this stuff, and nobody was really taking advantage of it.

Dillon Mitchell:

I didn't know.

Dillon Mitchell:

That was like the initial kind of light bulb moment for me was in 2014.

Dillon Mitchell:

And then it took me a couple of years to save up.

Dillon Mitchell:

Be able to hire a developer to do this, all this stuff funded while I was still working.

Dillon Mitchell:

and really the breaking point for me was I had taken a new job, was working in healthcare.

Dillon Mitchell:

So we were working on operating rooms and operating room renovations with my first project and big foray into healthcare.

Dillon Mitchell:

and then healthcare, they're very, very complicated spaces and especially talking operating room.

Dillon Mitchell:

It's.

Dillon Mitchell:

like a thousand square feet, so not a huge space, but just very, very complex and complicated.

Dillon Mitchell:

So I got thrown into that project and had to figure it out on my own.

Dillon Mitchell:

And I hit to a point where was just super stressful.

Dillon Mitchell:

wasn't sleeping well at all and trying to wrap up a project before I went on a vacation and holiday to the beach and just didn't feel good.

Dillon Mitchell:

And two days before I actually came down with shingles.

Dillon Mitchell:

so it's, itchy rashy burn painful it's on my chest and back, and just a pretty terrible experience, especially like you're supposed to go on

Dillon Mitchell:

Right?

Dillon Mitchell:

That's what triggers it.

Dillon Mitchell:

So here I was super stressed out.

Dillon Mitchell:

I'm not feeling good at all.

Dillon Mitchell:

And now I'm going to the beach, so I'm on the beach, can't do anything I'm on like antivirals and painkillers to try to like, just manage

Dillon Mitchell:

So it was, maybe by the end of vacation that could have a beer kind of enjoy, enjoy being at the beach.

Dillon Mitchell:

but that was the, really the breaking point for me, where.

Dillon Mitchell:

I needed to go into this full time.

Dillon Mitchell:

And that's really been our mission for Cowabunga studios is to create a product, a solution environment, service that.

Dillon Mitchell:

Not only just saving time for engineers and everybody involved, but also, making your life better.

Dillon Mitchell:

There's no reason for anybody to have health issues.

Dillon Mitchell:

And I've known so many people across the industry that, they have heart problems or they've had heart attacks or strokes or they're overweight,

Dillon Mitchell:

or, there's so many other things, they're anxious.

Dillon Mitchell:

And We want to create a solution that not only just self save time, but to reduce your stress levels at work to where you can, have a better life than just being

Dillon Mitchell:

And the engineering's done well.

Dillon Mitchell:

And you're just not continually just stressed and freaked out about getting this next project out the door.

Dillon Mitchell:

we'll help do the heavy lifting for you to enable, better success and a better life for everybody that we help.

Vit Muller:

That's awesome.

Vit Muller:

That's awesome.

Vit Muller:

And yeah, look.

Vit Muller:

This podcast is while it's about inspiring success.

Vit Muller:

It's also about health and fitness.

Vit Muller:

That's my background.

Vit Muller:

And I do mention it a lot on the episodes.

Vit Muller:

It's so important for everybody to, to keep healthy, to stay active and to balance it out.

Vit Muller:

we, we, we can't always be in that fight or flight, for those of you guys listening in the fight or flight that, that presents, when you're in under stress

Vit Muller:

And instead, you're in that a survival mode and your body can only sustain it for a certain period of time.

Vit Muller:

And, Throughout the day.

Vit Muller:

It's okay to be in those zones every now and then.

Vit Muller:

But if you're constantly that's when things happen, like for you as shingles and, immune immune suppression, you started obviously that, that, that wasn't a result of a one day, I

Vit Muller:

And as a result of that, you become immune suppressed.

Vit Muller:

And then that's when, Diseases like shingles that normally wouldn't creep up on you.

Vit Muller:

because you had normally good immune system.

Vit Muller:

They do.

Vit Muller:

the takeaway point from this is that what you're doing is helping people, like I said helping people, not only calculate things, bit more accurately, but fast and and give that

Vit Muller:

that that can be competitive and you want to be able to get those projects out the door.

Vit Muller:

You want to be able to quote quickly so that you can be competitive.

Vit Muller:

And yeah, this is great.

Vit Muller:

Thanks for what you do.

Vit Muller:

And once again, Dylan.

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

Thank you.

Vit Muller:

I would also like to find out if, if any of the clients maybe come back to you and share how did impact it on their lifestyle as a result of using your software.

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

So for the lifestyle piece, we're still a little early in the process to hear the impact on the, the lifestyle.

Dillon Mitchell:

but we're, we're working towards, getting more of those success stories in, from our, our clients and customers.

Dillon Mitchell:

Awesome.

Vit Muller:

Now, speaking of lifestyle, you're an avid runner.

Vit Muller:

Have you always been a runner?

Dillon Mitchell:

I have not been I played soccer or football growing up and that was like the extended running I did, but even still

Dillon Mitchell:

And for me running really started after college.

Dillon Mitchell:

So after, after college I joined a gym and I'd been rock climbing, like all my senior year.

Dillon Mitchell:

So I joined a rock climbing gym.

Dillon Mitchell:

Met up with a few people that it was actually a group of women.

Dillon Mitchell:

So here I am, early twenties and a group of women was rock climbing in their early forties.

Dillon Mitchell:

And they invited me on a run and a mile run never really run that far, maybe once before in my life.

Dillon Mitchell:

So this was a new thing for me.

Dillon Mitchell:

And after that first, first run going maybe down the.

Dillon Mitchell:

Apartment stairs was a pretty painful for anybody that's gone on a long run before realizes that it's not going up.

Dillon Mitchell:

It's coming down the stairs.

Dillon Mitchell:

That's a little rough.

Dillon Mitchell:

And from there I was hooked.

Dillon Mitchell:

I, I did two marathons.

Dillon Mitchell:

I did that in October of 2011 was when I started and I did a marathon in April and then the Chicago marathon in October of that year in 2012, my first Iron Man was in.

Dillon Mitchell:

2013 and then second one was in 2015, 2017.

Dillon Mitchell:

I did my first 50 mile run and that was at, in Leadville, Colorado.

Dillon Mitchell:

So it 10,000 feet.

Dillon Mitchell:

so 3000 meters and climbed 8,000 to 10,000 feet over the course of that race.

Dillon Mitchell:

and then done a few other 50 milers since.

Vit Muller:

That's awesome.

Vit Muller:

That's awesome.

Vit Muller:

so running, So you got hooked, so you got that run.

Vit Muller:

Initially with those ladies eight mile run out of a blue.

Vit Muller:

You wouldn't have been able to walk for a good week.

Vit Muller:

I, I would, I would expect calves call starting up and, and, and the body in a big pain, right?

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

it's primarily like y'all in the hamstrings, right?

Dillon Mitchell:

That's where it hamstrings and quads.

Vit Muller:

Hmm.

Vit Muller:

But you proceeded through the pain and he continued why?

Dillon Mitchell:

It was a good group of people.

Dillon Mitchell:

I wasn't, I dunno, like for most of it, it was just, it was another challenge.

Dillon Mitchell:

It was something else to do.

Dillon Mitchell:

They'd all run multiple marathons.

Dillon Mitchell:

So for, for most of them, they probably run.

Dillon Mitchell:

That 0.6 marathons across, four or five ladies and a couple other guys and they'd run a few.

Dillon Mitchell:

So it was just being around a group of people that had done the thing that I was, now looking to do.

Dillon Mitchell:

And through that through a few, their husbands had done Ironman.

Dillon Mitchell:

One had done like a half iron man.

Dillon Mitchell:

So then that became an, I lived in Louisville, Kentucky at the time.

Dillon Mitchell:

So Ironman had a as an event in Moodle, so it was a kind of hometown event to be able to go and do the next year.

Dillon Mitchell:

So it, it just became that progression of, of what's next and go into the next thing.

Vit Muller:

yeah.

Vit Muller:

So from my understanding, so it was about, you wanted to continue to obviously be around this community of people, but it's also inspirational, right?

Vit Muller:

When you, when you were around people that have done something that is.

Vit Muller:

Unreal unreal, but something that, it's, it's this aspirational being able to run a Ironman.

Vit Muller:

Was that, is that the main reason for you to like, to stick around these people?

Vit Muller:

Because they draw drive, they motivated you to do, to push yourself more?

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

if you've been around like the ultra community in really any way, shape or form it's.

Dillon Mitchell:

And especially like when you get to trail and Ironman and in those races, people are pretty positive, right?

Dillon Mitchell:

It's hard to find people that are, downtrodden doing these types of events.

Dillon Mitchell:

Everybody's pretty supportive.

Dillon Mitchell:

Everybody's really helping each other through the events there to cheer everybody on support in a lot of ways.

Dillon Mitchell:

And it's really just a good community to be a part of, group of positive people that are pushing themselves to the limits.

Dillon Mitchell:

And in most of these cases, you're.

Dillon Mitchell:

You have a very small percentage that are quote professional athletes.

Dillon Mitchell:

Most everybody is out there to, to see how far they can go to see what they're capable of.

Dillon Mitchell:

And that's a very different type of environment than you get in a, basically anything else, right?

Dillon Mitchell:

It's it's an environment that's positive that just people want to help and who doesn't want to be around that type of environment.

Vit Muller:

Hundred percent,

Vit Muller:

hundred percent there is a saying, right?

Vit Muller:

We are the average of the five people that we spend the most time we've and want to be more successful.

Vit Muller:

We want to do better in life.

Vit Muller:

But there is one thing that I keep hearing and I've experienced over and over and even my own journey.

Vit Muller:

And, and, and you would have experienced in your journey is nothing happens unless you, until you get yourself out of that comfort zone.

Vit Muller:

It's, it's the magic that happens outside of that comfort and after outside of that comfort zone circle so doing things like a marathon

Vit Muller:

I used to take my clients, my personal training clients to Tough mudder 20 K obstacle race.

Vit Muller:

And we would go every year.

Vit Muller:

The first day we went, I had a couple of guys from my bootcamp and they were in their forties, fifties corporate exec executives busy jobs, busy lives

Vit Muller:

They didn't want to, but then I kept on pursuing and managed to get them to do the tough Mudder with me and God.

Vit Muller:

That was amazing experience, not just for me going through the obstacles , but forthem.

Vit Muller:

At the end, we all run through that finishing line and it was just, this was bonding experience.

Vit Muller:

Like we had a shared experience, so we know they gave you a beer and we were like talking about a whole thing, but for them individually, They were saying, Oh wow.

Vit Muller:

I would have never thought I wouldn't be able to do that.

Vit Muller:

I did it.

Vit Muller:

And up until today, it's still like grateful that we went through that because it just it was just another, another, another discomfort that they

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah, absolutely.

Dillon Mitchell:

there's nothing like pushing to that next level or completing something that, was that the maybe ranger limits of what you thought possible.

Dillon Mitchell:

so getting to those next levels, whether that's, finishing your 10th marathon, and maybe you do it a little faster this time, or, to be in your first Tough mudder

Dillon Mitchell:

You're never gonna not feel good after completing those events.

Vit Muller:

What are some of the toughest moments that you had to overcome through, through, in the business side of things for you?

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

in business, you're going to get said no to a lot, and through that, you've gotta be able to persevere as problems come up.

Dillon Mitchell:

and this happens in construction all the time too, is, you've gotta be able to solve the problem.

Dillon Mitchell:

You can't just let it fester.

Dillon Mitchell:

You've got to address it, own it, understand that it is your problem to solve and then solve it for them.

Dillon Mitchell:

so that's.

Dillon Mitchell:

whether that's what a solution you create or your solution has its own set of issues to work through to get them, what they need, what they're looking for.

Dillon Mitchell:

And that's probably the biggest thing.

Dillon Mitchell:

It's, you gotta you go and, but you may be think is right.

Dillon Mitchell:

And, do everything for them, the customers at the end of the day.

Vit Muller:

Absolutely.

Vit Muller:

Absolutely.

Vit Muller:

You got to own your own shit, you know, don't blame it on others.

Vit Muller:

that is best path towards excellence is when you start owning your own mistakes, owning, stuff that happens in your business and stop blaming others.

Vit Muller:

again, another, another commonality with very successful people that I talk to, they own the, their, their responsible leaders and magic happens.

Vit Muller:

Now back to you, so with this business that you run as a result of running this business I assume now been doing it since 2019.

Vit Muller:

So are you starting to reach some level of success, has that impacted your lifestyle in, in a positive way?

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

having my own company, setting my own hours allowing myself to, I'm not tied to a nine to five or I don't have to be an office or in a chair.

Dillon Mitchell:

The impacts, for me personally is I can go for walks during the middle of the day.

Dillon Mitchell:

I can, be on podcasts and have my own.

Dillon Mitchell:

voice more so than if I worked in a, in a corporate position.

Dillon Mitchell:

So for a lot of this it's it's really more freedom, but understanding like, I still work long hours.

Dillon Mitchell:

I still put in a lot more time than if I were in a corporate position.

Dillon Mitchell:

so lifestyle in that regard.

Dillon Mitchell:

Yes.

Dillon Mitchell:

But the other thing to be known as like entrepreneur, you're going to pour everything that you make back into your company.

Dillon Mitchell:

so you're not.

Dillon Mitchell:

upgrading your lifestyle for the most part that you see those people they're probably renting their cars renting the Lamborghinis they're, maybe leveraged to the hilt and what they're showing

Vit Muller:

And yours, especially in your case, like you've.

Vit Muller:

The way you said it, I understand you've bootstrapped that you didn't really had a huge capital.

Vit Muller:

it took you a few years before you found a developer.

Vit Muller:

Tell me about that journey.

Vit Muller:

What is it like , because, there might be somebody listening that might have some really, amazing idea about some particular software,

Vit Muller:

And, developers can be expensive.

Vit Muller:

So what was that where did you start with that?

Vit Muller:

How did you overcome that solution?

Vit Muller:

That, that problem, getting that developer on board with the little that you had?

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

So with software in particular, there's a few key pieces.

Dillon Mitchell:

One is you need to have a clear outline.

Dillon Mitchell:

Like you have to clearly know what you want out of that solution, right?

Dillon Mitchell:

There's consumer product too, but you've got to clearly know what you want and, outline, sketch as much as you can for that product, what each button does, like everything through that solution.

Dillon Mitchell:

So that's a big piece in software, really in any product.

Dillon Mitchell:

to make sure that you're doing that to give you your developer clear and kind of straight lines of follow so that they're not lost in the woods and charging you

Dillon Mitchell:

So as a entrepreneur owner, you need to think through a lot of these problems and finding a developer for me, I went through it a couple before I found somebody that was really good.

Dillon Mitchell:

And ultimately it was a recommendation from a friend.

Dillon Mitchell:

So don't be afraid to tap your network, to find people to help you or recommend somebody that they know is, is really good at what they do.

Dillon Mitchell:

And that'll, that'll also save you a lot of time and money moving forward.

Dillon Mitchell:

so those are probably the two of the biggest things.

Dillon Mitchell:

And then in, in bootstrapping it's it's what do you want out of your company?

Dillon Mitchell:

For me, I wanted to retain ownership and really control of the product direction, all that kind of.

Dillon Mitchell:

it's for the company.

Dillon Mitchell:

And that that's important to me because I feel that most others that would come in with capital or something else from the outside would not have a good idea of what the construction industry needs.

Dillon Mitchell:

They're not from the industry.

Dillon Mitchell:

They would just be people with capital.

Dillon Mitchell:

so creating product direction, wouldn't be something that they they're good at.

Dillon Mitchell:

so for me, it was really maintaining that control of product and director of the company and to have my own voice right, where I can't get fired from my own job.

Dillon Mitchell:

Or fired from the board or anything like that for saying something that, I believe in.

Dillon Mitchell:

So I wanted that independence as well.

Vit Muller:

Is that something that can easily happen when these cases or, or did you have to negotiate a lot to get that.

Vit Muller:

To get that, like to retain the right to your ownership when you, when you were seeking investors?.

Dillon Mitchell:

Oh, so yeah, I still 100% own everything.

Dillon Mitchell:

but in, for companies that I've seen to go get investment in getting investors they, somewhere down the line having a disagreement and

Dillon Mitchell:

in, in a lot of cases.

Dillon Mitchell:

So it's, for me, I never wanted to go into that situation or run into that scenario.

Dillon Mitchell:

never saying that it couldn't happen where I partner with the right person at the right time, but for the most part wanting to retain, ownership and control.

Vit Muller:

And the good thing is there's so many more investment companies, Angela investors, than they were before with tech in the tech sector, especially emerging, You've got in Silicon Valley.

Vit Muller:

They say there's like, there's one new tech being being kickstarted every day.

Vit Muller:

so there's, there's certainly a trend and is certainly an interest from investors.

Vit Muller:

So it's for an investor, if they come across a great idea, that can be an amazing investment.

Vit Muller:

because in a couple of years it could be the next Uber, or it could be the next Airbnb.

Vit Muller:

but also for the founder it just opens the world of opportunities for anybody, knowing that you just need to have a great idea.

Dillon Mitchell:

Uh, no.

Dillon Mitchell:

I mean, to have a great idea executed really well.

Dillon Mitchell:

Um, you know, the problem with a lot of these, you hear they get funding or whatever, but what you don't hear is how many went bankrupt, And how many couldn't cut it and, and

Dillon Mitchell:

You learn to be invented.

Dillon Mitchell:

And when I.

Dillon Mitchell:

When sales roll in, when you know all these things happen in a company, I'm now well-prepared to like manage capital, manage the cashflow, hire people, train at a level, that's good

Dillon Mitchell:

Let's say founder, you have no idea how to manage people.

Dillon Mitchell:

You have no idea what cashflow is.

Dillon Mitchell:

You have no idea how to do sales and marketing.

Dillon Mitchell:

so you just basically take that pile of cash and light it on fire.

Dillon Mitchell:

And then you're screwed in three years.

Dillon Mitchell:

which is what happens with a lot of companies that get investment.

Dillon Mitchell:

They they've burned through their own runway, they spend it poorly and don't know how to do any of that.

Dillon Mitchell:

it's not just a great idea, a great idea that nobody knows about is isn't going to cut it.

Dillon Mitchell:

you have to execute and you have to do, manage cash, train people really, and be a leader of people.

Dillon Mitchell:

So yeah, a great idea helps, but frankly, there's a lot of companies out there that do things marginally better than the competition are extremely successful.

Vit Muller:

Yeah, no, you're absolutely right.

Vit Muller:

Yeah.

Vit Muller:

And thanks for expanding on that.

Vit Muller:

Yep.

Vit Muller:

I In retrospect.

Vit Muller:

Yeah, I should have expanded on that more, not just a great idea.

Vit Muller:

You definitely need to have some experience in this.

Vit Muller:

If you're young, if you're an 18 year old thinking that you're going to be the next, next Elon Musk, you got to have, you got to have some key characteristics in, you

Vit Muller:

And a lot of these, they do, they, they get, they get investor on now.

Vit Muller:

They're, they're like they thinking they made, they made it and they get, they get all the money and they started showing it off instead of really focusing on the actual business.

Vit Muller:

So no you're totally right, totally.

Vit Muller:

right.

Vit Muller:

So with Kowabunga, what's the, what's the next what's the next 12 months looking like what's the plan?

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

So for us in 2020, we went from one to eight products and then added from three to 17, like feature sets.

Dillon Mitchell:

So really we're going to be on that, that same trajectory, more products, more solutions, helping more people building our team out and just continuing upward.

Dillon Mitchell:

That's the primary trajectory for us is being able to help more engineers, more firms with, more and approved solutions.

Vit Muller:

And right now in the US, you know, you guys really hit with Covid, it is the construction showing any, any slowdown or is it still like still going well?

Dillon Mitchell:

It's for the most part it's been going well, obviously, in each state you're going to have different requirements that get in place with, with COVID

Dillon Mitchell:

With COVID in particular like warehouses and data centers where, you couldn't build them fast enough.

Dillon Mitchell:

other things like schools and university are probably a little slower and even hospitals probably the hospitals haven't been building that much this last year.

Dillon Mitchell:

So once elective surgeries and we hear elective might forget that it's like knees and hips are elective.

Dillon Mitchell:

they're not required.

Dillon Mitchell:

So things like that are a big revenue source for hospitals.

Dillon Mitchell:

So when they start doing those surgeries again, we'll see construction pickup back on the, on the hospital side of things.

Vit Muller:

Now, what would be one piece of advice that you would like to share recommend , you know, pass on on to the listeners right now, who are trying to pursue a better life.

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

So I'll , uh, kind of two-part this one is you need to have a positive attitude, like in take control of your life.

Dillon Mitchell:

So in going forward, going out into the world and being positive and having a.

Dillon Mitchell:

bright and shiny attitude, not to be like overly like the happy person, everyone maybe, maybe hates, but have a good outlook on life.

Dillon Mitchell:

really goes a long way.

Dillon Mitchell:

And through that is also, if you have that type of attitude going out into the world, then you're more than likely also going to want to grow.

Dillon Mitchell:

So to find, other people that are, are growing are taking responsibility for their, their actions.

Dillon Mitchell:

They're reading, they're doing things to really improve them, push them forward.

Dillon Mitchell:

we talked about physical fitness, but it also is your, your mental fitness too, so I know that's all wrapped up in one, but really take

Vit Muller:

Now what about somebody looking to start a business now you've been through, you've been through the hoops, you've been running your business for awhile.

Vit Muller:

Any advice you'd like to give them?

Dillon Mitchell:

A few things.

Dillon Mitchell:

One you've got to not only have the idea, but you have to be passionate about it, right?

Dillon Mitchell:

You gotta be pretty much willing to die on that sword.

Dillon Mitchell:

So whatever it is, you've gotta be willing to work long hours for a long time.

Dillon Mitchell:

And this is the only thing that you think about for years on end.

Dillon Mitchell:

the other thing that I'll, I'll say in starting a business is.

Dillon Mitchell:

it's probably not going to happen in six months, It might not happen in a year.

Dillon Mitchell:

It might not have been in two years.

Dillon Mitchell:

so really what is your, what is your timeframe?

Dillon Mitchell:

What is your willingness to put into it?

Dillon Mitchell:

What's your dedication level to commit to it, and then, looking at your business for retinal services for, larger consulting packages.

Dillon Mitchell:

The sales cycles are probably pretty long, right?

Dillon Mitchell:

Where you might be talking to somebody for six months, a year, 18 months finally closed them versus a $20 book.

Dillon Mitchell:

You can typically sell somebody pretty quickly on a book or a piece of clothing, but even then like maybe so just understand like kind of the sales cycles, but really going into a business.

Dillon Mitchell:

There's a lot that you don't know.

Dillon Mitchell:

But if you have passion for it and understanding of the market and a willingness to persevere through a lot on doing whatever it takes, working any type of job to pay the bills go for it.

Vit Muller:

Now managing stress.

Vit Muller:

We talk about, we talk about a little bit of health and fitness.

Vit Muller:

We talked about how you founded Kowabunga studio as a result of being overworked and stressful and realised, you need that need to be a better solution.

Vit Muller:

what are your best go-to routines to to de-stress?

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

running is one of them, right?

Dillon Mitchell:

Like you can't be sad and run.

Dillon Mitchell:

it's a pretty, pretty hard thing to do.

Dillon Mitchell:

another thing in, in stresses and in business too, like you create a plan, right?

Dillon Mitchell:

So creating a plan, creating a strategy, creating a way to go out into the world is a big part of it.

Dillon Mitchell:

Like you should.

Dillon Mitchell:

Maybe stress a little when it comes to creating that plan, creating that thing.

Dillon Mitchell:

But when it comes to executing, just let go of the results, When you're in execution mode, right?

Dillon Mitchell:

Like doing this podcast or reading or, making phone calls, then is not the time to worry, right?

Dillon Mitchell:

Like it's the roulette wheel has already been spun.

Dillon Mitchell:

The ball has been dropped.

Dillon Mitchell:

Like you can't affect that result in a roulette wheel.

Dillon Mitchell:

So when you're doing the thing, don't stress about it.

Dillon Mitchell:

come back to it and learn from whatever happened.

Dillon Mitchell:

But if you let go of that result of the.

Dillon Mitchell:

Outcome of that thing, whatever you're doing, because you've planned.

Dillon Mitchell:

you're just following the plan, following the strategy, following, what you've already laid out and already stressed over.

Dillon Mitchell:

Then a lot of these things become much easier, but that's a big mental shift to make for a lot of people to letting go of that outcome versus just being present, being in the moment.

Dillon Mitchell:

And if you.

Dillon Mitchell:

Quote, unquote, screw up, come back, adjust the plan, adjust the strategy for the next time.

Dillon Mitchell:

You can go into it, a little better prepared, but do all your worrying, your anxiety stuff.

Dillon Mitchell:

and you don't need to it's not terrible, but you've been more than that.

Dillon Mitchell:

The planning phase.

Dillon Mitchell:

So when you're out like executing things just go a lot easier, but it's a mental shift in that to, to release that, that that stress, that anxiety.

Vit Muller:

Absolutely.

Vit Muller:

You also still have to be open-minded right.

Vit Muller:

He can just set up a plan and set up the strategy and then just going all for it and stressing that about that outcome.

Vit Muller:

Like really pursuing that outcome.

Vit Muller:

And there's no, there's no derailing from that has to be this way.

Vit Muller:

You have to be open-minded you have to be willing to pivot, Because towards achieving that outcome, there will be, it will be required to maybe, shift the path.

Vit Muller:

The path is not straight.

Vit Muller:

The path goes like a bit of a snake.

Vit Muller:

So being open-minded is what allows you to make those decisions to, to overcome the obstacles.

Vit Muller:

Whereas if you're.

Vit Muller:

yeah, if you're too narrow minded, just towards that outcome, really focusing on outcome, then you will be working extra hard and you will be stressed and extra hard.

Vit Muller:

And you might not even get there because you'd be missing out.

Vit Muller:

You haven't looked laterally because he didn't want it to put those little things on the side of your eyes and he didn't want it to look laterally and to look what's going, what's

Vit Muller:

Dylan.

Vit Muller:

It was great to have you on the podcast.

Vit Muller:

Appreciate you sharing your time, talking about your story.

Vit Muller:

how did you come about with launching your business and the benefits that you provide to a lot of people, a lot of families electrical engineers it's great what you do.

Vit Muller:

I hope that at some point this will also be available for Australia.

Vit Muller:

I assume that in, in, in the field of electrical engineering, they there's a similar laws around the world, but w w I guess everybody, every country has their own like different standards and stuff.

Vit Muller:

So I don't know how far internationally you are at with scaling, but when you do get to Australia, I'm sure there's a lot of tradies here, a lot of people

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

So we're kind through the Autodesk app store we're available internationally right now.

Dillon Mitchell:

So.

Dillon Mitchell:

Uh, we've got some few users like in Russia even, so we're totally available internationally, yep, worldwide.

Vit Muller:

Okay.

Vit Muller:

Okay.

Vit Muller:

Excellent.

Vit Muller:

So there's about do, is there any, any, specifics for each country or was that, was I just assuming?

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

So electrically the.

Dillon Mitchell:

where you place stuff might be a little different, but the beauty of electricity is it's pretty much international.

Dillon Mitchell:

All the units standards are the same.

Dillon Mitchell:

Now, when you talk about like mechanical and like duct work and HPAC and plumbing like you gotta convert from inches to centimeters in that system.

Dillon Mitchell:

we're not, we're not there yet on the kind of metric side of things.

Dillon Mitchell:

but.

Dillon Mitchell:

The beauty of electricity is it's, it's basically the same globally.

Vit Muller:

Awesome.

Vit Muller:

So nevertheless, they can get started at that already start benefiting from, being more efficient and then they might just have to adjust few, little things like that.

Vit Muller:

Okay.

Vit Muller:

any past any last message that you'd like to leave our listeners with?

Dillon Mitchell:

I think we've covered it.

Dillon Mitchell:

Go out there, be be positive, have a, have a good attitude and how you show up and, and one thing you need to show up everywhere.

Dillon Mitchell:

So don't have two lives.

Dillon Mitchell:

If you will.

Dillon Mitchell:

One, one for the internet and one in real life being you work's being you is consistent, and then when people meet you there, they're not disappointed right.

Dillon Mitchell:

There you are, who you are.

Dillon Mitchell:

And and that goes a long way.

Vit Muller:

Yup.

Vit Muller:

Yup.

Vit Muller:

They just meet the same person, like they heard on the internet.

Vit Muller:

That's cool.

Vit Muller:

That's it?

Vit Muller:

You're totally right.

Vit Muller:

You're totally right now, somebody looking to reach out maybe they've got some amazing idea that they could, that you could benefit out of, or they want to know more

Dillon Mitchell:

Yeah.

Dillon Mitchell:

So for me personally on Instagram @DillonAMitchell and then Kowabunga studios Instagram and Facebook website LinkedIn is a good place to reach out for either me or, or Kowabunga studios.

Vit Muller:

Awesome.

Vit Muller:

Awesome.

Vit Muller:

Excellent.

Vit Muller:

I'll be sure to put it all in the show notes once again.

Vit Muller:

Thank you for your time.

Vit Muller:

Thank you for being a guest on the show and sharing all the great insights and I wish you all the best with the product that you're developing and many more great years of success ahead!

About the Podcast

Show artwork for Success Inspired
Success Inspired
Business and personal development oriented Podcast that can help you accomplish more in life and realise your true potential.

About your host

Profile picture for Vit Muller

Vit Muller

Hi my name is Vit Muller, I'm a dynamic, innovative and results-oriented management professional with expertise in the fitness industry. Specialty skills include facilities management, member acquisition and retention, marketing and sales incorporating a strong growth mindset

I regularly meet fitness business owners who are struggling with the juggling act of keeping their businesses operational and are unable to grow it successfully and fast enough to live the life they deserve. Instead of looking at the bigger picture and developing their business strategically and with the right systems in place, they are often the operators within, the ones who provide end services for their members. As a result they are tired overworked and can't seem to get the ends meet.

I have a proven experience in launching new fitness facilities and re-designing existing businesses. Including business process design and the implementation of effective business systems, sales funnels, automation processes and standard operating procedures.