My guest for this episode is Daniel Jimenez. Daniel is a growth manager at SqlDBM and founder of Debtly. In this episode, he talks about his deep interest in finance and how that interest sparked the founding of his company. We also discuss the difficulties that come with being a young start up founder and how you can outsource work without having what's considered a traditional founding team.
What Got Him Interested in The World of Finance [04:50]
What Sparked His Interest in Wanting to Start Something at a Young Age and in His Major [06:09]
What ‘Accounting in Relation to Personal Finance’ Means [07:57]
Were His Parents Supportive His Major, and Starting a Company [10:18]
What He Had in Mind about His Future During Senior Year [12:53]
How He Got Started in Music Production [14:50]
Does He Want to Pursue Music Full Time [17:19]
What Sparked His Interest in FinTech Space [19:35]
What is FinTech Space? [21:51]
What is Attracting People to the FinTech Space [22:48]
What is Debtly and What Influenced Him to Start it [28:11]
What His Day-to-Day Operations Look Like [28:59]
Why He Decided to Have an Upwork Freelance Based Team [30:53]
Skills He Learned to Work on Debtly as a PM [33:35]
His Advice for People to Not Get Overwhelmed While Learning Different Technical Skills [37:25]
Highs and Lows That He Has Experienced as a Founder [43:31]
What His Experience Has Been as a Young Founder [46:31]
Soundcloud: DVNNYBEATS https://soundcloud.com/dvnnybeats
Note: Black Enterprise Network transcripts are generated using speech recognition software and human transcription. They may contain errors, although we do our best to avoid them. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting a transcript in print. Questions? Errors found in a transcript? Email us!
Kimmiko James 0:00
Before we get into this week's episode, I just wanted to take a few minutes to talk about some things. The first thing being the black enterprise network podcast website, I've recently added a new donate page in which you can easily see ways to support the show, whether that's through sharing it with family and friends, or someone that's interested in tech, and they don't know how to get into it, as well as a donate link to a page called buy me a coffee calm, and which if you found any value from the show, or you just want to support the show in general, then yeah, you could support me for the price of a coffee, or multiple if you wanted to, the amount of resources that have gone into the podcast have made the show what it is today. And with your support, I can keep things going and make things even better over time. The second new addition to the website will be the nominate a guest page in which you will have the opportunity to nominate yourself or someone else to be potentially be on the show. This page should be up by the end of the week, this Friday, and which then you'll just have to fill out some quick questions. No, fill in the blanks, it is a all multiple choice questions. And one fill in the blank at the end probably. And that's it. And mainly This is to help the both of us out number one, it helps me get more potential guests on the show. And also it gives you an opportunity to share your story in tech in a less intimidating way. Rather than just cold emailing me a paragraph pleading your case on why you would like to be on the show. And I don't know, I feel like that kind of intimidates people. So I'm happy to have this form available. And if you've been listening to the show, you'll see that most of my guests there, there is no one same kind of guests, you might come across someone that's a multi founder, you might come across someone that's only founded one company, or you might come across someone that hasn't founded any companies at all, but their stories are still worth sharing. So keep that in mind when you're filling out the form. And I can't wait to have more you guys on the show. The last thing I'll say is that I will be taking a few weeks off from uploading episodes to the show. No, I am not quitting, I will not quit on this podcast at least for the next three to five years. I am just going to be taking the next few weeks to have more of a set plan for the upcoming months. Because for me personally, I feel like I've kind of just been at a high level just kind of scrambling to interview people scrambling to edit, scrambling to outsource some things. And there's no system that will make things consistent. Some weeks I will upload every week, sometimes I'll upload every two weeks. And sometimes there will be months in which there are only two episodes and I don't want to have that kind of system moving forward. So I'm going to be taking this time to just figure out a system to get this podcast working efficiently. So that you guys have at least three episodes per month, at least that. So no worries, not quitting the podcast, just trying to get things in order. And I'm excited to say that the upcoming episodes are really good. And that I have one of my top 100 podcast guests that I will be interviewing in three weeks. I wish I could say who they are. But I don't want to give it away. This guest was requested from my friend, Emmanuel champoeg. And I said I'll do my best. I don't know if I can get them on. But after months of consistency and patience, this person is coming on. And it's going to be a good one. Especially since they're one of the biggest faces of black tech, you're not going to want to miss it. Also, just a heads up that the audio in this episode was not the best. So keep that in mind. And I apologize ahead of time. So that's enough of me talking. I will let you guys listen to the episode now. Thanks for listening. And this episode, I have a conversation with Daniel. He met us growth manager at sequel dBm and founder of deadly he talks about his deep interest in finance and how the interest sparked the founding of his company. We also discussed the difficulties that come with being a young startup founder and how you can outsource work without having what's considered a traditional founding team. Let's get into it. small percentage of black people are currently represented in the tech industry and entrepreneurial spaces. This includes engineers, startup founders, investors, and especially those that hold leadership roles. I want to share their stories.
I just wanted to jump into your story because I'm very interested in how you got into things especially FinTech, you know something that's blowing up in popularity. And yeah, let's get into it. So, so you you majored in accounting at University of Notre Dame, and you found a FinTech company. And just as a whole what what got you interested into the world of finance?
Daniel Jimenez 5:09
I think I've always been interested in the world of finance. I think it started when I was really young, seeing my parents both work professionally as accountants talking very young. So I always knew that that was their background, they told me all about their stories about working back in Ivey school back in Colombia, or I forgot the name of the company, but they worked for some energy company back in Colombia. And so they always talked about their professional life, and we're very proud of it. So I think that's what made me start kind of thinking about finance in general, I don't remember actually sitting down and studying the world of finance, or accounting in a very technical way until I got into college. So I got to thank Notre Dame for exposing me to that world because it was really, I think it was towards the end of my sophomore year, where everything really started to click in relation to how accounting and finance and, and the world of entrepreneurship really clicked. And that's when I really started getting involved with Alright, how can I start a company, I kind of think I know, a decent amount of the basics to kind of do something on my own. So that sort of work like,
Kimmiko James 6:09
geez, that's actually a really, that's an interesting take. I don't hear that a lot. Like I do hear how people get interested into the field by never just hear like, at sophomore junior level, they're like, I want to start something with the thing I'm doing. So yeah, what sparked the interest in not only start wanting to start something at such a young age, but also wanting to start something in your major?
Daniel Jimenez 6:33
So that's kind of a tough one. I don't know exactly why I decided to get into something that was related to my major, I think it was just by coincidence, I know, I've always wanted to do something relating to personal finance, specifically. So for those of you who don't know, I came from Colombia when I was four. So you know, typical immigrant story, you know, it was kind of tough, like growing up in South Florida, it's pretty expensive. So typical low income, household stuff, and kind of like growing up in that background, like seeing my parents kind of struggle for money. It made me very aware of our situation. And it made me very curious to like, do research and try to figure out how I can help. So I think from a very young age, I've always been sort of obsessed with money. That kind of like comes with the territory of being low income, I
Unknown Speaker 7:17
think. So it
Daniel Jimenez 7:18
was sort of always in the back of my mind. But then going back to what I just said about everything kind of clicking, I didn't really understand how to do that it really, like everything in personal finance, didn't really click, I always knew I wanted to do a company in some area of finance, kind of, but I didn't really know what because I didn't really understand finance. And so when I got to college, and I finally understood some of my courses, everything kind of clicked, I was like, oh, wow, accounting is pretty similar to personal finance. And I kind of understand a little bit of personal finance. And I took this entrepreneurship course, so I can sort of use those basics. And that's when everything kind of came together. And I was like, You know what, EFF it, like, I'll just go for it, you know?
Kimmiko James 7:57
Yeah, yeah, I appreciate the relation of accounting to personal finance. Because like people, for me and other people, when you hear accounting, you're like, Oh, jeez, that sounds very intense. But when you related to personal finance, it kinda tones it down a bit. So I guess at a high level, what is that? What does that exactly mean? Like, does it have to do it? When I think of personal finance, for example, I think of budgeting, emergency funding stuff. But that's just very basic, I guess, how would you describe accounting in relation to personal finance?
Daniel Jimenez 8:31
So I think, I think it really depends, there's like levels to it, the way that I see it. So accounting, in general, there's a lot of frameworks in accounting that I think can relate to personal finance. So you know, taxes, like how you do your taxes, and how you set up, I don't know your taxes can affect your personal finance, and how much taxes you pay, etc, etc. So that's kind of like one thing. budgeting is something else that's related to accounting. So pretty much what's your income statement looking like? So for anyone who's not a business major, you know, that like companies have it, income statements, income versus expenses, the way I look at personal finance, it's pretty much the same thing. Just take out all the fluff. So just how much are you making versus how much are you spending? And so that's kind of, I think, the connection that is strongest in between, in terms of deadly in relation to accounting. So when I kind of realized that I was like, wow, this is like, the same thing that happens with business they could apply to to like individuals. That's really when I thought, okay, let's see if we can use kind of like this unique spin to try to convince people to look at personal finance differently. And so to kind of kind of tie it all together, I think, I'm really glad you brought this up, actually, because, like the relation to accounting is one of the things that I think differentiates us more than any other company, because we're trying to make personal finance simple, by educating people on what it actually is. So I don't know if anyone has seen like the UI or the website of what we're what we're building, but we're actually simplifying accounting for individuales finances so there's like a page where you can see all of your finances as like an income statement or like as a balance sheet. And please don't get scared when I say that, like, it's actually a very simple concept. And hopefully this you know, over time will help people become a little bit more comfortable with what those concepts are.
Kimmiko James 10:18
Yeah, yeah, I can't agree with that enough. Like, the easier he can make personal finance, the less scary it is, like I don't, I don't know why it's ingrained in us. Like for me, especially when I just, you know, I'm using mint right now, but my trans transfer it to something else, because sometimes it does get overwhelming to see my money being depleted, and then also student loans. And then the depressing amount of income that comes in is the thing. I'm like, it helps me understand kind of what I'm doing with my money. But also sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming and investing and stuff like that. So the easier and better tools there are, the better. And that's why I'm excited to talk about that Lee and a follow up, I would have kind of backtracking a little bit about your your family. So you said that you come from an immigrant family. And what I find interesting about interviewing people that come from immigrant families is just like, they always say, my parents were supportive of my major, or what I'm doing. So my question for you is like, Where are your parents supportive of you, being an accounting major, and especially, you know, starting a company, because, I mean, I feel like for anybody that joins tech, I feel like that's a win. But when I talk to my friends that have ever good families, or parents, they're just like, very kind of disappointed sometimes.
Daniel Jimenez 11:37
Yeah, so I think my parents reactions to my professional career, they'll kind of like all over the place. So they were actually really happy with me pursuing accounting, because it's what they studied. And I don't know, they love accounting, and they see it as like the backbone of business. So they were super happy about it. But I personally didn't love the major until very late, I would say I didn't really fully understand it, and kind of like it until my senior year, like fully understand. So there was always like, this weird, like, love hate relationship with accounting, because like, I knew it was beneficial. My parents supported it, I had help at home, because they were good at it. But I didn't really like it. And then kind of like on the side, every other thing that I wanted to pursue at that time they would disapprove of, so every time that I would try to do any extracurricular, they would be like, No, you should be doing accounting. So I remember, like, I got super into music production for like, two years,
Unknown Speaker 12:29
they hated it.
Daniel Jimenez 12:30
I started this company in the beginning, they're like, what are you doing, like, get out in like, you have a job at PwC? Like, you're settled, like, please take it seriously. And I just was like, I was in an out. I was in a different world. So I was like, You know what, I'm just gonna pursue this instead.
Kimmiko James 12:44
Yeah. Still, they'll be happy for you eventually, I hope?
Unknown Speaker 12:50
I think so.
Unknown Speaker 12:52
We'll see. We'll see where it goes.
Kimmiko James 12:53
We'll see. We'll see where it goes. But I think kind of just to like, finish off the beginning of this segment would just be like, I guess what, what did you have in mind after you graduated, because for college seniors, it can be kind of a kind of a slippery slope to be like, Okay, do I want to be safe at this job for first years in my career, then start a startup? Or do I want to be in the job while I'm doing this startup? Or do I just do the startup altogether? Like, well, what was in your mind senior year? A lot of things.
Daniel Jimenez 13:27
I will say this, like, my plan going into this year was completely different from what I actually ended up doing. So my original plan, and I think this is because I was super naive when I came into entrepreneurship. And when I started this journey, I thought I was gonna be able to raise money. And just like a small amount of money, I didn't think I was gonna raise like millions, but like, at least a few 10s of 1000s to, like, get my idea going. And I mean, my parents were super supportive of me living at home after graduation. So I was like, Alright, that's checked off. If I get some funding, I can just live in my room and just work on deftly. But obviously, like, it's really hard to raise money, any any sort of money when you're like a first time founder, when you don't have experience in the industry. And even more so when you look like one of us. So just to like, throw it out there. But so it made it pretty much impossible. So I was like, You know what, let me take a step back. It's not going to be as fast as I wanted. It's not going to be as easy as I wanted. So I got to like come up with a different game plan. So I started applying to a bunch of jobs. And eventually I got a job. I'm working at a company called sequel DVM, we do database modeling. And so I'm doing sales there. And so my plan was pretty much just to work a full time job while I was supporting deadly. So that's currently what I'm doing now. You know, I work eight hours a day, and then at night, I work on deadly and I'm funding it completely myself through the job.
Kimmiko James 14:50
Yeah, so this question, as I'm sure you saw, it's not exactly tech related, but I saw that you do freelance music, with over 2 billion streams online, so Yeah, how did I get started?
Daniel Jimenez 15:02
So first off, I want to say that that subtitle is super misleading. I'm sure people read that and they're like, yo, like, he has 2 million streams on Spotify. Like, that is not the case. I knew people were gonna think that. So that's why I put it just to kind of like, get people like interested. But that's like total streams. So I'll share the sauce. So how did I get started in music production, so pretty much freshman year of college, the first friend I met at Notre Dame, his name is derrius. Shout out to darious I haven't talked to him in a minute. And we became really, really good friends. And he was a rapper. So I kind of like got involved with his music, like overtime as we became friends. And at some point, he was like, yo, like, you know, I'm going to go like, meet with my producer. And we're going to work at a studio and I was like, What the hell is out, like, I don't even know what that means. He kind of like explained what it was, he showed me like how his producer made beats, I think he showed me it was logic or FL Studio, and I just fell in love with it. So I was like, you know what this is for me, like I'm gonna dive headfirst. And that's pretty much all I did for about three years, just like make beats and, and learn audio engineering and watch tutorials, etc. And then eventually, I got to a point where I was kind of comfortable with my music. And so I started uploading it, you know, on YouTube, on Soundcloud on all streaming platforms. And then eventually, I got super lucky. A lot of video creators like my music. When I submitted it to this company called Hello, the Matic I think that's what their name is, hello, thematic. And then through there is where I got most of my stream. So it's literally I think, the niche that the Nisha of audience that most watches my music are beauty videos. So it's a bunch of beauty YouTubers that pick out some of my trap beats for like their intros. And so that's something Yeah, it's super random. And I like occasionally get a notification of like a new one getting used. But yeah, it's a nice way to, I guess gain exposure on my music. I don't really do it that often. But it's nice, because like, randomly, I'll get a notification about like, a new video using my music. And I'm like, Huh,
Unknown Speaker 16:59
it's kind of cool. Like,
Kimmiko James 17:01
if someone wants to check out your your stuff in your work, where can they find that?
Daniel Jimenez 17:06
So you can find me on all streaming platforms, I think on Spotify, my name is Danny with a V on the A and then in SoundCloud on Danny beats as one word with a V on there.
Kimmiko James 17:19
And this will also be linked on the website. So yeah, yeah, thanks for sharing that kind of a double question. Cuz I feel like I know the answer. But what do you have her pursue music full time? Or is this just more of like a kind of a side hustle, hobby kind of base thing that you just do for fun?
Daniel Jimenez 17:35
So I actually love music, even more than I love building businesses. Yeah, like, it's like, my number one passion. Like, I've been listening. I don't even know how to describe it, dude. Like, I don't know how to play any instrument. But like music is my favorite thing ever. And like, I genuinely feel that when I found music production, it's something that I wanted to do long term, even more than entrepreneurship. But I realized that it's very hard to make it and like, especially when you're not like, trained, and like you haven't, like done music in your life. So I'm like, you know what, let me try to make some money. So I can do this when I'm like, 40. So my plan is like to make some money now. And when I'm 40, I'll like buckle down and try to make beats again.
Kimmiko James 18:15
Yeah, that's a good point. I mean, it's not. It's a slippery slope, they just say, Go pursue your dreams. It just depends. I was literally talking to a friend about this yesterday, I was like, you know, singing, you can be good. And years. 10 plus years. But for people like Sam Smith that I've been doing it since they were a toddler, it's, you know, the competitive edge has already been set for that for him and other people like, so. If you're really passionate about it, then I feel like that can drive you even no matter how difficult it is. But some people know their limits. Exactly. Just wanted to put that out there.
Daniel Jimenez 18:53
Exactly. I feel like you got to be strategic about it. Like I agree with you. I feel like I feel like you can do whatever you set your mind to. But like, I'm not gonna go and try to become Beyonce, or like Jay Z, like, That makes no sense. Like, I haven't practiced, you know. Like, I don't Yeah, I'd be throwing my life away trying to chase something that I have no, like probability of getting. So yeah, I feel like, I feel like for anyone who has a dream, like figure out the best way to get there doesn't matter if it takes you a little longer. I think just getting there is the most important thing. And for me, like my goal with music is to just be able to create music and not worry about bills. So as long as that is checked off, then I'm happy.
Kimmiko James 19:35
I like that. I like that so much. Thanks for your thanks for sharing that experience. And adding just a hint of advice at the end. So yeah, what sparked your interest in the tech industry? Or more specifically, the FinTech space, because, yeah, I mean, you've always you I mean, you just express you know, your love for money ever since you were young. You did an accounting major. You want it to start a business and finance.
Daniel Jimenez 20:03
So I guess going back to when I was talking about my upbringing, and how like always thinking of money made me really curious about the space of FinTech, I really started to notice my senior year, when I started considering the possibility of doing something like this, I guess I'll track back. So you got to like, understand the situation I was in. So I was in a lot of credit card debt, for some reason, you know, had student loan debt, whatever. And so I was really trying to figure out a way to get rid of this credit card debt and sort of set myself up financially for the future. You know, I wasn't working at Notre Dame, I didn't have any other source of income. So I was sort of like scouring the internet and trying to find like apps and services that sort of help with that. And I realized that there was a very big need for Debt Relief Services, as software as a service. So I saw a lot of apps that helped you consolidate your debt, or consolidate your finances, or helped you with student loans or mortgages, or I mean, there's a bunch of niches, but I didn't really see a lot of apps or services that helped you specifically with credit card debt, when it came to like automating the debt relief process. So as it relates to like receiving financial advice, or pointing someone to a resource that's relevant for them, or maybe offering some sort of product that's specific to their needs. So when I saw that need, I was like, You know what, this is exactly what I personally need. And I don't see that it's offered anywhere. So why don't I just make it? And I think it was around August that I started like deliberating this idea. And yeah, that's sort of kind of what sparked it. And yeah, that's kind of like the rabbit hole that we're going down now, specifically, helping people with credit card debt.
Kimmiko James 21:44
You start this last year, particularly? No, so
Daniel Jimenez 21:48
I started this in August of 2019.
Kimmiko James 21:51
Okay, okay. So still fairly recent. There's lots of levels to kind of just thinking things at a high level. And the tech industry, you know, there's several different spaces you could get into, which makes it just so overwhelming for new people entering the space. Like there's a cloud space, there's health space, and particularly for us, the FinTech, space, financial tech. Could you just, I mean, it's self explanatory, but still just to help people. Could you briefly describe what the FinTech space is?
Daniel Jimenez 22:19
Sure. So FinTech is the industry that deals with financial technology. So pretty much any product or service that automates or facilitate some sort of financial product or service or process, I think would qualify as FinTech. So if you're automating the lending process, like I don't know, I think Len cable does that, like automating the investing process like Robin Hood. So anything along those lines would qualify as FinTech
Kimmiko James 22:48
at a high level, very good description. But But yeah, from your perspective, what do you think attracts people to want to work at these kind of companies or build in your case, build out these kind of companies? Like, you know, the stripes, the Robin Hood's the squares, and the deadlies of the world compared to companies, the traditional companies like Goldman Sachs and Capital One, but yeah, what do you think attracts people to the FinTech space? Cuz I think it's blowing up. I mean, for me, I personally, was not interested in FinTech. Two years ago, I was just like, why would I want to work at a bank tell you that that was my perception of it. And then fast forward to all these companies blowing up things, products are getting more interesting, especially ones that build out API's that can be used, like, I'm literally going to be interning at a financial tech company that summer, which is crazy. But what do you think attracts people to this space?
Daniel Jimenez 23:42
I think it's a lot of things. I think the first thing is the amount of money that's rushing into the industry. So I think we're sort of seeing a transformation of financial services. I mean, I haven't been around that long and 22. But it feels like something pretty special. It feels like everything is getting automated, it feels like everything's becoming, you know, as easy as clicking a button. So I think it's, you know, the fact that everything's becoming so easy, the fact that all these investors are hyped up and pouring money into the industry. And also the fact that financial services is something that needs changing. I think Financial Services is one of those behemoth, I guess, traditional industries that hasn't seen as much innovation as they could have, in my opinion, in the last few years, maybe the last few decades. So I feel like, you know, I guess like this social justice fever that's going on is making people realize like, hey, like if we want a more equitable world, if we want fairness across the socio economic ladder, then I think we're gonna have to do something about financial services because it's sort of like the backbone of the economy. And I think finances is one of, if not the biggest issue that kind of bleeds into all of our other societal issues like, because we're poor, or because someone's poor, they are more prone to gang violence or to not being educated, etc, etc. So like, I think a lot of people feel that very passionately and feel that if we fix the issues that revolve around money, then everything else will be a little bit better. And so, yeah.
Kimmiko James 25:21
Yeah, that's a nice perspective. Well, I would say that's a different perspective of thinking about it. Because for me, you saw how I described FinTech. I was just like, you know, Robin Hood and stripe API's, other big companies use it. But looking at it from your lens, there is a bigger space to use financial tech to actually help people rather than just using it to, you know, always be a b2b kind of thing. Like I was thinking, so I like your tea, right?
Daniel Jimenez 25:49
Well, I think I think that's also a really important take the b2b side, because, because it's sort of making everything simpler. And you know, like, companies like plaid and stripe, are making it a lot a lot easier for businesses to do business with other businesses. And it's just kind of like, just creating a bigger economy in a way. So I think that's also a really important point.
Kimmiko James 26:11
Yeah, I mean, I'm excited to see where FinTech goes, in the coming years, it's gonna blow up even more than already has, because I literally just told you, I could care less, I could have cared less about it two years ago. But seeing how it's blowing up now, in both b2b and more the helpful socio economic kind of space I I'm excited to see what happens. And kind of backtrack for anybody listening. b2b means business to business, meaning a business sells their product to other businesses. And if you're going to start a company, I recommend b2b because there's always money.
Daniel Jimenez 26:45
I agree. I'm doing b2b right now. And I
Kimmiko James 26:49
I didn't know you're 22 I let me look at this. LinkedIn. When did you graduate?
Daniel Jimenez 26:55
That's funny. You mentioned that because I took my age off, specifically, so people don't know I'm 22. But I graduated the May of COVID. So I'm gonna COVID baby.
Unknown Speaker 27:04
Whoa, while No, yeah,
Daniel Jimenez 27:07
it's it's a lot of people told me that I'm crazy because of because of like, my dedication to this company. But I think that, I mean, that's what I read. You
Kimmiko James 27:16
have to be great. Yeah. Like, I
Daniel Jimenez 27:18
read the stories about like, all my idols like Elon Musk, and the Steve Jobs of the world. And it's like, all of them had a hard like, it's not going to be easy. So like, yeah, might as well just exactly your head down and grind away.
Kimmiko James 27:31
Hey, guys, Pardon the Interruption, but I just wanted to take a minute to talk about the new black enterprise network podcast website. If you've ever been curious about what a guest looks like, or what their social media links are, then we have detailed test profiles for each episode. And there's also detailed show notes with time markers in case you wanted to find a specific point or piece of advice without listening to the entire episode. There's also readable episode transcriptions. And also the website allows you to easily sing questions and feedback, if you want to get in contact with me. Just know that the website will be updated on a weekly basis. So if you don't see something done already, then it will be done soon. Check it out at Black enterprise networks.fm. Yeah, I just wanted to get into deadly which you kind of briefly describe so could you just describe what that really is, and just what influenced you to start it?
Unknown Speaker 28:21
Daniel Jimenez 28:22
So that Lee was really inspired by a few things, mostly my upbringing as an immigrant here in the United States. So I came from Colombia, when I was four, grew up in South Florida, it was pretty tough to like, stay afloat. So kind of like, you know, see my parents struggle and kind of put me in this mindset of being aware of personal finances and, you know, worried about personal finances. So that was always in the back of my mind. But it wasn't until I went to Notre Dame, and I really got comfortable with accounting and finance, that I started to, like, draw connections between the two. And it was ultimately then that I decided to start the company.
Kimmiko James 28:59
I was coming up with a question while you were talking about that. It was basically just like, what is your day to day look like as a founder? Like, how big of a team do you manage? What is your day to day operations look like? Stuff like?
Daniel Jimenez 29:10
So my day to day is pretty unconventional, I think because I also work a full time job. So in the morning from mornings to afternoons, you know, at work so doing so I don't know if I'm, I think I mentioned this before, but I do. I do sales for database modeling company called sequel dBm. So yeah, that's what I do from like nine to five. And then after that, I kind of deal with everything relating to deadly so that means kind of dealing with design issues, dealing with product management. So I'm the main person that kind of puts together the app. I don't actually do any of the coding or like the hardcore designing of it, but I kind of like do all the research do like an initial design, send it to this person, they give it back to me. I you know, I write out the logic of how you know the design is supposed to work and what buttons are supposed to do what then I send that to them. engineer. And that's really what the day to day is like, because we're still building. So literally every day, like, I'll get an update from my engineer, or from my designer, and then I'll tweak it and then send it to the other person. And then just like, rinse and repeat.
Kimmiko James 30:13
Okay, like, I didn't see an official title on your LinkedIn, but it sounds like you're the CEO slash pm of your company. Yeah. Oh, yeah.
Daniel Jimenez 30:24
So I didn't really answer part of your question. I'm sorry. So I don't really have a team like a full time team. So it's mostly me. And then I do hire some 1099 workers from Upwork. Shout out her rock, and Dustin. They're amazing. They're both my engineers. And then also shout out to Yana she is a designer, probably not listening to this, but I'm super grateful. And so yeah, so they work on like a part time basis.
Unknown Speaker 30:50
Kimmiko James 30:53
That's interesting. I mean, how does that that's an interesting take on that. I've never heard that take before. of, you know, when when people think of startups, right? They people think of startups and startup teams, I should say specifically, they're just like, oh, I've known this guy. since college, ah, we're working together, or we're working together at this company. Now we're working on company, this company together, or they meet someone off the street, you know, it's just a random story. That sounds fairy tale ish. Like, how, why did you decide to have more of an upward freelance based team over trying to find your, I guess we'll just say quotation marks dream partner.
Daniel Jimenez 31:33
So it was a few things. So I think the main answer is just experience. So I've already tried to do it the other way, did not have a good experience. So you know, I tried to set up a founding team with like, you know, close associates, and some friends, but there was just like a misalignment of dedication to the project. Obviously, this is like my baby. So like, like, I'm, like, 200% into it. But it's been really hard to find people that are willing to put in as much as me. And so that's why kind of like, that kind of fell apart. And so yeah, I haven't really had good experiences, working with other people, or finding people that are willing to like, believe in the vision as much as I do. I do think that's gonna happen. I'm being patient. And so hopefully, at some point, that'll happen. But after I had that first experience, actually, I to have those experiences. After the second one, I was like, you know, what, I just gotta, like, buckle down and try to do this myself. Because the people that I was trying to hire were like, Product Manager roles, engineering roles, designer roles. And I was like, being very hesitant about learning that because I was like, you know, what I've never designed, I've never managed a project. I've never, I've never done any of this. So let me just hire someone that knows how to do it. But at some point, like, it had been like six months, I didn't have a product done, I'd hadn't even didn't even have like a product started. So I was like, You know what, like, I just need to learn this myself, I don't care if it's crappy, I don't care if it doesn't work out. First, I'm just gonna do it myself. And I'm actually really happy I've made that decision. Because although it's been really, really tough learning everything from scratch, I've learned a ton, that I wouldn't have learned if I had, you know, let someone else handle that part of the business. Or if I had, you know, hired a really like a contracting firm to like build the app. So for those of you who are listening to this, we're considering like, being in the product manager role and try it yourself, I would highly recommend it. I think it's a great learning experience to kind of realize how apps are made. And you'll learn a ton that you won't learn if you just like, pass off that part of the project to someone else.
Kimmiko James 33:35
So did two of the main skills include learning how to code and learning how to use design tools like figma? Or whatever you use? or?
Daniel Jimenez 33:45
Yeah, so I don't actually know how to code. So really, what it entailed. So before, you got to realize that I wasn't like, technical at all, so like, I didn't even understand like, how HTML looked? Right. Really, I didn't, I didn't understand anything about comm site. So for me learning, like from the ground up was kind of like, understanding how comm sites sort of worked, and what kind of things I was able to ask of my engineer based on the requirements that I had in my head. So I would like think of an idea, you know, I would, you know, sketch it out in I use Adobe XD and then I would sort of like, try to map out what all the function of this button of the swipe of sort of like this hold what that would do, and try to understand, like, how do you get that done? I probably did a really crappy job because my engineer to this day he's like, bro, you're not you're not clear enough. What
Unknown Speaker 34:35
the? What are you trying to tell me?
Daniel Jimenez 34:40
I'm sure you're laughing because that's like a very big thing. And yeah, I'm sorry. Right. Like the disconnect.
Kimmiko James 34:46
No, I mean, connect between non technical PMS and very technical engineers. Yeah, there. There can be occasional disconnects. Yeah, that's how I was laughing.
Daniel Jimenez 34:56
Yeah, it's like something that I didn't even know that was a thing. You know, I thought that You were just like, Alright, make this button do this. And then there was like, a way to do that, like, that's how ignorant I was about the industry.
Kimmiko James 35:08
Now you gotta talk things out. Talk about realistic options, not realistic, unrealistic options. You got to talk it out before we could just build it. But But yeah,
Daniel Jimenez 35:19
right. And so, yeah. And so that's sort of one of the things that I realized in the process. And it's actually something that really set my project back a lot. Because I kind of jumped in without knowing there was all these roadblocks. But yeah,
Kimmiko James 35:35
so you probably heard of it. But you you know what yc is right, like Y Combinator, you know, the whole startup, I don't know, this great startup accelerator, they just provide money for startups, we'll just say that. And basically, they have this cool thing called surf school online, which you can take for free to learn about entrepreneurship and how to start a business. And when I took it, I think it was last summer the summer before. But basically, every week, you go into a cohort of other startup founders, and you talk about things. And the most common thing I saw was most of these people were non technical founders. And they were just like, I don't know where to find my technical founder, I don't know where to find them. Or they try finding someone and like you said, the heart and dedication for that product is there and they they dip, or they try to hire freelance, and it just doesn't work out. So I think it's very helpful to have Have you a non technical founder, just share your experience, because I think non technical founders definitely have a lot harder than technical founders, technical founders, they can jump right in. Right in start building it, but non technical founders, I don't think their their struggles are talked about enough to be honest. So So yeah, thanks for sharing that.
Unknown Speaker 36:48
Yeah, no problem.
Daniel Jimenez 36:48
I think being a non technical founder is about how much you can finesse. And try to like, you know, figure out how to how to make people do what you need them to do. Yeah. And it's like, really weird, because like, yeah, like, it's just like hard talking to engineers, when you don't understand what you're talking about. And like when you don't have the money to pay them as much as they actually deserve to be paid. So that's why I describe it as like, finesse, you got to like, try to figure out how to, like, move this piece here, move this piece here and like get this person this and it's, it's a mess, so, but it's fun.
Kimmiko James 37:25
Yeah, it is a mess. But I would just ask like, so you said, You took the time to learn different design skills, and a little bit about computer science just so you can communicate with engineers better, which I think is very, very helpful for not only you, but the rest of your team and future team members. So what advice could you give for people looking to learn those skills, but they just get overwhelmed by it? Because, yeah, you know, you could Google how to do UI UX design is just like 1000 things pop up. And for a non technical person, that's, that's overwhelming. It's even overwhelming to me. And I don't even want to do design. So what advice would you have for someone to not get overwhelmed by learning all these different skills, they don't need to learn but just enough, if that makes sense.
Daniel Jimenez 38:13
Definitely. So I think the most important thing would be to just like Google and YouTube, just like, that's what I did just literally just like, be super curious and watch a lot of tutorials, but then also, kind of, like marry those tutorials with real world
Unknown Speaker 38:30
Daniel Jimenez 38:31
So for me, like, I didn't want to necessarily learn how to code at least not now. So my real real world practice was like actually building my app. So I would like watch a tutorial about something relating to something related to FinTech or like, iOS development, which is what we're building on. And then I would actually go talk to my engineer, or like, I would like design something like I have this idea down, we'll go talk to my engineer and be like, Alright, is this something that we can do? And then he would be like, No, not at all. And then I would rework it, and then just paddling it back and forth? And so to answer your question, I think just, you'll learn by doing. And I know, that's like, easier said than done, because like building an app isn't easy. But if you have a little bit of money in your pocket, I would suggest like talking to someone who actually knows what they're talking about. So like, I paid an engineer to like, walk me through the technical specs of my project, for example, and like, explain what was needed, what was like, nice to have what was impossible, what was possible. And I think that was some of the money that was best spent, because at that point, I had like an idea of where I could go and where I couldn't go.
Kimmiko James 39:39
Yeah, yeah, that's a that's a twofer. Right there. That's a two for one advice. The first one being the one that you kind of touched upon, just now was talk to people that are smarter than you. It sounds intimidating. Yeah. But if you're non technical, and you want to work with technical people, you have to talk to them, whether they're on your team or not, you have to learn how they think you can't just like, you know, come up with the design in your head and just give it to your engineer and say build it. That's not how that works, especially level. So talking to people that are smarter than you is definitely beneficial. And you could probably do that in free on LinkedIn, LinkedIn is so under utilized. Especially if you're a young founder or student, people will be happy to talk to you honestly, like if you reached out to an engineer, whoever, I don't know, Google, maybe they'd be down like you're not asking for a referral or anything. Like if you're just asking for 30 minutes of your time to talk about artificial intelligence at a high level and having them help you I'm sure they'd be down definitely. And the second piece of advice I really liked that you shared, which I think is also underrated, is learn by doing I think Yeah, I don't think people do that enough. I'm guilty of it. You know, reading productivity books, like okay, I know what to do. And they don't even they slap though they talked about Tomic habits, really great book, don't follow most of them.
Daniel Jimenez 41:09
And they make you feel like I love reading productivity books.
Kimmiko James 41:13
Yeah, me too. Literally. Like, what did I finish I finished deep work in distractible atomic habits, all great books, but I don't use everything from it. I just take pieces of it. That's useful to me. And I think that's what you do. Like you said, like, you don't have to learn everything about design. You just have to learn what applies to your product or your company. Follow the tutorial apply to what you're doing. And I think that's good advice.
Daniel Jimenez 41:42
Exactly. Exactly. To go back to your point about productivity. Have you ever read any of Tim Ferriss books?
Kimmiko James 41:49
I read the four hour workweek mixed feelings on it. mixed feeling really.
Daniel Jimenez 41:53
That's the one I was gonna.
Unknown Speaker 41:55
What's your take on it?
Kimmiko James 41:58
Some of its outdated. Like a good portion of its outdated. I think the most useful sections were definitely the beginning ones. Just talking about the mindset you should have as being a part of the new rich of you shouldn't just have the goal of wanting to be a millionaire because like, what the hell is that even mean? Like, you should just have a goal of what do I want to get out of life and what's comfortable for me. And I think that was really nice to hear, as well as the automation part, which it's a little outdated, but I started outsourcing a good portion of my podcast stuff, because I was just like, this is getting wait to be way too much. I'm going to use up work. So it works fantastic. It's amazing. I can't recommend it enough. But But yeah, mixed feelings. I think it's just outdated. But otherwise good book.
Daniel Jimenez 42:46
Interesting. Yeah, that's actually the book that kind of set me off, not set me off. There's a few things that set me off. But ADA, it pushed me in the direction of entrepreneurship and made me really want to be my own boss and control my own hours and make money while I sleep. I still don't do it. I'm getting there.
Kimmiko James 43:05
Yeah, like the light. I mean, when I say outdated, I mean, like the diagrams of how we a business works, selling things online. I'm like, Dude, this, this doesn't work in 2020. Right, like I don't written. I was, I think it was written a really long time ago, and the new edition was recreated like 2008 2009. So
Daniel Jimenez 43:28
Oh, you're right. It was 2007.
Kimmiko James 43:31
Yeah, mad is a very, it's very outdated. But the concepts of it as a whole, I really did like, of just thinking about making money is not impossible. You just got to figure out how to do it. So I guess what have been some of your highs and lows that you've experienced as a founder?
Daniel Jimenez 43:54
Oh, my God, dude, we can be
Unknown Speaker 43:57
Daniel Jimenez 43:59
not even kidding. The lowest
point as a founder, I think was probably like last, like September or October. It was I mentioned earlier how I didn't have a good experience with like, trying to start a founding team. And then I had a second experience that was also really bad. It was coming off to that second experience I actually got, I got robbed by someone that was trying to do engineer work for me. He was referred by one of my friends so it was like, it hit me pretty hard. The accumulation of those two events, I had no money in my bank account. I still didn't have a product. So I was pretty down and then I guess the best moment coming out of that was sort of I guess like this past month realizing that the past six months of work are finally getting me somewhere. So let me explain so back then when like I was like down on my luck and didn't really have any money. There was like no way for me to start that Lee, but I got super, super, super lucky that I I found this job at sequel dBm. There was also this other startup called Main Street that gives you an advance on a tax credit an r&d tax credit that startups are entitled to. So that was a little bit more money. And I came into like two other means of money that I wasn't expecting, it was completely lucky. And that's what allowed me to build that leap. So I guess kind of like another piece of unwarranted advice is like, don't give up. Like, you're probably going to find that little sliver of luck when you least expect it. And that's what happened to me. Like, there's no reason that I should have had the money to build the app. And for some reason, I'm still here. So
Kimmiko James 45:37
yeah, look, oh, luck plays a plays a big role for a lot of people in tech.
Unknown Speaker 45:43
Kimmiko James 45:44
engineer PM, like the founder, whatever you need, you need a touch of luck. But the best part about luck, it comes with hard work. It's not just, you know, you sit around all day and you wait for something good to happen. That's not what luck is. Luck is you put in the work, you try to be as persistent as you can. And it'll something will happen eventually. It sounds exact sounds cheesy, but that's just how it works.
Daniel Jimenez 46:10
Exactly. That's kind of how it went. Like all of those sources of money that I mentioned, they were like, random emails that I sat, like, I didn't think I was gonna get in, I didn't think I was gonna get accepted. Like, I sent hundreds of those. And it was just like, you know, a random chance of luck. And it goes to your point, you really have to try, no one's gonna just give you anything you have to like, put yourself out there and then hope for the best.
Kimmiko James 46:31
Exactly. I think a quick follow up I would have is something that I've always kind of like seen or not seen. But let me phrase a quick follow up I had is just basically what is your experience been like as a young founder, because I feel like that plays into some of the difficulties as well. So I remember at this, this event at my school for it was like a startup event, just these two brothers, right? And they have this noodle startup, which I think is doing pretty well. Still I don't remember the name Sorry, guys can promote you. And they were just telling me how we're telling the crowd and their presentation. How Yeah, investors don't take us seriously, because we're literally 20 and 21. And we're trying to pitch our ideas, and they just talk to us like, we're just not experienced enough. So have you experienced that so far?
Daniel Jimenez 47:20
Yeah, that's like all I experienced. Mostly, I'm kidding. But there were a few investors that like, actually helped out and were super helpful during conversations, but I will say that most of them, yeah, they would like talk to me. Like, I had no idea what I was talking about, like, as if I didn't come from like, a household with no money, you know? Yeah. So it's like, I guess you can't sort of have to, like expect that when you're young. I mean, I feel like when I'm old, and I see like, this young person that comes in confident acting like they know what they're talking about, I'm pretty good at probably gonna have the same reaction, like, Why are you like, I've been here for 20 years? Like, why do you think you know, more? So I think that's very natural. I think you just have to, like, not take it personally. It's something that you sort of have to learn to do. Because it hurts, you know, have someone tell you that, you know, your idea sucks, or like, don't do more research, like it hurts, but you have to like, not take it personally, and just like, go back and learn a little bit more, and then come back with more, even better information.
Kimmiko James 48:17
Yeah, yeah, that's a whole different topic. I will say that being a founder, there's just so many biases, depending on your background, like, we both know, if you're a woman, or if you're black. By Next, you know, the list goes on, and especially age, there's just so many biases that go into you just being super excited about your idea. walk into the room is a bunch of old white dudes. And the pressure is on to just pitch your idea for some money. And it's, it sounds overwhelming, to be honest with you.
Daniel Jimenez 48:51
Yeah, it's tough. And I think something that adds on to that for, you know, those founders that are trying to start businesses that are socially conscious, or that kind of plays in certain niches that not everybody experiences like me with debt management, it's really hard to create that connection with investors that haven't experienced that, you know, a lot of investors you know, they've been removed from that experience for a while. Maybe they came from money, or I don't know what their situation is. But I found a lot of resistance to a lot of the ideas that I was introducing. And a lot of them just didn't understand there were like, they flat out said like, I don't know if people need this. I don't know if people are really struggling the way you're saying they're struggling. And I'm like, Whoa, like, I think we live in two different Americas. Because like people are really struggling with that. So all in all, I think it's really hard to get people to understand your idea if when you're young and inexperienced, but to if kind of the niche that you're playing in is something that they haven't experienced themselves.
Kimmiko James 49:52
Yeah, I mean, the positive thing about you know, having the drive to do a startup is you'll, you'll get there eventually, like, investors will accept you eventually, especially as you get more data points and your, your pitch deck and stuff like that. Because I've heard those questions. I've heard those questions you've asked, like, you know, is there really a market for this? Is there really a need? I mean, who's gonna use this? And, you know, those are just the questions they always ask, but I would not let that get you down. I'm sure. As you know, I'm just speaking to founders out there. I wouldn't let that get you down. It just takes a lot of time, a lot of persistence and just not giving up because I have a friend that has a parking startup. I know it doesn't sound it doesn't sound good. But no, I like it.
Daniel Jimenez 50:39
I have a friend that has a party started to
Kimmiko James 50:43
see. Like, it sounds, it sounds. It sounds weird, right? It sounds kind of dumb, but it's not. And that's probably the initial thought founders think of when you pitch their idea that's pitch an idea that's maybe less than a year old. So with time you can blow up like my friends did. And they're still going, I think, almost almost four years now. So where can people follow you in your journey? And where can people check out deftly?
Daniel Jimenez 51:08
So you guys can follow me on either follow people on LinkedIn, you can connect with me on LinkedIn. Yeah. You can follow right like celebrities, right?
Kimmiko James 51:18
It's It's weird, because it says I have 1000 followers, but like, that's their my connections. I don't know how LinkedIn works like that. But we'll say LinkedIn for you. Anything else?
Daniel Jimenez 51:29
Yeah, you can follow me on LinkedIn that also connect with me on Soundcloud or Spotify as well as my music. And then if you want to check out anything relating to deadly, just go to debt, Liang LinkedIn, at LinkedIn comm follow the page.
Kimmiko James 51:42
Yeah, yeah. Thanks for coming on, Daniel. super great conversation, just learning more about you and how you got to this point. And also just lots of helpful advice for founders, especially young founders that, you know, might feel like they want to give up but hearing your story, I feel like might help a bit.
Daniel Jimenez 52:00
Yeah, thank you so much for having me on. I really enjoyed it.
Kimmiko James 52:05
Join me in the next episode in which I have a conversation with Nikolai Francis, Vice President of Product Management at we pay. It would be greatly appreciated if you could leave a review on Apple podcast or any platform that has reviews.