Jay Hall, with TicketTote, is a travel blogger, entrepreneur, TV host and producer and a writer.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode
- Maintaining health in business
- The pitfalls of entrepreneurship
- Creative ideas to be successful
- Business and values
- Dealing with difficult customers
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for High Velocity Radio.
Stone Payton: Welcome to the High Velocity Radio show, where we celebrate top performers producing better results in less time. Stone Payton here with you this afternoon. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast with Sync Digital Solutions and TicketTote. Mr. Jay Hall. How are you, man?
Jay Hall: As always, I am awesome.
Stone Payton: Oh, I’m so excited to have you on the show with us today. I’ve really been looking forward to this conversation. I got a ton of questions. I know we’re not going to get to them all, but I think a I think a great place to start would be if you could share with me and our listeners mission purpose. What what are you and your team really out there trying to do for folks, man?
Jay Hall: Well, our big project right now is trademark that my company Digital Solutions Carry is called Ticket Tote and our overall mission with Ticket Tote is to create the most feature rich event management and ticketing platform on the planet, as well as do as much good as we can through the platform, through our community initiatives.
Stone Payton: Well, it sounds like a noble pursuit and it sounds like you fielded that question before.
Jay Hall: Well, I’ll tell you, since everything’s been happening with Ticketmaster, I have been feeling I’ve been fielding a lot of questions lately. So. Yes. Yes, absolutely.
Stone Payton: So I got to know the back story, man. How did you find yourself in this line of work?
Jay Hall: Oh, boy. How do I calls notes this? Okay, so start an entrepreneurship really Young started very similar to Mark Cuban. He started selling baseball cards to his classmates. I started selling hockey cards to my classmates. He started out door to door, garbage bag, selling. I started out collecting people’s garbage and taking it to the dump for them. So I like to think that me and Mark, we’re we’re spirit animals. And then I got into because I was too scared to dance with girls in school. I got into deejaying. Deejaying led to promotions, led to a record label, and led to me being involved in over 1000 events and ownership and every job you could imagine in nightclubs, which I then really enjoyed getting creative with my marketing, which led to my VIPs who were business. People ask me to help market their businesses, and during COVID after purchasing Diageo, which was a ticketing platform that I actually was the first developer on and the first customer of, I purchased a company. And during COVID, I, I had to really think, what do I want to do? And my skill set was developer business, event management, you know, that sort of thing. And I said, okay, I guess ticket tote deal, but at the time is the way to go. It takes it’s the amalgamation of all my skill set into one project, which I think I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that that is the direction everybody’s life should go and that is that you just really pay attention to what you’re strong at. You kind of keep moving those weaknesses out of the way or strength them up to make them a strength and eventually do something that can use all those skill sets that you feel passionate about and that you can work 23 hours and 59 minutes of the day and still be happy when you go to bed for the one minute.
Stone Payton: And I’m sure on that entire path, everything went exactly as it was supposed to. And you didn’t make any mistakes or have any challenges, right?
Jay Hall: Your super funny is today. I’m working with my developers very closely on a few features before we break for the holidays, and I told them a story today. When I was in my early twenties, I received a check for sponsorship of an event that I had for 400,000. And if somebody were to take $400,000 today and spend it the way I did, I would take a shovel to them if I had to just to stop them from making that mistake. But of course, that was my only mistake. Right?
Stone Payton: Right. I’m sure now, if you’re anything like me, you’ve made so many mistakes. But it does it makes you valuable to the people around you if you’re willing to be vulnerable and share that and it makes you that much stronger. Were there any that really stood out for you and even sort of morphed into, I don’t know, working disciplines, you know, kind of like the J Hall code now, you know, based on that learning, this is the way we’re going to do things or we’re not going to do things from going forward.
Jay Hall: Well, I will tell you, the biggest shock to my system was and I can’t remember what we talked about the first time we talked about. So if I missed something, that was what was big for you last time when we just kind of had our intro call, just let me know. But one big thing for me was I was in nightlife for a very long time. And when you’re in night. It’s a completely different world, but you don’t recognize it’s a different world because it’s your world. And when I decided to make the jump from nightlife to corporate business, let’s say I did not realize how under-prepared I was for real business, you know, because nightclubs can be built on a few bucks in a dream. And as long as you’re kind of popular or you’ve got a you’ve got an audience of some sort, or you hire staff that are popular, you should be fairly okay, at least for a couple of years. That’s not the way business works at all. So that was a huge, huge shock to the system. Navigating through illness and injury while trying to build a business was definitely the most character building thing for me. Absolutely.
Stone Payton: Yeah. And maintaining your your health while you’re building a business or running one that you have established. I’ve come to learn. It certainly has meant a lot to me. I’ve been very fortunate. I haven’t been ill, but I mean, you’ve got to take care of yourself if you’re going to accomplish great things, don’t you?
Jay Hall: Yeah, you know what? And almost every business owner I just talked about this on my tech talk the other day, almost every business owner I know at some point says the exact same thing I said at one point, and that was I’ll sleep when I’m dead. However, it’s a critical process in our bodies is sleep. It helps us just it helps us reprogram, it helps us figure out what’s important and what’s not. It really drives the engine. It’s the engine behind it. So I, I, I really learned that lesson the hard way. I mean, you’re talking to a guy that I came very close unofficially. Of course, I didn’t have anybody tracking it, but I came very close to breaking a world record for a number of hours, awake without without going to bed. Wow. That was about 4 hours off. And, you know, and I had that mentality. And I don’t now that I said this on the ticktock, I said, if somebody is willing to work the way I worked back in the day and I work the way I am now, I will absolutely crush them if they’re my competition. I said, if you’re my competition, please don’t go to bed. So, yeah, health is very important. You know.
Stone Payton: You’re so creative, you’re so energetic, you’re so enthusiastic. And I got to believe some of that was is just born in you. And I suspect, though, that there is some some discipline, some rigor, some methodology that you also apply to to be able to perform at that level consistently. Is that accurate?
Jay Hall: First comment No. The first thing is I grew up a very awkward, very coddled, very introverted kid. I was bullied a lot, bullied pretty bad a few times to the point of injury. And I my principal told me there were only two path forward for me, jail or dead, you know, early on. And I remember through throughout school I was terrible. And then when I got into university and I was learning the way I wanted to learn in business school, basically what I had a great teacher, his name was Jeff, and he said, I’m going to spend an hour with you teaching you what you need to know and giving you guidance. But the rest of this course is you building a business plan. However you feel that you should be building that business plan. And I took off top 1% of my class scholarships, office awards. I absolutely crushed it. And then I looked and I said, you know what made the difference? I wasn’t scared all the time of what someone would think, what someone would say, how how the world would react to my ideas, because it was a fictitious business. So what was I to be scared of? Right. The worst that could happen is I could fail.
Jay Hall: And then I didn’t. And I succeeded in a big way. So that gave me, you know, that was probably the first instance in my life that continued to help me build confidence. And now everything I do is a process and that makes even my relationships a little bit. You know, if I’m in a relationship, I have a note, I have a few notes that I put in my phone and say, send a nice text, you know, or stop working, go home and make her feel special, something like that. And I know people well, that’s not very romantic, but everything in life is process and work. And if you just take things seriously, the rewards come no matter how you did it. You know, the people I’m dating don’t care that I put in my phone. Pay attention to her, get away from the computer. They just care that I did it. And that was really big lesson for me and the fact that I just I. I really decided to take control of situations and to learn from my mistakes. And that created what I have today, which I can. I’m not a I’m not a multi-billionaire or anything, but probably on my way.
Stone Payton: All right. So tell us more about Ticket Tote. What is that? Who is it serving where you’re going to take this thing?
Jay Hall: All right. So I love to talk about this. You know, I hate I’m pretty introverted otherwise, right? So bear with me, because now I really start talking. So tickets start out as the OBO, which was purely just to sell tickets. That’s it. No extra features, no frills, no, no, nothing. And as I said, I was the first developer on the project. I was the first customer on the project. So I was throwing events at the time when I bought the site, I had this intention of basically using it for my own events and then I got seriously injured in the gym and that took two and a half years to recover and then something always kept pulling me towards it. So I sat down and I said, Okay, why do I want this company? Why do I want to build this brand? And it was really because Ticketmaster’s fees are disgusting. And they they put and we’ve seen this now all of their scalpers that they allege are taking advantage of their site are their own scalpers. A lot of the sites don’t offer the tools that a independent event coordinator needs. Event planners. I built this site essentially to be able to help event planners on the come up from making the mistakes that I had to make. So our tools are designed in such a way to create as little backend work as possible for an event planner, well, allowing their events to flourish. And we are definitely on our way to having more features than all of the other ticketing sites, mainstream ticketing sites available on the Internet today.
Stone Payton: So what are you finding the most rewarding at this point in the process? What’s the most fun about it for you?
Jay Hall: Well, I really and it’s going to sound so lame. I’m total nerd for this, but I really like when I sit here and I jot something out, just a general idea. And then I go home and I’m haunted by this. So I have to grab out the dry erase marker and I got to write all over my windows and I come up with an idea and I bring it to my staff and we implement it. And it works. That, to me is better than making money to know that I took something. It’s almost like a child, right? You take something from creation to this idea, okay, I want to have a kid and you take it all the way to graduating with honors at Harvard, you know, And you’re like, Wow, look at what I did, you know? And I get to do that constantly. So that and I would if the air around me is not you know, it’s not oxygen, It’s not I don’t spit out carbon dioxide, nothing like that. The air around me is creativity. And if I don’t if I don’t have the access to a project to be creative, I might as well be dead.
Stone Payton: So you mentioned staph. Let’s talk about that for a moment, because it’s one thing for the leader, the founder, to to have this value system, this ethos, this energy, this enthusiasm, this persistence. It’s quite another, I would think, recruit, develop, retain and sustain a culture that’s going to continue to create your brand of oxygen.
Jay Hall: Yes. Yeah, I agree.
Stone Payton: So so speak to that a little bit. It sounds like maybe you’ve cracked the code on on doing that. It can’t be easy.
Jay Hall: It isn’t. And I think I’m about to shock the crap out of you when I say what I’ve decided is the way to do it.
Stone Payton: Okay?
Jay Hall: That is, to hire people who are interested, but have no experience and no education. And I know that sounds insane, but my longest running employees, which we’re looking at over various projects over ten years, my longest running employees, my most successful employees, the ones that get it, are the ones that walked in here and said, I or came to me online, you know, because there was a wow, there is just running everything out. I had three staff in my living room every day using my bathroom, which I didn’t like. And they ultimately they came and said, I like digital, I like event management, I like these things. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I like them. Is that enough? And I said, Are you moldable? Will you listen? Will you will you take things in or will you really think things through? And they said, Yeah. And I said, You got three months. And if in those three months you take the time to learn, you really listen, You digest the world around you at the moment and not what somebody. Told you from a textbook eight years ago that’s now completely out of date. I think we’ll have something here. And every single person in my office right now that has been with me for, we’ll say three years plus came to me with zero understanding of how to do this job.
Stone Payton: You’re absolutely right. I am surprised. But the more you’re talking it through, the more it’s beginning to make sense to me. I think that coachable moldable is such an important aspect that so many of us may be overlook or or gloss over. And I know I personally have a tendency to to hire in my own image, you know, And, you know, my hunting and fishing buddies aren’t necessarily the folks ought to be growing my business with.
Jay Hall: No, no. But, you know, there are exceptions to that. And those exceptions are people like contract accounting, contract that out. You need an experienced somebody who knows how to do accounting to be an accountant, lawyer. You definitely don’t want to hire somebody else, You know, those sorts of things. I find they don’t really belong in house anyways, so I’ll hire them out as contractors and I hire them for their experience in their education. But to work daily inside of especially tech and you know, obviously developers, you’re going to want to come with some experience, right? But what I find, even with people that have experience like developers, they come and they go, Oh, this was not what I was taught at all. Right? So they get the fundamentals, but they have to be they have to relearn a lot of stuff about how code works with business. So I guess I shouldn’t say no experience and no education all the time, but definitely nothing more than the fundamentals, we’ll say.
Stone Payton: Yeah. So how does the whole sales and marketing thing work for a guy like you, a firm like yours? It’s it strikes me that you may have to seek out and persuade different kinds of audiences because you need. Yeah, So speak to that a little bit. I know a lot of our listeners, you know, they often struggle with the whole sales and marketing thing, even if they’re doing a great job practicing their craft.
Jay Hall: Yeah. So this is actually a fairly recent lesson for me in the last few years. I always hired salespeople and I can never get out of them what I wanted. Right. And so this last salesperson I had with me, the last man standing, I gave him a challenge last year this time, and he didn’t meet the challenge. So I sat down and I said, This is too many. Like, I’ve heard people that, you know, have worked in radio and have sold millions upon millions of dollars with ads. I’ve I’ve worked with people that are really top performing salespeople, top performing real estate agents, all these sorts of things, like why isn’t it working? And then I found myself in a situation this year where my business almost completely collapsed out from under me because of COVID, and it took a lot of our revenue away. And I had to do I had to run a Hail Mary play. I had to take my last $5,000 and I had to go to Las Vegas and make a sale. Wow. I’m not a sales person. In fact, up until this year, if you asked me about sales, I went, Oh, no, not for me, icky. You know, I don’t like how I feel in sales.
Jay Hall: So when I got down there, I just started networking and then I was put in a room with with with a guy who helped build beats by Dre, helped build multimillion dollar companies, billion dollar brands. And I had to sell him on what it is that I do. Now, I got lucky with him because we formed an immediate connection and we were laughing and enjoying life and talking about things. And that became less about the sale and more about the relationship. But what I realized when I came back is I need to sell it first. I just can’t believe it took me this long to figure it out. I need to be able to not rely on referrals and relationships and bonding with people. I need to be able to walk into a meeting and sell. So I spent months. That was all I did. Learn, learn, learn, test, test, test all every sales method imaginable. And I do have I have up on my TikTok, I do have my top five sales channels on YouTube where people could learn sales there. And I came out of it and I said, okay. I’ve never been able to cold call and sell based on sales.
Jay Hall: It’s always been relationship or referral. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to go out and I’m going to cold call and I’m going to see if I can make sales and yep, I can make sales. And then what I learned is as a result of that, my marketing and my advertising got better because I had a better understanding of what it was that I needed to do to entice them because the beginning of the meeting, they know nothing. I’m cold calling them. So I got to give them a little bit that elevator pitch. My elevator pitch was not necessarily part of my marketing. We get stuck in that in that advertising and marketing thing where we’re trying to produce as much content as possible and we’re trying to we’re trying to put that message out there, but we’re not always concise with our message. Our elevator pitch has to be, if I go into a meeting and my elevator pitch sucks, the rest of the is dead. It’s just not on a cold call. It’s never going to work. So I learned the sales piece to marketing is that elevator pitch. If the elevator pitches in your marketing, you’ve lost the sale already.
Stone Payton: You’ve mentioned tick tock a couple of times. Or maybe it was one time before we came on air. I don’t remember, but it seems like there are so many different ways to get your message out there or to reach the constituencies that are important to you in some fashion. And you sounds like you went through a process and decided this is one of the vehicles for me. Can you speak to how you arrived at that decision and maybe even some insight on on how and why you chose it and the way you’re trying to use it?
Jay Hall: Sure. So first, my major sources of leads. Number one is LinkedIn, for sure. Number two would be referrals. And number three, in terms of the digital world, it would probably be Facebook and then next would be Cattura and all these random sites that can come up with someone searching for what they need for a ticketing site. But Tick tock is kind of forced on me. So this is one of those things where without proper research you hear things about something that’s not for me. You know, I’m sure a lot of people, when they think Tick tock, they think goofy dances and, you know, stupid little videos, Right? And then the next thing the next thing you think about is China stealing your information.
Stone Payton: Right.
Jay Hall: Because that’s what we’ve been programed to know.
Stone Payton: Right.
Jay Hall: However, if you look at their terms of service, you look at everything that they have and you stack it next to almost any social network. They’re very similar. It’s just that because China is attached to it, we’re scared now. Right. And as far as the goofiness goes, I’m not willing to be goofy. I’m very excited about my brand. I’ll do almost anything for my brand, but I am not dancing on camera. There is no way I’m leaving that impression on people for the rest of time. So I. I was forced into it because I’ve been meeting with VCs trying to get our series A funding and they all keep saying the same thing to me. Are you viral? I said, No, I’m not viral. I’ve been trying to stay out of the spotlight. I’ve been focusing on my business. They said, You have a great business plan. Amazing pitch. Check. The numbers are there, the revenue is there. Everything’s awesome. But we need to know that you can go viral because that’s what people need now. That’s what that’s for. Somehow. That’s how we we chalked up success. And I kind of get it. So I’m on this new mission to go viral on TikTok. And and what I learned as I was the problem is I had a Tik Tok account. I never posted anything. I just went on and my feed got populated.
Jay Hall: Their algorithm is amazing and my feed got populated by basketball, amazing basketball shots. And, you know, women that look like Megan Fox and all these sorts of things. Right. And I was getting the wrong info. Now, I opened up this new one called Entrepreneur. It’s an honest entrepreneur put together into a word, and I’m just looking at business motivation, personal growth, and that’s all my feed is. And now I realize there’s this vibrant community on there of people that are interested in these things, and there’s a lot of snake oil salesman on there. So I carved out my niche and I mean, I’m not by any means viral right now. I think my top video has 4500 views and 10% likes on it. Some bookmarks, but I’m getting there. I can feel it. I know that a large amount of it is producing quality content, figuring out what people want to see, and then it’s a little bit of luck, right? It’s the right people finding it, reposting it, commenting on it, sharing it, and all of a sudden you’re viral. So I’m just have to. You have to. Leaving your content for that platform. And I do I, I produce some. I will say I really love video editing and all that, and some of the content I’ve produced is some of the best video editing I’ve done.
Stone Payton: Early in the conversation, we talked a little bit about staying healthy and taking care of yourself. It’s just so key when you do run a little bit low in the tank and it’s time to recharge the batteries, where do you go? And I don’t necessarily mean a physical place, but how do you get recharged and inspired to get back out there and do your thing? Man, What does it for you?
Jay Hall: Oh, I don’t anymore. Uh, this sound crazy again? Because some of the stuff I’m saying to you, I’m. I’ve only thought about it. I haven’t really thought about it. Post Having taken the action, I used to burn out all that every November, every year I burned out and I couldn’t function. I was laying in bed for two weeks. I was dead to the world. You couldn’t get anything out of me. And I. I wasn’t. I wasn’t taking care of my health. I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t doing any of that stuff. And I have learned. So I have notes in my phone, so I’ll I’ll bring it up here. So I give the exact quotes here. So I’ve got one thing and it’s, it’s, it’s in my to do list at the top, my to do list every day. Things I must do. Read this daily, you idiot. Because some days I don’t read it daily. So I’m beating myself up. But I’m very I’m very good with being myself up. It motivates me. Some people not so much. It’s kick ass by going 1% each day. So that’s the first thing. Don’t try to solve 100% of the problems. Solve 1% of the problems. In 100 days you’ll have solved all the problems at least that existed at the time. Foreshadow failure before each goal. So if I’ve got a goal, I’ll foreshadow all the possible ways that can fail so that I come up with a plan to succeed. Instead just jumping into something, meditate before every major decision or when you feel low in the tank. So I guess that’s kind of what you’re talking about every few days. I’ll just, you know, you just get a little lethargic, you get a little tired, you get a little, you know, like, Oh, I don’t want to do this anymore.
Jay Hall: Meditation brings that right back around for me. 15, 20 minutes, sometimes 30 minutes. I throw on this app and I and it just makes me zone right out. I come out of it and it’s it’s like I had 8 hours sleep. And then my other thing is is just an aside but create before you consume. Now I’ve got a big list here but those are personal to me. Create before you consume is a big thing. I find a lot of people will kind of intersperse their their the consuming of entertainment throughout the day. I don’t allow myself to watch the newest episode of Yellowstone until I have finished my to do list. And if I don’t finish my to do list, I do not get to watch the new episode of of Yellowstone. But this is how I keep myself going in that I take care of myself every morning. This is my morning routine. I wake up, I deal with all the work on my phone. I go into my kitchen, I supplement, and then I stretch and then I do a short workout. I don’t work out 4 hours at a time, 5 to 30 minutes a day. And then I go and I shower and I go on with the second chapter of my day where I just work or work. And then once I’m done that, then I can then I can take the time to enjoy myself. And I and I use boost oxygen throughout the day, which I find to be an amazing I’m probably not supposed to be product placing here, but absolutely fantastic for bringing the energy back. And you know, it doesn’t hurt that I love what I do.
Stone Payton: I am so glad that I asked what a marvelous collection of pro tips for me and our listeners. And don’t worry, I’ll send boost oxygen and invoice so it’s okay. And I’m going to look into them because if it produces this kind of result, I’m all for it. All right, man, what is the best way for our listeners to connect with you or someone on your team and start tapping into your work, whatever is appropriate for you? Maybe it’s a tik-tok handle, LinkedIn, whatever. I just want to make sure that the folks who have heard this can connect with you. Follow your work and tap into it, man.
Jay Hall: Well, obviously, I’m my goal is to get my series funding. So I would very much appreciate if people added me on on Tick Tock, which is entrepreneurs So it’s own and then entrepreneur. And, and secondly, I’m on LinkedIn. Jay Hall on LinkedIn you can find. I think I’m the only one. And if I’m not the only one, I’m definitely number one because I pay attention to it. And then if you just want to connect with the team or anything like that, you can just go to our website, take a dotcom, hit our chat icon, and I guarantee you it’s somebody on the staff. It’s not a bot, it’s not somebody in another country. It’s somebody right here that’s going to answer your questions and the conversation can continue from there.
Stone Payton: Jay, it has been an absolute delight having you on the show, man. Thank you for investing the time and energy to share your insight and your perspective and most of all, your energy and your enthusiasm and keep up the good work. Don’t be a stranger. Let’s when schedules allow and the timing is right, let’s do this again. Man, this has been a fabulous way to to invest a Wednesday afternoon.
Jay Hall: Man for sure. And well, thank you for not asking the same questions that everybody else asks.
Stone Payton: My pleasure. All right. Until next time, this is Stone Payton for our guest today, Jay Hall with Sync Digital Solutions and Ticket Tote, and everyone here at the Business Radio X family saying we’ll see you in the fast lane.