In this episode of the Share The Wealth Show, we welcome back Donte Jones as he continues to share his journey of turning an idea into a successful product!
💥how social media can be a game-changer for your business and how it can be leveraged to generate revenue
💥his experience of making $100k in just 4 months using social media to launch their product.
Donte Jones is a corporate attorney and entrepreneur who was born and raised in East Harlem. He graduated from A. Phillip Randolph High School and earned a degree in Finance from The State University of New York College at New Paltz, where he joined INROADS and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated. He worked at J.P. Morgan Chase for ten years before earning his Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina School of Law. Donte is also the CEO of Lyrically Correct, a music trivia card game, and is actively involved in philanthropy.
Donte is extremely proud of establishing the Matthew Jones Scholarship for a Professional Wardrobe given to students at A. Philip Randolph. and co-founded C.O.O.L Kids NYC, a non-profit organization that cultivates socially conscious leaders in the next generation. Donte believes that it is his duty to take the knowledge and experience he has gained and use it to help better the lives of the children in his community.
When Donte is not functioning as a lawyer or business owner, he enjoys spending time with his amazing wife, Tiffany (who is also from Harlem), and his children Morgan and Donte Jr. who are affectionately known as MJ and Deuce.
“I think the best business advice I give people is just do the business. Just do whatever it is you want to do and then later, the business will come” – Donte Jones
“It was my experience having managed companies and watching business owners throw money at problems, that strategy and resilience and hard work could solve.”
– Donte Jones
“Nowadays you can’t build a brand without building a social media presence, you have to establish credibility.” – Donte Jones
Connect with Donte!
Website – www.LyricallyCorrect.com
Instagram – @LyricallyCorrectGame
Let’s get connected!
[00: 00: 00 – 00: 00: 35]
So we went from idea to product, right? That’s the first thing is creating a product. The next thing is, and so we wanted to build a brand. Nowadays you can’t build a brand without building a social media presence. So it started with, we just want a thousand followers. Let’s try to get to 2,000 followers. In the beginning, you have to establish credibility. I know so many people who say, oh, I don’t buy from those ads or I don’t buy from things I just see on social media or things like that. Some people have had negative experiences. I’ve never had a negative experience. We’ve sold tens and tens of thousands of games and 95% of that came from social media.
[00: 00: 36 – 00: 01: 09]
Welcome to the Share the Wealth Show, where minority professionals can learn to escape the racial wealth gap and catapult themselves into abundance. Your host, Nicole Pendergrass, grew her net worth from being negative to multiple six figures. Join her on her investigative mission to expose secret strategies of the wealthy so we can all have the tools needed to build the life and legacy we were created to possess. Now it’s time for the show.
[00: 01: 10 – 00: 02: 12]
Hey guys, so we’re back again. This is the second part of the episode with today’s guests. I need you, if you have not heard part one, go back to the previous episode and listen to that first and then come back and join us here today. You need to hear the whole conversation. This is why we split into two parts. There’s so many nuggets, it’s so juicy. Go back and listen to the first part. I think the best business advice I give people is just do the business. Don’t try to set up a LLC, don’t try to… Just do whatever it is you want to do. And then later, right, the business will come. Because we, this, for a perfect example, this was not, to your earlier point, people see this and then, this combined, this was Tiff and I’s third or fourth business. We each have had other LLCs and other companies that didn’t succeed. But we never, we never failed for a lack of trying. We were going to try. Right? We were fortunate enough. to where we had good jobs. So my first business, I lost $1,500 the first week.
[00: 02: 13 – 00: 03: 39]
What was the first business? And I had this genius, or what I thought genius idea was to start these shuttle buses from upstate to New York. I’m like, there’s a bunch of different colleges and all of these kids, right? I went to a state school, 95%, excuse me. I would assume that about 90, Percent a large percentage of these state students are all from New York City and Long Island and we get on these Trail way buses and these Greyhound buses and all that I said yo I could just rent charter buses and on major weekends Just have the students go and do it. I rented this whole charter bus for some school. It was a community college up in like Somewhere deep of state like three hours from the city I had flyers printed up, all that. The school ended up cutting my throat. They saw that I did this opportunity. And they just, first they told me, they called me and said, oh, we’re removing your flyers from our campus and your bus can’t come up here. And I said, well, man, you have an open campus, that’s a public street. I’ll just have the bus. You know, the bus doesn’t have to come on campus. the students can meet at the gas station, right? Yeah.
[00: 03: 40 – 00: 05: 05]
And they ended up taking my flies down and doing their own bus. Oh my God. I spent $1,300, $1,400 on a bus and there were only three kids. And those were the three kids that paid me prior to them taking my flies down and all that. And they had an entire coach, themselves, right? Well, they had a nice ride. Yeah, yeah. It went straight from their school, straight to 42nd Street. Tiff had a brand consulting company that it was called Brand of You LLC. She ended up pivoting from that and managing an artist. She had managed an artist that came in second place on American Idol. And he came across, she was supposed to be doing. brand consulting for him, turned into just managing him. All right, she did that a little while. What else did we have? We had a couple of things that we had before Lyrically Correct. So this isn’t our first business, right, at all. Yeah, so you’ve had that entrepreneurial bug and just, you’re just working on things and things not really working out. You just keep working on something else. It’s not like a give up on entrepreneurship doesn’t work. It’s just like, oh, that idea just didn’t.
[00: 05: 06 – 00: 06: 36]
That’s modern, but there’s always a lesson to learn. Yeah, there’s always a lesson to learn. As long as you learn the lesson and just keep going, you don’t lose until you quit. There’s no losing in entrepreneurship. It’s basically, entrepreneurship is a big question mark, right? You do a lot of things in the hope and direction of where you think or you’re hoping that it’ll go, but you sometimes are doing stuff you have no idea how it’s going to present itself down the road. And sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. And you just, it was just one thing that you were trying to, maybe it didn’t work out or didn’t present itself in the moment yet, but you don’t know how much longer down the road before that actually does turn around and present itself like that seed that you planted, but you won’t ever know if you quit and you stop. Right. I have my, the mindset when I’m just, this is the mindset I’ve had for years. And I think that’s what’s given me the drive to never quit is I always think I’m three feet from gold. So that’s always, and then it’s funny. I don’t read, like I just was reading that in thinking grow rich and I was like, oh, that’s in thinking grow rich. And I was already, cause I remember hearing that story from before and I don’t remember where I heard it just like as a regular story people have heard or talked about before. So that’s something that’s always in the back of my mind. Like if I, it’s gonna, I’m gonna stop. Everybody stops right before it would have hit, right? Like, and I’m not, I’m not, I don’t, I would have too much regret. I have, my biggest fear is of regret. I don’t want to get anything. So that’s why I keep pushing even when things don’t look like they’re working out.
[00: 06: 37 – 00: 08: 18]
Anyway, Lyrical, I see four pieces behind you. So you have four different versions now. Yeah, five now. This is actually, it is graphic. Yeah, but. So what’s the five types of music that Lyrical put correct? So we started with what we knew, right? That’s the, right here, the 90s and 2000s. The hip hop. We call that our OG. Then I’m going to argue and say that 90s R&B is the best genre and decade of music there is. So we’ve grown by listening to our customers. So then we created this second one, this blue one right here, which is the expansion pack. It’s just 90s R&B. in itself. But I believe the next one. No, I’m not. The next one, we went and did the gospel music. So you see this one right here is the revival. That’s the gospel classics. And then to get the entire family involved, you have the oldies but goodies, right? That’s for our parents who don’t know all the rap lyrics, who might not be saved and sanctified. Right? But they know some So that’s your Motown era and the hits factory and all that. And then lastly, we just released the 80s mix tape, which has like the hip hop pioneers, it has some of the pop, some funk, and then some of the earlier R&B stuff as well.
[00: 08: 19 – 00: 09: 33]
Okay, so how did you guys… That is very well-rounded. And I would say, oh, you don’t got something for like the millennials and the new kids, Gen Z or whatever, with the crank music stuff. I’m like, but you can’t hear what they saying anyway. Nobody know their lyrics. Yeah, that would be hard. That would be hard. That would be too hard. Anyway, forget them, forget the young kids. No, we coming soon. You know, we coming soon. All right. How do you do the research on art? So, I mean, it’s not like you can’t find lyrics. Those are… easily accessible, but like, how do you pick like what songs and what lyrics, like, do you do like pick the hits only or you know what I mean? So make it more and more people will know. So some of that is the secret source. Um, right. And I think one of the things that makes our game so dope is that we do that research and how we do it, I won’t share too much, but that’s the, that’s the proprietary information. That’s our idea. That’s the secret sauce of what makes our game better than others because from what we hear from our customers and what we our goal was to create an environment, right? It’s a vibe, right? We want to create a vibe.
[00: 09: 34 – 00: 10: 31]
When you and your line sisters play the OG version, it takes you back to when you’re at Slope Day. and something like that. Right. It’s a time, right. It’s a yeah, it’s thinking about Nicole in high school, right. With the leaving a song on your voicemail, there’s going to be a question and what and I will and one of our decks that’s going to be like, I remember I had that song on my voicemail, right. And until your point, right. It’s not just the hit list because there are songs from each of those errors that weren’t hits. But if you were a part of that era, you knew that song, it might not have been commercially successful, but you knew that song needed to be a part of the debt. Nice. Okay. I love that.
[00: 10: 32 – 00: 11: 44]
Listen, I know you’ve been digging in studying everything you can listening to all the podcasts, reading all the books, even going to meetups. You basically have a degree from YouTube university, right? But you still feel stuck. You don’t know how to actually implement what you’ve learned. You’re nervous about taking the next step. So I’ve decided to start the Micro Family Investing Accelerator. This is a mentorship program where I personally guide you through my five proprietary pillars so you can learn how to buy your first commercial multifamily property and scale while not biting off more than you can chew by focusing on 5 to 20 units. That’s what I call Micro Family. And so you can also get hands-on guidance from an experienced Micro Family investor who’s been right where you are. And so you can also create the cash flow needed to give you freedom and options to build the abundant life that you were destined to live. So I’ll be limiting the first cohort because they’ll have direct access to me and I will be heavily invested in their success. If you’re ready to grab 2023 by the horns, schedule a free discovery call with me today. The link is in the show notes. And now let’s get back to the show.
[00: 11: 45 – 00: 12: 54]
Um, all right. So now. We are, man, we are already going over, but there’s like so much juice in here and we didn’t even touch on what I really wanna get into. What’s the next phases for Lyrically Correct? So what are, you’ve created the game, you’ve done all the work to find your manufacturers overseas, like where are you distributing? How else are you growing? I know you’re coming out with more versions of decks, but what’s the next step for Lyrically Correct? What’s like your distribution channels? What’s the profit look like? Someone wanted to, like, cause the show is really to help people grow their own wealth. So what tips, I mean, well, not tips, cause I want to know more about what Lyric Correct, how Lyric Correct is performing. Yeah, so then that way that they have some inspiration as to the types of products or games or services or whatever they can come up with. that can also, and they can see that this can actually be successful and sustainable as a business model. And this all came from just an idea, right? Like you can get wealthy from an idea. And I just want to show how this is like materializing for you.
[00: 12: 55 – 00: 14: 10]
Perfect. I get exactly what you’re asking. And if I go too far, just wheel me in. Feel free to wheel me in. Yeah. But, so we went from idea to product, right? That’s the first thing is creating a product. The next thing is we decide, we tried to focus on. was building a brand. We want the lyrically correct name. We want that to be a brand name. Like you said- Did you trademark that? Sorry. We did. That was actually- Okay. My daughter’s downstairs, so I can’t show her my office. But that’s the first legal thing that I’ve ever done, was I filed our trademark and things like that. And that’s again, God doesn’t make mistakes. I was able to save us so much money. on drafting contracts, reviewing different things because I had that legal knowledge and background. So yes, it is trademarked. And so we wanted to build a brand. Nowadays, you can’t build a brand without building a social media presence. So it started with, we just want a thousand followers. Let’s try to get to 2,000 followers, right? And what that did for us was because we were DTC direct to consumer in the beginning, you have to establish credibility.
[00: 14: 11 – 00: 15: 29]
I know so many people who say, oh, I don’t buy from those ads or I don’t buy from things I just see on social media or things like that. Some people have had negative experiences. I’ve never had a negative experience. We’ve sold tens and tens of thousands of games and 95% of that came from social media, right? I built my business off of social media and that was the plan, right? Our first week- Now on Instagram, I think we have some like maybe 40,000, 45,000 followers. Okay. And you were running ads on there, on like Instagram, Facebook. Yeah, so we’ve been running ads on Instagram and Facebook for about two years now consistently. And that was my plan from jump, right? So there were times when the team was like, oh, we got to, we went through the fear of, okay, our friends and family have supported us. Now what? Oh, we only had seven sales today. What does that look like? And me because I had seen it done before, and this is, I’m not any smarter than my partners. It’s just, I had, I’ve seen it done before. So the fears that they’ve had, they had, I didn’t have because I always knew and I said from beginning, right?
[00: 15: 30 – 00: 17: 24]
And we all knew we need social media to grow this business. They may not have known the parts of social media marketing, right? One of my frat brothers introduced me to social media marketing through his business. So I had seen the success of it. We used to use social media advertisement with some of the parties we throw. So I knew the reach of it. So our first order was 500 units. And I’m a lot more conservative than my wife is. My wife is like you, she’s going, let’s shoot for the moon, right? I’m more like, dude, right? And I’m like, eh, let’s go back. So our first order was 5,500, excuse me. And we just had two boxes come to our doorsteps. That was it. No different than a package you get from anywhere. Then we sold through those, a majority of that was friends and family. It’s four of us, two of us in fraternities. My cousin, he’s also cute. All four of us have our own networks. So that was friends and family. And then our next order was like 2000 units, I think. And then we weren’t running ads yet, but we ran an ad on the Shade Room. Oh, how did you get an ad on the Shade Room? Oh, so you ran an ad, you paid for an ad in the Shade Room. Yeah, yeah. Oh, that was smart. You paid them, I think. That was smart. I don’t wanna stay high, I don’t know if they released their pricing. We want to keep that relationship. So I won’t say, but it was a few thousand dollars. Actually, I can say, cause at the time it was $4,000 at that time. It’s much different now, much more expensive. And rightfully so, right? Because they have 30 billion followers.
[00: 17: 25 – 00: 18: 48]
Okay, real quick. So $4,000 of an ad then was like, what does that entail? Like is it, how often does it run in a certain period of time? One time. So it just runs one time. One time. So they post, they just post it one time. They post it one time. So you give them the creative, you give them the post. And at that time, we had already created a commercial. This is how we did it. We needed to promote the game. So we threw a couple game nights, and then we had our friends, just friends and family. It was organic gameplay, but we just had friends and family. And you just recorded it. My cousin’s best friend, he was into film and videography, so he recorded it and edited it. So the cool thing is they did that part, the gameplay part they shot in Jersey. I was still in law school. I had some of my friends from law school come to my apartment. We got the tripod and the light from Amazon, and we shot the narration part in my kitchen in North Carolina. And then my man in Queens is so funny. So we shot the game plan Jersey. We shot the narration in North Carolina. And then our boy in Queens, he did the editing. And we gave that to the shade room. They posted it.
[00: 18: 49 – 00: 20: 01]
We didn’t know what to expect. And then our phone just started jumping. My wife’s phone, you hit us. Anybody that has a hashtag, we hit it. Ta-ching, ta-ching, ta-ching. It starts going crazy. I think we did 600 orders from that first shade room post. And we got like a thousand. Okay. So what’s the, what’s the revenue from that? So we, we hold, we, our game retails for 24 99. So I think it was, it was like 10,000, 14,000. You do the math, whatever. I’m about to, you know, I got to pull out my calculator. You said 600 orders times 25. Wow, that’s 15,000 from a $4,000 one-time post. And see, that’s what I just want people to hear that like, if you have a good product and you really believe in it and you have to have the faith to put it out there and advertise it like you didn’t know what to expect but you put it out there and you were willing to risk $4,000 not knowing how it will return. And that basically quadrupled almost. You know what I mean? Your ad investment. So that’s fantastic.
[00: 20: 02 – 00: 21: 36]
That revenue, it also, what it did was we got like, we gained an extra thousand or so followers. So then we began, we do that every quarter. We did the shade room every quarter for like a year. And then we were, my goal was, I just want to hit 10,000 followers, right? Cause at the time with Instagram, if you got 10,000 followers, you get the swipe up feature. where you could swipe up and then they go to your website. Now everybody has the, literally the month we hit 10K, they changed it and just put the links and everybody could get the links. But I say all I have to say, I wanted the followers because it gave us credibility. So when you see our ads, the first thing you do, is this real? So you go to our website, but everybody makes websites now. Then you go to our social media. Okay, they have 10,000 followers. Okay, the Shade Room posted them. Okay, this people, right? We did Shade Room, we did Boiler Alert, and we did Hollywood Unlocked. So, you know, that was good. And then also in the first year, I believe we had a couple, we were sending things out to influencers, right? So, you know, again, our network. We reached out to our network. I know a couple of my frat brothers and some deltas that had some dope Instagram pages. We sent them games, asked them to post. You know what I mean? Those weren’t necessarily fruitful.
[00: 21: 37 – 00: 22: 34]
We didn’t receive, you know, but I was asking for favors. Don’t be afraid to ask for favors. You know, and you get a little mad when some people don’t want to post you and stuff like that, but I understood, right? One of my cousin, she’s a beauty influencer, right? Her page is curated for beauty and lifestyle. Hard posting our game doesn’t really fit when she’s collecting checks from these companies. But she posted us in her stories and I had to be grateful for that. So that was that. But as we’re doing that, our orders kept going up, right? So we went from 500 units, 2,000 units, to then 5,000 units. So at this time, we’re only, our first year, I think in… We started the company, I didn’t say we started the company with $2,000. And then there were times when the team wanted to put more money in.
[00: 22: 35 – 00: 23: 56]
Okay, we need this. And it was my experience having managed companies and watching business owners throw money at problems that strategy and resilience and hard work could solve. And we did it. So we did not put a penny over $2,000 in directly into like the company. We probably spent some money on travel and stuff like that. But even that very little, because early on I opened a bank account and we pulled money out of the company. So we did that. Within 2020, we did, we launched our first sales was September 7, 2020. And then we closed that year with 101,000 in revenue. Yo, and you started the fourth quarter. We started Q3, right? We started Q3 and then we did most of our sales came in Q4. Yep. Wow. That’s insane. And so all the ad, the ad spend was all just from sales and then you spent the business cash flows itself. Yes. That’s super smart. And I love, I love one because it’s a paper product. is probably is not that expensive to ship. No, I mean, not that much to margins are amazing. Yeah. Your overhead has to be super low.
[00: 23: 57 – 00: 25: 19]
We forward our shipping to our customers now shipping from our manufacturer. That would increase that increases our landed course quite a bit. Right. So it puts into our margins, but the margins are so great. It doesn’t even matter. Because I was going to ask who’s doing all these shipping of these thousands of units. So my wife shipping them. So my wife, she manages all of our operations. She manages our relationships with the manufacturers. We have a great relationship with our manufacturer now. We went through the having inventory stuck at the ports. Remember, this is all pandemic, 2020. We had the shortage, the affected us as well. We were sold out quite as kept. We sold out. cleared out our inventory. We were sold out for the whole month of December in our first year. And we made the decision, right, to just go and back order. And people, believe it or not, people kept ordering. So we just, you know, our goal, we set goals for the company. Integrity is one of our key principles here at Lyrically Correct. So we’re always gonna keep it a thousand with our customers. And literally we’re gonna keep it a thousand. ever purchased from us or you’re going to our website, we communicate the way, we are a hip hop company, right?
[00: 25: 20 – 00: 26: 38]
We are a bunch of millennials and we call our customers cousins. When we speak to you, we say, what’s up cousin? You know, we say 100, we say one. That’s our brand identity. I like that, I like that. And you know, I told the team, I’m like, listen, we all are professionals, right? We all have multiple degrees, dual degrees and between us and excuse me, amongst us. We can’t we have a great commander to Queens English if we want. But you know, our black vernacular, our black English, the way we speak in hip hop, right, that’s a language, that’s a creole that doesn’t get the respect it deserves. So we don’t speak like that. It’s our company, just like Chief Turnip Officer. You want to do business with us, this is the way we speak, right. And to move us forward, we’re now sold by Urban Outfitters. We’re now sold on Amazon. Amazon is one of our huge wholesale accounts. And we have another major retailer that we’re gonna announce soon that we’ll be going into by the end of this year. Oh, okay. Cause I know about that. Yeah. But I didn’t wanna say it cause I was like, is there something here? Yeah, we’re not releasing it. We’re not releasing it. Okay. Oh man.
[00: 26: 39 – 00: 27: 43]
Because you didn’t have to fly somewhere. You already flew somewhere to talk to some executives at that company, right? So I’ll tell you, that’s a cool learning point. And I think that was one of my biggest. So at the end of the year, we do SWOT analysis, right? And these are the things that I learned from corporate. Yeah. These are the things that- OK, so what’s SWOT? I know what it is, but just tell everybody. So you take, it’s an internal look, right? It’s a reflection. You look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, right? You can say that, right? And we do that. I actually learned that when I was working at Fordham University. That’s not even in my bio, right? And I worked at Fordham University for a year after undergrad. And something else I learned from them that I brought to the company is Fordham had peer and aspirant schools, right? So they had schools that were just like them. And then they had schools that they wanted to be like. So Fordham University being a Jesuit schools, Loyola was a peer school. Fordham and Loyola was pretty much on the same level.
[00: 27: 44 – 00: 28: 43]
Georgetown was an aspirant school. Fordham wanted to be like Georgetown. So when I was there, we learned that. And I was working in Res Life. So we would look at some of those programs. We would look at some of those things and try to see what are they doing correct? And how can we do it? And how can we get better? So when we started, as we were doing market research and looking to see who was in the field, who was in this space, we recognize peers and aspirants. And one of our aspirants, and I’m not ashamed to say it at all, I’m not gonna mention the peers. You guys can figure that out, who you wanna deem out peers. But our aspirant was black card revolt and cards against humanity, but more so black card revolt, just because that was the black game, right? That was the game everybody knew and things like that. I think I even brought those to a couple of your parties or Halloween parties or something like that. I used to travel with them. I would play.
[00: 28: 44 – 00: 30: 17]
Back in the days, back in the days before the kids. I didn’t play them. I don’t even know. I never heard of Black Card Revolt. Yeah, which is crazy, but it also is a motivation to me to say as successful as Black Card Revolt is, there’s still more customers to obtain, right? And I tell the team that all the time, like, look, we are doing it, we’re killing it. We had three great years. but there’s still so many people who’ve never heard of us. Right? So Black Cart Revolt, they were on Amazon, they were in Walmart, in Target, they were online. They had already had a television show created for them and stuff like that. So they didn’t drive social media that hard. Right? They didn’t go, we spent an entire year and a half posting every day. And they don’t, they post every so often and stuff like that, but they didn’t have to. We needed to build our followers to get the credibility because they had target Walmart, you name it, Amazon to give them credibility. At the time we weren’t on Amazon, we weren’t in urban outfitters. So we didn’t have any credibility. So you couldn’t just Google us and say, I’m a support these guys. Right. Cause yeah. So that’s why we went hard with social media. Um, but. Tiff having her background again in wholesale, coming into year two, it was like, what is our goal? Right? How do we scale?
[00: 30: 18 – 00: 30: 48]
Okay guys, don’t kill me, but I’m going to have to cut this episode short. This is too juicy. So stay tuned for the next episode that airs and you can hear the rest of our conversation. Did you love this episode of Share the Wealth Show? Be sure to connect with Nicole by following her on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook. If you picked up any of the gems that were dropped by today’s guests, make sure you not only put them in your bag, but if you know of someone who would benefit from this information, don’t keep it to yourself. Share the wealth, and make sure to leave us a rating and review. We’ll see you for next week’s episode. Subscribe so you’ll be notified.
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