Interview with Andrei Mincov, Founder at Trademark Factory®
The founder series explores the minds of business owners and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview these business founders to understand the life lessons that mold them into who they are today. We also learn more about their company, their products or services, how they are different from their competitors, and the problems that they are trying to solve for their customers. The information that these business owners provide to us helps inform other entrepreneurs who are looking to make an impact in the business world. We all can take these lessons and apply them to our entrepreneurial journey. We want to thank every business owner who volunteered their time to participate in these interviews and share their knowledge with the community.
Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started!
Let us start off with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.
Can you tell everyone your name, please?
Where did you go to school?
It’s a long story. I spent 21 years in formal education, which, I guess is why we’re homeschooling our kids now. On the higher education front, I graduated and got my Ph.D. in Law from a law school in Russia and then, after I moved to Canada 11 years ago, I graduated from a Canadian law school as well.
Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shaped who you are today?
To give you some context, let me take you back to when I was five years old. That’s when my father, a famous Russian composer, Mark Minkov, first asked me to join him on stage to sing a couple of his songs. And like every son who admires his father, I said yes.
Then, 16 years later, he asked me if I could help him sue a radio station that stole one of the songs to make an unauthorized commercial for Samsung. At that time, I was attending my law school in Russia but had zero practical experience in a courtroom and no idea about intellectual property. Yet, like every son who admires his father, I said yes. After several hearings, I ripped the radio station’s attorneys apart and was expecting a glorious celebration. Instead, the other side bought the judge, and we lost.
I remember as if it was yesterday. I was sitting in my room, re-reading the court judgment for the 100th time and trying to make any sense of it. That’s when my dad came in and asked me, “So what are you going to do now?” I responded, meekly, “I’ve no idea. I think I’ve done all the right things and said all the right words, and we got this idiotic decision that I’ve no idea what to do with…” He simply said, “Well, if you’re not going to appeal this, you should quit your law school and find yourself another profession.” This was the moment that changed my life forever. That was the moment I became an intellectual property lawyer. By the way, if you’re curious, I had to appeal this case all the way to one level below the Supreme Court of Russia (my very first case!) — and I won!
We all have entrepreneurs who we look up to in our industry. These business leaders help influence, shape, and drive our ambition to succeed. These entrepreneurs could be someone that we have worked with on a project or could be someone that we look up too from a distance. For example, Bill Gates is a big inspiration to me not only because of his work in Microsoft but his outstanding contributions to society.
Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?
My mentor, Dan Lok. His accomplishments are not just some stats I could read on Wikipedia. His wisdom is not just a bunch of quotes I could cite from his books. I’ve witnessed how he built his businesses, I’ve seen how he built his team. I’ve never seen such speed of implementation before. I’ve never been around someone who is so knowledgeable about so many things, wise on so many levels — and yet caring and accessible. The way he calls it, he could be holding a baby in one hand while strangling his enemy with the other. To a large degree, I attribute my success to the mentorship I received from Dan.
Thank you for providing background on who you are as a person. I always find it fascinating to learn who a person is and their early life lessons. Let us move forward with the interview and discuss what you are doing now and how you are making a difference in your industry.
What is the name of your company?
Where is your company located?
The HQ is in Vancouver, BC, Canada, but we are essentially virtual and worldwide.
What services or products does your organization provide?
Risk-free, guaranteed, trademarking services.
What problem is your business trying to solve?
The way our tagline goes, If It’s Worth Promoting, It’s Worth Protecting®. Businesses need to protect their brands. The problem is until I launched Trademark Factory® in 2013, there has not been a company that would offer trademarking services with a predictable, guaranteed result for a predictable, guaranteed budget. We are still the only such company. We attract entrepreneurs and business owners who value their brands and want to protect them through trademarking — without having to worry about hourly attorney fees and knowing that if their brand does not get registered, they will get a full refund.
How is your business unique against your competitors?
We call it, “4 gives.” First, we give our clients a free comprehensive trademark search included in all of our packages. If we spot a concern, the client can get a full refund. Second, we give them a single, all-inclusive flat fee. Nobody likes to pay lawyers by the hour. With Trademark Factory®, you pay a predetermined amount upfront — and you’ll never see another invoice from us. Third, we give you a 100% performance-based money-back guarantee. If the trademark we told you was registrable gets refused, you get all your money back, no matter how many hours we’ve spent working on your file. Fourth, we actually give a damn. We give a damn about our clients’ success. We give a damn about their business. We give a damn about their brands.
How did the idea for your business come to fruition?
As many technicians-turned-entrepreneurs, I started my business as a typical intellectual property law firm. And very quickly, I realised that my success with this business would have very little to do with my brilliance and my excellence as a lawyer — and everything to do with my abilities as a marketer and a sales guy. The problem is, back then, I had none of these abilities. Long story short, in 2013, two years into the law firm business, I’ve become significantly better at it and was going to attend my first International Trademark Association (INTA) Meeting in Dallas.
Imagine 10,000 trademark lawyers from all over the world in one room. That’s what INTA is about. I was terrified. I couldn’t just go there and not have a unique selling proposition. I could go there without having something unique I could share with the world of trademarking services. So looked at how everyone else conducted their business and came up with a few areas where we could do the opposite. That’s how the idea of a free trademark search, one flat fee, and a 100% money-back guarantee was born. To a certain degree, back in May of 2013, it was simply a marketing gimmick. But then I turned it into a viable business model that has now helped brand owners from around the world trademark over 1000 brands. And we’re just getting warmed up!
Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business?
Final question. We would like to thank you for the interview. We have one last question to ask you about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs.
What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out on their journey?
1. Find a mentor who is going to push you out of your comfort zone continually. If you have a plan and you know exactly how you are going accomplish it, you are thinking too small.
2. Share your weekly goals with an accountability partner. Pick 3–5 most essential subtasks that you feel would move the needle the most. Pledge money to your accountability partner that if you don’t accomplish the subtasks, you thought was important, and you’d pay to your accountability partner. Send your accountability partner tangible proof of having completed those tasks. Your productivity will go through the roof.
3. It’s often too late but never too early to trademark your brand. There is a reason you came up with your company name, the names of your products and services, your logos, and taglines. Protect what will become one of your most valuable assets if your business becomes a success — before someone rips you off.