EP 6 - Matt Clark - Core Principles of Problem Solving, Networking, and Entrepreneurship
|Awesomers Origin - We'll talk to an Awesomer about where they came from, the triumphs and tribulations they have faced and how they are doing today. An Awesomer Origin story is the chance to hear the backstory about the journey our guest took on their road to becoming awesomer. These stories are incredibly varied and the takeaway is that awesomers come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, creeds, colors and every other variation possible. On your awesomer road, you will face adversity. That’s just part of life. The question as always is how YOU choose to deal with it.
Matt Clark is the CEO and Co-Founder of Amazing.com, a serial entrepreneur, and investor. He's been featured on Forbes, Under30CEO, and Business.com. Matt and his partner have created training programs that have helped thousands of entrepreneurs build their own businesses. Matt's commitment to helping others find their own path to success is something that is unique and enduring.
Learn from Matt Clark’s entrepreneurial journey; how he became a CEO and co-founder of Amazing.com and how he has helped thousands of entrepreneurs build their businesses around the world.
In this episode, Matt tells us his origin and backstory. We also have a lot of awesome takeaways including:
How Matt joined his university’s Entrepreneurship program and understood the context of business firsthand from seasoned entrepreneurs.
Why entrepreneurs are natural problem solvers and how they approach failures with the right mindset.
What steps you should take to network and build relationships which can be pivotal to your success.
And the very core principles of entrepreneurship which everyone should learn.
Stay awesome and listen below to get inspired by Matt’s amazing story.
Welcome to the Awesomers.com podcast. If you love to learn and if you're motivated to expand your mind and heck if you desire to break through those traditional paradigms and find your own version of success, you are in the right place. Awesomers around the world are on a journey to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. We believe in paying it forward and we fundamentally try to live up to the great Zig Ziglar quote where he said, "You can have everything in your life you want if you help enough other people get what they want." It doesn't matter where you came from. It only matters where you're going. My name is Steve Simonson and I hope that you will join me on this Awesomer journey.
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Steve: That's episode number 6. You can go to Awesomers.com/6 to see the show notes and details. That's Awesomers.com/6. Today my special guest is Matt Clark who is the CEO and co-founder of Amazing.com. He's also a serial entrepreneur and an investor. He's been featured on amazing publications like Forbes, The Under 30 CEO and Business.com. Matt’s partner Jason Katzenback have created training programs that have helped thousands of entrepreneurs build their businesses around the world. Matt's commitment to helping others find their own path to success is something that is unique and enduring. One of the things I love about Matt and just his spirit of generosity is the fact that he doesn't just see a problem, he sees the solution and then often will create a training to help somebody live that solution. I really really appreciate how they approach things and I'm super excited to have Matt onboard. So again this is episode number 6 of the Awesomers podcast. Awesomers.com/6 to get all the show details.
Ok, welcome everybody back Awesomers.com coming back to you. We are thrilled that you're here and you're gonna be glad that you joined us today. We've got one of my favorite Awesomers Matt Clark join us today Matt how are you?
Matt: Good how you doing Steve? Thanks for having me.
Steve: Thanks well it looks like a beautiful day over there in Texas, huh?
Matt: Yes by the looks of it's about 95 degrees.
Steve: Wow that is hot. Up here in Seattle we had a couple of warm days but when there's clouds out there like that it's lucky to hit 70 so very different. All right well thank you for joining us Matt and you know if you could just help the audience get a little bit more context on you know kind of where you live and what you do in general terms right now.
Matt: Sure, yes I'm down here in Austin Texas. I've been here about nine years or so. I came from Houston, was pretty much in Houston my entire life. We have a company called Amazing.com and so we essentially help people build e-commerce businesses, start and grow
ecommerce businesses with a heavy focus on Amazon.
Steve: Nice and I'm not only aware of Amazing.com but a big fan and we'll probably talk about some of the fun stories that we can share later on. So one of the things that I enjoy finding out about is where people began - how do they get where they are today. Because no doubt that you have changed not just your own life in very positive ways with your journey, but so many others, countless others. In fact it's certainly in the tens of thousands. Now which is really exciting but I like to dive back into the very beginning. So we're gonna do it right after we come back from a break.
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Steve: Ok Matt so we're back here again and we're talking about, count the beginnings; how did you get started and I'd like to just start with the most simple - where were you born?
Matt: Yes, I was born in Ardmore Oklahoma, little middle of nowhere town Oklahoma but then when I was about two, parents kind of moved me down here to Houston anyways.
Steve: Well now that's a town I've never heard the name of before. Ardmore, was it?
Matt: Yes this tiny little town where my dad back in the day decided to build a law practice and I'm not exactly sure how they ended up there but that's where they were.
Steve: Fascinating well there you go. And I was going to ask you next what you know your parents background was but it sounds like your father's a lawyer, is that right yeah?
Matt: He was in the military for about 10 years and then became a lawyer and my mom was all kind of similar story, not quite as long in the military but also did that and also became a lawyer. Then so both of them have had been entrepreneurs of some sort either - our law practice or something else that at some point.
Steve: Fascinating. Was there ever any pressure for you to get into the law game, family business?
Matt: No, not really. You know they never pushed me too much in any one direction which was I guess good and bad at times but no, never pressure there.
Steve: Okay, that's interesting. I've definitely seen it both ways where sometimes the parents are like, “You got to follow our footsteps. it's the way to go”. How about any siblings?
Matt: Yes so I have two half sisters and one full sister. A couple of them still live in Texas one of them lived over in California
Steve: Okay, good and how about University? Did you attend university and if so, where?
Matt: Yes I went to University of Houston and I was in the Entrepreneurship program. They have a pretty well ranked entrepreneurship program down there for undergrad which I found that out when I was about halfway through college. So I applied and got in and it was a good time.
Steve: Oh nice and so what was your biggest takeaway from that experience? If there was a single thing you could point out from?
Matt: The Entrepreneurship program? Yes, I mean what helped me a lot from there was like you know you're still learning in kind of an academic environment but it was mostly entrepreneurs that were teaching the things. I mean one of the guys ran a big shipping company and sold it way back in the day. These guys are just kind of giving back and so what helped me is I understood the context of business because where I was like the rest of my business degree undergrad would focus a lot on like you're an employee in this tiny little cog in this giant wheel as opposed to entrepreneurship program it’s like you're going to have to figure all this stuff out. You're going to have some idea of what's going on with finance and accounting and marketing and management and so when I started my first business I still made a hell of a lot of mistakes and I had to figure a lot of things out but I at least like understood all the pieces and then kind of just kind of I guess had to figure out how to put them together.
Steve: Well for all the Awesomer out there, listen. Mistakes are just part of the process right fundamentally entrepreneurs are problem solvers and you know we make a theory about a solution and if it doesn't work we come up with a new solution. Is that how you did it as well?
Matt: Yes happy to avoid some of the mistakes, some of them end up being pretty painful but there's no other way to do it. You can read all the books you want, go to school like I did and all that stuff but there are still going to be a whole lot of stuff you're going to have to find out the hard way.
Steve: Yes mistakes will be made. Believe me, I've got more than a few scars on my back. So how did you have a traditional job as you came out of university?
Matt: Yes so my plan back then I graduated in 2008 and in 2007 I started off with a marketing degree but then found the entrepreneurship thing and then really started liking finance. I had a great finance teacher so I switched my other major over to finance and I said, “You know what? This sounds great.” I'll say these hedge fund managers are doing really well for themselves. This is 2007 and I was like I'm going to go join an investment bank and then I'm gonna start my own hedge fund. That was the game plan coming out to college. Then so I joined an investment bank, Citigroup and then after a couple months, two things happened: one is I was freaking miserable just as an employee and second off the entire financial market was imploding on itself. We were seeing it live every single day on the TVs around the office so both those things kind of led me to the idea that you know what I'm gonna sort of expedite my plan to go build a business. There was never anything that's special about doing a hedge fund it was just kind of a means to an end. I quit after seven months and then kind of never looked back.
Steve: Amazing well and for those who may not remember firsthand, it was an absolute financial chaos and catastrophe time. 2008 was when the wheels came off the whole financial system and there was just a complete meltdown. Many of the largest finance companies went out of business, Lehman Brothers and the like. You know hundred plus year old companies disappeared.
Matt: We were sitting there at the office, we had kind of very open office like boiler room style but not so much on the phones, everyone's on the computers. We're seeing up there and saw the entire Citigroup stock, a multi-billion dollar company, their stock went down to a dollar. Wouldn't been a bad idea to buy it at a time but didn't have that kind of foresight. It was interesting times.
Steve: Well yes at that time even the smartest guys on the planet were still selling at a buck 50 so it's like you know I got to get out of this thing. It's always interesting to me to look back at the cycles of business because there's the hot times where everything's like I got to get in and then there's the cold times robberies like I got to get out. Really it always goes in those cycles so and the financial market has done that yet again. That's very interesting. I didn't remember the investment bank piece of that so once you came out of there what was the first business that you kind of set your teeth into?
Matt: Yes I left there and I was in Houston and I was like well you know my dad he had a medical business and I was well I've been this tiny little piece and his massive company that spans the entire world pretty much and then I was like I don't know a business I want to start. I know I want to start something so my next move was basically I moved to Austin and I was like, I'll help my dad with his business. I like marketing. I was fairly good at marketing. They were kind of lacking in that and so I jumped in there, started helping him with some marketing stuff and some other things just kind of however I could while I was figuring out what I wanted to do. I found out within a couple months that there were some very high-end health supplements that are now a more mainstream but back then they are typically only sold through doctors offices. I mean like really good brands like Foreign Research and Zymogen and a whole bunch of other ones. The doctor, the reps from those companies kept coming by the office and trying to sell them all these supplements to sell through their clinics to their patients. I kind of had the idea I was like is anybody selling these things online and it wasn't really a thing. Nobody was really selling those online. I kind of fumbled my way through building an e-commerce store and then set up a store and then started basically selling those same products online and instead of dropshipping accounts which just means that if somebody ordered on my store then I could send that order off to the manufacturer, they would ship it to the customer which means I didn't have to have any inventory myself. I didn't really have the money to have inventory myself at the time and so yes so then it kind of went from there and then scaled that business up as fast as I could.
Steve: I loved it yes. What a great way to kind of think about the basics of the e-commerce models. There are so many different kinds but the basic one that and I started with this myself as well dropshipping so many years ago where I didn't have the money for so many SKUs and all the inventory and all that. All these manufacturers or distributors or however you did it, they have inventory standing by and if they can execute with excellence you can kind of grow from there and leverage their inventory base. Very, very well then it definitely brings back the memories. So I know that you've done it a number of things beyond there so from then to now was there a particular defining moment that kind of set your path into into where you really kind of in my mind you know have hit this stratosphere of awesomeness?
Matt: Yes there's like a couple big kind of pivot points is one is that I had a product that was kind of taking off on my ecommerce store and I don't even know what it was. It was like a weight loss supplement at the time but it was kind of fun of just taking off and it was just blow everything out of the water and I wasn't doing anything to make it half and I had 11,000 products on my store and I was like what the hell is this thing? Why is it selling so well? And is because it was like the new fad diet of the time and then coincidentally within like a few weeks I was at the pool at my apartment at the time and it met this guy and he and I were talking business and like I was telling him about this product and that kind of thing he was like coincidentally happened to be a manufacturer not of that brand but of like that product. So he was like you know you're buying that thing for like I was selling it for probably like $25 and he was like yes, you're buying that thing for like $12 selling somebody else's brand. He's like I can get you your own same exact product with your own brand for like $3. I was like hell I was like that sounds great and so then I did that and so creating my own first brand as opposed to selling everyone else's and kept selling it alongside theirs but my margins were a lot better. So that was my first kind of foray into private labeling and so that was a big turning point. The other one was is that along the way I kind of built my business originally off of like pay-per-click advertising with Google AdWords and I switched over most of the traffic to SEO and Amazon was just killing me like all day long and in the rankings on Google. I figured out at some point I was like you know you got to be able to sell on this thing cause it looks like other people are so I fumbled my way into that and then ended up figuring out how to sell products on Amazon and listed all my products and then started finding out that wasn't such a good idea because the dropshipper couldn't fulfill half of them. I nearly killed the Amazon account but then kind of tighten that in and then started using my own private label brands on there and then started finding out it was very easy to scale on there selling your own brand and applying some of the marketing strategies everyone knew for their own e-commerce store but nobody was using them on Amazon; write a good title, write a good description, have good images, add a bonus with your product. Nobody was doing that stuff back then and so I was doing that and I was getting all kinds of products to rank extremely well, ramping up sales very fast. Along the way I mean I always kind of felt that like you know being the guy who's like sitting there in the dark corners of the internet like running a business with my laptop was never really like my end goal in life. I like speaking, I like helping other people - to me that was much more interesting and so I had the idea that I was going to start like teaching what I was doing. I was in a mastermind group and I basically said I’ll offer you a free webinar and I was getting some feedback from them and that's where I met the other co-founder of Amazing, Jason katzenback and he was like - look I've got an email list of like 250,000 people that are interested in building businesses. I think they'd love to hear about what you have to say. He's like, would you be interested in creating a course? Funny thing is I've been thinking about that and so he and I came together, created a course on how to do what I was doing with Amazon and then had a lot of success for a lot of people. We had people then basically gone from nothing to building multi-million dollar companies when they tried a bunch of other stuff and nothing else would really work for them and that's kind of over the past six years what's been my main focus. Doing that and helping as many people as possible with that.
Steve: It's actually a wonderful story. There's a few little tidbits of information in there. One is, it sounds like we all need to do a little bit more networking by the pool because we can fast pace. That's a good golden nugget for you but the reality is you know at that mastermind you guys put your heads together and Jason's a great guy and and you were able to put this concept into motion and that has now evolved over. As you said the last six years to change people's lives, not just a few people; not three or four people, not even three or four hundred people but literally thousands of people and I've met many many of these people firsthand. I'm definitely a big proponent of a well executed course and I think you guys have done a tremendous job with that. I really respect it so kudos to you.
Matt: Thank you.
Steve: So as you think about you know kind of this this journey in this path, has there been any big lesson right up to the present time? Is there any lesson that sticks out to you - gosh either I'm glad I know it now or I wish I would have known early or anything along that line?
Matt: Yes, I mean one of the biggest ones you kind of just touched on is like, if I look back in like some of the biggest moments and biggest sort of leaps in terms of success and in my path to where I am today, it's like I can almost trace it back to meeting individual people. A lot of times we want to like stick our head down and try to be the genius in the office, by ourselves cranking along figuring out some new strategy online but if you go meet somebody who's already done all that stuff and there's some sort of synergistic relationship, you can bypass years of having to learn all the crap on your own. I can literally trace back some of the biggest leaps and success for me to meeting certain people, whether it's in the e-commerce business or in kind of our education business now. That's a huge one for me. Another one is focusing on the quality of what you do early on in the e-commerce world. I was selling other people's products but when I started selling my own products, my goal is just to kind of fill the need that was there and then sell whatever I could get my hands on and that worked okay but it's not greatly sustainable if you're not selling a product that's really better than everyone else's and you're constantly trying to make it better than everyone else's. Because there's inevitably always going to be new people in the market and somebody's gonna be like hmm like I see customers are saying, this maybe if I made this just a little bit better then people would buy mine instead of the existing one which happened to be mine and so that's happened many times and so focusing as early on as possible. At the end of the day I mean business is all about creating something that people actually want to buy and they usually want to buy it either because it's a good price or because it's a good quality or both. So if you're not constantly trying or if you don't want to play the low price game then you're playing the quality game. If you're not constantly looking and making the thing better, it's just kind of by definition you're going to struggle over the long term.
Steve: Definitely business will decay if it's not improving. So again wonderful insights there. First of all, entrepreneurs often feel isolated right? They often feel alone and you describe that dark room kind of in the back corner - many entrepreneurs are like that and one of the cures in breaking out of your own space is to get out there and network and build relationships which can be pivotal. In your case, they were you know some of the defining moments for you. Those relationships were able to set you on the right path and then finally the very premise of selling a product should be to iterate and make it better and better and better otherwise the competition will pass you and boy those are really important lessons
Matt: I was gonna say you look at like an Apple or a Tesla or Google from a search engine perspective. I mean they're all built on having the best freaking product possible and then when they really nail it and of course they get the market right which you can say is luck or by design or whatever. When they get their leadership standpoint right is when their product is so far beyond everyone else's that there's no reason why somebody would buy somebody else's other than price. We've done that on a smaller scale in different areas but yes absolutely critical.
Steve: Yes and again I'll tell you price is, that's the most dangerous and it's the fastest and I would even say as marketers, the laziest way to approach things. If you're just going to sell on price, you will be beaten by China period. China can always beat you on price or if you don't have a physical manufacturing plant any manufacturer can ultimately beat you on price if they can market so iteration and then differentiation ultimately. You talked about it. I think you hinted at this, looking at the customer feedback and then figuring out how to solve those problems or how to add those features they are asking about. What a great insight but often overlooked.
Matt: Yes, I mean one of the earliest ways where I was able to ramp up sales fast on Amazon which isn't quite as easy to do now because of their rules, but the same concept applies is that you know selling a weight-loss product. The weight loss product required a specific diet to go along with it and the diet was not like one company. It was a kind of publicly available information and so I said look whenever you buy this product you'll get this ebook and we include a little business card with a URL on it. You'll get this ebook whenever you buy the product and so included the bottle of liquid plus the ebook inside and that was enough to say why would I buy anybody else is if it's the same price? If I can get the e-book thing. Same thing applies. We tell people all day long with Amazon now like read the reviews, find out what people like, what they don't like and do something at least slightly better. In most cases, it doesn't mean you having to go out there and cuss the manufacturer and prototype that kind of stuff. Are you just being a little better for customers?
Steve: This is one of the things especially when you're dealing with China sourcing which is a lot of people dealing with you know consumer products less so in supplements or health and beauty but often if you just try to beat China down to the lowest price they'll engineer that price down for you. We had a case where we had a keyboard and it came in and the first reviewers are like - hey, the hinge keeps breaking. We're like why is the hinge breaking? We looked at it like this thing is 50% plastic. This should be metal and so we asked the factory. Why is the hinge plastic? We specified metal. Yes but you also specified $18 and 12 cents for the price so we had to engineer that price point to help you get your price. I'm like well how much is the total metal hinge all right? That's going to cost you. I'm like how much? Well, it's 40 cents a unit more and oh my gosh we can go forty percent returns down to three percent returns with a forty cent per unit difference. That's tiny little thing would have been clear and evident in reviews for sure. You know being on Twitter, a lot of people they see the glitz and the glamour and you're a very professional speaker - you're on stage and people are like, “Oh man, this guy he's shiny and professional and awesome.” But has there ever been a time where you wanted to give up or at least doubted yourself?
Matt: Yes about a million. I mean like even back in the e-commerce days I was able to ramp up from nothing to two million dollars a year in revenue in less than two years. My first business I'd ever built which I thought was pretty good right, I literally did not want to check email ever because every time I log some manufacturer is complaining to me about the way I was selling stuff online because they have some doctor complaining to them. Hey nobody's buying in my clinic anymore because they can get the stuff online and so it was just terrible. I had to deal with that all the time. I had to deal with AdWords accounts getting shut down and I wasn't trying to necessarily do anything terrible. It's just moving and shaking a lot of pieces not super graded operations and pretty inexperienced. It is just a lot of moving pieces having issues. You know we went from basically nothing all of a sudden creating this program that a lot of people wanted and everyone wanted to kind of share with other people, so we went from basically handful of employees to like 65 employees over the course when we really hit that growth spurt. We kind of like went at the same level for a couple of years but then when we hit that growth spurt it went from like handful of employees of 65 employees and basically like a year and nearly sort of imploded on ourselves and yes that was not good. I had to had to layoff people and that's basically nothing worse than business and yes there's a lot of times and they're probably hit like a solid year of what you could probably consider like depression after that. Just trying to sort all that stuff out and so there's definitely been a lot of a lot of moments. I mean the way I've sort of seen it is like I've thought about like what would it look like if I just kind of threw in the towel and said forget this? Just because you know you think about all kinds of stuff. I wouldn't say that I've ever truly considered it. It's one of these things that you know it's like I think in my head like I've wrapped up like being an entrepreneur as my identity and so it's one of those things it's like you don't really like give up on your identity. It's kind of like who you are. It's not like I'm giving up on being a human being. I figured I would always find a way and always make it happen. Change this, change that. Like you said earlier iterate on something but completely giving up was never really an option.
Steve: This is one of the things that especially for entrepreneurs, I think they're more predisposed to kind of getting their own heads and and challenging themselves. The imposter syndrome that people talk about from time to time. I know you've talked about it. It creeps in all the time and it can get incredibly dark for people and this is why I appreciate you know, guys like yourself sharing. I've been there myself too with layoffs and with all kinds of things that like they just didn't go the way we wanted to go but we have to solve problems. That's what entrepreneurs do and so we have to push through and persevere and ultimately that's what defines an Awesomer, somebody, who never stops. They just keep going, they never give up. One of the favorite quotes that I love to use in this case is the Winston Churchill you know he says, “When you're going through hell, keep going.” And that's a good advice for me and it's definitely something that I try to follow.
Matt: Yes I was just reading Amazon's annual report for for last year. It's always funny you look at like, you pick any big company, they're just an example but you look at the part where they have to disclose like ongoing lawsuits. It's like pages of lawsuits that they're dealing with and not just like a tiny little thing it's like somebody's saying that their entire Amazon Prime membership is part of their own property because of some reason. It's like stuff like that. I mean it's just unfortunate when you're dealing with that much money. It's like the more successful you become because it's money and people have such a scarcity mindset around there that it's inevitably there's going to be those kind of issues but it's kind of part of business.
Steve: It is part of business boy and it's a regrettable part but it's just reality so instead of us lamenting it we just got to get with the program. I have a fleet of lawyers for different purposes that rarely will we do anything offensive meaning not offensive like decorum lines but we rarely go on the offense but we have to be able to be prepared to deal with so many different things: patents, trademarks, copyrights, business structure, taxes, all these various things. It is part of life and the larger you get it's inevitable that you know legal things are going to be a reality. Amazon has more than their share going on I'm sure. So we talked about a time where this was not going well, we had issues. How about a best day? Do you have an example of a best day in your professional life that you look at and go that was a nice day?
Matt: I mean I would say probably you know the first live event we ever did for our members. You know we had about 600 people which is pretty good for a first live event but that wasn't really the important thing. You know a lot of times, especially in an online business, you're so wrapped up in the online world and then you hear some customers say they have a good time. Then if you're dealing with customer support a lot of times its people that are having issues and that's why they're contacting and like that's your kind of only interaction with the people that are buying from you. And so for us, we're like - is this actually doing anything? Are we actually helping anybody with this? Like we kind of hoped to and then so we do our first live event and then you know we're up there and like every time we go on break like we kind of hang out and talk with everybody and we're just getting person after person after person coming up to us and saying like you changed my life, you changed my life, you changed my life. At first, we're like you know it's because we're on stage, they've got kind of like the mini celebrity effect. But then the more and more people that said and we're like I think we are actually doing something like pretty good here. And so that for me is kind of like what set everything else in motion for like doing this for more than just like a business to build or a company to grow or any of that kind of stuff. It's more about you know the people we can help I mean at this point like I've made enough money where I don't have to work or any of that kind of stuff and so I have to be after it for other reasons. So having that kind of experience I kind of gave me another reason for doing what we do so that was definitely pretty memorable.
Steve: It's very important for entrepreneurs to take a victory lap from time to time and take those points of recognition because often we're like alright what's next what's next and so I'm glad that you do that and it really is a legitimate bit of feedback from so many of these wonderful examples where their lives have changed. Not just like “Hey you know I don't have to struggle to pay the cable bill”. It's like “Hey, I work full time in my own business. I have a freedom lifestyle. I'm designing what I want in life” And in my experience that leads to a much higher fulfillment for you, you know for those involved in creating that than just the idea of you know breaking the next sales record. It's that kind of fulfillment that I see is very valuable. Do you agree?
Matt: Yes for sure and I think it also gives you like a tiny little bit of extra protection against the downside. Because when things go bad it's kind of like that stuff sticks in your head. You need a good balance there. Like trying to seek out that kind of positive reinforcement. I think it definitely helps dealing with some of the bad stuff that ends up popping up.
Steve: Yes without a doubt. So before we head to our last break and talk about how people could find your stuff online and so forth, do you have a favorite tool that you use day-to-day? It could be an app, it could be a plugin, it could be anything that you use day-to-day technology-driven that you feel like you couldn't live without?
Matt: You know one thing that kind of like more for myself which I found super helpful over the past like year is I guess it's you know like the one thing book. They basically wrote a book that done extremely well and so they built kind of an online program related to like implementing some of that stuff and so they have a spreadsheet that I've used that has really helped me a lot. I mean like you don't have to use theirs and the format's relatively simple but it's one that's like the first thing that's bookmarked for me it's the thing that before I do anything I check there and like the format you can create it yourself. It’s relatively simple and so you're basically starting off Like some bullet points on like things you've achieved that have gone well over the past three months. And so a lot of times you can kind of get blindness but when you force yourself to look at that it kind of like sets you off in a mindset of you know yes I can do more good stuff because I've already done this good stuff. You kind of keep a note of like the stuff that has done well over the past three months. Then from there you start going into the big things you want to accomplish this year broken down by areas of your life: it can be business, it can be personal, it can be more granular than that in different areas of your business but basically the high level stuff you want to accomplish over the year. Then break that down to, of those things what am I knocking off this month? Whatever this month happens to be, what am I knocking off this month? So you're essentially pulling from that top list same thing for the week of the stuff I'm I said I said I'm gonna do this month what am I doing this week and then the same thing for the day. So I think it it provides a lot of clarity and it's not overwhelming, it’s not like you're trying to use 17 apps to do this or keep notes on a whole bunch of different places and to me, it's been like a fairly simple system that I think is helped a lot.
Steve: I love it. Focus is so key and you know entrepreneurs, we often have these to-do lists that are a thousand miles long you know. That do not do lists should in my opinion be just as long if not longer. But just having that prioritization is so critical. We all think we can multitask but it doesn't work that well. I like your strategy. Alright, we're going to take a quick break then we'll be back up.
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Steve: Okay we're back and we're right down to the finish line here with Matt Clark. It's been really fun and insightful and so i'm going to ask you just a few more questions. My first is give us a prediction about what your life looks like in the next five years? Maybe it's five years later? any predictions? What's your crystal ball say?
Matt: I mean if things go according to plan you know we hope to keep making amazing much more successful. We want to add value in other areas of the business beyond just the training side. We're looking at potential acquisitions and creating other things ourselves from software to services and really trying to help people in a lot of areas of this business. Because you know with selling your own brand, selling physical products, especially leveraging Amazon like it's still a fairly new marketplace. As big as Amazon is like it still seems fairly new. There's not a whole lot of great stuff out there for people in terms of products for all the different areas of the business and so we kind of want to start shaping away at that stuff and so that we can help people essentially save time and increase sales and profits. We are entrepreneurs, we've been entrepreneurs and we know that the more time we can save people the better it's gonna be for them the better it's gonna be for everyone, for their business and so that's that's a huge focus of ours. We're also looking at you know other things we can do that are kind of more altruistic. We're in this position where you know we've got a decent amount of sort of thought leadership, you know we've got a big audience, we've got a lot of members and so we want to really use that to do the most good in the world as possible. You know we're looking at ways where you know we can possibly get involved with sustainable packaging you know to help there's a lot of crazy stuff going on at the ocean if you follow that. So seeing if we can get involved in any of that sort of thing and then anything else that we can kind of spread our impact from our own company and sort of inspire all the people the thousands of tens of thousands of people that we have that are members to do better things and their companies. You know at the end of the day like we're here to start off basically serving the entrepreneurs but those entrepreneurs are impacting all kinds of people. They're hiring people, they're affecting their community, their family, their friends and so we see ourselves as having this great position but we can have a massive impact that kind of ripples out through you know millions of people and so we really want to do that carefully and do it in a way where it creates you know as cheesy as it may sound a better world for everyone. Employees that have great jobs that work for these people, communities that are doing better which is already happening on a very small scale and we just want to be more intentional about it and so we think that's a great opportunity for us to have a great impact in the world.
Steve: It's a very exciting and really you know this is a fundamental truth that I believe that entrepreneurs in fact. They add to the world, they don't take away from the world, right? And so the more you Awesomers and entrepreneurs that are out there impacting things and doing things in a economically sustainable and viable and exciting way that also helps people in various ways. Everything from the eco side to all the way through to just pure efficiency and profitability all these things are capitalism squared and they work really well. And we're going to have in the show notes how to find Matt's company and all the the various ways to get in touch with these guys but I wonder if you just have any words of wisdom for our Awesomers as we close up the show?
Matt: Yes I mean I think to kind of like close the loop on some of the things that we've talked about. I mean I think first off get started. If you haven't already. If you're not ready to jump in there try to do something for yourself. I’m a firm believer that you know if you're living your life kind of miserable, you're working for somebody else and a job you don't like or heck of business you don't like then life is far too short to like keep doing that for a long time. You know the sooner you can get out there. Now is probably going to be the best time fo you to jump out there and do. That there's not necessarily gonna be a better time and so getting started is a huge one. Beyond that kind of never giving up. I kind of see there's there's like two components and I kind of had this realization ten years ago is that I think there's only like two things you need to literally achieve anything in life: one is focus and two is persistence. A lot of people especially entrepreneurs we want to do 17 things at the same time and that ends up almost inevitably screwing people over. I’ve been in the same situation myself after we told a whole bunch of people not to do that. I've done it myself so I know what this is about and so staying focused at starting off one business, one brand, one product and then growing from there and being very intentional about how you add to your plate. Because usually, it's not a matter of doing more it's a matter of doing whatever you're doing now better. So if you're super focused the only other kind of missing component over the long term to be successful is persistence you know a lot of people we get messages all the time like people have been cranking along and they run into one issue and then they want to quit and you know you talk to anybody literally anybody who's ever been successful big scale small scale whatever they've faced a ton of freaking problems. That’s kind of how we started this thing out. They've all had problems, they've all had issues. That's inevitably going to happen. The people that are gonna be successful over the long term over five years, ten years, twenty years are the ones who pick their battle. The kind who stay focused and then keep going no matter what happens. At the end of the day, it's kind of cliched but it's definitely a marathon not a sprint and this is coming from somebody who wants everything now and so I had to learn some of the stuff myself.
Steve: It really is, you know those they may sound trite or they may sound so obvious but nobody acts or very few act on these very core principles which are do something, act now, just do it, get started and don't stop, right? Don't give up and that really is what defines Awesomers long term. Is that they took action, not afraid to fail even if you're afraid to fail, just fail fast and then go ahead and stick to it until you get it right. It is not a straight route to success for sure. It is full of surprises and you know to me, one of the worst things is surprise in business. I've had a couple surprises this very day that I'm not thrilled about. That's just life. I'm in the business of solving problems and everybody out there is in that same business so very wise words of wisdom there. Thank you, Matt, and thank you for joining us today. It's been a real pleasure having you onboard.
Matt: Yes, thanks a lot Steve. Hopefully everyone got some value out of this and I appreciate you for having me.
Steve: No doubt. They did. Awesomers will be back right after this.
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Steve: Gosh I love a good origin story I just I find it's so fascinating how everybody has their own ways of getting through this world and kind of making their own path and yet its persistence and it's kind of the seizing an opportunity and not it not being afraid to take risk or even if you're afraid to take it anyway. And Matt’s story is something that is very inspiring and again not only has he created an Awesomer lifestyle for himself but he's influenced thousands and thousands of others around the world probably, tens of thousands if I'm being fair. And that's a really great story indeed so thank you guys again for joining us on the Awesomers podcast number six. You can again go to Awesomers.com/6to see all the show notes and details and again this is a good time for you to remember to go ahead and share this and maybe leave a review. Remember that paying it forward is a good thing to do for yourself and for Awesomers around the world.
Well we've done it again everybody. We have another episode of the Awesomers podcast ready for the world. Thank you for joining us and we hope that you've enjoyed our program today. Now is a good time to take a moment to subscribe like and share this podcast. Heck you can even leave a review if you want it. Awesomers around you will appreciate your help. It's only with your participation and sharing that we'll be able to achieve our goals. Our success is literally in your hands. Thank you again for joining us. We are at your service. Find out more about me, Steve Simonson, our guest, team and all the other Awesomers involved at Awesomers.com. Thank you again.