Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Media. After using social media to land Under30CEO on MSNBC and BusinessWeek, he began building brands online.
Wilson’s passion for entrepreneurship began after leading Bryant University to becoming the world’s #1 entrepreneurs’ organization. After seven months abroad, Matt’s official title became Adventurer in Residence, heading up Under30Media’s travel company Under30Experiences.
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Which knowledge or experience have facilitated your career?
Standing on a glacier in Iceland overlooking the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, it hit me– we had to do more of this. I felt incredibly inspired, creative, and I felt like my mind was finally clear– I wanted to bring an amazing group of young professionals to have the same experience I had. As the Co-founder of Under30CEO.com, I knew this was possible. Now we operate in three of my dream locations: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Iceland, and we’re working on rolling out more Under30Experiences locations across the world for next year.
If you could go back, what would you do better and what wouldn’t you do at all?
I would have learned to trust my gut earlier. Intuition is something that has to be developed, and after several years in business, watching startups rise and fall, and traveling the world, I’ve finally become more in touch with what the world is trying to tell me.
The analogy that helped me the most when trying to learn to listen to myself, was to think of the old man in the cave. If you asked a guru who knew nothing of the outside world, he would simply ask you what the problem was and not consider any outside circumstances. The old man in the cave would select the answer he felt was the right answer in his gut. This strategy helps minimize all the extra noise in decision making. Trusting your gut is about what you “feel” is the right answer, not about logic.
What were your biggest difficulties?
We started Under30CEO.com at the height of the Global Financial Crisis. We knew there were tons of young entrepreneurs that needed to learn how to create their own careers, since they weren’t being hired after the economic downturn.
Little did I expect, my mom would come to me and tell me that we were losing our home. I was forced to go out and find the first job I could find– digging ditches for twelve hours a day. I’d come home and moonlight Under30CEO until 2AM and be back at work at 6AM.
Although I look at this as my biggest difficulty, now I look at it as one of the best things that ever happened to me. Success is far more rewarding when you have to work for it. Under30CEO now inspires a half a million people per month, I’ve had the opportunity to travel around the world for the past seven months, and now we’ve launched our travel company Under30Experiences for young professionals to connect in amazing parts of the world.
What do you think is the best habit which allows you to get the best results in your life/work?
Stop being boring. There are too many boring people in the world, and boring people produce boring results. If you want to excel in your work, start getting out from behind your desk and doing things that make you think. If you sit and stare at a computer screen everyday, you probably aren’t going to be engaged at 100%. Traveling, working out, having fun, and surrounding myself with awesome people are all ways to get yourself operating at your full potential.
What would you suggest to the people who want to follow in your footsteps?
You need to be insanely passionate about what you do. Not everyone is cut out to start a business. You need limitless energy to be able to lead a team of people to a huge goal. If your heart isn’t into what you’re doing, you’ll never be successful. Some people say to leave emotions out of business, but I say you need to truly care about what you’re doing. Leave your emotions out of financial decisions, but when it comes down to your mission, put every bit of emotion into your work.