Learn about Matthew Schneider and his journey from authorship to startup life. How he overcame obstacles, adapted to change, and motivated future founders to think big
Matt's entrepreneurial journey wasn't a meticulously planned expedition but a path carved by a thirst for independence and a desire for creativity. He recalls, "I never set out to be an entrepreneur, but I did set out to be independent."
From a tender age, he found himself immersed in a world of innovation, driven by the excitement of building things and letting his imagination guide the way.
As a nine-year-old, Matt ventured into the realm of hosting Minecraft servers, an experience that transcended the boundaries of a fictitious world, as he delved into the intricate operations from a technical standpoint.
He explored the world of content creation, endeavouring to establish a brand and entertain his audience. Reflecting on these early efforts, Matt said, "While both of these fell short, they gave me a passion for creation."
This passion led him to an unexpected venture—a 90,000-word novel, an extraordinary achievement for a 17-year-old.
Matt was quick to realise the uniqueness of his accomplishment and took the bold step of pitching it to agents and publishers. This courageous move led to a contract and the release of his manuscript as a paperback.
However, it didn't take long for Matt to recognise that this path wasn't aligned with his true calling.
"Seeing as every attempt prior to my current venture had fizzled away or failed completely, I've had my fair share of adversity and learning experiences."
His pursuit of creativity then found expression in music production. With over 70 songs to his name, he honed his musical and technical skills. Matt explains, "While I'm far from tone-deaf, others didn't find much interest in my tunes, and so it didn't take off."
Embracing his passion and curiosity, his journey led him to co-found a stock market trading business with two friends. Together, they created an online group dedicated to trade analysis. However, trading with emotion led Matt to financial setbacks, leaving him tens of thousands of dollars down by the age of 19.
It was a pivotal moment that compelled him to use his time and resources more wisely.
One fateful evening, a conversation with his cousin, Sean, transformed his course. Sean's personal experiences, including a life-altering accident and strategic investments in businesses and real estate across Milwaukee, Wisconsin, revealed industry pain points.
Matt recalls the conversation, "He told me that it was time to build a solution." Fuelled by ambition and a deep-rooted passion for capital markets, Matt embarked on a journey to turn this vision into reality.
"Stay persistent and search for a way out, stay righteous and search for a lesson, and adapt."
Like many entrepreneurs, Matt's path was marked by challenges and adversity. He reflects on these experiences, "Seeing as every attempt prior to my current venture had fizzled away or failed completely, I've had my fair share of adversity and learning experiences."
Matt encountered challenges ranging from a shortage of capital to untrustworthy individuals within his team, who nearly sparked mutiny. In the face of such hurdles, his approach remained constant: "Stay persistent and search for a way out, stay righteous and search for a lesson, and adapt."
His journey reinforces the notion that in the world of startups, resilience is often the key to success. As Matt aptly puts it, "most startups die by suicide, not homicide," underscoring the importance of persistence and endurance in this challenging terrain.
Identifying the target market for their product was a process rooted in their daily interactions. Matt and his team regularly engaged with individuals who expressed a genuine need for a solution. He recalls, "It was our immediate experience that we realised that someone should build a solution that offered a real resolution and resonated with our colleagues in the industry."
From this point, the challenge was to formalise their customer profile by piecing together common characteristics, allowing them to scale their outreach effectively. One notable aspect of their journey is the versatility of their product, which caters to a wide range of customers due to multiple value propositions.
Matt's entrepreneurial odyssey was not without its share of obstacles. The first major hurdle was federal regulations that almost thwarted their entry into the industry. Matt and his team had to navigate a complex legal landscape, seeking guidance from professionals and diving deep into the intricacies of the law.
This challenge, like many others they would encounter, required a tenacious spirit and the determination to find a way forward. Capital was another significant obstacle, particularly as their project advanced and technology requirements grew more sophisticated.
In the face of these financial challenges, Matt and his team adopted a mindset that left no room for surrender. They sought solutions with unwavering determination and pressed on.
One of the most critical decisions that influenced the trajectory of their business was a shift toward a broader perspective. Matt recognised the power of thinking big and addressing a broader range of industry issues.
He explains, "You often hear that you should find a tight niche and bunker down, but our strength was actually our ability to be all-inclusive, connect many dots (not just BE a dot), and shoot for a widely-resonating message."
This shift was a calculated risk, but it proved to be a transformative move, expanding their acquisition funnel and enhancing both customer retention and lifetime value.
In the world of entrepreneurship, scepticism and pushback are familiar companions. Matt's earlier entrepreneurial attempts faced resistance from friends and family who urged him toward a conventional path of higher education and a traditional job.
These rejections isolated him, compelling him to explore unconventional routes. Matt recalls this phase of his journey, stating, "It makes me wonder what I could have achieved if I'd been backed by emotional and financial support in my other ventures, but it was also their failure that allowed me to pursue something I really enjoyed."
However, even within his current startup, Matt faced scepticism from peers, investors, and industry "experts" who shared their opinions. Time and time again, his calculated and persistent approach has proved them wrong, earning the trust and support of those who believe in him.
This journey has left Matt with a sense of indomitable spirit, and he explains, "Each denial became a chip on my shoulder, and each success strengthened my appetite."
When asked about the role of mentorship in his entrepreneurial success, Matt reflects on his journey without any formal mentors. Instead, he sought wisdom from those around him, learning from their experiences, asking for help, and delegating responsibility.
He also acknowledges the wealth of knowledge available through self-help content on platforms like YouTube.
This valuable resource offered him insights that transformed his perspective and empowered him to overcome challenges. In his words, "Once you realise that there are thousands of productive videos that you can watch for FREE, and doing so can literally transform your life, it doesn't make sense to watch anything else."
In parting, Matt shares straightforward advice for aspiring founders, keeping it refreshingly simple: "persevere, find great people, and go big or go home." His journey is a testament to the power of persistence, the value of building a remarkable team, and the importance of setting ambitious goals.
As he sums it up, "I would have left a lot of opportunity on the table if I aimed low and 'reasonable.' It was being wildly ambitious, risky, and publicly bold that I achieved my outstanding goals, and did so with so much conviction that other people felt compelled to join my journey."