Justin Matthew, influential founder of Social Media marketing company iBoom Media, is an energetic high achiever who was so successful in his first career as an investor that he was hired during his freshman year in college, and was ultimately able to ‘retire’ from it at the age of 28.
“At 23 I knew it would be impossible to me to work for someone else’s company…”
In Business and to the world at large, Justin Matthew is best known as a social media and marketing guru. He and his brother are the hands-on management team and creative minds and producers behind one of the world’s most successful YouTube channels, HouseholdHacker, which has more than 650m views and in excess of 4.5m subscribers.
HouseholdHacker aims to solve common, everyday problems that arise around the home, and create things using items that can be found in any typical household. As Justin explains: “You might say we try to bring out the MacGyver in all of us!”
But Justin Matthew was not finished there. During his researches into social media, he found a large demand for it in all industrial and business sectors, and the following years saw him found a number of social media consulting firms that advised companies on how to use social media to help them prosper, picking up a number of awards along the way.
This led to the foundation in 2014, of iBoom Media, which aims to help clients generate more genuine online traffic, and focusing on the elimination of fake account followers. iBoom now serves more than 7,000 clients, worldwide, and Justin Matthew is at the head of a 20-strong team who are regarded as pioneers in the field of social media marketing and advertising.
11 Questions for Justin Matthew
As if all of this activity were not enough, Justin Matthew administers a personal social media following that numbers some 121,000 followers on Twitter, 19,000 on Facebook and 30,500 on Instagram. So we’re fortunate here at AGENT that he freed up sufficient time to allow this in-depth and comprehensive reflection on his life and business story to date, including how he started (and started again), his inspirations, motivations, daily routines and what he regards as the key business lessons for young entrepreneurs starting up a company in the business climate of today.
1. Briefly tell us how you first got into business, and describe your business goals.
“At my first interview, the owner walked in wearing what I assumed to be a suit more expensive than my car.”
My first career move was at 19, while attending the University Of Central Florida majoring in Finance. At the time I was comfortably coasting through my courses when, one day, reading through the school paper, I saw an ad about investments and tech stocks. This was when the Nasdaq was hitting all time highs and every internet stock was through the roof. I fell in love right then, and within weeks found a firm that was willing to interview me even though I was a freshman in college.
I remember that interview well. Ron, the owner, walked in wearing what I assumed to be a suit more expensive than my car. He explained that become a investment adviser really comes down to two things: motivation & persistence. Oh, and one other hurdle—passing the Series 7 exam for license investment securities! I started the following Monday, making 500 cold calls a day, and studying for the Series 7 at night.
Three months later I took the exam and scored 20 points higher then the required 70% needed by the State. That was when the fun began. It was my job to acquire prospects via any method I could think of. Through cold-calling to starting a conversation with anyone who would listen, I was able to build substantial business within a few months. I credit a lot of what I learned about business, tenacity, failure and work ethic during those years. The market was wild during that time, seeing all time highs and ultimately crashing to all-time lows in 2006, wiping out many investors and even firms.
My goals were always to be able to provide myself with a comfortable lifestyle in order to travel and enjoy my personal hobbies. At the same time, I have always been very competitive and this was the atmosphere that spurred that attribute. I never wanted to be complacent, and appreciated the constant challenge and the freedom to use my creativity to not only sell but create investment strategy.
Eventually, I retired from finance at the ripe old age of 28 and entered the online world of YouTube. With my brother, I helped create, write, act and manage what is, today, the 350th most subscribed channel in the world — Householdhacker, which has more than 4.4m subscriptions.
During that time, I learned the ins and outs of social media and just how important it is for building a brand and reaching an audience. I knew then I would be doing this the rest of my life. After a few years with Householdhacker I realized there was a large demand for social media services in nearly all industries. Over the next few years, I researched nearly every network, how they factored into real world business, and the methods that would be successful in every forum. I founded iBoom Media in 2012, and today the business has 20 staff with clients all over the world, including some in the Fortune 1000
2. What age were you when you realized you wanted to run your own business?
I would have to say at 23 I knew it would be impossible to work for and build someone else’s company. I never flourished under other’s rules or systems and simply liked to do things that were considered outside the box.
3. Who are your business icons and inspirations?
For me when it comes to business, my life was changed, literally, in around 2007, when I first read the book, The Pursuit of Happyness. It was one of those things that stuck with me and I found myself referencing a passage in the book in my own real life situations. I identified with Chris Gardner as I myself had dropped out of college to pursue finance and against all odds rose to be the top producer of my own firm.
Chris was able to break into an industry that in his time was dominated by ‘who you knew’, and MBAs. I was always in awe of Chris and the incredible drive and belief he had to continue forward, no matter the odds or circumstances stacked against him. More importantly, he was able to go on to higher highs after every fall. For many, once they reach a certain level of success, that’s it, and they call it a day. But Chris went on to inspire tens of millions with his story and humble sense of self.
Just as important in my life was US tennis player Andy Roddick. A man born 10 years too early or too late, he was at the height of his career at the same time as another legend, Roger Federer. What is astounding is, they were the two highest-ranked players in the world from November 2003 to January 2005. Federer holds a 21-to-3 record over Roddick, with three of those coming in the Wimbledon final and one in the US Open Final. Imagine if you were more or less the second best player in the world for a span of years, with only one man in your way right before you entered the record books.
How many boxers could go into a title match and lose to the same opponent 21 times yet still put up one of the greatest fights in history and eventually win the last fight? Well that is what Roddick did. I just think of the will power Roddick had to be the same age and peaking at the same exact time as who will most likely be the best player of all time Federer yet still remain a top 10 player in the world for 10 straight years!
Not only that but at the Wimbledon 2009 Mens Final, Roddick, having lost three previous Grand Slam finals to Federer, pushed the match to a 30-game fifth set, and the match remains one of the greatest in tennis history. The last time they played in 2012 in Miami, Roddick beat Federer, even after enduring those crushing defeats throughout the previous decade!
4. What has been your biggest challenge in business, and how did you surmount it?
“Too much data makes you overconfident, which can make it easy to miss essential information.”
Overcoming my over-confidence has always been my greatest challenge. Although over-confidence seems like a good attribute, it can also lead to a false sense of security, complacency and can even put your entire company in danger.
It’s easy to make the mistake of assuming that confidence brings the success you or someone else is having. The problem may begin when you say to yourself, “I had a great few months. I can take the day off and go relax at the beach.” Or, “I’ve met or surpassed my goals for the year, so I can go on cruise control until the New Year.”
Overconfidence can lead to poor outcomes. If you think about it, a basketball player may have a hot hand so on a very important play, even if he is covered and has a bad angle, the player believes he can make it, and so takes more risks. That decision at that moment will probably end up hurting the team.
It’s the same in business — too much data and familiarity can make you overconfident, which can make it easy to miss the essential information, like a new competitor in your area, who can provide a similar service to yours, but for much less.
5. Work-Life balance: is it possible? How do you achieve it?
“Making room for what matters most is key!”
It is absolutely possible and I would say it is necessary. However, it means we have to work at creating a space for the things that matter most. If it’s all work and no play, eventually even the most dedicated, motivated people will burn out; whether they have tunnel vision to the point where they start making careless mistakes, or their body simply gives out on them.
Making room for what matters most is key. Balance will not just happen. Like anything else, we have to work at it. Make a list of your core priorities and what matters most to you personally. For example Wednesday is my daughter’s gymnastics practice. Tuesday is lunch with Mom. Friday night is date night etc
A huge key for me is finding time to “unplug and disconnect” and I mean literally closing the computer, shutting off the TV and phone, and simply reading a good book for an hour with no thoughts of work
If it’s possible to work multiple 70-hour weeks in succession, then it’s also possible to plan important life events ahead of time. If your child has a school play or soccer game, simply make a note of it a few days or week in advance and schedule meetings a little earlier in the week or get to the office earlier or stay later to make the time up.
6. What is the first thing you do every day?
For the past few years, within minutes of waking I grab my headphones and listen to one episode of Infinite Waters hosted by Ralph Smart, a Life Coach & Relationship Guide who helps people to become the greatest versions of themselves, unlocking their true human potential.
7. What screen saver picture is currently on your phone?
Always my two daughters, updated twice a year with the latest pics!
8. What is the most important app on your mobile phone, and why?
Google Maps, because without it I would travel around in circles all day and never make it to a meeting on time.
9. What is the last thing you googled?
‘Top motivational movies of 2016’.
10. What item do you never leave the house without, and why?
My computer bag. It holds my PC, an extra cell phone charger, notepad with recent research, extra keys for car and house, and a few snacks and water bottle! If I leave without it, I feel naked and not quite right. It would bother me so much I would have to go back and get it!
11. What advice would you give to your younger self starting out in business?
Don’t be concerned with negative things that other people say or think about you. In most cases, it actually comes from a place of envy because of how impressive you are at your job.
Focus more on yourself and what you want rather then what others think you should have.
And finally, you don’t need to find value through material things and expensive gifts. All the right and good people in your life like you for exactly the person you are.
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