Focus on your customer’s bottom line from day 1.
Matt “Handshakin” Holmes is an entrepreneur, author, podcast host, and world record holder. As founder of Handshakin.com, he has shaken hands with US Members of Congress, billionaire entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists on the Handshakin Video Series. Handshakin.com is dedicated to networking entrepreneurs.
Fast forward 4 years after the launch of Handshakin and a successful real estate venture, Matt now holds the record for the world’s longest continuous handshake. Handshakin owns 70+ lead generation websites and has helped launched dozens of websites for personal brands, helping them shake hands with their dream customers and investors.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
In 2013, I was working on Capitol Hill in Washington DC meeting Congressmen and Senators. When I was caught also taking pictures with them with a handshake, my friends started calling me Handshakin’ Holmes. Ever since then, my passion for networking with a focus on the internet has evolved first in growing my personal network, then clients personal networks, and today, 5 years later, we help real estate business shake hands with customers in their US city. What a journey!
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
We are a fully remote team with a completely online business. Today, I’m in Manila, Philippines training my newest sales manager on how to sign up more contractors, as well as follow-up and make sure they’re getting the same amount of handshakes we had hoped for.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The best way to bring an idea to life is execute on something. For me that’s generally clicking publish on a website, and then asking for feedback immediately on it from the team, and then the customer.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The trends of Google searches each year are growing, this means we will be able to help our clients find more handshakes and customers!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I like to say no to things. Sometimes, I will find I have 25 tabs open, and I am quick to take a breath, scroll through all of them and completely close and commit to forget about the tabs that weren’t directly related to our bottom line. It’s not fun. It is productive.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Focus on your customer’s bottom line from day 1!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
We built 70+ lead generation websites on Weebly and we don’t have any significant limitations.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Encourage your team, and find something to compliment every team member on weekly.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Clicking the publish button a day before I thought it would feel normal or ‘be complete.’ No one notices the details, and it’s fine to improve the details later. Even Google prefers a website launched half complete than a website launched year later fully complete. Timing matters.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I bought an investment property that I tried to flip while working full-time on Handshakin. This was an awful experience because the house needed my full-time attention for me to make money on it. I bought it for $338,000 and sold it for $412,000 and managed to lose $2,000 and who knows how many hours of time.
The lesson: Stay focused on your startup and it’s bottom line and say not to all other distractions and opportunities unless you want to waste a ton of time and lose $2,000.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Launch a snow removal app that pairs college students with homeowners. Homeowners get the snow removed while they’re at work, and college students make a few extra bucks. It’s uber for snow removal and yes I’ll be your first customer with my properties in Denver, Colorado.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Investing in my application fee to the startup accelerator Founder Institute. I later was accepted and it kicked my butt and I give credit to them for helping me to get to where I am today as an entrepreneur.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Google Voice! The best phone number to stay in contact easily with clients when you travel abroad to train your team.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
50 Signs You’re an Entrepreneur, by Joel Comm (joelcomm.com)
An inspiring read to remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing as an entrepreneur.
What is your favorite quote?
“A rising tide lifts all boats.”
- Execute on your idea today, ask for feedback afterwards.
- Be willing to help others before they have helped you.
- Next time you meet someone famous, ask for a picture and use #handshakin and I’m going to find you and say Hi 🙂
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.