Matt Jones – President of THC University

As an entrepreneur I always put myself in the customers shoes, and try and experience what they experience when visiting your store or website.

Ever since Matt Jones was 12 years old he wanted to be an entrepreneur. After graduating high school, rather than going to college, Matt started businesses. His first business was a chimney sweeping business he bought for $300 on Craigslist. The second was a renewable energy company called Operation Renewable Energy, then the Professional Paintball news website, the medical marijuana coupon site CannaCoups, and a Denver nightlife magazine called LODO. All had their 15 minutes of fame, but inevitably failed. But every failure for Matt was an education experience. Matt got his big break when he helped create the QR code industry leader QRlicious and a successful creative agency making videos, websites and marketing campaigns for small and large companies. All those years of starting businesses gave Matt the knowledge needed to design, develop, and manage businesses.

Currently Matt is President of THC University, a cannabis school he founded in 2012, and is now all online. THC University is the First cannabis MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) school. All the courses are made by industry experts with the most advanced e-learning technology around. THC University courses are interactive, available in dozens of languages and students get access to a community and Jobs Board to post resumes, and browse jobs.

Where did the idea for THC University come from?

I have always wanted to be involved in the cannabis industry, and I thought hard how I can make the biggest impact for the community. I thought the community lacked education. I am also a firm believer in online education, and with my background I knew I could fuse my two passions together and produce something really useful.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

First thing I do in the morning is get in touch with students who messaged me over night, it’s important they get replied to asap, sometimes they will get emails from me as early as 4am. Then I make sure to spend some time with the family before really starting the day. At the office I wear many hats so it’s hard to pin point what exactly I am doing on a daily basis, it’s never the same. However I usually work till 4 or 5pm, then spend the rest of the evening with family, sometimes I work late nights. To stay productive I have this thought of where I want to be, and I know that I am not going to get there just thinking about it.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I have a great creative team who i can turn to and help build out my ideas. But for people starting out, I recommend teaming up with people who share the same passion and objectives, but are more skilled than you in another area. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, they will help you bring your ideas to life. Also, not recommended for everyone, but if you need to come up with ideas, or you need the courage to just make it happen, then smoking cannabis could be for you, works great for me.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I am mostly excited about the cannabis movement. This plant can be a life saving medicine, food, fuel, textiles, and the list goes on. We are only at the beginning, and I am really excited to see education is changing peoples minds and perceptions of cannabis.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I am always looking for better ways to be efficient, and outsourcing most of my business services to other freelancers allows me to be very productive. I have learned to delegate tasks, this is a hard task to do, many entrepreneurs want to do everything themselves, but learning to delegate and delegate everything is key to better productivity.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

My chimney sweeping business was the worst. It was my first business, and it was so bad it really got thinking “is this entrepreneur thing my thing.” I almost gave up there. But I learned that being an entrepreneur is not about starting a business, it’s about making your passion larger than yourself. Chimney sweeping was far from my passion.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would have focused my High School years and years after learning code. Computer science is the future of everything, and anyone not learning code right now is falling behind.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

As an entrepreneur I always put myself in the customers shoes, and try and experience what they experience when visiting your store or website.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Delegating tasks to freelancers has helped grow my business because instead of doing the day to day tasks, I can focus on growing the business.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

One failure? I have many, but the biggest was when we tried to make QRlicious more than QR codes and made mobile sites, along with other QR services. Business plummeted. We later learned this was just a distraction for our visitors, and we went back to focusing just on custom designed QR codes.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

If I could start a business today it would be teaching companies, and providing companies with outsourced work from the Philippines, I have lots of employees from there already, and hiring even a personal assistant makes a huge difference for small businesses.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I am directly related to 2nd US President John Adams, and his son 4th US president John Quincey Adams.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I use mailchimp for email, I send emails every week and I can see sales as a direct result of email marketing. I also use Basecamp to organize client projects, but also internal ones.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I recommend The Greatest Show On Earth by Richard Dawkins, because it’s an eye opener in biology and knowing how the world works around you is crucial when creating new ideas.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

People who have influenced me are Gandi, Galileo, Martin Luther King, and many others who sacrificed so much of themselves in the name of their ideas and were willing to challenge the status quote, the norms of society and it’s leaders. If you are willing to go the distance like these great men did for their ideas, than your doing the right thing.


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