Matt McKinney – Full Time Student and Entrepreneur

[quote style=”boxed”]I employ a method I call the “10 to 1” Do ten times as much action and you do talking. You are more likely to give birth to idea by actually working on a project than talking about one. Who knows, you may discover a new idea while you’re at it.[/quote]

After breaking his femur racing motocross at the age of 14; Matt McKinney parked the dirt bikes and started the business: 171designs – a video production company selling personal motocross videos. By the age of 16, he was producing demonstrational videos for large corporations such as Gerdau Ameristeel, the 2nd largest mini steel producer in North America.

Keeping up with the trend, Matt transformed 171DESIGNS to 171 DESIGN GROUP and began developing e-commerce websites for start up companies. 171 is the “incubator” for startup retail companies, helping them grow and develop online. One of which is, a trendy tie company that donates a percentage of each tie sale to unique charities. Although a new company, it is already gaining momentum—being featured in European CEO, Playboy, and Da Man Magazine.

Matt is currently studying Industrial Engineering at the University of Southern California and is also a model represented by Ford Models.

What are you working on right now?

An affiliate program for with Universities and Fraternities in America. Basically, appointing campus leaders and incentivizing them to sell Ties For Charity.  I am also looking for more charities to partner with.

What does your typical day look like?

My “opportunity clock” rings at 6:30, I shower, read the bible and my blog subscriptions via Reeder while eating breakfast. I write on my blog for 30 minutes.

8 am my day starts. Respond to emails, hit the books and go to class. I work out every day between classes (I strongly believe a healthy body produces a healthy mind). Class is over at 2 p.m and my real work starts. Wrap up around 9 p.m. eat, do homework , sleep. Repeat.

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

I’ll save the name, but I worked for 1 month on a project, then the company decided not to go through with the project. Get a 50% deposit before you start a project!

3 trends that excite you?

Social Media Marketing
Men’s Fashion

How do you bring ideas to life?

I employ a method I call the “10 to 1” Do ten times as much action and you do talking. You are more likely to give birth to idea by actually working on a project than talking about one. Who knows, you may discover a new idea while you’re at it.

What inspires you?

My friends. They are all unique, inspirational people. It’s cool because we feed off of each other’s energy and motivate each other.

Where did you grow up and how did that influence who you are today?

I grew up in a small town in Tennessee called South Fulton. We didn’t even have a red light. My childhood instilled old school principles that I will take with me wherever I go.

What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?

Listening to too many people. It is important to have good counsel and not take advice from everybody. There are plenty of people who want to relive their life through yours, but ultimately, you need to live your own life.

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

Develop a platform for mobile advertising. For example, when someone calls underneath their caller id place an ad (only cool ads of course!). Users would be incentivized by getting a monthly check, or discount off their phone bill. I think mobile marketing is in the imminent future.

What do you read every day, and why?

The bible. It doesn’t matter if you are religious or not, the book has life principles that everyone can learn from.

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

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Issacson. Benny was America’s first successful entrepreneur, and success always leaves clues! Every entrepreneur should read it at least twice.

What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?

Evernote! I wear many hats, without something like Evernote to organize my life, I would not be very productive.

Three people we should follow on Twitter, and why?

@Michaelhyatt – he always tweets about becoming better social media marketer
@menshealthmag – Who doesn’t need Fitness and health tips?
@WSJ – all ballers follow WSJ

Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?

Arreon Glover from

When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it.

My 21st birthday dinner. The hostess gave my friend a hard time and told him, “Do you know where you are? You’re at the Chateau.” We joke around about it all the time.

How do you motivate others to get stuff done?

Incentives! Humans feed off incentives. Make it fun, make people want to work for you. And oh yeah… pay them well.

It seems you have a lot on your plate. How do you stay stress free?

I do get stressed, but working out, being organized, and making daily mini goals keeps me pretty stress free.


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[box type=”tick” border=”full” icon=”none”]This interview was brought to us by Nick Frost, the Creator of and Co-Founder of BetaCandy.[/box]