[quote style=”boxed”]One thing I find myself repeating over and over again is to focus on one item at a time. As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the things that need to be done: accounting, marketing, sales, employees, finances, etc. But by focusing on one thing at a time, I do more of a quality job with the task at hand.[/quote]
Matthew Arrington has always enjoyed thinking big. He grew up in both Southern California and Utah, where he developed a strong love for the ocean, spear fishing, and outdoor activities.
He started his first “business” when he was 12 years old, providing lawn care for officers in his local police department. Matthew completed his higher education in Oregon, where he received a dual bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Leadership and Organizational Management, followed by an MBA.
Matthew has worked and consulted for many large and small businesses. From global medical device manufacturing to working with reality TV shows, he strives to increase growth and productivity no matter what he’s working on.
His true calling is with Forte Strong, a company he co-founded with partner Brook Price. Forte Strong is the world’s first failure-to-launch program for young adult men who are struggling to leave their parents’ home or finding it difficult to become independent. Forte Strong uses a very real-world approach to teach young men valuable life skills that increase confidence, leadership, follow-through, and responsibility in a way that doesn’t seem overwhelming.
Using a proprietary coaching model, Forte Strong is able to help students find more purpose and direction. They also coach parents and families on empowering their sons and creating a healthier family dynamic.
In addition to Forte Strong, Matthew is also the co-owner of Grillguards and Faction Custom Mouthguards, two companies that manufacture custom mouthguards for impact sports.
Matthew currently resides in sunny St. George, Utah, where he enjoys a healthy and balanced lifestyle and the outdoors with his wife and kids. His hobbies include healthy eating, elevation training, mixed martial arts, camping, fishing, swimming, wrestling with his kids, and building Lego.
Where did the idea for Forte Strong come from?
The idea for Forte Strong came from my partner Brook Price and I after we saw this largely underserved group of young men who were failing to launch. According to a study done by the PEW Research Center, 56% of young adults between 18-24 years old are still living with parents. Everybody knows a young man; a brother, son, neighbor, cousin, etc…who is stuck in a rut and living an unproductive life. These young men are smart, kind and helpful, but don’t have the confidence or life skills that will allow them to be self-reliant. Their social anxiety, video game addiction, ADD was getting in the way. Because they don’t have any major issues like criminal activity or drug addiction they are being overlooked, when in reality, they still need help to get going on the right path. We also noticed that there were many treatment and substance abuse programs where these young men were being sent. The problem lay in the fact that these young men were being exposed to other unhealthy elements that they previously had no experience with, and as a result, they were picking up negative habits and behaviors that were leaving them in an even worse position. We wanted to create a program where the “good guys” could succeed and receive the life skills, opportunities, and help they needed to be successful and independent.
What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?
I strongly believe in living a balanced lifestyle, so my typical day starts off with a good breakfast, followed by a brief team planning meeting at the office to discuss the company agenda and the team’s daily goals. I then take about 45 minutes to respond to the most pressing emails I have from the evening before and go to the gym with some of the students to exercise.
After a good workout, I return to the office to respond to more emails, make calls, analyze strategy, and keep teaching myself. I try to spend at least one hour a day researching a topic that will be beneficial to my personal or business growth. At the end of the day, it’s back home to spend quality time with my family.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Bringing ideas to life first begins with a lot of research. There are so many experts out there who have invested time and money into specific topics that I try to glean as many benefits from their study as possible. I find it saves time, money, and energy. Then I see how it fits within the goals of my business and how these ideas could make it more productive.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
One trend that really excites me is the ability for people to communicate and share information more easily. Younger generations are growing up knowing that a wealth of information is available at their fingertips, and older generations are finding it easier to connect with technology. This ability to communicate will make it easier for us to share our information and help more people who are failing to launch.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit that I have is to keep myself extremely healthy. I eat well, sleep well, and train in mixed martial arts. This allows me to participate in physical challenges from time to time and keeps me in a mind frame of setting and achieving goals. It also keeps me focused, which I feel transfers over into my business goals.
What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?
The worst job I ever had was selling pest control door-to-door in the middle of the summer in Florida. It was a commission-only job that was physically and mentally exhausting. Getting door after door slammed in my face and sweating like crazy made me realize what I wanted from a job and what I didn’t want. I’m a people person and actually did pretty well, but being young and single, I spent my money on a lot of frivolous things. (I used to work as a DJ, so most of my money went toward music purchases.) Looking back, I could have managed my money a lot better.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
If I were to do things differently, I would have started much earlier. There are certain things that no one can teach you until you are in the middle of running your own business. I feel that I could have started earlier, which would have helped me get over the entrepreneurial learning curve even quicker.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
One thing I find myself repeating over and over again is to focus on one item at a time. As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the things that need to be done: accounting, marketing, sales, employees, finances, etc. But by focusing on one thing at a time, I do more of a quality job with the task at hand.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
One strategy that has helped us grow our business is being very specific in what we do. By creating a niche or finding a niche and establishing a foundation there, we have been able to clearly outline what we do and what we don’t do.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One significant failure I had as an entrepreneur was the failure of my first business. We tend to learn from two things in life: our achievements and our mistakes. More often than not, the mistake is the better teacher. I was able to realize that the failure of my business was not a reflection on me as a person. I was not a failure. I overcame that hurdle by realizing I was still smart, valuable, and had great ideas to contribute to the world and needed to get back on the horse.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One business idea that could make tons of money would be to figure out how to farm morel mushrooms. I know it sounds silly, but they are apparently delicious (considered a delicacy in Europe) and difficult to harvest.
While attending university in Oregon, my fellow students and I would go into the hills and mountains to harvest these mushrooms. Then we would sell them to mushroom buyers in town who supposedly shipped them over to France for an exorbitant amount of money.
We got some exercise, made some extra money for food and books, but a biology professor told us that no one had figured out how to farm these mushrooms in a modern-day cultivated setting. He said that if anyone could do it, he would be a multimillionaire in short order. The funny thing is, I don’t even like mushrooms!
Tell us something about you that very few people know.
One thing about me that very few people know is that I like to play with Lego. It was probably verging on the edge of creepy until I had children of my own, so now I get to play with them as an excuse to build Lego.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
Most of the software we use is very basic: Excel, Word, etc. I tend to write articles, documents, and simple emails, so we don’t have much of a need for complex software. For web services, we use Zoho as a CRM to manage clients and invoices and have found it very easy to use. Facebook and YouTube are also really handy for us to connect with and share information with clients and others.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The suggested reading I think everyone should take a look at is actually not a book, but a Harvard Business Review article called “Marketing Myopia” by Theodore Levitt. It touches on both marketing and strategy and forces readers to really look at their business from a much more productive standpoint.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Ben Jensen, owner of the ad agency Jensen + Project:
Check out the blog:
Jace Vernon, founder and co-owner of Ydraw:
Check out the blog:
Tony Robbins: www.tonyrobbins.com
Dave Ramsey: www.daveramsey.com
Check out his blog:
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.