Matthew Burr

Focus more on academics in school, take more risk at a younger age. Know that failure is part of life.


Matthew Burr has over eleven years of experience working in the human resources field, starting his career as an Industrial Relations Intern at Kennedy Valve Manufacturing to most recently founding and managing a human resource consulting company; Burr Consulting, LLC. Prior to founding the consulting firm, the majority of his career was spent in manufacturing and healthcare. He specializes in labor and employment law, conflict resolution, performance management, labor and employment relations. Matthew also has a generalist background in HR and provides strategic HR services to his clients, focusing on small and medium sized organizations. In July 2017, Matthew started as an Associate Professor of Business Administration at Elmira College, he teaches human resources management, organizational behavior and management information systems. Matthew is also the SHRM Certification Exam Instructor at the institution. Matthew works as a trainer Tompkins Cortland Community College, Corning Community College, Broome Community College and Penn State University. He also acts as an on-call Mediator and Fact-Finder through the Public Employment Relations Board in New York State, working with public sector employers and labor unions.

Matthew has publications at the Cornell HR Review, Business Insider, Expert 360 (in Australia). He recently published his first book, “$74,000 in 24 Months: How I killed my student loans (and you can too!).”

Matthew has an associate’s degree in business administration from Tompkins Cortland Community College, a bachelor’s of science degree in business management from Elmira College, a master’s degree from the University of Illinois School of Labor and Employment Relations in Human Resources & Industrial Relations, a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification, both the SPHR and SHRM-SCP. He recently completed an MBA, with a specialization in entrepreneurship from Syracuse University December 2017.

Matthew has been featured on CNN Money, Fast Company, Fits Small Business, My Twin Tiers, Namely, Student Loan Hero, Smart Sheet and CEO Blog Nation.

Where did the idea for Burr Consulting come from?

I read the book, “Million Dollar Consulting” and knew this was the direction I wanted to go with my career. The name is my last name, nothing catchy there.

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

I’m also a full-time Assistant Professor at Elmira College, my day starts with class and varies based on the project I might be working on that day. I also teach at night, which can be a long day. I spend time in the gym as well to take a mental break.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Sit and focus on the task at hand. Many of my projects are creating new trainings, policies. I research and execute.

What’s one trend that excites you?

HR is becoming a more valued resource in organizations and respected with a seat at the table.

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

I work 7-days a week, smaller projects on the weekend but the weekend helps me focus when I work from home. I also publish weekly articles to my clients to engage and ensure they are up to day.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Focus more on academics in school, take more risk at a younger age. Know that failure is part of life.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Borrowing money and having debt makes you answer to someone else, regardless of the interest rate. My goal is to not borrow money and stay debt free with my business. Not everyone agrees with that, but its absolutely true.

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

Read, become a specialist in your area of expertise. As a consultant, I have to know more than other people, I read articles daily, I work on additional certifications. I write, I train, I design. Show confidence and execute.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Word of mouth and successful projects. I spend very little money on marketing, I work on word of mouth and recommendations. I network and do volunteer work in the community.

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

I think the biggest failure so far is expecting to much to quick. It took me 2-years to generate income in my business, it was floundering and I had to be patient.

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

I have also written a book on student loan debt and am a big proponent on debt. A great company idea is to develop an organization that guides people through student loan debt freedom. My capstone project during my MBA is for this business.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The retro super Nintendo. I don’t play video games often, but this is a great way to relax and release stress.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

I use email and Google docs at times, but nothing more.

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

Million Dollar Consulting“, Alan Weiss or my book on student loan debt.

What is your favorite quote?

The world is your’s, shape it or someone else will.

Key learnings:

  • Never be afraid to take a risk
  • Do you research and know the market before you start a business
  • Don’t be afraid to make a mistake or fail, they are life lessons
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for support or guidance, I rely on mentors almost daily


Burr Consulting on Facebook: Burr Consulting, LLC
Matthew Burr on LinkedIn: Matthew W.Burr
Burr Consulting on Twitter: @Burrconsulting