If your New Year’s Resolution is to ditch your boss and start working for yourself, you’re not alone. All week long, we're sharing the stories of and tips from young people who started their own businesses! Today: Matt Manos, 24-year-old founder and CEO of a verynice design studio.
Did you know that companies like Instagram and Facebook were started by young people just like you?! And even celebs are turning to entrepreneurship, like J.Lo's huge fragrance line and Jay Z's 40/40 nightclub. We recently chatted with Matthew Manos about how he started his -- and how he had to take "Borat" down to do it. Seriously.
Name: Matthew Manos
What he does: At only 24, Matthew is the founder and CEO of a global design, business, and innovation firm that works with a wide array of companies -- from Fortune 500s to small local stores. And the best part is, half of everything verynice does is free of charge to nonprofit clients!
MTV ACT: How did you first get started? How did you know this was for you?
MATTHEW MANOS: I started working with non-profits as a designer when I was 16 years old. The moment I met my first client, the founder of a non-profit organization called “Wheelchair Skater,” I was captivated by his sincere belief that he could change the world. That same naive spirit can be found in every organization verynice has worked with. It is that honest hope for a better world inspires me every day.
ACT: What advice do you have for young people looking to start their own businesses in 2013?
MATTHEW: It’s a sad reality, but when you are a young person in this world, people’s expectations of what you are capable of are quite narrow. They don’t judge you on what you have done, and what you have accomplished, they judge you on where they think you should be, given your age. My advice to all of the young entrepreneurs out there is this: If you are passionate about your idea, no matter how impractical it may seem, things will work out if you stay true to your self. Don’t compromise your idea just because someone told you it was silly. I've learned over the years that being shut down for an idea is validation that you are on to something truly innovative and your own.
ACT: What are some obstacles you faced while starting your business, and how did you overcome them?
MATTHEW: I quickly found out that the problem with naming your company “verynice” is that every time somebody Googled us, Borat would show up at the top of Google. Lucky for us, with enough perseverance and recognition from the media, we were able to surpass that lovely man from Kazakhstan in the Google ranking. I still look back at that moment as one of my biggest accomplishments.
ACT: What are the benefits of running your own business versus working for someone else?
MATTHEW: I think everyone will tell you “freedom and flexibility,” but I don’t think that is the case. Everyone, even the CEO, has a boss. To me, the best part of running your own business is the ability to define and iterate upon your own dreams.
ACT: What would you say is the first step to starting a business?
MATTHEW: The best first step is to start. So many people are afraid to start because of a lack of funding, time, audience, data...the list goes on and on. The funny thing that I’ve found is that you actually can not get any of that stuff until you prove your idea. You can't prove your idea if you haven't tried it. Get out there, do something, be extremely hard on yourself, and you will do just fine.
Take action below to learn more about verynice and how to start your own business. Who knows? Maybe you’ll celebrate 2014 Scrooge McDuck style!