Top 10 Insights From the Founder of Sustainable Startup Hempitecture

Matthew “Mattie” Meade, founder of Hempitecture.

Entrepreneurship requires the willingness to grow and adapt. And, as many entrepreneurs could tell you, there are many lessons to be learned along the way. Matthew “Mattie” Meade, one of the founders of Hempitecture, a startup that develops sustainable building materials out of hemp, has plenty of insight to share from his time as an entrepreneur. Here are the top 10 insights from our interview with Mattie Meade, co-founder of Hempitecture.

1. Embrace Opportunities

“You have to embrace opportunities as they come up and then also pivot. Pivoting can bring you away from a business plan and sometimes is urgently needed. A blind dedication to a business plan just because you wrote it doesn't mean that the business plan is right. So don't be afraid to pivot and go in a new direction if needed.”

2. Learn to Balance Planning and Adapting

“Being an entrepreneur is a delicate balance between maniacally planning everything and going with the flow and seeing where that takes you ... I can tell you right now [that] if I had [read] my business plan that I wrote when I was an undergraduate student, it would not have me sitting here right now in this location talking to you at this moment.”

3. Don’t Invest in Unnecessary Tools

“I think the tools that you need are really dependent upon your business model and what you're doing. Don't get tools just because you read somewhere that you'd need to have that tool. If I had done that and purchased everything that came my way, my RAM on my laptop would be filled up with useless things that I don't need or use.”

4. Prepare for Stress and Sleepless Nights

“[O]ne thing that I wish I had known before starting a startup was how stressful it would be and how many sleepless nights you'd have — because you're always thinking about it.”

5. Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight

“I would wish I could give a younger me more patience and understand that things don't happen overnight. [T]here was this kind of startup fantasy: that unicorn story of ‘you'll be having a $30 million seed round,’ and you're the next Jeff Bezos. Good things take time and a lot of effort and a lot of work and a lot of people.”

6. Don’t Take Human Resources for Granted

“I wish that [someone] had emphasized [how] valuable human resources are and people around you [are]; it's what can make or break your business. And, I think a lot of times the entrepreneur is self-focused, and at some point when you're growing [a] business, [it] becomes much less of that and has to go outward or otherwise it's not going to succeed.”

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Pivot

“The number one piece of advice that I would give to entrepreneurs is don't be afraid to pivot. [Entrepreneurs] get so focused on one specific idea that we need to be open to moving on ... I mean, when the wind changes direction, and you don't change your sails, and you wonder why you're not going anywhere, that's not being responsive to what's around you. So, don't be afraid to pivot because it can really result in positive change if you actually honor that and go with it.”

8. Invest in Bookkeeping Software

“The first thing that you need to pay for is QuickBooks. Because once you get set up on QuickBooks, and you begin doing it properly, you'll have a more surefooted financial start to your startup endeavor.”

9. Bootstrapping Pays Off in the Long Run

“I'd say [go as] long and as far as you can with your money [and] your family's money if they're kind enough to lend it to you. And make a lot with a little if you can because it'll pay off in the long run.”

10. Don’t Wait to Develop Branding for Your Startup

“Go into [branding and identity] with the idea that you have to start somewhere, and you'll refine over time.”

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