1 year and 10 days ago I started 4 Weeks to Launch, with the goal of launching a new product every month. Today I’m launching Matter–a product studio that creates sustainable businesses.
Balance side hustles with work life
When I moved to New York City a year ago I focused on building my own products and 4 Weeks to Launch was born (read about it here). The year started off well enough–I consulted with an interesting startup for half the week, which allowed me to spend the rest of my time building side projects. In 6 months I launched 4 “startups.” But then then my client pivoted and I was out of work.
I didn’t want the same situation where I was dependent on one client, so aimed to have at least two concurrent clients at all times. Redundancy is smart, right? I reached out to my network to see who else was in need of my skills and quickly got a few introductions.
One month later I had outdone myself. I had 4 clients and while I’d solved the problem of consistency, I’d sacrificed my free time. How was I supposed to balance this equation? I set out to finish the work I had committed to, but meanwhile I was trying to find a system to sustainably balance side projects with consulting. How could I have predictable income and time to explore new ideas?
What is Matter?
Today I’m launching Matter. Matter is a product studio. That’s a BS term I made up, but I’m sticking to it. So what is Matter?
Matter is a product agency. Matter works with startups to improve their products and development, and with established companies that want product innovation. We help build and manage engineering teams, implement product development best practices, and build products, prototypes and MVPs.
Matter is a startup studio. Matter builds startups. We build businesses in-house that are designed to be self-sustaining. Each business aims to be profitable in 6 months. If not, we shelve it. We’re not an incubator where applicants apply to work with us. We build our own ideas, that our team has picked, that we run. And we don’t build pie-in-the-sky potential billion dollar startups like you typically see in Silicon Valley. We focus on niche and revenue producing businesses.
We are a team. More importantly (and to my great relief), this isn’t the Elijah Show any more. This about something bigger. We’re a team of builders who can think. Thinkers who do. And we’re all in it together. The agency is the studio and the studio is the agency.
Matter Product Studio.
Biz #1 and the Journey Ahead
My biggest takeaway from last year was that working alone sucks. Matter is starting as a team of 4, with a breadth of experience across multiple industries (more on the team soon!). Not only am I happier working alongside just as hungry and ambitious people, it also increases my bus factor. It now takes 4 buses to kill Matter, not one. That’s what I call progress!
We’ve already begun our journey as a team with the pre-launch of our first business, The Greeting Card Club. Sign up, tell us a loved one’s birthday, and get a pre-stamped envelope + card sent to you 2 weeks before their birthday; just sign and send. We’re currently doing a referral campaign. Sign up if you want to remember your mom’s birthday for free. This is the first of many products we will launch in 2018.
The mission of 4 Weeks to Launch was to build products quickly and create a repeatable process for launching them. Matter is doing the same, but with extra emphasis on building sustainable businesses. The Greeting Card Club may never sell for $1B, but that’s not the point. It solves a very specific need (that I always seem to have) and we launched it in under 2 weeks. It’s these types of startups that we’re exploring.
4 Weeks to Launch has grown up! It’s evolved into Matter. Just like 4 Weeks to Launch, Matter wants to define the best process for launching startups. In less nebulous terms, we want to define a repeatable framework for launching profitable businesses; from idea validation to go-to-market strategy. And like 4 Weeks to Launch we will share all of our thundering successes and abysmal failures along the way.
In the upcoming months the Matter team will share more insights into how we launch our businesses, pick our ideas, and run our product studio.
Excited, intrigued or dissatisfied? Send this to “that” entrepreneur you know. !
Thanks for reading.
Elijah + Matter Team