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Interview with Matthew Fassnacht, Investment Advisor



Interview with Matthew Fassnacht, Investment Advisor

Originally published on IdeaMensch. Source

Matthew Fassnacht entered the working world at age eight, when he got his first job as a neighborhood paperboy. Throughout his early academic career, Matthew’s innate drive, conscientiousness, and follow through helped him excel in sports. He attended Clemson University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and made the football team as a walk-on linebacker. After graduating, Matthew Fassnacht settled in Georgia, whereupon some friends and family asked for his help advising on investments and tax planning. The success he achieved in growing their assets and protecting them from tax liabilities resulted in many new client referrals, which he was quite enthusiastic to take on. During the same period of time, Matthew Fassnacht obtained his Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) credentials, causing more than a few established financial firms to offer him employment opportunities. However, by that time, the hard lessons Matthew had learned about managing wealth, as well as his own inherent desire to help individuals achieve financial security guided his decision to instead create his own registered investment firm (RIA), Meridian Investment Partners.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

It actually came from a couple of friends I went to college with. They were looking for someone to help guide them on their path to achieving financial independence. I had been their tax accountant for about ten years at the time, and they entrusted me with their liquid life savings. When I did well for them, they began referring other friends to me for advice. Eventually, I gained enough clients to sustain my own business, and we founded Meridian Investment Partners.

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

My typical day starts around seven in the morning. I get my daughter off to school and check client correspondence, like email and phone calls. I like to handle those in the mornings. I watch the news and read articles pertaining to current events from a political and economic perspective. Those landscapes can have an impact on my clients and their positions, so I need to stay up to date with them daily. Throughout the day, I meet with clients or continue to conduct research on what the next best steps are for my clients.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I am a very visual person. Normally I like to put together a visual representation of an idea that I have. Whether that takes the form of a PowerPoint slideshow or an email, I like to take a complex problem and break it down into an easily explained solution to address an issue.

What’s one trend that excites you?

When I started this business, I was always looking for ways to deliver services for my clients in the most cost-effective way possible. I would use brokers that were less known or I would use exchange traded funds. Recently, this trend in the industry has accelerated. Mutual funds have been dying out due to their large cost structure. A lot more companies are using these lower-cost options for investors.

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

The use of technology has made me more productive. A lot of new applications have been designed to make things more efficient and more productive overall.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell myself to trust the process. Know that what you are doing will eventually work out for you. If you keep doing the right thing and listening to the right people, it will lead you to the right place.

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

Something I disagree with is that cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin for example, have value. Currency only has value based on the creditworthiness of the government or organization backing it. In the case of the US Dollar (USD), it is backed by the full faith and credit of the US government, which most notably includes the US military and economic taxation powers. Cryptocurrencies are more based on people’s thoughts and feelings and are mostly used as a speculative trading vehicle or a way to launder illicit assets. They could be easily outlawed by the government or lose the faith of their believers which would uncover their illusionary value. Without the government’s faith, to me it’s just like a Ponzi scheme. Of course, we all know that a given Ponzi scheme might last longer than anyone could imagine, but eventually, it will go bust unless there is government involvement in supporting them.

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

Make sure you know what your costs are. Be aware of your client base. You can’t assume that things will be taken care of for you. As an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to do the work. Whether it is keeping up with the global financial landscape or learning new methods for investing, never stop learning. There are always better ways to get things done. Getting stuck in one way of doing things just because it has worked in the past won’t help you to grow.

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

Providing good service to your clients helps your business grow. As you do well for the people you work with, they will refer others they know to you. Keeping my clients’ goals and interests at the forefront of my decision-making and recommendation process is how I have become as successful as I am now. Their goals become my goals. Their financial independence is what I am reaching for. They see this and will remember it whenever someone else talks to them about investments or finances.

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

I have sometimes been too emotionally reactive to outside sources, like issues with the stock market. I have learned to temper this by taking a step back and reflecting on the situation as a whole before making any decisions.

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

Right now, there are a lot of changes happening in the financial industry relating to estate and trust taxation. There is a huge need for the know-how to create and manage trusts for people for asset and tax purposes. There is a higher demand than there is supply at the moment for people with that specific type of expertise.

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

I recently spent about $100 on dinner with a longstanding client who happens to be a good friend. We had a business conversation about his short and long-term financial goals over appetizers, but then spent the entrée and dessert courses catching up on what was happening in our personal lives.

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

Microsoft Outlook keeps track of my meetings and allows me to communicate with clients and other professionals. I’ve set up alerts to keep me on time for everything. It is a resource that I use daily.

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

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a great book. I would recommend The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham or The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley if you want something more tailored to investing.

What is your favorite quote?

“The first rule of investing is to not lose money. The second rule is to see rule number one.” — Warren Buffett

Key Learnings:

  • Lead with integrity.
  • Don’t make rash decisions.
  • Stay knowledgeable.


Interview with Jack Carlson, Founder of Rowing Blazers: History, Tradition, and Innovation



Interview with Jack Carlson, Founder of Rowing Blazers

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Jack Carlson is the founder and creative director of Rowing Blazers, a fashion brand that combines classic American style with a contemporary edge. Jack Carlson, a former national team rower, and scholar of history draw inspiration from vintage sportswear and traditional Ivy League fashion. His passion for design and fashion, combined with his unique background. Jack Carlson has resulted in the creation of a brand that stands out in the industry.

Can you tell us about your background and how you became interested in fashion?

I’ve always had a passion for fashion and design, even while pursuing my other interests. I grew up in Connecticut and started rowing at a young age, eventually competing at the national level. While studying history at Harvard, I became interested in the traditional clothing worn by rowers and began to collect vintage rowing blazers. This sparked my interest in fashion and led me to start designing my own clothing. After completing a Ph.D. in archaeology, I decided to pursue fashion full-time and founded Rowing Blazers in 2017.

What inspired you to start Rowing Blazers?

I wanted to create a brand that celebrated the rich history and tradition of American fashion, particularly the preppy style of the Ivy League. At the same time, I wanted to bring a contemporary edge to classic designs and challenge the boundaries of traditional fashion. I was inspired by the vintage rowing blazers that I collected and wanted to create my own versions that were both authentic and modern.

Can you walk us through the design process of creating a new collection?

The design process always starts with research and inspiration. I spend a lot of time looking at vintage clothing, archival photographs, and historical documents to get a sense of the styles and aesthetics of a particular time period or culture. From there, I sketch out ideas and work with my team to refine the designs and select fabrics. We always strive to balance classic elements with modern twists and unexpected details. It’s a collaborative process that involves a lot of trial and error, but we always end up with something that we’re proud of.

How do you stay true to your brand’s identity while also keeping up with current fashion trends?

For us, it’s not about following trends, but rather creating timeless pieces that will never go out of style. Although we draw inspiration from the past, we don’t limit ourselves to it. We’re always looking for ways to innovate and push boundaries while staying true to our brand’s core identity. We’re not interested in fast fashion or disposable clothing – our pieces are meant to last and be treasured for years to come.

Can you tell us about a particular challenge you faced while growing Rowing Blazers and how you overcame it?

One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced is scaling the business while maintaining the quality and craftsmanship that we’re known for. We’ve had to find the right partners and suppliers who share our values and are able to produce our garments to our high standards. We’ve also had to be very strategic about our growth, taking things one step at a time and not rushing into anything too quickly. It’s been a learning process, but we’ve been able to grow the business in a sustainable way that we’re proud of.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own fashion brand?

My advice would be to stay true to your vision and never compromise on quality. It’s also important to be strategic about your growth and not try to do everything at once. Start small and focus on doing one thing really well before expanding. And always be willing to learn and adapt – the fashion industry is constantly changing, so it’s important to be flexible and open to new ideas.

What’s next for Rowing Blazers?

We’re always working on new designs and collaborations, but we’re also focused on expanding our brand beyond just clothing. We want to create a lifestyle brand that encompasses all aspects of American style, from furniture to home decor to travel accessories. We’re excited to continue growing and evolving while staying true to our brand’s identity and values.

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Jack Carlson’s passion for fashion and history has resulted in the creation of a unique and innovative brand that stands out in the industry. His dedication to quality and craftsmanship, as well as his commitment to sustainability, sets Rowing Blazers apart from other fashion brands. To stay up to date with Jack Carlson and Rowing Blazers, you can follow him on LinkedIn.

Liked this interview? Check out this interview with Gracie Cedres

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Interview with Gracie Cedres: Insights on Entrepreneurship and Work-Life Balance



Interview with Gracie Cedres, Founder of G.R.A.C.E.

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Gracie Cedres is the founder and CEO of G.R.A.C.E., a company that provides virtual assistance and project management services to entrepreneurs and small business owners. With a degree in communications, Gracie has always been interested in helping others succeed in their businesses. Her passion for helping entrepreneurs led her to create G.R.A.C.E., which has been helping entrepreneurs and small business owners increase their productivity and profitability. In this interview, Gracie will share more about her journey as an entrepreneur and the success of G.R.A.C.E.

Can you tell us about yourself and your journey as an entrepreneur?

Sure, my name is Gracie Cedres, and I am the founder and CEO of G.R.A.C.E. I have always been interested in helping others, especially entrepreneurs and small business owners, succeed in their businesses. After completing my degree in communications, I worked as a virtual assistant for various entrepreneurs and realized that there was a need for high-quality virtual assistance and project management services. That’s how the idea for G.R.A.C.E. was born, and since then, I have been working hard to help entrepreneurs and small business owners achieve their goals.

How did you come up with the idea for G.R.A.C.E.?

After working as a virtual assistant for several entrepreneurs, the idea for G.R.A.C.E. came to me. I realized that many entrepreneurs were struggling to manage their time effectively and needed high-quality virtual assistance and project management services to help them become more productive and profitable. I saw an opportunity to help entrepreneurs and small business owners by providing them with top-notch virtual assistance and project management services, and that’s how G.R.A.C.E. was born.

What are some of the challenges you faced in starting and growing your business?

One of the biggest challenges I faced in starting and growing my business was finding the right team members. It’s important to have a team that shares your vision and is passionate about what they do. I also faced challenges in marketing my services and reaching out to potential clients. However, I overcame these challenges by networking, building relationships, and creating high-quality content that showcased the value of my services.

What is your vision for G.R.A.C.E. in the next five years?

My vision for G.R.A.C.E. in the next five years is to become the go-to virtual assistance and project management service provider for entrepreneurs and small business owners worldwide. I want to expand my team and services to be able to help more entrepreneurs and small business owners increase their productivity and profitability. I also want to continue building strong relationships with my clients and providing them with top-notch services.

Can you share with us some of your favorite success stories from working with your clients?

One of my favorite success stories is working with a small business owner who was struggling to manage their time effectively. By providing them with virtual assistance and project management services, we were able to help them increase their productivity, improve their marketing strategies, and ultimately grow their business. It’s always fulfilling to see my clients succeed and achieve their goals.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to educate themselves and never stop learning. It’s important to constantly learn new skills, stay up to date with industry trends, and seek out new opportunities. It’s also essential to have a strong work ethic, be persistent, and not be afraid to take risks. Don’t let failure discourage you, instead use it as a learning opportunity and keep pushing forward.

How do you maintain a work-life balance as a busy entrepreneur?

Maintaining a work-life balance can be challenging as a busy entrepreneur, but it’s essential for your well-being and the success of your business. One of the things I do is prioritize my tasks and delegate when necessary. I also set aside time for self-care activities like exercise, reading, and spending time with family and friends. It’s also important to know when to disconnect from work and focus on other aspects of your life.

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Gracie Cedres is an inspiration to entrepreneurs and small business owners worldwide. Her dedication to helping others and passion for entrepreneurship has led to the success of G.R.A.C.E. With a vision for continued growth and success, Gracie is sure to make an impact in the virtual assistance and project management industry. To learn more about Gracie Cedres and G.R.A.C.E., visit her website and follow her on LinkedIn.

Liked this interview? Check out this interview with Evan Cagner

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Interview with Evan Cagner: Insights into the World of Tech and Entrepreneurship



Interview with Evan Cagner, CEO of TechBlue

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Evan Cagner is the founder and CEO of TechBlue, a company that provides managed IT services to businesses of all sizes. Evan has over 15 years of experience in the tech industry and has helped numerous businesses grow by leveraging technology. He is a thought leader and innovator in the IT industry, with a keen eye for emerging trends and technologies. In this interview, Evan Cagner shares his insights into the world of tech and entrepreneurship.

What inspired you to start TechBlue?

I’ve always been passionate about technology and how it can be used to solve business problems. I started my career working for a large IT consulting firm, and I quickly realized that there was a big gap in the market for managed IT services. Small and medium-sized businesses often struggle to keep up with the latest technology trends, and they don’t have the resources to hire full-time IT staff. That’s why I decided to start TechBlue – to help these businesses leverage technology to grow and succeed.

What sets TechBlue apart from other managed IT services companies?

There are a few things that set TechBlue apart from other managed IT services companies. First and foremost, we are incredibly focused on customer service. We believe that building strong relationships with our clients is the key to our success. Second, we have a team of highly skilled technicians who are constantly learning and staying up to date with the latest technologies. Finally, we are very flexible and can customize our services to meet the unique needs of each of our clients.

How do you stay on top of emerging trends in the tech industry?

I’m always reading and staying up to date with the latest news and trends in the tech industry. I attend conferences and meet with other thought leaders in the industry to discuss new technologies and how they can be used to solve business problems. I also encourage my team to stay up to date and share their knowledge with each other.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the IT industry?

The pandemic has had a significant impact on the IT industry. With so many people working remotely, there has been a huge demand for cloud-based services and virtual private networks (VPNs). There has also been an increased focus on cybersecurity, as remote workers are more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Overall, the pandemic has accelerated the shift toward digital transformation and has highlighted the importance of having a reliable and secure IT infrastructure.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses?

My advice would be to focus on building a strong team and never stop learning. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and who have different skill sets. Be willing to take risks and make mistakes, but also be willing to learn from those mistakes. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from other entrepreneurs who have been through it before.

What is your vision for the future of TechBlue?

My vision for TechBlue is to continue to grow and expand our services to meet the changing needs of our clients. I want to stay at the forefront of emerging technologies and continue to be a thought leader in the industry. Ultimately, I want to help as many businesses as possible leverage technology to achieve their goals.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and staying active. I’m an avid runner and I also enjoy playing basketball and golf. I’m also a big fan of music and enjoy going to concerts and discovering new artists.

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Evan Cagner is a true leader and innovator in the IT industry. His passion for technology and customer service has helped TechBlue become one of the most respected managed IT services companies in the business. With his keen eye for emerging trends and technologies, Evan is sure to continue to make an impact in the industry for years to come. To learn more about Evan Cagner and TechBlue, you can visit their website or follow them on LinkedIn.

Liked this interview? Check out this interview with Makayla Gordon

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