Young entrepreneur runs four businesses
By the age of eighteen, Matt Graves had worked at multiple retail jobs, jumped in and out of the hotel industry, and tried his hand as a music major at Navarro College. Nothing seemed to stick.
“It didn’t seem like institutions or working under someone really worked for me,” says Matt. He yearned for something more fulfilling.
“Throughout that whole time, I was playing guitar, singing, and playing piano,” says Matt, a self-taught musician. “And I was working on a record” in a small recording studio and music lesson shop in Georgetown.
Dissatisfied with his job at the hotel, Matt approached the owner of the music shop about teaching music lessons. The owner thought it was a good idea, but at the time “they only had three students for me,” says Matt, “which was not enough to cover my bills.” Regardless, teaching music lessons seemed like a step in the right direction, and Matt leaped at the opportunity.
“I basically hustled once I got there,” he says. In a month’s time, he was making enough money to cover all of his bills and more money than he had been earning working full time at a hotel’s front desk.
After that, Matt worked solely as a private music instructor for about two years until he found that he needed more variety and “started getting back into video and picking up web design and photography,” scouring Craigslist for small jobs that he could take on and add to his portfolio. When he didn’t know how to do something, he’d watch a video tutorial online, read a book, or guess and check until he mastered the skill.
Today, the driven twenty-one-year-old runs four separate businesses out of Chisholm Trail Community Foundation, a co-working space with private offices on the Georgetown square. “Now I concentrate on four things: music, photography, video productions, and web and graphic design,” he says.
On the music end, Matt now co-runs Dvě Studio, teaching guitar, piano, and voice lessons along with his business and writing partner, nineteen-year-old Lacee Sills, a fellow music instructor, performer, and composer who offers ukulele lessons to students ages five and up. Between them, they work with about twenty students.
Before combining forces as business partners, Matt and Lacee started a local band together under the name Dvě—pronounced \dē-vē-‘ā\—the Czech word for “two,” Matt says.
This summer the duo is blending their many talents yet again to offer two interactive summer camps to children ages six to sixteen—a film camp, in which students will write, storyboard, film, edit, and screen their productions, and a music video camp.
“The film camp focuses on the technical side of film, like makeup, shot types, and lighting,” says Matt, who considered video his first love until music walked into his life. “And the music video camp focuses more on music. We’re going to learn how to make a good song.”
For an entrepreneur like Matt, variety heightens both creativity and productivity, adding flavor and a sense of purpose to life.
“I always seem to stagnate when I only have one thing that I’m doing—like if I’m focusing only on music one month,” says Matt. Fortunately, he’s now attracting enough clients in each of his businesses to feel that he has “the right amount of each job” to keep life exciting and prevent him from burning out.
“I feel like I’m building something really big. Maybe it’s just me; maybe that’s really happening. I don’t know,” says Matt, laughing. “For now, it’s fun, and it’s challenging.”
For more information about Dvě Studio, visit dvestudios.weebly.com.