As we begin to approach the two-year anniversary of COVID-19 lockdowns in Canada, we have an incredible opportunity to reflect on how the pandemic altered the world of business.

Matt Young
(Source: LinkedIn)

In 2020, Matt Young began his rookie year as an operator with us. In trial by fire, he maintained a positive mindset, adapting to everything thrown his way and selling over $350,000 worth of business that year.

In a recent conversation with Chris Thomson on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast, Matt shed light on his transformation from a lost university student to a successful rookie operator who defied the odds in the midst of a global pandemic.

Here is what he had to share:

Ride out the Limbo

University can be a tough transition for many teenagers, and Matt Young was no exception. Fortunately, he found Student Works when he needed us most.

Before the program, I was a pretty lost university student looking to do more with my time but I just couldn’t put my finger on what I was really looking for. When I was in high school I was definitely someone who was a part of as much as possible and filled my time with a lot of extracurricular activities … But once I got into university that was kind of left behind and I was just leveled right back down to the bottom of the totem pole,” he detailed.

It was then that he entered what he described as a “limbo”, unsure where he would cultivate his self-esteem and competitive nature moving forward. 

“It’s very difficult when you get to university because you can’t just show up on the first day of school and say I want to try out for these teams like you could in high school … A lot of my validation and my focus as a teenager was completely channeled into being an athlete and taking that as far as I could. But every dog has its day and you have to realize when it’s time to hang ’em up… this hit me pretty hard because my competitive drive made me who I was at that point, and didn’t have an avenue to expose itself anymore. So while I was in this rut of figuring out what to do with my time as a student who was still motivated, I set myself up for success. It was just a weird limbo that I hadn’t encountered before in my life,” he told Chris.

Cultivate Adaptability

2020 was a challenging time for business owners, period. But starting a company during it? Even tougher. 

However, even though Matt had never even booked a job until February of that year, he refused to throw in the towel in the face of uncertainty.

“We couldn’t grow through comfort, and we somehow grew through a massive pandemic. I think our marketing mix, online marketing, Facebook marketing, really changed the game for a lot of operators in being able to reach out and conjure [business] up. The online platforms have been fantastic to us, [they are] where the world has moved their shopping cart to. We were able to deliver our marketing scheme into their shopping cart, which is on their laptop, on their computer, on their phone. So I think marketing plays such a big role and I value it so much. I think the best businesses, certainly in our program, have the best marketing,” he explained.

There’s nothing like observing a leader develop through adversity. Kudos to Matt and his team for a fantastic effort!

Are you a student looking to further your development as a leader and enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship? Check out more stories from Student Works participants and alumni on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast!