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Austin From Scratch: An Interview with Matt Butterfield, Founder of Butterfield Custom Homes

Austin From Scratch is our favorite series on the blog and involves Owen (age 8) and Malia (age 6) interviewing local entrepreneurs who have created a thriving business here in the heart of Texas.  For this session, we sat down with Matt Butterfield, Founder of  Butterfield Custom Homes.  We chose Butterfield Custom Homes because Matt is a friend of the family and he builds some really beautiful stuff.  Yep, Home Sweet Home!

Owen (our eight-year-old son)
What were your favorite things to do as a kid?

Matt (Matt Butterfield, Founder of Butterfield Custom Homes)
I loved all sports…so that’s probably number one. I also liked running around the woods, making forts, and swimming!

Owen
How did you go about learning as a child?

Matt
One of the things I learned a lot from was moving. My family moved to lots of different places. Every time I moved to a new place I met tons of new people who were interested in different things. The other important thing was asking lots of questions. When you’re a kid you can ask lots of question and learn new stuff all the time. Reading was another big thing I did a lot of and I think that’s very important too.

Owen
When did you first know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Matt
That’s a good question! I knew I wanted to be in business pretty early on and I think it started in 6th grade when we did a stock market project where we pretended we could buy and sell companies. That was a lot of fun and probably when I became interested in business. I got interested in being an entrepreneur – more specifically, a builder – later in life after I learned different businesses and tried different things. Anyway, an opportunity came along where I could get involved in the building business so I did that and that’s how I became interested in building houses. From there, I formed my own company.

Owen
What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?

Matt
The freedom of being able to do whatever you want is probably the neatest thing. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to work, but it means that you get to make all the decisions and you have to live with them whether they’re good or bad. You’re responsible for everything…so if it works out, that’s great, but if it doesn’t work out you’re also responsible. Also, you get to control what goes on…so you don’t have anyone to blame but yourself. It’s nice because you can do whatever you want to do but it’s also hard work because there’s no one else taking care of it for you.

Owen
What is the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?

Matt
The most challenging part is balancing everything out. You have to do a really good job with the people on the team, the people you hired to work for you, and you have to do a really good job to keep the customers happy. And with all of this, you still have to find time to be a good dad and a good husband. So balancing all those things is the biggest challenge.

Owen
What would you be doing if you weren’t a home-builder?

Matt
I really enjoy different businesses and have other businesses that I do outside of home-building so I think that I would be an entrepreneur in some other type of business that I enjoy running. But I would definitely be an entrepreneur.

Owen
What is your favorite house that you’ve built?

Matt
One of the things I like about this job is that I never build the same house twice. Every house I do is different. So I don’t know that I have a favorite house. I will say that the one I live in right now…because I built it and because I live in it, I really enjoy. I also really enjoy trying lots of different things. There are lots of different houses that I have built that are really cool but for different reasons. I’ve also had lots of different customers to work with so I get to work with a lot of interesting people. So to make a long answer short, I like all of them!

Owen
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs?

Matt
Yes, I would say the key to being a good entrepreneur is never giving up and trying lots of different things. I would guess if you looked at most entrepreneurs they didn’t start when they were eight years old and say, “I want to be exactly this thing and go do it,” although there’s nothing wrong with that…but what happens with a lot of entrepreneurs is they want to be an entrepreneur and they’re excited about different things and they keep trying different things and they’re not scared to get it wrong. They keep learning and working hard until they find the right one. If you keep doing that, you’ll find the perfect opportunity for yourself and it will be really fun. So never give up…that’s what I’d say.

Malia (our six-year-old daughter)
How did you come up with this idea?

Matt
I kinda lucked into it. I was taking some time to figure out what I wanted to do next and I had always been interested in real estate…especially houses…but not necessarily building houses so I went and took a class on real estate to learn more about it. When I did that, I met someone who was a builder and we started talking and I ended up going into business with them. I really enjoyed it so I decided to break off and do my own company. I didn’t decide from day one to be a builder but I tried different things and this came along and it was perfect.

Malia (out of the blue)
What’s the tallest house you’ve built?

Matt
I did a three story house with a rooftop deck so it was four stories.

Wow, awesome interview Matt. Thank you for spending some time with Shafer…Power!

 

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