If you read Houston native William S. Matthews’s resume, you’d surely be impressed. In addition to owning his own successful event planning company, RSVP with Will: Event Planning, being an author, his work also includes community outreach, project management, workshop facilitation, fundraising and keynote speaking. Additionally, Matthews lends his resources to many community and civic organizations such as Big Brother Big Sisters of Texas, Leadership Houston Class XXXIII, METRO and the Greater Houston Partnership.
His latest book is Everything I Needed to Know about Money I Learned from My Broke @$$ Friends (On Demand Publishing, 2015). In the book, Matthews gives readers tips for how to set up a budget, avoid stress, make the most of what they earn and set themselves up for a secure, financial future.
Prior to this, Matthews penned Everything I Needed to Know About Life I Learned from an Event Planner (On Demand Publishing, 2014) in which he shares creative tips for all types of events including corporate luncheons, nonprofit fundraisers and elegant dinners, as well as parties for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, intimate affairs and other special celebrations.
Matthews told TNJ.com more about his new book and thriving business.
TNJ.com: Why did you write the book Everything I Needed to Know About Money I Learned from My Broke @$$ Friends?
William Matthews: The book was conceived after numerous conversations with friends (millennial professionals). I was amazed at their stories of student loan debt, bad spending and poor savings.
TNJ.com: What lessons can people learn by observing their friends’ spending habits?
WM: Learn that image is not everything. Friends or co-workers you often see wearing name-brand clothes or driving luxury vehicles can be one step away from financial ruin. Define a need versus a want; and lastly, if you have a friend or colleague that seems to have their stuff together and you admire their money management skills. Ask if they will “money mentor” you.
TNJ.com: How did you start your event planning business?
WM: During my college days in New Orleans, I found myself always planning events for fraternities, sororities, student council and hosting a plethora of dinner parties. Soon, nonprofits hired me as an event consultant or contracted my services. In 2008, I created “RSVP with Will: Event Planning.”
TNJ.com: How did your company deal with the economic crisis?
WM: I added more services. Companies would hire me to plan their event but once their budgets got tighter I had to add public relations and marketing services into my contracts because that’s what they wanted. In return, I had to quickly learn about press releases, media alerts, media advisors, social media marketing, etc. I took classes at my local community college and shadowed PR/Marketing professionals.
TNJ.com: What is the biggest mistake people make when planning a business/social event?
WM: Picking a venue that is too small or planning for too many is a mistake. Always expect for only 75 percent-80 percent of your invited guest to attend. It is very rare you will get 100 percent attendance (even with an open bar). Another mistake is not having fun during the event. If you are not enjoying yourself and having a good time, neither will your guests. People pick up on the host energy and vibe; you set the tone for your party. Remember, you are the director and your guests are your actors.
TNJ.com: What has been the biggest business challenge you have faced?
WM: Losing friendships over money. You always hear the cliché statement in your head; Friends and business don’t mix–well it was true for me.
TNJ.com: What has been your biggest business lesson?
WM: Finding my niche and staying in my lane. I learned many years ago that every client was not ideal for me. Every speaking engagement offered to me is not my audience. Often times, we are so honored that someone wants to hire, hear, or work with us that we lose focus that everything is not for everybody. You have a right to decline and say “No, thank you.”