Matt Holmes on Building Relationships and How ‘Handshakin’ Increases Success for Entrepreneurs

Matt Holmes is an entrepreneur and the founder of His website focuses on relationship building through the art of handshaking. Read our Q and A to learn more about his story.

1. Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and

A: My birth given name is Matt Holmes, but my friends began to call me Handshakin Holmes when I would always go for the handshake in pictures with politicians and business leaders. Ironically, I ended up launching the Handshakin Video Series to interview Colorado’s most successful entrepreneurs on how shaking hands and personal relationships play into success. I never found satisfaction with my entrepreneurial journey until I got involved in a community, got feedback from experts, and built relationships with world-class mentors. Each of those started with a handshake. We now organize Startup Denver, and also launched the Handshakin Pre-accelerator where we educate aspiring entrepreneurs on how to launch their business with the emphasis on personal relationship strategy.


2. Q: Why is “Handshakin” so important for aspiring entrepreneurs and business professionals?
A: Many of the past Handshakin Guests have gone so far to say entrepreneurship is relationships. Putting the emphasis on people, and personal relationships, allows one to reach huge goals. Help yourself by helping others first.


3. Q: What role does humility play in the handshakin process?
A: Humility is absolutely key to building personal relationships because it allows you to really put yourself in someone elses shoes. Also, admitting that there is something you can learn from absolutely every person, whether they’re ahead or behind you in their entrepreneurial journey is a highly productive strategy in building relationships with other entrepreneurs.


4. Q: Some entrepreneurs may try to do everything on their own, especially when they’re first starting out. How important is mentorship to the entrepreneurial learning process?
A: Mentorship is absolutely necessary to prevent unanswered questions that can stall and kill a startup. Just as important as mentorship in general is who you pick to be your mentor. I go into more detail about that in my book, Handshakin Your Way to Entrepreneurial Success (see


5. Q: What are 3 of your favorite tips for developing personal relationship skills?
A: -Get to text messaging and facebook status with mentors as soon as possible after emailing or connecting on LinkedIn.
-Stalk them online and find an activity (e.g. hiking, skiing), and ask them to do that.
-Follow-up more often than every six months–even if you’re just liking their facebook photos when no one else does, or commenting on their instagram.


6. Q: How do you face and overcome challenges that you might encounter?
A: Persistency and being respectful of other’s time is all I’ve needed to get the attention of all of the highly successful and busy guests on our video series.



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Jan Hines

A startup nerd and compulsive writer, Jan provides streamline information on the hottest trends and news.

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