Becoming a respected marketing influencer and successful business owner isn’t easy, and to do so before the age of 30 is something few have accomplished. Erik Huberman is one of those few, making his mark as not only the founder and CEO of Hawke Media, but also as a leader in nurturing the growth of companies. I recently spoke to Huberman at great length about how he grew his agency, and how his wins and failures contributed to his success.
What particular skill do you feel most helped you scale your agency at such a young age?
Huberman: Getting things done. I have consistently noticed that people who execute and continue to complete tasks at a rapid pace tend to have a much higher chance of success. I would put together a list of all of the things I had to do, and as things came up I would add them to the list immediately. As I completed the items on the list, I would check them off. It sounds simple, but I was obsessed with completing tasks.
What do you wish you knew before you started Hawke Media?
Hawke has actually been a blast, and I have been fortunate to possess a lot of the skills I needed and a partner that complements what I don't have. I would say the biggest challenge we run into is scaling the sales piece. Neither of us have done that for a business-to-business (B2B) company previously, so we had to play with a lot of ideas to get it going. It continues to be a challenge we are constantly focused on.
What was the most important system you created for the agency's success?
We made company culture a priority. We look for three things when hiring:
- Someone who’s not afraid of hard work and knows how to get things done.
- Someone with high aptitude who is also a quick learner.
- Someone with high EQ, or someone we would want to grab a drink with.
We don't slide on any of those three requirements, as all are equally important and have allowed us to build a team of 70 people that are all hard working, very bright and also pleasant to be around.
What was the biggest challenge you faced that you didn't initially expect?
Unreliable people. I tend to be an optimist, and early on, before we figured out our hiring and cultural philosophy, we dealt with a lot of flaky people and who dropped the ball. It was a nightmare early on, but we definitely learned from our mistakes. It takes time to filter through the unreliable people to build a solid, reliable team.
The Pop-Up Shop Initiative you are launching in March is the first of its kind. What makes it unique?
No marketing consultancy has ever curated a group of similar brands to have them share in the burden of opening a physical location. This isn't a retail model, as we are not a wholesale/resale relationship; this is more in line with sharing the cost of opening a pop-up for a bunch of direct-to-consumer brands, with the majority being digital-first. It allows for smaller brands to step into that space, and showcase their products. It is also incredibly beneficial for new eyes, because we curate complementary brands, which helps to attract new customers for each other.
What types of brands will be represented in the pop-up shop, and how will they be able to reach consumers directly?
We have brands like Wildfox, Sweat Tailor, DSTLD, Ridge Wallet and many more. We created a lifestyle mix of incredible businesses for the Abbott Kinney crowd and are very excited to launch this unique event in March 2017.
Huberman and Hawke Media are changing the way brands outsource their marketing. By figuring out what works, Huberman has proven himself as a young entrepreneur who knows first-hand what it takes to scale a successful business. It’s refreshing to connect with another founder behind an agency that walks the walk and doesn’t just talk the talk.