There are countless books, blogs, and podcasts out there to teach you how to be an entrepreneur. You can find everything from mindset tips to financial advice to philosophies on the ideal workplace culture. But what are the basic, foundational few skills that are most important for every entrepreneur to master?
Erik Huberman is the founder and CEO of Hawke Media, the fastest growing marketing consultancy in the United States. Initially launched in 2014, Hawke Media has been valued at over $75M and has grown to over 150 employees across three major U.S. locations. Hawke Media has worked with over 2000 brands of all sizes, ranging from young startup companies to household names like Redbull and Verizon Wireless.
As a serial entrepreneur and well-known keynote speaker, Erik is a sought-after thought leader and business expert in the world of digital marketing, leadership, sales, and entrepreneurship. During his interview on the Making Bank podcast, Erik shares his top tips for pushing past imposter syndrome, how to face problems that come up in your business, and the best metrics to follow when measuring success in the world of marketing and e-commerce.
Don’t Buy In to Imposter Syndrome
Erik describes his experience attending an “alternative hippie school” where he learned to think critically about authority. He grew into an adult that has never experienced imposter syndrome because he doesn’t think of anyone else being “above” anyone else, including celebrities or uber-wealthy investors and business people. He says, “I never had a doubt in the world. I never had that imposter syndrome.”
A lot of poignant business advice will tell you to be brave, take risks, and battle imposter syndrome with affirmations and plain confidence. And while confidence and being a risk-taker are both great qualities to have as an entrepreneur, the most radical switch you can make in your networking is to ask yourself why you’re imagining anyone “above” anyone else (or yourself) in your business orbit.
Everyone is human, everyone makes mistakes, everyone only gets 24 hours a day. Erik calls this the “great equalizer.” You deserve your success, and you’re good at what you do. Confidence is knowing you deserve to be in the room as much as anyone else does; imposter syndrome makes you believe that some people “deserve” it more or less than others, which simply is not true.
Choose Mentors Wisely
Yes, learning from experts can be extremely valuable. Having supportive mentors and peer groups to workshop ideas and problems with can be game-changing. Yet, Erik advises caution when it comes to taking mentors’ advice at face value. He says, “I’ve never liked the idea of a mentor because I think I’d inherit their bad and good traits.” Not to mention, what works for someone else in your niche, might not necessarily work for you too.
Instead of one ride-or-die mentor, Erik suggests nurturing a network of people that you can trust with different, specific areas of advice. A good entrepreneur knows when to trust their own judgment and intuition, and when to rely on expert advice. Find your own intersection of discernment, creativity, and confidence in your own abilities; you’ll become your own mentor.
Beware of Advertising
Erik cautions listeners against getting too fixated by advertising and social search metrics. “Don’t get addicted to advertising,” he says regarding Return on Ads Spent (ROAS). Sure, optimizing your advertising efforts is important, but don’t go too far down the rabbit hole.
In the meantime, he suggests “getting back to the basics” and spending more time and effort evaluating your cost to acquire customers (CAC), and your lifetime value (LTV). To optimize CAC and LTV, you’re forced to look at the fundamentals of your business and optimize your funnel and your conversion rate, which comes through lifecycle marketing.
And lifecycle marketing is fueled by content creation and how you merchandise your business. “These are the metrics that really matter,” Erik says, because those are the metrics that will point you to actionable areas of improvement and optimization in your business operations.
Ownership & Problem Solving
At the end of the day, you’re the owner. You’re steering the ship. You’re the one that has to face the trickiest problems and make the big decisions. Learning to embrace your role at the top, with humility, opens you up to a mentality of ownership which continues to breed confidence.
Figure out what makes you different from your competitors. What pain points are going unaddressed in your niche? What seems like the obvious solution that no one seems to be trying? Differentiate yourself and your business with creative problem solving and a commitment to high quality results. Your confidence and skills will speak for themselves.
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