Harrison Baron was born and raised on Long Island, growing up in the small town of Bayport. He attended SUNY Farmingdale for Computer information systems with an emphasis in computer programming, where he received his bachelor’s degree. From there, he proceeded to get an internship where he was brought into the company as an entry-level employee. After two short years, he worked his way up to an executive position in the company.
During this time, he also started a podcast called the Brutally Honest Podcast that would help educate people on business and personal stories. Recently he has decided to become a full-time entrepreneur where he founded and is now president of Growth Generators. A company focusing on growing online communities around brands and companies to help get into a still untapped market for their products or services. He also has his personal brand at harrisonbaron.com, where he helps small business owners and salespeople leverage LinkedIn and other platforms to make sales. In his free time, Harrison is a volunteer firefighter, spending time outdoors and finding new adventures.
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Thank you so much for giving us your time! Before we begin, could you introduce yourself to our readers and take us through what exactly your company does and what your vision is for its future?
Harrison Baron: We help businesses drive more traffic to their website. We have one principle we live by more website traffic = more sales. We focus on building thousands of visitors every month to our client’s websites so they can pick and choose who they want to work with. We do this through content creation like blogging and YouTube, as well as social media.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO/entrepreneur when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get where you are today?
Harrison Baron: When I was a child I wanted to be a Fireman. After graduating high school I achieved my goal and was a volunteer fireman for 10 years serving my local community. Through the skills, I had learned in the fire service and surrounding myself with great people gave me the courage to take the leap of faith and start my own business.
Although it sounds easy it wasn’t I ended up attending local community college for three years and changed my major constantly. I was interested in everything from computers to photography to creative writing and everything in between. Thankfully I used most of the skills I learned in college owning a digital marketing agency.
Tell us something about yourself that others in your organization might be surprised to know.
Harrison Baron: I am an Eagle Scout. Some people may find it corny however being an Eagle Scout has landed me more opportunities and given me more connections than I could ever imagine. Its a title I hold near and dear to my heart and there is a certain level of respect “eagles” have for one another. Most people have no idea and I carry all of the values that I pledged years ago till today.
Many readers may wonder how to become an entrepreneur but what is an entrepreneur? How would you define it?
Harrison Baron: I think a lot of people think they need to do something or need a special title to become an entrepreneur. People make it WAY more complicated than it needs to be. You need to have two things in my option to be an entrepreneur. A relentless personality. Someone who is willing to wake up at 5 am to drive 3 hours for a life-changing meeting you might not close a deal on and willing to sacrifice weekends to get client work done. The second is being able to handle your emotions. Entrepreneurship is stressful. It’s extremely rewarding but it’s stressful. There are times money will be tight, projects don’t work out or you get burned. The list goes on and on. It’s stressful as could be.
But the rewards of being able to change someones’ business or better someone’s family are worth it. Nothing warms my heart more than payday for my employees. I know the money they are making with me is only going to better them and their families. It’s also an incredible feeling when someone asks multiple times for a job because they need it and they rise to the top. Being able to give someone that kind of opportunity is an amazing feeling.
Being able to control those emotions and take the good with the bad will make you a better entrepreneur and a better person. If you have those two traits then being an entrepreneur is nothing more than taking the leap of faith to start your own business. You have to be willing to fail. It’s also not as hard as everyone thinks. There are a million ways to get new customers. From SEO to Etsy and plenty of other options out there. The key is to pick what you want to do and stick to it. Get amazing at it and the money will come. The strangest part is most of the time you don’t know how to make it but it comes in one way or another.
What is the importance of having a supportive and inclusive culture?
Harrison Baron: Everyone needs to support each other and negativity isn’t tolerated. There are times where Negativity and reality walk a fine line next to each other however we are all there to accomplish one goal. The team needs to support each other and in smaller companies, you end up wearing multiple hats. At times it can be hard but building a great support structure of team members will only make the company grow faster.
The word inclusive can be a little strange however it’s important to include the right team members for the right projects. You want to include everyone but sometimes not everyone needs to be included. When it comes to personal beliefs and feelings we treat everyone with courtesy and respect.
How can a leader be disruptive in the post covid world?
Harrison Baron: Now more than ever it’s the best time to be disruptive. For many Covid-19 was a free pass for a year and a half off from their business. Unlike many, I worked 2-3x what I was doing pre covid. I knew that people would be taking it easy and wouldn’t be hungry. People got complacent. It’s easier than ever to disrupt markets. With the amount of free information on YouTube, you can learn anything. This includes learning how to make blogs and YouTube videos.
You can reach hundreds of millions of people anywhere in the world. The key to getting attention and being a disrupter is starting. You have to start with one outlet or another. Go all in and make the most valuable content possible and let the algorithms do the work.
If a 5-year-old asked you to describe your job, what would you tell them?
Harrison Baron: I control what people see on the first page of Google. There is also a meme out there that says poorly describe what you do. I control what people see on their phones.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Harrison Baron: Recently we had to fire a client. He was a great client and a great friend however he wasn’t an awesome client. We only want to work with awesome clients. There were several things that lead us to that decision some of the more notable ones that I need to mention were:
- He didn’t have a client avatar.
He wanted to do business with everyone and in doing that it’s almost impossible to do SEO for everyone. We had mentioned to him several times that he needed to niche down into a smaller audience and become an expert. Unfortunately, he didn’t do that would keep changing who he wanted to target.
- He didn’t use the software that he paid us to set up.
We implemented a full suite of HubSpot and he would complain about how he wasn’t getting clients. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t sign into the program we set him upon. We told him constantly to check the system as new leads were coming in weekly but checking technology was too difficult to do. We had mentioned several times that there were people who wanted to do business with him and had filled out the request a quote form on his website but he refused to sign into it.
- He would send angry messages late at night.
Randomly at night, he would start complaining about his business in a multitude of sorts. It progressed over time and one time he started yelling at one of my employees for no reason. Saying they weren’t doing their job. On the contrary, that employee had gone above and beyond for the tasks they were supposed to do. Because of this, we had to terminate the relationship.
It had a very positive impact on our business and it was the first time we had to fire a customer. It’s a very strange feeling but overall employee morale has skyrocketed and he is no longer a nuisance to our productivity. As for the relationship between him and I, it’s a tough one to swallow. He was a client and then a friend but his actions made us terminate the client relationship and because of that, he decided to terminate the friendship.
Leaders are usually asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is your most useless talent?
Harrison Baron: Love this question. My most useless talent is that I remember the most useless facts that will never help me in any way. For example, a polar bear’s skin is black, water is the leading cause of drowning. more people live on Long Island than in Norway. I also love discussing things like the big bang, Quantum theory, universal expansion, and more. They are all very interesting but it’s all theory. At the end of the day, we all live on a floating rock revolving around a giant ball of fire through an ever-expanding universe. We still have to go to work when we are supposed to and pay bills while all of this is happening. Mindblowing.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. If you wrote a book about your life until today, what would the title be?
Harrison Baron: Funny you mention it, it’s a passion project I pick up every couple of weeks and add more pages to. It would be called “the millennial survival guide”
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Harrison Baron for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Harrison Baron or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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