Jeremy Haug is a world-class Marketing Expert and Leader that has led multiple companies to the Inc 5000 and Inc 500 award. He has built high-performing teams that achieve stellar results. He’s now helping B2B Entrepreneurs to expand their business and help more people.
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Table of Contents
Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Jeremy Haug: I’ve long wanted to be an entrepreneur. The point that I identify as the beginning of the search that led me to Entrepreneurship was when my family first came to America from Germany and my dad told me that here in America there were no handouts. Here if you don’t work hard the government wouldn’t take care of you and while that was scary to some extent it also meant that there was an unlimited possibility to achieve whatever you strive for. He also told me that the only role where you could truly make unlimited income was as a business owner. Now, granted I was only 8 years old at the time, but now 22 years later I can truly see the potential that business owners have as well as the freedom that you can achieve.
After graduating high school I spent 6 years working for a school where I truly had a passion for helping the kids there. I felt I accomplished a lot in terms of impacting the lives of the children there but felt that I could achieve even more in business so I went to get a degree in business administration (which I did) and then joined a healthcare consulting start-up.
I wound up spending nearly 7 years with that start-up as it grew from 3 employees to over 40 while we hit the Inc 5000 list many times over the years. I was able to wear many different hats in the organization, starting out in sales, doing finance, HR, and Marketing. I fell in love with marketing and helped grow the company through some great marketing execution as well as growing as a leader and learning to replace myself in various roles, eventually becoming the COO/CMO of that company before starting my own business.
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your viewpoint, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Jeremy Haug: I think that Entrepreneurs need a certain spirit that not every person has but that spirit often can be uncovered with time, effort, and the right surroundings. For me, I know that I’ve had the urge, the spirit to do more and achieve greatness for a long time. However, until I worked on myself, surrounded myself with different people, and cleaned up my environment of negative influences I was not willing to take the leap to become an entrepreneur.
So at least for myself, I know that while I believe I was born with the spiritual potential to become an entrepreneur, not until I went through life and developed myself did I actualize that ability. I’ve also observed others who despite my push for them to take on more had no interest or urge to develop themselves in any direction so I know that no matter how their surrounding may change I didn’t see the potential to become an entrepreneur.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Jeremy Haug: I’d say I’m persistent, efficient, and open to learning. I say persistent first because I’ve failed many times along my path far before I became an entrepreneur. I took wrong paths, made bad decisions, burned relationships, and many other mistakes. Despite all of this I feel that I kept striving towards improving and becoming more successful and more helpful. I’m efficient in the sense that I look for the best path. I’ll generally take some time to figure out what I think would be the ideal path but then I act. I try to figure out quickly if something will work by doing it and then if it fails I’ll have learned something from that.
Lastly, I long ago realized there’s much that I don’t know and that I need to be learning continuously. If I’m not learning I know that I’m not growing or achieving my potential.
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Jeremy Haug: My company is a marketing agency. When it started my intention was to only work with B2B businesses. I then found that there was quite a demand for white-label service where others wanted me to do the work and they would sell it. When I started I hadn’t even considered that type of client or service however as I was open to learning what the market wanted I took on those types of clients and have built some great relationships along the way.
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Jeremy Haug: 80% of all businesses fail within the first 5 years. The reality is that an entrepreneur has to know that there’s a good chance of failure. Despite that, you have to have the courage to go and do it anyway.
The other point that I find is important to know for an entrepreneur is that most of the time when you start your business, you’ll be on your own. So therefore you should have a basic understanding of marketing, sales (absolutely vital to survival), finance, PR, HR, and leadership. You’ll also need to know the service that you’re offering. I’ve often heard that most people who start a business are doing so to leave a job rather than because they want a business. I think that’s flawed. I think that as an entrepreneur you should see starting a business as growth towards your potential and ideally towards helping more people with a better service than currently exists in your market.
The other assumption to make is that it’s going to be much harder than you expect and that you’ll need to put in a ton of effort to get off the ground.
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Jeremy Haug: At the beginning of my business I made some assumptions in regards to the relationships with clients thinking that I could have an overly broad agreement without being specific as to my deliverables. That relationship wound up going sour and while I was able to salvage my personal relationship with the client I was not able to maintain the client.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain
Jeremy Haug: I’d give two pieces of advice:
- Always define the valuable product that I’m going to be responsible for. Don’t allow this to be vague. The reason for this one is that when I allowed vague agreements I would run into trouble either finding myself having to do far more work than I expected or I was not able to meet client expectations.
- Always find out what the valuable product is that needs to be achieved and if there is a prior record of that being an indicator of success. All marketing agency clients at the end of the day want more sales however marketing does not always directly lead to sales. Often times leads are what I’m asked for however for new businesses or businesses that haven’t done anything other than referral marketing they don’t have a track record of what works that they’re looking to scale. So oftentimes for them, there’s a lot of testing which I need to make sure they understand will take at least 90 days to figure things out.
What is the worst advice you received regarding running a business and what lesson would you like others to learn from your experience?
Jeremy Haug: Probably the worst advice was to not start a business at all as it was too “risky”. While becoming an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone, for those that do want to do that there is no more powerful feeling than knowing that your success depends 100% on yourself and that you have unlimited potential.
If you want to start a business actively work on this. Whether you do it as a side hustle, you’re saving up money, or something else, take the time and actively work on that creation every single day. I know that me being an Entrepreneur has given me more opportunity, more freedom, and more happiness than I could have ever imagined.
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Jeremy Haug: I think that Covid-19 has made it more apparent on who’s business is a real business and those that were just escaping a job they hated. I think that Covid has made it harder to hide behind a “good economy” and forces each new business to confront and have to truly have the ability to sell, promote, and run a business that is actually, truthfully profitable.
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Jeremy Haug: I think a common myth is that taking on any kind of business is a good idea. Another way that’s been put is following the market demand. While it’s important to deliver upon a need from the market, it’s also important to know what to say no to. Ideally, you’ve figured a niche or a space that you know you can deliver outstanding results in. Then you have to say no to business that doesn’t fit into that space.
I know that for me it was difficult as a new business owner to turn away business knowing that I could sort of “figure it out” but in the long run it’s been tremendously valuable to have clients where I do deliver above and beyond the standard expectations making my success even easier moving forward.
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Jeremy Haug: I would say:
- Persistence/Grit/Resistance to shocks
- Belief that you can achieve your goals
- Openness to learning from those that have succeeded with real results, the results that you want to achieve.
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Jeremy Haug: There are many books out there that are truly valuable. From books by Jim Collins to the Entrepreneurial Operating System, the Rich Dad series, to influencers such as Grant Cardone, Gary V, Brandon Dawson there are a lot of mentors available to those who are seeking to grow personally.
The best way is to surround yourself every single day with growth. Whether that’s listening to an audiobook on a successful person like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, etc, or others who are experts in their fields like James Clear in Atomic Habits. Those leaders who want to succeed need to actively take the time to grow themselves as any business will be capped out by the ability, vision, and leadership skill of the top individual.
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Jeremy Haug: If anything else I’d either want to be a scientist who helps us travel the stars or be an astronaut that travels through space. I’ve always had an affinity for sci-fi and I’d want to be in that space helping humanity move forward to a better day.
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Jeremy Haug: I think if I could choose anyone I believe that in recent times Martin Luther King Jr has been one of the most positively influential Americans that represents our ever working progress to become more than we’ve been, to live up to the ideals that America can achieve that I don’t think anyone would argue against. While no one is perfect, I admire those who push society to achieve more, to be more than they’ve been.
Larry Yatch, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Jeremy Haug 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 Jeremy Haug or his company, you can do it through his – Facebook
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