Your calendar is likely the one tool that keeps you organized. If your calendar is not right, you are likely late to meetings and unaware of your commitments. When you manage your calendar better, you feel productive and efficient. This special series on optimizing your time is all about how you can manage your calendar better. Our guest is Erik Huberman, Founder, and CEO of Hawke Media. His company ranked #110 in 2017 and #1508 in 2020 on the Inc 5000 list. Eric begins by sharing his top strategy for optimizing his time, which is more effective delegation. In part two, Eric is coached on ensuring that the meetings on his calendar are the best use of his time. You will discover how to manage your calendar better inside this episode.
Don't miss an episode. Subscribe to Growth Think Tank.
Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
It’s really helpful when we’re kind of in the sprint of the beginning of a startup and the growth of a business where you’re just trying to keep up and keep up with everything pushing. And now I think it might be working. And so being completely transparent, so I think that there’s some room for me to improve that. But generally, I think, you know, other than that, it really goes back to the same thing, which was like, as I find new ways to grow the company, finding other people to take those on. always going to be my focus.
Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the one and only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs, the fastest-growing privately held companies. I am the host. My name is Gene Hammett. I hope leaders and their teams navigate the defining moments of their growth, are you ready to grow?
Gene Hammett [0:47]
Optimizing your time is not something you take lightly. optimizing your time will give you the space to be the leader that your team deserves. This is part of the series that we’re doing with the founders and CEOs of fast-growth companies, we’re going to be talking about how they optimize their time, and in part to a special little coaching moment that we’re going to be diving into something that they’re working, where they’re struggling on, and so that I can give them some insight and clarity. And today’s guest is Erik Huberman. He’s the CEO of Hawke Media. He’s been on the show before, but they are a fast-growing company, 170 employees and one of the things we talked about today is how he’s delegating with his employees and how he’s truly able to run and scale this business. we dive into that strategy and why that works for him. But then we also take a moment to look at what he’s really doing next, which is more delegation. When you want to create space in your calendar, you’ve got to really be intentional about what goes on your calendar and what doesn’t. We talk about some of the specific things that he can do in his calendar that would help him create more space to be the leader that he really wants to be. We’re going to tell you a little bit more about some of the special things we’re doing inside this program. So stay tuned. And now here’s the interview with Eric.
Gene Hammett [2:06]
Hey, Eric, how are you?
Erik Huberman [2:06]
I’m doing great. How you doing?
Gene Hammett [2:09]
I am Fantastic. Well, welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is second time being on the show. Appreciate you coming back.
Erik Huberman [2:15]
Yeah, no, thank you for having me. Great to be back.
Gene Hammett [2:18]
You are the CEO of Hawke Media give our audience a little bit of insight into what an outsourced cmo company does.
Erik Huberman [2:29]
Go into brands of all sizes, identify where the holes are in their marketing strategy, whether that individual aspects like Facebook marketing, email marketing, web design, etc, or just the overall strategy. And then we’ll spin up different experts on an ala carte month to month basis. It could be a fractional mode run marketing strategy for them. It could be you know, any of the other services, highlighted email, Facebook search, web design, content, creation, etc. And the idea is to be able to get top tier talent and top tier marketers, but at a fraction of the price and a lot more easier to less barrier to entry to get great marketing talent to work on your brand. Mission is accessibility to great marketing. So we really try to make it super accessible, nimble, flexible, affordable, but make sure that our talent is taught and our people know what they’re doing and are really good at what they do.
Gene Hammett [3:21]
Well, it’s it’s a unique business model. And I know you’ve had a lot of success with this. You made the Inc list three or four times. Pretty impressive.
Erik Huberman [3:31]
Thank you. Yeah, no, it’s gone really well. You know, just it came from I ran a couple brands and hated the agent, you know, the marketing agency model. But it was also really frustrating to try to hire in house. And there’s a lot of problems with hiring in house. And I just wanted to find something that solved that you get the benefits of feeling like you have a flexible in house team that can focus on what you want. But you get the benefits of an agency and the kind of forest from the trees, you the partnerships we have, like we have full time teams at Google, Facebook, Quedo, etc, that allow us to be ahead of the game, so to speak. And it’s just hard to compete with a team like ours, but we make it easy to work with a team like ours, and normally an agency of our size goes up market and frankly ignores the whole small and medium business days. And is not that flexible.
Gene Hammett [4:12]
Well, I have gotten here today to talk about, you know how you optimize your time as a CEO of 170 and growing company. What is the number one strategy you feel like to give you the time to leave the company?
Erik Huberman [4:27]
I think delegation, I mean, I’ve never really had an issue with it. And we’ve scaled really fast through that idea of the moment something is taking a significant amount of my time, I better be able to hire someone to do it. Because from my view, if I can’t afford to hire someone to do it, I probably shouldn’t be doing it anyways. Like there has to be like making myself obsolete in my own company is a constant, sort of what I’m striving for constantly. And then as the company expands, I have new jobs that pop up that I do for a while and so I can hire someone to take that as well.
Gene Hammett [4:58]
Do care you You have a unique ability and that you have all these people in your team. So the delegation gets easier. But did you learn this early? Or is this something that you had to learn later in your CEO career?
Erik Huberman [5:12]
I learned it early. Thankfully, it was really just, you know, because we were bootstrapped, I just always believed that, like, if I was ever focusing on things like it, don’t get me wrong, it takes time to ramp up to have the revenue to actually be able to hire. So like, it’s not not every, like, I need to just hire a bunch of people instantly. But I, every time I was generating revenue, and focusing on those things, I would have jobs got big for me, I would hire someone to help with it. And I had to build a business model. And I thought of this from the beginning, that every piece of this company and every job drove revenue, and had a reason to hire someone to help do it. And you know, the level of that performance versus me doing it on my own was always inconsistent, meaning like, you know, if I hire a salesperson, then you’re almost never going to sell better than the CEO can sell. That’s kind of the point. But so you build a model, and you continue to tweak it, so that you can replace yourself as the different jobs evolve.
Gene Hammett [6:03]
Do you have any special approaches to delegation?
Erik Huberman [6:07]
Do I What sorry?
Gene Hammett [6:09]
Any, any special approaches or processes to delegation?
Erik Huberman [6:13]
Yeah, I mean, I would say that I’ve what I’ve learned is it’s not instant. So you know, when I basically anticipate now when I especially level we’re at now is when I hire someone, it’s going to take time of working with them before I can just step away. So I anticipate an overlap is basically what I’m playing. So I’m so it’s not like tomorrow, I just, you know, I want to get rid of my MMA practice and just hire someone and, and then move on. Sorry about the dog, I can just hire someone to move on from that side. I’m not gonna work with him for you know, it could be a year before he’s got it handled. And that’s moving forward. And it’s that way with a lot of executive levels. The sort of counterintuitive truth is executives take a lot longer to ramp up, because there’s a lot more to get on top of.
Gene Hammett [6:56]
Yeah, I appreciate you saying that. I had a client the other day, that was like, the best move I’ve ever made in our coaching together, was letting go of the operations of the business and hiring someone to develop them. Because the only downside was, I figured that once we made the decision, it would be easy, but it actually took eight months to make that process work.
Erik Huberman [7:18]
Yeah, exactly. And it’s like we’re doing it right now we’re hiring a marketing, even though we’re hiring some people, with some great experience and great background, I know that it’s going to take a long time, like I’ve been kind of interim head of marketing while we make a transition, and I know that I’m gonna have to work with that person, I’m gonna get at least six months, probably a year before we feel comfortable.
Gene Hammett [7:38]
Well, I appreciate you sharing your number one strategy and delegation is certainly a part of being a CEO. I want to kind of switch gears here, what is one area of your time that you’re working on now that you can share with us?
Erik Huberman [7:53]
Yeah, it’s really, you know, doubling down on that, it’s looking at aspects of what I spend time on, like, I want both my business partner and I, my co founder, my COO, we’re both striving, you know, and it was going to be by the end of this year, but so much changed, it probably will be more of an end of next year thing, to get to the point where both of us are just additive, that the company will improve it like we’re already at a point where the company can run itself, like day to day totally fine. We want to get to the point where the company will actually grow and improve itself at a rate faster with can become additive company, not management accountant.
Gene Hammett [8:30]
Is that your way of saying that you’re gonna be or like the chairman, instead of the CEO, future?
Erik Huberman [8:36]
No, not at all. It’s saying that I’m going to be the CEO, not the head of sales, not the head of marketing, not the head of I’m not going to be solving the problems inside the company, I’m gonna be working on a company. So no.
Gene Hammett [8:48]
I totally get that. That motivation or doesn’t.
Erik Huberman [8:53]
Yeah, that motivation doesn’t come from like, I want to slow down and just turn 34 like, I’m not looking to retire anytime soon, it’s more, I want to be able to expand the company faster, which comes with I need people that can run the day to day so that I can spend all of my time on expansion and growth and those kinds of verses.
Gene Hammett [9:12]
So if it’s an area you’re working on, I’m just kind of curious because this is kind of the coaching section of this conversation different than interviews. So it’s similar questions that I would give to my clients to help us get more clear. Is there something in this area that you know, you should be doing what you’re not doing right now?
Erik Huberman [9:34]
Yeah, I think, you know, there’s always room to actually be more proactive about freeing up that time. You know, I still sell my calendar all day every day with things and I think that that’s probably the you know, kind of honest truth is, there’s still a lot of things that I let happen on my calendar and meetings that I have that aren’t the best use of my time. And I’ve just always wanted to be just in Motor Company mission accessible and easy to work with and easy to get on the phone with And so my calendar is, I mean, every time I show it to someone, they’re just like Jesus Christ, because you know, from 7:30am, to six to 7pm, it’s every half hour basically. And it’s just back to back to back to back. And so, you know, that that is, you know, is really helpful when we’re kind of in the sprint of the beginning of a startup and the growth of a business where you’re just trying to keep up and keep up with everything pushing. And now I think it might be a little less in the way that I shouldn’t working. Yeah. And so being completely transparent. So I think that there’s some room for me to improve that. But generally, I think, you know, other than that, it’s really goes back to the same thing, which is like, as I find new ways to grow the company, finding other people to take those on. And that that’s always going to be my focus, I think.
Gene Hammett [10:48]
Well, Eric, let me ask you a question on this. You know, if we looked at your talent today, what would you want to be different as you move forward so that you can actually do more of that visionary work that you were just talking about?
Erik Huberman [11:00]
Yeah, so it’s, it’s most of my counter actually, like, because I like collaborating with people. So like, even if I look at today’s calendar, like, it’s actually mostly meeting with my marketing team, some different executives on strategy, I’m literally looking at my calendar right now, my assistant, a couple of big partners of ours on different big collaboration. So that, I think, actually, today is a good example of where I want to be, there’s a couple on there that I probably don’t need to have. And so it’s really just that simple. It’s like, can I save an hour to an hour and a half of my time every day, on average, by eliminating certain meetings, I really don’t need to be having.
Gene Hammett [11:34]
So I get that thing. So up on our schedule that we, you know, we look at it and go, why is exactly that there? Where are we?
Erik Huberman [11:41]
Gene Hammett [11:44]
When you think about, you know, boundaries in place for those meetings, and we don’t need to know names or anything like that. But what is something that you could have? You could put into place a rule or something that would really help you to not have those meetings, as often?
Erik Huberman [11:59]
Yeah, I think it’s is there and I’ve done a lot of this, but I’m not perfect at it yet. Which is, is there someone else that can speak to it? That doesn’t have to be? You know, is this something? You know, does this meeting make sense for me, as you know, and like, it’s, it’s selfish in some ways, but you know, all we have is our time. And I think at some point, you have to for the sake of your own company, and your own people start to be selfish with your time as a leader. And that’s something that I’m not good at because I really want to help anyone I can and I get random, you know, I advise for a lot of students that are asking, you know, marketing advice, and you know, advancement advice. And that’s perfect, that’s actually a great example. So college student reaches out and goes, Erica admired what you do and what you’ve built, and I want to get into marketing, can I talk to you, and sometimes I think it’s okay to take those. But I’ve taken a few too many. And I think there’s probably other people at my company that could give them similar advice for what they’re looking for. That doesn’t have to be me personally. And like, again, it’s about me being obsolete at my own company. So just and I think it would actually bring value to the people, other people in that sense.
Gene Hammett [12:56]
So that’s a great point. So if you took just that type of meeting, someone reaching out and saying, Hey, can I talk to you about career advice and whatnot, there’s probably a couple of names that you already think about that you would rather send them to.
Erik Huberman [13:10]
Yeah, and I, again, it’s a conflict is also morally I want to give these, I want to make these kids excited if they’re actually, you know, I know, for some of them, I seem larger than life. And not that I’m not successful. But for a lot of the kids that like I was in our university magazine, I was on the cover of our fraternity magazine. And so there’s some kids that have like, seen that and look up to me, and like, how did this guy do that? And it’s kind of, I don’t want to be shitty, and just be like, Oh, you know, here’s someone else to talk to you like, you want to be open to these kind of people. But at the same time, I think that you need to, you know, it’s a balance, because I end up getting them a lot, especially because there’s a lot of classes at different universities that have them, interview an entrepreneur or business owner or someone in your field. And so now that I’ve said yes, a few times, it comes up several times a semester. So it’s those kind of things that you just have to, you know, figure out whether it makes.
Gene Hammett [14:03]
So when I work with someone on their calendar and their time specifically, I usually look at that and say, What calendar what are the specific meetings you don’t need to be having? And what I’m hearing from you, there are some on your calendar right now.
Erik Huberman [14:19]
Yeah. And I just looked at one of them is interviewing, you know, it’s, it’s someone asking me for job advice. And it’s like, you know, I take those sometimes, but to be honest, like, that’s me trying to give back and be selfless. But again, I could have them talk to probably our HR team about Java, but like, it’s, it is a function of like, how much do I push back on that or not? Like and this is something that you know, when you get up, you don’t want to be that guy or girl that becomes successful and goes screw everyone else. I’m not going to take those phone calls. Like that’s hard to but when you’re looking at Yeah, you know, the limitations of time in a day. And this is something that you know, doesn’t necessarily serve you at all, but you could you know, and frankly your advice like something People just like I never made those phone calls, like, I was never like, Can I talk to someone about career advice?
Erik Huberman [15:04]
I had specific advice and gives when I went to people. And so, you know, I’m happy to be the one to give them a kick in the ass sometimes, but at the same time, you’re kind of like, okay, like, what value can I really provide here.
Gene Hammett [15:16]
I get what you’re saying all of this, and it comes back to the same thing is, you can’t do everything.
Erik Huberman [15:23]
Gene Hammett [15:25]
And when you’re making room to grow the business and, you know, develop a mergers and acquisitions person, you have to really be mindful of, you know, where am I giving to others? And not giving to my own team?
Erik Huberman [15:42]
Exactly. And that’s, and that’s, and how do you do that in a way that doesn’t just burn a bunch of bridges to because like, you know, being helpful and creating a network and continuing to meet people and young aspiring entrepreneurs that, you know, years from now could be doing something really cool, which has happened quite a few times, and we’ve helped someone out or has an intern or something that went on to build something really great. So you don’t want to alienate that either. So it’s, again, it’s a little bit of a juggling act.
Gene Hammett [16:08]
What if it’s something as simple as a rule that you set up and say, if you get those requests that the first step is not with you, but the first step is with your, the person that you feel like is the best fit for them on your team? Because you said it would help them too.
Erik Huberman [16:24]
And again, a lot of that, but I think it Yeah, it’s doing more of that it’s in this is the job, this is what I mean by like, it’s a constant delegation, like, I’m constantly looking for new ways to do that. So this could be the next thing. And I’m saying brainstorming with you as we’re talking, but this frees up a little bit more time.
Gene Hammett [16:42]
Well, to finish what I was saying there is the first step is the other person. And after they kind of take some initiative with that, then they’ve earned the right for the second step, which could be with you, if that makes sense.
Erik Huberman [16:54]
Yeah, exactly. And it’s…
Gene Hammett [16:56]
And that way, you’re still giving back and saying, look, you know, talk to this person first, and get some movement, and then come back to me, and then I’ll get on the phone with you and maybe help you aside, as you move forward. That would create more space for you.
Erik Huberman [17:08]
When the other one that I see a lot of people do only through intros, like, you know, executives get more senior like I will help a friend, kid or a friend of a friend or a friend of my siblings or something anytime, but I’m not going to just take a random, you know, email or LinkedIn request to get pick my brain. It’s just you just stop responding to those, frankly, and I mean, again, want to be available, but at some point, you just can’t.
Gene Hammett [17:34]
I hear what you’re saying on LinkedIn because LinkedIn has gotten, I don’t know, it’s just completely changed in the last couple of years because so many people have programs about how to reach out on LinkedIn, most of them are terrible. So my job here today was to have a little bit of coaching, I mean, I would go, I would normally go much deeper with you and like probe into this. But you kind of nailed it. talking through and brainstorming together with your coach is one way to get clear about something that you’re tolerating. But you need, you know, you need to do something about it, but you’re still in conflict. If we just took this one area, and you were able to put a little bit more thought into the meanings that you were taking, that you shouldn’t be, and what you could do instead, would that give you back a couple of hours a week? Maybe?
Erik Huberman [18:25]
Gene Hammett [18:28]
Would that be how you did that?
Erik Huberman [18:31]
Yeah, no. 100%? And that’s, that’s exactly it said, Is it a good conversation? I’m sitting here going, Yeah, should I do that? Because those couple hours, I mean, for whatever I use them for, you know, my time is similar to you, I’m sure like, there isn’t really free time. It’s everything is scheduled. Everything is even like when I work out when I eat all that stuff, actually, when I eat is usually when someone cancels, and I go grab food out of the fridge real quick. So it’s like, it’s very, you put it like it’s very regiment. So the idea of having a couple of free hours.
Gene Hammett [19:04]
Which by the way, will fill up with something else, but it’s probably something else driving towards the success of the company. Which, you know, a lot of the struggle that CEOs have is how do we make more time for the most important work, not just work that is showing up on our calendar, not just the work that we know, is urgent is is is very commonly talked about but really making the most work for it. And I would, if we were going to go deeper with this, Eric, I would actually challenge you on the, you know, 30-minute meetings back to back and only stealing lunch when you get a canceled appointment. Because I bet if you created more space to think that some of these things would be easier to do. And you would be empowering your team at a higher level. Every time to think is something that a lot of my clients talk about and I think a lot of CEOs go I just need more time to think But the problem behind it is that it’s not always very quantitatively quantifiable. What the immediate outcome of that is because it’s not tied to, you know, revenue. It’s way down the road. Fair.
Erik Huberman [20:16]
Gene Hammett [20:18]
All right. So is this been helpful today to get a little bit more clear about your calendar? Your yours?
Erik Huberman [20:23]
Yeah, I’m gonna go cancel a bunch of meetings. screw this. Not kidding. But, ya know, it sincerely is, you know, it’s something it’s funny because it’s one of the things that I think I do pretty well. But now that I reflect on it, I’m like, No, there’s a lot of room here.
Gene Hammett [20:35]
Well, every CEO I know, has struggled. It’s always a process of evolving and looking at this on a regular basis, is one of the things I do with my clients. But there’s a month, there’s a lot of other things I do. So thanks for playing around with me. On this, Eric.
Erik Huberman [20:50]
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for having me.
Gene Hammett [20:53]
Well, as we wrap up on Growth Think Tank, I want you to think about your time, what would we see if your counter what’s really going on and you want to let go of so that you can be more of a visionary strategic leader. Maybe it’s working on that next merger and acquisition, maybe it’s innovation, or maybe it’s just taking time to think seeing what’s around the corner. So that’s what I do for leaders. If you have any questions about where you’re involving, you check out all the free resources that didn’t have a.com. And if you are wanting to grow your company, and we think of Growth Think Tank, as always be the courage. We’ll see you next time.
A QUICK FAVOR
And lastly, please leave a rating and review for the Growth Think Tank on iTunes (or Stitcher) – it will help us in many ways, but it also inspires us to keep doing what we are doing here. Thank you in advance!
If you want more from us check out more interviews: