Joe Huff is the co-founder and director of positivity at LSTN Headphones. In 2010, he left his position as co-founder and CEO of Ramp Logistics to start a new social cause: This Shirt Helps. Since then, his experience and passion both revolve around social enterprise and making the world a better place. Both LSTN and This Shirt Helps were designed to harness the power of consumer purchases and make a positive difference while engaging and empowering. Follow him @joehuffLA.
Who is your hero?
There's really no one person I would call hero. I've been and continue to be inspired by many things and people and by life in general!
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Don’t be afraid to make decisions and don’t be afraid of failure. You can’t really succeed without making LOTS of mistakes along the way unless you’re incredibly lucky. Not making a decision is much worse than making the wrong decision most of the time because you become paralyzed. It’s important to be decisive and then adapt if your original plan doesn’t work out. That’s the beauty of failure -- it’s the breeding ground for new and better ideas. And even when you fall on your face, you're still moving forward.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
The biggest mistake I have made was becoming too caught up and emotionally invested in a product instead of the result we were trying to achieve. It’s really important to take a serious step back now and then to just look at what you’re doing and be honest about whether or not it’s working toward your main objective. In the past there have been times where we waited too long to pivot or weren’t focused on the right part of our business. We were pouring all of our time into a certain product or part of the business that we loved but that just wasn’t performing. It’s really important to make sure what you’re focused on is really achieving your true end goal.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I'm a morning person. I use the first hour in the a.m. to set the tone for the day. Whether it's a morning hike or coffee and emails, I get all of my thoughts together and prioritize everything in that first hour so I have a game plan. If possible, I try and knock a couple things off the list right away so I have a feeling of accomplishment early on. That way I've got something to build off of or fall back on if things go sideways.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Don't be afraid to take on debt, financing or investment if necessary. Fifty percent of $10M is much better than 100 percent of $0.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Take a look at who you spend your personal and professional time with. If they don't inspire you, make the changes necessary to surround yourself with as many inspiring people as you can as often as possible. "Show me your friends and I'll show you your future" is a quote I live by!
What's your definition of success? How will you know when you've finally "succeeded" in your business?
My version of success is simple. I think when we die, the only thing that will have mattered is what we did to make the world a better place. So success to me is when you know you're trying to make a difference, you're inspiring others to do the same and you're happy because of it. Luckily, I feel pretty successful already just because I realized that early on.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.