The Four Hs: A Foundation for Success

A lot of people have great ideas, but many aren’t able to get their business off the ground or maintain long term momentum.

Despite all of the resources available, there is no magic bullet that guarantees success – financially or with respect to the impact a business has on its customers or community.

That being said, there are similarities in how dreamers with a vision build the necessary foundation for long term success. At a recent Women Catalysts event, I connected with Yscaira Jimenez, the founder and CEO of Labor-X, and she referenced the “Four Hs,” which represent a the essential people that every fledgling organization needs to put in place to kick ass.

The Four Hs are the Hustler, the Hacker, the Hipster and the Homie. 

Let’s dive into what each of these Hs represent and how they contribute to success.

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The Hustler

This person is a go-getter, someone who is constantly putting themselves out there. A hustler is networking and making connections for the business as your company is raising money and building a presence in the market. A hustler is often the face of your organization, representing what you bring to the world at events, in the press and to anyone who will listen!

Finding a hustler

A hustler doesn’t have to be an extrovert, but… someone who prefers to stay behind the scenes the majority of the time may not be the right choice for in this role. Think about asking this person to interact with many different types of people in various settings and scenarios. If you feel confident that they’d not only agree, but be excited by the opportunity, you’re on the right track. Next, think about how they would present your organization’s mission, product or service. No matter how energetic or how magnetic someone’s personality is, if they’re not sharing the right message, they’re not providing value.

The Hacker

Chef: Brenden Darby, Photo:  Sari Blum Photography

Chef: Brenden Darby, Photo: Sari Blum Photography

This person loves breaking things and putting them back together. Building code or apps and taking ideas to the next level is their bread and butter. Your hacker isn’t afraid to try new things when it comes to building the best product or tool to serve your customers and support the back-end of your business. They find joy experimenting and they likely have studied, officially or unofficially, the type of development that is necessary in order for your organization to grow.

Finding a Hacker

Connect with communities online and in real life that provide classes and instruction in the type of technology that your organization needs. There many groups out there that specialize in developing coders, engineers, product managers, chefs, inventors and so much more. Know that this person may not be as interested in developing and sharing the story of your business, so give them space to nerd out on the bits and bytes that differentiate your company from your competitors.

The Hipster

This person curates your brand so that it resonates deeply with the audience you’re trying to reach. Although they might not technically be a “hipster” this person not only understands the aesthetic of your brand but demands that your products, your website and everything else you put out for public consumption adhere to and showcase that aesthetic. The hipster drives brand messaging based on the organization’s values and makes sure that there is consistency in the voice, look and feel of everything the company produces.

Chef: Nicole Ruiz Hudson, Photo:  Sari Blum Photography

Chef: Nicole Ruiz Hudson, Photo: Sari Blum Photography

Finding a Hipster

Establish a relationship with the heads of organizations that offer programs around brand, design, strategic communication and promotion to connect with creatives who are looking for opportunities. You can also look for people in your network who already work in marketing/branding. Finally, your hipster might be right under your nose in your social media feeds. Find those people who curate consistent, impeccable social media posts that gives you real insight into who they are; if they can make daily life seem incredible, who knows what they could do for a business! Make sure they understand what your vision is and spend ample time brainstorming together about the type of customers or clients and influencers you’re trying to reach so the right message is amplified.

The Homie

This is the person with whom you find yourself on the floor eating junk food talking through the worst (or best!) case scenarios. A homie provides moral support and reminds you that everyone has rough days/weeks/months while encouraging you to recall everything that you and your company do really well. Without a homie, the frustration of reworking your technology, reiterating your brand aesthetic and revving up for one more networking event or investor pitch would feel impossible. They give you the strength and the courage to keep going. A homie is also honest with you. When it’s time to take a break or rethink your direction, they’ll let you know.

Finding a Homie

This is not the time to find a “yes person”; look for someone that believes in you and your dream, but who will also be honest with you when you’re veering off track. A good place to start is current or former classmates or colleagues since they understand your background and you’ve seen how they achieve goals and motivate others. A partner, family member or longtime friend is tempting (and their best qualities are useful when evaluating others to fill the H roles) but remember that the people closest to you will often add the most value by allowing you to disconnect from your work, so it’s best not to rely on your inner circle as your primary business homie long term.

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As a solopreneuer or new entrepreneur just starting out, do you have to fill all of these roles right away? No! There’s so much value in finding people to work with on a single project or as a short-term contractor. Maybe consider an intern or an apprentice… This is also a reminder that nobody expects you to do everything on your own. Reach out to friends, family, former colleagues or other members of communities in which you’re active and ask for feedback, advice and moral support. It’s easy to forget how incredibly powerful a short brainstorming session or a few words of praise can be when you need encouragement to get over whatever obstacle is blocking you.

Shalon has thrived only because of the hackers, hipsters and homies I’ve been so lucky to pull in at every step of the journey. As we continue to create amazing events to build community and promote conversation, I am eager to keep collaborating with my generous and thoughtful network to ensure I’m doing everything possible to make Shalon the best it can be.

check out upcoming events to join as we break bread, break barriers and break the silence.