Tony Hawk is one of the most recognized pro athletes in the world, with a successful video game franchise, premium Youtube channel, apparel line, charitable foundation and more.
But it took a lot for him to grow his business to where it is now. Hawk started skating professionally when he was 14, and he started making a business of it right when he got out of high school. He talked to Behind the Brand host Bryan Elliott about getting trapped in a contract to use his likeness and name in the late ’80s that he didn’t really understand at the time. Hawk said it taught him to guard his assets in later business deals.
“When taking these endorsement deals, I always made sure I had final approval over the way they used my image. But I was also using those dollars to bring attention to skating in general,” he said.
Hawk attributes his success and career longevity on always innovating in business and his skating, a strategy all startups and businesses can learn from.
“The key to success in our sport is ‘It doesn’t matter if you’re number one. You’ve got to innovate and try something new or people are going to forget about you,’” he said.
Part of that success in the past was doing things like creating a successful video game franchise. Now it includes embracing social media, an arena Hawk excels in.
“Social media has given me the best unfiltered feedback of people who are interested in what I’m doing. It’s me on Twitter, I want this to be my voice, and I want people to know they are connecting with me.”
Hawk also said he didn’t want someone running his account, as many other celebrities have opted, saying, “you just know you are getting the sanitized version of who they are.”
Watch the full Behind the Brand interview above, and tweet your questions to @BryanElliott, or leave them in our comments section below.
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