We have one of the most successful direct-to-consumer and digital marketing executives I know with us today, Hakan Lindskog, founder and CEO at Recur Advisory LLC.
Hakan is an old friend whom I caught up with recently to discuss his recent decision to start Recur Advisory LLC, a consultancy focused on recurring revenue business. Recur Advisory creates and optimizes subscriptions, memberships, and club businesses across a range of industries, from mobile apps, music, and video, to publishing, digital media, software as a service, or SAS, and consumer goods.
Victoria: Hakan, we’ve known each other for many years. You’ve had exceptional success as a direct-to-consumer marketing expert and as an accomplished CEO and GM many times over. You have an incredible track record across a range of industries and companies as a business leader who drives bottom-line results, including Time Life, Neverblue Media, MediaBay, Matomy USA, and Highlights magazine. Any direct-to-consumer marketing firm would love to have you! So, why did you decide to start your own consultancy and what advice can you offer to jobseekers who may be thinking of doing the same?
Hakan: Thanks Victoria. It’s good to be with you today. For me, striking out on my own was the result of industry shifts that played to my expertise. As you know, we’ve gone from buying music cds and downloading individual songs online to subscription-based models where music and videos are delivered to us through streaming services. For businesses, the lifetime value of recurring revenue customers has unlocked new opportunities to profitably invest in building a larger customer base and gaining market share. This powerful direct-to-consumer component offers vast strategic benefits to any business. But many companies in this space don’t have the expertise to manage these newer subscription-based models, and this is something I’ve done at several companies. Also, while I’ve enjoyed building teams and developing talent on the operational side over the years, I saw an opportunity to focus on strategy and help these companies in my own private consultancy.
Victoria: Wow, great. So you took the leap! How long did it take you to get up to speed on your own after leaving your last gig?
Hakan: I started the consultancy seven months ago and it took four months to land my first corporate client. The decision-making process is pretty long at most mid-sized to large firms, as you can imagine. They’re balancing many other priorities. This affects cash flow, so it’s something you have to factor in if you’re starting you own business consultancy. Had I been targeting start-ups and smaller businesses it would have been reasonable to expect a faster turnaround. But I’m more focused on the middle- to large-market segment.
Victoria: Has it been easy to find new clients and where do you find them? I noticed you have more than 400 connections on LinkedIN. Has that been helpful?
Hakan: Social sites like LinkedIN can be useful for making introductions to prospects you don’t know. But I’ve relied more on my closest network to generate business—long-time colleagues I’ve worked with over many years. This has been an important source of new client introductions.
Victoria: What do you like most about working on your own?
Hakan: I would say I enjoy managing my time independently. There’s more flexibility in that regard, and fewer meetings. I also enjoy the exposure I get to different businesses and differing business models. I would say there’s been a great deal more business learning and development on my own than there was for me as a corporate executive. You have to get up to speed quickly, and I’ve really enjoyed that. I’ve gained valuable insights from working across different business models and industries.
Victoria: What prepared you to go out on your own? How did you know you’d be good at running your own business after working at companies for many years? Is there a particular skill, talent, or passion that enabled you to be successful in getting your business off the ground?
Hakan: This may sound like a cliché’, but I’ve always been results-oriented. That’s my personality. I’ve always been focused on what I’m doing. I’ve been driven to change things throughout my direct marketing career, using analytical and data-driven approaches to achieve results. I’ve had profit and loss responsibilities at many organizations, and I’ve always had immediate feedback on how my efforts were impacting the bottom line. I don’t have that right now with my consulting clients because we haven’t done business together long enough for recurring business revenue cycles to register. So that’s been an adjustment for me, but results will come with time.
You have to be self-aware. The time was right for me to go out on my own. It’s different for everyone, but you have to rely on your own intuition and gut feeling. My experience leading turnarounds, restructurings, digital transformations, and international expansions equipped me for work I do today with Recur Advisory LLC.
Victoria: Well, the future looks bright for you, Hakan. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I know it will be helpful to jobseekers and others who are in career transition and thinking of going out on their own.
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from the folks over at The Poke in the UK (try these at your own risk ):
When it’s your turn to ask a question, say: “Does this job come with a free apron, ‘cos I’m gonna be cooking.” Make a 1 finger gun.
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