Markus Hetzennegger - Quitting his work study program at 18 to become a serial entrepreneur ...
Markus Hetzenegger is a serial entrepreneur from Germany. He is the founder of NYBA Media, Black Soul, and the Hetzenegger Group. Markus grew up in southern Spain and has been self-employed since he was 18 years old. His passion is to build and scale online businesses. He is known for using winning strategies to generate very high revenues for both his clients and his own brands.
In this interview, we chat with Markus on his beginnings, how he quit his work study program at BMW at 18 to start his journey as an entrepreneur, where he gets his confidence and learn more about his first business, Nyba media, a digital marketing agency ...
What's special about Nyba media?
With NYBA Media, we see ourselves as a kind of ad house, a “boutique” agency. In essence, we scale our clients' ventures through online advertising. We work exclusively with carefully selected customers who have similar values to ours and create real added value for the end user. The selection of customers and employees is very important to us: quality instead of quantity. This is the only way we can be a true partner to our customers and not just a simple service provider.
We additionally take a holistic approach to all our customers; that means we believe that we are responsible for their overall success because we have immense influence on their business. Our credo is: “We deliver real results that have a long-term impact on progressive brands. We are not another full- service marketing agency; we don't do numbers and impressions that just look good on paper; we deliver sales and conversions that have a direct and measurable impact on your figures.”
Why did you start NYBA Media GmbH?
That’s because I love marketing and the psychology behind it. Right from the start, I was very impressed by the almost infinite number of possibilities that digital advertising offered. The number of people we reach every day is almost in the three-digit million range, and ultimately we have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of these people.
Thanks to NYBA Media, I also have the opportunity to get to know a wide variety of industries as well as niche industries. This is what really attracted me. Above all, it was the opportunity to have a meaningful impact on selected companies by using just a few levers.
How did you start it? Did you have any previous experience as an entrepreneur?
No, absolutely not. There was no one in my family or in my immediate social environment who was ever an entrepreneur. I had to teach myself everything. Among other things, I had to read a lot of books and find the right environment. At the age of 18, I simply quit my work-study program at BMW and registered as self-employed without any previous experience.
How did you validate your idea?
I didn't think NYBA Media completely through, and I didn’t have a business plan either. I just knew I had a strong interest in marketing and the talent to sell in what I believe. Everything else was created through continuous optimization efforts, trial and error, and the desire to provide genuine added value for our customers.
How did you finance your project?
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, there was no start-up capital and no investor. Therefore, from the very beginning, we were forced to make money as quickly as possible and keep all processes profitable. There was no other way at that point. Our office was my small 50-m2 apartment. After three months we moved into a real office.
How did you market and promote your business when you were launching? What was the most effective strategy? How did you get your first customers?
Since we lacked financial resources at the beginning, we could not advertise online. Virtually no one knew us either, so we ended up cold calling about 500 companies every day. We kept this up until we had our first customers, for whom we went all out. Based on the results that we achieved, we were recommended relatively quickly and often, acquiring more and more customers. To date, new customers have largely come to us by recommendation, which we regard as the best form of praise.
How long did it take you to see you could create a viable business?
This became clear in the very first month. I had set a goal to finish our logo and website within a week at the latest. After that, it was a matter of attracting customers and earning money. And it worked. We had sold our first website for $7k in the second week. Contacting and meeting the customer, and then closing the sale. (Yes, at that time we were still selling websites.)
Being a young entrepreneur can sometimes be an obstacle (to convince customers) when starting a business? How did you work this out? And where do you get your confidence at your age?
I strongly felt that, too. Almost all business partners were more than skeptical when we first met. Especially because I'm not known for donning a suit and tie. However, partners sitting across from you will notice pretty quickly if you are self-confident, competent, and intrinsically motivated in showing them exactly how you can support them in their endeavors.
I also tend to bite off more than I can chew. That's easily done. But following through and delivering the corresponding results afterwards, is not. In the end, we are simply faster and have achieved better results than the majority of our competitors. Success speaks louder than words. Always—even if you're only 16.
You're based in Frankfurt, Germany. Do you serve clients primarily in Germany or have you expanded worldwide?
We have quite a few customers right here in Frankfurt and the surrounding area because word about our services has gotten out in the region. Today we also have significantly more international customers from all over the world, and I think that’s fantastic.
What are the main ways in which you are able to monetize your business?
Company shareholdings, revenue sharing, adspend share deals and monthly fees.
What are the most useful tools/platforms that you use for your business?
What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?
I am someone who really appreciates his freedom. I like to make my own to-do list, even if it often requires a lot of discipline. I like to take responsibility and actively engage in the process of creating and building companies and making them successful. I think we all strive for self-actualization, but very few people take their success into their own hands.
So, for me it's all about :
The opportunity to positively impact the lives of millions of people
The creative process
Being responsible for your own success
What has been your biggest challenge/failure as an entrepreneur? And how do you deal with that?
The subsequent participation of a shareholder or business angel should be viewed with caution. Of course, there are great investors who only want the best for the company. But unfortunately, that was not the case with me, which has been my biggest mistake as an entrepreneur so far.
Nonetheless, racking your brains over such a blunder for a long time is simply not worth it. That was a big mistake and I learned from it. I won’t let something like that happen to me a second time. Whatever you focus on will become stronger.
What are your business goals for this coming year?
My goal for this year is to significantly scale NYBA Media. Last year, we did a lot of grassroots work in order to make rapid growth possible. For a long time, I underestimated the benefits of clear processes, fixed structures, and automation.
How can an aspiring entrepreneur start building a digital marketing agency now? What would be the best steps to take as a beginner?
I strongly believe that there is still a lot of potential for new digital marketing agencies. First and foremost, it is always about achieving remarkable results for the customer. Then you will never have a problem finding new customers, as word about good work gets around faster than you might think. In my opinion, the best way is to start simple and then steadily improve and optimize. “Better done than perfect.”
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Without exception, read every day before going to bed (and visualizing my goals before falling asleep)
What's your favorite quote?
''Your mental picture of yourself is the strongest force within you.''
Any good book(s) to recommend to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Psycho Cybernetics - Maxwell Maltz
King Of Oil - Daniel Ammann
The Daily Stoic - Ryan Holiday
To learn more about Markus Hetzenegger :
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