Entrepreneur and marketing strategist Holly Hagerman wanted to make an impact in the world. She founded Green Rising Marketing to do just that, making the green movement more successful day by day and company by company. Hagerman believes you can make an impact in whatever you choose to do, and she certainly has with notable companies such as Friends of Trees, Idealist.com, Cairn Pacific, and more. We recently sat down with her to learn the secrets of success for an entrepreneur.
“Our fundamental reason for existence is to fuel the success of the environmental movement,” she says, “that’s why we were founded.” To do that, Hagerman insists you must start conversations that mean something. Eventually the ultimate goal is to turn socially conscious into socially subconscious – to make the responsible way second nature. For Green Rising, they boiled it down to discovering their core values. The result, she says, were principles for which we should be willing to hire and fire.
Hagerman and her team wrote down the core values about two years ago. It was so impactful that now she does it with most of her clients.
Green Rising’s Road Map of Core Values
- Start conversations that mean something.
“It’s not about meeting in person, it’s about making a powerful connection.”
- Dig deep, celebrate the details, think in systems.
- Take care of each other.
“This starts with our employees and extends to our clients…Sometimes if a client is sick we’ll send them some chicken noodle soup or Jack Daniels.”
- Go with your gut, be intuitive.
- Revel in the hot seat.
“You have to be able to think on your feet, set expectations that are accurate, and give answers in the moment.
- Never stop learning.
- Seek results. Be a budget guardian.
“We want to know what’s coming out of this work. If we don’t get clear results we shouldn’t be in business. The first step is to protect the client's budget, always have it top of mind.”
- Rethink normal.
“Take things and look at them from every angle, including this angle: What happens if we do nothing?”
And most importantly:
- “Do the right thing.”
Do Less: The Secret to Everyday Success
In 2015 Hagerman set a New Year's goal: Be early. It inspired the goal she set for 2016: Do less. Yes, LESS! Here’s why…
“What I realized after I spent a year trying to be early was that I was filling my life with too many things, making arriving on time a challenge” she says. She recently spent time among Ethiopian tribes, and it was eye-opening. Community is a big part of their health. Depression, they say, is a ‘city sickness.’ When you ask them what they like to do they always say, spend time with friends. With such shared work, you see them sitting around chatting more. And studies show that tribal people spend only 3-5 hrs. a day working (The original affluent society – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_affluent_society ) “So, a truth that I try to live by is: doing less gives you so much more. Meditating, doing nothing, gives you windows for creativity and problem solving making you far more productive than working ten or twelve hours a day.” As the old adage goes… “Don’t just do something, sit there!” Hagerman takes a full two hours to welcome the day, get ready and eat before work each day. She puts her phone on airplane mode at night, and only turns it back on after her morning meditation. This makes room for her second resolution: Make space, don’t fill it or try to capture it.
How to engage Millennial hires
Hagerman knows how to lead her team, and she’s skilled at understanding the millennial drive. “The millennial generation is very entrepreneurial. If you don’t give them freedom, mobility, and career acceleration they will leave,” she says. So how does an entrepreneur lead other entrepreneurs? “I had always wanted to have a virtual agency model and I wanted to treat my employees as equals, like you would a contractor.”
The book, “Why Work Sucks and How To Fix It: The Results-Only Revolution,” was pivotal for Hagerman. The book became a driving force, and gave the reeducation necessary to get away from the ‘buts in seats – over-the-shoulder’ management style. “Their desk is in their computer and they can pick up and go whenever they want. The idea is that you are responsible for getting the results. Your job depends on it.”
As an entrepreneur Hagerman lives her work, and she does so with intent, balance, and thoughtfulness. Her vision comes true with Green Rising, and it’s amazing to see marketing come into fruition with those values as a driving force. Everyday Green Rising fuels the environmental movement by starting conversations that mean something. What happens next is what we can’t wait to find out.