In a time of media uncertainty and social shift, top-tier minority-owned talent agency G&B stands apart as a guiding beacon, thanks to the decisive leadership of Founder/ CEO Kyle Hjelmeseth. “Diverse since day one,” G&B seeks to reinvent the digital talent management experience with integrity, transparency, and a human touch, transforming more than 60 influencer clients into influential people with a powerfully positive company ethos. Under Hjelmeseth’s purposeful direction, the G&B team has established an inclusive and refreshingly “family-like” company culture. Now, the intrepid entrepreneur shares his top five tips for building a successful, nationwide operation from the ground up and becoming a trusted name among a sea of fierce competitors.
“Some feel it’s particularly remarkable for a digital talent agency to stand up as a leader in times of chaos, but I disagree,” says Hjelmeseth. “Positive change can and should be a collaborative effort between brands, agencies, and influencers, with each sharing the responsibility of addressing cultural issues. All of us hold power to lead the charge toward progress, diversity, and a media world where everyone is included and represented.”
Along with a decidedly positive outlook toward change, Hjelmeseth offers five foundational keys to successful business-building and cultivating a culture of leadership:
Steady, organic growth. It took Hjelmeseth six years (eight if you count the side hustle phase) to grow his agency from 15 to 60 exclusive influencer clients and multi-millions in revenue. Yet, he did it all while maintaining 100% ownership and a debt-free balance sheet – a true testament to how he builds relationships and where he focuses his attention.
Empowerment over profits. Since G&B’s founding, Hjelmeseth’s primary goal has been to help and empower people. In the process, he has built a wildly successful company with a solid reputation for creating changemakers. As a self-proclaimed “protectionist,” his highest priority is ensuring that clients are fully insulated and supported in ways that many other firms miss. One example of this is the agency’s online College of Influence, which offers more than 50 free learning modules designed to impart everything from the basic principles of business to understanding contracts and negotiating deals.
Make collaboration your first response. Choosing a collaborative approach has earned the firm a reputation for providing unparalleled service to creators and brand/agency partners. The agency’s 75% referral rate speaks to the quality, commitment, and cooperative efforts of both Hjelmeseth and his team.
Find solutions, be a YES person. Hjelmeseth believes in “leading from the front” and finding a path to the “yes…it can be done” perspective. This passionate, problem-solving style has led to innovative solutions to some of the industry’s biggest challenges. Most recently, G&B was one of the first agencies to promote UN/CDC COVID-19 safety initiatives early in the pandemic, taking a proactive stand to help keep consumers educated and informed.
Speak up. As the Black Lives Matter and similar movements take shape, Hjelmeseth finds himself and his company in a unique position to help further social progress. Well-versed in both the world of white privilege and Black trauma, he brings the full extent of his experience living as a half Black, half white male to the positive direction and guidance found in G&B’s groundbreaking Normalize Equality initiative. What began as a conversation among friends has evolved into a soft blueprint for influencers, brands, and agencies seeking to create and perpetuate positive change.
Discover G&B’s innovative approach to talent management and get to know Founder Kyle Hjelmeseth at gb-dm.com. Browse free courses to grow a steady following, get brand deals, and build a next-level career at CollegeofInfluence.com. Discover the Normalize Equality initiative at NormalizeEquality.online. Follow @KyleHjelmeseth and @gnbinfluence on Instagram for influencer spotlights, career tips, and brand updates.