Guys today I have an absolute treat for you – an interview with global Entrepreneur and super successful sports promoter, Eddie Hearn. For the few of you who might not have heard of Eddie, he is the managing director of Matchroom Sport, based in Essex, synonymous with the world of boxing, snooker and darts. This successful business man is a client and old school friend of mine and someone I believe we can all learn a few key business lessons from.
Not too long ago he pulled off one of the biggest nights in British Boxing history – Joshua v’s Klitschko – an immense spectacle. 90,000 people watching at Wembley and millions around the world in over 140 countries.
So how did he get to where he is today?
I’ve known Eddie since we were eleven. We went to the same school in Brentwood Essex and were in the same group of friends. At the time you couldn’t escape from the fact that Eddies’ dad Barry Hearn was incredibly successful, just coming off a glorious time of managing Steve Davis during the 90’s while he dominated snooker. He also had Chris Eubank in his camp and when British boxing was in its golden days. I remember visiting their house at about 13 and being amazed at the size of the place. Windy corridors and a myriad of rooms, I distinctly remember thinking if I’d got lost I would have struggled to find my way out! That house is actually now the head office for Matchroom.
What happens when you have a famous father is interesting. People say you’ll have it easy. They’ll say you’ve got it made. They were saying this when Eddie was 13. People’s jealousy and misunderstanding of others wealth has always interested me. You see it to this day. Eddie gets far too much stick on social media and when he donated a large chunk of cash to our friend Chris Tester’s cause earlier this year people said it wasn’t enough – the man can’t win.
But here is the side you don’t see.
Eddie was always good to me at school. While kids can be quite cruel at that age I felt like I always had an ally in Eddie. When he left school he didn’t go into the family business. My understanding is that Barry told him he had to make it himself. We lost touch at this point so I don’t know the full details. I think he went off to practice accountancy. Years later he did enter the family business (why wouldn’t you) but he started with a small part of it and no grand title and worked his way up, slowly taking on more and more responsibility until a year or two ago he became group MD. This is not a man that has had it handed on a plate to him.
In the mid 2000’s when he was heading up Matchroom Poker he got in touch and asked me to help him build some websites. We did this together for a number of years and I really enjoyed working closely with him as a client. I’ll always remember turning up to his office one day and him asking lots of questions about how my other business ventures were going. He wasn’t the type to just focus on his own thing, he took the time to ask me about mine. Its because of times like that, that I’ve written this. I want you to see the man from a different angle, the real Eddie.
Eddie has worked harder than almost anyone I know to get to where he is. You can think what you want of the man, I guess for those of us who respect hard work and entrepreneurism its a story with lessons. The more successful you are there are always going to be haters, always people who are jealous. You’ll need to learn how to deal with that and not let it affect your life. Just because his Dad setup the business didn’t mean that Eddie was on a shoeing. In fact 2nd and 3rd gen family businesses are some of the most prone to failure as its so difficult passing the reigns from one family member to another.
I asked Eddie if he’d answer a few quick questions for you and I’m delighted he found time in his exceptionally busy schedule to do so. Let’s take a look at them:
1). Eddie, what time are you up in the morning and what time is lights out?
I’m actually not the earliest of risers but I work late into the night and by the time I’ve finished with my phone it’s probably midnight and then the minds ticking for another hour. I’m generally up at 7am normally woken by the kids.
2). What does a standard day look like (if there is such a thing)?
There isn’t really a standard day but some days looks similar. If I’m in the office (which is treat) then I’ll make an effort to spend as much time to catch up with the team as possible. We will go through upcoming events and usually go for a lunch. It’s important that the work environment is fun – I couldn’t imagine anything worse than hating your job. I’m mostly on the road for fights, press conferences and weigh ins – kind of like a travelling salesman really!
3). Whats the biggest mistake you’ve made?
I’m yet to make a catastrophic error but I make mistakes every day – I think that’s pretty standard in most business. I tend not to call them mistakes, rather things I could have done better. I’m probably my own biggest critic so I’m rarely happy with my output which I guess keeps me motivated to improve.
4). How do you deal with failure?
I hate losing. It doesn’t matter if it’s business or a game of table tennis I’m always desperate to win. Its how I’ve been brought up. If we fail or something goes wrong I’ll probably sulk a bit and then become motivated to bounce back with something stronger. I think you just have to know that failure or disappointment is coming, it’s part and part of running a business but it’s how you deal with failure and how quickly you can turn it round and manage it which is perhaps more important.
5). Do you set any sort of goals?
In my business the goal is really to make big fights. I try and take each one as we go..for example at the end of last year we made Joshua v Klitschko and Haye v Bellew probably within a week of each other but I approached both very differently and just made sure I concentrated on each one before celebrating the other. I’m motivated by numbers and those numbers can be anything from ticket sales to PPV sales to bottom line. It’s not really the monetary value it’s more just beating the numbers, winning I guess.
6). How do you deal with your email inbox?
As I write this I have 215 unread messages in my inbox. I’m poor at replying but you can guarantee the important ones will always get dealt with. My PA will filter most and always give me a nudge if something is outstanding.
7). What’s your best tip for growing a successful business?
My dad is a chartered accountant and he has always instilled the importance of accounting in growing a business. Budgeting and planning are so important because without getting the numbers right you can’t appreciate your exposure and you also can’t see the growth or potential growth of the business. Certainly in everything I do I will always run the numbers to look at the make up of a fight, event or business and this should be generic across the sectors.
8). Do you manage to get any work-life balance?
That’s a tough one and it’s definitely one I haven’t cracked yet. I have two young kids and travel a lot so it’s very hard to be a good husband/dad and also attend the events and put the hours in that I need. It’s important to me to make some small changes to make sure I can do some stuff that perhaps others can’t like leave work early and pick the kids up from school at 3pm. On one hand you want to put 110% into the business but on the other hand that can’t jeopardise your family responsibilities.
9). What would you tell your 21 year old self?
Hmmmmm probably that you are not as cool as you think! I’m a completely different person now than I was at 16 – 21 even 31 and I guess you never stop evolving. I’m happy how I lived my life through those years, I had a lot of fun. I think it’s important to enjoy yourself through that age because I feel like I’ve lived that social life and while everyone loves a night out I’m not desperate for it.
10). What’s next?
We’ve just moved into the US market and that’s an important area for us over the next 12 months. For us we are always looking at new sports and trends and looking to create the next big one. We’ve done it with snooker, darts and more recently boxing but all sports have peaks and troughs. I’m also looking at some music opportunities as well (mainly festivals) which we may break into soon.
I’d like to thank Eddie personally for taking the time to do this interview and sharing some insights into his life.
If you want to follow Eddie then you can do that in a number of various places: