As part of our #BeTheChange series, we sit down and discuss how businesses have evolved, with change-makers in our Garage Community.
This week, we talk with Patrick Leung, co-founder of 4HK, a marketing and creative agency based in Hong Kong.
We deep-dived into how he defines success, his heroes, and his experience with no BS crypto startups.
Author: Ching Lam Ip, Programme & Marketing Lead, Garage Society
I’m Patrick Leung, I’m the co-founder of 4HK, a marketing and creative agency based in Hong Kong.
I guess you could say that I became an entrepreneur for the sake of being one!
The short version is that I was simply drawn to the entrepreneur lifestyle because it seemed really cool. Plus, I was a young and hungry 26-year-old!
I had worked for a few years in a sales role at a marketing agency and was starting to feel a bit disillusioned. Another one of my colleagues at the time felt similar - we were both very driven to create something that fully belonged to us. We wanted to build something that would let us take ownership of our path and control our time. That’s how we co-founded 4HK.
I can honestly say that I truly have total control over my own life right now, and that’s a good thing. That said, control is a bit different from freedom.
I have the freedom to make a lot of decisions in my business, but that also means that often, its success hinges directly on the decisions I make.
I am personally responsible for many aspects, and so I have to be very dedicated to it. There is a kind of freedom, but perhaps not in the strictest sense of the word.
All in all, I am very happy with my life right now. I fully encourage anyone who has dreams to become an entrepreneur to just give it a try!
When 4HK was first established, I was hyper-focused on making sales and closing leads. It was the measure of success I used to prove myself, and practically speaking, for the survival of the business.
I was like a soldier on the battlefield - putting in the work to generate the highest profit margins to ensure business viability. But now, I’m starting to appreciate that there are many aspects to success that can’t be calculated using tangible numbers.
My role is more like a general now. I’ve started to step back, and take a leadership role in shaping the values, vision, and culture of 4HK.
While it’s important to be able to execute my visions for the company I’ve built, it’s equally important to be able to communicate this vision clearly to team members and other stakeholders, so that they believe in its value.
There are many successful leaders who I look up to - I would go so far as to call them my heroes. Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Carl Sagan are all pioneers and thought leaders of their time - I look up to them immensely.
Another one of my heroes is Winston Churchill. He was able to take on the relentless pressure of making daily life-or-death decisions amidst a world war, in an era without the internet.
He had so much on his plate, and yet he still managed to write prolifically and just... get on with the rest of his life! Of course, the realities of running a business pale in comparison, but I admire his tenacity in coping with challenges.
Dr. Toa Charm, who is the former Chief Public Mission Officer at Cyberport was a mentor to myself many years ago. He’s great a sharing his vision, planning his business, and crafting his own community.
I look to him a lot in my own mentorship work with LimeHK, where I’m currently the Director of Open Innovation. I work a lot with startups, especially guiding them on how to bridge the HK, GBA and the Japan market.
To me, a great mentor is someone who can provide practical, actionable advice, but also explain the philosophy behind it.
4HK has provided marketing and branding services for a number of blockchain companies, and the approach is really quite different from traditional enterprises.
The main goal for most crypto companies is to fundraise, and so the branding strategies will revolve around creating a brand that’s attractive to investors.
Their management teams also tend to be young, and therefore already very tech-savvy. We spend much less time educating clients on the importance of a social media presence, and eCommerce integration - it’s already ingrained in them.
Instead, they’ll hire us for our specific professional experience, which means they’ll seek a lot of technical advice. They’re not afraid to call out bullcrap, so it’s important for us to stay in the loop with industry news!
I’d like to see more genuine community building in Hong Kong. It’s very easy to fall into the practice of “business matchmaking” and call it a day. It’s all too fragmented and transactional for any real, meaningful outcomes.
To me, those tech forums full of Apple fanboys are an example of a real community! The forums are full sharing about the latest news, hidden features, and tackling problems together. There’s a lot of back and forth, and people really try their best to take care of each other. That is the true meaning of community.
Note: this interview has been edited for length and clarity
When Patrick isn’t meeting with innovative startups, you can find him building his business at Garage Society Wan Chai Jaffe.
Learn more about 4HK’s marketing services for startups and enterprises alike, on their website.
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