We had the good fortune of connecting with Sean McHugh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sean, how do you think about risk?
I think risk is a loaded word. Despite Merriam-Webster defining it as “to expose to hazard or danger,” the word risk has taken on a sexy, impose your will, machismo-ness about it. “You have to be willing to ‘risk’ it all to get ahead.” Often people will credit their risk-taking as the key to their success. However, I would posit that taking a risk, even a calculated one, is only glorified when it pays off. And like most things in life, there is no formula. Instead of risk, I like to think of it more as getting out of your comfort zone, and being willing to fail. You are not going to have it all figured out in the beginning. All businesses, like people, have journeys and growing pains. The real question is, are you willing to learn and pivot along the way?
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have found that being of service to others first is a much more rewarding way to approach life. You’d be surprised at how a little extra patience, effort, and genuine interest in what your client/customer needs can really go a long way. It creates loyalty, repeat business, and, a lot of times, word of mouth recommendations that are much more valuable than any kind of advertisement.
As corny as it might sound, I think overall just trying to be a decent human being is what I want the world to know about my brand and story. Also, being reliable, dependable, and fairly priced, while under promising and over delivering. Staying current with the technology and trends of my industry, without compromising my artistic integrity. It’s a fine line to walk, but always worth erring on the latter.
The most important factor behind my success is having a genuine passion for what I do. A good question to ask yourself is, “Would you do what you do if you weren’t getting paid?” Obviously, being good at what you do and making money to live is important. Your skills will improve with reps and time. But all the money in the world won’t matter if you don’t enjoy your business. Follow the passion, not the money.
And finally, the most important lesson that I have been taught by my career/business is: I am not in control. Yes, I can make plans and move towards goals I have set, but ultimately, there are no guarantees. There will be ups and downs, successes and failures, in both my business and my life. The only thing I can even remotely control is how I respond and then, more importantly, move forward.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
For my entire 20 year run in LA, I have always lived in the Valley. Van Nuys, Winnetka, and for the majority of the time, North Hollywood. Lots of people will dig on it, or say it’s too hot, but I am a fan!
So for anyone who comes to town to visit, I have a couple must do spots.
For breakfast/brunch – Aierloom in Toluca Lake
For happy hour and Taco Tuesday – Hungry Crowd in Toluca Lake
For drinks at Sunset or after dinner with an amazing view – Castaways in Burbank
I think everyone should do Venice Beach once – it’s a uniquely LA experience. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Despite being abandoned by my father at age 2, I have been very blessed with a supportive family from day one. I had an amazing grandfather and uncles who were my male role models and a beast of a single mother who was nothing but encouraging of me being a creative. However, the person who I absolutely need to shoutout is my wife, VK Lynne. Throughout our 19 years of marriage, she has been my rock, my champion, my accountability, and my inspiration. Because of her, I can be the best version of me.
Main image and second pic – Bradley Otto Posey Remaining Pics – Courtney Lindberg Photography