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Meet Hansen Hunt of SD Inbound

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hansen Hunt.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Hansen. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Everything started when I was 13 years old buying video game strategy guides at post-Christmas sales and turning around to resell them for a huge profit on eBay. The entrepreneur bug bit me pretty hard. I flipped everything from Yo-yos to baseball cards. Then when I was 18 I turned it into a legitimate online business. That’s the moment when I decided to go to college. I needed to learn how to really run a business. So I took the leap and went into debt hoping I would master some new skills and hit the ground running out of school. I was wrong. I learned a lot while in college… but not how to run a business.

My senior year of college, I shut my business down to pursue starting a new project running socially responsible tours in Mexico. Sadly, the U.S. economy and political environment in Mexico squashed those plans real quick… so I got a job. That business plan will be dusted off soon. I worked in a marketing role for a local hospitality organization. Due to some folks quitting, I had quite a bit of responsibility for being right out of college. No one was there to teach me anything, so I attended workshops, studied whatever I could find online (limited at that time), and networked with folks who knew more than me. That was a good idea and foreshadowed what would come next.

A couple years after backpacking around the world while freelancing, I landed at a wind energy company who had heard of “inbound marketing” and wanted someone who can run their HubSpot. Three months into the job, I went to HubSpot’s annual INBOUND conference. The platform was new to me, but when they asked if anyone wanted to lead the San Diego HubSpot User Group (SD H.U.G.), I jumped at the opportunity to continue down my path of lifelong learning and mastering new marketing skills. That was a great idea.

Within the first year of running the SD H.U.G., I met my business partner Nicole Pereira. We decided the H.U.G. needed to be something more. It needed to be a resource, a place to learn from others, where members could master new skills, network with like-minded inbound marketers, and connect with career opportunities. That led to the creation of SD Inbound, Inc., a 501(C)(3) educational non-profit with over 2,000 members attending monthly events and workshops. That idea turned out to be harder than expected.

SD Inbound’s mission is to create a hotbed of sales and marketing talent here in San Diego through low cost, high value, hands-on workshops. No fluff, just a lot of learning and networking (and local beer of course). Employers can hire the talent, entrepreneurs can grow their business, agencies and freelancers can learn new skills to improve performance for their clients. No need for student loans to attend our events. I recently transitioned my career to work for a fast-growing startup in San Diego that closely aligned with my mission at SD Inbound. Portfolium helps connect learning with opportunity, helping students reflect on and display what they’ve learned in and out of school in order to advance their careers. I lead Portfolium’s marketing efforts by day and SD Inbound by night.

All of that has culminated in HUG18: Disruptive Marketing on April 12th, the largest inbound marketing event west of the Mississippi. Leading the event may kill me, but I have a team of volunteers that make the magic happen and speakers who volunteer their time to teach our members the latest sales and marketing techniques.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’m not sure any road in life is smooth. Mine especially has been rocky but I’ve been lucky enough to have a tribe that has always helped get me back on my feet.

My work life balance has been a little unbalanced for some time. That’s led to failed relationships, health struggles, depression, anxiety, etc. I was fired once for “liking” an ex-colleague’s Facebook post. I’ve worked for some bad bosses (and some great ones!).

Then, HUG17 happened. From an outsider’s perspective, it was great. We had a keynote speaker demand a steep fee. No other speaker required a huge fee or was as difficult to deal with. That’s how the day started, I was heartbroken. We lost money because of that one person.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about SD Inbound, Inc. – what should we know?
As I mentioned before, SD Inbound is a non-profit focused on helping local sales and marketing professionals advance their careers and master new skills. We aren’t just another marketing conference. My mission from day one with this organization was to disrupt how people think about marketing education, both in college and conferences. Students shouldn’t have to pay thousands of dollars to learn one new skill. In the long run, I want to make it completely free, paid for by grants and employers.

On top of that, we host very intimate events. We want members to be able to mingle with speakers for as long as they like. We want them to learn from each other while networking. And we want it to feel like a true San Diego experience. Local independent beer, wine, food, sunshine, in a historic venue.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I don’t think I’ve achieved my definition of success just yet, but there are a couple characteristics that have helped me along my path. First, my ability to rapidly learn something. Learn a new skill, a new industry, a new strategy, or even how to work with a personality type different from mine. I developed this skill because I was self-taught throughout my entire life. I had to always be learning.

Second, I do not often (impossible not to do it ever) let my emotions drive my decisions. I am a numbers guy. I prove it first. I learned this when one of my first bosses turned down all of my ideas. Then I came back with proof they couldn’t deny. I never stopped doing that. As a marketer, I prove the ROI of my efforts. A lot of marketing professionals have trouble doing that. It’s second nature to me.


  • Membership is free
  • HUG18 tickets range from $99 – $549

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Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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