Top Turks is a monthly feature on E2M. It features the movers and shakers in the fields of entrepreneurship, digital marketing, social media, and technology, offering insights into how business leaders think, work and have fun.

Leonard Kim is the managing partner of Influence Tree, where he and his team offer expertise in brand building and social media growth hacking to businesses, organizations and startups. The personal branding expert and top marketing influencer is also a TEDx speaker and attends various public speaking events. He has been featured in several top publications, podcasts and radio shows, which include but are not limited to BBC, GQ, Fortune, Mashable, Entrepreneur, Fortune, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, Huffington Post and so on and so forth.

Leonard has worked with several startups and mentored individuals who want to make it big in the digital sphere. It is worth mentioning that he has an active presence on Quora, where was named a Top Writer for the platform two years in a row.

We got in touch with Leonard to know more about him.

1. What do you do within half-an-hour of waking up?

I start my day by quickly getting dressed, having some water and driving to work.

2. How much time do you devote to work daily?

On an average, I put in about 8 hours of work on a daily basis.

3. What is your daily work routine like?

My work consists of mostly answering emails, being in meetings and the occasional phone calls. It mostly revolves around constant communication.

4. How many times in a day do you check your email?

All day! I keep checking my email non-stop as a majority of my business requests arrive in my inbox.

5. How much time in a day do you dedicate to researching or reading/watching industry-related news?

Probably 45 minutes.

6. What has been your biggest professional achievement so far?

I am yet to accomplish it, but thus far I’ve been named a top marketing expert by Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur and a few other publications.

7. What has been your biggest failure so far?

My biggest failure has been not paying my bills for a long time and getting the electricity shut-off. I had to microwave my food in the hallway of the apartment complex, sit with my phone for hours while charging it in that same hallway. I also received an eviction notice shortly afterward. This made me contemplate living under a bridge for some time but as luck would have it, I called up my mom and she made me move in with my grandma for half a year!

8. What is your biggest dream?

The typical American dream. To have a house with a white picket fence, a loving family, a big white fluffy puppy and a horse.

9. How do you unwind?

By taking trips to my favorite travel destination New York at the Viceroy Central Park Hotel.

10. How do you spend your weekends?

Typically, I go out with friends and loved ones and we go eat, go shopping, or go to a bar. But I personally like going on boats out to the sea, to the Santa Anita Race Tracks. I want to learn to play golf and go horseback riding!

11. What mindset do you think is required to become a successful entrepreneur or a company?

You have to be able to have a calm and steady mindset. Most people — especially in the early stages of their careers and business, get excessively emotional on several occasions. They either get highly excited one day or feel demotivated and want to give up the next day. A successful person or organization needs to be calm and have an even keel where their emotions don’t sway them.

12. What is the one crazy thing about you that very few people know?

I made a new candy by wrapping a red vine over a piece of chocolate. Aaron Orendorff wants to buy them all from me!  

13. Your One piece of advice for startup owners ?

No one cares about what you do until they get to know you first. When I used to do sales, step 1 was to meet and greet, step 2 was to sell yourself and step 3 was to sell your company. If you aren’t building your personal brand and putting that at the forefront of your company, no one will want to do business with you.

14. Would you like to share anything other than what is asked here? About you or your company

My company InfluenceTree teaches people how to position their brand, get featured in publications and grow their social media following. My students have had wins from crafting an amazing bio that allows them to connect instantaneously with clients, getting their content read over a million times, featured in major publications, and landing paid clients for their work.

Please tell us a few things about you that not many people know:

  • Your phone brand – Apple and Blackberry
  • Your computer brand – Apple
  • Your favorite app – Make More! My friend Daniel was playing it while we were eating one day, then I downloaded it and now, I can’t stop playing it.
  • Your preferred dress code at work – Business casual
  • Your waking time6:50 am
  • Your bed time – 12:00 am
  • Your favorite pastime – Watching TV
  • Your favorite blog/newspaper/news channel – I like to read It’s very avant garde.
  • Your inspiration – To spread love so others can be inspired to take action to improve their lives and the lives of others.
  • Your health mantra – I should eat this, but this looks so much tastier… I don’t know what to do! Maybe I’ll just eat the burger this time only! (the everyday dilemma).

That was Leonard Kim for you.

The Top Turk made us realize that even though you may not have a ‘silver spoon,’ you can still reach the pinnacles of success with grit, determination and perseverance. We really liked his take on life and success and hope that you enjoyed reading about his inspiring journey as much as we did.

Keep a watch on this space for our next Top Turk of the month!