CEO of Night After Night Elliott Phear works with people to help them find out the qualities that make them unique, in order for them and their businesses to realize their full potential. He assists brands in creating “emotional connections with their consumers,” thanks to his “head for business and a heart for creativity.”
Before Night After Night, Elliott Phear started his professional career at MTV, where he wrote, developed, and produced programs that showcased “the biggest names in music and entertainment.” After that, he launched Night After Night, “an agency dedicated to helping brands connect with consumers when they’re most open—in the off hours.”
With Night After Night, Elliott Phear helps put brands in the best position to achieve success through “strategic planning, talent partnerships, an in-house content studio and an always-on approach to engagement.” The agency also boasts of expertise in various sectors: food and beverage, cannabis, fashion, beauty and media.
For the past several years, Elliott Phear and Night After Night have also “developed and managed marketing programs that have helped add hundreds of millions of dollars worth of value to their clients’ businesses.”
Aside from Night After Night, Elliott Phear is also the co-founder of Barking Irons Spirits, which “helped reintroduce the world to the original American Spirit,” Applejack. This spirit is a “premium spirit made with 100% apples.”
Because you know you can get through the tough times and that the great times never last for long. Elliott Phear, Night After Night
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started? What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
Elliott Phear: I started a small production company, and we used to get hired by ad agencies to produce their ads. But their ideas always stunk. So I hired a brand strategist, and clients started hiring us directly for our ideas and our production talents.
Jerome Knyszewski: So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Elliott Phear: Things are good. They’re never great; they’re never bad. They’re good. And that perspective only comes from having grit and resilience. Because you know you can get through the tough times and that the great times never last for long. But the fact that you get to run your own business? That’s good. That’s very good.
People take themselves way too seriously in business.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
Elliott Phear: One night I received a phone call from my accountant. It was October 14th — the night before taxes were due (we’d received an extension that year). My accountant rings me up and says to me, ‘Elliott, you owe $250,000, and it’s due tomorrow.’ No warning. No heads up, just a very large (for us, at the time) bill that was due the next day. I thought, ‘we need a new accountant’. I’d gotten a little too ‘hands-off.. Ever since then I watch the money a lot more closely.
In other words, you don’t want to get bogged down doing stuff you’re not great at. Elliott Phear
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Began Leading My Company”? Please share a story or an example for each.
You want your company to bring out the best in you — In other words, you don’t want to get bogged down doing stuff you’re not great at. Running a company is challenging, but that challenge should also be an opportunity to discover your gifts and apply them to your business.
Watch very closely for bad apples — Because they can spoil the bunch so fast. And get your company way off track. As the boss, it’s your job to throw them out as quickly as you can. If you lose your stomach for it, remind yourself that you’re doing it for your company and for every other person who’s bringing a positive attitude to the game.
Don’t be afraid to screw up — It’s funny because in my life, I’ve been told by plenty of bad bosses or people senior to me: ‘Don’t Mess it Up’ — It sounds like a dated saying now, but I’m sure there are plenty of jerks who still say it. Anyway, I actually think the opposite. I think you shouldn’t be afraid to screw up. Sure, you’re striving for excellence, always, but not at the expense of creativity, of looseness and curiosity, of an intrepid spirit. People take themselves way too seriously in business.
Be as good to your people as you can — You are lucky to be in charge. You may have worked hard, you may have had a great idea, but you are lucky to be in charge. Don’t take it lightly. People are counting on you for their paycheck, and even more than that, people have chosen to spend their time working at the company you lead. Respect that.
Bring your whole self to it — This idea is much more in vogue now than it was when I was starting out. But it bears reiterating because what I’ve discovered is that it makes work a lot less stressful — not having to put on a face is a big relief. Even more than that, it’s the glue of trust, the thing that makes connections between people mean something. Without it, there’s no magic. And every company needs a little magic.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Elliott Phear: Sign up for my newsletter here, and follow my agency on Twitter @TheNightAgency or on Instagram or LinkedIn @WeAreNightAfterNight.
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!