Tony Hawk shares his top 3 tips for succeeding in business

Tony Hawk: Follow your passion, but learn everything
Tony Hawk: Follow your passion, but learn everything

Today's youngsters might know skateboarding legend Tony Hawk as much for his business endeavors as his athletic feats.

Hawk's historic landing of the 900 at the 1999 X Games in San Francisco coincided with the launch of a clothing line with his siblings, Hawk Clothing, and the Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game series.

"We started the clothing brand just before the video game release, and that was the perfect storm of recognition and brand awareness," the now 48-year-old former pro skater told CNBC.

He's come a long way since. According to his website, his video game series has surpassed $1.4 billion in sales, and his diversified empire now includes popular books, sporting goods, and film production.

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"The mentality from being a pro-skater definitely crosses over into being a businessman because I'm not afraid of challenges," Hawk said. "I'm not afraid to take risks."

Tony Hawk grabs his skateboard vertical as he jumps from the ramp during the X-Games in San Diego, California.
Tom Hauck | Allsport | Getty Images

Hawk shared his best advice for succeeding in business, and said that first and foremost, he encourages people to lean in to what they enjoy.

"Follow your passion, whatever it is," he said. "Learn everything about it."

Here are three more business tips from the skating legend:

1. Go with your gut

"I choose things to get involved with mostly based on intuition," Hawk said. He looks for brands and products that align with what he does and that he can get passionate about either promoting or using himself. "It's pretty instinctual."

He said he doesn't spend too much time over-analyzing things because, when you do that, the results end up feeling forced.

2. Protect your brand

"Keep control of your brand," Hawk said. "Don't let someone else take it and think that you'll like what they do with it."

How do you do it? "You've got to put people in place that you truly trust in that form. That's tricky, and it's tricky to find those people," he said.

3. Keep learning

In the beginning of Hawk's career, "I learned different styles of skating I really had no interest in," he said. "But that has helped me immensely along the way in terms of putting [me] in a strange situation and being able to perform because I practiced these other techniques that I didn't know I needed."

"Same goes for business. Learn everything about your business, because in the end it's going to help you," he said.