Some people just want to do it all. Vito Glazers is one of those people. From acting to finance to Internet marketing, Vito has had a lot of experiences both personal and professional that have made him into the successful entrepreneur he is today. He currently runs his own Internet marketing agency at vitoglazers.com. We recently had a chance to sit down with Vito and ask him a few questions about his experiences, success, and how he got to where he is now. Check out his answers below:
Achieve Iconic: You’ve done a lot of different things in your life, from working in finance to serving your community to acting and Internet marketing. Now you consult clients on those issues; can you talk about how those previous professional experiences helped lead you to where you are now?
Vito: Trying new things in life and business has always been part of who I am. I get bored easily so I need to be doing some business projects and some creative projects to keep myself interested in work. I don’t think I would have done well if it had not been for the diversity in interests and abilities that I picked up starting my career in sales, moving into advertising and using my passion for the arts and entertainment to bridge business, creativity and new media into profitability and personal satisfaction.
Achieve Iconic: After you realized you wanted to be involved with marketing, why did you decide to go the entrepreneurial route instead of just getting a job at a traditional marketing/ad agency? In other words, what has building your own agency taught you that you wouldn’t have gotten from getting a traditional job?
Vito: After watching real estate crash a decade ago, I swore to myself I would never leave my future up to anything or anyone that I could not control myself, and that has been the catalyst for the entrepreneurial spirit I bring to every project I work on whether creative or financial. I liked the idea of working in marketing because there was art to it. It was not like the work I had done previously in financials or real estate which was all business. The advertising industry is great for artistic business people because it gives you platforms and budgets to express your creativity and vision instead of being a starving artist. I knew I had to move into an industry with some form of creative expression or I was going to lose my motivation, so the advertising industry was a good compromise and balance of income and creative expression. That being said, building my own agency taught me that selling and creating advertising was still art to me so I could never work for anybody and take orders about who I was going to produce art for or what it was going to look like. To this day I turn down advertising clients if I know I’m not the right fit for what they want to express or if their goals are not in line with my personal or creative integrity.
Achieve Iconic: Walk us through what you did in order to start building up your business to where it is now. You decided you wanted to tackle Internet marketing — then what?
Vito: I feel that everything people do is out of necessity. Even if it is not a real need, it’s something we tell ourselves we need, whether it’s more money, more purpose, more attention, we are motivated to either keep what we have going or to improve what we have. I didn’t wake up one day deciding I wanted to be an Internet marketer. I woke up one day with an expensive lifestyle and a paycheck that was tied to real estate prices that were tanking fast. I was burned out on pushing paper all day and knew I had more to offer the world than just being a human calculator that could sell people. I had a close friend from the real estate industry who was one of the smartest people I knew and he had started a small Internet marketing company. He gave me an opportunity to learn a new industry that allowed me to be creative and had the unlimited earning potential to finance any lifestyle I wanted so it was the right fit and I ran with it.
Achieve Iconic: There are many other people who dream about starting their own ventures like you did, but haven’t gotten off the ground for any number of reasons. What words do you have for those people?
Vito: There is no shortage of money or clients in America or the world, only a shortage of motivation to go after it. Starting your own venture requires the same or more attention as having a new born child, if not more. If you don’t think you could handle another baby in your life you probably won’t be able to handle starting a business from scratch. The best advice I got when starting a business was to have big balls but carry a small nut. To break that down, you can take bigger risks and have more chance at success if you keep your overhead low. Living on a budget while your business gets off the ground is the most important thing to me, followed by make sure to either be great at marketing, sales and accounting or hire people who are right from the beginning.
Achieve Iconic: From all the media you put out you are a very big advocate of hustling and not taking any time off. What can you tell people who want to start their own business about the type of work ethic and the hours required to really build something of your own?
Vito: Some people including my family have called me all kinds of things from crazy to obsessed, but an old mentor of mine told me something along the lines of; the average call him crazy, but the rich call him for advice. In today’s world you need to live your brand and your business. It should be a part of who you are every day if you want it to succeed. If you are the owner of your business, it is fully up to you to make it succeed. American Express doesn’t take excuses as a form of payment. So if you want your business to succeed, you are going to have to accept personal responsibility for every aspect of your business, and that is going to either take spending money on hiring and training the right talent, or it is going to take time to get the job done yourself.
Achieve Iconic: How were you able to become as knowledgeable about Internet marketing as you are? Was it just a lot of online research, did you do a lot of networking with established experts, etc?
Vito: I have never been particularly good with technology. Building computers, coding, even setting up my Email. It has always been really challenging for me. But I was able to turn this negative into a positive by making sure to always keep great talent around me and be able to assemble, lead and manage teams to get projects and jobs done. I have learned everything I know from the amazing people I have worked with over the years.
Achieve Iconic: You’re an actor and also produce commercials and films. How did you get involved with the entertainment industry, and does that tie in with your Internet marketing expertise?
Vito: I achieved all the goals I set for my entire life in my mid twenties. Materialism, world travel, time with family, fun and more. I decided I had set the bar too low as far as lifetime goals were concerned. I had gained a lot more resources, knowledge and connections after 5 years in LA than I did when I started out broke, from a small town 20 miles north of Chicago and with no mentorship or direction. The entertainment business caught my attention because the music business, the movie business, television and even adult entertainment businesses were getting murdered when the Internet really started opening up, catching on and going full force. There was a lot of marketing people in Hollywood, and there was a lot of Internet people on the West-coast, but there was not many that knew the combination of marketing and the Internet as well as I did. I started doing more things in front of the camera, whether reality television or acting, because I wanted to really perfect a trifecta of knowledge to be able to really succeed in merging my passion for business and the creative arts. If I can bring what I know about marketing to the table, combine that with my ability to leverage and monetize Internet traffic, and most importantly understand the challenges and needs of producers, actors, musicians, entertainers – first hand by experiencing them myself, I knew then and know now that I can help to pioneer a massive opportunity in creating and distributing content for the millions of new viewers that are adding smart phones, tablets and desktops when once all they had was television. I still think television is the most important and most trusted form of media. My new life goal is to be in a position where using television as a tool to communicate positive information to the world is my biggest source of revenue.
Achieve Iconic: You spent some time in the 80’s and 90’s traveling throughout Central America. Can you talk about what you saw during that time and how that experience informed your world view? Has this had an impact on how you approach work as an entrepreneur?
Vito: The time I spent in my mother’s native country of Guatemala and in the neighboring countries in Central and South America growing up absolutely had a major affect on how I approach business today. Besides the obvious advantages I picked up out there like learning how to speak and negotiate fluently in Spanish, which doubles the audience I can communicate with, I learned a lot about entrepreneurship from seeing how creative people in other countries are forced to be. I have seen things like people hacking scrap parts together to make a car run, or seen people make tools by hand because there are no stores to buy them from. It really puts all the abundant technological and financial resources we have at our disposal in America into perspective.
Achieve Iconic: You clearly take pride in giving back to different charities. What do you think has been your greatest contribution in this area?
Vito: Paying it forward and giving back are two very important concepts that entrepreneurs should embrace. I try to support causes that create leaders and give opportunities to people who will hopefully be able to go on and exponentially do more good works. That is why supporting programs that fix and help schools like Chicago Cares was an important cause for me, as well as helping the Masonic orphanage in Illinois. I don’t think any one cause is greater than the others, but one of the contributions I was happiest with was founding the Vito Glazers Scholarship For Entrepreneurial Studies. This was important to me because when I was in college I felt that everything was geared towards making you into an employee. It was great to partner with a university and help contribute to creating an environment where it was encouraged to be the leader of your own enterprise instead of being forced into being an employee.
Achieve Iconic: What is your vision for where you want your business to go from here?
Vito: The vision for my business now is to give people, brands and businesses with a story to share the knowledge and platform they need to communicate that message to the people it is going to matter to the most. Few things are worse than a great story going untold to someone it could help or inspire. I am making it my passion to grow targeted audiences on new media platforms like Facebook and YouTube and deliver those audiences the best possible and most relevant content for them.
Achieve Iconic: What are your most important daily habits for success?
Vito: Writing down a task list for the following day by hand in my planner is my ritual that keeps me the most organized and productive. I list things in the exact order I am going to do them the following day as well as the approximate time I need to get the tasks done. It allows me to put my time into perspective so when distractions pop up it’s easy to get right back on course. I also lay out the clothes I am going to wear the next day, the night before. It seems like a strange habit but has saved me a lot of time. I am not a morning person so the less decisions I have to make early in the day, the easier it is to get the day going.
Achieve Iconic: Any tips you would give to others who want to be successful in business?
Vito: Live within your means. The biggest risk you can take is not taking one at all. Never give up.