Phil Laboon has consulted for everything from startups to Fortune 500’s, developing clients’ online presences and online credibility. Eyeflow Internet Marketing specializes in providing organic SEO, online marketing solutions, social media and PPC by utilizing strategic, ethical and natural techniques. Each campaign is customized based on customers’ unique industries and goals. Follow him @eyeflow.
Who is your hero?
I would have to say Ron Paul. A true underdog story! When he was running for the Republican nomination, it literally changed my idea of what is possible. Here you have a guy running under a ticket of a party that hates him, and he did very well. He got hammered by the left, the right, and even the media but he never gave up. He changed the course of that election on both sides of the aisle.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
Be stubborn and be committed to the belief that you’re not going to fail. The people who quit typically never get back on the horse. I knew that if I quit and became an employee, I would have that employee mindset forever.
What's the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
I would have not relied on partners for various business ventures I got involved with early in my career. I had 100 percent confidence in a previous real estate venture, my contract, and my partner. But he ended up funneling the leads into a separate entity to prevent me from getting my share. I think when you are young and eager, you think you need a partner to help with the workload. From my experiences, most of the time partners just hold you back and create more problems than they solve. I’m sure many partnerships are great for some entrepreneurs, but looking back I wish I would have set more legal safety nets and specific tasks for each of us to accomplish.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
I have a clear plan for what I need to tackle in the morning before other things come up and interrupt my day. I like to start the morning by going through my emails and then move on to any tasks left over from the previous day. It's important to prioritize tackling emails as they come in while thoughts are fresh. It promotes good customer service and helps ensure that nothing is missed. After that, I move on to items that need accomplishing that day.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Don't skimp on marketing materials or online design. Strong branding is important online and offline. I’m really into making sure our sales material reflects the quality and value of our services. Success and income are in those details.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Look for unique opportunities to take advantage of and take educated risks! The only way your company is going to grow is if you take calculated risks with your time and money. Every business was a gamble when it was first created. Businesses only need to discover one profitable strategy to overshadow all the previous failures. You just have to look out for opportunity and give it your best shot. The true challenge is being able to recognize opportunity when it comes your way and take the leap in order to capitalize on it.
What's your definition of success? How will you know when you've finally "succeeded" in your business?
A benchmark of success for me was when I didn’t have to work a side job to “support” my business. I didn’t want investors in my company, so I self-funded everything, which meant working side jobs to keep the lights on during slow months. This milestone helped reassure me that I made the right decision with my career and gave me even more dedication to continue what I was doing.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.