Vinny Antonio is President of The Victory Marketing Agency, an experiential marketing agency determined to make brands fun and relevant. Since 2006, Victory has managed and staffed more than 20,000 marketing campaigns for some of the biggest brands in the country. With its roster of 25,000+ Brand Ambassadors, Promotional Models, and Event Marketers, Victory helps clients build fun and memorable experiences in markets all across the US and Canada. Follow him @VictoryVinny.
Who is your hero?
Bruce Wayne. I'm not saying I'm Batman...I'm just saying nobody has ever seen us in a room together at the same time.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
A lot of people will tell you that you are crazy -- that leaving the "norm" of a 9-5 job working for someone else is too risky. But for every person that tries to impede your success with tales of failure, three people will be in your corner rooting for you to succeed. Everyone loves an underdog story.
Also, you catch more bees with honey. Being really nice and genuine with people goes a long way.
What's the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
In a detail-oriented, 1,000-email-a-day world, pieces can fall through the cracks if you are spreading yourself too thin. Trust others. The day I hired my first full-time employee is a day I will never forget. I was stressed about hiring Dana at first. Could I afford it? Would she work as hard as I do? Well, I could, and she did. It freed me up to work on cultivating new relationships and growing the bond between our current clients and Victory. I wish I did it sooner -- even Batman had Robin.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
Have I had my coffee yet? If I have, then see below:
Typically I run around the office telling everyone about the exciting new projects we have coming up and checking the status on current programs. I like to hear whats going on with our staff -- both in the office and around the country. Email is usually not in the mix until all of that is finished.
What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
If you are going to dive into entrepreneurship, make sure you have enough cash saved up to allow yourself to go without salary for a year without crying yourself to sleep at night. Actually, I probably didn't pay myself for at least two years. I spent every dollar I had coming in on building my brand.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
Identify immediately what your competitive advantage is and make sure you can communicate that to anyone concisely. Follow through on your word.
What's your definition of success? How will you know when you've finally "succeeded" in your business?
Entrepreneurial successes change regularly. Each milestone just opens the door for another. Your first $1M year in revenue, filling a banquet table with employees you love during the holidays, working with a brand that you idolized growing up, making the Inc. 5000 -- these were all amazing moments in my life as a business owner.
My ultimate success moment will be when my son uses my story as a launchpad to creating his own legacy.
(That, and when I own a baseball team.)
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.