Eric Ritter is the President and Founder of Digital Neighbor
For those who don't know anything about you or your work, can you provide a bit of background?
I’m happy to share my backstory. I spent over a decade working at various in-house marketing and advertising agencies, and in each experience, I noticed that my personality and values didn’t always align with where I worked. I didn’t always agree with the way we marketed, how people at the company were treated, or even how we treated our own clientele. I left corporate to start my own agency, Digital Neighbor, in 2016 because I wanted to do things differently.
Was any one person who was instrumental in helping you get from where you started out, to where you are now?
Gary Vaynerchuck has always been a role model of mine because of his ability to stay motivated and empower others to be their best selves. He taught me a lot about leadership, owning a business, and giving 100% effort in life.
Is there a particular piece of advice you were given in the early days of your business journey that you still benefit from today?
For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? ' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something – Steve Jobs
This quote sums up a piece of advice that has impacted my entire life, and it still benefits me today.
What is the most important lesson you've learned about leadership in your business journey so far?
Be open-minded and ready to shift. The business world has changed dramatically and employees have different expectations now. I try to listen to the needs of my small team and we are able to adapt and continue to have a positive work culture.
What are the top three things you wish you'd known when you were just starting out?
1. Be ready to hear no, a lot.
2. Always believe in yourself.
3. Burnout is real, always search for a balance.
In your experience, what is the most effective way to build a strong network of mentors and advisors to guide you in your business endeavors?
Mentorship is a key element to being successful because it's important to receive non-biased feedback from someone outside of your typical circle. This is partially why I enjoy teaching at the collegiate level, I am able to be a mentor to the younger generation and help them on their path to success.
How do you determine when it's time to pivot, and what factors should you consider in making that decision?
It's important to stay on top of trends. Working in SEO and with Google, they change their platform and algorithm a lot. It's important to constantly be learning and evolving with the technology updates!
Looking back, what one thing would you do differently if you could start your journey over again?
Looking back, one thing I would do differently is spend time learning more about operations and financials earlier in my career.
Where should people follow you to find out more about your work?