Monday, February 27, 2012

Andrew P Laine >

Andrew P Laine, Founder and CEO, Espanol Seguros

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurs face challenges on a daily basis and often times have to overcome obstacles that seem near impossible. With this said, in order to be an entrepreneur you need a tremendous amount of self-confidence and passion for your venture. If you are missing one or the other, making it through some of the tough days will be impossible. 

What did inspire you to start your business?
Business has always been a passion of mine and when I saw an opportunity within the online Hispanic community, I knew it was time to start on my own. Being directly responsible for the success or failure of the company early on was inspirational and kept me moving forward day after day.
How did you finance it?
From the start, we financed the business on our own and bootstrapped our way to where we are now. We are just reaching the point where we are speaking with investors to bring on additional capital to accelerate our growth. I think that working with your own capital teaches you how to be frugal and respect every purchase you make.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
When I faced challenges early on, I relied on my passion and confidence for what Espanol Seguros is trying to do. I am also stubborn and hate to admit defeat! 

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
Our biggest challenge as a company has been the decision to raise additional capital. On one hand you want to grow your company organically and hold on to as much equity as you can, but on the other hand you know that raising additional capital could be a catalyst to grow your company at an exponential rate. We struggled with the decision, but are now happy with the decision.
If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
I think Espanol Seguros has the opportunity to not only serve the US Hispanic population, but serve other Spanish speaking countries in the international community. We receive a tremendous amount of international traffic to our websites and have been working to get programs in place to service these consumers, but we are not there yet.  
What was your childhood ambition?
I always wanted to be a fire fighter!
Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire
First and foremost, Shawn Nelson of the company Love Sac (the furniture company). I saw his story on national news one night and reached out to the company, he ended up responding and was an inspiration. Guy Kawasaki is another entrepreneur whose books and website have been a wealth of knowledge and incite for me, I really like his business style. Lastly, I have to pay respect to John Rockefeller for being one of America’s original entrepreneurs.
For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Breakfast… There is nothing like starting off a day with a good meeting.
What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a
business success?
Time and capital. When you start your own business you and your family eat, breath and sleep it and sometimes you have to make decisions to put the business first. It’s not easy, but as long as you have the support of your loved ones, it’s bearable.
What is your favorite quote?
“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” - Steve Jobs.

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
No. If you are an entrepreneur, it is in your blood in one form or another.  

Biggest mistake made?
In the beginning, our focus was not as disciplined as it should have been. We wanted to be in every lead vertical like online education, online finance instead of being focused on our core competency. This wasted a ton of capital and hours upon hours. I heard a great quote that sums it up, “Great baseball pitchers wouldn’t be great Football nose tackles.” Find your strength and focus on it.
Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
Yes and no. There is nothing new about the lead generation industry, nor about creating educational content sites. What is innovative is our approach and our focus on the Hispanic community. Our goal is to serve the Hispanic consumers in a comfortable environment and to give insurance providers a way to reach our growing population.
About Espanol Seguros
Espanol Seguros, also known as Spanish Insurance, LLC, was founded with the goal to connect the Hispanic population with bi-lingual service providers. Espanol Seguros, ( or with a portfolio of more than seventy Hispanic targeted domains across multiple verticals and little competition, is poised to capture the majority of this growing traffic and serve a vital need for both consumers and lead buyers. With educational content targeted towards Hispanic consumers, in both English and Spanish, Espanol Seguros is able to convert more hits to sellable leads.

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