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From Layoff to Lift-Off: South Shore Media

From Layoff to Lift-Off: South Shore Media

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From Layoff to Lift-Off: South Shore Media

South Shore Media StartUp101 Story

There’s nothing worse for growth than having all your basic needs met. A steady paycheck covers rent and bills, but those 40-hour weeks make it easy to put projects off or avoid taking risks.

Michael DelVecchio, the founder of South Shore Media in Irvine, California, said it was a surprise layoff that gave him the push he needed to start his own business. He’d studied film and electronic media in college, but a temp job in Hyundai’s finance department turned into a steady gig, and five years later he was still auditing car deals.

Headshot Color Final

“Every year I was there, there was a voice in my head nagging at me, ‘You’re not where you’re supposed to be.’ It’s not like I was getting paid that well, either. I could meet all my bills, but I was complacent in that I had health insurance and a consistent paycheck,” DelVecchio said. I don’t know that I would have voluntarily quit or decided to pursue (working for myself) had I not been laid off.”

South Shore Media is a full-service production company that specializes in commercial and social media content. The company has produced ads and brand stories, and DelVecchio said he’s eyeing expanding into television production in the near future.

DelVecchio’s career as an entrepreneur started small. He has a background in media, including a stint at DreamWorks Animation, but never planned to start his own business. He said it “just sort of happened”

South Shore Media Business Owner Interview

But not all at once. DelVecchio got started as a freelancer, finding work on the digital jobs board Upwork.

He quickly got hired on for a couple of jobs, but there was one problem:

“I didn’t own a single piece of film equipment at the time. I did a Hail Mary and bought a bunch of gear,” DelVecchio said. “It really grew from that point on.”

That growth didn’t come easily. DelVecchio said he spent around three years bidding on jobs every single day, which got him work but also wore him down.

 “I was applying to like a million jobs a day and it was really taking its toll on me. It was like working two jobs,” DelVecchio said. “It was like having a clerical job just submitting proposals, and then doing all my creative stuff on top of that. At some point I was so burnt out.”

It was only when his parents pointed out that he had clients approaching him for work that he slowed down, and realized the success he’d found.

There were dark moments on the way. In the early days of his entrepreneurship, DelVecchio supported himself by driving for Uber and Lyft, which he said brought him to some extreme self-doubt about his chosen path.

“There was a moment, ironically, right before things took off. I went home to New York, and I had a moment where I was so depressed, it felt like I wasn’t going anywhere with my life. There was just this empty feeling of despair,” DelVecchio said. “I started going to therapy, but right after that, I got hired on my first big project. It just felt different than anything else I’d done.”

South Shore Media Video

Emboldened by his success, DelVecchio moved out of the room he’d been renting from his aunt and found an apartment – not knowing whether he’d continue to find work, but doubling down on the bet he’d made on himself.

“There’s a great (Rumi) quote, ‘when you walk on the way, the way appears,’” DelVecchio said. “There’s never a good time to make that leap, you just have to do it..”

In addition to persistence, he also learned to be flexible. Having a plan is important, but just as important to be able to adapt if that plan is no longer viable.

“On a shoot… you’re always up against the clock, the weather, technology, or a curveball you didn’t anticipate,” DelVecchio said. “That’s when you draw upon your experience to resolve issues quickly. And you only get your experience by going through some adversity. It’s an essential part of growth.”

South Shore Media Outdoor Photoshoot

And grow he has. Since he founded the company in 2016, South Shore Media has produced dozens of videos for multiple companies, including toy manufacturer Luki Lab, and has received coverage in Canvas Rebel Magazine and others.

Even with the success he’s found, DelVecchio said it’s important to remember your roots.

Upwork has been the single greatest resource for me in starting my own company,” DelVecchio said. “I’ve met some of my best clients on Upwork and formed some very meaningful relationships because of it. It opened so many doors I never anticipated when I first got on the platform.”

Another piece of advice for starting your own business, take lessons where you can find them.

Deepak Chopra’s “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” had some powerful advice, but a face from DelVecchio’s childhood had the biggest impact.

“‘Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life’ by Glenn Poveromo and Dr. Jessie Poveromo. Glenn was my sixth grade teacher and majorly influenced the trajectory of my life,” DelVecchio said. “I remember reading his book a few years before starting my business, and it filled me with so much hope and optimism for my future.”

South Shore Media Photo Shoot

As for advice to others considering making the leap, DelVecchio said you have to “leave fear on the table.”

“I hear a lot of people that say, ‘I’d love to do what you’re doing.’ I want to ask them, ‘ did you make the sacrifice to do it?’ I do see people complacent in corporate jobs that don’t want to take that leap,” DelVecchio said. “You have to jump in, and you have to mess up. You have to put yourself in a position to mess up because that’s when you can actually learn things about your process.”

Your Turn

Like DelVecchio, you may feel stuck in a job that doesn’t fulfill you. This could be your sign that it’s time to consider what really excites you and make a change. One of the morals of his story is, don’t wait for the perfect moment to start your business. So, what are you waiting for to start your business, and what’s standing in your way? Share your thoughts in the comments section about what you need to do to take your first step.

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From Layoff to Lift-Off: South Shore Media

From Layoff to Lift-Off: South Shore Media

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