Our goal of late is to explore the transition from employee to employer, how people transition from employee to entrepreneur and what they learn along the way.
So, recently, we were happy to get some time with Nick Loper of Livermore, California to discuss his journey out of the auto industry and into the exciting world of entrepreneurship.
Nick, what kind of job did you have before you decided to start a company and how long had you been there?
I was working for one of the Big 3 automakers. I had been there 3 years when I left in July. I left on my own terms, but during my time there, we never went more than a few months without more downsizing rumors and worrying about our jobs.
You've got your own company now, right? What is it and what do you do there?
Now I own and run Bryck Media, LLC, which does online affiliate marketing. Our primary website right now is ShoesRUs.net, a comparison shopping site for shoes.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur instead of simply looking for another job?
I was looking for independence. In this economy I think we've learned that you're very vulnerable if you rely on an employer for a paycheck and your financial livelihood.
Did you buy a business or start a business from scratch? Which do you think is the best approach?
I started the Shoes 'R Us business from scratch part-time while I was still working, and have built it up slowly over the past couple years. I have nothing against buying a "turn-key" operation, it's just more expensive to go that route.
How did you decide what kind of business to go into?
I had some experience in affiliate marketing during college, and knew I wanted something that would be relatively automated and hands-off. By that I mean that it runs on its own, I carry no inventory, and make money while I sleep.
Sounds like you're building a money machine. But, owning a business is very different from working as an employee. Are there some things you miss?
Mostly I miss the people from my old job. I had a cool job where no two days were the same, and I would drive around in my company car meeting with different dealers. Now it's just me and the dog and my computer.
The difference now is that I can directly see the benefit of working hard on the bottom line. At my old job, whether you did well or did poorly, you got paid the same.
What advice would you give to somebody who is leaving the life of working for a company to go out on their own?
Go for it! Be the chess player, not the chess piece. If it doesn't work out, there will always be other jobs.
That's a good way of looking at it. Anything else you'd care to share with us regarding the transition from being laid off to starting a business?
It's an exciting ride that can you give you the freedom you've been dreaming of.