This entrepreneur pivoted to find his purpose
Joe Sciacchitano creates, develops and executes all technical and production needs through his business Joeshock, LLC. He founded the company in April 2018 after logging in over 15 years at advertising and marketing agencies, where long hours and last minute projects are the norm. He made the leap to go out on his own so that he could spend more time with his family. While he still collaborates with large agencies, now he calls the working hours shots. In doing so, he’s also cultivated an exceptional reputation and relationships working with clients in the medical field including biotech startups.
Here’s how Joe Sciacchitano found his true purpose through entrepreneurship:
On starting out with zero customers
It was a stressful first year, but it was worth it. You start out with one relationship, then if you treat them well it blossoms into being referred to another. My former business partner, who also left the ad industry one year before me, started a biotech company and I did some work for him. Through that connection I met a medical software development team out of Colorado, and another relationship grew from that to an innovative medical device company in Switzerland working on a product that monitors glucose in the ICU.
On finding work with a sense of purpose
The past five years have been really fun for me because I've found a passion in working on UX and UI for medical devices. It’s very enriching because at the end of my day I feel like I may have actually made a difference in someone’s life for the better instead of just selling hamburgers, cars, or widgets.
To design product interfaces that allow surgeons to carefully remove a tumor from someone’s brain or place a device in someone’s spine to improve their life is really quite humbling.
On the one thing that helps him do it all
Outside of work, family time and hockey, I also volunteer with my church, and sit on the Board of Directors for PurposePoint, a purpose-driven leadership and organizational development company. My calendar keeps me accountable. I live and die by it.
On his entrepreneurial superpower
Patience. I’ve heard from many people that I’m patient and think it has something to do with the fact that I’m the oldest of five boys. Not only did I have to learn from my mother to be patient, but when she was gone, I had to supervise the herd.
Patience also comes into play working with clients trying to listen and absorb what they’re requesting; to listen to understand versus listening to react. I’ve also gotten into teaching, which I really enjoy. I was an adjunct professor at Macomb Community College and found patience goes a long way there too.
On staying healthy as a busy entrepreneur
I make it a point to exercise three days a week, if not four, mostly playing hockey. I also find ways to spend time on my professional development and mental health through various forms of leadership and vocational training.
On who keeps him motivated
The whole reason I did this [started his own business] in the first place was for my family. While I’m still discovering the specifics of my “why”, I’m able to stay focused on my family while keeping that goal in sight.
It also stems from my childhood and watching my parents do what they had to do to support us. We weren’t the most well off and definitely consumed our fair share of government cheese and powdered milk, but we survived and were loved. To be able to provide for and support my family gives me a big sense of pride.
On seeing the big picture and knowing when to make the call
Years ago, I was leading a digital department and our company website went down. We were short staffed, so I took it upon myself to troubleshoot the issue after management brought it to my attention. After hours of troubleshooting, it was obvious this issue was going to take some time, but I kept working on it. I didn't feel like I had the resources to ask for help.
Two days went by and the CEO asked me if the website was back up and running, and reminded me that this website was basically our online business card — if people couldn't access it, we weren't going to look good.
I was immediately caught in the weeds and realized I didn't see the big picture because of it. I researched a variety of support options and found that the website hosting company had a support feature, and we were paying for advanced support. I immediately enlisted their help, and the website was back online within a few hours. Sure, it cost us a few hundred bucks, but the company business card was back online and ready for any and all to connect with us again.
Lesson of the story? Ask for help, and if no help exists, look around to see if there are other ways to find help, even if you have to pay for it. It was a lesson in not diving into the minutia too early, but discovering the right approach first.