Community//

“To develop Grit, find your purpose” With Phil Laboon and James Shockley

Find your purpose — Don’t just do something to become rich. Do something because you truly love what you do. If you can find your purpose and love what you do, you will never have to “work” a day in your life in your mind. I personally love waking up on Monday’s, because I look forward to […]


Find your purpose — Don’t just do something to become rich. Do something because you truly love what you do. If you can find your purpose and love what you do, you will never have to “work” a day in your life in your mind. I personally love waking up on Monday’s, because I look forward to what the week has in store for me. It’s never the same.


I had the pleasure of interview James Shockley, CEO of Social Movement Media. A recent graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in Advertising Management. James started his first company, Hidlo Studios, when he was 20 years old. Hidlo Studios focused on utilizing Snapchat to create and manage Snapchat Geofilter campaigns for businesses. In August of 2018, he started his new company, Social Movement Media, a full service digital marketing agency that is changing the way people post on Instagram.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what events have drawn you to this specific career path

Thank you for having me!

My mind has always been filled with ideas. My sophomore year of college I would have sleepless nights due to all the ideas running through my head. I would come up with an idea and immediately research how to execute them. I spent about 4–5 months researching how to start a business, and how to market a business. I fell l in love with digital marketing. I was 20 years old when I started my first company, Hidlo Studios. We specialized in creating Snapchat Geofilters for businesses all across the country. I would then get asked, “James, can you run our social media account too?” I am not one to turn something down, so I said, “sure, I can do that.” One thing led to another and I started my new company, Social Movement Media.

Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

In March of 2017, I attended the Nightclub and Bar convention in Las Vegas. We spent every dollar we had ever earned on this convention. I thought we were going to walk away with 6 figures in revenue. Sadly, this was not the case. We walked away with one deal for $300. I waited for weeks for the phone to ring, nothing ever happened. I wanted to give up and throw in the towel around April. I had never experienced a failure to this magnitude, but held my head high and kept going. In May of 2017, my business partner and I walked around Philadelphia for a day and went into about 20 different restaurants trying to sell our services. We landed one client that day. We signed a deal with Hard Rock Cafe. This was the ultimate moral booster. Finally, we had a big name corporate client under our belt!

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

I am lucky enough to have the best parents in the world. They were my driving factor behind never giving up on my dreams. I witnessed both my parents go through very hard times. I saw them come out on the other side being better and stronger. My Mom always told me to follow my dreams and to never get discouraged. My Dad taught me that no matter how bad life can be, if you can work your butt off, good things will happen to you. They are my two role models in life and I don’t know where I would be without the support of both of them.

So how did Grit lead to your eventual success? How did Grit turn things around?

Things really didn’t start taking off for me until about 2 ½ years after starting Hidlo. There would be days where I would sit there and ponder when things would start to go in my favor. I knew the only way I could become successful was by putting in the hours and working harder than anyone else I knew. I have become a master at turning failures into learning experiences. Every single one of my failures became a building block to my ultimate success as an entrepreneur.

So, how are things going today? 🙂

In the last 6 months, things could not be going better! I have been able to build an amazing team around me. Our team chemistry blows me away. We are all best friends, we joke with each other, we laugh with each other, and we produce amazing work together. We are looking to expand within the next year. I am currently looking into opening up offices in New York City and Chicago.

Based on your experience, can you share 5 pieces of advice about how one can develop Grit? (Please share a story or example for each)

1. Learn from your failures — I have been told “no” 1,001 times throughout my journey. Once you can turn those “no’s” into a positive, you will be successful. When I do walk-ins around a town, I can be told no 20 different times. But, you never know if that 21st time will finally be a “yes.”

2. Learn anything and everything — Knowledge is the most powerful resource one can acquire. By becoming a master at your craft, it will open countless doors. I have been fortunate enough to speak in front of hundreds of students at Michigan State University because of my knowledge of Digital Marketing.

3. Find your purpose — Don’t just do something to become rich. Do something because you truly love what you do. If you can find your purpose and love what you do, you will never have to “work” a day in your life in your mind. I personally love waking up on Monday’s, because I look forward to what the week has in store for me. It’s never the same.

4. Surround yourself with like minded people — You become an average of the people you surround yourself with. I have noticed that when I am constantly around motivated people, it makes me work that much harder.

5. Never Settle — I strive to never settle for average. I want to be able to live the best life possible. I am constantly looking for innovative ideas and coming up with new techniques and services to offer my clients.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?

There have been countless people who have helped me along my way. My parents, multiple mentors, and all my friends. A specific story I remember was when I was a Senior in high school. I was working two jobs, about 30–40 hours a week along with going to school. I came home one day and was in a terrible mood. I told my dad I was drained and couldn’t keep it up. He looked at me and said, “I’ve worked over 100 hours this week and I’m not complaining.” He told me that life isn’t going to get any easier. To this day, I have never complained about working long hours. I owe a lot of my work ethic to him, he showed me first hand that there’s no time to complain.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

My ultimate goal is to enhance people’s businesses with my services. I believe that by offering the highest quality services it will ultimately bring in more revenue for my clients. I have also found a love for helping other people out. I didn’t have a single person that taught me a lot of the knowledge I know today about digital marketing. I make it my mission to train every single one of my employees to be the best versions of themselves, not only in sales and managing clients, but in being better people and to never settle for mediocrity.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We are working on several exciting projects. One of which is for a apartment complex chain called The Hub. This will be a multi state video production campaign. Our main goal is to be able to fill all of their vacant apartment leases. We are going to accomplish this by running a series of videos on multiple different channels and reaching thousands of people at these specific locations.

What advice would you give to other executives or founders to help their employees to thrive?

Treat others how you would want to be treated. I rarely say “I did this” I always like to say “we did this”. I would be nothing without an amazing team surrounding me. Educate your employees. At every team meeting, we spend about 30 minutes on a new topic that will help be them evolve as people and as salespeople. Lastlu, be open to these ideas. If you don’t like the idea, explain why you don’t like it, don’t just say “no.” You want your employees to respect you and not fear you.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I believe that if more people can find it within themselves to start something because they enjoy being creative, it can lead to a more innovative world. Sometimes, the best products are created not to solve a problem, but because the founder decided it would be an idea that everyone would love. There are so many things going wrong in this world. The more people that can innovate the world, the better I believe the world will become.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that.” — Rocky Balboa

Being from Philadelphia, I have always loved Rocky. I probably watched this scene over 100 times because of how powerful I thought it was. If you can get knocked down and keep moving forward that’s how you will be successful. Every time I fail I think of this quote.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Readers can find me mainly on Instagram @jshock1020 and they can find my company, Social Movement Media on Instagram @socialmovementmedia.com

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Grit, The Most Overlooked Ingredient of Success: “You have to be committed to the process” With Dr. James Dentley and Phil Laboon

by Phil Laboon
Community//

“When You Work From Home, You Must Separate Home From Work” With Blake Emal

by Marco Derhy

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.