Pierce Larick: Side Hustle to Successful Founder

Pierce Larick is the Founder and CEO of New Revolution Media, a visual content creation agency based in San Francisco, California. After seven years in the driver’s seat of New Rev, Pierce looks back and tells Follow the Founder’s community about his entrepreneurship journey and building a thriving company from virtually nothing. 

Some people decide they want to start a company on a whim. But for many of us, the idea of owning a business, being independent, following our passions, and creating something of our own is built within our cells and present from an early age. This was the case for Pierce too. 

“It all started at a young age. My father owned a business, so I learned from him what it looks like working for yourself.

“That originally turned me on to it. I went to college to do Business Administration, and I hated all my classes. The idea of working in that field freaked me out. But I had a passion for photography. I always carried my SLR camera, I took photos because I liked remembering moments. It wasn’t necessarily about taking a beautiful image. It was to remember. It’s very similar to my approach to tattoos, little bookmarks to catch glimpses of past events. I immediately would be teleported back to that moment, that good feeling. 

“So in college, I took my camera everywhere I went, to each event, to any trips, and so people started asking me to take photos for their events. These were my first paid gigs, something like a hundred dollars each. When I started making money doing what I enjoyed, I realized I wanted to continue with it.”

When we find our true passion, our calling, when work no longer feels like work but more like fun, it’s hard to stop. We start looking for possibilities to make our dreams come true, make a name for ourselves, and succeed. 

“I changed my major to Business Law. This taught me the legal aspect of running a business, which has come in handy with starting New Revolution Media. I eventually opened a company. I started digging deep, researching what goes into business and how I could save money because I was having to pay taxes. I was filling out tax firms, for random hundred-dollar jobs. So I became a bit more strategic. That was when I opened New Revolution Photography which was just an event photography company. The website is still live actually. I don’t get enquiries anymore except from friends and family, but I just don’t have the heart to close it down. Again, this is like a beacon of remembering that time of my life.”

However, in the world we live in, formal qualifications and agency experiences are more valued than skill and passion. For those of us with slightly unconventional or non-so-traditional backgrounds, similarly to Pierce, determination is the only way forward, the only way to reach that point of being offered a chance.

“I was never officially trained. I taught myself how to use a camera. I knew what buttons did, but I didn’t know what to call them. I didn’t know what it meant to change certain things. I just knew how to do it. So I took a few classes to learn the more logistical side of Photography and started experimenting with video, graduated college, moved to San Francisco. I was limited in jobs that I could get because I had a Business Law degree, and I loved photography. I wanted to work in the creative realm, but I didn’t have any professional experience outside of working for myself.”

Even though he had the needed skill and passion for photography, companies strayed away from accepting him for creative positions due to the lack of agency experience on his resume, a formal step deemed essential by many the advantage of which being that he would already know some specific processes businesses went through.

“I worked for a few companies where I would try to wiggle over to the creative side, but a lot of doors were shut in my face because I didn’t have that agency experience. I never understood how you initially get agency experience without having worked in another agency before… But I had the passion. I had the love in the drive for it. So give me a week, and I will learn the processes that you have to take.”

Circular bureaucratic processes can be a real stop for talent. However, persistency, determination and resilience do pay off. For Pierce, being more formally admitted into the creative business world started when he got a job with Lyft, a small startup back then.

“They had enough money but that small vibe where you could walk over to your managers, John and Logan. Now everyone knows them in the startup realm, they became a unicorn if you will. I worked on the drive team with them which was a call center, but on the weekends, I would create small commercials just for fun. I was very passionate. 

“I ended up making a time-lapse and showed it to John who said, ‘Okay. We’ll just have you start doing this.’ They took a risk on me. Even though I didn’t have agency experience, they started sending me all over the country to do photography for their events. I was making vignette commercials. I made some of their original driver training videos. And that opened up a lot of doors for me.”

One chance might be all the reward we need if we had put all that hard work into achieving our goal. Sometimes that one door becomes a gateway, unleashing a ripple effect of opportunities aligning in front of us. This is when we need to show up, seize the moment, and have the courage to truly start building that dream career for ourselves. If we are not aware enough, or too afraid, we could miss that chance. Being given a chance to do creative for Lyft was all the push Pierce needed.

“After Lyft, I worked with an agency where I got to travel around the world doing videos. Even though the experiences were incredible, I wasn’t able to survive on what I was making. But they were very accepting of me booking side business. Eventually, in 2016, I had enough personal business that I quit working for this company. The beautiful thing was they hired me as a contractor after I left. Unfortunately, that company ended up going under, but I then inherited many of their clients.

“I’m very very thankful. It happened the way it did. Doors opened up at the right time, in the right order to lead me to open New Revolution Media in 2016.”

Pierce’s story is also a great example of the importance of building lasting relationships and not burning bridges along the way, even if we don’t see a reason at the time. He had the patience and resilience to wait out the slow-burn success of his side hustle, gaining valuable experience while on payroll for other companies, using these funds to invest in his side-hustle until he was ready for his big break. 

“I was investing in myself. I used all my personal equipment and with any extra money that I got, I would immediately buy better equipment. Then, I could up my prices a little bit. Bootstrapping allowed me to understand what it feels like to have no money and to be resourceful.

“A lot of companies have brilliant ideas, great products, but the Founders are just thrown millions of dollars in investments too early. They don’t know what it feels to have to stretch a dollar. I think that makes better business people because if we can understand how to stretch a dollar, we know what it feels not having it the next day.

“It relates to making videos for me. I only work with videographers who have editing experience because then they approach shooting much differently. They don’t shoot everything and end up with hours and hours of footage. When you have editing experience, you only get the shot you need. So it’s the same with business. You only do what needs to be done.”

Being resourceful, resilient, determined, and passionate was the key to Pierce’s success. And even though everyone’s path is different, these qualities are integral to being a successful Founder. 
For more Founder stories, advice, and the chance to connect with other Founders or Founders-to-be, join our community on Follow the Founder. You can also find us on Instagram @followthefounder.

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