Phil DiMuro is one of those guys who you knew within minutes of meeting for the first time, was going to do big things. He got his hands on as many things as possible at school and cultivated lasting relationships that still flourish many years after graduating. This in itself is no small feat, as all of us who have received a degree, started a career and moved to a new city can attest to. Phil has been able to do this through hard work, having an inspiring go-getter attitude and simply by being the first one to stretch out his hand in a crowd of strangers to introduce himself. His networking skills are admirable and have undoubtedly gotten him to where he is today.
While we were still in school, Phil landed a dream job at Samuel Adams. He would fly to Boston on weekends for the interviews and I remember him telling me how tough they were. If these interviews were hard for Phil, then I’m sure they would be near impossible for me. Phil was hands down one of the best presenters in our class – if not the best. I looked forward to seeing his presentations and I’m sure I’m not alone. If I were a betting man I’d put money down that the majority of us who attended the Sigmund Weis School of Business at Susquehanna would agree with this on all counts.
Fast forward three years and Phil left his dream job to found Loople Mobile. The twist in Phil’s story is that he absolutely loved his job at Samuel Adams. In fact, he tells me that he still misses it to this day. A heavy majority of people (ourselves included) left a job that wasn’t fulfilling to chase after a dream that was. It’s rare to see someone in Phil’s case who, openly admits to loving and missing what he did.
We wanted to get the inside scoop of Phil’s and fellow Susquehanna alumni Ryan Grant’s journey with Loople Mobile. Loople is a mobile application that allows you to explore your neighborhood by searching for happy hours, food specials, live music, and many other tags. Furthermore, you can create “Loops” which are essentially different groups of friends that you can post your plans to. Currently, it is limited to the Baltimore area but the rapid growth of Loople leads me to believe that they will be expanding to a city near you as quickly as possible. To learn more, go to www.LoopleMobile.com and download the app!
Right out of college you landed your dream job at Sam Adams. Could you describe what made it so and then tell us why on earth you would leave?
Haha great question. So during my Senior Year like any soon to be college graduate I was interviewing and applying like crazy. I must have sent over 200 applications and even with what I thought was a pretty good resume I only got a handful of responses. I remember hearing that Boston Beer had an opening and I said to myself “Wow there is no way I could get this position” but decided to build a resume for the job and apply. A couple months later I was sitting in the final room selling the head of sales on why to hire me. I loved that position and I really miss the beer business, but as any entrepreneur knows, you will never feel full inside if you are working for someone else. As I built Loople on the side for over a year I knew that this could be my future if I got it far enough along to launch. When I came to that point in March of this year when I knew the product would be ready to launch by June, I knew I had a decision to make. Realistically when it comes that point in your life to make a huge decision you let your instincts point the way. I chose the path less traveled and decided to take this large risk and started working for myself in May of 2015 and I couldn’t be happier.
So Loople Mobile.. How did this idea come about? What was the moment like when you realized that this had the potential to be big or at least big enough for you to leave Sam Adams?
Loople has been in the works for almost 2 full years from concept, design, development to launch and every step of the way posed a different set of challenges. When we finally got the project to the point of planning the “Launch” I knew I needed to make this my full time career. Many people think you can build a business in your spare time, which is true. But what most won’t tell you is to fully launch that idea successfully, it needs your whole heart and focus and without that it’s going to be a very hard journey.
You spent two years working on your idea before you decided to take the plunge and go in full time. What made you finally take the leap? What fears or doubts, if any, did you have during that?
Ultimately, the decision came from inside. Since I was a young child I always had a passion for entrepreneurship. From my first few volunteer opportunities with Relay for Life up until building Loople I’ve always looked at problems in unique ways. This has really helped me grow and develop throughout the years. When you have that passion it forces you to ignore all the reasons “not” to do something; “You are too young,” “Why leave a great job,” “Secure pay check,” “Steady Income,” “Challenging future with so much unknown” but deep down inside your gut tells you to ignore these things and take the damn leap. That is exactly what happened in my experience. I loved my job but I knew decades from now I would regret not doing it now so here I am in an abyss of the unknown… and I couldn’t be happier.
What advice would you give to others who are thinking of making a big move or leaving their career to pursue their passion project?
My advice is simple… just go out and do it. There is no time better then right now to build that dream you keep talking about. It has never been easier too with technological advances creating opportunities for small companies to disrupt large and slow industries. “Sharktank” is helping the entrepreneurial mindset seem exciting and rewarding and free resources can be found all throughout the internet that can help anyone build a business. We started Loople on sketches drawn on bar napkins which turned to iPad versions and finally into wireframings for developers. All it takes is the creativity to start the process and the drive to see it through.
Now you are full-time in your start up, without the steady income of your former career. How do you deal with the day to day challenges and pressure? How can others prepare themselves financially to take a risk similar to what you are doing?
To be honest, financials are one of my largest concern, and Dave and I probably talk about it daily. From everyone you talk to, they say starting a business takes twice as long and three times the amount of money you expect it too. Judging by that math running out of $$ is obviously one of my largest fear. With Loople our 1st round investors have allowed us to fundour development and marketing for another 6 months but my personal bank account doesn’t have that same livelihood. I’m doing Lyft & Uber on the side to subsidize my bills and I have additional money saved for emergencies but I hope I won’t have to use this to keep myself afloat while Dave and I don’t take salaries or stipends. We are 100% independent from investor $$ and we plan to stay that way for as long as we can. I would recommend that other people considering this lifestyle to save as much money as you can and build your business as much as you can on your spare time when working a day job. I never believe people when they say “Oh I wish I could build my dream but I just don’t have time to do it.” Honestly if that’s the case then your dream just doesn’t seem as important to you as Loople was to me. I came home from work (typically +50 hour weeks at the low end) and I’d have dinner with my girlfriend take care of personal stuff for an hour and then I’d work from 7pm-2am and wake up at 7am again to do it all over. Building Loople while I still had the steady income got me to where I am today. The pivotal moment when I knew I needed to leave my job was when I could clearly say that my time was much better spent building “Loople.” That’s what ultimately made me finally make the jump.
Working at a start-up you need to keep yourself motivated each day. What is your mantra or words that you live by to do this on a daily basis?
Absolutely love this question QFYC! I’m a firm believer in learning from others and motivating is a huge part of that. Personally I love anything from “Live Unbound.” They are a small startup that is all about inspiring others to push themselves and their big motto is “Follow Your Fears” which I love. I love everything from TED and I find their presentations on motivating and creativity are incredible. I always watch famous entrepreneur & actor speeches on Youtube with some of my favorites being Charlie Day, Will Smith, Steve Jobs, and Kevin Plank. I also personally keep a word file that I go to when I need a kick in the ass and this always helps.
What personal values do you live by and try to incorporate into your business?
If I had to pick just a few I’d say “Follow Your Fears” for sure. I even have a sticker of that on the back of my Jeep as a constant reminder. These are also some of my favorites …
“Think Positive. Be Creative. Live fully.”
“One of the few things you can control in this life is your attitude so don’t waste your time with negativity”
“Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon”
“If your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough”
What’s the dream and how can our community support it?
Honestly the biggest thing your team of passionate individuals can do is help spread the word and give us feedback. One of the best parts of being a small company is we are agile. We listen to our users and fix things they don’t like… quickly. We respond to what the market wants and we can build a better product quicker than the competition. Let all of your viewers know that we want your opinion. Message the founders at firstname.lastname@example.org (operations), email@example.com (marketing), firstname.lastname@example.org (social).
Thank you for your help and spreading the word about amazing travels, companies, and inspiring other “degenerates” to join you in the journey.
Thanks Phil for being a continuous inspiration & sharing your insights and experience on what it’s really like to follow your fears and start your own business! If you’d like to support him in his journey, you can download Loople here.
Photos: Loople Mobile