It Takes A Village: The Story of Local Eye Site

by Brad McCorkle on February 1, 2013

This year, February marks the fifth anniversary of Local Eye Site’s founding - an event that would have never taken place without the love, loyalty and support from each and every one of you! With that said, Local Eye Site’s founder, Brad McCorkle, shares his story on what it took for him to make Local Eye Site into the thriving company that it is today.  His story explains how, through the support of family, friends, and partners in the eye care industry, Local Eye Site went from being an idea and a dream to the leading provider of jobs online for the eye care industry.

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The Local Eye Site Team at Vision Expo West in 2012

You’ve probably heard the expression “it takes a village to raise a child.” As a parent of two, I can attest to the critical roles our friends and family play in the lives of our children. I read recently that it takes a village to build a business, too. As I reflect on the journey of the first five years of Local Eye Site, I think the feeling that “it takes a village” to build something worthwhile most accurately depicts my experience of starting a business. For the record, “it takes a village” is followed closely by “it takes commitment” and “it takes capital,” but those are different articles!

Before I ventured into the world of entrepreneurship, I imagined successful business founders as mavericks who take the market by storm and through sheer determination, brains, and savvy, will successful businesses into existence. Perhaps that’s true for some, but that simply hasn’t been my experience. Don’t get me wrong, a successful entrepreneur must be able to recognize a market opportunity, and it takes some nerve to quit a full-time job and dedicate your professional life to a passion with no guarantee of income. It’s certainly true that entrepreneurship requires bold risk-taking and ingenuity by an individual to make things happen, but I might also say that “Local Eye Site, LLC” happened TO me as much as anything else.

Consider this: In the beginning, there was just a business idea. The first pivotal moment in the life of this idea came when I shared it with two very close, trusted friends. Sure I had faith in the premise and promise of this idea, but without the encouragement and backing of these two friends (and oh yeah, their willingness to part with their own hard earned money), Local Eye Site would never have transformed from an idea to a viable company. And let’s not forget that even before any of that, an employer provided me an opportunity to work in the eye care industry, where the initial idea was born.

Also consider the experience of the entrepreneur’s wife, when in 2007 I say:

“Uhh, honey … I know you’ve quit your job to stay home with our two kids, and I know we just moved into a new house, and I know I have a good stable job with a good salary, benefits and a company car, but I’m going to quit that job and invest much of our savings into my passion!! There will probably be no income to speak of for at least a couple of years. Aren’t you excited?!”

That’s right, my wife signed up for that — seriously. Without the support from her and my two friends, Local Eye Site doesn’t have a prayer of making it from idea to LLC.

From the beginning, we’ve had good friends, doctors and administrators in Ophthalmology, who were willing to work with Local Eye Site when our product was only in the early stages of development. I can’t forget about the friends that helped us with legal expenses, accounting, consulting, office space, you name it - by putting us on the “friends and family” discount during those early years. So many amazing employees then and now that have added their ideas and energy to push us along. Oh, and I can’t forget my friends and family that served as the models for all the photography you see on Local Eye Site (images viewed millions of times now) … their pay? A Starbucks gift card! Trust me, we’ve had plenty of good people help us all along, and they continue to do so generously.

I must say, the feeling that most comes to mind when I reflect on these last 5 years is gratitude. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to run this company for a living. I’m thankful we’ve made it 5 years and continue to grow. LES currently has 550 jobs on the site, and since the launch of the website in 2008 has enjoyed more than 50,000 job-seeker registrations and over 4,000,000 pages visited. That’s terrific progress, but we have so much more to accomplish and big plans ahead. So, thanks for everything, and stay tuned!

Brad

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