Defeating Defeat - Nick Skislak, B.B.A.'06

PHoto of SkislakAfter leaving a safe and comfortable job to take a risk and start his own company, Haworth College of Business alumnus Nick Skislak knows that creating a successful business is all about focus, determination and pushing through adversity.

An advertising and promotion major and now the owner of SS Digital Media LLC for the past six years, Skislak heads new business development, project management and digital strategy development among countless other aspects of his business. Skislak describes how his time at Western Michigan University and the relationships he developed in the college of business prepared him for a career in ways he never could have guessed.

Looking back on his time in the college, Skislak explains how one of the greatest lessons he learned that prepared him for his career was communication. “It was a great place to learn how to work with people,” he says. “Working with people with different points of view, different personalities, religions and ethnicities allowed me to improve my communication skills.”

He also notes that what he studied in Dr. Karen Lancendorfer’s consumer behavior course is something he still uses routinely in his job today. Skislak says “it was a great class that gave me the skills to understand how to communicate with a target audience.”

With these skills in hand, Skislak felt confident to leave his job and start his own business. “When I started, I had no money, no clients and was scared out of my mind. But I pushed on and haven’t looked back,” explains Skislak.

SS Digital Media LLC is a digital advertising agency that offers a variety of online advertisement services. Using the latest techniques in web development and search engine optimization combined with public relations and social media, it provides clients with the latest in navigating the digital marketing world. With undying determination and hard work, Skislak’s company is now a great success. The biggest challenge he sees in his industry today is a lack of patience. “Truly successful people and businesses take their time and understand there are no short cuts,” he says.

Today, Skislak can still be found on WMU’s campus, as he often comes to speak with students in the advertising and promotion program or sit in on panels. When he isn’t involved on campus or managing his company, Skislak enjoys traveling with his wife, golfing or playing baseball. His story is a testament to the great things determination can produce. Skislak says, “I never let defeat, defeat me.”