Gustavo Serafini has constructed a dream enterprise round work he loves. He's co-founder of Pure Audio Video, a reseller of high-end house theater gear based mostly in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The film buff and his co-founder and brother Marcelo create elaborate house leisure experiences for individuals who love applied sciences, films and music. Serafini doubles as host of the Enabled Disabled Podcast, which goals to shift the narrative round incapacity and empower folks by sensible recommendation and tales.
Pure Audio Video, based in 2005, has grown to about $2 million in annual gross sales, and at the moment has 9 staff, placing the duo within the small cohort of entrepreneurs whose small companies attain $1 million in annual income or extra.
Serafini has constructed his enterprise whereas dwelling with a incapacity. He was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD), a uncommon, non-hereditary situation which leads to a shortening of the femur, for which he wears a personalized prosthetic; he's additionally lacking his proper arm. (He's amongst a number of entrepreneurs who might be talking at a free group occasion on the New York Public Library on entrepreneurs and incapacity this coming Thursday, June 28, at midday EST; I’ll be moderating.)
What has spurred Serafini by the ups and downs of entrepreneurship is a perception in “selecting your self”—as in “That is what I would like my life to be. That is the trail I’m keen to take. These are the sacrifices I’m keen to make,” he explains. “If we don’t have the braveness to decide on ourselves, nothing goes to occur.”
Serafini adopted this mindset at an early age. “The primary time I keep in mind actually going out on a limb and selecting myself was once I performed basketball,” he says. “I made a decision to check out for the 8th grade workforce. I used to be shorter than everyone [who was trying out] and slower. Everybody was light and was telling me, mainly, ‘Gustavo you’re not going to make it. I don’t assume it’s one of the best thought you’ve ever had.’ My response was that it doesn’t matter if I make it or not. I need to check myself. I need to see what I’m able to doing.”
He did make the workforce, which was undefeated. Though, as a pre-teen boy, he by no means requested his coach why he was chosen for the workforce, he intuited that the coach had two causes: to encourage others on the workforce to work more durable and to attain factors like everybody else.
“The coach modified his offensive system once I performed,” he recollects. “It didn’t matter if we had been up by 20 factors 30 factors, 50 factors—if I didn’t carry out, he pulled me, immediately. I used to be given the chance to make myself and him look good. If I didn’t do it, I bought taken out of the sport like everyone else.”
That have was extremely motivating for Serafini. “I noticed for the primary time that no matter limitations I assumed I had had been false,” he says. “The true limits had been a lot, a lot additional away and lots murkier than I knew. Simply to have that world develop in entrance of me was life altering.”
What taking part in on the workforce in the end advised him, he says, was, “I could make it on the earth. I'll must work more durable. However persons are going to provide me the chance to do one thing.”
That have led him to function a coach at a basketball camp, the place the top coach noticed that he had an intensive understanding of the game. “That was one other lovely expertise,” he says. “I realized lots about about motivating myself, main a workforce and camaraderie. All of this stuff led into entrepreneurship.”
Past that, teaching was a possibility for private progress. “There was at all times a pleasure and motivation in defying expectations,” he says. “If somebody advised me ‘You possibly can’t do that, I took on that problem of proving them improper.’”
Serafini attended faculty on the College of Chicago—impressed by an English trainer who needed him to develop into a author and cherished the English program there—after which went on to the George Washington College College of Legislation. He found he didn’t have a ardour for legislation as a profession—“I used to be profoundly allergic to it,” he says—however caught it out. Nonetheless, when it got here time to use for jobs after college, felt the decision of entrepreneurship. Asking himself, “What can I do to take management of my life and the issues I’m involved in?” he concluded, “I ought to personal my very own enterprise.”
His brother Marcelo shared the same want. “We cherished the film music expertise,” he says. They did some analysis and a yr and half later, determined to start out Pure Audio Video—and by no means appeared again. They initially started advertising and marketing their service to audiophiles, then refined their enterprise mannequin. Past working with clients to plan the theaters and promoting the audio and video programs, the corporate additionally does the associated electrical work and cyber safety. Over time, they centered their consideration on serving critical audiophiles with house theaters.
“This was an train in endurance, soul looking, determining who we needed to serve and who we had been for,” he says. “We realized we needed to maneuver into the high-end, luxurious customized house market, which is admittedly tough to interrupt into. The builders management quite a lot of that work.”
They did all the networking they may to search out their first clients, and the enterprise started taking off in 2007. However by 2009, the nation was in a recession. “We had that second of not understanding if we had been going to make it,” he recollects. “We determined we had been going to go high-end or shut.”
Lastly, a builder they knew gave them a possibility to bid on a job at an NFL participant’s home. They received the bid, and the builder held a barbeque to have fun the deal. “As soon as folks knew we labored on that job and he was comfortable and keen to inform folks, the alternatives began,” says Serafini. By taking each challenge to the best stage they may, they constructed constructive word-of-mouth that helped the corporate develop.
“The inventive stuff we do with pure audio/video is admittedly in honor of the artists,” he says. “Whenever you create a cinema room that exceeds the expectations of the folks within the business, that tells you you’re doing one thing proper. Personally, I simply love sitting in an important theater with mates and watching one thing I do know is as shut as potential to how the artist meant it to be. 1000's of individuals work on an enormous finances film. How usually can we admire these nuances and particular results? In one of the best case, it’s transformative.”
He and Marcelo now goal to construct the corporate to $4 million to $6 million in annual income. “I undoubtedly see the advantages of doubling or tripling in dimension,” he says. “However we don't need to sacrifice the expertise of working with us. We don’t need to really feel company.”
For Serafini, an enormous a part of the enjoyment of constructing the enterprise has been the educational course of. “That concept of mastering one thing and spending a very very long time of doing it for its personal sake for the pleasure of seeing what you are able to do is enormously motivating to me,” says Serafini. “What am I able to if I apply myself to this?”
Just a little over a yr in the past, he began his podcast. Since then, he has develop into way more comfy opening up and speaking about his incapacity, he says. On one event, he labored with an aged couple, during which the person observed his incapacity and requested him, “What occurred?” When Serafini advised his story, the person’s spouse shared their very own story of dropping two youngsters. “There was a profound human connection and belief constructed up,” he says. “If I hadn’t been open to being weak, that wouldn’t have occurred.”
Serafini has discovered that whereas incapacity is a part of his identification, everybody is formed by many alternative experiences, and totally different ones come into play in several conditions, each in his enterprise and life outdoors of it.
“Incapacity is a part of us,” he says. “Generally that half can dominate the remaining. Generally it’s there within the background. It will depend on the place you're and what you're doing in life.”