He Built A $2 Million Business Around His Passion For Home Movie Theaters. Now He’s Helping Entrepreneurs With Disabilities Reach New Heights.

Gustavo Serafini has designed a aspiration business enterprise all-around do the job he loves. He is co-founder of Pure Audio Online video, a reseller of superior-end house theater equipment based mostly in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The motion picture buff and his co-founder and brother Marcelo create elaborate dwelling leisure ordeals for people today who really like technologies, videos and songs. Serafini doubles as host of the Enabled Disabled Podcast, which aims to change the narrative about incapacity and empower folks by functional information and tales.

Pure Audio Online video, founded in 2005, has developed to about $2 million in annual gross sales, and now has 9 workforce, placing the duo in the modest cohort of entrepreneurs whose compact organizations access $1 million in annual income or additional.

Serafini has built his enterprise even though living with a incapacity. He was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD), a unusual, non-hereditary ailment which effects in a shortening of the femur, for which he wears a customized prosthetic he is also missing his right arm. (He is among a number of business owners who will be speaking at a absolutely free group event at the New York Public Library on entrepreneurs and incapacity this coming Thursday, July 28, at midday EST [on Zoom] I’ll be moderating.)

What has spurred Serafini through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship is a belief in “choosing yourself”—as in “This is what I want my lifestyle to be. This is the route I’m eager to get. These are the sacrifices I’m keen to make,” he points out. “If we really don’t have the courage to pick ourselves, absolutely nothing is likely to transpire.”

Serafini adopted this mentality at an early age. “The very first time I recall genuinely heading out on a limb and deciding upon myself was when I performed basketball,” he suggests. “I resolved to attempt out for the 8th quality team. I was shorter than every person [who was trying out] and slower. Anyone was gentle and was telling me, essentially, ‘Gustavo you are not going to make it. I don’t assume it’s the ideal strategy you have ever experienced.’ My reaction was that it doesn’t matter if I make it or not. I want to take a look at myself. I want to see what I’m able of accomplishing.”

He did make the crew, which was undefeated. Despite the fact that, as a pre-teenager boy, he by no means questioned his mentor why he was selected for the workforce, he intuited that the coach had two explanations: to encourage other people on the staff to operate more difficult and to rating factors like all people else.

“The mentor adjusted his offensive procedure when I performed,” he recollects. “It didn’t issue if we ended up up by 20 points 30 factors, 50 points—if I didn’t conduct, he pulled me, right absent. I was given the opportunity to make myself and him glance very good. If I did not do it, I bought taken out of the video game like most people else.”

That encounter was really motivating for Serafini. “I understood for the 1st time that no matter what limitations I imagined I had have been phony,” he claims. “The true boundaries had been significantly, a great deal even further away and a good deal murkier than I knew. Just to have that globe extend in front of me was everyday living changing.”

What taking part in on the workforce ultimately informed him, he states, was, “I can make it in the globe. I may have to work more challenging. But men and women are likely to give me the option to do one thing.”

That knowledge led him to provide as a mentor at a basketball camp, in which the head coach noticed that he had a thorough understanding of the sport. “That was another attractive knowledge,” he claims. “I learned a large amount about about motivating myself, primary a group and camaraderie. All of these points led into entrepreneurship.”

Beyond that, coaching was an opportunity for own progress. “There was usually a satisfaction and commitment in defying anticipations,” he claims. “If a person informed me ‘You can’t do this, I took on that obstacle of proving them mistaken.’”

Serafini attended faculty at the College of Chicago—inspired by an English teacher who wished him to come to be a writer and cherished the English software there—and then went on to the George Washington College School of Regulation. He discovered he didn’t have a enthusiasm for regulation as a career—“I was profoundly allergic to it,” he says—but trapped it out. Nevertheless, when it came time to implement for employment following school, felt the simply call of entrepreneurship. Asking himself, “What can I do to get handle of my lifetime and the issues I’m interested in?” he concluded, “I need to very own my personal business.”

His brother Marcelo shared a very similar desire. “We cherished the motion picture music knowledge,” he states. They did some analysis and a calendar year and half afterwards, made the decision to commence Pure Audio Video—and by no means seemed again. They at first began marketing and advertising their assistance to audiophiles, then refined their small business product. Over and above doing the job with clients to prepare the theaters and marketing the audio and online video devices, the enterprise also does the connected electrical work and cyber protection. Around time, they targeted their awareness on serving major audiophiles with dwelling theaters.

“This was an work out in patience, soul browsing, figuring out who we wanted to serve and who we were for,” he suggests. “We understood we desired to move into the large-conclusion, luxury custom made home industry, which is genuinely complicated to break into. The builders regulate a good deal of that work.”

They did all of the networking they could to uncover their first prospects, and the enterprise began getting off in 2007. But by 2009, the nation was in a economic downturn. “We had that minute of not knowing if we have been heading to make it,” he remembers. “We made the decision we had been going to go large-conclusion or near.”

Ultimately, a builder they knew gave them an opportunity to bid on a position at an NFL player’s property. They gained the bid, and the builder held a barbeque to rejoice the deal. “Once people knew we labored on that occupation and he was content and eager to inform individuals, the possibilities commenced,” claims Serafini. By having just about every project to the optimum level they could, they created optimistic word-of-mouth that aided the enterprise increase.

“The creative things we do with pure audio/movie is seriously in honor of the artists,” he states. “When you produce a cinema home that exceeds the expectations of the people today in the industry, that tells you you’re accomplishing a little something right. Personally, I just like sitting in a good theater with pals and looking at one thing I know is as shut as attainable to how the artist supposed it to be. 1000’s of persons operate on a big price range film. How often can we appreciate those people nuances and specific outcomes? In the finest scenario, it’s transformative.”

He and Marcelo now goal to establish the enterprise to $4 million to $6 million in once-a-year profits. “I certainly see the advantages of doubling or tripling in dimensions,” he suggests. “But we do not want to sacrifice the practical experience of working with us. We never want to truly feel corporate.”

For Serafini, a significant section of the pleasure of creating the enterprise has been the understanding system. “That notion of mastering some thing and expending a really prolonged time of undertaking it for its have sake for the enjoyment of looking at what you can do is enormously motivating to me,” claims Serafini. “What am I able of if I utilize myself to this?”

A small over a 12 months in the past, he started off his podcast. Given that then, he has develop into considerably much more comfy opening up and chatting about his incapacity, he claims. On 1 celebration, he worked with an aged few, in which the male recognized his disability and requested him, “What took place?” When Serafini told his story, the man’s wife shared their very own story of shedding two young children. “There was a profound human link and rely on developed up,” he says. “If I hadn’t been open to being vulnerable, that wouldn’t have happened.”

Serafini has uncovered that even though incapacity is aspect of his id, anyone is formed by quite a few unique activities, and diverse kinds come into play in diverse predicaments, equally in his organization and everyday living exterior of it.

“Disability is portion of us,” he states. “Sometimes that part can dominate the relaxation. Often it’s there in the background. It is dependent on where by you are and what you are undertaking in daily life.”

Barbara G. Arnold

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