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 built a dream business about operate he enjoys. He is co-founder of Pure Audio Movie, a reseller of higher-finish house theater equipment based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The movie buff and his co-founder and brother Marcelo make elaborate residence entertainment ordeals for individuals who really like systems, flicks and audio. Serafini doubles as host of the Enabled Disabled Podcast, which aims to shift the narrative around incapacity and empower folks as a result of realistic tips and tales.

Pure Audio Online video, launched in 2005, has grown to about $2 million in once-a-year gross sales, and now has 9 workers, putting the duo in the small cohort of entrepreneurs whose tiny corporations get to $1 million in yearly income or additional.

Serafini has built his business whilst living with a disability. He was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD), a uncommon, non-hereditary condition which benefits in a shortening of the femur, for which he wears a customized prosthetic he is also missing his right arm. (He is among the many business people who will be speaking at a no cost group occasion at the New York General public Library on business owners and disability this coming Thursday, June 28, at midday EST I’ll be moderating.)

What has spurred Serafini by way of the ups and downs of entrepreneurship is a belief in “choosing yourself”—as in “This is what I want my daily life to be. This is the path I’m prepared to consider. These are the sacrifices I’m eager to make,” he clarifies. “If we don’t have the courage to pick ourselves, absolutely nothing is heading to happen.”

Serafini adopted this mindset at an early age. “The initial time I try to remember genuinely likely out on a limb and picking myself was when I played basketball,” he states. “I resolved to check out out for the 8th quality team. I was shorter than most people [who was trying out] and slower. Everybody was light and was telling me, mainly, ‘Gustavo you’re not likely to make it. I do not feel it’s the most effective strategy you’ve at any time had.’ My response was that it does not make a difference if I make it or not. I want to exam myself. I want to see what I’m able of performing.”

He did make the crew, which was undefeated. Though, as a pre-teenager boy, he by no means asked his coach why he was preferred for the workforce, he intuited that the mentor had two causes: to inspire other people on the workforce to do the job harder and to score points like all people else.

“The coach modified his offensive system when I played,” he remembers. “It didn’t make any difference if we had been up by 20 points 30 factors, 50 points—if I did not carry out, he pulled me, suitable absent. I was given the prospect to make myself and him glimpse good. If I did not do it, I got taken out of the recreation like every person else.”

That expertise was remarkably motivating for Serafini. “I realized for the initial time that whatsoever limitations I imagined I experienced were being wrong,” he suggests. “The genuine limits have been significantly, much further more absent and a ton murkier than I knew. Just to have that earth grow in entrance of me was daily life changing.”

What taking part in on the group in the long run instructed him, he states, was, “I can make it in the world. I may possibly have to function more difficult. But persons are going to give me the chance to do a thing.”

That working experience led him to provide as a mentor at a basketball camp, in which the head coach noticed that he experienced a extensive comprehension of the activity. “That was an additional beautiful experience,” he suggests. “I realized a ton about about motivating myself, major a group and camaraderie. All of these factors led into entrepreneurship.”

Further than that, coaching was an option for own growth. “There was often a satisfaction and motivation in defying anticipations,” he states. “If an individual explained to me ‘You just cannot do this, I took on that problem of proving them incorrect.’”

Serafini attended faculty at the University of Chicago—inspired by an English trainer who desired him to come to be a writer and beloved the English plan there—and then went on to the George Washington College College of Law. He found out he didn’t have a enthusiasm for legislation as a career—“I was profoundly allergic to it,” he says—but stuck it out. Having said that, when it came time to use for positions soon after college, felt the simply call of entrepreneurship. Asking himself, “What can I do to choose management of my everyday living and the factors I’m intrigued in?” he concluded, “I need to personal my very own business enterprise.”

His brother Marcelo shared a equivalent want. “We beloved the motion picture songs knowledge,” he states. They did some analysis and a calendar year and 50 % afterwards, decided to get started Pure Audio Video—and hardly ever looked again. They in the beginning began marketing and advertising their provider to audiophiles, then refined their business enterprise model. Past doing the job with shoppers to program the theaters and advertising the audio and video clip devices, the corporation also does the connected electrical operate and cyber protection. Over time, they concentrated their focus on serving severe audiophiles with dwelling theaters.

“This was an training in tolerance, soul exploring, figuring out who we required to provide and who we were being for,” he suggests. “We recognized we desired to shift into the substantial-finish, luxury custom household marketplace, which is actually difficult to crack into. The builders regulate a whole lot of that work.”

They did all of the networking they could to obtain their first clients, and the small business started taking off in 2007. But by 2009, the state was in a recession. “We experienced that instant of not recognizing if we have been going to make it,” he recollects. “We determined we ended up heading to go significant-conclusion or shut.”

Eventually, a builder they realized gave them an option to bid on a job at an NFL player’s dwelling. They gained the bid, and the builder held a barbeque to rejoice the offer. “Once people knew we labored on that task and he was satisfied and willing to explain to men and women, the opportunities started off,” suggests Serafini. By using each project to the optimum degree they could, they crafted good word-of-mouth that served the corporation grow.

“The inventive stuff we do with pure audio/video is seriously in honor of the artists,” he suggests. “When you develop a cinema home that exceeds the anticipations of the persons in the field, that tells you you are accomplishing one thing correct. Personally, I just really like sitting in a great theater with mates and viewing some thing I know is as near as feasible to how the artist intended it to be. Countless numbers of folks perform on a massive price range film. How usually can we respect these nuances and distinctive outcomes? In the most effective situation, it’s transformative.”

He and Marcelo now goal to establish the business to $4 million to $6 million in annual earnings. “I undoubtedly see the benefits of doubling or tripling in sizing,” he claims. “But we do not want to sacrifice the practical experience of functioning with us. We really do not want to come to feel company.”

For Serafini, a large part of the joy of developing the company has been the discovering system. “That thought of mastering one thing and shelling out a seriously extensive time of performing it for its possess sake for the enjoyment of observing what you can do is enormously motivating to me,” suggests Serafini. “What am I capable of if I utilize myself to this?”

A tiny above a calendar year back, he started his podcast. Since then, he has come to be a lot extra snug opening up and speaking about his incapacity, he says. On 1 event, he worked with an elderly few, in which the guy discovered his disability and questioned him, “What transpired?” When Serafini explained to his story, the man’s spouse shared their own story of getting rid of two little ones. “There was a profound human link and rely on built up,” he claims. “If I hadn’t been open to currently being vulnerable, that wouldn’t have occurred.”

Serafini has located that while incapacity is element of his id, everybody is formed by numerous unique encounters, and unique kinds occur into participate in in various conditions, both in his business enterprise and lifetime outside of it.

“Disability is element of us,” he states. “Sometimes that portion can dominate the relaxation. Often it’s there in the track record. It depends on exactly where you are and what you are performing in life.”


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