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Featured Studio Owner

Miguel Salas
Home Video Studio - Jacksonville

Date: 11/10/2015

Miguel Salas was our HVS Owner of the Month nearly two years ago. Here’s a reprint of his story with a follow-up at the end:

Success at most things in life takes hard work, some risk, and a few breaks. Miguel Salas, our Home Video Studio owner in Jacksonville, Florida, doesn't have to look far to see an example of success that serves as a model in his life. Meet Miguel Salas, our February Studio Owner of the Month.

"My mother has a warrior spirit." says Miguel, "She came from very humble beginnings with a vision, and she has always been an example of dedication and sacrifice." Growing up in a small village in Colombia in South America she saw a postcard of New York City and decided that someday she would live there. So she began finding opportunities in different towns and cities - each one drawing her closer to her goal. After many steps she was eventually offered an American job and visa. Moving to Brooklyn with no friends and speaking little to no English she began her postcard life in the United States.

This is where Miguel was born and raised, living, as he describes, a "sheltered life" centered around church and family. "I was always interested in art and anything creative, but at that time did not have the financial means to pursue photography or video to any great degree." So Miguel quenched his creative fire by drawing in pen and charcoal. He also dreamed of being an astronaut. "Yes I am still a Trekkie," smiles Salas, "and I love science fiction." Then one day the Marines came knocking and he answered. "I really was looking to get out and see the world - the promise of a future," says Miguel, "and also a challenge. I decided the Marines were the toughest branch of the service for me so that's where I went."

Although Salas' tests for vocational aptitude revealed he indeed had a propensity for audio/visual he ended up in another creative field - cooking. Miguel spent the duration of his Marine career in the kitchen, and after he was discharged Salas attended a bona fide chef's academy in St. Augustine, Florida, then began his civilian career as a chef for many venues both private and commercial.

"I still harbored a desire to do something with video," says Miguel, "but chefing, little did I know, was great training! The correlation between the kitchen and the video studio is uncanny at times. For example, you must follow a recipe in any business or any production. Then, and only then can you begin to vary ingredients more to taste."

There are also a lot of similarities in preparing for an event: "As a chef we call it 'mise en place' which is French for 'everything in its place.' Pre-production is the same in the sense that everything has to be in place for the event to go well. You only get one shot to get it right in a live recording - be it church service or a recital or a sporting event."

"Finally, probably the most important thing that carries over from my chef days to being a Home Video Studio owner is the ability to work under pressure. There's always time constraints, customer expectations, and doing things right the first time. I feel I still perform best under these conditions."

An opportunity to do video came when a media ministry started in Miguel's church. He joined from day one and learned about cameras, live recordings, videography (in front and behind the camera), and video editing. "That's what started me thinking," says Miguel. "I was doing shooting, editing, all the cool stuff like green-screen and post-production. I thought to myself, 'How great would it be to do this as a business instead of a hobby at church?'"

Not long after he heard a speaker whose message really hit him. He was talking about taking ownership of your own life. "For me," says Miguel, "that meant considering that being an hourly employee was not for me and that I could be a business owner and an entrepreneur. It really was a paradigm shift for me. I had never thought that it was something I could accomplish."

So Salas began to check out franchises. He looked at T-shirt businesses, the food industry, pens, trinkets and others, but he knew he wanted to make money in a creative field. That's when he found Home Video Studio in Videomaker magazine. "I played around with the idea of HVS until I finally got the courage to call the number and who should answer but the CEO of the company Robert Hanley! It just so happened that a Show- N-Tell was coming up in a few weeks about two hours away in Orlando. I signed up on 08/08/08." Miguel also adds with a smile, "As a side note the number 8 is the number of new beginnings in the Bible! So there you go. It was meant to be."

After five and one half years in business Miguel has endured and learned a few key things: "In my business I always remember that we are a service-based business so customer service is number one. I try to make them all feel comfortable and let them know they can trust me with their treasured memories. I treat them as if it was my own memories."

"My favorite part of the business is that every day is a new challenge, a new client, a new opportunity. It could be a slow week and that $5000 job can walk in and make your week." What are Miguel Salas' goals for the foreseeable future? "My goal is to become the number one Video Services business in my city and region and for HVS to be what people automatically think of when they think of video services. I also want to be HVS Owner of the Year."

Like his mother, Miguel is taking steps to be in his own postcard picture. With hard work, some risks, and a few breaks he will be there. And the best news? "After five and a half years the best thing about my Home Video Studio is that I find it exciting every day. I love doing this business!"

We caught up with Miguel, starting his eighth year in business, as he was busy in his studio. He was gracious enough to stop and answer a few questions for us:

What was your start like? Compare the Miguel then to now.
"I had no prior entrepreneurial experience so everything was brand new to me. From then to now is light year's difference! I also have a lot more experience in not just in the technical aspects, but in how to actually run a business as opposed to working a job which I had done my whole life.

You moved to a storefront. Is that different?
"The process of moving into a storefront was all new to me. The property owner at our current location wanted to give us a hand up and gave us the storefront on Beach Boulevard (the main thoroughfare to the beach) at the exact amount we prayed about! Hallelujah!

The increase in visibility is beyond what I had imagined. In the home people always called before they came so I knew who was coming. Now clients just show up! After looking at our website they are sold and just drop in. We also have many people who see our signs coming in and ask what we do.

What has surprised you lately?
A lot of times I'm surprised at the projects the clients bring in. Always something new and different. Robin [Miguel's wife] likes to say she's been around the world a few times via our clients' projects.

In your experience what is absolutely necessary to thrive as an HVS owner?
To thrive as in HVS owner you must continue to learn and not be afraid to ask questions. We have a vast resource of knowledge in our fellow owners who have come from many different backgrounds and are all willing to help. There is also a template which has been created for us. Robert has created a business model that worked so well for him he was able to franchise it and teach others how to replicate a successful business. Why not use it?!!!

Any special days or events stick out in your several years?
I think clients stick out more than specific days but we have had days where clients have brought in large projects that make our week! That is why we are open on Saturdays!

What are a few of your next growth steps?
My next growth steps include continuing to increase my market presence. I still get people who tell me I didn't know there was someone that can do what you do. I want everyone to think of HVS as soon as they need any video services. Another growth step is to continue to upgrade the studio and equipment. There is always equipment to replace and upgrade. I am also looking to make the back room more production ready.

What are some of your mistakes and what did you learn?
My time is valuable and sometimes clients don't realize this so I've also learned to be more deliberate and not let clients underestimate my time.

Any favorite quotes or aphorisms that sum up your way of being?
We live in the constant expectation of the manifestation of the goodness of God in our lives!

Miguel Salas
Jacksonville FL

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