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Featured Studio Owner

Deborah Williams
Home Video Studio - Florence

Date: 03/12/2015

“Lights! Camera! Take Action!” This was the theme of a recent Home Video Studio Getaway and it’s the greatest advice we can give that will fit on a t-shirt: For there will be no lights without action. There will be no cameras rolling without a sale. There will be no cash register ringing just by dreaming about it. The ranks of Home Video’s successful studios are filled with people who know this well, and one such “woman of action” is Deborah Williams of Erlanger, Kentucky, our March Studio Owner of the Month.

Nearly every Monday morning on the Weekly Marketing Call Debbie’s name is read as “tops” in marketing activity and, in fact, being active is, and always has been, a part of her life. Besides being a studio owner Deb is a wife, as well as a devoted mother of two boys (17 and 9). And that’s enough to fill someone’s day, isn’t it? Hold on, we’ve hardly begun...

She’s also an accomplished and active flutist (graduating with a degree in both Commercial Art and Music Performance because she couldn’t decide on one). She has a sixth degree Tae Kwon Do black belt and is a first dan in combat Hapkido. (If you don’t know what all this martial arts stuff means it’s okay. Just don’t mess with her or her family.) And in her down time, when the studio is closed, the flute is cased, the boys are in bed, and the nunchuku is safely stored Deborah likes to knit and crochet.

"I like to take action and do things." says Williams. "I was very shy and athletically unimpressive as a child. But somehow I did a 180. Now I'm not one to shy away from things that interest me – no matter the investment. You've got to try." So, when Deb ran across Home Video Studio while looking for creative business opportunities she went after it. She started out as a part-time studio owner, opening her doors on November 16, 2011. Like most rookies in any endeavor she didn’t know what to do at first – so she just acted like she did! “My first customer came to me with nearly 60 tapes to transfer,” laughs Deb, “and all I could think of was that I had to act like I knew what I was doing when I didn’t.”

Supplementing her path with other part-time positions such as a group fitness instructor, a personal trainer, and as a Mary Kay Consultant (all of which she’s still involved with) Williams has, in the past 3 ½ years, grown into a full-time studio while more than doubling her sales from her first year. She has also won several international video awards in that time, taking the Hanley Award for Best Lifetime Video, Best Use of Music, Best Long Form Video, and Best Photo Video Keepsake.

We caught up with Debbie (not an easy task) to ask her about her life as a studio owner:

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Warren, OH, but due to my father’s job, I moved every two years or so until I was 15. This included three elementary schools, one middle school, and three high schools in cities such as Detroit, Lansing, Indianapolis, Paducah and Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati.

Did your parents influence your professional choices? Is entrepreneurship in your DNA?
My parents were the typical family mold of the 60s and 70s. My mother stayed at home to raise five children while my father worked as a General Manager for the Kmart Corporation.

Were you interested in photography or video as a kid? When did it become an interest?
I knew as a young child that I leaned toward the creative side of life. Growing up, I was always drawing and painting because it came naturally to me. While in high school, I was fortunate to have been given a 35mm camera by my father. I pursued photography with a passion, including the art of working a dark room and BW printing. I likely get the photography bug from my father as he was always the one shooting family events in stills and 8mm film.

What did you do before you became a studio owner?
After graduation I was able to get a job as an advertising artist at the local community newspaper. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but it gave me the experience needed for my next job which was at The Cincinnati Enquirer as an advertising layout designer. While there I was able to also work as the Advertising Art Manager and spearheaded the department responsible for special advertising supplements. Both of those positions were instrumental in getting me ready to own my own business since they demanded management skills and organizational skills in developing a product from conception to final product.

Why did you decide to leave?
It was eighteen years of the concrete jungle. I wanted to leave that and try to freelance in graphic design. It was important to me to be home and present when my boys came home from school.

How did that go?
Clients were hard to find, especially in a very competitive field in a city where there are many advertising agencies. Plus I was finding it increasingly difficult to manage the peaks and valleys.

Is this when you ran across Home Video Studio?
Yes. I researched opportunities and kept coming back to Home Video Studio. After being a freelancer I was drawn to a proven marketing plan. Plus I felt a comfort in what the business had to offer with the creative end of preserving memories, and could also implement my growing skills as a photographer and videographer. Once I decided that I wanted to pursue that path, things kind of fell into place without delay. I researched opportunities in July/August, and was installed in November.

What are some tenets you apply when it comes to running your business?
I always fall back onto the tenants of Taekwondo that has been ingrained into me for over twenty three years. Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, Indomitable Spirit and Victory. Also, along that line, losing a Taekwondo National Championship by 1 point was by no means fun – but it did teach me not to hesitate on your instincts. If I had not done so that title would have been mine.

What's your favorite part of the business?
Enabling people to smile when they see or hear their loved ones is rewarding. My favorite part of this business is the creation that goes into making the most heartfelt Keepsake or video that will be enjoyed for years to come. If tears are shed, I’ve done my job.

What trait do you feel is absolutely necessary to thrive as an HVS owner?
You have to enjoy your work. Otherwise, it’s a job. And you must have discipline for yourself and in your work ethic, as well as respect for your work and your customers. Without them there would be no business.

Deborah Williams
Florence KY

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Here's what we'll cover at Show 'N Tell Saturday.

The number one thing we'll cover is making money in the video business. I'll cover pricing video as well as collecting the money. What's the difference between a $500.00 video and a $5000.00 video? Are you leaving money on the table? I'll teach you how we do it! Oh... what about a $30,000.00 video?
This is the great unknown for most people who attempt to enter our industry. How do you get business and find clients? I'll share with you.
I'll cover our 12 month and 21 day in person training program in depth. How do we take you from where you are now to where you want to be? We are very good at this as long as you can take that first step and get to Show 'N Tell!
You'll be in my studio all day so we'll definitely get into the nitty gritty on equipment and gear. How will you outfit your studio? Do you have current equipment that can be used? Maybe and if so that will save you some money.
Home Video Studio is a short cut to success. You may be looking for both financial success and creative achievements - money in the bank and an Oscar! We make no promises except to put you in an environment with others who have the same vision. Our mission is to help you achieve success as you define it.
Not everyone is out to make a fortune. Home Video Studio is a very fun and exciting business and lifestyle. Want to turn your hobby into a real live functioning studio? We can do that for you. Want to get your family involved in the business? We'll help train them. This is a very family friendly business.
We'll discuss transitions and getting started. Going to quit your job? Come out of retirement? Convert a 401k? Will you work the studio part time until you can go full time? We will start designing a plan for you at Show 'N Tell Saturday.
We are experts in funding and financing. If you need us to help you find the money we would be happy to. It is easy to convert a 401k or IRA with zero penalty. Many people do a refi or a home equity loan. There are other avenues as well. One of the things we do on Saturday afternoon is cover financing. It's not that difficult. If you need consultation on funding call us.

We suggest you bring your spouse/partner to our Show 'N Tell Saturday. That's our treat. You'll know a whole lot more about running a Home Video Studio by end of day on Saturday!

Show 'N Tell: A first glimpse
john and tammy
"Tammy and I came to a Show 'N Tell Saturday. The initial conversation was Robert talking about what it is to be a Home Video studio Owner. Of course we'd listened to the CD's over and over in our car for a couple of months. I think Then we had the presentation and we signed right there at the end of the presentation."
- John Montgomery - Newark, OH.
tony and lori
"Our Show 'N Tell Saturday was on May 11, 2002 - Mother's Day weekend! We were already operating our own video business, but we wanted to run it at a higher level with better equipment. We needed a plan and a system like the one offered by Home Video Studio. If you're thinking about HVS, you should go to Show 'N Tell Saturday."
- Tony & Lori Melendez - Amherst, OH.
Call 317-358-5932 or 1-866-714-1956 to reserve your spot! Or Email Robert@homevideostudio.com. Space is limited. Travel paid for qualified attendees!
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