We had the good fortune of connecting with Justin Worley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Justin, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
By definition, entrepreneurs take risks. In my experience, the most successful people learn to embrace risk as a learning tool. For example, Steve Jobs said “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” As we all know, Jobs went on to great accomplishments and was quoted saying,“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” When I was twenty-four years old I took the risk to start my first business and it was an epic failure! In my mind, failure wasn’t an option and I was surprised when I quickly burned through every dollar in my savings account. How did this happen? Why was I forced to be back on the job market looking for employment? It was a very humbling experience. But this failure taught me valuable lessons that shaped my future. It was at this crossroads moment after my first company failed that I was fortunate enough to be hired at an audio/video company with a wonderful owner who mentored and taught me a lot about how to operate a business. After five years under his tutelage I still had the entrepreneurial spirit and was eager to try being an entrepreneur again. But this time I was determined not to make the same mistakes. Soon thereafter, I charged ahead armed with more astute knowledge, savvy business acumen, relentless determination, and mentally prepared to take only calculated risks. Desert Valley Audio Video in Arizona was my first thriving business. Over a few years, my partner and I built a solid team of employees, loyal customers, and was able to expand our services. There is no greater joy than building your first successful company. It’s a memory and feeling that stays with you forever. With one company up and running, I started to feel a familiar unrest and knew that I was ready for my next entrepreneurial challenge. This led me to expand from Arizona into California with my second company, Audio Concepts. This time, instead of starting from scratch, I took the calculated risk to purchase a company that had been a pillar in the community since 1975. However, taking on this had more challenges and risks then I could have ever predicted. However, I was prepared and able to make modifications along the journey. The rewards of meeting new people, and positively impacting lives of employees and our clients has been a rewarding highlight. In my experience, I’ve found that the most accomplished people and businesses are those that are either prepared to take risks or comfortable taking risks. It’s important to note that not all risks result in success, there are often failures along the way. But it’s perseverance and ability to pivot that are game changing moves. We can all create our own luck by taking the necessary risks to open the door to change, progress, and eventually leads to success.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Have you ever walked into a store and two employees are talking to each other and ignoring you or other customers? You know why they are doing that? Simple, they don’t care. And you can’t teach care. You can teach and learn skills. You can teach and learn about an industry. You can’t teach someone to care. I have seen minimum wage employees who put dedication and attention to detail into minute tasks. I have also seen highly compensated individuals acting entitled and lazy. The thing that sets me apart from others is that I really care and I create a culture of care at both Desert Valley AV and Audio Concepts. When we are working with clients, they invite us into their homes and lives. This is a very personal and intimate experience so it’s important to genuinely care and build trust. When our customers are comfortable it means they are relaxed enough to tell us what they really want and we are actively listening in order to bring them ideas and solutions that are customized and personal to their lives. This could manifest through the design of a custom game room, in-home movie theater, outdoor entertainment area, sound system, security, voice automation requirements, or other special requests. As I look to the future, I foresee this culture of caring going beyond our clients and employees out into areas where we can do good in the community. Our company culture will expand as we find multiple ways to give back and be generous with volunteering and giving financially in order to make a difference with those in need.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Currently, my favorite thing to do is take bike rides in Long Beach. I love to spend time overlooking the urban waterfront early in the morning. I find it to be the most peaceful time of the day. This is my first time living near the ocean and it’s a different world. Coming from Arizona, we didn’t have this rich eclectic culture, diversity and character that I find in Long Beach. From art museums to restaurants, live music and cafes, everything feels “real” and “authentic.” From my bike I can enjoy an entire day of adventure.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate this SHOUTOUT to two separate groups of people that were instrumental in my journey. First, my parents. When I was a little kid I was fascinated with taking things apart to see how they worked. I think my first “experiment” was on a toaster and after that it was anything that plugged into the wall. This was the beginning of my interest in technology and thankfully my parents didn’t mind. They were supportive of my curiosity even though neither of them worked in the tech industry – my dad worked at an auto body shop and my mom was a teacher. In fact, my first job was working at the autobody shop in the office to help file paperwork and do other administrative tasks. At the time, I was eager to get my hands dirty and take my things apart so I could put them back together. But in hindsight, being in the office was invaluable because it was my first experience with the “operations side” of business. Second, is my business partner, Stacy and the Desert Valley Audio Video (DVAV) core team. This group has been together since the beginning and their support and inspiration was necessary during this journey. For me, life is all about being surrounded by quality people with shared values and goals in order to grow and be successful. As I lead the teams at DVAV and Audio Concepts, I’m reminded of a quote from Simon Sinek, “You’re not in charge. You’re responsible for those who are in your charge.” This statement rings true for me because I invest a lot of effort into relationships in order to create a culture of trust and lead with purpose. There are two books that are also worth mentioning in my SHOUTOUT. First, is the book, “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t” by James C. Collins. It was instrumental for me to apply the importance of discipline to each aspect of our company from the people to the thoughts, and ultimately our actions. To me, this means hiring the right people and keeping them focused on excellence. For example, I brought someone into DVAV who had zero experience in the tech industry, but because of his passion and dedication he advanced from entry level to ultimately managing operations in Arizona. His story is a huge personal success both for his family and for me of what can be achieved. Second, is the book, “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. When you’re leading a company there isn’t a boss to tell you “well done” or give you encouragement so you need to find a way to self-affirm and sometimes we are all hard on ourselves, negative or just get into a funk. So in an effort to combat those awful feelings, I decided to read this book to see if it would do anything to kick me out of my funk. “The Secret” talks about the importance of affirmations and the law of attraction – which claims thoughts can change a person’s life directly. I thought, “let’s see if I can be one of them”; and I was pleasantly surprised. The book did more than get me out of the funk I was in. It encouraged me to be constantly mindful of the thoughts going through my head as I went after my goals.
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