We recently had the chance to interview the super talented west coast videographer / photographer @kybalionvfx to talk about his career and how he got to where he is today.
How did you get started?
I’ve been wanting to create art for as long as I can remember. I wanted to be good at drawing or sketching initially. The coolest thing in the world to me was looking at people’s in class doodles. Unfortunately for me no matter how many hours that I put into it, I couldn’t get the results I wanted. My hands just don’t hold that capability. For awhile, I wasn’t creating anything. Fast forward to my freshman year of high school. I took a digital photography class. Although I enjoyed it I wasn’t able to get the results I wanted. My friends were killing it, I was struggling to keep a C. I suppose I just kept trying because I enjoyed it more than anything. My work was kept private because it wasn’t anything I was proud of but after years of hard work I feel comfortable enough to share what I do with the world and operate a business.
When did you decide that you wanted to become a creator?
I’d say looking at other creatives and their lifestyle really made me want to do it as a business or job. I like having the freedom, I like having the final call to do what I want to do. While watching photographers like 13th Witness just exploring the world and getting paid to do it, I thought maybe I can do something similar. As much as I love creation, I love the lifestyle that it offers. Every individual can literally choose their own worth and become who they want to be. It’s more difficult to do that in the real world, it’s more difficult to get your voice heard. For me, I always felt like I had a lot to say but nobody listened. When you get a little bit of recognition as a creator it’s easier to be heard. I love that part.
What gave you the courage to start a company, speak out, become a public figure?
Starting a company, speaking out and becoming who I am today was always scary for me. I don’t think I knew what I was doing. To this day there are times where I just feel lost and don’t really have much certainty in what I’m doing. There’s always that fear, am I good enough to start a company based on creating art? Would anybody pay me? The simple answer is, you don’t know until you try. Of course, when I first started the amount of times I got paid was absolutely rare. I just kept pushing and attempting to get better with the experiences that I was having. It was hard but I think if you really love what you do the courage translates itself through the passion you put in.
Tell use more about where you are from and your background?
I’m born into a Kashmiri-Punjabi immigrant family. I was born in Florida then moved to the Bay Area when I was in my early youth. Aside from a few years I spent in Iowa for college, I’ve pretty much been in the Bay Area for a large majority of my life.
What is one of your greatest accomplishment to date? Tell us about something that you are most proud of?
Oh man. I’d say there are special people I’ve gotten the chance to work with or that have posted my work which is always super awesome. However, I think in the raw sense that isn’t my biggest accomplishment although it may seem that way. For me back when tumblr was a thing I remember waking up one morning and seeing my photo get 60,000 reposts. It’s tumblr and it doesn’t mean much but I always felt unsure about the quality of what I do. I was just really happy to know that people were enjoying my work. It sounds silly but having people hit me up to ask me about my photography and gaining a following just by posting what I do was an awesome feeling. My mood changed from being like, man I don’t know if I can do this to maybe I can do this because people like it.
What was one of your most challenging moments and how did you overcome it?
Probably working with egos. They’ll be more. Here’s the issue in art sometimes. I’ve shot with a couple really talented and popular people. They’re superstars in the music world or sports world but I’ll get sniped for credits sometimes when whatever I did gets posted. That’s pretty disrespectful to me until I realize that this is like middle school all over again. Things are clique-based and judgemental. I’ve just realized that I have to do things at my own pace to get on the same equal level as them to get recognized. But yes, it’s always frustrating when your efforts go unnoticed by hundreds of thousands or in some cases millions of people.
Next, control freaks that you have to work with sometimes. I’ve known people that have never filmed anything that feel confident to direct without any notes. It’s difficult but sometimes you just gotta suck it up, do what you can and move on. Don’t work with these kinds of people once you realize those traits. The final project will never be good and it’ll take up days of unnecessary time to get there.
Does your family support you in your efforts? How?
My immediate family, sure. To a certain extent. There’s so many things they won’t know or understand so they’ve just accepted that I’m an adult and I know what I’m doing. I’ve always said they support by not asking me questions. A lot of what I’m doing is unconventional especially for immigrants.
Extended family doesn’t support. Aunties and some cousins only pretend to support or pretend to care when they’re caught talking trash. When they get caught they don’t apologize or consider the things that they said, they’re just scared of the platform I have to share things. They’re scared of the people I keep around. They have no choice but to act fake nice until they get caught again.
Who are your favorite people and/or role models, both business and personal?
Business wise I have to go with Jay-Z. What he’s done to stay on top of his game for that extent of time is unbelievable. To not only make timeless music but make solid investments and create a new image of rap music isn’t easy.
Personal, I’m a huge basketball fan and I’m 24 years old so I’d have to go with LeBron. I grew up watching him live up to every pressure and expectation that was set out for him. It’s inspiring to see the way he’s handled media not just recently but for his entire career. He’s a man that had it all at the age of 18 but continued to work hard and keep his image completely clean. That’s awesome to me.
What message would you send to inspire all the other creators out there who look up to you?
Work, work, work. It doesn’t seem like it does much initially but the more work you put in the more opportunities start to come your way. I’ll put it this way, if you’re unsure about an idea would you rather try it to get it out there and accept the results? Or would you be that person that has a couple drinks and talks about an idea that you’ve never put into action for years?
What do you understand about the video industry that other people don’t understand?
That people like to feel important. Sometimes I don’t have the best call but if someone explains it to me on why they feel like this is best then I can get behind that. I always try to practice that when I’m in charge so people don’t feel like they aren’t being heard. Good communication is key.
What’s next for you in your career/business?
Just going to keep grinding. Hard work creates certainty. I want to do more resourceful music videos.
What does Disrupt mean to you?
Not using your mouth, using your work to hurt some feelings and take what they won’t give you.
How can people connect with you on social media?
I’m on all social medias as @kybalionvfx
Thank you again for taking the time to chat with us.
Check out @kybalionvfx’s latest music video he directed, Jamal Jordan – Pay Attention below. Enjoy!
A Serial Entrepreneur on His Continued Struggle
It’s not every day you get the opportunity to interact with entrepreneurs like Abuhuraira Ramay. He is the owner of The Brand Wire, a PR and branding agency. We got together, and I was astounded by what he had to say about his journey so far.
Abuhuraira, an “internet entrepreneur”, is anything but ordinary. After disrupting the PR and branding industry, and managing a division of over 20+ full time employees, he turned his attention to helping other entrepreneurs scale 6 or 7 figure companies.
Below are some of the highlights of our conversation:
What’s your story, Abuhuraira? You’re pretty young… was this an overnight success? How did you achieve this feat?
It wasn’t an overnight achievement; that I can tell you. In fact, at one point, I was working for few bucks whole day just to avoid dropping out of college. But I never gave up.
I knew that in order to achieve success I had to learn skills that would allow me to have it.
I delved into coding and understanding how social media marketing worked. Stuff that most weren’t willing to spend the time learning.
I wasn’t a big fan of the 9 to 5 cycle and initially, it looked gloomy. So I kept learning and trying, and I held on to the notion that my opening will come, and I just had to keep my eyes peeled to grab the opportunity when it presented itself.
And it did. Gradually, I was able to put my foot in the door and go on to help many projects with their social media marketing needs, including lots of international brands. One thing led to the next, and before I knew it, we were disrupting the industry.
It was certainly a transition. I had to go from freelancer to entrepreneur, but it was worth it.
Impressive! Anyone would have remained contented with managing multi-million dollar projects, but you didn’t. You shifted and took a different direction. Why?
I believe success transcends the material. The number of lives I could transform with my experience kept me ambitious. I wasn’t going to be another ‘picture-perfect’ CEO, there’s more to life than that. The Brand Wire was created for this purpose – to help upcoming entrepreneurs leverage the power of social media in the business.
Brands, multi-millions, all that is fun and good. But if you aren’t making an impact in people’s lives, what’s it matter? I wanted to be more than money.
That’s quite the shift, and very noble of you. How has the journey been so far?
It has been mind-blowing. Interacting with entrepreneurs from all over the world is eye-opening. While The Brand Wire is just about a year old, the experience so far can be compared to that of a lifetime. It’s not exactly a bed of roses, but the learning curve has been phenomenal.
We have been able to see things from different perspectives, and this has helped immensely with clarity. All through my social media marketing efforts, I have not come across this level of dynamism before.
The period I handled social marketing for multi-national brands helped expand my horizon especially as it concerns their inputs in everyday life, but none of these compares to the insight you get tutoring entrepreneurs on putting their business in the spotlight.
The challenges, breakthroughs, successes and failures have helped make The Brand Wire even stronger, and we have not scratched the surface yet. The journey has just begun.
Your journey is inspiring, Abuhuraira. What do you think the future holds for you?
Well, I might not have a crystal ball, but I am confident about what lies ahead. I intend to channel more energy into helping more entrepreneurs find their feet in this ever-changing world of ours.
My journey isn’t exactly about Abuhuraira Ramay, but the millions of entrepreneurs who have at some point seemed unconscious about the next step to take. The journey might be tedious, but it could have a beautiful ending regardless. And I am bent on making that a reality for as many entrepreneurs as possible.
Incredible, Abuhuraira. Sounds like you are well on your way to making lasting impact. Congratulations on the journey so far and good luck in the future to you and everyone at The Brand Wire. I appreciate the time you took today.
Final question, what would you say to entrepreneurs reading this right now?
Ha! So many things that could be said. I’d say keep your chin up, stay positive, and keep doing what you have been doing before, but sometimes you need a little more than that. So I’d say be disruptive. If the norm hasn’t proved effective for some time, try the abnormal. It’s always easy to stand out when you don’t fit in. Don’t be afraid to be different.
Thank you so much, Abuhuraira, and best of luck on your future endeavors.
A Journey Of An All-Rounder With The Path To Success In His Veins
Born in Toronto, Canada, Jerome Clarah is an entrepreneur, an influencing public figure, a travel junkie with world mapped right where his passion lies, and an ace investor. He completed his schooling in marketing with his steady inclination towards setting up his own business. He played basketball in the college.
He runs a marketing firm that provides photography and videography services to the clients. It also provides logo design services, website development, and maintenance, training and consulting.
He has also marked his presence in the real estate industry as an investor for a couple of years. He has also been a pioneer in the affiliate marketing industry with an inclination towards helping and supporting others financially. He has been trading in the Forex foreign exchange market for over three years.
Holding multiple successes, he holds numerous cards to generate and grow income, and guide others towards the same. Growing up, he was a rebel at heart. He always questioned and contradicted the old saying about getting a degree, finding a job, never talking to strangers, and money being the root of all evil.
He founded out real quick that money does grow on trees and the money isn’t as evil as the older generation said it was. He also believes that if you’re a bad person, bad things will happen to you; and if you do good deeds, Karma will play blessing rather than a curse.
He also believes your network is your net-worth. This statement, if understood in broken lines, can transform failure into success instantly.
He always saw people with a lot of money but not much time to enjoy it. On the other side of things he witnessed people with all the time in the world just no money. So he wanted to find that balance. The thin line, the grey area. So when he was working retail, during the day he would ask people what they did and they all said they either invested or had businesses. This compelled him to push his brain cells into the art of selling. Into Entrepreneurship.
The love to create solutions rather than problems inspired him in this wonderful, wonderful journey.
The biggest challenge for him was he always had a fear of what the people think about him. He would spend time trying to decode their thoughts and that’s what demotivated him at times. He learned his lessons and understood that people will always have opinions about you. People will always judge a book by its cover.
The point is whom to take seriously?
He understood that if you really want something in life, go after it and slay it in style. Competition should be healthy and insecurity should never overpower the path to success. Be aggressive, and dominate- this is the best way to face life in the 21st century. You’ll be rewarded with financial freedom, emotional stability, and work-life balance.
How ABA is Changing the Temporary Housing Game
As time has gone by, many trends have changed. One industry that has definitely changed is that of housing. Fewer and fewer people are buying houses, instead relying on renting things such as bedrooms, apartments and condos. Although the market for selling has gone down, that of renting has increased exponentially. I had the opportunity to meet Frank Laufer, the mastermind behind Alternative Business Accommodations(ABA). Laufer is one of the many that found a way to make the status of the housing Market work for him.
“ABA’s success is based on being able to deliver luxury furnished apartments with the highest level of service, in the best quality properties, and at a competitive market price. In this manner, we provide our customers the best value. By keeping our overhead low and our quality high” Laufer explained. Although less people are purchasing houses, most still want to feel at home. ABA offers fully furnished apartments for short intervals of time. Using ABA’s flexibility, clients have the capability to feel at home while traveling without having to purchase multiple homes and furniture. In fact, many people find the locations so comfortable they choose to return, or rent the apartment long term.
As more companies and locations like ABA have been started, Laufer has had to find ways to keep his locations competitive. “We put our clients needs first. I have always believed the furnished corporate apartment should have the things in it you have at home. For example. we were the first company in our business to provide the latest technological advances at no additional charge… from VCRs, to DVD players, free domestic long distance, to wifi and most recently smart TV’s” Laufer added. These seemingly small details make the resident feel right at home as they have many things often overlooked at their use.
As Laufer works to improve his company, which is the biggest temporary housing company in the North East, his competitors are also working. It becomes an endless cycle where each business owner is searching for the next best accommodation that will make his company get to the top. “We have to remain current. I am always looking at the newest technologies and asking myself ‘would that make my residents more comfortable?’” Laufer commented. This cycle has created many top tier locations that many people are lucky enough to call home.
Luckily for all, Laufer has definitely been able to make his apartments as accommodating as possible. From a bi-weekly cleaning service to linen and bath packages, ABA has thought of everything. Every detail in these apartments is fully thought out, stylish, and most importantly comforting. With such an experienced management and elite standards it appears that ABA will be a top contender for years to come.
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