As a business owner, it’s difficult to do the right work AND guide your company toward its next big initiative.
With Red Direction Business Base Camp, learn how to implement and handle processes to meet your business’s specific needs and better understand your market.
Starting the conversation:
Regardless of skill or background, you are always learning and taking risks — checking in with your gut and listening to your instinct about when to step into something new. The foundational piece is WHY you are doing what you are doing. When you know the motivation behind the desire to have a profitable and thriving business, you know how to better use your gut as a tool when making decisions.
In this broadcast, you will hear about the three pillars used for making decisions, the importance of an outside set of eyes, and the real impact of saying “no” more often. These elements are key to knowing the changing needs of your customers and how to get more of the right work done. Jess Dewell talks with Howard Zales, Founder of Viridity Entertainment Services, about how mistakes will happen because all information is imperfect … but it doesn’t have to hold you back (and that is where your gut instinct comes in).
A solution to a problem, marketable skills, and personal goals are a few of the necessary ingredients to be a successful entrepreneur. Howard Zales, Founder of Viridity Entertainment Services, shares how relying on his gut as part of the decision-making process has been important to the success of his business.
Host: Jess Dewell
Guests: Howie Zales
What You Will Hear:
Relationships cultivated over time combined with skill allowed Howie Zales to become an entrepreneur.
Mindset shifts needed: your craft becomes your side job and your business becomes your primary job.
The most impactful learning topics included how to be marketable, profitable, and scalable.
Prioritize the biggest problems first and make sure to ask for help.
Know the motivation and ultimate goal for leading your business.
3 pillars for making decisions.
Know where your company really shines! That is your unique selling point.
You grow the most having a business coach to help you in your business from the outside.
What ‘staying in your lane’ really means.
What the important factors are in decision-making to say NO to everything out of line with your goals.
Additionally, for the Fast Track Your Business Today Uncut conversation:
The importance of a morning routine to be in the right heart, gut, and mind space.
How to work with the needs of business, life, and family while still getting the right stuff done.
Every interaction begins and ends with respect.
Sales and who is talking about you are important day-to-day indicators for growth.
Anticipate the changing needs of your customers.
Tap into your gut instinct! Mistakes will happen, so your decisions still need to be made.
It is BOLD to trust your gut to make decisions.
Welcome. This is the Bold Business Podcast. Your business has many directions it can travel. The one true direction of your company creates the journey for you to move toward a new, exciting level. We call this the Red Direction. In today’s program, we delve into one idea. The idea will support you as you work on ever-present situations, including how to stay competitive in a changing market, how to break through the business plateau, and how to anticipate the changing expectations of your stakeholders. Jess Dewell is your guide. Jess brings you a 20-year track record of business excellence, where strategy and operations overlap. Your Path comes from consistently working from the special place. Your unique True North. Now, here’s Jess.
Jess Dewell 00:51
Hello, welcome to the Bold Business Podcast where you hear me your host Jesse will talk to people like you running their businesses in the day-to-day solving problems, looking for inspiration, sharing what they’ve learned, and most importantly, sharing what they’ve learned. That’s really what this is about, how do we show up? What are we doing? What are the things that we can do to make our business better that we can make ourselves better so that we can give more, do more, have more whatever it is we want more have more ease, more success, you name it, it’s there for you? And that’s what we’re talking about at the Bold Business Podcast. Now for those of you who are watching, this is our live stream where we are on YouTube and we are on LinkedIn. And guess what, it stays there for a little while. And then it goes into our podcast feed. So all of you that are listening to the podcast, awesome. If you’re seeing it for the first time, hop over and take a listen. Maybe subscribe and stay for next week and the week after that, to hear people like how we share their knowledge, share their learnings, and most importantly, how are they approaching their problems. What are the things that they are focusing on? So that whatever problem that you’re working on right now, whatever goal you’re moving toward, you have a resource of people just like you. Now I have to introduce you to Howie, and his name is Howard Zales. And I’m calling him how he I do believe he gave me permission to do that at one point otherwise, I have accidentally renamed the good I was like otherwise, I accidentally renamed you, Howie. And so we’re on opposite coasts today as we live stream with you. And you know, like you and your business, the pandemic changed his he’s in the broadcasting world. He is the behind-the-scenes crew running the cameras making it amazing and television changed drastically. The thing that he found was his network, having the right people, the right experts to meet the demand, just in time, to enhance not only what needed to happen, but what companies want to happen is what they do to strengthen your reputation to strengthen your connection to strengthen your ability to engage with everybody you want to engage with. So with 25 years of experience, by the way, he is also an Emmy Award-winning camera operator, by the way, he’s worked on Super Bowls. We’re not talking about last night’s Bronco Seattle’s game, all of you who know that I live in Seattle, the Olympic Games Wrestlemania. The Kentucky Derby. Okay, so seriously, this guy, this Howie who is here with us started out that way. And he’s an accidental entrepreneur. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Welcome to the Bold Business Podcast.
Howard Zales 03:46
Hey, Jess, how are you?
Jess Dewell 03:47
I’m really doing well. Today. I tell you what, I love learning about people and all of the amazing things. Um, what I can’t remember. And of course, this is the thing that’s top of mind is, Do men wear hats to the Kentucky Derby like the women?
Howard Zales 04:03
No, only, only very rarely, very rarely.
Jess Dewell 04:08
Okay, because I have a Kentucky Derby hat. But I didn’t know if you did.
Howard Zales 04:13
No, I’ve been through about 20. Something of them, but no, I don’t. Okay.
Jess Dewell 04:17
See, that’s so and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. I have to say, one of the things that I know that we have in those experiences is that when we’re behind the scenes, we’re making it possible when we’re allowing people who can’t be there to be there, just like our live stream here on a minuscule level compared to what you’re doing, what you’re doing now. The one thing I didn’t introduce how he was your company. So tell us your company name and about your company and what your mission is today.
Howard Zales 04:47
Sure, validity entertainment services or ve s we produce high-quality broadcast quality, live streams and events, whether it’s a corporate meeting that is fully in person or hybrid where some people are remote. And some people are there in person to sporting events, entertainment shows, cooking shows, concerts, DJ shows, we’ve had the good fortune to stream a lot of different types of, of events.
Jess Dewell 05:21
It’s amazing to, you know, to have that. And so to have worked all over, and to see what it is and how you really do have the true meaning of bringing people that can’t be there aren’t able to be there or couldn’t get a ticket to be there into that moment. And so knowing that the pandemic right changed everything. You said to me, one of the first things you said when we talked last was, I’m an accidental entrepreneur, why did you never think you were going to be an entrepreneur?
Howard Zales 05:54
Well, I started as a camera operator, I was doing local sports in New York. And then I had the good fortune to meet some of the right people and do a good job. And then I was traveling the world with NBC Sports and the World Wrestling Entertainment, as a camera operator, literally, I’d get on a plane four times a week, and go to two or three, sometimes more separate cities to work. But back in 2000, when I started as a camera operator, a good friend of mine who worked at MSNBC at the time, they were doing the I miss show on the road. I’m missing the morning if you remember. And he said, Hey, how are we? Can you come do camera on that show for us? We’re not going to be in the studio. And I said, Sure. And he said, By the way, do you have some friends? I need an audio person, a replay person this that? And I said, Yeah, I can find some, you know, somebody to fill those holes. And he said, What? Can you make it easy? Send me one invoice for everyone. And then you pay them? And I’m like, Okay, sure. And then I got thinking, well, there’s got to be a business behind that. Right? And so I started marketing myself, and I always did a lot of hiring by never really thought was the business making more money than how we as the camera operator.
Jess Dewell 07:14
Interesting. And when you had that question, you knew?
Howard Zales 07:20
The math makes sense to me. The math made sense to me. And I’d be lying. If I tell you it didn’t me it still didn’t make sense. But it did. And my, my wife, Jenny, she had to like it at home, you know, and she’s like, you’re more of an entrepreneur than you are a camera operator. She said, You need to stop thinking you need to change your mindset. And stop thinking of yourself as a camera operator that has a business on the side. You’re an entrepreneur that does camera work on the side.
Jess Dewell 07:53
Okay. I like Jenny already, of course. And with that concept of, of mindset, and with that concept of you now are an entrepreneur, and now your craft is on the side. What was that experience? How did that show up for you? Was there a struggle? Or was it an aha moment?
Howard Zales 08:18
It was an Aha. And it was an internal struggle to make their complete jump and stop traveling. But you know, my back was causing the issues. The pandemic was partly responsible for it and, and I never looked back.
You’re listening to the Bold Business Podcast. We will return to the show soon. But first, I want to take a moment and give you a peek into what additional services and solutions you could access to Fast Track Your Business. This program was created to develop your capacity on demand by sharing insights, tips, as well as lessons learned by business leaders, unedited and uncut. And we don’t just stop there. There are three additional benefits to help you reach your growth goals. You will also have unlimited access to one, hearing tips and insights to develop yourself as a leader to get better results more often. Two, experiencing viewpoints from many different business leaders. Three, receiving frameworks to build core competencies and to more effectively focus on business growth and leadership. Altogether, The Fast Track Your Business program will allow you to face uncertainty, anytime, anywhere. You can access what will become your most versatile tool in your toolkit by going to FastTrackYou BusinessToday.com. Now back to Jess.
Jess Dewell 09:46
I’m really thinking about this because I know I think about my mindset shifts right and when they’re and they can be small. They can also be big and one of sometimes they click into place like Oh, yeah, or ODA ora, jeez, right? And other times, it’s a, no matter how hard I try this, I can’t get it to work. Why am I stuck in this old pattern of thinking, I see myself doing the thing I’m not supposed to do anymore. And when I, you know, and I, and it doesn’t matter how long we’ve been doing anything, that’s what life is when we grow, we’re having, we’re having these mindset shifts all the time. And so were you able to, you know, tap into your gut? Did you actually have to consciously show up and take the action? How did that? How did that mindset literally that like the action of going well, this is, this is I’m in it, what is it showing up as?
Howard Zales 10:43
Right? So when I decided that I was going to be an entrepreneur full time, I said, I need to learn, I need to learn how to do this right, I need to obviously I know how to run my business. But how do I make myself more profitable? How more marketable more How can I scale my business? What can I learn? I’m always about learning something new, right? So what can I learn to, to grow? So the gym, I was working out at the time, the owner was going to be one half of teaching a mastermind out in California. And at first, I couldn’t go because I was supposed to do something with my kids and family, and it just blocked the weekend. But then all of a sudden, each kid had something come up, and they weren’t going to you know, they didn’t need me. And so my time kind of opened up. And to me, I took that as the universe saying, Okay, you need to go there and go to this mastermind. So I did, I went two days. And I had you know, I learned so much. I went back for another mastermind a bunch of months later. And then I actually hired one of the leaders to be my business coach.
Jess Dewell 11:59
Isn’t that amazing? So see, I’m all about synchronicity. I’m all about the concept of when it’s supposed to happen. And our commitment to the things that we already have the right timing is divine. In that way, the universe has this very unique sense of how are we showing up. And I think that that’s fantastic that that’s the way that it started. Because I actually, I, when we don’t listen to those, those are the times I see that we are that we’re held back by ourselves, we’re in our own way, or that we’re not playing big enough, right? We’re keeping the shoes that are a couple sizes too small. There’s all kinds of things that show up in there hindsight from where you were then to where you are now, did you have moments where you were like, oh, even in all of this, I missed the synchronicity. I missed an opportunity. That was right in front of me.
Howard Zales 12:58
Um, no, no, I don’t think so at all.
Jess Dewell 13:02
Okay, good. And I know because that’s a big one, though, everything opening up and saying, Well, I guess I’ll get on that plane now. Which by the way I have done for, for self-learning for investments in myself, and it to be the best person that I can be for Red Direction, just like you and I think that those of us who do that even those listening, whether they all listen to other podcasts, it’s probably like you do or read like you do in a lot of different areas. Because we’re all about that, that constant learning that you mentioned that you, that you know that you’re always on board for, how did you prioritize all the things you needed to learn? Entrepreneur first camera operator on the side? How did you prioritize what to do first?
Howard Zales 13:50
I took the biggest problem that I dealt with the biggest problems first, and that’s, that’s what I learned to prioritize. I also asked for help. And I learned this from my business coach, when we decided to open up the second business, a live streaming business, they make sure you have someone that can be the primary that their primary focus is that business. So Lori runs HJC HJC my other my first business everything business related to it in terms of payroll invoicing like she’s on top of everything. And Jen, my wife, Jenny, she runs validity, the business side of that, and then I kind of float between the two.
Jess Dewell 14:40
Okay, so, all right. So, business managers, you have business managers that are more than the managers they are they are the, they are the heart and the soul that are carrying the mission alongside your vision. Yeah. Yeah, do you what is your vision right when you, when you started the Companies when you said, Okay, I’m here, I’m changing my mindset did you have was what, what was your, what was your goal?
Howard Zales 15:08
So the goal of the first business in 2000 ish when I started HJC productions was I knew I was doing a very physical job, carried a camera on my shoulder, I knew the potential to get hurt would definitely be there. And I have gotten hurt over the years. So I wanted a backup, right? I wanted, I never wanted to struggle for money. I wanted to give my kids what my parents gave me and more. And so I, I, I wanted a backup. And that was the reason for starting that company. I never knew that it would turn into what it did. But I never stopped trying to grow it either.
Jess Dewell 15:53
And the second business?
Howard Zales 15:57
The second businesses, we wanted to build upon HJC productions. And, and, and so we were offering some of the same services at HCC productions did. But we were basically going to do payroll for companies, for our clients that were going to travel in TV crews, then the pandemic happened, everything shut down. And we kind of pivoted validity to become a live stream company. And if so, to answer your question with this business, it’s to scale it to the level of where it’s doing, you know, the same or more than, than HJC. And the more work we get, the more work we can give our independent contractors. Yeah, absolutely.
Jess Dewell 16:43
And our friends, so your, oh, look at, I have all these things that want to come out of my face at the same time. How? Don’t mind me, don’t mind me, I’ll pick one. And the one I will pick is to keep people working. I heard to do good work I heard to be able to fill the need for your clients. I heard all of those elements. are that are they the drivers? Are they what you’re looking at when you’re making decisions for your for validity today?
Howard Zales 17:23
Jess Dewell 17:25
Okay. Are there other pillars besides those three?
Howard Zales 17:30
Yeah. And, you know, obviously, I want to I and I’m never, never going to shoot again. So I need to make our businesses need to profit in the way where it keeps, keeps us afloat, personally. Yeah, yeah.
Jess Dewell 17:43
Okay. Absolutely. I think people overlook profitability in the, in the beginning, right? When Jenny said to you, here’s your mindset shift. And you said, Okay, I’m in and you did the work, and you made that mind shift happen. It has to become about, well, not only are we doing those things, can we keep doing it? Can we keep growing? Or are we building a safety net for the people that we are engaging with? And you know, and so in your work, who, you know, really matters? And how are you using that and leveraging that as part of your unique selling proposition?
Howard Zales 18:25
Yeah, we, you know, we sell to our clients, or we try to show our clients, the reason why they should use us is because we have a large network of people. We shine in the last minute when last-minute requests come up because of our large network. And we, you know, we’re small business. So if you have if it’s a client calling about an invoice or someone calling out a payroll, they know they call one person, and they’ll answer the phone. If it’s a client that has a technical question, they know the call me and I’ll answer the phone. And so we’re, we pride ourselves on not being too, too big, but being able to service our clients in a way that they want and appreciate.
Jess Dewell 19:17
Do you have stated values that you will work from?
Howard Zales 19:22
I’m not, not written down? Sure. No,
Jess Dewell 19:28
sure. Sure. Okay. But they’re coming out loud and clear to me. That’s why I was like, Well, let me just go one step further and ask, did you write them down? Because a lot of people do, and a lot of people don’t, there really is no right way. I’m a proponent of writing them down because then that’s how it remembers in my brain. We’re all different though. And that’s why I was curious.
Howard Zales 19:48
I did that exercise a while ago, and I felt like I was struggling at it to the end and I knew how I operate and yeah,
Jess Dewell 19:59
And that’s what matters. You’re the center. And that’s and that’s NC. And that’s the thing, by the way. And so at which point in time, I’ll tell you one of my biggest learnings, and then I’m going to ask you so far for years, one of my biggest learnings was when my values needed to matter as much my values for resurrection needed to matter as much to the next person as it did to me. And that was a point. That was where I had to do a mindset shift. And one of my most difficult journeys of being able to go, why can’t everybody just think like me, that showed up a lot. And some of that was age. And some of that was experience. And some of that was, this is the place I really know I need to change. But I’m going to keep banging my head against this wall because I really don’t want to change this place. And I’ll own I’ll totally own those be because that’s what makes us grow. It also helps me at least, how do I communicate? Now when I find myself wanting to hit my head against the wall or demanding things be a certain way or wishing that it could just be easier? I’m like, Oh, hey, there’s a learning here. I’ve already learned it cannot Can I take that have already learned it?
Howard Zales 21:13
Understand that? Yeah, I felt like, I felt like, you know, we grow, I felt like we grew the most, after I took the advice of my coach. And basically, I stopped trying to micromanage everything. And stay and learn to, you know, stay in my lane and, and do the thing, the things that I’m good at and kind of give up everything else that I’m not or learn to ask for help.
Jess Dewell 21:41
Well, there Okay, so let’s start with stay in lane, will you define that for us? In your words? How does that show up? Look, sound and feel?
Howard Zales 21:53
Yeah, so I never write an important email without running it by Jenny. She’s a master at grammar and the English language and she knows how to craft an email. And if it’s something that’s important, or we’re going to have potentially be a sale, I run it by her. So I know when I need help in that sort of thing. Writing is not my strong point. I don’t get involved in any of the payroll, I don’t get involved in any of the invoices. That is just not you know what I’m good at. And that’s what, you know, staying for me. That’s what staying in my lane is. I deal with the clients and the technical needs of our projects.
Jess Dewell 22:43
Yep, yep, yep. Yep. And that’s huge. So now let’s go to help. How did you learn to ask for help?
Howard Zales 22:48
Because that May, it was making mistakes that was costing money. And so one time you make a mistake, okay? Second time you make a mistake, shame on you the third time really again. So, obviously, we’re talking about different types of mistakes. And every time I started making, seeing the recurring, recurring mistake, I’m like, Okay, we need to solve that. How do we solve that we set up systems and processes or hired people to solve that?
Jess Dewell 23:19
Right? Right. And it became a priority in that moment, because government coming back to those three pillars that we were talking about earlier, also seem to be rooted in the value set with which the way business is running, and is done. And it’s showing up here too. So there’s a theme and a consistency in this.
Howard Zales 23:39
And just, for example, we were, we were making mistakes where we were client would ask for a certain amount of people on the crew, five camera people, audio people, replay people, and we would do it on a spreadsheet and send a third client, but then if there was a change, change wouldn’t get made. And sometimes we’d have to too many people show up. And that would, we’d have to pay them because we told them to show up. But in the client cancelled or we were making mistakes. And long story short, we came up with a web-based scheduling platform that we introduced to all 700 of our freelancers, that they know that the only way that they’re confirmed on a job is if they get an email that’s generated from our web-based scheduling site. And either me or Lori have to put their name in there on that specific day. And it takes away every mistake.
Jess Dewell 24:32
And so the way that we do business here, is, is incredibly important. And it sets up the foundation for communication. So regardless of how easy or difficult a conversation may be, it’s those systems and processes that have created that baseline. Well, so we’re these days, where do you find yourself getting in your own way? Yeah. I always like questions that start with laughter.
Howard Zales 25:05
By trying to do too much booking too much too many meetings, but you know, we’re trying to grow. And I think the one thing that I’ve learned in the last year or two is learning to say no, when, when something is not a good fit, or not a good project, for whatever the reason, clients don’t want to pay enough money, therefore, our name is going to be on the line, because we’re not gonna have enough staff or enough equipment to do the job, we know we need to get it done, then, you know, the burden may fall on us. And we may not want to be put in that position. That’s just one example.
Jess Dewell 25:46
The way we do business here, those pillars that you talked about at the beginning, they’re showing up again, all of you listeners, I’m going to connect those dots for you. I think that that’s really key here and something that, that is showing up with our conversation with how he sales and how to say no. So it sounds like you’re better at saying no when it comes to your deliverables, your reputation, the quality of your work, so that your image and your reputation precedes you. I’m gonna go back to the time management piece, how do you feel like you’re doing it that?
Howard Zales 26:22
A lot better I use my calendar. If it’s not on my calendar, I miss it or forget about it. I’m doing way better at managing my time with the use of my calendar and doing things that way. But just sometimes, not having enough time during the day for myself is a problem. But I have that hour in the morning at 5 am When no one’s up and I have that hour so when I work out during the day. That’s to myself.
Jess Dewell 27:01
Yeah, okay, we’re gonna come right back to that and morning routines. Because I think there’s a lot of power there. And I know you and I had a good conversation about that before that is, is showing up and I’m like, Ooh, let’s talk about that. Before we do everybody, this is how we Zales and how he Zales is an accidental entrepreneur, that is has created profitable companies under aridity entertainment services, also known as h JZ. productions, I probably didn’t get the quite the right words around it. But those are the things that we care most about in this, the pivot from being a camera operating company and bringing crews into events and moving into the live stream space more and more because the world demanded it during COVID. And how we and his team’s skills made it possible to jump in support, serve and fill that need with validity entertainment services. Now we have been talking about all kinds of things. What are we learning? How is it showing up? How do we change our mindset, knowing what the goals and the reasons are behind the things that we’re doing so that we know what to pull from, to make those decisions to really trust in seeing what’s going on? For those of you who are interested in taking this conversation further learning from how we, learning from other guests on the Bold Business Podcast, you are going to be interested in the Fast Track Your Business Today program that Red Direction offers. That program is something you come in, you can learn and you have uncut interviews from all of our guests, you have behind-the-scenes information. You also have our entire timeless library, which is not available to everybody online anymore. We take some out we call what’s out in public and we keep it in this place. So you have that timeless information to solve the problems, to get the inspiration to be able to do what you need to do right now to get your more to get where you want to go to be bold in business.
Thank you for tuning in and listening to the Bold Business Podcast. If you have learned something from this show that will help you in your business right now, consider what additional impact you can get by subscribing to the Fast Track Your Business program. You owe it to your business to seek out new ways to achieve more while building a resilient and profitable business. Subscribe now. Visit FastTrackYourBusinessToday.com Special thanks to The SCOTT Treatment for technical production.