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Inspiring Conversations with Zephan Blaxberg of ZMBmedia

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zephan Blaxberg.

Zephan, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I went to school for digital video and cinema. It was always something I’ve been passionate about even dating back to high school when I attended a multimedia program to learn photography, videography, web design and animation. When it came time to choose a college, I originally aspired to become a chef but with the required uniforms and strict requirements, I didn’t feel I was cut out for such a regimented occupation. I remember touring the Culinary Institute of America and asking if they were required to wear the goofy white hats and the white coats to every class. When the tour guide replied, yes they are required, I turned to my mom and said, “we can leave now.” In pursuing film, I found my home in the Shenandoah Valley at James Madison University. It felt more like home than anywhere else I had been. I graduated in just three years all while producing and directing my first feature film. Post-graduation, I started working for GKIC, a marketing firm based in my hometown of Baltimore where we coached entrepreneurs and business owners on growing their businesses with direct response and “outrageous” marketing tactics to drive sales. I ran their YouTube studio where we created a weekly web-tv show and filmed all of their live events. It still to this day was one of the big catalysts for all of change in my life after school.

While my time there was short-lived and the company was sold, I was learning best business practices from behind the camera and taking those with me. I later went to work for Apple fixing iPhones and iPads in their Apple Store at the genius bar. I worked a hybrid role that sadly no longer exists called a Family Room Specialist. It was there that I learned the ultimate lifelong lessons in customer service and had a chance every now and again to teach people how to edit videos and photos on their computers. In May of 2013, I had finally decided that a customer service role wasn’t for me and ZMBmedia was born. In the past eight years, I’ve built a successful business working with fortune-500 companies like AT&T, Netflix and Uber. I’ve also created work that has displayed in sporting venues around the country. I now have a video production and live streaming studio based in Owings Mills, Maryland. I’m also a self-published author with seven books on Amazon (two of them are best-sellers) and I’m a TEDx speaker.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It certainly hasn’t been a smooth road. They say that entrepreneurs choose to live ten years of their life the way that most people won’t so that they can live the rest of their life the way that most people can’t. This rings true for me. I’m about to hit the ten years marker pretty soon and it took a lot of grit and determination to keep going. There were months where not a single dollar rolled in and I feared the worst. It’s a roller coaster ride and you just have to stay on it even if sometimes you feel like you might vomit. To that same point, it has truly been the most rewarding decision I’ve ever made. I get to make my own schedule, work with purpose-driven organizations that I actually care about and I’ve built a worldwide community of nearly 8000 videographers all working together to help each other learn, grow and succeed. I’ve lost family members like my grandfather who was my biggest cheerleader. He always asked three questions, “how’s the car, how’s your wife, are you making any money?” He was the most proud out of anyone and always told all of his “buddies” about me. I guess that’s why they called him Bud. I’ve had challenges in my relationships. As an entrepreneur, I make sacrifices. I don’t care to go out and drink or party when I’d rather be working because I’m so passionate about what I do. Sometimes it meant not seeing friends or not being able to do the “fun things” but through it all, it has allowed me to build something beyond my wildest dreams.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
ZMBmedia is a Baltimore-based video production studio. We provide high-quality livestreaming and video production services to corporations, non-profits and small business owners. What sets us apart is our unique attention to detail and really making sure that the client experience is 5-star. As we’ve grown, we’ve found that the best way of serving is to give back so this year, we have produced an online course called Six Figure Livestreamer that will now be helping filmmakers and videographers across the globe to add livestreaming and virtual event services to their business. Covid hurts a lot of business owners and it’s my goal to help others just like myself build a sustainable and successful business. By showing others how to livestream, I get to share the one thing I have the most fun with and fellow videographers can grow even faster minus a few bumps and bruises that I had along the way.

Who else deserves credit in your story?
Everyone deserves credit. My Jewish mother for not freaking out when I told her I quit my full-time job and jumped with no parachute. My wife for putting up with the long workdays and the weekends where I couldn’t always be home. My grandfather for always saying “I always knew you’d do good” any time I had an achievement to share. My friends, while sometimes they didn’t understand my decisions, the true ones shared in my success and accomplishments. They showed up for my book launches, they shared my services with others and genuinely just wanted to see me succeed. My mentors Marty, Michael and Sherman who all taught me various business strategies and who saw something in me – enough to take me under their wings. My coach Mara who has referred clients and trusted me with her own customers. My clients, for trusting me and continuing to come back. If anything, it’s not about me, it’s about everyone who has been a part of my life and shaped the person I have become.

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