How many people do you know who really love their jobs?
Small business owner Scott Zuchlewski of CAPTURECOM, Inc., is among those fortunate ranks.
The Berkley resident runs the media services company that caters to big-name clients out of his home and says the keys to his success have been a passion for the job, cultivating strong relationships and giving back to the community.
Zuchlewski and his creative partner, director Will Lawson of Royal Oak, formed CAPTURECOM in 2006 after the production company where they worked together went out of business.
"Will and I looked at each other and said, 'We've been doing this stuff for quite a while. Let's see what we can do on our own'," Zuchlewski said.
The duo had maintained relationships with former clients, which they drew upon as they launched CAPTURECOM. General Motors, for whom they had produced internal communications and diversity initiatives, became their first major customer, Zuchlewski said.
The filmmaker said CAPTURECOM performed the GM job "religiously" and had work from the automaker every month.
"You get that comfort level: 'I've got this. This is a good thing,' " Zuchlewski said.
Then, the recession hit.
CAPTURECOM's business slowed and Zuchlewski was forced to cultivate new clients, including home builders and DTE Energy.
"You just look for other avenues. That's one of the nice things about the business I'm in," he said. "Video can be applied to any business, any profession. There's always a story."
In fact, the downturn served as a blessing in disguise for Zuchlewski, who said he might not have pursued those other avenues without the challenge of the recession.
CAPTURECOM's client list now includes Hospice of Michigan, Oakwood Healthcare System, the Detroit Athletic Club and others.
"I enjoy having the diversity of customers that I have because I feel like I'm always learning something new," Zuchlewski said. "We've been very lucky."
But, there is more than luck at play – Zuchlewski also operates by the law of karma, believing that the good he does for others eventually will come back to him.
"When I can, I like to volunteer to do things in the city. I love Berkley. I'm a big proponent of Berkley," he said. "Any way that we can help out – I'm a big proponent of giving back."
To that end, he has donated his services to a number of community projects, including the following.
- Creating the opening sequence of the Berkley Public Safety Department program Behind the Badge and working with Detective Sgt. Mike Crum to get the show up and running during its first year.
- Creating a promotional video for the "Keep Berkley Strong" pro-millage group before the August 2012 election.
- Creating promotional videos for members of the Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce, of which he is a member.
- Creating promotional videos for the Michigan Fallen Heroes Memorial in Pontiac, in cooperation with Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.
"They did an amazing job," Bouchard said of CAPTURECOM's work. "They came in and had a vision."
The National Automotive Association of Museums echoed that opinion when it awarded CAPTURECOM the top award in its video program category for the team's work on another project – The Piquette Avenue Plant Story: Birthplace of the Ford Model T, an 18-minute documentary for Detroit’s Model T Automotive Heritage Complex. The film also received a prestigious Golden Eagle award from CINE, a national organization that serves film, video and new media professionals.
[Learn more about "The Piquette Avenue Plant Story: Birthplace of the Ford Model T!"]
"I just enjoy doing my work. I enjoy my profession immensely," Zuchlewski said. "I'm really blessed that I have been able to stay in this field."
He added that the evolution of technology has made it easier for him to do the work he loves out of his home, with editing software once priced in excess of $100,000 now costing just a fraction of what it used to.
Working from home doesn't come without challenges, notes the Small Business Administration, which reports that more than half of all businesses in the United States are based out of an owner's home.
"There's good and there's bad," Zuchlewski agreed. "We both work out of our homes so there's no walk away. But that's OK. There's nothing wrong with that."
As a small business owner, he also is constantly seeking new clients, Zuchlewski said.
"I'd like to see my business continue to grow but I guess I'm of the belief that if you help other folks and extend yourself out, it will come back to you," he said. "It's always good to connect with other people. These days, with social media, it's all about who you know.
"I'm always looking at the next thing," Zuchlewski said.