Fourteen years ago, Andy Conte, a Nutley, New Jersey, school teacher was finding himself thinking more and more about breaking away, making new and starting his own business.
A New Jerseyan through and through Conte grew up and attended high school in Nutley. Upon graduation from college as a Psychology major and a Communications minor young Andy took a job as a High School teacher and spent twenty-five years in education teaching subjects as diverse as Math, English, Religion, Physical Education, and then became a Guidance Counselor. But one thing stayed with him from college: his time studying Communications – being involved in the Radio and Television Production Department. Andy was instrumental in bringing this into his teaching career. “I loved the teaching part of my career,” says Conte. “I loved my kids and the chance to see them learn and grow, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.”
Starting his own video and production business was beginning to look attractive to an ambitious guy like Andy. The question was “how?” “One of the things our department did was shoot and edit our football games. Well, I was getting pretty good at it and got to thinking, ‘I’ll bet a guy could make a little money at this’.” Not long after that, Conte saw an ad for a business opportunity in Videomaker magazine. He called Robert Hanley of Home Video Studio and in June of 2001 attended a Show N Tell Saturday in Indianapolis, Indiana. Conte signed on without hesitation. Robert and Andy began planning for Andy’s new studio installation set for September of 2001.
The towers of the World Trade Center, practically visible from Andy’s house, came crashing down on September 11, 2001. Like most Americans it was a time for Andy to look inward and test his mettle, particularly in light of starting a business and the uncertainty, he knew, that people had about spending money in times of crisis. Andy’s installation and opening was pushed back. “I was committed to this business, so I braced myself for the inevitable change, knowing things would never quite be the same,” says Andy. “9/11, in a very real way, showed me that change is the only thing we can count on. Things change all the time, whether it’s world events, or laws, or tape formats, or analog to digital.”
Conte pressed on and started AC Video Services part-time in November of 2001, teaching during the day and running his business at night. Then he found he could flip and began teaching part-time and doing his business full-time. Then in June of 2003 Andy put a quarter of a century of teaching behind him and devoted his time exclusively to running his video studio.
Conte has some advice for new studio owners. “For me it was a no-brainer… with the right model and guidance I knew I could be successful at this,” says Andy, “I love getting up every morning, fixing myself a cup of coffee and then walking those twenty steps to the studio.“ Andy suggests the following to new potential studio owners, “If you like the idea of being your own boss, working with video and you can follow a plan then give it a shot.”
Andy Conte and his wife Maryanne live in Nutley, NJ and have two children, both now in college.
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