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From Boots to Business; Here’s the story of Multi 6-figure business owner Andrew Cruz

Dillon Kivo

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Andrew Cruz

Andrew Cruz is an active service member in the United States Marine Corps and is the founder of The PhotoBooth Guy, an event rental service that will provide photo booths, event videography and event photography for Brand Activations, Weddings, Corporate events and Birthdays of all sizes all around Los Angeles, Inland Empire, and Orange County.

Over the years, Andrew has seen much success with his business venture, and in this article, we will learn the story of how he’s gone from being a member of the military to creating a multi 6 figure business model while still serving in the military.

A Subtle Start

Andrew was born in the City of Angels, Los Angeles, and was brought up in Ontario, California.

Andrew grew up as an only child in a single-parent household; with there being only one income for the home, finances being scarce and life, in general, being expensive, his passion to have financial abundance began to grow at a young age. Andrew’s mother is an immigrant from Costa Rica and it was apparent to Andrew the level of sacrifice his mother had been making for him as well as providing unconditional love and support for anything Andrew wanted to do in life.

Andrew’s mom exhibited an extraordinary level of work ethic and optimism. Over time, this incredible attitude towards life rubbed off on Andrew and contributed to his initial mindset development.

As Andrew grew older, he graduated from high school, and he decided to join the Marine Corps, which he is still part of today. It’s been 16 years since Andrew stepped on the yellow footprints at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.

His years of service have proved paramount to his success by laying his foundation of discipline, leadership, and self-development.

 

Overcoming Obstacles

Joining the Marine Corps after the high school opened Andrew’s eyes and created a structure in his life, the Marine Corps took on the role as the example to emulate as well as a host of life lessons to be learned.

Beyond growing up in humble beginnings, lacking a father figure and sacrificing his time for civil service to our nation, Andrew encountered a huge obstacle while serving our nation.

After ten years of active duty, Andrew reached his service limitations. This was due to the Marine Corp drawing down the workforce and promotions being cut down.

Andrew was forced to exit the active-duty component and join the Reserves because there was no upward mobility and could not be promoted.

A feeling of loss came upon Andrew during this time. He had spent his entire adult life in service, and he had no intention of leaving until after completing 20 years of service.

Andrew was given nine months’ notice informing him that he would not be permitted to sign another four-year contract.

During this time, Andrew had just completed a three-year tour as Marine Corps Recruiter. As a Recruiter, Andrew had been put through formal training of consultative selling skills, utilized systematic recruiting to find the next generation of Marines and learned to function at a high level in a high tempo fast-moving environment that was mission-oriented and results-based.

“A hungry mouth isn’t fed unless you open it,” said Andrew in reference to one of many important lessons learned in the Corps.

This helped him smoothly transition into a B2B sales role for a Fortune 500 company as he exited active duty service.

During that time, Andrew explored his passive income options to supplement his salary and he ended up starting an Automated Teller Machine(ATM) business.

While he was still in the reserves, Andrew was promoted to a higher rank and had an opportunity to re-enter the recruiting environment on an Active ( Full-time) Contract; he quickly accepted the role.

Andrew’s business acumen had been further developed by his experience in the private sector conducting business to business sales. He came back to the recruiting environment and continued to have success.

It is during this time that his ATM business was better established and he changed gears to launch The PhotoBooth Guy.

Lessons from Service

Andrew has learned valuable life lessons in his time in the Marine Corp and had instilled many traits that are directly tied to his success as a business owner…

Some of the crucial skills Andrew learned were self-discipline, leadership, and keeping his composure in challenging situations.

Self Discipline has proven to be extremely important in helping Andrew build his business.

With this, Andrew has been able to set goals and take action to make sure those goals are accomplished.

Another key factor contributing to Andrew’s success is his excellent leadership skills.

With this, Andrew has been able to build efficient teams that foster the culture that he creates and keeps the focus on mission accomplishment.

As a member of the Marine Corps, Andrew learned to hone his communication and public relation skills. This helps build great teams to carry his vision forward.

When creating a culture for your organization you must have a mission statement and core values; these two elements are crucial when it comes to leading a successful team and drive your organization to the next level with your intent.

Company Values

The PhotoBooth Guy is a Veteran Owned Business that has 5 times more reviews than the average competitor on the largest peer-reviewed platform, Yelp.

Ever since it’s launch in January 2017, The PhotoBooth Guy has seen an extraordinary amount of growth.

In its first year, its services we’re booked for 236 events. Its second year there was a 100% growth with 472 events and in 2019 there was a 33% growth with 700 events.

2020 has had a great start to the new year so far, setting the pace for 900 events!

With a mission statement that goes this way;

We will consistently create the best client experience and elevate the energy of every event we attend. The image is everything.

You’re sure to see significant improvements over the next couple of years.

As a matter of fact, Andrew is building a blueprint for the systems and processes he used to establish The PhotoBooth Guy and intends to license the name.

He’s also adding business coaching to his personal brand specifically for this niche as well as other businesses.

So what core values and principles do the Team at The PhotoBoothGuy observe?

Well, the first has to be Integrity; being transparent and doing what is right when no one is looking. Holding ourselves and our team members responsible for his or her actions is Key to growing a successful business.

Commitment; Being committed to self and organization. We are an integral element to every event and punctuality, energy, enthusiasm, and professionalism must not be compromised. Know yourself and seek self-improvement.

Mindset; We must have a positive mental attitude while being resourceful. Any complex task can be simplified with actionable steps in order to accomplish any given task. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

Andrew has made it a priority to create a culture whose focus is on client experience. By keeping client experience as the highest priority and by setting the example with their core values, he was able to create a multi 6 figure business concurrent to his military obligation. This part-time business has been generating a full-time income since inception

This optimistic outlook on life helps simplify every problem the team encounters.

In Recent Times

Today, Andrew owns and operates The Photobooth Guy.

He has also purchased the franchise rights of a gym called The Camp Transformation center for the City of Eastvale, California. This project is set to begin within the next 12 months or sooner.

Recently, Andrew set plans in motion to start a non-profit organization to provide mentorship programs to young entrepreneurs in a bid to develop the mindset of the youth of today. This is his way of giving back to society.

Founder & Editor-In-Chief of Kivo Daily Magazine

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