Getting to Know You: Javon Charleston, Videographer

Javon Charleston was born in Decatur, Georgia and moved to Illinois with his family at two years of age.

Javon attended Woodland Elementary and Warren Township High School in Gurnee, Illinois, where he distinguished himself in athletics, notably football, basketball, and track and field.

Javon began his post-secondary education by attending junior college in Greenville, South Carolina. He would later transfer to the University of South Carolina, eventually graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. He was also a member of the South Carolina Gamecocks football team, paving the way for him to graduate on the SEC Athletic Honor Roll.

When he entered the professional world, Javon Charleston pursued his entrepreneurial instincts and founded Simply Wavy, a videography company based out of South Carolina. Javon’s videography work has been featured in commercials, music videos, and sports coverage. Many of his videos are screened at special events, as well.

When not capturing footage, editing videos, or otherwise tending to his business, Javon Charleston volunteers his time coaching youth sports. He also works hard to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Javon also previously worked with the Powerful 100 youth development program.

What do you currently do at your company?

I’m a videographer. I shoot footage of all manner of things for my clients, including weddings, retirement parties, special events of all kinds—whatever they need. I also occasionally work to produce commercials, music videos, and even sports content. After I’ve captured the raw footage, I edit it, sometimes using notes provided to me and sometimes without notes. When I’ve produced a video that meets my own exacting standards, I present it to whichever person or company commissioned it.

What was the inspiration behind your business? 

Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve always been fascinated with videography. Through high school and college, I shot videos of everything I could. If someone had a birthday party, I would volunteer to document it. I just knew it was what I wanted to do with my life. So, the idea to create my own videography business where I was answerable to no one and could totally oversee the quality of the end product just seemed like a natural fit. Now that I think about it, the inspiration behind founding Simply Wavy came to me a long time ago, although I chose the name of the business a bit later.

What defines your way of doing business?

If I had to choose one or two words, I would say ‘quality’ and ‘integrity.’

What keys to being productive can you share?

I don’t think there’s a special trick to being productive other than working hard and focusing on the project in front of you until it’s properly done.

Tell us one long-term goal in your career.

Looking down the road a few years, I would like to increase the breadth and scope of the projects I work on. I would also like to hire multiple camera and sound crews, so that the company can work on more than one project at a time, and maybe even dispatch them out of state if a client desires.

What would you tell your younger self?

If I had access to a time machine, I would go back and tell my younger self to invest as much money as you can in reputable financial instruments as early as possible. You can never get started planning for the future too early in life. Plus, having more money at a young age isn’t a bad thing if you’re trying to get a small business off the ground. Had I started investing as a teenager, it would have made opening Simply Wavy that much easier. All that being said, I have no real regrets.

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

I try to keep myself fit, so I work out at the gym whenever I get the chance. I also enjoy jogging and running. But my genuine favorite thing to do outside of work is coaching youth sports. Every year, I help out with a team, and it’s such a rewarding experience.

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

As I indicated in my last answer, I volunteer some of my time coaching youth sports on evenings and weekends, and truthfully, I think it keeps me sane. Starting and maintaining a small business is incredibly stressful, and sometimes it’s quite difficult for me to think about anything unrelated to Simply Wavy. Because of that, I find that it’s really important to have some scheduled time each week where I have to focus on something else; something constructive. Being a coach fits that bill precisely, and it feels good to make a positive impact on the lives of young people.

What is one piece of technology that helps you the most in your daily routine?

It might be a bit of an obvious answer, but I couldn’t operate my business without my video cameras and editing equipment. 

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

When I was younger, someone that I respect very much once said to me, “Play to your strengths, and try to get paid for doing what you love to do. These are the keys to prosperity and professional happiness.” Ever since I heard those words, I knew they were important, and I have used them to guide my life. So far, it’s worked out pretty well for me.

How do you measure success?

I measure success by how happy my customers are with the videos I make for them. Happy customers translate into repeat customers and positive word-of-mouth, which in turn leads to new customers. Honestly, the health and future of Simply Wavy is almost totally dependent on producing a solid end product.

What advice would you give to aspiring to succeed in your field?

Persevere and don’t lose heart. Also, plan ahead for the future as best you can. Victory ultimately goes to those who think long-term and don’t give up.