People are the Priority

I don’t really care about money.

And although ostensibly many may think being focused on finances should be at the top of business owner’s priority lists, I firmly believe that shouldn’t be the case.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the first decade of my career is that people should always be the priority.

Now I’m not writing this in my own hubris, or to make myself feel good, because I know my constant decision not to prioritise money in my business decision making repeatedly infuriates my accountant and business mentors. (All of whom who are far more successful and experienced than me and in many ways it may seem myopic not to alter my behaviour upon their advice)

But as I’ve grown up the biggest lesson I’ve learned, both through my academic study and real world experience is that the only way to succeed is to be your truly authentic self.

We are all so smart and information rich these days and we can sniff out in mere milliseconds when someone is putting on an act or pretending. A lesson Gary Vaynerchuk continually emphases the importance of is that the only way to success is to ‘speak your truth’.

Even a decade in to my career, I’m essentially just starting out in the wide world of business, so as always I can’t speak from a place of wisdom or certainty that my beliefs are the key to success. All I can share is my intuitions in a hope that they’ll be of some minuscule value to you in your endeavours.

Of late a key thought that’s been on my mind is that in order to be truly happy and successful in business, you need to be yourself.

And I know deep down for me I care about my legacy, over currency*.
*This is probably my all time favourite Gary Vaynerchuk quote, which in it’s most basic form means caring more about how you make your money, more than how much money you make.

Over the last week I was truly reminded how important the thought that “people are the priority” is. For anyone reasonably well established in the video production business it’s not uncommon to get aspiring and new videographers reaching out and asking for advice.

In fact for some of my very successful friends, I’m genuinely surprised how they get any of their own work done with the amount of emails and Facebook messages they receive asking for their advice.

There’s one particular colleague I know who goes above and beyond in helping upcoming videographers, even being so selfless that it’s cost him to lose his own clients when his protege’s have gone in and pitched against him at a lower cost. But still he continues to selflessly dedicate large amounts of his time to supporting the next generation. (If you’re reading this you know who you are and I’m incredibly grateful for all the time you dedicate to me, thank you).

It’s a trait I’ve tried to emulate, and whenever someone reaches out to me, however often, I will do all I can to offer helpful advice. And although you may be thinking this is time better spent on paid work that you could be making money from.

Again I don’t know everything, but in my experience it’s funny how things work out, and how a few minutes spent helping someone who may have nothing to offer you in return, is something I implore you to make a priority whenever the opportunity presents itself.

As always Gary Vaynerchuk has an incredible talent to summarises these important thoughts in a tagline…

“Giving without expectation is the only way to win”.

Let me share an anecdote with you from this past week…

A couple of years ago I met a really great guy (let’s call him James) when he came to be a model on a film shoot. We started talking and it turned out he also did some video editing and was currently undertaking his drone pilot license.

Having just passed my own pilot license and knowing how difficult it was I told James to give me an email if he ever wanted to chat about anything.

I didn’t really expect to hear from him but over the next two weeks we talked a lot over email, the pattern being he would ask questions and I’d try my best to help him understand and guide him through the license process.

The last I heard from him was late 2017 where he told my that he’d passed his course, for me just knowing that I’d hopefully played a very very tiny part in James’ success was a great feeling.

Fast forward to this past week and all of a sudden I get three emails asking to book me on projects and suprise suprise I’d been recommended to all of them by James.

I’m sure you’ve often had the conversation that in any business, it’s “who you know, not what you know”.

In my experience, prioritising legacy over currency has been the right decision, both for my soul and for my bank balance.

I’ll finish with a quote another filmmaker I respect (Jakob Owens) has talked about recently…

“Life gives to the givers and takes from the takers”.

So remember, people are the priority.
 And I wish you every success.


What I’m Currently Reading…

‘Crushing It’ — by Gary Vaynerchuk — it’s a great one! Check it out here…


About Jack

I help people, brands and business communicate more effectively with their customers through visual, audio and written content.

I do this through Southpaw Sport, the sports content marketing company I’m currently building as well as on a freelance basis working for agencies and production companies.


You can follow me on YouTube where I post weekly vlogs sharing my experience and opinion on content production.

YouTube —

And my social media for behind the scenes look at what I’m up to

Instagram — @jackwrtompkins

Twitter — @jackwrtompkins

Jack Tompkins