Taking Your Shot: A journalist hits his stride as founder of a video production house

You’re going to love this one, the second in a new strand of The Big Middle I’m calling Taking Your Shot.

This is a story of professional ethics, motivation and agility that will inspire no end in this age of job insecurity. Pandemic unemployment is surging. More of us doing it for ourselves, setting up our own companies by default or design. We’re repackaging and repurposing our skills – and learning new ones – to get off the soul-sucking treadmill of long commutes to jobs that no longer thrill or fulfil.

Lucas Chambers is a dear friend and former colleague who took his shot at being his own boss seven years ago. He started a video production agency in Lausanne that he’s grown into a tight team of 10.

There have been many lessons along the way, some that run counter to the accepted wisdom of startup gurus. A pragmatist to the core, Lucas doesn’t believe everyone can and should set up on their own. Critical to success, he says, is making sure there’s a hot market for your wares. And surround yourself with the right people.

“We grew together as a team. They were motivated. They realised what they had – here’s an opportunity not to have a job we don’t like. And here’s a guy who can perhaps make it happen for us. They made a lot of effort to learn, to get better.”

I’ve worked with Lucas so I know a large measure of his success is down to his work ethic and personality; he’s confident, charismatic and resourceful. If he doesn’t know how to do something, he’ll figure it out and deliver.

It was heartwarming – and not surprising – to hear how he protects himself against entrepreneurial burnout by giving his home life equal weight. Weekends are always for family and friends. Balance achieved.


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