From the first email, Tim McManus had us laughing.
Us: Hey, Tim. Can't wait to interview you. How's 11:30 Thursday?
Tim: Sure thing.
Us: Actually, can we say 11:45? Need time to get home and settled.
Tim: No worries. It'll probably be best, because my story is so amazing, you're going to want to be sitting down.
We liked him immediately.
And that's the thing: everybody likes Tim. It's a huge reason why he's been so successful in his career in video production. From working in print advertising sales at Amazon to CreateSpace to PDA to his own company, Hed Hi Media—which just opened its second location in San Francisco—this visual storyteller has generated a flourishing business by creating partnerships with people he meets along the way.
“It’s more about friendships than business relationships,” Tim says. “The most important thing is establishing a personal connection to the people I work with.”
And those he doesn’t work with. Tim schedules surf trips every year with the locals he met while living in Costa Rica in 1998. He keeps in touch with Jose, a young orphan he met through Pura Vida No Pro Surf Clinic, a non-profit that introduces children to the sport of surfing.
If Tim sounds easygoing, it’s because he is. He gets his “don’t-take-anything-too-seriously”-ness from his six-year-old daughter and his “there’s-nothing-to-lose”-ness from his four-year-old son, who almost died when he was born.
“Thirty minutes with them and I’m not so worried that the kale was out of focus in the Wine & Food edit,” Tim jokes. “They’re one of my biggest motivators.”
Travel-surfing and being at the top of his own game are his other two. In fact, he has three bulletin boards over his desk representing each of his biggest loves.
“I try to make those areas as balanced as possible. Then I know I’m doing it right.”
Chalk Tim’s success up to his outgoing personality or the fun and exciting industry he’s in, but Tim’s nothing if not self-aware.
“My main goal is to do [stuff] I’m proud of,” Tim says. “If this party ends, then I can always take my family and camera and go live in Costa Rica.”
That’s a solid back-up plan.