People over profit. Many businesses claim this ideal, but few actually live it the way that my good buddy Jon Taylor Sweet does. Jon is a Seattle-based content creator and photographer and, unlike most people in the creative industry, he really truly lives the people over profit philosophy that he teaches.
Now, that’s not to say that he hasn’t had tremendous success financially. If all you did was stalk him on social media, you’d see his hundreds of thousands of followers and the amazing content he’s been paid to do for brands and couples worldwide. But for him, success isn’t measured by fiscal numbers.
On today’s episode of the RAW podcast, we talk about how his faith taught him to serve, how it opened him up to transitioning that model of giving into business, and how it continues to build his business today. Jon shared how this way of living formed his views of success and how you too can transition out of simply working to make more money and instead work to serve the people around you.
Choosing People Over Profit
The choice to put people over profit is not just a business decision to Jon, it’s a way of life. I asked him how this mindset came to be, and he shared a lot about how his faith is paramount to who he is as a person.
Another pivotal influence came from his first job at a coffee house at 17. The owner of the coffee shop embodied the idea of championing other people, there was no one who came into that coffee shop that was not heard or seen. This model of superb customer service got ingrained in Jon from this point forward.
Investing in Relationships, Not Marketing
With nearly 200,000 Instagram followers and a worldwide brand, you might think that Jon is an expert in marketing strategy. The truth is, he has never put a dime into marketing his business. He has no “business strategy” or roadmap that he can educate about.
So what’s the secret to his business growth? Serving people, and serving them well.
Jon’s found that when you serve people well, they will return that energy. 80-90% of his bookings come from word of mouth. Instead of investing money to grow his business, he invests his time into the people that he serves. This has led to long-term relationships with clients, peers, and vendors that continue to fuel his business.
“When I look at success, it’s not about what I’ve monetarily gained but how I built my life. At the end of the day, I’m going to try and serve people the best I can regardless of if I have a camera in my hand.”
This episode is going to have you truly digging into your soul and thinking more seriously about how you show up for the world. Below are just a few of the many areas of life and business that we dive deep into.
If this kind of people-first mentality doesn’t come naturally to you, a little dose of discipline can go a long way. If you want to make a change, you have to decide to do it. You can wake up every day and decide to serve others. That choice is yours and yours alone to make. It’s a journey for everyone to figure out what that looks like in their life and their business.
Jon shares a beautiful mindset of “having an open hand.” You don’t have to be tied to your finances. You can steward your money well and take care of your family while still having an open hand to help others in need.
In business, we’re so focused on who we can take from and how to make money. It all comes down to a mindset shift with the people around you. Instead of how can I take from you, how can I learn from you? How can we work together? Those connections get us a lot further down the path of success than taking ideas from others and trying to make them our own.
“Not only is connecting with people going to bless you in your business. Putting people first will help you grow your business. The value of other people around you is often overlooked. Your growth comes from serving people around you instead of competing.”
“There has always been power in community. And people over profit. I’m the biggest believer in that. People are why I am in the seat that I’m in. Anybody can do what I do with a camera. The difference for me, is that everything that I do is grounded in community. It’s all because of people.”
I hope that the biggest takeaway that people gain from our conversation is that the value of choosing people and choosing to serve people over serving yourself is not only a positive decision in your business, but a positive decision in your life. It can impact you in more ways than you can ever imagine.