In our first Be A Digital Nomad interview, I asked Gilles Sainsily, videographer and traveller who I met as he was passing through Panama.
As a first interview, Gilles could not be more perfect. He is doing what he loves doing while exploring exotic locations around the world.
Meet Gilles Sainsily:
Keeon: You seem to be living the dream of every entrepreneur, working while travelling all over the world. How are you able to do it?
Gilles: Well travelling always has been more than a goal but a way of life since I’ve been traveling for more than 10 years now. Work and opportunities approach me thanks to my positive state of mind and the guts to live new experiences in new countries. In other words, I’m always putting myself out of my comfort zone!
Keeon: What ignited the spark in you to start your journey towards a film career?
Gilles: For as long as I can remember I was watching movies with my parents when they were still together. I was kind of lost during my University studies because my mom and my stepfather wanted me to be an engineer and I always despised math. After two years of agony and rejection I decided to study for myself and changed into Communication for it’s larger options of studies. Then, in the second year I was introduced to Cinema History classes and I loved it. From there on I just went on towards a Master in Cinema. After that I wanted to get my hands dirty as soon as I could and make films.
I started working in Belgium after graduating in 2006 on films, events, weddings, short films but most of the time for free. What really made me change my ways in seeing the world was a car accident I had on the road. I fell asleep and hit a truck on the way to Paris, which was a violent awakening to me!
Once I realized I was alive and uninjured, I started asking myself the right questions about my life, my goals and got focused about what I wanted and just did it! A few months later I was in India, a country I always wanted to visit with barely any money!
Keeon: How did you come up with your style?
Gilles: I have style… Great thanks, well, you know I just do what I love to do and learn from the people who inspire me. I follow their work and try my best to learn the skills and do better. I practice as much as I can and read a lot about self-improvement. Traveling inspires me a lot too!
Keeon: How do you find people to work with that truly care about your vision the same way you do?
Gilles: I apply the Law of attraction. The more I think of what I want and how I see myself in the future, the more I get connected to those amazing people that want the same as I do!
I mean, when I started working in Cambodia, after 2 months I started meeting all those filmmakers and producers because first I sent a lot of emails and second I exposed myself on my Facebook page with all my past and present projects. After a week or two, people started calling me and offering me jobs.
Keeon: How important has your team been to your success?
Gilles: Once you know what you want and move towards it, then it’s amazing how you meet the right people. Anything is possible with the right help! My team has always been a very important key to my success and for that I will always be grateful.
Keeon: What three pieces of advice would you give to people who are afraid to take a leap of faith to chase their dreams?
Gilles: 1- You only have one life, don’t waste your time!
2- The world is not as big as they say and it’s always worth it to discover new cultures and new ideas.
3- Living your dream is something that cannot be bought, exchanged or read. When you get to live yours, you look at your past and wonder why you didn’t do it before.
Keeon: If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Gilles: I would have started living and working in a new country much younger, before my accident had to wake me up.
Keeon: Describe/outline your typical day?
Gilles: I usually wake up between 7am and 8am without any alarm. I read inspirational books for half an hour to an hour. I meditate every morning facing the sun. Once I feel aligned and at peace, I start my working day by checking my mail and Facebook messages. I make some phone calls to shake up some grounds especially now that I just moved to a new country. After that I start looking at my previous drone shots and do some editing.
Keeon: What motivates you?
Gilles: I must say that my past motivation was to become known for my work but now it changed a bit because I am going to be a father soon. Today my motivation is to take care of my family and provide for them!
Keeon: How do you generate new ideas?
Gilles: Usually, it happens when I’m meditating or just filming around with my camera or drone. It is when I watch the images later that everything comes together and I start editing and giving it shape. When I work for a project it is different. The Master mind (several people thinking together) creates new ideas and I just help to bring them to life.
Keeon: What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Gilles: My greatest fear is to not live the life I chose for myself. The best way I found is to live in the present. By doing everyday what I want to do and being fully happy in the present moment, there is no space for fear.
As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said : “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.”
Keeon: If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
Gilles: I would like to talk to a few great people:
1. Ghandi, because he started a peaceful revolution and could unite a whole country. He was very educated and could have make tone of money but decided to help his people instead.
2. Steve Jobs for his capacity to bend the world toward his views and to never let anyone tell him what was or wasn’t possible.
3. John Ford who without education created one of the most successful car businesses in history.
4. Anthony Robbins, whom I had the chance to meet during a seminar in London who is an incredible being full of energy, compassion and who also started with nothing and become one of our contemporary inspirational talkers and a millionaire, by helping others achieve their goals.
Keeon: To what do you most attribute your success? What would you say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business?
Gilles: I am always positive and I always see lessons in everything. Failure is no more than a word some people use but that has no value to me. You make your own luck through work and strong desire.
1. Only listen to positive people’s advices
2. Follow your desire and don’t compromise yourself
3. Build a vision and stick to it
4. Surrounded yourself by successful and positive people
5. Believe in yourself no matter what people say
Keeon: How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Gilles: I believe that in my field of filmmaking, you have to put your showreel everywhere you can. Ask all your friends to share it, pay for exposure, have a website and talk around you about what you do and your passion.
When I was living in Cambodia, Facebook was clearly the way to introduce myself to the commercial businesses, followed by events and parties to meet and socialize with other professionals and corporate businesses.
I am still learning everyday about marketing and how to make it more efficient, because I consider it a continuously evolving tool.
Keeon: What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this culture?
Gilles: I want to be surrounded by people that have fun in doing what they do. For me, the key to success in an organization is for people to see their job as something that they could do without getting paid. Job and passion have to cross and fuse into one unity. I love what I do and I wouldn’t want to do anything else and I want the people working with me to be on the same page!
Keeon: What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Gilles: Well that question is a little bit tricky for me because you could say that my job is my main hobby. I like sports like snowboarding, skydiving, Scuba diving, Tennis, Fitness,… I believe that keeping my body in good shape helps me have a positive mind and achieve what I want!