Steve Kamb is the rebel leader at NerdFitness.com. His main priority is to get desk jockeys, nerds, and average Joes into shape. The overarching theme of Nerd Fitness is to “level up your life, every single day.” Focus on getting stronger, getting faster, having fun, and eating right… and your appearance will start to change as a result of that.”
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John Lee Dumas: Hire Fire Nation and thank you for joining me for another episode of EntrepreneurOnFire.com, your daily dose of inspiration. If you enjoy this free podcast, please show your support by leaving a rating and review here at iTunes. I will make sure to give you a shout out on an upcoming showing to thank you!
John Lee Dumas: Okay. Let’s get started. I am simply thrilled to introduce my guest today, Steve Kamb. Steve, are you prepared to ignite?
Steve Kamb: Oh yes. Let’s do this thing.
John Lee Dumas: Alright! Steve is the rebel leader at NerdFitness.com. His main priority is to get desk jockeys, nerds and average Joes into shape. The overarching theme of Nerd Fitness is to level up your life every single day. Focus on getting stronger, getting faster, having fun and eating right, and your appearance will start to change as a result of that.
Steve, I’ve given a little overview of Nerd Fitness. Why don’t you tell us a little more about who you are and what you do?
Steve Kamb: Absolutely. So like you said, my name is Steve Kamb and I’m a huge nerd. A couple of years back, I want to say probably four or five years ago, I had this idea pop into my head. I kind of came to this realization like, look, I’ve been strength training and working on eating right for probably the better part of a decade.
At that time, through high school and college, I had strength trained and tried to get bigger and stronger and healthier, and it wasn’t until after getting out of school that I finally found some success and worked with a trainer at a gym who completely changed my diet and my workout routine, and I had more success in something like 30 days than I had had in the previous six years.
I had this idea pop into my head, thinking, man, if it took me six years to find the right method to get healthy and to look and feel good about myself, there has to be other people out there that are struggling with the same things.
Not only that, a group of folks that would never go to a normal fitness website. Whether they’re 350 pounds and sitting in a cubicle or maybe a college kid that spends a little too much time playing video games. I thought that I had a unique opportunity to reach out specifically to nerds and desk jockeys and help them get healthy in a really, really unique way.
So like I said, about five years ago, this idea pops into my head. I bought the domain NerdFitness.com. Then about a year after that, I finally decided to make the plunge and turn it into a blog and just started writing articles while I was still working a fulltime job. Then after about a year-and-a-half of cranking out content through Nerd Fitness, I quit my day job and have been focusing on Nerd Fitness and helping nerds get healthy for the past two years now. Like I said, it’s my fulltime job.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome! I am really excited to delve into that later in the interview. So let’s start off with the next topic, which is the success quote. Here at EntrepreneurOnFire, we like to start every show off with our guest’s favorite success quote. It’s kind of our way of getting the motivational ball rolling. So Steve, what do you have for us today?
Steve Kamb: Well, my favorite quote would have to come from one of my personal entrepreneurial heroes, Richard Branson. The quote is “Screw it, let’s do it.” I had a chance to read Richard Branson’s Losing My Virginity e-book autobiography last summer and absolutely fell in love with the concept.
I know of Virgin, but I’ve never flown Virgin Airlines. I don’t even think I’ve been in a Virgin store, to be honest with you, but I knew this was a guy that really embodied a lot of things that I stood for and made a lot of decisions based on what felt good to him and kind of went with his gut, not because it was going to contribute to the bottom line necessarily or because it was the best decision for investors, but because it was the one that made him feel the most alive and made him feel great. I really, really appreciated that and have really grown as a result of reading that book and kind of tried to model myself along those lines.
When I started Nerd Fitness, I kind of went out of my way to do everything differently than every other fitness website out there. I don’t have a single ad on my site. I don’t try to sell a single supplement. I tell people you don’t even need a gym membership. Here are some free workouts that you can do.
I really, like I said, went out of my way to be different. Looking back, if I had had an adviser that was a fitness blogger, they would have told me to do everything completely differently because this is how things are done and this is how you make money and this is how you build a business.
To be honest with you, I just kind of said, screw it! Like that doesn’t make me feel good. That method of building a business does not appeal to me and would make me feel kind of sleazy. So instead, I’m just going to focus on helping people and creating content that is really unique and find a way to get through to, like I said, nerds and desk jockeys and help them out in any way possible, and then build my business that way. Then as a result, I think Nerd Fitness has grown far faster and allowed me to stand out in a really oversaturated, overcrowded market.
John Lee Dumas: Now I love how you illustrated how you’ve used that quote, “Screw it, let’s do it” in the past, and I’m going to kind of put you on the spot here. How have you used that quote in the last three months?
Steve Kamb: Let’s see. The last three months? We are actually in the process – and unfortunately, I can’t go too far into this specifically, but I can certainly tell you a little bit about it. We are in the process of building a fitness game/tracking software. We’re calling it Rising Heroes. It’s this idea I’ve had for gosh, years and years and years. Then like I said, I’ve grown up, I was raised a nerd. I was raised on Nintendo, loving games like Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Secret of Mana, games like Everquest and World of Warcraft, etcetera. I’ve always had this idea in my mind that I wanted to turn my life into a video game. The tagline for Nerd Fitness is “level up your life.”
So a couple of months back, after kind of dragging my feet for over a year-and-a-half on this idea, I finally decided, you know what? The longer I wait and the more I continually just create ideas, but never actually put steps forward on this concept, somebody else is going to come along and do it.
So for that reason, I kind of talked to the two folks that I’ve hired to work at Nerd Fitness and some other folks that have now joined the Nerd Fitness team and said, “Hey, guys, this is an idea we’ve sat on for two years. I think now is the time. I understand that we still have a lot to figure out and it’s going to be a long, arduous process that’s going to cost us a lot of money, and it’s going to be really stressful and I’m absolutely terrified of making this announcement, but you know what? Screw it, let’s do it.”
This is an idea I’ve had, like I said, for years and years and years, and something I can’t get enough of. So I’m excited. We made the announcement through Nerd Fitness about a month ago, letting people know that we’re in the process of building this game and fitness tracking software, and let people in. People made donations to be part of a beta program. Right now we’re hiring more programmers. We found an art designer. We had even some guy who offered up to lend his voice. He’s a voice actor. Then somebody is a musician that wants to create orchestral scores and things of that nature.
So we’re really kind of going for broke on this one in that. Like I said, it’s going to be a fitness tracking software kind of combining things like World of Warcraft with fitness education to encourage folks to not only track their workouts, but also help them get healthy, work with each other, and find a way to really enjoy this whole concept of living a healthier life and doing so in a really fun way.
John Lee Dumas: That’s exciting, and I will make sure to keep Fire Nation updated as you progress down this road because it sounds like a great product in the making. I love how you brought up the Legends of Zelda and the old Nintendo because that’s what I grew up on myself.
Steve Kamb: Yes.
John Lee Dumas: I was a child of the ‘80s. I was like seven years old when Nintendo came in like 1986 or whenever it was, and I just never really progressed beyond that. So a funny, little quick story, just about six months ago, out of nowhere, I just was online and purchased a Nintendo and Zelda and Link, and a couple of those fun games, and every now and then I’ll pull it out and play. I just love that whole mentality and I love that that is one of the things that spurred you to create what you’re creating, and I’m really excited to track that.
Steve Kamb: Yes. Absolutely. Honestly, I kind of noticed. I looked at all the reasons why I was playing these games, and it’s like you got a character, you get to make him stronger and more experienced and more advanced. You get to explore all these great lands and do all these great things. It’s like why can’t we apply those same tactics that get people addicted to video games to getting them healthy and getting them off their couch and outside. So that’s really the concept that we’re running with with Rising Heroes.
John Lee Dumas: Great analogy. Let’s use that to transition now into our next topic, which is failure, which are challenges that entrepreneurs run into and obstacles that we face, whether it be with weight or with exercise or with business. We all come up to these obstacles that we need to overcome and we don’t let these challenges define us as people, but instead we really allow them to make us grow as an individual. It inspires and propels us forward. Can you tell us of an obstacle or a challenge that you faced at some point in your career and how you reacted to that?
Steve Kamb: Yes, absolutely. Let’s see. So back when I started Nerd Fitness, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. I just knew that like, okay, people start blogs and build audiences, and then can eventually turn them into businesses. Okay. I think I can kind of figure that out.
So like I said, when I started, I was writing probably five articles a week for NerdFitness.com while I was still working a fulltime job. So I would work all day long, and then come home and write an article every single night for – I did that for I think nine months. No joke, in nine months I had something like 90 subscribers, which is the equivalent of something like half a subscriber for every day that I published an article, which is pretty crazy when you think about it for somebody publishing that amount of content in a world to specifically nerds where they want to spread content. It means I clearly wasn’t doing something right.
So like I said, I spent nine months kind of sucking at blogging. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. I was cranking up very, very short generic fitness articles because that’s what I knew, and that’s the only thing that I saw existing in the world of fitness blogs and things of that nature. It’s very short. Like I said, short articles, top 10 lists, etcetera, and things like that.
It wasn’t until nine months in that I stumbled across Adam Baker over at Man Vs. Debt who has since become a really good friend of mine. He published an article called “How to Not Suck at Blogging.” I remember reading this article and kind of going down his checklist, going, “Yup, yup, yup, yup, yup. Okay! I suck at blogging!” I was doing everything wrong, and it wasn’t until I read that article that I kind of had this realization. I’m like, “Dude, you run a website called Nerd Fitness and you are not injecting any nerdy personality into your articles.”
So after reading Baker’s post, I decided I needed to make a switch. So instead of publishing five really short articles a week, I switched to two articles a week that were very long – oftentimes, 2,000 to 3,000 words – full of nerdy references and my personality.
Honestly, after making that switch, Nerd Fitness almost took off overnight. Like from there, I think I doubled in size within the next week or two after that. And then since then, it’s just continued to grow and grow and grow to a point now where we’re closing – we just passed 26,000 subscribers and we’re adding at least 100+ people per day now to the email list.
John Lee Dumas: Wow! That is so exciting, and I’m such a fan and friend of Adam Baker. I had him on the show recently and he’s such an inspirational speaker. I saw him down at BlogWorld where we hung out, and then recently he had his event down in New York City that I attended for his movie premiere, which was very inspiring in and of itself. Can you share with us a lesson you learned from the failure that you just shared?
Steve Kamb: Yes. Well, the lesson I would say is if you’re going to try to stand out in a crowded market, you have to be really freaking unique. Now I know there are so many people out there. Like I said, there are probably a million or millions of fitness blogs out there, and there are millions of personal finance blogs and there are millions of social media and entrepreneurship blogs and digital nomad blogs. Everybody is doing the same thing and everybody sees what everybody else is doing, and then they copy it and then they wonder why they’re not standing out.
That’s kind of how I was for nine months. It wasn’t until I decided like, you know what? If I’m going to stand out in the fitness industry where there are people that have 30 years of fitness experience and crank out content, there’s really no way for me to stand out, trying to do the same thing as everybody else.
It wasn’t until I decided to go in the complete opposite direction, and rather than publish quick hits that get lots of people, I went for the really long, [Unintelligible] articles that might turn off quite a few folks. However, the people that managed to stick all the way through to the end of those 2,000, 3,000 word articles, they’re hooked. Within one article, they’re like, “I got it. This is the place I’m supposed to be and this is the guy that I need to be listening to.”
So although Nerd Fitness still continued to grow slowly, this change for me and injecting my personality and being really unique, I’m fairly confident there aren’t many places you can find articles on the Internet about Darth Vader and deadlifts or Star Wars and pushups or eating properly with Lego pictures. Like Nerd Fitness, like I said, I knew I had to be different and I knew I had to present information in a really unique way and be incredibly helpful, if I was ever going to find a way to break through the clutter and stand out in this super overcrowded market. That was by far the biggest lesson I learned throughout all these, was just to be different. Don’t be afraid to take a stand and do things differently than everybody else in your industry, or you’re going to end up like everybody else in your industry.
John Lee Dumas: Thank you for sharing that lesson. That is truly going to resonate so well with our audience and is really a very clear cut example of what not to do and what to do. So thank you for showing both sides of that.
Steve Kamb: Absolutely.
John Lee Dumas: We’re going to transition now into the next topic, which is the aha moment, because at some point in your journey, you had a light bulb come on where you just said, “Aha! This is it. This is great. This is truly going to resonate with my clients.” You’ve spoken of light bulbs that you’ve had along the way, smaller ones and medium-sized ones, that have really inspired you and kept you going. Can you speak to a bright light bulb that we have not yet mentioned that just really came on your head and said, “This is something that I want to do. This is my aha moment”?
Steve Kamb: Sure. I want to say it was probably about 17 months after starting Nerd Fitness. Like I said, at the time, I was working a fulltime job. I know a lot of people hate their jobs. I actually loved my job. I worked for a company called Sixthman out of Atlanta, Georgia that chartered full concert cruises. So what we would do is we would charter cruise ships out of the Caribbean and put four to five stages onboard and 30 bands and turn these cruise ships into floating music festivals. My job was to write the content for each of the different events. Each one had a different genre. Then on top of that, I would get to go on the cruises and make sure everybody had a good time. So a big portion of my job was hanging out in the Caribbean with musicians on cruise ships.
John Lee Dumas: I want your job.
Steve Kamb: Yes. That was my job.
John Lee Dumas: [Laughs]
Steve Kamb: I got paid to do that. Honestly, I remember that I started Nerd Fitness as a hobby, and eventually figured it might turn into something. Then I remember about 17 months in, I was sitting on a cruise ship, and it was a cruise that actually my folks, my parents both came on, just as guests. They had a couple extra cabins left over and invited us to invite our families to come onboard.
So I remember sitting there with my dad. Actually, the boat docked in in Mexico. I’m sitting with my dad at a bar in Mexico, and I remember thinking to myself, man, I’m seeing everybody else that worked for Sixthman on this cruise ship and how much passion they have for what they’re doing. Then I thought to myself, man, I had that passion, and I’ve had it for so long. But I’m noticing that I’m having that passion more and more for Nerd Fitness.
As a guy that my favorite class in college was entrepreneurship, and the only classes I really got anything out of – I was an Econ major – but the only classes I really got anything out of were my entrepreneurship classes. It wasn’t until that moment, and I’m sitting there, like I said, with my dad, talking to him, that I realized, holy crap! I’ve been trying to do, working for other people all along, and in reality, I’m sitting on something I feel I could – to quote Steve Jobs – allow me to put a dent in the universe. Like this is the way I can leave my mark, and the only way that it’s going to happen is if I have the ability to focus fulltime on Nerd Fitness.
So I’m talking to my dad, and obviously, as you can imagine, you have a son telling you he’s going to stop going on cruises and hanging out with musicians, and instead hang out with nerds online and help them lose weight, he was like, “What? Are you crazy?” Fortunately, my dad was super supportive when I told him, “Dad, I have to quit Sixthman and I have to focus on Nerd Fitness because this is the defining moment. Like I get it. This cruise solidified the decision for me that I need to be moving on and I need to be doing my own thing, and Nerd Fitness is the way that I can change the world.”
Then he said, “Well, you know what? We worry about your brother and we worry about your sister, but we don’t really worry about you. So if this is the decision you have to make, even if you don’t have any money saved up or a business plan yet or haven’t brought any revenue in, I feel like you’re sitting on something pretty cool, and if this is something you feel you can turn into an actual business, you have all the support in the world from me and your mom.”
So I thought that was super helpful. I ended up quitting. I went in a couple of days after coming back from that cruise and talked to the company with tears in my eyes. I told them I had to leave because I had to work on building my own company, and they couldn’t have been more supportive. Actually, like I said, when I quit, I had yet to make a single dollar with Nerd Fitness. Nothing had come in yet, and it’s not because I had tried to create something and failed. It’s just because I had waited 18 months building up as much goodwill and support and letting people know like, hey, I’m here for the right reason. I’m just giving you information. I just want to help.
Then about a month after I quit my job, I put out my first product through the site. It was a group of fitness plans and diet information and things of that nature to help people that were brand new to fitness, and managed to sell enough to them that it bought me a couple more months of income, and then they just continued to sell pretty steadily from that moment on.
John Lee Dumas: Steve, I love that story for a number of reasons, but the main reason is is on my show, so many entrepreneurs say, “John, I was just hating my job. I was stuck in corporate America, I was stuck in a cubicle, I was stuck traveling seven days a week, and I finally broke away.”
For you, you were loving what you were doing, but your passion grew so large for Nerd Fitness that it overwhelmed your love for your job you currently had and the support that you had from that job and the financial security blanket that you had as well. The fact that you broke away from that is just really inspiring. I definitely applaud you for that.
Steve Kamb: Thanks. Yes. It was a very tough decision. Like I said, I had spent probably – I want to say collectively probably three or four weeks a year on a cruise ship with someone like my favorite musicians floating around the Caribbean. Like interviewing them, getting on stages and announcing them to crowds of thousands and walking around cruise ships and making sure everybody had a good time, and to turn that down for an un-Caribbean website about getting overweight nerds in shape was certainly a big risk, but it was one I knew I had to take because it felt right to me.
I honestly did not regret that decision for a second. I’m still great friends with all the people at that old company. Now, I just go on the cruises as a guest and enjoy myself on the other side of the wall.
John Lee Dumas: Best of both worlds. Steve, have you had an I’ve made it moment?
Steve Kamb: Yes. Honestly, I did. It was probably one or two years into Nerd Fitness.
John Lee Dumas: How long ago was that?
Steve Kamb: So this was December of 2010.
John Lee Dumas: Okay.
Steve Kamb: At that point I had been fulltime with Nerd Fitness for about six months. Things were going okay, but not great. I was selling enough books to certainly survive. The website was growing and more and more people were finding out about it. But it wasn’t until December of 2010 that I really had that, “Holy crap! This is going to work out” moment.
I had decided a couple of weeks before that actually to save money, and I wanted to start traveling a lot. So I decided I was going to sell my car, my apartment in Atlanta, Georgia’s lease was up for rent at the end of the month, at the end of December. So I decided that in order to save money, it was actually going to be cheaper for me to travel. I’m big into travel hacking. I learned pretty much all my tips from Chris Guillebeau, who was another big hero of mine. I followed his advice and acquired a boatload of travel hacking miles or miles through different airlines.
I managed to book this really crazy trip through Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, back to States and over to Europe. I booked this entire 35,000 mile trip and the whole thing ended up costing me only $418.00. I did that because I knew how to kind of get in the system and get points using credit cards without racking up any debt, and I was able to book this crazy trip.
So I wrote this really long, in-depth, very nerdy article on Nerd Fitness called “How to Travel the World for 418 Bucks.” It really had nothing to do with nerd fitness. It didn’t have anything relating to diet or exercise, but it was going to consume the next year of my life, and I decided I wanted to let people know, “Hey, I’m going to be traveling like crazy. This is another way that I’m going to level up my life. I’m going to visit these other countries and cross a bunch of things off my list. Like scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef, go to the Great Wall of China, etcetera.
So I wrote this article not really knowing what to expect. Then within I think 20 minutes of publishing it or 30 minutes of publishing it, I got an email from a friend saying, “Dude, you just hit number one on Hacker News.” Then about 20 minutes after that, I got an email from the senior editor at Gizmodo saying we want to republish your article. I was like, holy crap! None of these things had ever happened to me before in the past. I didn’t even know what was going to happen. So I said, “Absolutely. If you want to republish it, go for it.”
Then for the next week, I think that article got viewed on Gizmodo like 400,000 times and was their number two how to article of 2010. It sent thousands and thousands and thousands of new people and thousands of new subscribers to Nerd Fitness.
Although, like I said, the article wasn’t really related to diet and exercise, it still sent a lot of people to the site, and when they stumbled across Nerd Fitness, a lot of people’s first thoughts were, “Wow! This guy has been around for quite a while. How did I not know about this before?”
So it ended up spurring on a tremendous amount of e-book sales and really padded my income for those first couple of months of traveling that I hadn’t honestly expected to have. So I remember that Friday – I think it was a Thursday or a Friday – jumping around my apartment in Atlanta and then just going crazy, thinking like, man, I’m two years in busting my ass, and finally, after publishing 300 articles, one of them gets some serious play and brought so many more people to Nerd Fitness that joined the community and signed up for updates, and even decided to purchase some of the things available through Nerd Fitness.
So that was my alright, I’ve made it moment that was completely out of the blue and very unexpected.
John Lee Dumas: That’s a great I’ve made it moment and I love the story about Gizmodo. You gave some pretty good numbers, like you traveled for $418.00, you had 400,000 extra views because of this. So you’re obviously a numbers guy. How much do you think that article that was published on Gizmodo ended up bringing in for you dollarwise?
Steve Kamb: Whew, great question! I’m going to say – I’d say it’s tough because that article just continually got viewed. At this point, honestly, if I had to guess, that one article drew, because of Gizmodo and Hacker News, I’m going to say easily five figures.
John Lee Dumas: Wow! Thank you for sharing that. That’s quite a number.
Steve Kamb: Yes. I’m going to say at least $10,000.00. Probably more. Maybe $20,000.00. Now that it’s been a year-and-a-half since that has happened, I’m going to say at least probably $20,000.00 worth of new people discovering Nerd Fitness and purchasing things or purchasing Chris Guillebeau’s Frequent Flyer book, which I was an affiliate for because, like I said, that book taught me pretty much everything I know about travel hacking. Yes. I would say easily – if I had to ballpark it – $20,000.00 is probably more on the low end of how much it has brought in.
John Lee Dumas: Well, thank you for sharing that. That’s just what’s so exciting about the online world as we know it today, is that creating great content can just lead to great things, and you’re living proof of that. We’re actually going to use that to flex into our next topic, which is your current business.
Now, you have mentioned that you have something you’re kind of hush hush about that’s upcoming. You gave us a little insight and we definitely appreciate that as Fire Nation. What’s something else that’s really exciting you about your business today?
Steve Kamb: Honestly, the thing that excites me most about Nerd Fitness is just the continual growth of the Nerd Fitness community. I have never encountered a more passionate group of people that have never met each other in real life. If you get a chance to go on Nerd Fitness, we have message boards on there and we’re just about, I think today, about to pass 9,000 members on the message boards alone.
Every day, whenever I get a chance, I go on those message boards, and it’s very, very cool to see. If you go to the – what do I call it? The newbies’ hall or beginners’ hall, or whatever. I’m blanking on the name of what I actually call that section, but everybody posts like, “Hey, this is my name and this is kind of who I am and what I’m struggling with,” and every one of those threads has at least half a dozen people commenting and saying, “This is great. Thanks for joining Nerd Fitness. What else can we help you with?” All these people are just so supportive of each other and it’s very, very cool for me to see like, hey, I kind of got this ball rolling years ago, but I’m just one tiny piece in this massive community of folks all over the world, helping each other and supporting each other and offering up advice to each other to live better lives. Nerd Fitness started as a boy and his blog, and turned into this really epic community of folks all over the place. Not only that, but we generally don’t have fights. There’s very little controversy on there. Everybody understands like, look, we’re all here for the same reasons. We’re all trying to be better people, and we’re all going to get there with different paths.
So although we might not agree with each on specific things, we’re all working towards the same goal – a leveled up life. Then just the growth and to see how quickly and how passionate people have become about Nerd Fitness and being part of the Nerd Fitness Rebellion, which is the name of our community, has just been awesome for me to see.
I enjoy every day seeing those numbers grow and seeing more people discover Nerd Fitness, and then hearing success stories from folks that have been in the community for a couple of months and have really been able to transform themselves.
John Lee Dumas: I love that. Here at EntrepreneurOnFire, we have Ignite, which is an elite mastermind membership for entrepreneurs. That’s the kind of community that I’m always continually trying to build, is the one that you’re speaking of. Do you have a membership site at Nerd Fitness?
Steve Kamb: Not necessarily a membership. Actually, everything through the message boards is all 100% free, and there are no ads supporting it. So there are no ads anywhere on Nerd Fitness. Then like I said, there are no ads on our message boards. It costs me quite a bit of money to run the site. I think we’re getting something like 2.5 million page views a month these days. It’s all done because I wanted people to know that, hey, if you need a place to hang out and if you need to get advice that you know is pure and not because somebody’s paying me to say it, Nerd Fitness is your home.
I do offer e-books and things of that nature and guides that people can purchase if they’re interested, but everything else is free. I offer free workout plans, free diet advice, the message boards are all free. Everything that I possibly can, I make free for everybody.
I understand that a lot of people are brand new to this and don’t know where to get started and aren’t ready to make a financial investment. That’s more than okay. They can still find all the information they need through Nerd Fitness. If they happen to want more information or need more specific advice, they can purchase it. That’s how Nerd Fitness has grown. Through that avenue.
John Lee Dumas: That’s great. I just love the story that you say that people on your message boards actually take ownership for Nerd Fitness. They may have been there a little longer. The veterans, so to speak, and help people that are just arriving. That’s such a great community, and one that I would like to be a part of. So I love hearing that.
We’re going to use that, Steve, to transition to my favorite part of the show, which is called the Lightning Round. This is where I provide you with a series of questions and you come back with a series of amazing and mind-blowing answers. Sound like you’re ready?
Steve Kamb: Yes.
John Lee Dumas: What was the number one thing holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Steve Kamb: Fear. Honestly, I was terrified of failing. I was building Nerd Fitness while working a fulltime job, and I just continually pushed it off. I knew I had to create something that I would be able to sell in order to start generating revenue to quit my job, but because I had the comfort of the job, I just continually pushed it off.
It wasn’t until I finally said, “Dude, you’re never going to get this out. Quit now and give yourself no other option but to succeed.” That’s the only way I think Nerd Fitness was actually able to take off. That I spent a couple of years building up Nerd Fitness, and then finally pulled the cord and forced myself to find a way to sink or swim, and I’ve been swimming ever since.
John Lee Dumas: What is the best business advice you ever received?
Steve Kamb: Honestly, I think – and I don’t remember who said it to me – but it’s something along the lines of “be insanely helpful and ask for nothing in return, and you can find a way to build the business.” That’s how Nerd Fitness has grown.
Like I said, I built Nerd Fitness. I spent 18 months before asking for a single dollar. A lot of people start a business or start a blog and immediately fill it up with ads or start selling e-books within five minutes. Like they haven’t necessarily gained the trust of their readers in order to be able to offer that, and then they get super disappointed when people aren’t shelling over their money to somebody they just met.
John Lee Dumas: Great message.
Steve Kamb: Yes. So I spent, like I said, 18 months through Nerd Fitness just being as helpful as possible and asking for nothing in return. Nerd Fitness has really grown along those paths and it’s been very cool to see the things that have come out of Nerd Fitness, even though I haven’t asked for them.
I’ve guest lectured at Google, Google Dublin, Facebook and I had a TEDx talk, and none of those talks did I reach out for. I was contacted by people with each of those companies because they loved Nerd Fitness and hoped that I could come in and talk at those places. So I’ve gone out of my way to just be helpful, and the rest has kind of taken care of itself.
John Lee Dumas: Great! I look forward to viewing that TEDx talk, and I will link that up in the show notes for sure. What is something that’s working for you or your business right now?
Steve Kamb: Focusing on productivity. I, for the longest time, up until honestly probably two months ago, really struggle with being productive during the day. I was one of those people, I would spend all day long on my computer being busy, and then I would spend all night doing the work that I should have been able to get done during the day.
So over the past two months I put a tremendous focus on becoming far more productive. I’ve done things like install programs in my computer to block myself from certain websites. I’ve completely overhauled how I handle my email. As a result now, I get so much more done during the day than I ever have in the past, and it’s freed me up to spend way more time doing things that make me happy like playing golf or more time learning new skills or exercises, or playing more video games. Doing things that make me happy. I spent two years or probably actually three, three-and-a-half years struggling to find a way to be productive and just telling myself that 14 hour days were normal and that’s what I was expecting.
After making these changes over the past two months, I’ve understood that productivity is a skill that can be learned, and if you do put the time and effort in and really analyze where your time is going and how you can adjust it, you can get so much more done in such a shorter amount of time, freeing you up to do things that you love and hang out with the people that you love.
John Lee Dumas: What is the best business book that you’ve read in the last six months?
Steve Kamb: In the last six months? Steve Jobs’ autobiography, which was fascinating. I had no idea what a jerk he was [Laughs].
John Lee Dumas: Yes. I just watched his autobiography. That was incredible.
Steve Kamb: Oh, it was amazing what a jerk he was, but on top of that, amazing. Just his vision and how he planned out everything and how he knew, he made decisions based on where he saw the industry going and not where it was, and that’s allowed Apple to really do what it’s done.
That, and then another book, it’s not really business-related, but I just read Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead,” and I absolutely loved the whole concept of people. Specifically, it was about architecture and being very unique in that aspect, but how it spoke to people that aren’t afraid to be unique against those people that are terrified of standing out. I absolutely loved it. I flew through it in a couple of weeks, even though it’s like a freaking one thousand page book or something.
John Lee Dumas: It’s huge, and I highly recommend “Atlas Shrugged” as well.
Steve Kamb: Well, that too. That was last summer’s reading.
John Lee Dumas: So the last question, Steve, is my favorite. It’s kind of a tricky one, so you can take your time and really digest it before you answer. If you woke up tomorrow morning and you still had all the experience and knowledge and money that you currently have today, but your business has completely disappeared, forcing you to start with a clean slate, which is a situation that many of our listeners find themselves in right now – a clean slate. What would you do in the next seven days?
Steve Kamb: Buy a beach hut in the Virgin Islands and open a bar. No, I’m just kidding [Laughs].
John Lee Dumas: A little risky business. I like it.
Steve Kamb: Exactly, right? No. Honestly, what I would do is I would spend 100 bucks on hosting and a new domain name, and I would set up things like Facebook and Twitter. Then I would spend seven days probably not sleeping, cranking out as much content as possible that is very unique and helpful to people in a particular field.
Now if I wasn’t doing Nerd Fitness, I would pick another industry that I had a lot of passion about and find a way to apply my unique personality and a unique spin on that particular topic, and then start reaching out to people through Facebook and Twitter and finding people that are in that industry or folks that maybe aren’t in that particular industry, but are doing things that I truly admire, and just reach out to them and let them know that they’re an inspiration to me and that I love what they’re doing and begin forming those relationships. Again, asking for nothing in return, but starting those relationships with people and really building things from the ground up, bootstrap it as much as possible.
Very similar, I haven’t spent a dollar on advertising for Nerd Fitness. Like I said, I don’t have ads and I haven’t bought an ad myself. So everybody that finds Nerd Fitness is through word of mouth, which I think is a far more valuable customer than somebody that has found it through an ad. So it might be slower going to start, but if you can find a way to really connect with people and just be insanely helpful and useful and asking for nothing in return until a couple of months down the road, letting them know that you’re creating something that they might be interested in, that would probably be the best way to start.
Obviously, there are certainly other ways to do it, but as far as I know, that would be the best way for me in particular, a guy that absolutely loves writing and loves helping people to get a business started off the ground.
John Lee Dumas: Steve, you have given us some great actionable advice, and we are all better for it. Give Fire Nation one last piece of guidance, then give yourself a plug, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Steve Kamb: Don’t be afraid to be different. I know I’ve plugged that so many times today through in this talk, but honestly, I don’t think I would be where I am today if I wasn’t different. It’s okay to stand out and it’s okay to piss people off.
Nerd Fitness – I’m a huge fan of strength training and I’m a huge fan of a particular type of diet. Then for people that are marathon runners, if you happen to be a vegan marathon runner, I’m probably not the website for you. I am more than okay with that.
Don’t try to be for everybody. Be unique. Find your small niche and group of people, and find a way to be so helpful and personable to those folks that they can’t help but feel like they know you personally even if you’ve never met. Those people are going to be the people that spread your name and the word of your website and your company. Treat them like gold. Don’t be afraid to be unique and go out of your way to be helpful without asking for things in return.
John Lee Dumas: As Michael Stelzner said in his book, Launch, and on this show as well, let those people be your fire starters.
Steve Kamb: Absolutely. Then as far as plug goes, just swing in by NerdFitness.com. Come check it out. It’s thousands of folks all over the world working and helping each other live better lives. I publish two free articles a week. If you do need specific workout advice, I offer some fitness guides through the site. But even if you never spend a dollar in Nerd Fitness, that’s totally okay.
Come check out the community. Hang out with the folks on there. I do quite a bit of traveling, so if you get a chance to see on the site that I’m going to be visiting your city and I’m doing a meetup, come on down and hang out.
John Lee Dumas: Awesome, Steve. Thank you again, and we’ll catch you on the flipside. Level up.
Steve Kamb: Yes. Thanks, John.