This week on Profitcast we welcome Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness! In spite of the fact Steve does not utilize the audio medium in his business, he is the perfect example of how to find success by following a passion, niching down, and going hard after something you believe in. Nerd Fitness was conceived in 2009 after Steve made every training mistake known to man and saw zero return for his efforts. As both a guy who wanted to be healthy and a self-proclaimed uber nerd, he wanted a means for others like him to achieve their fitness goals without being intimidated by the culture common to many gyms and fitness centers.
Steve’s origin story will resonate well with many of us, and be equally as encouraging. He started down the path of doing it like everyone else and trying to reproduce what’d already been done. Unsurprisingly, he found that he wasn’t differentiating himself from the crowd. He wasn’t being true to himself. One of the most discouraging obstacles we encounter, either as a creative type or as an entrpreneur, is the dichotomy of knowing we have good bait (a quality product, topic, or concept) and not getting the degree of nibbling we were expecting.
The good news is we have a very customizable alternatives working at our craft which a fisherman does not. While there is undoubtedly skill involved in fishing, a fisherman cannot build a lasting relationship with the fish he seeks to capture. Once that fish is caught, it (usually) does not stick around for more than to be sliced and diced. (Fish are caught to be consumed, and I do not approve of any other type of fishing.) But our listeners, our community, they are not like fish. We want them to stick around.
I’ve used a fishing analogy before, I know, and I hope that you will humor me once again because I rather like the various components that arise when comparing anything to fishing. At its core, fishing can seem like a passive activity. Boring. Sit and wait for the fish to come to you. And perhaps, sometimes, that really is all a fisherman can do; at the end of the day, it’s the fish’s choice to take a bite. But I’d argue that the good fisherman, the ones committed to their craft, learn about their lure, their bait, their target fish and how it relates to the weather, to the environment and other similar factors before they get into the boat. Like any hobby, some days everything comes together and works to our advantage, some days we miss the mark; but we know there is that potential before we even venture out. A fisherman learns what he can and makes decisions based off that knowledge in order to create the best possible outcome during his outing, and likewise, we can make decisions that will give us the best advantage in our own craft.
Needless to say, there are two glaring things separating us dramatically from fishermen (wait, just two?!). These are highlighted well by Steve and Brian in this episode and it is what makes our hobby truly exciting.
1) We deal with people.
WHOA! I know, mind blown. Different fish might have different preferences, but fish do not have personalities in the way humans do. They’re not going to reject a lure because it was too green or they didn’t like the personality of the fisherman. We deal with real people who won’t be fooled by thestatus quo. Like Steve, we can’t be afraid to be different, to go in a different direction than our competition; to take risks that haven’t been taken; to pave new roads to new heights. But, most importantly, we can’t neglect the human component. People are relational and individualistic, and what we provide to them is as much about them as it is about our passion.
One thing that stands out to me about Steve’s business is that he developed this paradigm of coupling his nerdiness with his love of fitness to appeal to a very unique subset of people, but he doesn’t rely on that format alone to carry him through to lasting success or to build up his clientele. He sought out the needs of the people who came to him so that he might be able to provide them with quality advice and guidance.
2) We care about retention.
We aren’t casting tasty morsels out into the lake to attract fish, either to toss them back in or consume them. We’re looking for a fiercely loyal community. Before the Nerd Fitness Academy, Steve’s main mode of communicating with his audience was through blogging. When he realized that people weren’t picking up what he was laying down, he looked for ways to fix that. In the podcast, Steve cites Adam Baker’s article, How to NOT Suck At Blogging as extremely helpful. But he didn’t just consume that article and do everything it said, he took it to heart and assessed what changes he could make without sacrificing his personality in his writing.
We often use the idiom, “cannot see the forest for the trees,” to refer to someone who is too immersed in the details to see the big picture. Well, retention, in my own opinion, requires the exact opposite. It’s dangerous to look at the numbers of our podcast (or blog posts) and just see a forest. A thin forest, an unhealthy forest; a big forest, a luscious forest. When we don’t see the trees in the forest, it’s like we’re too focused on the big picture and forget that it takes invested individuals to create that fiercely loyal community we desire.
All the articles and links that Brian and Steve talked about in this week’s podcast are below! Go check out Steve’s book and consider taking that step to level up your life!
- Nerd Fitness
- Level Up Your Life by Steve Kamb
- 279 Days to Overnight Success by Chris Guillebeau
- How to NOT Suck At Blogging by Adam Baker
- Sign up to express interest in the Mastermind!
- Sign up for a free trial with Audiobooks.com!
- Profitcast Patreon
- Text “Profitcast” to 33444 to sign up for the e-mail list