Derek is a young entrepreneur who has built a presence in the niches of self improvement and fitness through his blog and social media platforms (most notably his YouTube channel). He has been writing blog articles since 2016 MorePlatesMoreDates.com and shortly thereafter filming YouTube videos. Since then, he has reached an audience of more than 300,000 subscribers on YouTube and has started some successful businesses.
Hello Derek, can you please tell us a bit about yourself and your background? What’s your story
I didn’t know what I wanted to do in high school, so I got the best grades to be accepted into one of the best business programs in the country. I had no idea what else to do with my life so I was just trying to put myself in the best academic position possible. After graduating, I was still completely unaware of what I wanted to do with my life. I had decided to graduate from college and get a job as an accountant or equivalent paid business-related position. My mindset started to change when I noticed that one of my mentors had built a successful business through his online presence. In the early days of YouTube, he published blog articles and YouTube videos. This inspired me to write blog articles and record videos shortly afterwards. That’s how he started and I thought I had nothing to lose, so I bought a domain and started writing. Everything I was interested in always made me learn as much about it as possible. Hence, I already had an adequate knowledge of pharmacology, endocrinology, fitness, nutrition, exercise, etc. even before starting this writing. My knowledge in 2016 pales in comparison to where it is now and will likely pale in comparison to what it is will be in a few years. I’m always learning, and that’s what keeps me going and why I’m so passionate about what I talk about.
Always wanted to be an entrepreneur in the fitness industry?
No, and while I often fall into the same category as Fitness YouTubers, I don’t really see myself as a platform specific to the fitness industry. I originally thought that with my business degree I would get a reasonably well-paying desk job for a large company and that would be my life. The thought of it didn’t appeal to me at all, but I couldn’t get into entrepreneurship at the time or how to get started with it at all. I always had a strong feeling that the path I set out to do was selling myself. Fortunately, this feeling was correct and I acted accordingly.
You are now an established fitness expert on YouTube. How did it start
I started exercising when I was in 11th grade of high school because my friends pulled me there. I didn’t even want to go because all I cared about was basketball and getting more muscular didn’t seem like an endeavor worth spending time on. My friends were all determined to get as big and strong as possible by this time, and they eventually convinced me to start training. I was a 138 pound splint at the time and I definitely needed to add some size. I couldn’t even hit the bar when I started. After a month of training, I began to enjoy it more as I could see progress on the scale and in the weights I could lift. After that, I was excited about the gym.
What gave you the confidence to run your own business instead of opting for a conventional career as a company?
I’ve always been very hungry for success. Every time I worked for someone else in an industry I was passionate about, I felt like I was selling myself. It was almost like I knew deep down that I should do this myself, but I just didn’t know where to start. Not long after that, I joined some great mentors who helped me grasp some of the basics of entrepreneurship. Fortunately, I already had the confidence in myself to invest in my own future, and when I had a clear path of what to do in front of me, I started investing heavily in myself. I knew that investing in myself and my own ventures would be the most profitable decision in the long run rather than working for someone else, even if working for someone else made more upfront cash. I still work with other companies in an affiliate context as it would be physically impossible to start a business for every single product and service I want to advertise, but everything that I focus on directly and about that I am extremely passionate about trying to find ways to make money directly through my own ventures.
How do you rate the impact of social media on entrepreneurship today?
I think this has a massive impact and is the first way to scale your business. Without social media, many of us would not have the opportunity to publish our information on a large scale. Social media has provided many entrepreneurs with a platform on which they can benefit from their endeavors where this would otherwise hardly have been possible.
Can you tell us about your training methods?
As of now, I’ll do what I consider to be roughly the minimum effective weekly volume in the gym. This means that I can train a maximum of 3-4 days a week and get in and out of the gym in an hour. My priority right now is business rather than developing my body. That’s why I do just enough to stay in shape and maintain what I’ve built over the years. After eating, I also take a few short 10-minute walks a day. My exercise routine isn’t overly complicated and it’s very easy to follow.
What was your biggest failure as an entrepreneur? What did you learn from this mistake / failure?
My biggest mistake was not to invest in myself sooner. Although I eventually came to my senses and realized that the best investment I will make is to invest in myself, I spent a lot of time working for others and growing their businesses despite my monthly overheads and general expenses were so low I could build my personal brand on full board earlier. I easily lost 1-2 years of progress because I didn’t aggressively invest in myself earlier. And by investing in myself, I mean spending money on classes, training, hiring staff to take chores off my back, getting better camera gear, getting a faster internet connection, etc. All of these are things you do cost money upfront, but you’ll make exponentially more across the board.
Can you tell us more about the projects you are currently working on?
Right now I’m focusing on building the More Plates More Dates brand, my supplement company Gorilla Mind and my clinic for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) Marek health.
More Plates More Dates is my social media platform and most of those who follow my content know me.
Gorilla Mind is a nutritional supplement company that I founded in December 2017. Our most important product offerings are currently our cognitively improving nootropic formulas and our pre-workout formulas developed by me.
Marek Health is a telemedical HRT clinic that I founded last year. The aim is to provide care at the concierge level by highly qualified doctors who reflect the latest literature in their practice.
As an expert in the fitness industry, what advice would you give budding teens who want to get started?
If you want to be successful in the fitness industry these days, you have to be different. You need to stand out somehow. This sounds like an obvious suggestion, but most newbies still do the same cookie cutter vlogs, all day eating, etc as everyone else. Unless you have an exceptional personality or figure, chances are you will get traction from these videos. I advise you to think carefully about what you are really passionate about. If it’s actually about fitness and you’re not just posting fitness videos because you think becoming a fitness influencer would be cool then by all means start posting about it, but be unique. Check out what other emerging major channels are doing in not just the fitness industry but other mainstream industries and see how you can incorporate those ideas into your own content. It’s rare for a fitness influencer to really look for content ideas outside of the realm of the fitness industry, but this is where I would first look for unique ideas and inspiration and try to figure out how to get them back into my niche. At the end of the day, the best advice I have is to put full board into what you are really passionate about. Don’t start a fitness channel if you don’t really love something related to health, exercise, bodybuilding, diet, etc. Even if you build a large following and succeed, if it’s not in an industry that you are really passionate about you are very likely to burn out and be far less likely to make you happy.
More details about Derek can be found at: https://www.instagram.com/moreplates_moredates/