Most people are influenced to grow and to create a name by great mentors and inspiring people, but our guest for today was moved to become an entrepreneur by unpleasant colleagues. Despite pain and discomfort being his catalyst for change, pursuing this adventure has brought him fun and happiness, and has gotten him the attention of some reality show producers along the way.
Our guest for today is Steve Silberberg, the founder of Fitpacking (also marketed as Fatpacking), a company that guides people to lose weight and get fit through backpacking adventure vacations.
Turning passion into business
When Steve was working as an employee in an investment firm, he would eagerly wait for his vacations, and spend them hiking or backpacking in order to get the most out of his love for outdoor adventures. When he would return to work, he would notice that his stress level was lower, he was in better shape and that he had lost weight. This revelation got him thinking that other people may also be interested in getting fit this way, so he made the decision to leave his cubicle and turn his passion into his career.
Conquering obstacles along the road to adventure
Steve shares that marketing and finding clients are the most difficult phases in this business and is a constant struggle. Most of his clients are found on the internet and getting media coverage is a good way to do PR but it is hard to convince people to spend a week away without electricity and plumbing even if it means losing weight and feeling better.
Another struggle is turning away clients who may not be fit enough to participate in the program. It’s a hard thing to turn away a person who needs and wants to get into better shape, but Steve cares enough about his clients and potential clients to turn away those who aren’t fit enough to be able to go on his Fitpacking treks.
Some clients will get to experience, for instance, their first mountain climbing adventure, and along with these exciting adventures, will learn to conquer confidence problems as they end the adventure with a new sense of self-esteem.
In terms of weight loss, the trips are 1-2 weeks long and therefore the weight loss varies for all clients, but as a bonus these trips will often encourage people to start incorporating backpacking or hiking as a lifestyle and they go on to lose even more weight because of the jumpstart Fitpacking has provided.
What advice do you have for someone searching to create the job that they love?
Make sure that you are not making your family suffer in order to advance your business. Make sure that you have money saved and that your loved ones have what they need. Have a plan in place and know what you are going to do before you give up what you have. Have an idea beforehand don’t just say, ‘I’m going to go wherever the profit is’.
Quotes that Steve mentioned in this episode
“When you are running a business, sometimes doubts creep in and I think it’s a natural human condition to have up days and down days.”
“You just reach the point in life where there is more to life than just financial reward.”
“Not every part of doing the business is doing what you love but I’m willing to do that to support the part that I love.”
“Even if I get hit by a pebble-sized hail storm, there will still be something in me that says, ‘It’s not that bad.’ “