Q: What is Evidence Magazine?
Evidence Magazine is a health and fitness education company. Our main specialities are fat loss and muscle growth. We teach people how to get in shape using small, consistent changes that they can maintain.
Q: What was the hardest part of you starting something, especially so young?
There were days early on when I’d write for 10 hours a day. It wasn’t hard to stay consistent since I’m pretty obsessive, but it was hard thinking of new content, simplifying really complex topics, and making it interesting to read. There’s a lot of content about health and fitness online, so I had to work hard to make it stand out. That’s still the hardest and most rewarding part of my job.
Q: What made you decide to leave high school? To not pursue college schooling?
There were several reasons:
1. Since I was eight years old, I wanted to be a professional triathlete. I was racing around the country, training over 30 hours a week, and spent all of my free time working on that goal. I planned on going into professional sports (or at least making money around that topic) after high school instead of going into college. Then I realized that high school didn’t give me enough time to train or pursue my goal, so I stopped going.
2. I wasn’t learning the things I was most interested in. I love learning just about anything, and I really liked most of my classes and teachers. But, there were other things like sports science, copywriting, online business, and military history that were a higher priority for me. I was just starting to get into writing and business, and I wanted to focus all of my energy there. Instead, I was memorizing what the little symbols on a weather chart mean and making popsicle-stick masks in English class.
3. I’d been dealing with an eating disorder since I was twelve years old, and it was still causing a lot of problems. I was obviously underweight, miserable, and stressed 24/7. Dropping out helped reduce my stress levels and made it easier to get anorexia under control.
Q: What does your typical day look like? How do you stay productive?
I normally wake up at around 7 or 7:30 am. I make some coffee, and plan my day in a little moleskin journal I carry everywhere. I hate using digital task management apps like Trello, Basecamp, or Asana.
I normally write for about an hour or two first thing in the morning and then go to the gym. I lift weights five times a week and go on walks the other days.
I eat when I get back, and then work on the other tasks in my journal. Usually it’s responding to client emails, preparing a podcast, formatting an article online, etc.What you might call “working in the business” as opposed to “working on the business.” I usually finish work around five or six pm, eat dinner, and go for a short walk or do some house chores.
At nine or ten I’ll read or knit for a while to relax, then go to bed about 10:30 or 11pm. On Saturday, I usually write first thing and then go hiking, kayaking, hunting, or some other kind of outdoor exercise that keeps me occupied most of the day.
Q: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from starting up the way you did?
Have a mentor and experience in your chosen field before you start on your own. I worked for two other health and fitness education companies and wrote for a health insurance company before I started working on my own.
There are several huge benefits to this approach:
– You learn what mistakes others have made, so you can avoid them. – You make a bunch of mistakes on someone else’s dime, and with a safety net, that might otherwise cripple you if you were on your own.
– You make connections with other key players in the space that you can get help from, and help, later on.
– You get a consistent pay-check, so you’re not desperate for funds all of the time. – Your life is simpler: you don’t have to make a zillion different decisions about what to do with your time. Instead, someone else tells you what needs to be done and you do it. People act like this is a bad thing, but if you enjoy your job, this makes life much easier.
– If you’re working for a startup or just a cool company, you can still put forward just as many new ideas and suggestions as you could test on your own. The difference is that when you’re working for someone else, they’ll be able to improve your ideas and give you valuable feedback. You can still exercise an “entrepreneurial spirit” in a more structured setting.
I think “starting up” as soon as possible is overrated. Work for someone else first for several years, then think about starting your own company.
P.S. Praxis makes this a lot easier. If I’d known about it five years ago, I would have gone through it. It’s a great option for young people who don’t know what exactly they want to do, or need help getting there.