“Building a brand is a journey… you have to be consistent, authentic and patient.” — Jeff Jenkins in #GAWG. #socialmedia #travel #influencermarketingTweet
No matter who you are or where you are, you’re figuring out how to get through this pandemic by doing what’s best for you. One of the ways I’ve been doing what’s best for me is by connecting with people that are doing work that’s impactful for their community, industry or themselves and learning about it. One of those amazing humans is Jeff Jenkins, Founder and CEO of Chubby Diaries, who’s inspiring all the above to embrace who they are and love life!
I had the pleasure of meeting Jeff through DivInc and we connected on our love for social media and building relationships with others. He graciously agreed to being my next interviewee and I hope you enjoy it!
Talk to me about Chubby Diaries — what is it and what inspired you to create it?
Chubby Diaries is an online platform that supports chubby people looking to travel the world. We have compelling content, adventures, travel tours and community events (of course we aren’t doing travel tours at the moment).
I was inspired to create Chubby Diaries because I saw a lack of representation. When it came down to picking a niche, it was very easy to talk about myself because I am a plus size man that travels a lot!
You’ve traveled to 39 countries — what was your favorite country and why?
My favorite, hands-down, is Japan! I love the culture, tradition and oh man, the food is incredible! The way they make the food and present it is just so much fun.
You started your career as a Choir Director and was in that role for quite some time — what made you shift to travel?
I got my degree in music education, but after teaching for 9 years I realize I wanted to do more. So, I stated a water well project with couple of friends of mine and we left to build wells in Rwanda. While we were in Rwanda, I realized that I want to be entrepreneur that travels, helps people and gets paid to do it. That’s what really got me into creating Chubby Diaries.
“If you’re not consistent then people won’t trust you and the social media platforms won’t show your posts.” — Jeff Jenkins in #GAWG. #socialmedia #travel #influencermarketingTweet
You’ve developed an incredible brand and audience on Instagram — what are 3 things an entrepreneur must do to grow their brand?
Thank you and it’s been a journey creating it, but it’s been really fun. The 3 things I’d recommend are:
- Be consistent — if you’re not consistent then people won’t trust you and the social media platforms won’t show your posts.
- Be authentic — I believe the biggest obstacle that new companies face is obscurity, so that means you have to continue to put yourself out there so people can discover who you are.
- Be patient — don’t underestimate how hard or long a project or goal will take. I’ve learned that many startups or young entrepreneurs give up because they didn’t overestimate how hard something was going to be.
“You have to continue to put yourself out there so people can discover who you are.” — Jeff Jenkins in #GAWG. #socialmedia #travel #influencermarketingTweet
What do you love about social media?
I love knowing that I can connect with people from all over the world. There was a time when I thought computers were lame because I didn’t see the benefit, but then I got one and started using the internet — I was hooked on the connections I could make and maintain, and the knowledge I could gain. I now have friends that live all over the globe and in places I haven’t been to yet and I think that’s incredible!
With travel being limited or off the table completely, at least for a while, due to COVID-19, do you think there are more or fewer opportunities to connect with your audience and share your experiences through digital channels?
It seems like things are kind of opening up and I can get ready for a road trip I’ve been planning for a while. It was difficult at first when I was trying to figure out how to pivot my work once COVID-19 hit. But, I think a benefit to all of this is that people are getting to see the real me and who I am as a person — it’s is less about travel and more about positivity and motivation.
“Be consistent, overestimate the challenges and obstacles, and set audacious goals!” Jeff Jenkins in #GAWG. #socialmedia #travel #influencermarketingTweet
What’s something you’ve learned in your career that will always inspire you to keep pushing forward?
Set unattainable goals! Seriously — the moment I started dreaming bigger is when I became super inspired and motivated to shoot for the stars — literally! I want to break the earths atmosphere in some kind of ship or solar balloon. I even want to pay for my parents retirement. These are the goals that motivate me!
What words of wisdom do you have for young entrepreneurs?
Be consistent, overestimate the challenges and obstacles, and set audacious goals!
What’s one of the most difficult decisions you’ve made in your career?
One of the most difficult devisions I’ve made was to take out a small loan when I truly didn’t know how I was going to be able to pay it off. I’m very financially savvy, but I underestimated emergencies and we had one.
I love book recommendations to help me grow in my career and challenge my thinking – What books would you recommend as a must-read for career growth and/or just fictional fun?
I always advise people to read The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone and High Performance Habits by Brendon Broussard.
Thank you for reading and stay tuned for the next Going.Ahead.With Gage!
— Gage Grammer