Bodybuilding YouTube star Furious Pete has the physique of a pro wrestler . . . but the way he got this physique is a little less than typical. For example, he can scarf down ten cheeseburgers in under two-and-a-half minutes without a problem. He’s also a Guinness world record-holding competitive eater and bodybuilder. Not bad for someone who grew up battling childhood anorexia.
Also known as Pete Czerwinski, Furious Pete, a 29-year-old Canadian, is a walking paradox with a strong following of more than two million subscribers to his YouTube channel. He has a story of recovery and hope he tells through sometimes circus-worthy weekly videos. While his audience and reach are impressive, he’s also built multiple businesses off the back of his YouTube superstardom. And in this regard, he has some lessons to teach.
But, first, some background.
The Furious Pete following
Pete took up bodybuilding in his teens as a way to recover from his eating disorder. As he has explained in interviews, when he was 16, both of his parents were diagnosed with serious illnesses.
With his family in disarray, Pete was desperate to control something in his life, and that something turned out to be food. He ended up hospitalized, weighing only 120 pounds. Once out of the hospital, Pete took up bodybuilding as a way to recover from the eating disorder.
Five years later, in 2007, he ordered a “challenge” meal at a restaurant and not only finished it, but also ordered three more helpings. This gastronomic victory set Furious Pete’s current path in motion. Once he discovered his gift, reportedly caused by an unusually slow digestive process, Pete began entering -- and winning -- competitive eating competitions.
He set several world records, including the fastest time to eat 15 Ferrero Rocher chocolates.
Despite holding an engineering degree, Pete has managed to build a following around his other, rather more unique, talent, of competitive eating. He keeps his fan base happy by uploading weekly YouTube videos related to fitness, unique places to eat and of course, eating challenges. On top of that, he’s got a book coming out titled Stay Hungry.
What can entrepreneurs learn from Furious Pete?
Pete is a competitive eater dedicated to fitness and bodybuilding; his areas of expertise may seem unconventional, but analyzing how this YouTube star has built his business reveals four crucial lessons for young entrepreneurs.
1. Combine two uncommon skill sets.
Being a fitness model and bodybuilder, as well as a world record-holding competitive eater, may sound like mutually exclusive careers . . . and they usually are. But Pete’s managed to combine both of these skillsets, making him incredibly unique in both spaces. Add in his ability to build a massively engaged audience via social media, and you have a recipe for success.
2. Seek attention.
Most fledgling entrepreneurs are almost afraid to come out into the light. They let their business die on the vine, never exposing it to the customers and users that it needs, to be shaped into something successful.
Furious Pete promotes his fitness business with incredibly viral videos like how to fake a before and after photo. Videos like these add more and more people to his rabid fanbase, which means more customers at the top of the funnel.
3. Promote the business.
A little bit of short-erm attention is nice, but consistency in promotion is key. Pete keeps to a consistent upload schedule on YouTube and runs a Patreon campaign to fund his world tour of eating episodes.
He also sells apparel through his website and will soon sell that book he's completing. Pete doesn’t miss a chance to promote his brand and it pays off: Czerwinski reportedly earns as much from competitive eating as he would from his engineering degree.
4. Be confident.
It takes a bit of swagger to post videos on how to pick up a girl at the gym, or to drink three bottles of lemon juice on-screen. That kind of confidence is essential in a leader, and a new business is sunk without leadership.
With these learnings in mind and a life full of ups and downs, Furious Pete decided to write that book of his, Stay Hungry, which goes into further details of how he was able to turn his passion for fitness and eating into a full-time career.
As an entrepreneur, you too always need to be looking for ways to monetize your work. For Furious Pete, this unconventional way of working has proven to be a success. It entails thinking outside the box to find partnerships, set Guinness world records and build an incredible social media following. His example is one worth emulating.