Why German Entrepreneur Torben Platzer Believes You Can 'Take the World Apart and Use Your Imagination to Put It Back Together' How to do what you love and make a mark.
In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Torben Platzer, founder and CEO of personal branding agency TPA Media GmbH, part of TPA Media Group. It was condensed by The Oracles.
Who are you?
Torben Platzer: I'm a 32-year-old entrepreneur from the small German town of Delmenhorst. As a teenager, I spent most of my time playing computer games and wasn't motivated in school, which reflected in my grades. I quickly realized that my life shouldn't be played out in the virtual world alone, so I started my first business selling dietary supplements while in school.
I did not have a mentor at the time and was on my own, which wasn't always easy. I decided that if I became successful, I would help others do the same. Now that is my passion and is very important to me. I mentor other founders through my business education program, Selfmade, and invite them to intimate "roundtables" at my home in Munich. I also share content on social media so everyone can benefit from what I've learned. I co-founded TPA Media Group with my partner, Matt Schuldt, to help others build their own personal brands like I have.
In 2018, I was named the Success Influencer of the Year at a German event called Kettenbrecher for my commitment to showing founders how to start and expand their businesses. In 2019, the German Entrepreneur University named me Content Creator of the Year for my business, social media, and branding content.
What is one of your proudest moments?
Torben Platzer: I am always proud when someone writes me a message or comes to me personally to tell me that I have positively impacted their lives. For example one of my mentees, Max Weiss, did not do well in school or have a large network. Together, we grew his coaching business to achieve six-figure sales in a single month — and he's just 19 years old. That makes me proud and I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
What are the core values that guide your business, and why did you pick them?
Torben Platzer: In addition to achieving results, I'm all about 100 percent real conversations. Too many people hold back information to encourage others to buy from them or to motivate others in the short term. That's why it's very important to me to be transparent and honest, which I also expect from those I work with.
What did you learn from your favorite mentor?
Torben Platzer: My mentor Tai Lopez changed my mindset about business and scaling a personal brand when I visited him in May 2018. He taught me to be happy with 80 percent of the results when you outsource to others because they won't get the same results that you would — and that's OK.
He also taught me about marketing and personal branding, which is about storytelling. Your own story is always good enough, because the truth always wins.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Torben Platzer: I would tell myself to be more patient and try more things before choosing a direction. It's important to follow the path that fits your talents and personality. As Gary Vaynerchuk says, "Close your eyes until you're 29." I'd like to add, "Don't get frustrated if you do not see results immediately." Now when I start a new project, I tell myself that "the first try is for the trash," so there's no pressure to be perfect right away.
How do you define great leadership?
Torben Platzer: Great leaders lead by example. They don't tell others to work harder when they're lying on the beach. Walk the talk first, then delegate.
How do you identify a good business partner?
Torben Platzer: I've been tricked and lied to by many people who just wanted money or to take advantage of my network, so trust and loyalty are important to me. That requires taking time to get to know people. I've also spent a lot of time studying psychology and getting to know different personality types.
Which single habit gives you 80 percent of your results?
Torben Platzer: Every morning, I spend 10 minutes writing my action plan. I don't call it a "to do" list because, to me, that means someone else is telling you what to do.
I also eat the frog first. When you start your day with whatever you enjoy least, you enjoy the rest of the day much more. These two habits have changed my life.
What are you working on right now?
Torben Platzer: I'm focused on scaling TPA Media with my business partner Matt Schuldt. I also have several branding events coming up and am developing new content for Selfmade to help aspiring entrepreneurs build and scale their businesses.
My goal is to help more and more people break out of the 9-to-5 system and start their own businesses. Selfmade has more than 1,000 members just two months after launching, and the goal is to expand the community to 5,000 members by the end of 2019.
What do you want to be known for, or what do you want your legacy to be?
Torben Platzer: I want to be known as someone who shared my knowledge with the world — because that's what I wish someone had done for me when I was starting out. I want to give young people perspective so they can do what they love and enjoy the good things on earth, which is why Selfmade is free for anyone under 18 years old.
But I'm not just another business coach. My mission is to inspire others to take the world apart and use their imagination to put it back together however they want.