A Liverpool entrepreneur revealed how he went from competing as an 18-stone bodybuilder to his own SEO, automation, and social media consultancy.
Daniel Luke started his Royal Albert Dock-based company Hedge Socials last year, but has already had considerable success, generating hundreds of thousands of pounds in sales for dozens of customers.
Daniel shared with BusinessLive how he went from growing up in Rotherham to becoming a successful personal trainer (PT) and bodybuilder in Manchester to officially starting his own company in Liverpool. And according to Daniel, 31, his fitness experience gave him the entrepreneurial skills needed to be successful in business.
“Growing up, I had zero clarity and no real vision of where I wanted to be. I had no idea about business and after school it was all about getting a job here and there, ”he said.
“Then I discovered this passion for the gym and that led me on this personal training journey.”
Daniel moved from PT to a position as Assistant Manager at PureGym and soon began bodybuilding.
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And through this hobby, which was all about attending and attending physical exercise shows, he soon realized that people were interested in learning more about his fitness program so they could recreate it for themselves.
He explained, “Bodybuilding really developed for me because people saw that I was doing what I preach.
“I worked as an assistant manager at PureGym for 12 months and then started taking part in competitions.
“I started taking pictures of what I do every day – what I eat, how I exercise, and then people just connected to me on social media and wanted me to do their own Support fitness travel.
“When I left PureGym I went completely online and people sent me their pictures of what they wanted to look like and sent me an update every week. I then gave them their exercise and nutrition plans until they were where they wanted to be. “
With a sizable social media following, Daniel managed 150 online customers and rented office space in a complex in Spinningfields after moving to Manchester.
During this time he started his own company called Disciplined, an app-based training program.
His work also included helping other PTs grow their business using the techniques he had developed himself. And soon he found that clients had more success with his methods and advice than with his own PT company.
He said, “I was slowly dying out my personal training business because I was so focused on trying new things with these new coaches.
“When I saw the results they were getting, I became more passionate about business than fitness.”
He soon began keeping an eye on a career outside of the PT sector.
Daniel said, “I was surrounded by people and trained people who were wealthy. And that really opened my eyes to what was possible in business.
“This is where I started thinking, ‘Well, where should I go with this because I’m happy with what I’m doing and I really enjoy doing fitness, but what’s the long-term plan?'”
Late last year, he started his consulting firm Hedge Socials – a management consultancy specializing in SEO, automation, and social media that supports businesses – not just PTs.
“I built a fan base on Instagram and Facebook, talked about my bodybuilding journey and got notified by people and got a lot of interest in my posts. Before I knew it, people were booking calls with me.
“I think maybe sometimes I thought, ‘Who am I to teach these people?’
“But I’ve been really good at designing systems and helping people understand who they want to work with and how to communicate with them.
On the subject of matching items
On the subject of matching items
“It wasn’t just PTs, it was sole proprietorships, freelancers, and anyone who needed help managing clients.”
One of the main specialties of Hedge Socials is helping companies adapt to automation – something that Daniel says should be embraced and not feared.
He said, “Why do you need a sales team of 15 when you can have two or three people managing a system that does the sales for you?
“It’s about helping companies become more efficient and reduce human error.
“If moving to automation puts 10 jobs at risk, is it about how these people can be repositioned in companies that really do important jobs?
“I love numbers, but I don’t want to work with spreadsheets all day – so if we can get people to do things that really matter to them, that’s pretty powerful.
“So it makes perfect sense to introduce AI automation into a company so we can make it work for us – step back and work on other things that will help us grow.”