Elan Lohmann is the name behind SleekGeek SA – the platform that encourages healthy living and a fitter lifestyle. Elan has plenty of experience in the digital space, having managed News24.com and more recently been the Manager Director of Avusa. Elan has since quit his job to follow his dream full-time – transforming lives through social media – two things he knows best. We talk to him about how digital and healthy living have meshed to make his vision a reality.
Hi Elan. Before starting SleekGeek, you worked at Avusa. What was your field of expertise there?
I’ve got over a decade of experience in digital, running various businesses in the online publishing space. For example, as Publisher/GM of News24 guiding it to a successful point and then creating Avusa Media LIVE and moving into an MD role there, while looking after the full portfolio. My skills and talents are varied and many but first and foremost I am a leader. That is what I was born to do. I’ve come through the ranks covering all aspects of digital. My roots way back were in front-end developement and product management. I am a creative person but not the best at execution. I get bored easily and hate admin. I suck at that.
So how did the idea start for SleekGeek?
There was no idea. It was an accident. I did something for myself and my friends. They liked it and others started to like it too. My personal transformation inspired others because I was not afraid to put it out there. My transformation is not dissimilar from many others but I had the balls and I guess the knowledge to put it out there. It has clearly resonated since I have 1000’s in my fold now. It caused a chain reaction and I guess I knew what social media triggers to pull. But there was never a plan. I am just on this wild ride with my amazing community that just seems to get better every day!
How do you measure success for SleekGeek? How do you balance the online and offline success?
Mojo. I am only interested in my happiness and the happiness of my community. That comes in the results we achieve in their lives. Those are my metrics. The key measure is ‘How do you feel?’ I continually ask that question. I obviously track the analytics because they are indicators to me but at the end of the day, what is changing a single person’s life path worth? As long as my people are in love with Sleekgeek – because they are -I know I am doing it right.
But if you want stats then the most NB for me is the Facebook group growth. This is not a Page, it is a Group that you ask to join. We are on about 1,800 now and that is the heartbeat of Sleekgeek where it all happens. These are the engaged people daily discussing nutrition and training. We also have experts in the group who help out with answers.
How does digital play a role in SleekGeek and what are you using now that you learnt from Avusa?
More like what did Avusa learn from me? Haha but seriously, obviously my multi-skilled knowledge of digital empowers me to drive Sleekgeek and know what to do. Digital and social media is a critical channel so I focus on that.
Realise that Sleekgeek is all me. This is what one person can single-handedly do if they want to. You just have to want to. You can do anything. I am over placing limitations on myself and living by other people’s rules.
You have been open about your goal – wanting to transform 100 000 South African lives through fitness. How many have you reached so far?
I have reached easily about 25,000 people so far. The core community is about 2,000 – in terms of transformations to a healthy lifestyle it is too early to track if people keep it up and make it a lifestyle, which is really the point. Time will tell. I would guess a few 100 people have achieved fantastic results in the community so far.
What advice to you have for people who work online all day, sitting in front of a PC, and want to become fitter?
Have no excuses. There are many ways to get in shape that does not involve an hour in the gym. Saying you have no time is not an excuse. You want it or you do not. 70 to 80% of results are based on eating and everyone has time to eat healthy it just takes time to plan. Planning is important if you want to be healthy and prepared for your day. There is no red or blue pill. Eat healthy and exercise and you cannot fail. #eatcleantraindirty