As the standard of beauty is getting more and more strict, one of the greatest concerns for everyone is dieting. This is proved by the fact that diet secrets of popular celebrities and diet auxiliary products used by many people are likely to be the big issue on the Internet. The so-called, “diet boom” has swept South Korea. However, it is also true that more people are suffering by the after effects of this boom. In fact, many people who have tried this specific diet complain of several symptoms including insomnia, anorexia and many other side effects. In addition, even those who do not go on a diet have a lot of psychological pressure to lose or maintain their weight. However, unlike people who are experiencing after effects due to indiscriminate dieting, there is a man who has created a culture of ‘Jaemiet’; a fun diet using exercise, which is the basis of the diet. He is Seokjong Yu who developed 'Jaemiet', a home training app. From now on, let's listen to his extraordinary start-up story for all the people who want to start a healthy habit without being constrained by time, space and money.
1. Why did you develop this app? Why not be a personal fitness trainer?
I was not good at anything and I didn’t know what I liked or what I wanted to do. In such a vague state, I happened to do volunteering, through which I felt that I could be a useful person to someone. At that time programs in which celebrity trainers teach diet exercises began to gain popularity and I thought I could teach how to do exercise more interestingly and easily than them. So I started to upload simple exercises on a blog for people at home. It gained great popularity to the extent that it was seen and regularly used by 100 to 10,000 people. In fact, I have also worked as a personal fitness trainer, but I quit the job after three months because I felt skeptical that my job as a fitness trainer was really just being a salesman. At that time I thought that sports also needed their own brand and I won the first prize by using the materials associated with exercise in the start-up competition held in Jeolla Province. After that I developed the app with a person I had met there. In a world full of fitness trainers, I thought this app, which employs smart phone technology, would be different and useful.
2. When you developed the app, didn’t you think of setting up your project as a paid-for service for profit? I wonder why you decided to deploy the app for free.
I think it is like a betrayal to make customers pay for the exercises that they can do anywhere if they want to. Users of Jaemiet are not just my app users; to me they are like family members. They also directly sponsored me when I had difficulties such as when I had a shortage of money to pay for server maintenance. Sometimes I let exercise equipment be used for free to create profits. Usually, exercise equipment that people buy in home-shopping networks is only used for about a week. This is because they don’t know how to use it properly. However, we create more profits by providing free educational videos and Q&A services for the products.
3. You had an enormous amount of debt due to mistakes. What is your driving force for overcoming frustration?
I was deprived of all the ideas and content copyrights when I signed an incorrect contract with a manufacturer of fitness equipment who was my business partner. As a result, I ran-up a debt of 10,000,000 won at the age of 24. It was at that moment that I learned the fear of paperwork. After that, I felt a large sense of betrayal and loss. However, I was able to overcome the crisis by changing my thoughts to, “I'm a person that can get into a debt of 10,000,000,000 won!" Reckless enough, my great confidence seemed to be a driving force that led me to start again.
4. Are there any users who have complained? If they have, what was it about?
There are so many complaints. In particular, we answered questions from all people at first, but recently we stopped answering everyone. There were many complaints about this. However, only three to four hours a day were spent answering questions. It is difficult to provide an excellent service. I think it would be better to return to good service at this time. Users’ comments made it possible to start the exercise equipment sales. I have the opportunity to make phone calls with my Jaemiet family in a program on Africa TV, and an elementary school student said, "Jaemiet doesn’t need to donate, they have to earn money. So I hope that Jaemiet will succeed so that it cannot be forgotten." This comment led me to decide to start selling exercise equipment, and so I was able to operate this business more reliably. There will be many more complaints in the future, but I they think that we can still develop further.
5. Do you have another plan besides Jaemiet?
I want to expand my business into an off-line service. Unlike typical PT shops, I want to create an off-line center in which people see and enjoy each other and relieve their stress, such as at the gym or the playground. Also, I produced a 'Jaemiet Song' to be released in April this year. It is fun to create the words for a song that will give Jaemiet its unique color. I also wanted to be engaged in fashion advertising, such as snapback, although it is not related to exercise. I have many plans I would like to do.
6. Do you have any advice for university students who failed their diet?
Many people think dieting should be done without eating any food. But this is a very big mistake and the result is the same as in the case of a balloon. When the balloon inflates to a large size, the surface is easily wrinkled when it deflates without removing the air slowly. When the human body tries to lose weight unconditionally, it only loses its elasticity and wrinkles up just like a balloon. Thus the yo-yo effect is repeated. So you should not skip meals and you should resolve it through exercise. I recommend weight training and aerobic exercise. In particular, lower body workouts can have good effects and help you have greater calorie consumption. However, your motivation and will to succeed are the most important things. In particular, women tend to just think, without reflecting on it. You should not approach exercising too casually.
Experts say that a start-up is the same as a non-scratched lottery ticket. However, many people say that most of them are losing the lottery and the success rates are too low. But I think that a start-up is like a lottery that is not worth the money I paid for the lottery ticket. Cases of Seokjong Yu are also like this. If you have confidence and you decide to do it, it may still fail to a degree because you owe a debt. If you are confident that you can do what you decided to do and do it well, you have only to do it till the end, even though you fail and get into debt. A person who makes a decision with no sense of challenge is like a mere lottery ticket. We should take the challenge without being afraid of failure. Do you happen to know that the challenge you took on might lead to a winning lottery ticket which has a low probability of success?
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