From management consulting to social media marketing to entrepreneurship, Canfield Business Honors Alumni Kevin Curry has a host of experiences under his belt. After graduating from UT Austin in 2004 with degrees in Canfield BHP, Management Information Systems, and Hispanic Studies, Kevin led a career that resulted in the creation of a fitness and nutrition blog unlike any other: Fit Men Cook.
While Curry works solely for Fit Men Cook now, it was not always his main gig. The blog began as a side hustle– a way for Curry to document his eating habits and crowdsource ideas on how to live a healthy lifestyle.
“I was at a point in my life where I really wanted to lose weight and I was tired of spending all this money on personal trainers. I realized that I was tripping up a lot more in the kitchen, so I went to Half Priced Books and bought every single book they had about nutrition and fitness and I just started to just consume the content,” he said. “The stuff that I learned from BHP kicked in– the hustle– and I was thinking, ‘I don’t want to pay for personal training, so maybe I can find a way to crowdsource my diet.’ The idea was to start up a blog and post every single meal I eat and to talk about my whole life transformation. It seemed like the perfect way to get the internet to tell me what to eat for free, but then the reverse happened.”
Before even beginning this blog, Curry explored management consulting, law, and social media management at KPMG, Shea & Larocque, Dell, respectively. In the midst of all this, he also spent a year abroad in Ecuador and later earned his master’s degree in Strategic Management and Political Advocacy & Leadership from the Harvard Kennedy School.
“Right out of (undergrad) I went to work with KPMG and I did consulting with them, but I really wanted to do something to help change the world” he said. “I wanted to find a way to combine my public sector interests with my private sector competencies. So I went to grad school in Boston for two years and then I wanted to go into politics or maybe even as something else, like social entrepreneurship.”
Curry’s journey then brought him back to Dallas, where he worked for the city before joining the social media and marketing team at Dell.
“I had a rude awakening and realized that (working for the city) wasn’t something I wanted to do long term. At the same time, I was heavily involved in marketing with some of my friends from grad school and some people I met up in Boston,” he said, “I did this project with them for a hip hop campaign and it went very well. Then, an executive over at Dell saw it and said, ‘Looks like you’re pretty good in this marketing and social media stuff. Would you come and work for us and become the global social media manager for Dell Services?’ and I said yes.”
It was during his time at Dell that Curry began working towards living a healthy lifestyle and had the idea for Fit Men Cook.
“I just fell in love with (Fit Men Cook). Once I started, I realized there are people out there just like me who are tired of the same boring, bland foods,” he said. “I was just learning and cooking and putting stuff together and people just loved it and learned from it and I began to cultivate a community.”
While he enjoyed working at Dell, Curry felt like something was missing after he found his passion for Fit Men Cook. He said he wanted to create real value for individuals, but he was often too far up the corporate chain to see that value in action, so entrepreneurship was especially appealing.
“I want to be able to make a difference. I want to feel that. I think that’s something many people really crave,” he said. “There was something really special about me posting a recipe that I just made and then having literally somebody in Sweden email me an hour later, ‘Hey, just tried this for dinner. It was great– thank you so much!’ Wow. That shows the power and global impact of social media.”
Curry eventually left Dell and turned down a job opportunity at Google to pursue Fit Men Cook full time. Now, Curry’s Instagram boasts 1.5 million followers and his blog has hundreds of recipes for all to enjoy. His advice for budding entrepreneurs is that there is no perfect time to start a business– it always takes a bit of foresight and a leap of faith.
“There’s not really a perfect time to go ahead and start working on stuff you actually love, but there is a wrong time to start, and that’s when you haven’t prepared. As long as you’re planning for it and you make the necessary adjustments to your life, you have to just go for it,” he said. “You’ve got to bet on yourself and your own dopeness and know that you are dope enough to make it work.”
Curry said that Canfield BHP students come out of undergrad equipped to take entrepreneurial and career risks. When choosing between Google, Dell, and Fit Men Cook, he used his mentor’s words and past experiences to make the best decision for himself.
“Here’s the thing, especially if you’re in (Canfield) BHP, you’ve got to know you’re the cream of the crop and that if this doesn’t work out, you can go and do something else,” he said. “Some of the advice my mentor gave me was, ‘You’ll sit your grandkids down on your knees one day and say, ‘Hey, here’s this thing called Fit Men Cook. Here’s how I (gave) it all up.’ or ‘Here’s how I made it.’ Don’t let your passion be the thing that you look back on and wish you could’ve pursued.”