Mike Polis considers himself to be a serial entrepreneur. From owning a marketing business and a screen print shop to now working as a real estate agent in the Wayzata area, Polis has amassed a Rolodex of fellow entrepreneurs over the years.
“I was self-employed for 12 years, and I’ve [come] across some really cool people with some really cool brands,” says Polis, Lake Minnetonka Magazine Advisory Board member. As he became familiar with the stories behind area brands and businesses, like Sota Clothing Co and Gray Duck Vodka, Polis began wanting to share these stories.
When Polis initially launched his YouTube channel, Things|People|Places, he had 15 shoots lined up with Twin Cities businesses. Two weeks later, Minnesota’s stay-at-home order started. “I had set up all the stuff I needed ... I had my channel all established, the announcement of my first video, and, all of a sudden, we get the stay at home,” he says.
Without knowing how long the order would last, Polis had to pivot his channel or put things on pause. “I started to do a few things just revolving around my life, my interests with diving out on Lake Minnetonka,” he says. From treasure diving and snorkeling to wintertime snowmobile rides, Polis documented the broad scope of outdoor activities Minnesota and the Lake Minnetonka area have to offer.
While the reception to these new videos was positive, Polis decided he needed to rebrand his Things|People|Places channel to reflect the shift in focus. The mikeypolis channel revolves around Polis and his life in vlog-style content, but Polis kept the entrepreneurial focus with a Things|People|Places segment within the mikeypolis channel.
“The whole point of the daily vlog is trying to get people to go outside and try new things,” Polis says. He’s documented himself doing a number of new things from noodling around on a longboard to finally trying ice fishing for the first time after years of wanting to get out on a frozen lake.
Polis says the message he’s trying to convey with the vlogs is that you don’t have to be a lifelong skateboarder to try picking it up; you don’t have to be an expert golfer with a two handicap to get out on the links and take a few swings. “I’m trying as many new things as I can,” Polis says, adding, “It’s just getting out there and trying it.”
With COVID restrictions lifted, Polis has resumed filming his Things|People|Places segment. “I have 22 businesses and entrepreneurs lined up,” he says, noting that it’s going to be a busy next couple of months. “There’s a lot of really unique businesses in our own backyard; those are the stories I want to tell.”