How to set up a (kinda alternative) outdoor company - Step 1,2 and 3 (Part 1)
“The secret to change is to focus all of your energy,
not on fighting the old,
but on building the new”
I’m sat here many months along the road from where I started. Possibly many years, who knows where the journey began? I’m sat here at an exciting time in the development of an idea, my idea, on the cusp of releasing it into the world, where ‘other people’ will consider it one way or another. I want to document the process and share the journey, in some ways so that I have a record of what I have done, but also I'm hoping that someone else will read this and find it entertaining, valuable or inspiring I guess. If you are reading this – thank you. Welcome along!
Step 1 - Find a need
This can take a long time, especially when you are actively searching! For me though - in a way, I feel that that the need found it’s way to me. I wasn’t looking for a new business idea, I wasn’t trying to make change to my life or work, I was happy, I was content – or so I thought, who knows what the mind is doing behind the scenes!
I have worked in the outdoor sector for 8 years as a freelancer, enjoying the progression of my career from assistant and rooky guide to trip leader and lead guide. I love the blend of skills needed; technical safety, group management, to be a friendly face, a trustworthy leader, to encourage, to inspire, to care. I love the variety of people I work with; excited school children, hung over stag groups, the military, lovely families, couples and individuals – an awesome mix of people from all walks of life. To share the outdoors with them and take them along on a 3 hour adventure is a wonderful way to make a living. Sounds good right?!
Right! There is nothing wrong with this way of working in the outdoors, but I wanted MORE. I wanted to connect more with the participants, I wanted to give them more opportunity to relax, to unwind, to decompress. I needed more time with them, however this doesn’t necessarily mean a longer or more exciting trip in the gorge, or a bigger climbing session. What it boils down to is more time actually doing not much at all. Everybody's lives are different and complicated, everybody has pressures and a to-do list, endless social media commitments, a packed out calendar, reminders, alarms, appointments. Along side that hit of adrenaline and endorphins as you launch yourself off a 30 foot cliff or dangle precariously over a waterfall, you need the peace of the forest, the tranquillity of the mountains, the sweet song of the birds, the endless depths of the star lit sky at night.
Not: “Hello! Sign this form. Lets go! This is cool! Don't do that. Jump in there! That was great. Thanks. Pub is down the road. Goodbye… Next!” Which is sometimes a great way to have a weekend, but for me it began to feel unfulfilling, I was giving everything I could in a short space of time and everyone loved it, but the seed had been planted. An idea was born, that idea is Nomad.
So over the past few years I have been collecting, researching, developing, writing and asking questions. Inspired by people I have worked with in the past and inspired by my own experiences at workshops and on courses, I have finally developed a framework for a residential, self development and outdoor experience. With elements of journeying through the landscape and living under canvas, the sharing of traditional practical skills and story as well as popular and tested personal development techniques, the Nomad program is relevant and powerful. With the aim of reconnecting participants with nature, with themselves and with others, the program uses time spent in nature and simple living to strip away the busyness of life so we can focus on ourselves in a way that doesn’t happen much in society today.
So it transpires that the need came from within me! A need to connect more with participants, a desire to take people deeper, to peel away the layers, to leave behind the chaos of everyday life and to simply be together with people in a simple and nourishing way... and as I write this I realise that actually this is something I would love to be a participant on, and isn't that a great test of an idea?? Instead of the most commercially viable money cow, create something YOU would actually want to be a part of/buy/participate on/eat. Chances are if one person - if you - want that thing, then others will too…