Welcome to The Business of Adventure, where Adam El interviews owners of successful adventure activity businesses to learn how they built their companies.
In each episode, we hear their stories and the challenges they have faced along the way, and take away useful insights to help you start, grow, and manage a business in the outdoor industry.
#3 - 365 Days of Adventure - Stevie Boyle of Ocean Vertical
In today's episode, I have a conversation with Stevie Boyle of Ocean Vertical based in East Lothian, next to Edinburgh in Scotland.
Stevie has worked in the outdoor industry for over 25 years, starting out following a passion for being outdoors by pursuing outdoor education before working in recreational outdoor centres to build his experience and skill set. He then moved into youth work, focusing on personal and social development for all with an organization called Strive Adventure before in 2018, setting up his company, Ocean Vertical. Ocean Vertical runs adventure activities throughout the year, focusing on helping people make the most of the amazing opportunities Scotland has to offer from coastal adventure sports to winter mountaineering. The company now has a core team of four and works with a stable of freelancers from their beautiful base in Dunbar.
This was a really interesting conversation in which we talk about having co-founders in an adventure business and how roles and responsibilities are split, how becoming a trainer assessor for other instructors has been important for Stevie's career, the elements of marketing adventure activities, sourcing ethical and environmentally friendly equipment and the challenge of neoprene, and how getting hold of Ocean Vertical's building last year has impacted the business and helped it reach new markets.
Podcast: adventureindustrypodcast.com Guest: oceanvertical.com
#2 - Taking that leap of faith and how to manage freelancers - Ben Bullen Adventures
On today's episode, I have a conversation with Ben Bullen of Ben Bullen Adventures in the Southeast of England. Ben started his career doing youth work in a local church before getting the opportunity to work delivering outdoor activities for young people with his local council, allowing him to get a variety of activity qualifications. After a few years, he then set out on his own, setting up his business to offer Duke of Edinburgh expeditions for school groups. Ben Bullen Adventures now runs over 120 expeditions and training days each year and has a team of about 45 freelance instructors.
In our conversation, we talk about starting a business with kids and a mortgage, doing what you have to do to make things work, taking calculated risks and ultimately taking that leap of faith. Ben shares some tips from his experience hiring and managing freelance instructors and talks about the concept of distributed leadership in a big team of freelancers. We also talk about how he built up his initial client base with local schools and how it's grown since then.
Podcast: adventureindustrypodcast.comGuest: benbullenadventures.co.uk
#1 - Starting a surf & paddleboard school - Adam El
Welcome to The Business of Adventure podcast, I'm your host, Adam El. In this first episode, I introduce myself and share my journey into the adventure activities industry and my current successful venture as well as talking about some of the successes and failures I've learned from previous projects along the way.
Podcast: adventureindustrypodcast.comGuest: adamelnaggar.com
TRAILER: Conversations with entrepreneurs who have built profitable businesses around adventure activities
Hi there, and welcome to The Business of Adventure Podcast; conversations with entrepreneurs who have built profitable businesses around their passion for adventure activities. In each episode we hear their stories, the challenges they have faced along the way, and take away insights to help you start, grow, and manage your business in the outdoor industry.
I'm your host Adam El, and I own and run a surf & paddleboard school in the North East of Scotland. I am starting this podcast as a resource for folks in my position - running a business can be difficult by yourself so it's great to have the opportunity to talk to and learn from others in the same boat. I've found other podcasts hugely useful in helping me grow my own business and giving me a sense of community with others in the same position, and so I hope that this show can help others in the same way!
Why listen to The Business of Adventure?
As is common in our industry, I have worked for quite a few different activity centres and schools over the years before starting out on my own, and something I've noticed is that sometimes folks have this idea that being passionate about the outdoors and adventure is somehow at odds with being a good businessperson. You know the stereotype of the soul surfer, doesn't care about money or anything beyond getting good surf and living the good life. People like that exist, but I don't think that kind of 'purity' of mindset is very conducive to growing a business at scale. So, my point is that you can be both!
Most folks do get into the industry out of passion for whatever activity they are offering, climbing, biking, surfing you name it and the business skills and knowledge tend to come second. I hope this podcast will help bridge that gap with relevant information to help you build and run a business in this industry.
It's a podcast specifically about running a business in the adventure activity industry - I talk to relevant people who are actually running successful businesses in the industry so I (and by proxy you) can learn from their experience.
I aim to get an interview out every couple of weeks, so if you're interested in following along - please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts or visit the website at adventureindustrypodcast.com
Check out the first episode for a bit of a backstory about me and how I came to start my watersports activity business! Cheers, I'll see you in the first episode 🤙