How many people in the climbing industry can say they got started climbing at an early age? Either by attending a birthday party, or getting sent on a camping trip to shape up bad behavior, or some other way that teens find themselves in the woods or at a climbing facility, so many climbers will tell you they started young. So will my amazing guest today, Chris Warner.
Chris Warner is one of the most prolific entrepreneurs in the outdoor active lifestyle markets. He’s the owner of Earth Treks, a collection of climbing gyms in North America, a sponsored athlete, an entrepreneur, a leadership educator and a kickass motivational speaker.
On this week’s Intrepid Entrepreneur Podcast, Chris is talking with me about how he, a “terrible kid” got into climbing at the age of 15, and how this led him to start his own business.
Chris was leading climbing trips when he got stuck in a snowstorm with a big client. When they ran out of books to read, Chris and his client started talking about the gym he dreamed of owning one day. By the end of the storm they had a preliminary business plan worked out on a piece of toilet paper. When they got back, Chris got to work.
Today, Earth Treks is preparing to open their 5th facility and has over 300 employees. Chris is talking with me about how a business so large can stay entrepreneurial, and his secret is surprising: It’s not about him! It’s about hiring employees who are passionate about the company’s core values, and about climbing.
Chris is telling me more about getting started in climbing, keeping employees motivated, taking the skills he learned climbing to the professional industries, and changes in the climbing industry in this episode. He’s truly a one of a kind, doing some amazing work.
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Earth Treks: EarthTreksClimbing.com
Speaking Website: http://ChrisBWarner.com/
Book: High Altitude Leadership: http://HighAltitudeLeadership.com/
For those of us who love getting outside and biking, hiking, skiing, surfing—anything active under the sun—something we often take for granted is development.
But as outdoor markets have taken off in the past few years and more people have started spending their weekends in the natural environment, the conversation around outdoor use and real estate development is becoming increasingly important.
This is why I’m stoked to be talking with Johannes Ariens today on the Intrepid Entrepreneur Podcast.
Johannes’ Seattle based company, Radify Development, is a multifaceted business focused on outdoor development. Not only do they consult with development projects, but they are also a resource and a community building platform, focused on facilitating relationships and conversations in the outdoor market building industry.
As Johannes discusses in this episode, for developments aimed at the outdoor market (think: on snow lodges and surf camps to name a few), the environment is part of their product. They’re selling an experience. It’s in their best interest that the product—nature—is protected and well cared for.
Johannes is focused on eliminating the barriers that keep people from getting into the outdoors, whether it’s equipment or logistics or information. He believes that the more time people spend outside, the more concerned they become with taking care of it.
This tension between use and protection of the outdoors is a challenge Johannes is well aware of, and something his business focuses on: how to get more people outside, while still protecting the environment they left the city to experience.
In our conversation, he’s telling me about how Radify is handling this challenge in a new project to bring Washington’s first cold-water surfing venue to Westport, set to open next year. We’re also discussing how Radify is also taking advantage of the JOBS act and has recently launched an Investor’s Club.
You won’t want to miss this conversation with one of the most determined and hard-working individuals in the industry.
There are a lot of things to think about when you start a business. Location, markets, consumers, branding, budgeting, the list can be overwhelming. But what we’re talking about today on the Intrepid Entrepreneur Podcast is passion! Consumers can tell when you have it, and they most certainly can tell when you don’t.
Today, I have the honor to interview Dave Thibodeau, co-owner of a path-burning, stalwartly independent craft brewing company, Ska Brewing, which is located in my hometown of Durango Colorado.
Dave and one of his co-founders, Bill Graham, got into homebrewing as young adults and laid out their business plan on the back of a bar napkin.
When they went to the bank with their idea, no one was interested in funding them. But hearing that no one believed their company could work only made Dave even more determined to be successful.
Twenty one years later, Ska Brewing Company is growing on its own terms, keeping creativity, independence and their vision crystal clear as they continue to knock down the success milestones.
What makes them so successful? Dave says it’s their authenticity. It’s something national companies can’t replicate, and consumers not only notice, but revere.
Back when Ska was founded, Dave says he had no specific consumer type in mind mostly because back then, there barely was a consumer type for craft beer! They just tried to appeal people who wanted to be a part of their story, and share in the experience. Little did he know that he was on to the success formula for any passion-driven entrepreneurial business. It just came naturally to them.
Let’s be honest. … Craft beer is an experience!
Ska does a masterful job offering the experience of creativity without rules or boundaries, and the experience of location - there’s a reason the company has dropped the clutch on its growth and reach right from its founding in Durango.
Ska’s all about being at the outdoor festival listening to music, doing epic outdoor endurance sports, sitting at the local brewery where your beer was made and surprising and delighting the customer with a true, creative craft experience.
On Monday, May 16, 2016 the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startup) Act went into effect in our country and the rules of investment and fundraising were altered forever.
What happened on that day changed everything. Meritocracy stepped into the entrepreneurial funding equation and people -- ordinary people — not just accredited investors, got the lane to invest in early stage companies.
This opportunity extends far beyond donating money to a single product. Instead, it’s investing with a stake and a return if the project does well over time.
I’m off the charts stoked to be talking about these exciting changes with Dylan Enright of Wefunder, an equity crowdfunding platform that launched on May 16th, just as this new form of crowdfunding was made legal.
The power of Wefunder and the new opportunity for equity crowdfunding is that they’re keeping alive the American Dream, making it possible for anyone with a great idea to get that idea to market. Banks and big time investors who used to be the gatekeepers of innovation are no longer the only way to fund a new company.
As Dylan says, “Even if you have the best idea in the world, it costs a little bit of capital to get it off the ground.” And this is what Wefunder is doing: helping early stage companies get investments from average people taking a risk on your idea because they believe in your story. If your company does well, so do these people who helped fund it. People can invest as little as $100!
The first step toward harnessing the power of the crowdfunding platform is to understand it. My hope is that Wefunder’s Dylan Enright can help bring clarity to your decision around gaining traction through securing creative capital.
If you know anyone with a dream project (or maybe you have one yourself) and are afraid to start, this conversation with Dylan is an incredible, and I hope, inspiring experience you won’t want to miss. Thanks for listening!
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Dylan’s email: Dylan@WeFunder.com