Adventure Uncovered

James Wight – Co-Founder

What’s your story?

I’ve always wanted to have my own company but with limited experience in my early working life, it was difficult to have the confidence to figure out exactly what the business would be.

After nearly 15 years (I’m good at procrastinating) holding down “proper jobs”, I grew tired of the corporate world and planned an exit strategy around 2015.

Adventure Uncovered was born out of this overwhelming feeling for a major change and the need for more purpose in my work, which saw the convergence of three main areas; a love for adventure and the outdoors, a newfound interest in environmental issues and sustainability, and an existing ‘career’ in marketing.

How is your company different?

Adventure Uncovered’s mission has pretty much been the same since day one. We influence social and environmental change through responsible adventure and want to inspire and motivate outdoor enthusiasts to take positive action towards the health of people and planet.

It’s still quite a niche area for a business to operate, yet our purpose and goals are quite broad and cover vast areas and issues!

We’re all about storytelling and work hard to identify and shift new narratives from the margins to the mainstream. We want to give a voice to those who are traditionally unheard and unseen through the Adventure Uncovered platform, online and at events.

What’s the hardest challenge you’ve had to overcome?

Our hardest challenge has always been commercial. We want to monetise all elements of the business to create a fully operating sustainable business. None of us has ever been a fulltime employee.

In 2018, we decided to park some of our own events as the revenue vs effort wasn’t working in our favour. Instead, we launched the Adventure Uncovered Film Festival which, looking at it from a profitability angle, has worked to a degree but there is a long way for us to go.

We’re now looking to sponsorship and other products that can provide more regular revenue into the business to help us grow quicker than the initial phase (2016-19).

What are you most proud of?

There are quite a few! Off the top of my head, I think taking the initial step of starting, getting everything off the ground and keeping the momentum going through ups and downs. Working with amazing, creative people in the company and externally too. Also, seeing wild ideas that were in my or the team’s heads come to fruition gives me an awesome feeling of accomplishment.

Is there a book, podcast, article or quote that’s inspired you recently?

I like Brene Brown’s work on courage, vulnerability and daring greatly, and her reference to Roosevelt’s ‘man in the arena’ quote. She says:

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.”

What role does adventure have in your life or work?

It plays a daily role. Whether that’s living adventures vicariously (75% of the time, unfortunately!) or making an effort to getting outside as much as I can. Being outside gives me clarity, keeps me mentally and physically fit and makes me smile and feel at home. Pretty simple really.

What’s next?

Expanding on our exciting new content strategy launched last year with help from This Way, which has been received really well since June (2020), and launching our UK cycle trips after merging with sustainable cycling company Brake the Cycle.

In a sentence or two, what advice do you have for other founders:

Be true to yourself and ask yourself if this is something you really want to do. If not, that’s OK. But, if it is, then you have to commit and always remember that if building a business from scratch was easy, then everyone would be doing it.