Gauging by the interest level our first adventrepreneur story generated a few weeks back, I'm willing to bet you'll also enjoy the incredible success story of California base adventrepreneur Cliff Hodges, who, in the span of a few short years, was able to take his new adventure startup company Adventure Out from his parents' basement to franchising level.
Take note to Cliff's insights and learn how he successful brought the work ethic and business model of an MIT Engineer to the field to build a successful model for outdoor adventure companies...
Name: Cliff Hodges
Company: Adventure Out
Location: Santa Cruz, California
1. Tell the readers a bit about yourself.
I am 33 years old and live in Santa Cruz, CA – where Adventure Out is based. We run programs all over California (and occasionally all over the US and internationally), but home and office are in Santa Cruz. I live on a beautiful 7 acres of Redwoods and Live Oaks in the Santa Cruz Mountains with my amazing girlfriend Morgan, and our two dogs, Zaffy (the Corgi) and Enzi (the Rhodesian Ridgeback). My greatest passions are wilderness survival and primitive skills, surfing, and rock climbing…oh hey, aren’t those 3 of Adventure Out’s activities? Yep – fancy that.
2. How did you get hooked on the outdoors?
Growing up in Santa Cruz, I was always a surfer and beach kid, and also loved hiking in the redwood forests of the SC Mountains. But I still attribute some of my true “first romances” with nature to the summer camp I used to attend, then worked at, in Sequoia National Forest. I spent most of my summers as a child and teenager amongst the giant sequoias – adventure and conservation were huge tenants of this camp. Obviously that has carried over in to my adult life.
3. Why did you start your own company?
I just didn’t want to get a “real” job… Just kidding – I started Adventure Out to share with people what I felt was important in this world. I’m a firm believer that you can talk to people about conservation until you are blue in the face, but if they don’t have any point of reference, any connection with the natural world, it just doesn’t mean anything. But, if you can teach people to fall back in love with nature, the conservation, the “eco-smarts”, will logically follow. People will seek that out. So in short, why did I start Adventure Out? To help people fall back in love with nature.
IN THE BEGINNING
4. What was it like in the beginning?
Pitifully slow. I lived at my parent’s house and ate a lot of Ramen Noodles. It was slow going for sure. I barely made enough to live, but I was committed to making every program amazing, every customer important, and I just never slept and never relented.