While the definition of adventure is to engage in a dangerous or risky activity, entrepreneurs are defined as individuals with an appetite for risk. Venture capital after all, reminds us of the inbuilt risk in nascent companies, who hope to be revolutionary, disruptive and game changing. The start-ups that reach this level of success do so against all odds. The road to becoming a Facebook or Amazon sized company, is littered with the bodies of failed start-ups.
Through the journey of building a business, an entrepreneur experiences all of the key themes of adventure: vision, fear, setbacks, risk and hopefully, reward. In not only their careers, but also their downtime, entrepreneurs typically seek experiences that take them to their limits.
Andreas Jaegle, Founder and CEO of Everdine was aware of the risk-reward ratio when he left the safety of his corporate career to start a venture. Having graduated from Harvard Business School, unlike many of his classmates who chose careers in finance and consulting, Jaegle decided to take a more uncertain path: launching a start-up.
He saw a gap in the market to flash-freeze nutritious meals and have them delivered to people’s offices and homes. Although Deliveroo and other restaurant delivery services were growing rapidly, they didn't address the consumer pain points of providing nutritional transparency while eliminating high prices.
By taking the leap from a corporate career into venture, there were definite trade offs. While he felt passionate about the mission of his start-up, Jaegle still had to deal with the uncertainty of whether consumers would bite, and ultimately whether the business would be successful. One year later, and 100,000 meals delivered, it very much seems Everdine and Jaegle have proven out the risk was worth it.
His advice for others thinking of following their dreams?
“Waking up every day to work on your passion is worth the uncertainty and fear you may fail,” he says.
“What makes entrepreneurship so exciting is the lack of predictability. Those moments are exactly when you feel truly challenged, and when you're abilities and your resolve are put to the test."
Given the appetite for risk in the entrepreneurial community, it's no surprise that in their downtime entrepreneurs still crave adventure and activities that push them out of their comfort zone. Burning Man, a festival taking place in the Nevada Desert each September is the best known 'adventure retreat' for entrepreneurs and creatives, and yet also only the tip of the iceberg.
Companies like Primal Source recognise the strong link between entrepreneurs and adventure, and lead a desert crossing through Northern Brazil, attracting executives from Snapchat, along with artists and early stage entrepreneurs. While walking barefoot through the desert for up to eight hours a day, the recurring theme is exploring your physical and mental barriers, and learning how to push past self-limiting beliefs. Playing small may be safe, but it means ultimately you settle for a smaller life than you are capable of creating.
It seems that the personality types of entrepreneurs extend to seeking adventure throughout their lives, not just in their work. Perhaps we can all seek more adventure in our lives by reminding ourselves: “A ship in harbour is safe, but that's not what ships are built for.”