Going Global: Natalia Komis

What does your company do?
iamadventures takes artists, entrepreneurs, and social innovators on creative adventures around the world. To be inspired, explore, learn and reach their personal potential through guided activities and through each other.

What products services does it provide?
Through guided creative activities, walking and collaboration within the group and communities that we visit, we help people to achieve their goals and find their truth. Using techniques from all different backgrounds and cultures we aim to grow each individuals human and personal potential so that in turn they can help others do the same.

Where did the idea for your business come from?
I’ve always been creative and interested in different cultures and people. When I was young, I lived in Greece where my grandparents, who were artists, used to take me out for long walks in the fields and amongst the olive groves to find something that would inspire us to paint. When I started my first business, iamsociable, I was offering guidance support and it occurred to me that people felt more comfortable talking whilst walking. Allowing their thoughts to move with them and their subconscious to shine through. Shortly after I walked the Camino de Santiago on my own I realised that I need to combine this thirst for inspiration and adventure with walking and personal development.

When did you start up, and what support were you given?
I started thinking about iamadventures only 3 months after I started iamsociable and began working on the idea whilst part of the School for Creative Startups (founded by Dragons Den Doug Richard). I made my own website, social media accounts and some videos and up it went in January 2014. The first adventure was in May and was the Camino Adventure – I thought it fitting as this is the walk that inspired me and that I had only completed just 9 months prior to it.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Finishing the Camino pilgrimage on my own even though I sprained my ankle in the first two hours! But also and perhaps one of the main achievements has been getting started and believing in myself and allowing for things to simply happen. I’ve met some amazing people along the way too and I couldn’t have done it without them.

What are you looking to achieve from the Go Global mission?
I decided to take this trip to New York because one of the main beliefs behind iamadventures is the idea of the human potential movement – which has been growing in the US at a larger scale than the UK – this I want to explore, as it could mean a more targeted audience in the US for iamadventures and what better way to explore it than to meet new people who live there and who want to live there.

The ethos behind iamadventures and their trips that include walking the Camino de Santiago and collaborating with entrepreneurs in Nepal has been inspired and is continuously driven by the belief that those who begin to unleash their assumed human potential often find themselves directing their actions within society towards assisting others to release theirs.

When I first spotted the opportunity to go on this mission one of the main deciding factors for me was the people that Enterprise Nation had secured to speak to us. In particular I was keen to hear what Etsy, Judith Clegg and Heidi Messer had to say about their own stories and what advice they had for us, as this is where I felt I had particular interests, but also and perhaps more importantly to form connections with them.

One of the most important things for me is to in fact forge real relationships with other human beings and I believe that this can only ever truly be done in person. So whether it’s networking, meeting or collaborating with the people I meet in New York or with the entrepreneurs, like me, who come along on this mission, I think having a new network of individuals to call upon will be the most valuable achievement for this particular mission. Particularly because the main purpose for me at the moment is to talk about my own mission and to spread the word and values that myself and iamadventures share.

Which countries would you most like to export to, do you see any hurdles ahead?
I would love to do the adventures in Chile, India, South Africa, Canada and the US. I would also like to connect more with the US and Canadian market, as I’ve already explained there’s a large demographic here that are interested in personal development and doing something meaningful. I think that the main hurdles will be in the logistics of getting things done on time and trusting that they will be carried out properly and to plan. One of the factors for iamadventures that could cause errors and affect time management could be language barriers and cultural differences.

What advice would you give to businesses looking to go global?
Make sure to do your research, find people that can support you both at home and in the countries you want to export to. Make contact with UKTI who can offer great advice and put you in touch with people on the ground. But most importantly don’t be afraid to do it. As you might find that you love what you’re doing even more and like Judith Clegg, end up staying in the country you’ve decided to do business in.