We are all just one step, moment, or decision from coming up with a game changing business idea.
For Christian McLeod is was a question: “How can I improve what already exists?”
To find out more behind how Ansel got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Ansel founder, Christian McLeod
More about the episode...
Josh sits down with Ansel founder Christian McLeod. Christian’s journey towards starting a horizontal growth company, Ansel was by no means linear. Starting as a photographer, Christian was able to go on a great deal of adventures and journeys before the idea of Ansel would come anywhere near his radar. It wasn’t until he had his gear stolen that he would begin his journey to starting his own company and developing a brand. In this week's episode, Christian sits down and shares with us how a simple gofundme project became the spark that would plunge him into building Ansel and how his amazing outlook on work/life balance has kept him smiling the entire time.
Have an opinion? We want to hear it! Join the conversation and leave a comment, check out show notes, and get all the links mentioned in this episode below
- Find out more about Ansel
- Check out Christian’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and follow him on his journey
- Iceland through the lens of Christian McLeod
- The Gofundme that helped started Ansel
What is Ansel all about?
“Ansel is a unique company in the sense that it doesn’t just strictly focus on a vertical growth… Expansion ties in multiple facets of your company whether it’s sales and partnerships, brand and product develop…”
How did you get into this kind of work?
“I actually worked as a photographer and I’ve been doing that for five or six years. I did some expeditions, gone through so many countrie...I got to Alaska and all my camera gear got stolen...I launched a gofundme that my friend set up and it just exploded in Alaska and I ended up making enough money to get my gear back…While I was funding I was hitting up the companies I was working for and I said ‘can I work with you guys, you know, do something like social?’ and they said ‘no’...”
What is your background?
“I was born in Montana and raised in Ireland since I was seven...It was fun getting used to that and shifting in and adapting over time. When I went to college, I did engineering and I loved fixing issues and designing and inventing things…When I started doing that I started building websites...Ultimately I just obsessed...”
Did you have a lot of experience by the time you approached your first company?
“I did and I didn’t at the same time. I’ve always been taught when you’re wanting to get into something and you're passionate about it, what you do when you’re offered to do something you say yes and then figure it out and fill in the blanks afterwards…”
What are some of the things that you did for these companies that really helped them boost sales?
“The company would come to me and a lot of them were companies that I knew and connected with on a lifestyle level so I was able to push my partnerships and leverage relationships...but then also basic fondation stuff…”
What made you decide to focus on brands that giveback?
“It was actually a pretty easy decision. I live a considerably healthy life and conscious life...I try to waste as little as possible and that’s something that I hold close to my life...If I work with a company and I can increase their sales or production or impact, whether it’s their sales or brand awareness greatly, then I am helping them reduce a lot of their waste…”
What does an average day look like for you?
“I still do photography, I mainly focus on ocean adventure and lifestyle. On the other aspect of that I have started getting more into film, directing, and creative directing. That has always been an interested of mine and something I’ve had a passion for...I generally don’t make crazy plans, I try to keep things semi free and moving around…”
What was the hardest part in building your brand and business?
“I would say the hardest part is staying focus on feeling powerful and making sure that I make educated decisions and base a lot of that on intuition. That has been hard, for a lot of people it’s not natural to make business decisions based on intuition…The hardest part business-wise has been scaling. The skillset that I’ve garnered over the years has been difficult to teach…”
What are some of your greatest fears?
I would say about nine months ago my fears would have been finding a job, getting my website up and running, organizing content...I think those are my biggest fears and I can’t say I have any fears right now…”
What advice would you give someone that wanted to start a business in the outdoor industry?
“If it’s any business, I’d say write down why you’re starting it and really figure out what the purpose of that is. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make money...I would just take into consideration your time versus your money. How much money you earn is based on the time that you’re spending and you cannot get that time back…”
Where do you see yourself headed in the future?
“I honestly haven’t thought too much about it. I know some things that I would like to achieve, I’m not exactly sure how they’re going to be achieved but they will be…”
What would you say is the best part about running a business?
“I get to enjoy my life. I get to take almost anytime off that I want to take off, whether it’s to go climbing, taking a walk, or going surfing...Realistically I have quite a lot of freedom and I get tons of reward knowing that I’m making some sort of difference…”