What It's About
An outdoor educator discovers a profitable side hustle helping others find adventure.
Words of Wisdom
Nelson said that he had so much help from his circle of friends when it came down to renting gear at a low-cost—his friends were more than happy to supply him with any extra gear that he needed instead of having to purchase everything up front. He believed that people are your most important resource and that you should never burn a bridge—even with those that you disagree with because you never know when they might be able to help you further down the road.
When we asked Nelson what his most popular local program is he said that his “Astro-Kayaking” (or night kayaking) package is always a huge hit with groups—so much so in fact that he’s currently looking for sponsorship that would help him secure a larger number of kayaks. Despite the many places offering kayak rentals in the Long Beach area, Nelson found that absolutely nobody was willing to rent kayaks at night. So he decided to do it himself, and he’s had many people join him on his star-studded nightly outings.
Notes from Chris
Since he was a child, Nelson Prieto has had an appetite for adventure and new experiences (sometimes to the delight or dismay of his parents). Born in Colombia, his parents immigrated to Long Beach, California when he was a child. And home it remained—no matter where else he went over the years, Long Beach always ended up drawing him back in. He just loved everything about the area—the proximity to the water, how you could escape to the mountains with a short trip outside of town—and the weather is temperate year-round, making it ideal for all different kinds of outdoor activities. As he got older, Nelson realized that while there were so many different opportunities for people to experience some of the awesome things that Long Beach had to offer, many of them were usually held back for a number of reasons. Either they didn’t have access to the (sometimes expensive) gear required to do some activities, the resources, or the knowledge to enjoy them safely. Being a lover of the outdoors and adventures, this seemed like such a pity—not to mention a missed opportunity. While it sounded like it might be a major undertaking with lots of moving pieces, he couldn’t help but think that someone should somehow create a business that made it easier for them to do this. Nelson’s friends called him “most likely to survive in the wild with just a knife and a tarp,” and they encouraged him to start a service business that catered to this need. After all, who knew more about the outdoors than he did? Nelson made a list of all of the different kinds of adventures that he would put together for someone who was new to the area. He already had a habit of purchasing gear in pairs so that he’d be able to take a friend with him. As a result, he had some lightly used excess gear hanging around—kayaks and paddles, snorkeling and mountain climbing gear, hiking and backpacking equipment—but he knew that if he was really going to do this properly, he needed to have access to so much more. And this is when a little help came in from his friends. Nelson said that he had so much help from his circle of friends when it came down to renting gear at a low-cost—his friends were more than happy to supply him with any extra gear that he needed instead of having to purchase everything up front. One year later, Up and Running Racing + Adventures (URRAdventures for short) has helped so many people experience everything from backpacking in the Grand Canyon to ice climbing trips in Illinois. And it's also brought him in an extra $50,000. In a place that is as expensive to live in as the Long Beach/LA area where you have to be making at least $25/hour to be able to work one job, URRAdventures completely pays his bills and gives him the freedom to take on new projects. Prior to launching this, Nelson had to maintain three different jobs in order to keep his head above the water, and this side hustle has given him a chance to be completely self-sufficient. The irony is that with this new side hustle, he no longer has to hustle quite as much as had to before, and it gives this great outdoorsman an opportunity to see the forest for the trees.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Up and Running Racing + Adventures: If you'd like to have an adventure of your own, check out Nelson's website!
- Food and Travel Writer Creates Food Tours in Marrakech, Earns $60k Annually: In the North African city of Marrakech, an American expat starts a project that she hopes will earn $200/month in spending money. It ends up earning more than $5,000 a month
- Florida Man Leads Scooter Tours After Watching Macklemore Video: Had a broken keyboard, bought a broken keyboard: this corporate refugee relocates to Florida and kicks off a new hustle leading adult scooter tours
- Corporate Employee Starts Relay Series, Quits Job to Produce Races Full-Time: A runner decides to create his own relay race, and then a marathon. Three years later he works full-time on producing 5 annual races
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