On May 23, 2008, Ian Taylor became the youngest Irishman to stand on the top of the world. In June 2007 a friend of his and Ian set out to climb four mountains on four continents in one year with Mount Everest being the final climb. They also took on a charity element, raising $100,000 to build the Mount Everest primary school in Uganda with charity Fields of Life.
Since then Ian has developed a multi-million dollar business from scratch and managed turn around business projects. He’s also a business consultant and charity Ambassador. With over twenty years of experience Ian has climbed Mount Everest to the top, Kilimanjaro 40+ times and led over 150 treks and expeditions around the world. Ian is the president of the US board of directors for the charity Fields of Life helping raise awareness of the Mount Everest school and all Fields of Life’s activities. Their new goal is to raise 2 million to bring clean water to East Africa.
He’s currently the founder of Ian Taylor Trekking
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Table of Contents
Let’s learn a little about you and really get to experience what makes us tick – starting at our beginnings. Where did your story begin?
Ian Taylor: I was 8 years old looking up at a 2,000 foot hill in Ireland where I grew up. It looked massive, definitely too big for me to climb. I remember walking back to the car thinking I needed to go up there and see what’s on top and wondering what I would see up there. Two years later I returned and with a lot of effort I got to the top. This really sparked an interest in adventure and the outdoors. After many adventures in my teenage years I had to focus more on academics.
I stumbled across the final line in University always looking for adventure. I decided to take a year off and travel around the world to explore, learn and evolve. On my travels I came up with the idea of starting an International travel company.
In 2003 I went back home broke and realized it was time to get a job. I worked for a number of companies learning new skills, and developing ideas for the future. I got stuck and afraid to step out and make the change. In 2005 I was in Peru where the idea of climbing Mount Everest came about. I came home inspired to take on the challenge. I had no idea where to start but started a business plan and started writing down all the things I thought I needed to know and do.
3 years later at 29 I stood on the summit of Mount Everest. After climbing Everest I knew I needed to set up a trekking company. I had seen a lot of poor operators on my travels and knew I could do better. I came back in depth but motivated to get things moving. It took me 4 more years to get things up and running and a few years later we were turning 1 million and a few years later 2 million.
There is always more to learn and the journey continues.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Ian Taylor: In 2006 as I prepared to Climb Everest an email came through from a guy Andrew Atwell in Wisconsin. He had seen our website and was motivated to reach out. He was setting up a non-profit and keen to raise $10,000 for our school project in Uganda and I said I would bring their logo to the top of Everest. Well I came good with my side of the bargain. Andrew never came up with the $10,000.
In 2012 Andrew reached out again looking to showcase the charity I work with, Fields of Life and he wanted to climb Kilimanjaro with a group and film the journey. In February 2013 we met in Uganda for the first time. We filmed at the Mount Everest school in Uganda before flying to Tanzania. Andrew filmed and produced some amazing high quality video on our Kilimanjaro trips.
We became good friends. In 2014 he came to Nepal to film our Everest Base Camp and Island Peak climb. He came to Bolivia and Peru and filmed our trips on the Inca trail and beyond. We traveled to Norway and Svalbard skiing and we have climbed on Rainier and had many other adventures together.
Andrew’s marketing and film work transformed how we presented our trekking company and has given us far more than his original promise. He has given us so much and I am truly grateful for his generosity and friendship.
New projects are in the works.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. What’s the worst advice you received?
Ian Taylor: The worst advice I was given was: Don’t focus on the internet, focus on traditional sales funnels. A few people a lot other than me gave this advice when it came to sales and marketing.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Ian Taylor: To me resilience is about being versatile and flexible. This means planning ahead and keeping overheads to a minimum and never over stretching yourself.
What is most important to your organization—mission, vision or values?
Ian Taylor: All of these are important. Vision drives activity. Mission motivates us to deliver our best. Without core values we are not focused on our vision and mission.
Having values helps you focus on the core business and not be distracted by ideas that are not aligned with these values.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Ian Taylor: Be a good listener, be honest and be accountable.
Being a CEO of the company, do you think that your personal brand reflects your company’s values?
Ian Taylor: Absolutely, it is important to inject your personal brand in everything you do. Clear defined goals helps others understand each other’s roles in delivery.
How would you define “leadership”?
Ian Taylor: Leadership is about empowering others with the knowledge and information so they can exceed expectations.
What advice would you give to our younger readers that want to become entrepreneurs?
Ian Taylor: Never be afraid to step out and live out your ideas. Start a business plan early. Become a niche in your market space. Become an expert in your field.
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Ian Taylor: “Todays actions brings tomorrow success.”
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