Home » Culture » A Self Interview with Natalia Komis of iamsociable and iamadventures
A Self Interview with Natalia Komis of iamsociable and iamadventures
by Startacus Admin
We recently met Natalia Komis Founder of iamsociable and iamadventures at the School for Startups Makegood Festival in London.
Seeing our affinity with iamstartacus and our own 'iam' brand we thought it only right to find out from Natalia more about her business ventures, and a great place to start our mini series of features on some of the fab startups we met at the event. What made you start the business and how did you get started?
Not knowing what route to take after Art School, I ended up in Marketing whilst still trying to hold on to the art world through collaborations and being part of art collectives. Once I realised I couldn't juggle both I gave up with the corporate world & started freelancing as an arts producer. Still unhappy & knowing I wanted to start my own thing, I took the leap & launched iamsociableand lateriamadventures.
I've always known I've wanted to do something that I can call my own, I guess I just never knew what. I'd go from one idea to the next without pausing for air and clarity. Being a creative person I seem to come up with ideas easily, but find it difficult to follow them through.
I'd wanted to start my own business and had a general idea for it for a while. But nothing felt right, the timing, the idea itself and I guess I just didn't feel confident enough to go ahead with it. It came to a point when my relationship was over, I had to move house, I had no secure job and I suddenly had to reassess my situation. And I realised, that I had been running around for everyone else but secretly feeling resentful for it. I wanted to run around for myself! Make me happy and do something that I wanted to do!
After I left my corporate job I’d been travelling to art fairs and running events all over Europe and was the producer and PR manager for the British Section of the Kathmandu Arts Festival in Nepal, where I also ran master classes in arts marketing for the British Council. With this came a whole new outlook on life, an approach to do things that I actually cared about and wanted to do for myself. So, when the opportunity to reassess my situation did come along I was ready to take a risk and try something of my own. I’d been thinking about walking the Camino de Santiago for many years as a personal challenge, a place to let go and be free and allow space and time for new inspiration, so I planned for this whilst also setting up iamsociable.
iamsociable kicked off slowly but surely and grew with its clients. The main objective? To help creatives in business; help them find and create their dreams through creative marketing and guidance support. Whilst making the preparations for my trip to Spain to walk the Camino I realised that I should be combining my thirst for adventure, inspiration and social change with my guidance support and personal development and offer this combination of services to others. This is where the iamadventures was born. With no back up plan and no extra money I did just that and launched two start-ups in less than 9 months. Now, it has developed into taking artists, entrepreneurs and social innovators on creative adventures all over the world. Offering the chance to be inspired, explore, learn and be guided to reach their personal potential.”
Explain your businesses in a nice and simple way.
iamsociable helps individual creatives, or creative entrepreneurs with in business, with marketing, social media, new business and guidance support. We also work with larger companies on offering these in a creative way.
With iamadventures we take artists and creative entrepreneurs on creative adventures all over the world to ignite their creativity and help them develop their personal potential. We simply create the trips and open them up for people to apply to come along and be part of it, we have facilitators that are adventure mentors - who have specific skill sets that they can offer to the group.
What does your typical customer look like?
For iamsociable they may be a creative who wants to really start focusing on their practice and make a living from this (an artist, writer, musician, photographer etc) or they may be a creative start-up/company that needs that extra hand, that don't want to hire someone full time but need and want someone to take over certain tasks - the marketing, social media or even new business.
For iamadventures, it's slightly different – we aim it at artists, creative entrepreneurs and social innovators. That’s not to say you have to be a creative to be part f them, you simply someone who wants to explore their creative practice and get out in the world - away from their normal not so exciting every day lives and do something different to re-energise themselves and come back feeling more inspired and alive! Btw when we say creative, we mean it in the most general sense – creativity to us is a way of being and living not simply putting pen to paper and drawing for example.
What has been your biggest challenge in business so far and how have you overcome this?
Money and finding my target audience – I have to sit down every week and ask myself where they are hiding and literally put myself in their shoes so that I can find them! We did not get funding or borrow money, our moto – start small and grow naturally. We’ll see where that gets us to begin with anyway!
What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
Through meeting some amazing and inspiring people, both here in the UK and the rest of the world, I ended up being selected for the UKTI Entrepreneurs Festival, The School for Creative Startups Makegood Festival and being nominated for a Shorty Award and QuickBooks Awards. Meeting Doug Richard and Ken Banks and having them as my mentors has been a great help and achievement also for without them the business may not have got to where it is now.
What are your future plans for the business?
I’ve got so many great plans for the future – sometimes I get too overexcited about these and forget to focus on the now. iamsociable is just going to grow and grow it’s creative freelancers and become a business that truly is creatives helping other creatives succeed. Where as iamadventures, is going to expand to more countries and also help the new generation of creative and innovative social entrepreneurs flourish and help make a difference in the world.
What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
Make sure you know your audience – take the time to understand what it is they need or want and don’t be afraid to take a risk. Visualise what you want to happen, believe it and tell everyone about it.
What is the best way for people to contact you?
I love hearing from people, whether it’s because you have something you want to shout about, a story you want to share or questions and advice about your creative career or even travelling the world! You can connect with us on social media or simply email us. We also showcase creative talent on our iamsociable blog every week – so just let us know who you are and you might be showcased too. Startacus is an avid suppporter of the School for Creative Startups Programme, where you can learn how to start, run and grow a creative business in a jargon-free, relaxed way. They have helped snail farmers and chocolate makers, secret date clubs to crafters and makers!
School for Startups also offer seed funding in the form of Government backed Start Up Loans with a year of free round-the-clock support and mentoring in a community of other budding entrepreneurs. If you go on to apply for the Government backed Start Up Loans do tell School for Startups where you heard about them (aka Startacus) - every little help in spreading the word of Startacus helps too you know!