Outdoor Recreation Guide - Entrepreneur/Self-Employed

"Being my own boss has always been my dream. I like the variety and the independence it provides. I care deeply about my work, choosing partners and clients who share my values and solving problems that challenge me. But being “choosy” about clients and projects means that I am not only an outdoor recreation guide, I am an entrepreneur and sales person. As my own boss, I schedule two months a year to travel. This takes discipline because if I am not bringing in business, no one is."

Salary Range:

Dependant on individual

The Tip

Education is lifelong and not limited to a classroom, so don’t just rush off to university or college because you think it is expected. The best decision I made was to take four years off after high school to work as a guide. It taught me what I needed to learn. When I went back to school, I went back with a purpose.

Priority Knowledge & Skills
Job-Specific
  • Specialized outdoor recreation certifications

  • Market analysis

  • Consumer insights

  • Financial analysis

  • Revenue generation

  • Sales & distribution management

  • Segmentation

  • Public relations

  • Promotions & sponsorship

Core Transferable

Be an expert at all core transferable skills:

  • Thinking skills

  • Communication skills

  • Organizational skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Technical literacy

Building Block Experiences
Education & Learning:
  • Bachelors of Business Administration –
    Co-op (marketing) with a minor in outdoor recreation

  • Certified level 1 ski instructor

  • Certified rafting guide

  • Certified adventure guide

  • Completed multiple courses in entrepreneurship at local college

 

"Since high school, I have had an insatiable thirst for learning. This thirst pushed me to take control of my own education and not get trapped in a traditional track. I knew I needed a university degree but I also knew that what would ultimately make me successful was blending classroom credentials with specialized sport & recreation certifications."

 

 

Employment Experiences:
  • Was rafting guide and ski instructor for four years after high school. Worked in both Canada and New Zealand.

  • Worked as an Outward Bound instructor during university. Hired as wilderness operations coordinator following graduation.

  • Started year-round guiding company three years ago. We focus on backcountry skiing and rafting trips.

 

"After high school, taking four years to travel and work as a guide taught me that rivers and mountains are my classroom. For this reason, I have never separated career from education. Instead, I simply look to roles where people will pay me to teach and learn. There is not one day on the river or in the mountains I don’t learn something new."

Community Experiences:
  • On the board of Outward Bound Canada. I chair the board’s committee for Women of Courage programming.

 

"Being a guide taught me key skills in building my network and always selling. This led me to first a role with Outward Bound and now a board position."

Contextual Experiences:
  • Experience in New Zealand after high school opened my eyes to the world

  • Take two months every fall to travel internationally. My bucket list of adventure travel experiences is a lifetime pursuit.

 

"International travel feeds my thirst for learning. It has made me humble and taught me to recognize how little we know and how much more we need to learn."

Relationships:
  • Had a mentor in high school who advised me to take time off before I went to university

  • My spouse has taken time from their career while children are in pre-school

 

"Taking time off after high school was a very hard sell to my family, but I trusted my mentor’s experience and judgment. My Mission Map isn’t for everyone because it can create personal and professional stress. Balance is difficult to locate as an entrepreneur but my spouse is my bedrock to push me back on course when I lose balance and perspective."