/ Outdoor work future planning?

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Explorer-Jason 23 Sep 2019

Hi guys so I am currently in the process of planning and working towards me working in the outdoor activity industry.

at the moment I have completed my ML training and plan the assessment in April next year. 

I am also volunteering for an outdoor activity centre and a outdoor charity helping young people who have been through illness or trauma. I am loving this and have been offered work next summer. 

My problem is it’s part time and if I get offered work at the activity centre that would be also freelance and so would work coming from mountain leading for companies. I just want to get some ideas on what people do like in winter mostly for work when you are juggling around with freelance and not a full time income. I want to freelance and not work for a singular company because I would like options in my work life for who I work for.

Ok novel over thank you if you made it this far. 

Post edited at 13:14
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jezb1 23 Sep 2019
In reply to Explorer-Jason:

Winter is the tough time hey?

I made the jump to full time freelance many years ago now when I got the opportunity to run part of an instructor training program that ran Nov - Feb, got lucky with contacts, and working super hard.

I also went and did my WML, to supplement my MCI work.

These days I work hard in the summer and go to Spain climbing for 2 or 3 months, much more civilised!

Other people have a variety of incomes, selling xmas trees, working in the Middle East and other warm places, ski seasons, Royal Mail etc.

Post edited at 13:14
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Explorer-Jason 23 Sep 2019
In reply to jezb1:

Thanks that gives me a few more ideas. I plan on leaving my full time job in may next year to go full time freelance so I am just trying to be best prepared and volunteer and work hard for the contacts now. 

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buxtoncoffeelover 23 Sep 2019
In reply to Explorer-Jason:

Get yourself somewhere warmer to work in winter, or do winter skills qualifications.

Could also look to do group leader work for adventure holiday firms 

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Dax H 23 Sep 2019
In reply to Explorer-Jason:

> I want to freelance and not work for a singular company because I would like options in my work life for who I work for.

Something to bear in mind, a lot of people have this idea that they can pick and chose their customers but the reality is until you have a big enough customer base you take what work you can get when you can get it.

On top of that the guy who turns up every time he is asked will always be asked first. 

Finally no matter how well things are going make sure you set aside a decent rainy day fund. I have always found the self employed world to be very much feast and famine and always tried to make sure I have a years operating money stashed away. Obviously it takes time to build a stash but it has stopped me going under once or twice. 

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summo 23 Sep 2019
In reply to Dax H:

> Finally no matter how well things are going make sure you set aside a decent rainy day fund. I have always found the self employed world to be very much feast and famine and always tried to make sure I have a years operating money stashed away. Obviously it takes time to build a stash but it has stopped me going under once or twice. 

Foot and mouth had a massive impact on the outdoor world in England and Wales. 

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girlymonkey 23 Sep 2019
In reply to Explorer-Jason:

I work as a freelance translator in the winter and much of my summer work is foreign language guiding. Get a language!

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Ben Sharp 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Explorer-Jason:

I have a full time job but having watched what a lot of instructors do in their winters I would say they split into two camps. Some work abroad, either continuing to teach (winter sports or opposite side of the globe for summer stuff) or get a challet type job and ski/MB/walk/climb etc. The pay is generally poorer but you get to build your skills, travel and cover your costs. Some stay home and combine an extended holiday with picking up work in supermarkets, construction, outdoors shops, pre-christmas royal mail temping etc. etc. until the season comes around again. Ironically the latter will leave you with more money in your pocket but the former will set you up better for a future in the outdoors sector. The obvious question is where do you want your outdoors career to go and then where can you place yourself to get the skills and experience that will help with that? That might be more volunteer work or it might be working in costa for 2 months to save up to go and do your RCI training. Depends what you need.

If you enjoy winter sports as well then it's a bit of a no-brainer, go and work somewhere you can develop your skills or plonk yourself in one of the many self proclaimed "outdoors capitals" we have and enjoy being at a stage in your career where you can live cheap and maximise your time in the outdoors (I'm making an assumption about your position in life/age there so could be wrong). Most outdoors instructors can only survive by being multi-disciplinary - mountain biking, paddle sports, canyoning etc. all have longish seasons and then obviously snow sports. The winter could be an opportunity to broaden out if you aren't already working towards quals in those areas.

You should be able to pick up paid work next summer (ML or not) but it will be slim pickings if you're set on only doing freelance work. You need experience to make it work and freelance is the slowest way to gain that. Have a look on IfOL or google outdoor adventure jobs and try and find something which gives you experience with groups and leading a wide range of different activities. Even better if it will help you collect a few more pieces of paper and puts money in your pocket. It's an industry which inherently allows a lot of moving around and working for different companies. Freelance is hard to make a living from even with 20 years experience and connections, it's not unheard of to come across experienced MIC's doing non-related or semi-related work to get by in quiet spells (i.e. ropes course construction, mini-bus driving, digger driving etc.). The only instructors I have come accross who freelance at the start of their career live at home with their mum and spend more time moaning about low pay and a lack of work than getting out and building their skills/connections up - the work just isn't there for them. The contacts you pick up and the soft skills you can gain from working ta centres and with different companies/groups are what will get you work in the future, more so than qualifications. There are an awful lot of ML holders out there to compete with.

Good luck, as the saying goes the pay's poor but the work's hard!

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Billhook 13 Oct 2019
In reply to Explorer-Jason:

You haven't mentioned marketing yourself as  a freelancer.  How are you going to publicise yourself and get known?.  This is vitally important.

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