Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ideas, anyone?

© 2010 Joshua Stark

I'm trying to get a couple of ventures off the ground, one in particular.

A few years ago, I tried my hand at professionally guiding.  I ran a guide service for a few months, and though I did get a lot of interest, and a few clients, I couldn't get it going quickly enough, and had to get back into the 'real' world. 

Since then, I've only come to realize more clearly that I need to work more outdoors.  I love my current job, but it's only part-time (I'm currently one of those "underemployed"s you keep hearing about), and so I am left with somewhat of an opportunity to get a guide service going again.  Related to this service, I hope to offer some Twitter-feed on local outdoors goings-on, as well as try my hand at getting some outdoor articles published.  I'm nowhere near the professional talent of Chad Love or Holly Heyser, but I think I can find a niche posting about the local drama and beauty of our wild margins.  I'm looking to be the go-to guy for locals who want to know where and how they can catch a glimpse of river otters, or hear an owl.

What I would like from you all, dear reader(s?), is advice on what else I might be able to offer, both here at Lands on the Margin, and also in a potential new guide service.  Just remember, I'm a sucker, so any good ideas will obviously get you free trips (airfare, hotel, and food accommodations not included).

So send me your ideas and notions.  What would you like, information-wise, on our local outdoor scene?  What could you take away from knowing about our marginal lands?

I will also continue to post on some bigger issues that impact marginal lands here, as well as posting on Environmental Ethics and Agrarianista.


The Suburban Bushwacker said...

First up: Good Luck. You have a punter in me.

What I'd like to see - which I'm not sure is a business but is my idea of a good day out. Would be a Locavore Service - foraging in small groups and Hunting one-on-one.

Get to it - and be sure to let us know how you're getting on.

Chad Love said...

Josh, my very first paid writing gig was as the outdoors columnist for my local paper (a 50,000 circ daily)while I was in college. The pay was barely enough to keep me in spinnerbaits but it gave me clips that I used to get my next writing job and I just sort of went from there.

I know things have changed much since those pre-web days, but if you're wanting to break into writing I think your local papers are still a great way to do it.

It certainly can't hurt to call them up and ask.

As for your plans to find more outdoors-related work, I'm with SBW: I'll be pulling for you.

Honestly, the way freelancing and writing (real writing, not bull**** web writing) is going I've been thinking about the same thing. If I could find a viable non-writing career that kept me in some way around hunting and fishing (guiding, conservation PR, non-profit, etc) I think I'd jump on it and not look back. Maybe then I'd have the time to concentrate my freelance energies on the few markets that still buy stories not geared toward web galleries, page-views and SEO.

Josh said...

Both of these comments provide some serious morale-boosting. Thanks, guys!

SBW, I'll guess that a punter is a good thing in England, here it refers to the guy that kicks the ball to the opposing team on 4th down in American football (or as we like to call it, 'football'). I also think the locavore service concept may be a great, new way to sell hunting/fishing/tour guide services, and I will shamelessly steal that one. When I make my first million, I'll come visit.
: )

Chad, that's exactly what I'm going to try. I'm no trained writer, for darn sure (I'm trained in pedagogy, research & interpretation), but I think I can take enough criticism to handle the first five years or so. Thanks for still telling me it's a viable route, even after reading my stuff here!

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Here a punter is someone who is paying for entertainment, or someone who is making a bet.

Sex workers 'do punters' at the race track punters 'take a punt on a horse' but its use has spread way beyond those uses.

In Cockney rhyming slag they are 'hillmans' after the car called a 'hillman hunter'

On the locavore tip - have you seen what a chap called Jack Landers is doing in VA?

Keep at it

Josh said...

SBW, I love etymology! That was a great description, man; thanks.

Also, thanks for the link to check out. I'm seriously considering the concept.

Tovar Cerulli said...

Good luck with all this, Josh!

I think SBW is right about the locavore angle, broadly including anyone who didn't grow up hunting (or foraging) but wants to learn as an adult. There's growing interest in this, including some potential research efforts aimed, in part, at equipping wildlife agencies to develop better rapport with--and recruiting strategies for--this population.

Richard Mellott said...

Hi Josh,
I have a lot of ideas for you, and I would think that your ability to guide and instruct would be a very valuable service. I'm a special education teacher in Southern California, and I could help you develop a set of instructional videocasts that would be useful, as well as try to help you work on presentations by videoconferencing, classroom visitations, and Life Science lessons. Let's talk. Check out my classroom website (, then email me. I'm in Norcal for two weeks in July, we could meet to discuss some potential ideas. All this for a hike in the marginal lands.

Josh said...

Mr. Mellott, I will surely check out your website, and keep in touch. At the very least, we could do some fishing/foraging while you are up North.