Guidehire is a online marketplace that connects outdoor guides with potential customers: think AirBnb or Open Table for adventure travel. They introduced us to Army veteran Ben Rogers, who operates Chasing Tails Fly Fishing out of Hanover, PA (but guides all over the mid-Atlantic). Ben served as a weapons sergeant at Ft. Benning and Ft. Bragg during his 1998-2005 military career.
Ben described his transition to us and how he decided to start his own business. If Ben’s career sounds interesting to you, Guidehire founder James Hamilton gave us some background on how his company works.
Q&A with Ben:
1. Tell us about your service experience. When did you decide to transition out of the military?
My service experience was multifaceted. I did specialized training and had assignments that took me all over the world I have worked with military personnel from multiple countries and helped people from all walks of life. I have been to Iraq, Afghanistan and South America. I worked with multiple agencies to ensure the preservation of democracy both at home and abroad. I transitioned out of the military in2005. I had just finished a deployment.
2. Did you have a career in mind when you were leaving the military?
Not really. I just knew I wanted to do something different.
3. What was your search like?
I had a lot of opportunities with federal, state and local government agencies that are always looking for vets with specific training. I, however, wanted to try something different. I believe a lot of us veterans have a knack for self-employment. I believe this is due to our leadership skills and ability to adapt and handle a variety of situations as well as our affinity for being self-reliant. So I partnered up with my cousin and uncle, and started a food truck. This was a refreshing change of pace after my years of active duty. I was always a fisherman. I think that fishing was a therapeutic tool for me as much as it was a good time. I realized that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I started working in fly shops and shortly after that, I was guiding and managing an outfitter. I was setting the stage to own and operate my own guide service. There is no greater joy than owning your own business.
4. How did you connect with Guidehire?
I found Guidehire online as I was starting my own guide service. The site was well put together and when I contacted them to join , they were more than helpful in assisting me with building my profile. They are organic and are passionate about networking clients seeking services to the guides and outfitters they work with.
5. How do the skills you acquired in the military connect to your current job?
I work with groups of people out in nature and an ever-changing environment. I have to be alert and properly educated and aware of the variables that, if not prepared for, could turn a great day into a real pisser . I work with groups of clients and other guides. My ability to work as a team and relay tasks in a clear and concise way is important, whether it’s planning a campsite riverside or helping the client with technique. Most day it’s about having a good time while also learning something new in the process .
Q&A with James:
1. How does Guidehire work?
GuideHire is an online marketplace that connects outdoor guides and outfitters with new clients. The best analogies for our platform areOpenTable and AirBnB. Ultimately, we help consumers find the right guide or instructor, while helping independent guides, outfitters, and instructors reach new clients.
2. How does someone get started working with/for Guidehire?
It’s super easy to sign up as a guide on GuideHire – just go to www.guidehire.co/guides/sign_up to start the process. From there prospective guides are asked a number of questions and prompted to upload some images and further information on their business. Once they have completed the sign up process, someone from our team reviews their profile and if everything looks good and up to regulation we push the page live, exposing their business to thousands of prospective clients.
3. What’s your mission?
At GuideHire our mission is to help the world fall in love with and explore the outdoors by empowering some of the most passionate small business owners there are, outdoor guides & outfitters.
4. Are there any specific skills you feel that veterans bring to the work you company does?
Leadership. Leadership is key in guiding, and we believe that the military does a top notch job in nurturing true leaders.