Paragliding in BC

Paragliding in BC

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Autumn Hike and Fly

Looking back, it's probably been at least 4 or 5 years since I've done a hike and fly off Elk Mountain.  It's something I would plan on doing each year but I'd always let other things get in the way. It's kind of ridiculous since the trail head is only a 10 minute drive from my house.

So when Kevin texted me to meet him at the landing field, I immediately went through my paragliding kit and got rid of anything extra I didn't want to hike up the mountain with me, filled up my water bottle and ran out the door.

The hike up is a little shorter than in years past thanks to a new logging road, but it still took an hour and a half for this non-hiker.  Kevin usually does it in about an hour so I have a goal to work towards! The hike is beautiful but steep, with sections of nice, rolling paths and then steep switchbacks.  I was sure grateful to Kevin for lending me his spare hiking harness & reserve, plus bringing along some extra hiking poles.

Last of the steep section before a nice stroll along the ridge to the launch meadow.

There was barely any wind, so we set up side by side to power off with forward launches into the glassy smooth air.

Ready to launch

My favourite thing ever - running off a mountain!

Twenty-five minutes later we were back at my beloved Toyota FJ.  I drove Kevin back to the trailhead to get his truck and was back home in 15 minutes.  With rain in the forecast every day for the rest of the month I'm stoked that we got to sneak this flight in!

My view of Kevin coming in to land.

Kevin's POV of someone a little bit excited about this hike and fly.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Small Business Month

I'm one of the lucky ones who gets to do what I love and also get paid for it.  Paragliding has been my only job since I went full-time in June which means as bizarre as it feels I'm officially an entrepreneur and small business owner.

And since October is now Small Business Month (read on to find out how I was one of the first to hear that news!) I wanted to share some of my stories as to how I have been growing my business as a paragliding instructor and tandem pilot.

As the cooler weather moves in, my focus is slowly switching from flying tandems off mountain tops to "inside" work (marketing, catching up on paperwork, etc).  I've been fortunate over the flying season to bring in a lot of business through word-of-mouth referrals.   People also began contacting me who had found Jet Set Paragliding through online searches.  That made me realize that there was a lot more to being an entrepreneur than hanging a virtual "open for business" sign up on Facebook.

So I decided to start running my business as a business and soon found a cool event put on by the Vancouver Board of Trade and Small Business BC.  I grabbed my friend Zoe who had recently started her own event planning business and we drove into the city on Monday for a night of schmoozing and swag bags.

Besides all the free resources and gifts (thanks Telus for the portable usb charger for my iPhone - how cool is that!) we were lucky enough to attend a panel discussion where successful small business owners from BC dispensed helpful advice and answered questions.  Before the panel spoke, the Minster of Tourism and Small Business read a very official sounding decree (complete with references to the Queen and terms like "therefore" and "let it be known that") which announced that October was officially Small Business Month.  That means more seminars, events and resources becoming available for those of us crazy enough to want to run our own businesses!

Free phone charger, advice and red wine…what more do you need as a business owner?

What did I get out of it...besides the aforementioned swag?  Inspiration (which makes sense since the event was titled "Inspire") and also validation that what I want to accomplish is completely possible.  I heard other stories that night of "niche" businesses that become successful and they made me realize…if someone else can do it then so can I!