Breaking Free from the Office: Working Outdoors

When we are considering a future career, an important consideration is the type of work environment that you feel comfortable in. When we think of a place of work, we might immediately picture an office with a desk, phone and computer, but there are many other options.

Some people thrive in the high paced pressure of a restaurant kitchen or A&E ward, others prefer getting their hands dirty in a practical trade profession and there are some who simply want to work outside. Whilst we might all be tempted to leave the office on a warm, sunny day, outdoor professions need to be out in all conditions and at all times of year.

If the thought of working through the coldest and hottest days of the year, along with regularly getting soaked and muddy doesn’t put you off, then there are an extensive range of outdoor careers that you can pursue. Farming has to be one of the oldest outdoor professions. Many young farmers have lived and worked on family farms since they were born, but there are agricultural courses for people who don’t have farming in their blood.

Outdoor education, horticulture, environmental conservation, archaeology, roofing and surveying are just a few other examples of jobs that demand a high percentage of time is spent outdoors. There are also many seasonal jobs such as ski instructor, campsite courier and walking tour guide which provide work during specific tourist seasons.

Starting an Outdoor Business

If you have completed your training, gained some valuable experience and spotted an opportunity, it could be time to consider setting up your own business. Many outdoor trades serve a geographically local market, so it is possible to identify gaps in the market that could lead to a viable business opportunity.

Gardening services are a clear example. There are around 22 million domestic gardens in the UK and the owners are keen to keep them looking good. Many people enjoy gardening as a relaxing hobby, yet the majority of home owners simply don’t have the time or inclination to design, prepare and maintain their outdoor space. Having said this, they want it to look great for summer barbeques, playing with the children or simply relaxing on a warm evening.

This means that many people are looking for local people, with horticultural experience and qualifications, who can assist. From simply mowing the lawns and keeping the beds weeded, through to a full redesign, hard landscaping and planting schemes, gardening is a popular outdoor business.

In addition to wanting a relaxing place to unwind and socialise, there has also been a return to the ‘grow your own’ philosophy in recent years, with more people using part of their garden to produce fruit and vegetables. Again, this takes time and effort, but some regular support can help to get the results everyone is looking for.

The challenge with running an outdoor business is that the paperwork, marketing and finances still need to be done. If you are starting your own business knowing the ‘office work’ isn’t your forte, what options are there to ensure that the company invoices are sent, promotional materials are sent, customers are contacted and appointments are booked?

If you don’t want to do it yourself, the options are to outsource this work to a virtual assistant or pay someone with admin experience to undertake this work for you. You may still need the assistance of a business coach to ensure that you are clear about everything that needs to be done, so you can provide the right instructions to others.

Another option is to buy into a franchise. This is likely to incur a higher initial investment, but there are many benefits to this approach. In addition to taking on a known brand, which others already recommend and trust, you benefit from tried and tested methods of working and considerable support and training.

A franchise owner can assist by packages that make it straight forward to manage your finances, a website and other marketing tools, such as franchise email marketing provided by LeadsFlow, to help raise the profile of your company in the local area. A franchise can make your business look professional from the outset and free up considerable set up time, so you can focus on the practical work.

If you are interested in an outdoor based franchise, some possibilities include Tender Lawn Care, Diamond Landscaping, Helmsley Gardening, Colour Fence and Dig It. Could one of these be your route to running your own outdoor business?