December 14, 2021

Curious about Jobs in the Outdoor Industry? Laurel King from outdoorindustryjobs.com gives up the deets. [EP 307]

Show Notes

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Rick Saez
Curious about Jobs in the Outdoor Industry? Laurel King from outdoorindustryjobs.com gives up the deets. [EP 307]
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Laurel King is here with me today and we have a wide-ranging conversation about her Outdoor Industry Jobs dot com. A job posting service for companies that manufacture and distribute products or provide services that support the outdoor product industry.

Curious about Jobs in the Outdoor Industry?

Laurel King from outdoorindustryjobs.com gives up the deets.

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Show Notes

OutdoorIndustryJobs.com

L.L. Bean Pathfinder Lighted Beanie

 

How were you introduced to the outdoors?

While growing up outside of Sequoia National Park, Laurel always liked participating in physical activity and recreating outdoors. She developed a love for winter sports early on, skiing local hills with tow ropes and larger resorts in Tahoe. After competing on her high school’s swimming and tennis teams, Laurel competed at the collegiate level as a member of the UC Davis tennis team. Currently residing in Lake Tahoe, Laurel gets outside and enjoys being active any chance she gets. 

 

How did you get your start working in the outdoor industry?

Laurel has worked in the outdoor industry in a variety of capacities, including running bicycle tours to fundraise for the American Lung Association. “I just kind of gravitated to being outside and helping people,” she says about working in the outdoor industry for a living, “because that was my passion.” 

She combined her love of the outdoors with her business skills to begin her current venture, outdoorindustryjobs.com, which she runs as a team of one. 

 

Where does your entrepreneurial spirit come from?

Laurel never really wanted to work for a large corporation, saying “I’m a rather independent person,” “I just kind of fumbled along and had to trust myself.” Her advice to entrepreneurs is: “You have to get that, and have that intuition, and that trust in your gut.”

 

What inspired OutdoorIndustryJobs.com?

After starting a couple of businesses that weren’t working out in the way she had hoped, Laurel scrambled to find a way to use all of her skills. While at a trade show, an independent rep she was working with expressed disappointment about the lack of job boards for people in his line of work, which inspired her to create one. She collaborated with programmers and designers she knew from previous projects to create outdoorindustryjobs.com and began organically marketing through word of mouth and other pre-social media strategies. 

“We make all the great products so that you have a fun time and a safe time and a more enjoyable experience. But it’s that experience that drives the bus.”

What have been the biggest challenges over the years?

Laurel admits that although there is no shortage of jobs right now, the site has experienced stretches of time where there were fewer than 10 jobs featured. Despite the lack of demand in the past, the job board is thriving these days. 

Another challenge has been the changes in technology throughout the 16 years that OutdoorIndustryJobs.com has operated. Laurel has had to completely overhaul the site, updating the code and making it adaptable for use on all devices, as well as learning to market on social media sites. “I don’t really enjoy doing social media stuff because I like talking to people in person,” she confesses, “my passion comes from giving people experiences.” Laurel goes on to explain that using her platform to promote life-changing experiences for people is one of the most important parts of her business. She loves working with people who provide valuable experiences and memories.

 

Tell us more about your goals for outdoorindustryjobs.com 

Laurel explains that she has a lot of experience working on the “product” side of the outdoor industry as an outdoor guide and admits that most businesses in the industry are “product-driven,” but in many cases, the products are experience-driven. “We make all the great products so that you have a fun time and a safe time and a more enjoyable experience. But it’s that experience that drives the bus.”

Laurel speaks fondly about her personal experiences working in the outdoor industry and wants other people to have the opportunity to do similar work. She loves that her job board helps people find jobs that allow them to share positive experiences with others while working a rewarding job and having great experiences themselves.   

 

What has surprised you most over the years as the site has evolved?

While the job board is self-serving and doesn’t require much interaction between her and the users, Laurel is surprised at how successful OutdoorIndustryJobs.com has been since she began running it. She shares that she didn’t have to invest much money to get it started or to market it, but the job board has continued to grow steadily over the course of its 16 years online. Laurel has also received overwhelmingly positive feedback from users as the site has evolved and the outdoor industry has changed. 

“All I know is from my own experience and watching other people is just follow the things you love to do and doors will open.”

How has the job market changed since you began outdoorindustryjobs.com 16 years ago?

Laurel admits that technology evolving has caused the biggest shifts in the job market since she started the job board. “The whole blossoming of content marketing and digital marketing. Those jobs are all new,” she says, explaining that “the focus has been on internet marketing jobs. That obviously did not exist before.” 

She goes on to explain that job seekers have changed as well, noting that modern job seekers are pickier about what they want to do, “they want to live in a place that’s great to live and want to work remotely.” She recognizes that job seekers know the lifestyle that they want and want to find a job to match that lifestyle.

 

Give us your perspective on the health of the outdoor business

“Prior to Covid…people were just reinventing the same product.” Laurel explains that Covid has caused more people to get outdoors, so there is more demand for products and services in the outdoor industry.

Due to the increased demand and saturation of products available, companies are elevating the quality of the products they put out, and Laurel is concerned about the environmental sustainability of the industry. “The planet is smacking us in the head…because we haven’t done our job taking care of it,” she says, referencing the increase in outdoor gear production, “we’ve got to figure that out sooner, rather than later.”

 

Do you have any advice for folks who want to get into the outdoor industry?

“All I know is from my own experience and watching other people is just follow the things you love to do and doors will open.” Laurel believes that “you have to do something in order for something to happen,” encouraging job seekers to stay motivated and committed to achieving their goals. “You have to put your time in. You can’t just jump into something that’s really great.” 

“Just step out the door and go!”

What outdoor activities do you participate in these days?

Living two blocks from Lake Tahoe makes it easy for Laurel to get outside and stay active. She loves paddleboarding and mountain biking and spends her winters snowshoeing and skiing at the resorts that surround Lake Tahoe. “Just step out the door and go!”

 

What’s your favorite piece of outdoor gear under $100?

A $35 beanie with a headlamp built-in from L.L. Bean. Laurel’s mother gave her one for Christmas and she loves the convenience and practicality of it so much that she started giving the same beanie as a Christmas gift. 

 

If you could have a huge banner at the entrance to one of the outdoor trade shows, what would it say? 

“Start your career at the beginning of this trailhead”

 

Is there anything else you’d like our listeners to know?

“I’m kind of behind the scenes. A lot of people know about the job board, but they don’t know much of who runs it. And I just appreciate being part of this business and the people that are in it. It’s been a great contribution to my life. So I just want to thank everybody for the support of posting and seeking jobs on outdoorindustryjobs.com”

Additionally, OutdoorIndustryJobs.com is offering 15% off a first-time job posting with code ‘OutdoorJobs2021’ and extend a discount of 50% off the price of a job posting for all non-profits!

 

Where can people find you if they want to follow up? What’s the best way to reach out to you?

Email Laurel at laurel@outdoorindustryjobs.com