9 Small Business Opportunities for People Who’d Rather Work Outside


If the thought of sitting at a desk all day makes you cringe, maybe working outdoors is a better option. Not sure how to make an income this way? 

Outdoor living can be quite pricey, so starting a business focused on services that have a nature-based environment could be a lucrative job opportunity for you. Curious to discover what jobs are perfect for an outdoor lover like yourself? Check out our list of nine small business ideas to keep you out in the fresh air. 

1. Kick-Off an Adventure Club

Often, when someone thinks of adventure clubs, the first image that comes to mind is children.  

Children can and do have outdoor clubs, but they aren’t the only ones in search of getting outside for fun! Start an adult adventure club if you don’t want the summer camp experience. Some of the activities you could incorporate are:

  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Canoeing
  • Skiing
  • Rock climbing
  • Swimming
  • Zip lining

This is just a small sampling of the outdoor activities you could base a club around!

2. Become a Ski Instructor

If you happen to live in a colder climate with lots of mountains and snow, you probably enjoy skiing as a pastime. What if you could turn that hobby into a career? There is a huge market for ski lessons throughout the U.S., and as your own boss, you can decide what type of clients you prefer. This is a huge advantage for instructors that prefer teaching adults and not children. 

Keep in mind that resorts may require you to be insured, so keep this in mind when looking for a place to host your lessons as a ski instructor

3. Take a Hike!

How amazing would it be to get paid to hike through the woods every day, getting to enjoy the beauty that wildlife offers! If you have a vast knowledge base of the area’s geographical outlay, being someone who leads hikes could prove very profitable. Some of your potential clients could be: 

  • Families
  • Tourists
  • Families
  • Company team-building events
  • Boys and girls clubs

There are many ways that an outdoor entrepreneur can advertise their services in their local area. For example, you can ask local businesses to allow you to advertise with them or use advertising services in companies like AirBnBAirBnB, Viator, Vrbo, or other online sites.

4. Pony Rides and Petting Zoos

If you have a little more capital than it takes to buy a pair of boots to start a hiking company, you might consider investing in some animals to start a petting zoo or pony rides for special events for kids. The biggest thing that you will have to overcome is the start-up cost. You’ll need to get a pony or two, a way to transport them, stables, riding gear, a dedicated vet service, food, and more. Basically, a farm would be best. 

If you plan to open a petting zoo, you’ll also need a large variety of farm animals. You’ll also have to consider the recurring costs of housing the animals, feeding them, and ways to transport them. However, as long as you stay in residential areas, you’ll never run out of potential gigs, including:

  • Corporate events
  • Birthday parties
  • Carnivals and fairs
  • Weddings
  • Bar Mitzvahs

5. Start a Gardening and Landscaping Business

Thanks to homeownership, there will be people who want to make those homes beautiful. That’s where landscapers come in! If you want to try your hand at this outdoor business, you’ll have to have some cash ready for the overhead. You’ll need a lawnmower, trimmer, leaf blower, and a way to transport them. With this equipment in hand, you’ll be ready to start your landscaping business. 

Just don’t forget to purchase adequate insurance for a lawn care business. You don’t want to be fully liable for employees getting hurt on the job or getting sued for damaging someone’s prize rose bush by accident. When you feel you have gotten used to providing services at a stellar level, you can branch out and work on designing landscapes and decks!

6. Become a Photographer

With the right equipment and skills, photography can be a very profitable business for someone who loves the outdoors! Real estate, commercial, portrait, graduations, and wedding photographers are popular service requests. 

They spend lots of time outdoors taking pictures of everything from children to houses to families. To ensure that you are never out of work, make sure that you have a current and full portfolio of photographs you have taken. When you are not actively photographing clients, you create stock photos and sell them to places like Shutterstock.

7. Rent Equipment

Who doesn’t love the beach? Because not everyone owns things like a kayak, cabana, boat, or umbrella, you could meet demand by offering equipment rentals to tourists and locals. The best thing about outdoor renting gear is that just about any outdoor venue will bring business! For example, if you live in a bayou area, you can rent boats, fishing poles and even sell bait during the summer. Local pastimes like mushroom hunting or canoeing are also a great way to earn a living by providing the needed equipment to facilitate these activities.

8. Become a Local Tourism Guide

Are you fortunate enough to live in an area that might be considered a ‘tourist trap’? If so, you are in a lucky spot to become a local tour guide. Decide what areas you want to give your tours and what topics you’ll talk about. Will it be a pub crawl? Haunted ghost tour? Local restaurants? You don’t have to limit yourself to what is considered a ‘walking tour.’ You can branch out and do activities like outdoor cooking classes or fireside tales based on local traditions and legends to entertain your clients.  

9. Walk Dogs and Pet Sit

Using websites like Care.com or Rover.com, it’s easier than ever to turn a profit walking our four-legged friends. If you want to spread your wings, you can try services like pet-sitting, pet transportation, or dog walking. You might decide that using a larger online gig platform isn’t worth the price, so be brave and start your own company that serves your county or town!

Remember to Protect Your Business

The options for insurance for business owners are many. Insurance will help protect you and your pet service from all the different risks that can come up during the course of a normal operating day. However, if choosing insurance for a lawn care business or other outdoor gigs, all the options can be overwhelming. Below is an overview of the popular types of coverage that outdoor businesses can own. 

General Liability Insurance

General liability policies are crucial to protect your outdoor service from these third-party claims:

  • Property damage 
  • Bodily injury
  • Personal injury claims, including libel and slander

It’s important to note these policies don’t apply to employees. 

Commercial Property Insurance

This insurance protects your equipment and everything needed to operate your company. However, be aware that this coverage usually won’t cover flood-related damages or earthquakes. You’ll probably need separate policies to cover these eventualities.   

Professional Liability Insurance

Sometimes, mistakes you make are professional, meaning the damages caused directly result from your decision-making or advice. For example, you are walking a dog you know is aggressive towards other canines in a larger pack, and then it attacks another client’s animal.

Workers’ Compensation 

Employee injuries and illnesses from job-related accidents can be devastating experiences on many levels. This is why states require employers to carry this coverage to cover much of the following:

  • Related medical bills
  • Pay for some or all of their lost wages
  • Funeral costs 
  • Ongoing care expenses, including physical therapy

The state you work in probably requires this coverage if you have one or more employees. If you don’t comply with this requirement, you could face hefty penalties, including fines, suspension of license, and even have your company shut down! 

The Great Outdoors Awaits

Have you got some ideas for a business that will keep you outdoors and enjoying the beauty of nature? Then, what are you waiting for? Start planning your new company today! 

The future is bright for entrepreneurs looking to make a living outside instead of being chained to a desk. Just make sure you have a solid risk management strategy to minimize your everyday risks by purchasing a comprehensive business owner’s policy. 

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