Hiking Gibbs Guides into an Outdoor Recreation and Service Company.
As with any young company, the question often arises, what, exactly are you doing here? I wanted to take a moment to explain what Gibbs Guides is all about and where I think it is going in the future. My background in outdoor recreation, my degree in English Literature from Colby-Sawyer College in New London, NH, and a love of nature and taking pictures is what brought about the invention of Gibbs Guides. As I turned forty the question arose for me personally, what are you going to do for the rest of your life, work incredibly hard for other people or figure out how to live my dream? I decided to be an entrepreneur, to attack life and happiness with a vengeance. I decided to work for myself and on my own terms and to wake up everyday feeling like if I showed my passion and utilized my willingness to hustle, the sky's the limit. I decided to just "opt outdoors".
So I set out to write a book, a hiking guide in the area that I lived and knew very well. I began to take pictures for the book and to learn how to promote my book and new company online. To learn how to use a camera to its fullest and go beyond amateur photography and to become adept at promoting through social media, to find what was effective, what added value to the people who showed interest and to basically share my passion for the great outdoors any way I could. As the guide began to come close to a finish, I began to work with Vermont nature artist, Nancy Dezotell and House-Mouse Designs owner and life-long Vermont businessman, Barry Percy. Both helped me to design a business model that is showing success and to access pieces of creativity I really didn't know I had. We began to take the pictures I had taken for the book and to turn them into products that would be available on the website and in local stores. We worked out how to build a website and I set out to get that part done. I'm very excited about the platforms we've created to bring the word of "opting outdoors" to you. I am currently providing outdoor content on the website, www.thegibbsguides.com, on Facebook, Instagram and on Pinterest, and I am writing a weekly outdoor travel blog.
Personalized Guiding Services and Vacation Planning
After starting out, I began to recognize that there was traction and need for other services that were logical extensions of my goals. People were finding my content who wanted to come to NH and VT for outdoor experiences, but they were not sure how to approach an authentic experience. Sure they could find a hotel, and drive around the state and see the attractions that are readily available online, but how did they access a moose sighting, or a brook trout on the line or find those off the beaten paths, hikes and walks. I began to get requests for guiding help, both fishing and hiking, and for finding appropriate places to stay. Where they could have a night around a campfire, a view of a lake, and maybe a chance to just wake up and hop in a canoe or kayak and hear the birds. So I am now offering those services full-bore. I offer daily and weekly guiding opportunities, help in booking lodging, I've got some really great relationships from Full-service lodges like Quimby Country in Averill, Vermont to several nice homes in both NH and VT. I am also offering consulting to plan the overall vacation, everything from hiking to biking and fishing and I've even provided grocery set-up. Personalized service that fits your needs versus some basic packaging is my theory, and all at very affordable rates, contact me at email@example.com for a quote.
Also, I began to receive requests for custom photography, folks wanted help to put their memories and favorite views on their wall. The comments I often receive about my work is that I am able to find the right places and the right times to produce great looking photos and that my pictures often convey feelings of peacefulness, calm and natural beauty. It is truly my theory that 90% of photography is about setting and timing. I try very hard to put myself in places that people don't often go to or take photos of, and to do it at the times of day when the light is just right to find those impacts of a natural scene. I also purchased a small aerial drone camera and began to take some really interesting shots that people seem to like, again images and angles that just aren't seen everyday. Recently, I have helped an Alexandria, NH family to put together some great images of Mount Cardigan for their new home, and I have helped a Salem, NH family to document their two dogs in a really gorgeous outdoor setting. My packages are $100 for a project, where I provide 3-5 digital photos of their suggested requests and we work together to meet their needs. Then I can also provide printing, matting and framing, and additional photos at very affordable rates. I believe my pricing is the most competitive of any photographer in the area. I also offer placement of images directly onto products, I'm glad to help you with a custom mug or t-shirt design.
Social Media Consulting, Content design and Implementation
As I began to take the book and my local products into stores in the area to see if they want to carry some of them, the products are in Morgan Hill Bookstore in New London and Nordic Skater in Newbury to name a few, conversations began to happen about how I was using social media to promote the new venture. They liked my content, my approach and saw that I was organically growing real followers and people truly interested in getting outdoors. In short, I was having success reaching customers they would like to reach as well. Recently, I've worked with an outdoor-oriented store in Newbury, NH to help them promote their business. Known as the Nordic Skater, they sell cross-country ski products, roller skis and nordic skates, a type of skate, akin to the speed skate but that you wear your cross-country ski boot on. They have an impressive web business and an exciting new storefront. I covered a winter outdoor event they attended and provided demos at, taking both still photos and aerial photos with my small drone. I gave them several digital prints in their package as well as a short social media oriented "commercial" which they have used on their Facebook and Instagram accounts. I am also providing consulting to a few companies on their current campaigns, assessing them, offering insight and helping them with content creation. For me the focus is on developing "added value" content and on finding followers who translate into customers through shared interest. Anyone can go out and purchase followers to inflate their accounts, finding conversion oriented followers is now the name of the game for social media successes. Packages here also start at $100 dollars.
So in short, I'm here to help, and I'd like to provide value to my customers and followers. My goal is to share my passion for getting outdoors, and to spend time finding ways to work outside, to be fit and healthy, to spend time sharing these things with Gibbs(my mascot, the hiking dachshund) and to inspire others to seek out these experiences and to help them in any way they need, to achieve their goals. I truly believe now when I get up in the morning that today, I will get outside, I will do something enjoyable, which includes my daily work and I will help somebody to do the same thing. Whether that is a glance at their wall as they sip their morning coffee, an amazing vacation experience, a read of my guidebook that inspires a new walk or hike, or a fresh idea for their social media to bring value to their customers, I just want to help.
Please subscribe to the blog, you can click on that at the top of this page and follow Gibbs Guides on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Check out the website home and shop links above to see more about the products and services and to see the guidebook. It's a great help when you share the word about getting outdoors and feel free to interact at any time, whether on those platforms, by email, or by phone, and remember the goal here is to help you find passion and enjoyment in getting outdoors so reach out whenever you think of a question.