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Why is Hunting Such a Big Business in West Texas?

It wasn’t that long ago when ranchers in West Texas assumed that their land was only good for raising cattle, but when oil was discovered that changed everything. It was as though some ranchers who were destined to be poor we’re suddenly thrust into a kind of wealth that they could not have otherwise understood, or prepare themselves for. However, if your land didn’t happen to have a oil under it, or you didn’t happen to own mineral rights to your property, the oil that was discovered made no difference to you. You were the unlucky sort that had no real up-side to owning land in that region.  That is, until the rise of a hunting population who was willing to move Heaven and Earth in order to harvest the biggest Whitetail dear possible.

big west texas buckUnlike the oil business which started in the north west part of the state, the hunting business began in the south region of Texas and movies way north. And for many years, it was assumed that whitetail deer could only grow to trophy size in the southern climate. However a booming business of whitetail and exotic animal hunting has nevertheless irrupted in West Texas. When I say West Texas, I am referring to the land between San Angelo and El Paso. This area, previously assumed to be only inhabited by Mule Dear, has seen a population explosion of the more desirable Whitetail dear species.

As a result of this explosion it’s understandable to see how the hunting business has moved its way into this area. Hunting operations who previously touted themselves as being able to take you to your trophy, Which happen to be in some other part of the state, are now advertising themselves to have the best whitetail hunting in West Texas. This may not seem like that big of a deal, but previously, no one wanted to hunt Whitetail in West Texas.

Economically, it’s important to note that the money that is brought in by hunting, has an extraordinarily positive impact on local businesses and schools. Whether it is a result of the local culture or a result of the hunting experience, most businesses who profit from Game hunting are mom and pop type establishments. Every element of the hunting process, can derive a positive economic benefit for the local economy. From the land and taxes associated with it, to the hunting guides and operations that attract these hunters, all the way to the people who are feeding and outfitting hunters as they prepare for these unique hunting experiences.

It is easy to see that hunting is big business, and it’s unlikely that such an economic powerhouse will ever go away.

Entrepreneurship – Side Business vs Primary Income

Owning your own businesses one of the most stimulating elements oven entrepreneurs’ life, but when that business becomes your primary income, it is both exhilarating and terrifying. An important question to ask yourself as an entrepreneur is, “At what point does this side business become my primary income?”

Knowing when to move from your primary source of income in order to pursue your own business, is an important question to ask because the answer maybe the difference between owning a business that supplement your income and owning a business that is your income. At what point is it wise to make this move?

Recently, at a business expo where I was a keynote speaker, a young man came to me with this very question. His name was Bobby, and he owned a mobile car wash Lubbock Tx. At the time, he was a technician with a local security company, where he installed alarm systems in both businesses and residences. The money he was making was enough to support his family, but his side business was beginning to take up so much of his free time that he was unable to be at home after his kids got out of school. The question he asked was simple. He wanted to know if there was a formula to indicate whether or not he should move to being completely self employed. Sadly, there is no hard and fast rule, but there are some guidelines to help make this decision wisely.

As many of us know, being self employed holds risks that are not present as an employee. So moving from a steady paycheck to owning his own business, made Bobby rightfully nervous. We sat down and discussed a few of the particulars of his business, and arrived at the realization that the business that he would potentially bring in could be as much as two or three times his typical salary.

Without knowing it Bobby had taken a small Company he’d purchased from his friend and created business around it that prepared him to make the move to be completely self-employed. This was accomplished in three particular areas.

  1. He maintained the company name in spite of it having a slightly bad reputation. This may not seem like that important of an issue, but the fact that Lucky 7 Mobile Wash was already a name that corresponded with the business sector that Bobby was attempting to break into, helped him to have a presence in the market almost immediately. Additionally, the fact that his name was maintained allowed him to utilize the support of previous happy customers in his attempt to make this side business his primary income.
  2. Bobby entered the market that was available to him, and allowed the business to dictate how is company would be run. Far too many times business owners and entrepreneurs attempt to dictate what the market will allow. Rather than allowing the customers to help entrepreneurs flesh out the details of their company, they simply attempt to force their business on a market that is not ready. Bobby adjusted his marketing and product line in order to gain a foothold in the business that was available. Rather than simply being what every other mobile wash in Lubbock was, he let the customer help him understand what was most important to them. That foothold would be one of the most important elements of his transition from a side business to a primary income.
  3. Lastly, Bobby took a salary. He took a salary from his side business rather than letting the business grow all by itself. Realizing that he did not have very much in the way of overhead, he recognize that to take a salary in spite of the fact that it would be very small and not enough to maintain his cost of living, he was helping his company grow steadily by forcing it to maintain an employee. This was most useful because Bobby knew that at some point in time he would be taking a salary that would be his primary source of income. Because of this, Bobby was able to see the rate of growth that his Company could withstand. When he projected his growth rate he was able to see the point at which he could understandably quit his job and focus his efforts to his mobile car wash full-time. With the additional time spent at work and the additional marketing he was able to do face-to-face, the decision to move forward was far easier.

At the time of our last conversation, Bobby was excited about the possibilities what were ahead of him as a small business owner. When you have the opportunity to move from a side business owner to a small business owner, make sure that you’re ready to do so. If you make sure that you are ready when you take that first step you will be far less likely to have to backtrack, and your business will stay on course to grow year after year.

Our Vacation to Balboa Island

balboa island

One of the more pleasant spots to vacation here in the United States is Southern California. This statement is especially true for Orange County. Situated just south of Los Angeles, Orange County is home to a great number of attractions that promise to get you out of the house and in to the wide open spaces of nature. Some of the more touristy places include Disneyland, Anaheim Stadium (home of the L.A. Angles), and Huntington Beach, but these attractions tend to be densely populated, and have, for me at least, left me desiring a little more freedom, and a little more nature.

Other outdoor attractions, that may prove to be a little less formidable include, the many public parks and outdoor malls, the Santa Anna Zoo, and Balboa Island. These are sure to please any finicky teenager while allowing your whole family to get out of the Hotel, and into the sun. No need for that iPod either, because these areas have more than enough to entertain each member of the family.

The public parks and open-air malls are a great way to introduce your family to the idea of being in the sun. These places are home to street performers, and shops that will excite and entice you to think outside your usual box. And once you get your feet wet, as it were, you can casually make your way to one of the best little zoo’s in California.

Though the Santa Anna Zoo isn’t as big as the San Diego Zoo (Thank God!) you will have no trouble seeing how valuable it is as a vacation destination. From petting areas for the little ones, to a Bald Eagle exhibit that will stir the patriotism in every American, this zoo is sure to please. The open concept allows the patron to walk through exhibit after exhibit and see exotic animals from all over the world. Monkeys, wolves, birds, and reptiles all share their uniqueness with each visitor, and the ability to stay as long as you want makes this destination attractive for any schedule.

In my opinion, the best place to get away from the city, or the mundane routine of life is Balboa Island. It offers amazing sand, warm sun, and most of all, the deep blue waters of the great Pacific Ocean. Without a doubt, Balboa Beach is my favorite beach in Southern California.

Though it is really not an island, the peninsula juts out beyond the city and offers travelers a unique look into the past. When California was being built, this was one of the first places to see a rush of people. As a result, the homes here are small, quaint, and offer a unique beach view that is difficult to describe.

There are no giant tourist spots, nor are their any chain hotels in the area, only small beach cottages and family run shops. These shops are easily navigated as you walk along the miles and miles of sandy beaches. Parking is easy to find after you take the short ferry ride across the sound. Sea Lions and other marine life are sure to excite each member of your family, and the ability to get in the same water with these creatures may have your heart pounding, but when you look across the sand at the rushing waves of the Pacific, your anxiety will begin to be washed away by the pounding surf.

The water here is cold. It’s cold even on the warmest of days, but if you want to get away from the humdrum of your office, what better way to do it than to make your way from warm sand to refreshing water and back?

I have never found this beach, or the parking lot for that matter, to be crowded. Even during local school holidays, we have been able to find a great spot to sit and warm ourselves after a brisk dip in the beautiful water.
After a few hours of building sand castles or soaking up the sun, you can wet your whistle at any of the local food and drink stations dotting the coastline.

Periodic public bathrooms and showers help to end the day with ease before retreating to your hotels with a warmed heart and a wider smile.

A Trip To The Mountains

This past week I took a trip to the mountains in Lincoln National Forest. For some it isn’t all that special of a trip, but for a person like me who is from the flat and dry plains of Texas, it was a definite improvement in scenery. The massive Douglas fir trees, the tall pines and all of the green that you’re not used to seeing in my neck of the woods are somewhat breath taking. Not to mention the drive up the mountain road with the fantastic view out across the rest of landscape that seemed tiny in comparison.

Lincoln National Forest

When we arrived to the cabin we were staying in, it was like it was built on the perfect spot overlooking the valley below. A short hike up the canyon, we came to a small lake that seemed to be nicely tucked in between the two mountains on either side. Among the fury of trout was an older man out on the lake taking advantage of the feeding frenzy. It was fairly interesting to watch, as he was paddling around on what looked to be one of those inflatable pontoon boats.

After hanging around for a while, we began to strike up a conversation with him about his nifty little setup. It wasn’t long before he started to divulge what he was using and where he got it from. He basically told us he was searing around online and found this website where there were a bunch of reviews. It made it easy to sift through all of the different inflatable boats and pick which one was going to be the best fit for what he was trying to do out here.

The older man went through some of the rest of his fishing gear and tactics as well, knowing that we weren’t from around so we wouldn’t really be much competition for him. For being a mountain man, he was actually quite open to conversation, which was not that expected to be honest. All in all, it turned out to be a great trip. We got to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature and get a little fishing in all while getting a nice peaceful rest away from the rest of the busy world. If you ever get the chance, I would highly recommend taking a trip out to New Mexico and enjoy the oasis that is Lincoln National Forest.