By Pat Wray
The term “craft improvement” is rather vague so I hope you will forgive me if I loosen it another turn. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to interpret “craft improvement” as anything that will help you make more money. It’s a coarse, indelicate definition, I know, but I hope the extra cash these ideas generate will make the indelicacy more acceptable.
My first recommendation is to consider putting on an outdoor communicators workshop in your area. Interestingly, a dedicated committee of your peers has just finished a two-year effort that resulted in the development of a written curriculum, available for free now from OWAA headquarters. The curriculum, which is 54 pages long, includes sections from some of OWAA’s top subject-matter experts and is presented in two ways, as a study guide and as a presenter’s outline. With the aid of this curriculum you can put on a workshop with a minimum of effort and make a maximum of return for your time.
Your workshop might be even more attractive to potential participants if you find one or two other OWAA members from your area and tag-team the presentations. It will help if you each have different areas of expertise. The curriculum also gives an in-depth primer on the administrative preparations of a workshop. What are the best ways to advertise? Where should you hold your workshop? What sort of material should you provide to the participants? How much should you charge?
The curriculum can help make your transition to workshop presenter an easy one, and pave the way for you to clear $500-$2,000 for each one-day event. Ask Headquarters for a copy of the “Becoming an Outdoors Communicator Workshop Curriculum” and get started now.
My second recommendation to increase your annual income is to hire an intern. If you are already squirming at the idea of paying someone, don’t worry. Most interns receive no monetary payment; they are interning for the professional experience and for academic credit. If the market is tight, some students may hold out for payment, but it doesn’t have to be minimum wage and if you use your interns well, they will bring in far more money than they cost you.
The academic credit part is easily arranged. Contact your local university, junior college or high school academic counselor and explain that you will teach your intern the basics of your business in exchange for administrative help. Students with an interest in the outdoors and/or in communication will jump at the chance to work with you.
I have no room for details here, but headquarters also offers another wonderful, free publication, the “OWAA Internship Guide,” which takes you through hiring and using interns from A to at least Q.
I hope you will consider these options, both workshops and interns will increase your bottom line, even as you help other people improve their situations. Doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
Oh, if you really want a true craft improvement tip, here’s one.
Don’t use “impact” as a verb. I don’t care if everyone else is doing it. Verbing words is not always good. Use “affect” instead, as God intended. ◊
Pat Wray, of Corvallis, Ore., is a freelance writer, photographer, book author and regular contributor to game and fish publications.
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