In 2013 I launched HBF Outdoors as Hike by Faith. At the time it was a simple platform used to share my experiences, adventures, and lessons God was teaching me in the outdoors.
In 2018, I officially launched it as an LLC business under the name HBF Outdoors. My vision at the time was to provide first-time hikers the opportunity to learn valuable skills needed in the outdoors to hike, backpack, or camp while connecting with others, having fun, and learning to appreciate our public lands.
Like any business, it takes time and work and I was fully committed to it. Over the past two years, I’ve implemented various ideas and events. Some were successful and others were not. That’s how running a business goes. Trial and error.
Our biggest success was the launch of our annual LHX trip. And even though #LHX2020 had to be canceled due to COVID19 I didn’t view it as a failed event. There were many positives that came from it despite the team never stepping foot on the trail.
Today I find myself with mixed thoughts and emotions as to the future of HBF Outdoors LLC. Many changes have and are still taking place in our country and around the world that have impacted everyone in some way.
While some small businesses similar to HBF Outdoors are pressing on I have struggled with whether or not to continue. A major factor in what and how we can operate as an outdoor business in Pennsylvania is determined by state rules for use of its public lands. Another factor has been less demand for outdoor enthusiasts seeking the types of services or events we provided. Two reasons for this have been our current situation with COVID-19 as well as trying to compete with the much larger outdoor corporations that have the means and resources to provide services and events at a lower cost or even for free.
But there have been some personal factors I’ve been carrying around as to whether HBF Outdoors presses on as a business or not. Like I said, it all started in 2013 as a simple platform to share my own experiences. To tell a story of how the outdoors was impacting my own life. And during these past two years, I’ve watched that part of who HBF is slowly fade away. It became all about the next idea, event, promotions, tagging, sponsors, sales, networking, planning, and the list goes on.
In April I launched the HBF Outdoors Podcast as a means and platform to tell others stories. To give others an opportunity to have the outdoor community learn the who and why behind the what. As I brought on guests, sat, and listened to their stories it became a clear reminder to me of what HBF was always about…people.
Over the past few weeks I have thought through, wrestled, lost sleep, and argued within myself as to what is next for HBF Outdoors and it’s future. When I finally was able to silence the noise and truly listen I was able to hear what I knew was the next step. One part of silencing the noise I heard came from dwelling more on what others expect of me, and truly running a business based on my dreams and passions will not succeed if I’m focused on others’ expectations for the business or myself.
Once I silenced the noise and was able to really hear from within myself I discovered what I missed the most, and that is connecting on a deep personal level in the outdoors.
Life is about obtaining and collecting experiences and building healthy relationships. And so moving forward HBF Outdoors will no longer be a business. Instead, it will go back to being a platform and means for sharing my own experiences, stories, and the people I am honored to meet along my journey.
To everyone who has supported HBF Outdoors LLC, I cannot express enough my gratitude and appreciation. I look forward to joining many of you for some adventures and listening to your stories.
To the brands and sponsors who have supported our LHX trips, I have been humbled from the beginning with the opportunity to work with you. Know that I will continue to support and be an advocate of your brand and products as I have been before our partnerships.
To my wife who has put up with me through this process, provided ideas, advice, insight, and at times counsel, my words can never express my love and gratitude. I am looking forward to what is ahead for our life together and to see where God will be taking us for our next adventure.
One final note: what will happen with the LHX Project? Most likely this will continue to be a yearly event, but I am continuing to evaluate and see the next step ahead of me.
Life is one big journey in which it’s adventures change and vary as we grow. And I’m here for the journey, but I’m not the one guiding it.
With much gratitude and appreciation,