This week we have the man who may go down in the history books as the OG of saying, "I'm Outy". Tony's the type of guy that goes and pursues his dreams, doesn't look back, and makes a duck hunting paradise. Habitat Flats is considered to be the "Ultimate Sportsmen's Destination"! Check it out.
WHEN DID YOU SAY, "SCREW IT, I'M OUTY" AND CHOOSE THE PATH YOU DID?
I've been hunting as long as I can remember and never got away from it. Simply tried to find ways in the real world that allowed me to do it more. I started out after college as a commercial insurance agent, working on commission. It allowed me the opportunity to hunt most morning, but I would work really late. I had a snow goose guiding business before Habitat Flats and really enjoyed it. Four of us friends ( Dan Daugherty, Aaron McCauley, Ira McCauley and myself) decided to start Habitat Flats as a way to off set the management costs on our duck hunting places. Managing for ducks is a lot of hard work and time consuming, but we all put in the sweat, equity to make it work. It became to tough to balance both things and that's when I got out of insurance and started focusing on hunting and management 365 days a year.
WHAT WERE SOME OBSTACLES YOU FACED WHEN TRYING TO REACH YOUR GOALS?
With any start up business I think capital is generally the first obstacle. We developed a business plan and were able to get loans to put it into motion. There's a lot of risk involved as you are putting a lot on the line, but with risk comes reward. There aren't enough hours in the day when getting it going (still aren't), but hard work and staying focused allowed us to get past the major hurdles. When dealing with Mother Nature, there is a lot that is out of your control. Making sure what you can control is always the best and playing the hand your dealt and adapting on the Mother Nature side is all part of it. That isn't limited to just this business or industry. It's the attitude that we won't let this fail that keeps you pushing on.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO'S JUST STARTING OUT?
Regardless of what you do, there is no substitute for elbow grease. It's easier and more efficient to do it yourself right the first time, than go through other options that cost time and resources. Being self employed, you have to be able to push yourself because you don't have anybody else pushing you. Some people do better in roles working for somebody else. To do it yourself, you have to be extremely self motivated and willing to take some risks.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS?
We are currently building another lodge in Missouri now. Construction is underway on The Gran, which will be about thirty five minutes out of our home lodge. Outside of that, we have some other cool things we are working on as well, but don't want to let the cat out of the bag just yet!
Thank you all for reading this, I am going to go run through a wall real quick on how motivated I am from Tony's Spotlight. Truly an inspiring story and definitely and Icon in this industry. We want to thank Tony and his team for participating and being an avid supporter of the hunting community. It's men like Tony that inspire us to reach for our goals and get out as much as possible.
Go Check Tony Out!
Facebook - @tonyvandemore
Website - www.habitatflats.com