Ryan Harden

Ryan Harden's blog posts.
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2021 Home Office Update 12.17.20

I've been trying to push rides and events really hard while also trying to work days, nights, and weekends to make this thing successful. These last few weeks of solid events and rides had me missing a lot of family time, editing time, website work time, etc. While it's the most fun part of what we do... I'm missing my son's (extremely limited) basketball games, family gatherings, etc. Turning into "that guy" and it's very stressful.

We now also have signs to make so I need time to make that happen.

As such, I've taken off my training days for most of 2021 and need to reflect on how to take this full-time since most of my time is spent on RL4WD stuff anyway. How can we host more rides and more events. Clubs are one way, guided tours are another way, online classes, in-person classes, it's all needed but what pays the bills. Nothing in the 4X4 world is cheap personally or professionally. My rig needs updates and wrenching too from hosting LOADS of rides and building trails, but without sponsors, without a way to pay for it... it's just.. I'm coming to where I'm sacrificing my daily income in time donated here every day, then have less funds to do what's needed on the trail weekends. This thing is a time-hungry monster and trying to run all the rides, classes, helping chapters get set up, volunteering to make the membership packets, website, marketing, posts, dude.. this thing eats up every ounce of energy I have and someday, someone else will be voted in for president so while it's great building the 4x4 community, at what point does the investment no longer make sense?

I'd rather map, video, and overland vs sitting at a park and breaking stuff, pushing my rigs limits. I'll gladly help set up chapters and help build the community, do legislation, work on the website, blog, newsletter, and set up crazy awesome routes for the directory but I can't do all that and all the rides and family and work... Gotta try this out a different way.

This doesn't work for me without a steady income stream (obviously) and it is way more than a full-time job that's sorely needed in Wisconsin and the Midwest. We need to make this a job, a real business at the home office level. We're talking about adding thousands of miles of 4X4 trails in Wisconsin and legislating it so it can all be paid for. We're talking dozens of parks... again, who's behind the curtain if they can't pay to live. I've been trying to make this a job and it's time to crap or get off the pot.

Memberships are starting to fund the non-profit and grants for the chapters. RL4WD is in the black... no red ink. Now, we're building up the coffers for the stuff we need out on the trails. We need to reapply for the 501C3 as our paper copy was sent back due to the rona (only online IRS forms are now possible, took the government 6 fing months to send it back). The Non-profit has no employees or payroll, and that's the way we want to keep it. 

Product sales are starting to work now, which is making a little bit to help out. The for-profit Corp. was put in place so we can legally lobby, properly do merchandise, protect the non-profit from losing non-profit status, and raise enough money to pay all the bills and payroll so the non-profit fund are 100% used for trail grants. While the advertisers are coming on board slowly, the website traffic is picking up, and our reputation is growing. Soon, we should be able to fund everything via the Corp. and keep all membership funds for grants. You see, we are building this as a business with multiple income streams, from affiliate links, to ads, and contract work, RL4WD is being built to stand the test of time and weather any economic storm.

Most folks don't know all that backside desk jockey crap that is going on. All you see are rides and events. It takes a lot of paper pushing on the backside to make this all work... and it's working... but now I'm consumed with it taking all ALL of my time and I either have to cut back on RL4WD or reduce my family business time and income. Something is going to give and I'm afraid if I stop helping RL4WD, it dies along with all the work we've all injected. I'm not going to let that happen so some meetings and changes are needed. We're making a lot of progress and I'm excited as heck to get out overlanding to explore strange new worlds..to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where... ok, you get the idea.

When the routes are set up, the overlanding in WI and the Midwest is going to explode more than it already has. I want to help people learn how to do rides, teach them how to find and map trails, and create leaders within the 4X4 community so overall, we can keep growing! 

Wisconsin has a lot of Public Off-Pavement 4X4 Tra...
WI Recreational 4X4 Trail Program 2020 Update


Ryan Harden on Thursday, 17 December 2020 11:17

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