Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Zachary Collier, Owner of Northwest Rafting Company, located in Hood River, OR, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My business is Northwest Rafting Company, a river outfitting business that offers multi-day rafting trips on the Rogue, Owyhee, Illinois, Chetco, and Middle Fork of the Salmon Rivers. We also provide training courses and a few select international trips. Our customers are people who enjoy being outside and active for their vacations.

Tell us about yourself

I grew up camping and hiking, which got me into backpacking and, eventually, overnight rafting trips. These outdoor activities led me to being a river guide and now an outfitter. I love being in wild places and sharing these places with others, so I am lucky to have a career as a guide and outfitter.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

There are so many, but if I had to pick one, it would be organizing trips to Bhutan. I love visiting the Himalayas and have now organized 20 different trips during 10 visits to guide trips over there. The Kingdom of Bhutan is a magical place, and it's an absolute honor to share it with our guests.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The hardest thing for me is managing others. Deep down, I want to be a guide and be in the field, so I spend a lot of time on our trips. I find it challenging to be a good leader and manager when I'm away from most of my employees.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Focus on finding customers and keeping them.
  2. You'll need to work hard, which is great at first, but at some point, you'll need to really love what you do to continue working as hard as you need to.
  3. Develop a good business plan to be sure your business makes sense.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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