What It's About
When the economy takes a hit, this pilot helps residents of his hometown hit back even harder.
Words of Wisdom
Having trouble determining which ideas are worth pursuing? Craig says that he has a notebook that he writes down every single quirky idea that comes into his head. He considers this notebook “a never-ending to-do-list.” And if he picks up the book and adds something to an existing entry, that is a flag for him to think “hmmmm, this could work.”
Borderlandz Paintball even had its own race car. For real. From Craig, “We entered it into national events. We placed 7th out of 96 entries in the championship. We used the car for promo events for the paintball field and friends that had other small businesses added their logos all over the car (We looked so ‘pro’ with all the ‘sponsors’, haha). I later sold the car to finance our motorhome build and the move to Australia. It was fun while it lasted that’s for sure!”
Notes from Chris
Craig Tyer always wanted to fly airplanes, and once he was old enough, he trained to be a flying instructor. A dream job, right? Well, it was a dream job in some ways, but it definitely didn’t come with a dream paycheck. At least in Craig’s native New Zealand, teaching junior pilots was not a high-paying career. Naturally, he needed a side hustle. And it helped that he had some history with them, beginning with his first at age nine. Years later, while going through flight training, he played a lot of paintball on the weekends. Part of it was fun, and part of it was to stay fit. After all, there’s a lot of sitting involved in flying! He was living in Christchurch, New Zealand and the tourist industry took a nose dive after a massive, 6.3 earthquake. A number of paintball fields went out of business. Determined to keep the beloved pastime in his city, Craig decided to save every penny he could from teaching kids to fly to start his own paintball facility. How much does a paintball facility cost? In Christchurch, NZ, apparently it costs around $8,000. He began by buying 10 paintball packs from his contacts in Christchurch, gearing up for 8-10 people to play, costing around $5,000. He also traveled around the country (by plane?), touring different paintball facilities, noting likes and dislikes. From there, he designed his dream field. He started locally sourcing old tires, wooden pallets and started building forts and barricades. He said it was just like he was a kid again despite being on the verge of turning 30. Craig had all the elements for a good field, but what he really needed was a place to build his dream paintball field. He leased a back paddock off his Grandfather, one that bordered the neighbor’s property. Hence 'Borderlandz Paintball' became Christchurch’s newest up and coming paintball field. Last year, they grossed $35,000. Prior to that in 2016, they sat at around $30,000. The game bookings are very seasonal since they make 90% of that income between Late November – Early January. Their biggest weekend to date brought in net income of more than $5,000 and 30,000+ paintballs! But during the rest of the year it’s around $1,500 in profits per month. If you’d like your own paintball field… Opening a paintball playground has some unique needs when it comes to insurance. Craig recommends having Public Liability Insurance because of the nature of paintball. They also have a waiver the customer signs and two referees in each game. Not to mention they always have a First Aid certified staff member on call. Craig recommends that you don’t cater to the ‘hardcore crowd’. It’s the Birthday parties and bachelor parties that make up 90% of the income. Both Craig and Vicky—who he brought on to help run things—still have their full-time jobs alongside running Borderlandz. Vicky still works for the electrical company in New Zealand, while helping to manage the family business locally. Craig has been able to live out a couple of his dreams; continuing his passion for aviation and—in the rest of his spare time—building a custom adventure van, and traveling with his partner and their pet ferret… as one does after crafting the perfect paintball field.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Borderlandz Paintball: Learn more about this epic paintball field over on Craig's website!
- Wordpress: Craig used Wordpress to setup Borderlandz Paintball, and here you can learn how to install your own Wordpress site in 5 minutes
- Academic Advisor Creates Profitable Karaoke League: A Washington, DC man uses new entrepreneurial skills—and vocal chords—to turn a profit and cultivate community
- Renegade Museum Tour Guide Earns $2 Million: A man in New York City proves that with enough passion and innovation a side hustle can thrive in museums
- Epic Scavenger Hunt Becomes 6-Figure Income: An event planner creates a competitive scavenger hunt game that takes place across Boston. Can you really make money while having so much fun?
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