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Becoming a wilderness mentor: How to unleash your full potential (comprehensive guide)

Find out how to become a successful wilderness mentor. Tips, guides, and training for your career in the wilderness. Become a wilderness expert now.

from Martin Gebhardt | Wilderness education | no comment yet | reading time 21 Min
Updated on 17 April 2024 2.864 views 100% found this guide helpful
Becoming a wilderness mentor: How to unleash your full potential (comprehensive guide)

Martin Gebhardt

From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.

👉 The key facts from this guide

  • Wilderness Mentors share their knowledge & skills about life in nature with others and promote a deep connection to nature.
  • There is no defined training path to become a Wilderness Mentor, but comprehensive knowledge and practical outdoor experience are essential.
  • Wilderness Mentors can work in various fields, such as survival schools, nature education, expeditions, and therapeutic programs.
  • As a Wilderness Mentor, it is important to be familiar with legal guidelines such as the need for permits for activities in the wilderness.
  • Independence as a Wilderness Mentor requires careful planning, tax and legal knowledge, as well as marketing strategies.
  • The income opportunities as a Wilderness Mentor vary, but with the right experience and established reputation, they can provide a solid income.

You love the wilderness and want to share your knowledge with others?

But do you lack the right tools and strategies to make this dream come true?

This uncertainty can be overwhelming. It can prevent you from reaching your full potential.

Maybe you're also wondering how to advance your career in the wilderness or what mistakes to avoid.

Don't worry, I've been in that place before and went searching for answers.

In this article, I want to share my experiences and tips with you so that you can become a successful wilderness mentor.

So let's dive into the world of wilderness together and take your career to the next level!

What is a Wilderness Mentor?

If you are a passionate nature lover and enjoy spending time in the wilderness, then a job as a wilderness mentor might be just right for you.

A wilderness mentor is an experienced expert who shares their extensive knowledge and skills about life and survival in nature with interested individuals. As a teacher and guide, they teach practical techniques such as fire making, shelter building, food sourcing, tracking, and plant identification.

At the same time, they promote values such as mindfulness, respect, and connection with nature, and support their students in feeling safe and comfortable in the wilderness while building a deeper relationship with nature.

A good wilderness mentor accompanies you on your journey to discover the secrets of nature and helps you develop confidence in your abilities.

zwei frauen im wald untersuchen einen pilz

It's not just about learning techniques. It's also about building a deep connection to nature and understanding how we as humans fit into the ecological balance of the Earth.

A wilderness mentor customizes their teaching methods individually, promotes growth and independence through targeted challenges, and provides a safe environment where experiential learning takes center stage.

The tasks of a wilderness mentor may include:

  • Transmission of knowledge and skills: Wilderness mentors teach their proteges how to survive in the wild, such as how to build a shelter, make fire, find food, and purify water.
  • Promotion of personal development: Wilderness mentors help their proteges push their boundaries, build self-confidence, and recognize their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Connection to nature: Wilderness mentors help their proteges understand and appreciate the natural world around them. They teach them to identify the plants and animals of the wilderness, to read animal tracks, and to understand the impact of humans on the environment.
man und frau am strand mit lagerfeuer

Wilderness mentors can work in various areas:

Wilderness mentors can work in various areas:

  1. Survival schools and courses: Teaching survival skills in the wilderness, such as fire making, shelter building, and food procurement.

  2. Bushcraft workshops: Teaching traditional skills like carving, tracking, and crafting tools from natural materials.

  3. Nature education: Conducting experiential education programs for children and teenagers to promote connection to nature and environmental awareness.

  4. Team building and personal development: Using nature experiences to strengthen teamwork, communication, and leadership skills.

  5. Wilderness therapy: Supporting individuals with mental or emotional challenges during therapeutic stays in nature.

  6. Expeditions and adventure travel: Planning and leading wilderness expeditions to remote areas, often focusing on nature experiences and personal growth.

  7. Naturalist tours: Leading hikes and excursions focusing on plant and animal identification, ecology, and natural history.

  8. Crisis preparedness and self-sufficiency: Training for emergency preparedness and disasters, as well as teaching self-sufficiency skills.

  9. Nature crafts: Teaching traditional craft techniques like basket weaving, leather working, and natural dyeing.

  10. Consulting and coaching: Supporting individuals or organizations in developing wilderness projects, nature connection programs, or personal growth processes.

  11. Mentoring programs: There are also mentoring programs where wilderness mentors accompany individuals or small groups over an extended period of time.

How to become a Wilderness Mentor?

The fact is: There is no set education or career path to become a wilderness mentor. Instead, there are various skills and experiences that you should acquire to become a successful wilderness mentor.

Here is my definition:

One becomes a wilderness mentor by first acquiring comprehensive knowledge and practical experience in outdoor activities, bushcraft, and survival. Equally important is pedagogical skill to effectively communicate the skills. Helpful qualifications include training as a wilderness educator, first aid knowledge, and a clean criminal record. Thereafter, one can either start their own business or apply to wilderness schools.

First, you should consider what skills and experiences you already have.

  • Do you have experience in survival training or wilderness guiding?
  • Are you an experienced hunter or fisherman?
  • Do you have knowledge in nature education or wilderness studies?

All these skills can help you become a successful wilderness mentor.

If you have no experience in the outdoors, you should definitely educate yourself.

There are many courses and trainings that can help you strengthen your skills in the wilderness.

You can, among other things, take a course in survival training or wilderness education, or join a local nature club to learn from experienced wilderness mentors.

frau und mann im wald personen menschen

To become a wilderness mentor, various qualifications are required:

  • Comprehensive knowledge of the wilderness: Wilderness mentors should have comprehensive knowledge of the plants and animals of the wilderness, survival techniques, and the impact of humans on the environment.
  • Leadership skills: Wilderness mentors should be able to safely lead groups through the wilderness and impart knowledge and skills to them.
  • Educational abilities: Wilderness mentors should be able to explain complex topics in a simple and understandable way.
  • Personal maturity: Wilderness mentors should be mature and responsible, with a strong sense of judgment.

Working as a wilderness mentor can be very rewarding…

Working as a wilderness mentor is a great way to help people discover nature and find themselves.

The fact is: Wilderness mentors can have a positive impact on the lives of their proteges and help them achieve their own goals.

zwei aeltere frauen unterhalten sich

Basically, there are many ways to become a successful wilderness mentor: It requires hard work, dedication, and a passion for nature.

But if you are willing to commit and share your skills and experiences, you can have a fulfilling career as a wilderness mentor and help others strengthen their wilderness skills.

Why should you become a wilderness mentor?

The wilderness holds a special fascination for many people - including me for years.

As a wilderness mentor, you have the unique opportunity to share your passion for bushcraft, survival, and natural history with others. You help people learn practical skills that give them confidence and independence in nature. At the same time, you contribute to raising awareness for the protection and preservation of the wilderness.

The untouched nature, the challenges, and the opportunity to test and improve oneself are just some reasons why people enjoy spending time in the wilderness.

mann schaut in kamera outdoor personen menschen

But for some, the passion for the wilderness goes even further:

They want to share their knowledge and experiences and help other people navigate in nature. They want to become wilderness mentors.

But why should you become a wilderness mentor?

There are some reasons that speak for it.

    1. Turning Passion into a Profession:

      • Course Instruction: Design and lead courses on wilderness education and survival techniques.
      • Adventure Planning: Organize and lead wilderness adventures and expeditions for groups.
      • Environmental Education: Work as a nature educator to impart knowledge about flora, fauna, and ecosystems.
    2. Support and Guidance for Others:

      • Teaching Skills: Teach practical skills such as fire making, tracking, and identifying edible plants.
      • Promoting Safety and Self-Confidence: Help people feel safe and competent in the wilderness.
    3. Personal Development and Competencies:

      • Expertise: Acquire in-depth knowledge about ecosystems, survival strategies, and first aid.
      • Educational Skills: Develop skills in guidance and teaching, including designing educational programs.
      • Social Competencies: Build empathy, patience, and the ability to cater to individual needs.
    4. Consider Individual Needs:

      • Adaptation of Teaching Methods: Tailor your methods to the different learning styles and abilities of your participants.
      • Participant Support: Provide targeted support to promote each participant's individual growth.
    5. Contribute to Environmental Conservation:

      • Promoting Sustainable Behavior: Teach how to use the wilderness respectfully and sustainably.
      • Nature Protection: Convey the importance of nature conservation and how each individual can contribute.
      • Building Awareness: Raise awareness of ecological connections and the importance of biodiversity.

    As a wilderness mentor, you have the unique opportunity to turn your passion for nature into a profession.

    Furthermore, you can have a positive impact on the participants, encouraging them to continuously develop themselves and actively contribute to the protection of our natural environment.

    wildnismentor werden

    Step-by-step guide: How to become a successful wilderness mentor

    If you dream of becoming a successful wilderness mentor, then you are in the right place.

    I have walked this exact path. It was sometimes rocky, but so far, extremely fulfilling.

    Here is a step-by-step guide on how to become a successful wilderness mentor:

    1. Expand your knowledge and skills: Deepen your knowledge in areas such as bushcraft, survival, natural history, and wilderness education through books, courses, and hands-on experiences.

    2. Gain practical experience: Spend a lot of time in nature, practice your skills, and learn firsthand. Participate in courses and workshops and learn from experienced mentors.

    3. Develop your educational skills: Learn how to effectively convey knowledge, lead groups, and cater to individual needs. Courses in experiential education or teaching methods can be helpful.

    4. Specialize: Find your niche within wilderness education, such as survival, nature crafts, or wilderness therapy. Develop unique offerings that reflect your strengths.

    5. Acquire necessary certifications: Depending on your field of work, certifications in first aid, rescue services, or wilderness education may be required.

    6. Start your own business or join an organization: Decide whether you want to work as a freelancer or become part of an existing wilderness school.

    7. Create your offerings: Develop courses, workshops, and programs that appeal to your target audience and provide added value. Ensure a balanced mix of theory and practice.

    8. Build a network: Connect with other wilderness mentors, organizations, and potential partners. Attend conferences and events to network.

    9. Market your services: Create a website, use social media and local advertising opportunities to promote your offerings. Build a good reputation through excellent service.

    10. Stay current: Continuously educate yourself, adapt your offerings to new trends and needs. Be open to feedback and strive to improve your skills constantly as a wilderness mentor.

    mann erklaert etwas am lagerfeuer 2

    Tips for aspiring Wilderness Mentors

    As an aspiring wilderness mentor, there are some important tips you should keep in mind to be successful.

    1. Become a Nature Expert: Immerse yourself in the world of wilderness and absorb all the knowledge you can get. Learn everything about plants, animals, weather conditions, and survival techniques. Read books, attend courses, seminars, and online programs, and spend time in nature to expand your knowledge. The more you know, the better you can inspire your students later and show them all that nature has to offer.

    2. Gain Practical Experience: The theories are nice and all, but trust me, nothing beats learning by doing. So grab your gear and head into the wilderness! Practice different techniques and skills under various conditions. This way, you'll become a real survival pro.

    3. Communicate Like a Pro: As a wilderness mentor, you must be able to convey your knowledge to different target groups. Find a way to present complex content in an understandable and engaging manner. With patience, empathy, and a touch of humor, you can inspire your students.

    4. Build Strong Relationships: Take the time to get to know your students and create a trusting atmosphere. Show genuine interest in their goals and needs. With kindness, respect, and a positive attitude, you can create an environment where everyone feels comfortable and enjoys the experience.

    5. Be Flexible and Creative: In nature, things don't always go as planned. As a wilderness mentor, you must be able to adapt quickly to new situations and find creative solutions. Don't be discouraged by challenges; instead, use them as an opportunity to further develop your skills.

    6. Safety Comes First: As a wilderness mentor, you have a great responsibility for your students. Familiarize yourself with first aid, minimize risks, and develop emergency plans. This way, you can ensure that everyone has unforgettable nature experiences without anyone getting hurt.

    7. Have Fun and Enjoy Time in Nature: Let your enthusiasm for the wilderness rub off on your students. Share funny anecdotes, marvel together at the wonders of nature, and enjoy the time with your group. When you are passionate and joyful about what you do, your students will also have an unforgettable time.

    zwei personen von hinten sitzen im wald

    So, what are you waiting for?

    With these tips and your sense of adventure, a successful career as a wilderness mentor is within reach. Let's now take a look together at the training options available.

    Read also

    How to become a survival trainer? - these paths will lead you to your desired profession (+salary and training) - Are you an outdoor enthusiast and want to use your skills to make money? Find out how to become a survival trainer, including training details.

    Training and Courses for Wilderness Mentors

    As an aspiring wilderness mentor, it is important to continuously educate yourself and improve your skills. There are numerous trainings and courses that can help you become a successful wilderness mentor.

    One option is to complete training as a wilderness educator (e.g., at the Wilderness School, where I also attended). Here you will not only learn everything about nature and survival in the wilderness, but also how to pass on your knowledge to others. You will gain great insights into indigenous teaching methods and learn how to guide and motivate groups.

    Wilderness education is an experiential approach where people learn through being in nature. It involves developing a deeper understanding of natural connections, learning survival techniques, and strengthening personal skills such as self-confidence, resilience, and mindfulness.
    Wilderness education is an experiential approach where people learn through being in nature. It involves developing a deeper understanding of natural connections, learning survival techniques, and strengthening personal skills such as self-confidence, resilience, and mindfulness.

    Specialized survival training can also help you improve your skills. Here you will learn how to survive in extreme situations and how to navigate in the wilderness. You will be trained to survive in nature and learn how to find food and water, make a fire, and build a shelter.

    Read also

    5 great Survival Trainings in Germany 2024 [with prices] - Are you also intrigued by the outdoor survival adventure? Then check out these five survival trainings and become a survival artist yourself.

    In addition to these practical courses, there are also theoretical training sessions that will help you deepen your knowledge. Here you will learn all about the flora and fauna in the wilderness, geographical peculiarities, and the history of indigenous peoples. You will gain a lot of wilderness knowledge that you can then pass on to others.

    Another important aspect is generally speaking the outdoor competence. Here you will learn how to orient yourself in nature, how to read maps, and how to navigate with a compass. You will be trained to safely navigate in the wilderness and learn how to protect yourself from dangers.

    der kompass gehoert zur essentiellen wildnisausruestung

    So there are numerous trainings and courses that can help you become a successful wilderness mentor.

    Whether it's practical survival training, theoretical courses, or outdoor skills training - there is a suitable offer for every aspiring wilderness mentor.

    Use these opportunities to deepen your knowledge and improve your skills.

    Mistakes to Avoid as a Wilderness Mentor

    Let's discuss the mistakes you should definitely avoid as a wilderness mentor.

    Sure, we all want to be successful, but sometimes the wrong turns on our path lead us in the opposite direction.

    No worries, I'll help you navigate these mazes!

    Let go of Arrogance in Civilization

    Yes, you are an expert and you know a lot. But believe me, even the most experienced wilderness mentors are still learning.

    Approach your students with respect and openness. Be curious about their ideas and approaches.

    If you think you already know everything, you will quickly realize that the wilderness is full of surprises. So stay humble and be ready to grow together with your students.

    arroganter mann im wald mit gruppe

    Preparation is key

    Imagine standing in the middle of the wilderness and suddenly realizing that you have forgotten half of your equipment. Embarrassing, right? As a wilderness mentor, you are responsible for the safety of your group.

    So be always well-prepared, double-check your equipment, and familiarize yourself with the area you are exploring. Good preparation can make the difference between an unforgettable adventure and a precarious situation.

    saege messer axt ausruestung

    Communication is the key

    Silence may be wonderful in nature, but as a wilderness mentor, you should not overuse it. Speak clearly and distinctly to your students, explain to them what you expect from them, and make sure they feel safe and comfortable.

    Misunderstandings can quickly lead to frustration and danger.

    So be always approachable, have an open ear for the concerns of your students, and communicate openly and honestly.

    zwei menschen unterhalten sich im wald

    Flexibility is a Virtue

    In the wilderness, not everything always goes according to plan. Weather, terrain, and other factors can quickly force you to change your plans.

    As a wilderness mentor, you need to be able to adapt and find creative solutions. Stay calm when things don't go as planned and see it as an opportunity to improve your skills. With the right attitude, you can overcome almost any challenge.

    Don't forget the fun

    Sure, as a wilderness mentor, you have a lot of responsibility, but that doesn't mean you have to be serious all the time.

    Don't let the fun and joy of nature come up short.

    Laugh with your students, tell funny stories by the campfire, and enjoy the time in the wilderness. Your enthusiasm will be contagious, and your students will thank you for it.

    schneewandern kinder

    So - follow these tips and you will see that your journey as a wilderness mentor will be successful. Let's explore the wilderness together, learn from each other, and experience unforgettable adventures.

    Test yourself: Are you ready to become a Wilderness Mentor?

    So you want to know if you have what it takes to be a wilderness mentor?

    Don't worry, I'll help you figure it out!

    Let's take a look at 9 important questions together that will give you clarity.

    1. Are you ready to leave your comfort zone? As a wilderness mentor, you will spend a lot of time in nature, whether the sun is shining or the rain is pouring down. You must be willing to face the elements and keep a cool head in unforeseen situations. If you are excited to step out of your comfort zone and taking on new challenges, you are on the right path!

    2. Does your heart beat faster when you think about nature? A deep passion for the wilderness is essential to becoming a successful wilderness mentor. If you love nature, are committed to environmental conservation, and can't wait to share your knowledge and enthusiasm with others, then you've already checked off an important point!

    3. Are you ready to give it your all? Believe me, as a wilderness mentor, you won't just be sitting comfortably by the campfire roasting marshmallows (although that's certainly part of it). It takes hard work and dedication to improve your skills and advance your career. If you're ready to roll up your sleeves and approach things with passion, then you're on the right track!

    4. Do you have a smile on your face and optimism in your heart? A positive attitude is key to being successful as a wilderness mentor. Imagine sitting by the campfire and complaining all the time about the bad weather or the mosquitoes - that won't exactly inspire your students. If you're a cheerful, optimistic person who can see the positive side even in challenging situations, then you have a major advantage on your side!

    5. Are you curious and eager to learn? Nature always has new surprises and challenges in store. As a wilderness mentor, you must be willing to constantly learn and expand your knowledge. If you enjoy acquiring new skills and are open to change, then you're on the right path!

    6. Are you open to people from all walks of life? As a wilderness mentor, you will work with various people who bring different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. It's important that you treat everyone with openness and respect, regardless of their origin, gender, age, or abilities. If you appreciate diversity and see each person as an individual, you're on the right track!

    7. Do you actively stand against discrimination and prejudice? In the wilderness, we are all equal - regardless of where we come from or what we look like. As a wilderness mentor, you have the responsibility to create an inclusive and respectful environment where everyone feels welcome and valued. If you're willing to actively combat discrimination and prejudice, and advocate for equality and understanding, then you possess an important quality that makes a good wilderness mentor!

    8. Are you ready to engage with societal issues? The wilderness is not separate from society - social and political issues are reflected here as well. As a wilderness mentor, you should be prepared to engage with current debates and challenges, and take a clear stance against right-wing populism, racism, and other forms of discrimination. If you have the courage to address uncomfortable topics and stand up for your values, then you're on the right path!

    9. Can you look beyond your perspective? The wilderness is a place where people can come together and learn from each other. As a wilderness mentor, you have the opportunity to build bridges and promote understanding between different groups. If you are curious about other cultures and ways of life, enjoy listening, and learning from each other, then you can make a significant contribution to a more open and tolerant society!

    If you can answer these questions with a big smile and a confident "Yes!", then nothing stands in the way of your career as a wilderness mentor.

    bushcraft anfaengerfehler titelbild

    By incorporating these points into your work as a wilderness mentor, you demonstrate that you are not only an expert in survival techniques, but also a role model for diversity, respect, and social engagement.

    You have the unique opportunity to bring people together in the wilderness and work together towards a better world. So use your position to initiate positive changes and to stand up against discrimination and for more understanding!

    Of course, there is still much to learn and discover, but with the right attitude, passion, and dedication, you will succeed in bringing the beauty and significance of the wilderness closer to others.

    The Importance of Nature Connection for Wilderness Mentors

    You can probably imagine that I am completely thrilled by the wilderness and nature. That's my life!

    I believe that as a wilderness mentor, it is essential for you to build a deep connection to nature.

    This is the only way you can show others how beautiful and important the wilderness is. And this is the only way you can advocate for the protection of these delicate ecosystems.

    Do you know, being connected to nature means that nature is a part of you? Basically logical, right? Everything is nature - we humans are nature and belong in nature.


    I constantly try to feel at home in nature and understand the connections.

    And the fact is: You can never learn that from textbooks, you have to experience it!

    That's why I spend as much time as possible outdoors in nature. I let myself be enchanted by it and enjoy its beauty and tranquility with all my senses.

    If you love nature, then you also understand what it needs. The wilderness is not a place to be exploited. It is a living system that we must protect and preserve.

    You have to see nature as a part of yourself. Only then can you truly advocate for it.

    So, go out into nature and let it inspire you! Spend time in the wilderness and feel the connection.

    33 uebungen fuer mehr naturverbindung

    The more you love and appreciate nature, the better you can inspire others to protect it. This is also one of our tasks as wilderness mentors - to pass on the love for nature and encourage others to protect it.

    Read also

    Nature connection is not just important - it is extremely important! The power of nature connection - Nature connection is the feeling of intense connection with nature. When we are in nature, we can immediately experience this feeling.

    What does a wilderness mentor earn?

    Regarding fees: There is really no one-size-fits-all solution, but I am pleased to share my experiences with you. Prices in Berlin may be slightly different from in rural areas, but ultimately, it depends on your offer and your target audience.

    As a wilderness mentor, you can earn money in various ways. Income depends on several factors such as your experience, location, demand, and whether you work independently or for an organization.

    50 euro schein in hosentasche

    Here is an overview of possible earning opportunities:

    1. Tuition Fees: Offer multi-day courses on topics such as Bushcraft, Survival, or Natural History. Fees vary depending on the length, content, and target audience of the course. With increasing experience and a good reputation, you can demand higher prices.
    2. Workshops and Seminars: Conduct shorter workshops on specific skills such as fire making, tracking, or wild plants. Day workshops usually cost between 50 and 200 € per participant.
    3. Individual Training and Coaching: Provide personalized training for individuals or small groups. Here, you can charge a higher hourly rate, often between 50 and 100 € per hour.
    4. School Programs and Corporate Events: Collaborate with schools, youth groups, or companies to offer nature experiences and wilderness team-building. Compensation is usually on a fee basis.
    5. Products and Resources: Develop and sell learning materials, books, videos, or equipment related to Bushcraft and Survival. This can be an additional passive income stream.
    6. Partnerships and Sponsorships: Work with outdoor brands or other companies that share your values. Through sponsorship, affiliate links, or commissions, you can earn additional money.

    A full-time average wilderness mentor can earn approximately €25,000 - €50,000 per year. Top earners with an established reputation and wide range of offerings can also achieve €100,000 or more.

    However, keep in mind that establishing a stable income as a wilderness mentor requires time, perseverance, and continuous education. Start part-time and gradually work your way until you have enough experience and connections to make a full-time living out of it.

    Example of an invoice
    Example of an invoice

    With passion, professionalism, and entrepreneurial skills, you can build a solid income in this fulfilling profession. Stay tuned and don't get discouraged - nature needs dedicated mentors like you.

    I hope this gives you some orientation. Your passion and knowledge are what truly make the value of your work. And it's perfectly fine to adjust prices when you realize that your costs or the value of your offerings change.

    You can also be cheaper at the beginning to gain experience. Or to spread the word about your offers.

    A good method to set your prices could be to calculate your costs accurately, set a desired hourly rate for yourself, and then see how much time you typically need for preparation, execution, and follow-up of a workshop.

    You can then derive a fee from this that is fair for you and your clients.

    For social institutions or non-profit organizations, I sometimes offer a discount, while for corporate clients or special events, I charge a surcharge that reflects the additional value and organizational effort.

    wildnis gruppe am essen

    Furthermore, this is an offer for a company, and for many large corporations, it doesn't matter much whether you cost €250 or €500 per day. However, for self-payers, it's a different story.

    When dealing with schools, it's best to ask about their budget beforehand. I once estimated 250 €, only to find out later that it would never work - they only had 5 € per child (20 children × 5 € = 100 €). It's a pity, but working "for free" is also not an option.

    How to become self-employed as a wilderness mentor in Germany? Taxes and more.

    Independence as a wilderness mentor sounds tempting, but where do you start, and what should you consider?

    No worries, I'll help you navigate through the jungle of bureaucracy and taxes. I've been down this exact path.

    Step 1: Define Business Idea and Target Audience

    Consider which courses, workshops, or events you want to offer and who your target audience is. Families, school classes, corporate teams, or individuals? The clearer your offer and your target audience, the easier the marketing will be.

    idee buch natur

    Step 2: Legal Form and Business Registration in Germany

    For most wilderness mentors, a sole proprietorship (freelancer or self-employed individual) is a suitable option. Register your business with the relevant trade office and consult a tax advisor about the advantages and disadvantages of different legal forms. (In my case in Berlin, I register it with the tax office)

    What did I register for? Since I own a large website here and run the Wildimpuls distance learning course, I have a business. So, I also pay trade tax. In contrast: Being a freelancer means "income from self-employment". I recommend that you try to get registered as a freelancer. You can apply for this with a personal letter to the tax office (at least in Berlin).

    Step 3: Tax Office and Taxes in Germany

    Inform the tax office about your self-employment and have a tax number assigned to you.

    As a freelancer and as a business owner, you issue invoices. Consider whether you want to use the small business regulation. With the small business regulation, you do not charge VAT on the invoices, but you also cannot claim it for expenses. More on that below.

    gewinnermittlung kosten gewinne ausgaben

    Important: Keep track of your income and expenses from the beginning and keep receipts.

    Of course, you also have to pay taxes on your income. Include your income when registering your business. Read here everything about taxes for freelancers. You can calculate income tax quite accurately here:

    Here are two short calculations for income tax.

    Invoice Taxable Income Personal Circumstances Calculation Year Income Tax
    Example 1 €15,000 single 2024 €581.00
    Example 2 €50,000 married / partnered 2024 €6,114.00
    Example 3 €80,000 single 2024 €22,997.00

    What do I do? I have been using for my invoicing for over 8 years now. I opted out of the small business regulation from the beginning. Being married, I pay slightly less taxes.

    Step 4: Insurance in Germany

    Think about professional liability insurance to protect yourself against liability claims. Accident insurance and health insurance for self-employed individuals are also important. Consult an insurance broker.

    Where am I? I am on the statutory health insurance (amount varies depending on income), have an accident insurance, and a professional liability insurance from andsafe (around 120 € per year).

    Step 5: Pricing and Fees

    Calculate your prices carefully, considering all costs (materials, travel, preparation, insurance, etc.) as well as your desired hourly rate. Orient yourself towards industry-standard prices, but do not undervalue yourself - your expertise has its price.

    Step 6: Marketing and Customer Acquisition

    • Create a website, flyer, and business cards to promote yourself.
    • Use social media to advertise your services and build a community.
    • Network with other wilderness mentors, schools, clubs, and businesses to establish collaborations.

    As you can see with me, I own this large website here and various channels on the web, such as YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

    Step 7: Further Education and Qualification

    Regularly invest in further education and training (such as the Wildimpuls annual program) to deepen your knowledge and stay up to date. Additional qualifications in first aid, pedagogy, or natural history can enhance your offerings.

    Of course, being a wilderness mentor requires courage, perseverance, and a bit of paperwork.

    But don't be discouraged - with the right preparation and passion, you can build a business that gives you freedom, fulfillment, and a good income.

    Just a few more tips to finish:

    1. Start small and work your way up. You don't have to offer 10 courses per month right away, but can gradually expand your offerings.
    2. Be creative and stand out from the competition. Develop unique course formats or specialize in specific target groups.
    3. Cultivate your network and build long-term relationships with customers and partners. Recommendations are worth their weight in gold!
    4. Stay authentic and true to yourself. Your personality and values are your greatest assets as a wilderness mentor.
    5. Celebrate your successes and learn from setbacks. Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster ride, but the view from the top is breathtaking!
    kind riecht an naturmaterialien

    What are the advantages and disadvantages of the small business regulation?

    You would like to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of the small business regulation - an important topic for all aspiring wilderness mentors!

    Let's explore together what the small business regulation means and whether it applies to you.

    What is the small business regulation anyway?

    The small business regulation is a special provision in value-added tax law. It states that entrepreneurs who did not exceed €22,000 in turnover in the previous year and are not expected to exceed €50,000 in the current year are not required to charge and remit value-added tax.

    Advantages of the small business regulation Disadvantages of the small business regulation
    - Less bureaucracy: You don't have to show, calculate, and pay sales tax to the tax office. This saves time and nerves! - Input tax deduction: You are not allowed to claim input tax on your operating expenses. This means you pay the full sales tax on all purchases.
    - Pricing: Your prices appear cheaper as no sales tax is added. This can be an advantage over competitors. - Revenue threshold: If you exceed the revenue threshold of €22,000 in the previous year or €50,000 in the current year, you do not have to pay sales tax retroactively - but only from the year following the exceedance of the €50,000 threshold.
    - Liquidity: You don't have to prepay sales tax and have more money in the bank. - Invoicing: You must indicate the application of the small business regulation on your invoices. Some customers prefer invoices with specified sales tax.

    Conclusion: Whether the small business regulation is beneficial for you as a Wilderness Mentor depends on your individual situation. If you expect relatively small revenues at the beginning and have few operating expenses with input tax, it can be a good choice.

    However, once you exceed the revenue thresholds or make many purchases with input tax, regular sales tax often becomes more beneficial.

    The fact is: The small business regulation is not mandatory - you can also voluntarily waive it and pay sales tax.

    I hope this information helps you with your decision. If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out here in the comments.

    I know, tax stuff is not exactly the most exciting part of wilderness self-employment - but it's just part of the deal. Think of it as part of the adventure and stay on top of it.

    Further information:

    Cowboy Kaffee camping kaffee machen

    Laws in Germany: What you should consider as a Wilderness Mentor

    As a wilderness mentor, it is tempting to just take your groups into the forest and get started.

    However, it's not as straightforward as it may seem at first glance. There are some things you should keep in mind.

    Here are my legal notes and tips for you:

    • In Germany, it is important to comply with the applicable regulations and laws.
    • To stay overnight or camp in certain forests, you usually need a permit in most cases.
    • There is a difference between state-owned and private forests. To obtain a permit, you should contact the responsible forestry office or the forest owner.
    • In nature reserves and similar areas, it is often not even allowed to leave the paths. Wilderness camps or seminars are not possible there.
    • For a fire in the forest, you also need a permit or must take special precautions.
    • If you are traveling with groups, you should register your course with the forester.
    survival basics power kurs gratis uebersicht

    To understand the legal situation accurately, I recommend you to read the following guides:

    1. What is allowed in Bushcrafting? Making fire, building camps, hunting, fishing? Find out here what you are allowed to do and what not.
    2. Is it allowed to collect branches and sticks in the forest? This article clarifies whether it is forbidden to collect wood.
    3. Is sleeping in the forest allowed? Setting up the tent and spending the night under the open sky after a long hike in the forest sounds wonderful, but is it also legal?
    4. Where can you legally practice wilderness training, bushcraft, and survival in Germany? Is the forest suitable? Your backyard? What other places are there? Find out here how to access your practice area legally.

    But don't get discouraged - with some preparation and planning, you can offer your groups an unforgettable experience and have a great time yourself.

    allein und ohne hilfe ueberleben in deutschen wald ist das moeglich

    Adventure Wilderness Mentor: Discover Your Calling in Nature

    You love the wilderness and want to turn your passion into a profession? Then a job as a wilderness mentor might be just right for you!

    As a wilderness mentor, you have the unique opportunity to help people navigate the outdoors and build a deep connection with nature.

    I am waiting in my small camp by the campfire for the participants
    I am waiting in my small camp by the campfire for the participants

    You can share your extensive knowledge of Bushcraft, Survival, and nature, making a valuable contribution to protecting our environment.

    The path to becoming a successful wilderness mentor requires commitment, passion, and the willingness to constantly evolve. However, with the right attitude and preparation, you can fulfill your dream and build a fulfilling career in the wilderness.

    Always remember: Nature is our most precious asset, and it is up to us to protect and preserve it.

    As a wilderness mentor, you have the opportunity to make a significant contribution and introduce the beauty and importance of the wilderness to others.

    Stay tuned, believe in yourself, and don't get discouraged, even if there are obstacles along the way.

    So, what are you waiting for?

    Grab your bushcraft knife, shoulder your backpack, and head out to meet your wilderness mentor!

    The great outdoors is calling, with so much to discover and learn.

    Let's start together and show others how valuable and worth protecting our nature is.

    I wish you all the best on your journey. If you have any questions or need support, I am here for you. Together, we can make the world a little better - for us and for future generations.

    Take care, Martin
    Martin Gebhardt

    Author of the guide

    Martin Gebhardt

    Hey, I'm Martin. On my blog, you will learn the basics and numerous details about living in the wild. I think survival, bushcraft and the good life in nature are the keys to happiness. Find me here on Instagram or on YouTube. You can find more about my mission on the About Me page.

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