Mike head shot

Michael T. Wallenfels, founder/CEO of Outdoor Pursuits Consulting, LLC.

Mike Wallenfels, is about to drop in on the one-year mark on his consulting company, Outdoorpursuitsconsulting.com. Any entrepreneur will tell you. … THAT, my friend, is a BIG deal. Congratulations Mike!

Mike didn’t start his company as a bridge between corporate gigs. He intentionally put out his own shingle as a launch pad to the next act of his professional and personal life. Isn’t that what we LOVE about the entrepreneurial path?

Becoming an entrepreneur has opened up a lot of worlds to Mike. He now enjoys more freedom in his life, time with family, less travel for work and more meaningful engagements in his career. And, yes – more freedom to bridge his time between his home in Marin and his get away in the Sierras. Good. For. Him….

In doing so, Mike has reconnected with his passions in life, which have in turn boosted the you-know-what out of his creative capabilities as a consultant.

Listening to Mike’s interview showcases this passion and enables us to see how his work is now launched into six degrees outside of the outdoor active lifestyle markets.

Mike said that one of the biggest points of transition for him has been having the where-with-all mentally to work on multiple business projects, brands, and categories during a single day. Kind of like leaping multiple tall buildings in a single bound (or day). As a CEO who heads up an agency with over 50 brands, I understand this – at first, it’s a little odd, but then, you can’t operate otherwise!

The outdoor lifestyle markets are in a moment of monumental change. It’s kind of like going on a climbing expedition to the Baltoro Glacier to climb one of the Trango Massifs. There are weather issues, porters on strike, permits problems. Sure the end goal is the same but the means of getting there? ALWAYS changing and often, the plan has to be living, not stagnant.

That’s why Mike positions himself as a guide to his clients. “It was a bit scary pigeonholing myself as “Outdoor Pursuits Consulting,” Mike said. “Once I was able to convey that I could navigate the terrain more efficiently and effectively, helping my clients to get to their objective, it all made sense. And, it’s what I love to do.”

Mike’s gained a wide range of experience in his professional career. It’s tough for me to NOT liken his work experience and now, positioning as a guide for giant business objectives, to those I see qualifying Certified Guides (sorry, it’s the AMGA board member in me).

  • Retail? Check (A16, Sports Chalet and the Yosemite Mountain Shoppe)
  • Founding iconic outdoor apparel and hardgoods brand? Mountain Hardwear. Served as president at MH for four years.
  • Leader of entrepreneurial-minded brand into new markets? Timbuk2 – check
  • Sales and marketing? Global? Check and Check
  • Ecomm? Check …
  • Guiding mergers and acquisitions/private to publicly-traded? Check again

Listen to this entire podcast because Mike offers some absolute GEMS of insights to those of us (read: ALL) immersed in the class V rapid that is the transition to creative consumer-direct marketing.

Let us know what you think of Mike’s podcast in the Living Uber Facebook and LinkedIn groups (both Living Uber). Thanks!


Bravery in Business Quote:

“Just because you’re first, doesn’t mean you’re best. Commit to being first AND best or someone else will.”
And we MUST include this one too:
“Screw it, just do it – but just to do it with a plan.”

Habit for Success?

I take the time to think alone and listen to the guidance of others. Develop a personal plan to daily, weekly, and monthly to break away and commit to it. Find external stakeholders that don’t work for you, ask their opinions, and LISTEN. When you give up that time and input you give up on growing beyond today’s brush fire of the moment and you shield yourself from what might be the next big fire you didn’t expect.

Pivot Moment?

When Mike made the tough decision to leave Mountain Hardwear to go to Timbuk2, he explained that the decision had a lot to do with the fact that he’d built an amazing team to work with at Mountain Hardwear. So amazing in fact, that he wasn’t spending time doing the hands-on management and design work that he loved to do.

Isn’t that interesting? Essentially, the team was so stellar that Mike was relegated to building and presenting Powerpoint presentations globally – he had effectively delegated and built teams to the point where he wasn’t doing what he loved to do anymore. Timbuk2 definitely gave him the dosage of entrepreneurial fire he was seeking, and after immersing himself in new markets for five years, he felt ready to spread his own wings and leave a legacy in his work as a consultant.

Coolest Expansion Idea:

Taking the experience of custom built bags from an on-line only experience into a retail store setting. Using touch screens and physical samples of fabrics and options gave customers a full emersion into the custom bag experience. This concept eventually expanded to a stand alone store in Singapore and 6 doors in the USA.


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