Jim Harmer is a serial entrepreneur who has built and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. In the summer of 2021, he exited his company, Income School, and now dedicates his time to building Backfire–a brand dedicated to those who love shooting and hunting, strengthening kids, providing for their families, and following Christ. He lives in St. George, Utah with his wife of 15 years, and his 3 kids.
My career path has been exciting, to say the least. After completing my bachelor’s degree at BYU-Idaho, I went to law school. I worked incredibly hard to finish school and pass the bar, but during school, I started a blog about photography. By the time I became a lawyer, my blog was earning enough money that it was the better career path, so I built ImprovePhotography.com.
I ran ImprovePhotography.com for several years–attracting over 70 million views to my content that mostly focused on nature and landscape photography. I also built and sold other brands such as KnifeUp.com. In 2018, I sold Improve Photography and began work on Income School.
Income School is where I taught others how to create online brands like I had built. In the process, I started and sold outdoors brands like CamperReport.com and OutdoorTroop.com. The company grew to over 80 employees (many part-time), three offices, and over 150k subscribers on Youtube. I loved my work at Income School, but an opportunity came to sell the business to my partner and I took it.
I love working on Backfire. I want to help people to enjoy the outdoors. The brand doesn’t appeal to everyone, and it’s okay if it isn’t for you. But it’s sharing what my life is all about–family and God. Shooting and hunting are just ways to spread the message. I also have a separate site, PurposeInChrist.com, where I share my personal religious beliefs.
My Book: Work Energy
Work Energy is a book about finding your inner drive to accomplish goals. When I was a teenager, I made a bucket list of 50 things to do in life. I’ve spent most of my life whittling down that list, and presently I have 15 items left to go. Anyone up for climbing Kilimanjaro in a tornado while playing the guitar with one of the actors from The Office with me? That’d knock four items off the list at once.
I put everything I have into Work Energy. It gets great reviews on Audible and Amazon, so if you like business or self-development books, give it a listen on Audible (or read on Amazon). The book is pretty revealing about me and my life, and I was pretty vulnerable, so don’t judge me too harshly as you read it.
My Time Outdoors
When I was a teenager, I somehow got it into my head one day that I wanted to learn how to bowhunt. My dad wasn’t a hunter, but agreed to take hunter’s ed with me and learn together. Boy am I glad he was willing to take that adventure with me. I loved bowhunting growing up, I got tired of bowhunting’s increased risk of wounding game, so as an adult I turned to a rifle.
I worked three summers as a Rangemaster on gun ranges. I took the NRA’s Range Safety Officer course, but couldn’t justify paying for the certification since the NRA has a history of embezzlement.
I grew up in Idaho, so camping, fishing, and hunting were all I cared about. Now, I live in St. George, Utah, and get to enjoy the red rock landscape all around me.
If you want to know what I’m all about, just look at the picture above. I took my son, Ruger, away from his phone and XBOX to hunt big game animals in Africa. After a successful hunt, he experienced the African rite of passage of having the animal’s blood put on his forehead. I spend most of my time trying to create experiences like that for my kids.
Another one of those experiences happened in the picture below. My then 9-year-old son Cole was terrified of guns after I did a poor job of getting him started shooting hunting calibers. He overcame his fear and successfully took a hog in Texas–his first hunt. Next time we’ll just work on keeping that finger off the trigger when posing for pictures, son.
People today have a hard time understanding guns and hunting. They only see dead animals and guns, and if you live in a big city, that can be tough to wrap your head around. For me, it’s about taking my kids away from civilization, putting them in uncomfortable and difficult circumstances, allowing them to experience disappointment, and celebrating their success. We love the outdoors and the animals we’re thankful to hunt. We are very careful about the specific animals we kill to maintain healthy populations, and we eat what we kill.
My daughter is a little young for hunting still, but she assures me she’ll be out with the boys as soon as she’s big enough. My lovely wife, Emily, and I are very happy to get to raise these kids together.