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How a Back Country Adventurer Navigates the Challenges of Seasonal Business

Jon Johnson has always been passionate about unique forms of entertainment. Combine that with his love of nature and his self-professed dreamer personality, and his business venture was all but inevitable.

A lifelong back country adventurer, Jon left a successful 20-year career at a private university in order to make his dream a reality, and started Zipline Utah in 2014. The high-adventure destination, located at Deer Creek reservoir in Utah, is an outdoor paradise. Jon has designed three elaborate zipline courses that nestle adventurers deep within the scenic Wasatch mountains. The courses vary depending on skill set and time, but they all include stunning aerial bridges, and some courses can last up to 3 hours from beginning to end. Jon has plans for adding additional activities including rope courses, a rock wall, and a snow tubing course (coming in winter 2018-2019).

While he’s fueled by a passion for outdoor adventure, the transition hasn’t been easy. His zipline courses took a year and a half to build, and Jon financed the initial cost with his retirement money and investments from friends. As most business owners will attest, everything ended up costing more than anticipated. Additionally, navigating permits over a federal waterway was complex and time consuming.

While Jon says ziplining is not just a summer activity—ziplining over the frozen reservoir is an amazing experience, and whizzing between snow-covered trees is something you have to see to believe, according to Jon—he found that his business takes a real step backward when the snow starts to fall.

Without any hard assets, most banks wouldn’t work with Jon to get the financing he needed to stay afloat and to grow his business. He came to Lendio to get working capital for the lean winter months. “I would definitely recommend Lendio to anyone with my type of business or in my situation. They’ve worked hard to find the right product for me and my business,” he says.

Today, Jon is thrilled with his business and firmly believes in nothing ventured, nothing gained. Zipline Utah prides itself in offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences to out-of-town visitors and locals alike. “I love the look on people’s faces when they’re able to overcome their fears, try something new, and end up with a whole new outlook on nature and their own abilities,” Jon shares.

About the author
Kolby Larsen

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