[Editor’s Note: this feature was originally published in August 2016. We reprint it in case you missed it, and as part of our birthday month. Mr. Beresford will be presenting this weekend at the Bullseye Preparedness & Outdoors Expo in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.]
MIDDLETOWN, Ohio – Rich Beresford is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He is an expert survivalist, and he enjoys every opportunity to share his knowledge. Though don’t be fooled. This former Marine may be nice, but he’ll never back down when it comes to the truth.
As the founder of the Around The Cabin blog in 2012, Beresford and friends provide readers with a wide range of survival training that covers every possible topic such as wild medicinal herbs, guns, first aid, trapping skills, and old world recipes.
Teaching people is a passion for Beresford, and he’ll go virtually anywhere, for any size crowd, to make the world a smarter, more self-reliant place.
Dan O’Hara, president of Dano Productions’ preparedness expos, put it simply when he offered that Beresford “enjoys very much talking to people and getting the word out about prepping. He is very down to earth.”
Which explains Beresford attitude about in-person training, “I’ve gone to places and talked to one person. Doesn’t matter to me. I just want people to get the information. If I make a few bucks that’s great.”
During the first conversation with a PBN reporter, he was on his way to Kentucky to teach a one-day class for “maybe 15” people. (He ended up with 25 in the audience.)
Even though his in-person training often requires a nominal fee for adults, it is a small part of the Rich Beresford universe. Around The Cabin inhabits enough far-reaching channels – Facebook, live streamed videos on the website, and YouTube – that huge audiences benefit from the free information year after year.
On his website, Beresford tends to post about once week, though he often allows contributors to also post. “I get free content, and people get to see stuff,” he jokes.
His weekly YouTube posts reach up to 1,000 viewers at a time.
In terms of the live-streamed shows, many people in the Survival Industry credit Beresford as the innovator of that format. It is basically a daily affair because he averages one episode every 24 hours, and each episode showcases a different side of his training and range.
To get a sense of his teaching life, just check out the live streaming schedule for AroundTheCabin.com (exact times are available here):
- “The Backyard Butcher,” a show discussing self-reliance, survival, bushcraft and off-grid living.
- “Dude After Dark,” a comedic hour with the occasional random guests that discuss current events, survival issues and whatever comes to mind.
- “Survival Medicine with Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy,” co-hosted by two of the most popular survival medicine experts in the industry also known as “Doom and Bloom;”
- “Survival with Charley Hogwood,” the author of “Mags: The People Part of Prepping” among other books;
- “Get Prepped with Jim Cobb.”
- “The Dirt with Dirtbag,” a show discussing self-reliance, survival, bushcraft and off-grid living.
- “Wild 4 The Outdoors,” another self-reliance, survival, bushcraft and off-grid living.
- “Primitive Teaching”
- “The Homesteading Hippy”
Making it to this point wasn’t always easy. When he started, Beresford and friends would work through their material even though he knew at any given time “five people were watching.” But with determination, it has paid off.
“Our medical show (Doom and Bloom), those people show up. People that like the comedy and the guns (Dude After Dark), those people show up,” he explained. “Each show is different. Little of this, little of that. People come to learn and that’s great.”
In addition to his packed schedule, the live streaming alone makes it pretty clear that Rich Beresford has no problem sharing the spotlight.
In fact, for Beresford, its not just about joining forces with fellow well-known experts, many start-up Survival Industry entrepreneurs are the financial beneficiaries of an initial hand up from Around The Cabin’s open door policy.
At one point, producers from the Glenn Beck show booked Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy to discuss the Ebola Crisis. Others have gone on to star in their own survival television series or are paid contributors for national magazines.
“We’re all in this together,” he insists. “Let’s help each other out. It’s what the world’s all about.”
Becoming The Influential Hillbilly
While it’s clear that a key component of Around The Cabin’s audience-building formula is Beresford’s personal outreach and commitment to the online presence, what keeps people coming back is partly due to his unmistakable influence in the Survival Industry.
Jim Cobb, the content director for SurvivalWeekly.com, believes Beresford’s influence is directly correlated to his unwavering devotion to the facts.
“Rich is known for his honesty and integrity. He is well known in the survival community as someone who is a straight shooter,” Cobb said. “He’s also very down to earth and practical. The latest and greatest gadgets and gizmos don’t easily impress him.”
Cobb, who is also the author of several prepper books, including the Amazon #1 bestseller, “Prepper’s Home Defense,” and the co-host of a weekly Around The Cabin video cast, added, “Rich’s knowledge comes from real world experience. He learned by doing, not by graduating from ‘YouTube University.’”
And according to O’Hara, the guests on any Around The Cabin show love it as much as the audience.
“They love him because there is no ego there. When he interviews you, he lets you talk. Its about you, not him,” O’Hara explained. “Audiences like him because they get a real interview. And the guests get to display their service or wares.”
So, how did he become so knowledgable about self-reliance? It was not specialized military or law enforcement training, it was a way of life.
“I grew up doing this. When I was young, I thought everyone lived this way,” he said. “My survival and bushcraft skills were family learned. We picked strawberries, gathered things. We used to can. I’m just a poor old hillbilly.”
When he was old enough, he followed his father’s footsteps and joined the military. His branch of choice was the United States Marine Corps. After completing boot camp at Parris Island, he was quickly recruited by the CIA. He says throughout his military career, he did “a lot of work for a lot of people.”
In 2005, he got injured, a subject he doesn’t volunteer many details on. And like many veterans, he struggled with his integration back to civilization. But his positive attitude helped get him through the rough times, and is another endearing quality to his fans.
“Everyone has ups and downs in their lives,” said Cobb, whose been working with Beresford for two years. “Even when I know things aren’t all going his way, I’ve never seen or heard Rich complain or whine. He always finds a way to make it through and end up shining like a new penny on the other end.”
And what does Beresford relish most? His opportunities to teach the things he loves, like how to cook on a machete or a shovel.
“I just want to share the knowledge,” he said. “I want to get the information out to people.”
No More Mr. Nice Guy (Sort of)
But there is one thing Beresford will not tolerate (even if he does so in a nice manner): when it comes to sharing information, he is fiercely adamant about accuracy.
“When YouTube was in its infancy. I saw so much wrong information,” he explained. “Good people say the wrong things. They think they know, but they don’t. And they’re going to get someone killed.”
He’s fairly proud of the fact that he’s tangled with the callers and hosts of other shows just to correct their misinformation.
In terms of his video casts, he insists on two rules for every co-host: all of the subject matter has to be factual and verifiable, and no “armchair quarterbacks” are allowed. Hosts have to get out of their seat and actually demonstrate whatever skills they are teaching.
“I’m the only one that gets to sit in the chair and play the Johnny Carson or David Letterman of survival,” he explained.
This adherence to truth and actual training carries over to the Around The Cabin business model as well.
“I turn down sponsors if I don’t believe in their product,” Beresford said. “If I don’t believe your product is good enough for me and my family, I’m darned sure not going to try to sell it to my audience.”
Being a stickler for the facts also leads to some of the most educational videos in the Survival Industry.
“We do it live. If you screw up and hurt yourself, it’s there. If you’re flint knapping and you snap the point in half, oh well,” he laughed. “People need to understand that’s what happens.”
And for Beresford, when he tells his favorite stories they have nothing to do with education or speaking to crowds large and small. Nope, he truly loves the behind-the-scenes memories of his famous friends.
“The first shoot we ever did with Dave Canterbury was at his house. And once, Mykel Hawke did a show in his pajamas,” he laughs, adding that Hawke (a star of “Man Woman Wild”) planned to read his son a bedtime story after the taping. “That’s the stuff that sticks to me. That’s what I want people to see.”
Beresford’s ability to proudly name his numerous guests and co-hosts that have risen to become mega-survival stars points to his integrity, and his eye for talent.
“Rich seeks out the best show hosts he can find. He is always on the lookout for more people who can add to the cumulative knowledge base. His goal hasn’t changed from the outset – to share as much high quality information as possible,” said Cobb. “The shows on ATC are hosted by folks who know what they’re talking about. Rich has been around a long time and has really developed a great eye and ear for show hosts. Having the knowledge is key, of course, but being able to communicate that information in a meaningful and entertaining way is important. Rich is able to draw out that information during shows, engaging with the hosts to keep the audience both informed and entertained.”
At the ripe old age of 50, Beresford and his wife of 14 years, Holly, have an eye to the future. But while many of his friends and cohorts are finding success on television, that’s not on the table at this time.
“I would love to do television and reach more people, but we have to stay true. What makes good television doesn’t make good education. It’s not a Mr. Roger’s world. The world isn’t a Captain Kangaroo like it used to be when I was a little kid,” he explained. “Now, (producers) don’t want to see you sweating and prepping to do whatever. And they don’t understand how hard it is. I want to keep it real, but that doesn’t make good television.”
So until the network executives figure out how to actually teach survival skills the Around The Cabin way, Beresford will stick to what works best.
He’ll continue to travel the country teaching people the important skills they need.
He’ll also continue to work on his revenue streams: training, YouTube, sponsorships and donations, while building his new website.
Finally, when asked his thoughts on the current state of the Survival Industry, he offered a vision that may not surprise industry watchers.
“People want to homestead and want to be more self-reliant,” he explained.
With that said, if you believe art imitates life, or that network executives will only profit when they give the people what they want, Beresford’s observation could explain why television schedules are full of popular shows that highlight self-reliance, like “Homestead Rescue,” “Naked and Afraid” and “Alaskan Bush People.”
It also explains something else; Rich Beresford knows what he is talking about.