Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Quitting the day job to go hiking

silberberg.top.jpgSteve Silberberg, 48 Then: Computer programmer; Now: Hiking guide By Josh Hyatt, contributor


(Money Magazine) -- On those Mondays when he returned from a week of hiking, Steve Silberberg felt renewed. "My clothes fit better and my disposition was improved," he says.

Wanting to have that feeling more often -- and to help others achieve it -- the computer programmer began saving to start a backpacking tour company.

In 2005 he founded Fitpacking, which offers one- to two-week hikes for $975 to $1,700 a head. Rather than target hard-core adventurers, he markets to those wanting to lose weight.

This year Silberberg has 15 trips planned, to parks like Yosemite and Mount Rainier, and is on track to earn $30,000.

While he expects to double his take in 2011, he's still way off his previous income ($125,000). But, he says, "I really like the trail I'm on."

1. By sticking to a budget. Silberberg, who is single, saved $50,000 to start the biz. He caps annual spending at $10,000, using that for equipment, online keyword advertising, and liability insurance.

2. By responding to the economy. He cut the number of hikes in '09 and took on programming gigs to boost his slim $15,000 profit. But with the economy thawing, demand for hikes has doubled this year, he says.

3. By bringing on help. This year Silberberg, who runs the company out of his Hull, Mass., home, began contracting with guides so that he can offer a greater variety of trips and focus more on sales. To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.63%3.67%
15 yr fixed2.77%2.78%
5/1 ARM2.97%3.05%
30 yr refi3.67%3.71%
15 yr refi2.83%2.84%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
Nasdaq 4,775.36 -29.93 -0.62%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
Treasuries 1.82 -0.02 -1.03%
Data as of 11:00am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 14.56 -0.23 -1.56%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 14.00 1.34 10.58%
Ford Motor Co 13.56 -0.53 -3.76%
Apple Inc 93.74 -1.09 -1.15%
Microsoft Corp 49.87 -0.03 -0.06%
Data as of Apr 29

Sections

The Dow is down 300 points over the past two days, leaving the index on track for its worst week since early February. Blame fumbled earnings reports from the likes of Apple and Google as well as concerns about the Bank of Japan. More

Now you can watch the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket land on a barge as if you were standing on the deck of the ship. More

Visa says new software will allow consumers to check out with chip cards as fast as swiping a card with magnetic strip. More