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 fixed3.93%3.86%
15 yr fixed2.99%3.02%
5/1 ARM3.26%3.20%
30 yr refi3.98%3.92%
15 yr refi3.05%3.06%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,812.19 19.51 0.11%
Nasdaq 5,102.81 0.33 0.01%
S&P 500 2,089.14 2.55 0.12%
Treasuries 2.24 -0.01 -0.31%
Data as of 1:11am ET
Company Price Change % Change
General Electric Co 30.66 0.07 0.23%
Pfizer Inc 31.97 0.64 2.04%
Bank of America Corp... 17.47 0.00 0.00%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 8.30 0.30 3.75%
Synchrony Financial 31.34 -0.21 -0.67%
Data as of Nov 24


The financial deck appears to be stacked against blacks and Hispanics in America. They earn considerably less. They are more likely to be unemployed or in poverty and they are less likely to own a home. Yet despite all this, blacks and Hispanics are far more optimistic about being able to live the American Dream these days than whites. More

Watsi crowdfunds donations to cover healthcare costs of those in need. And it's seeing a surprising trend: micro-donations via the popular Chinese social networking app, WeChat. More

Some of the coolest toys this year are from small businesses. Here are 10 hot toys that just might be a smash hit this holiday season. More

Your new credit card might be safer, but it could lead to more headaches at the check-out line this holiday season. More