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 fixed4.01%3.98%
15 yr fixed3.14%3.15%
5/1 ARM3.16%3.13%
30 yr refi4.05%4.00%
15 yr refi3.16%3.20%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 20,624.05 4.28 0.02%
Nasdaq 5,838.58 23.68 0.41%
S&P 500 2,351.16 0.00 0.00%
Treasuries 2.42 -0.02 -1.02%
Data as of 8:01pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 24.52 -0.06 -0.24%
Pfizer Inc 33.62 0.00 0.00%
Cisco Systems Inc 33.74 0.14 0.42%
Kraft Heinz Co 96.65 9.37 10.74%
Mondelez Internation... 42.50 -0.70 -1.62%
Data as of Feb 17

Sections

Kraft Heinz has abandoned its more than $140 billion bid for food and personal care products giant Unilever. But the company, which has Buffett as its largest investor, could still be interested in buying another big supermarket staple. More

It's still not clear whether millions of European Union migrants living in the U.K. will be permitted to stay in the country. More

Some Silicon Valley workers are going public with how their lives are changing under the new President as part of a new project from photographer and oral historian Helena Price called "Banned." More

Pay yourself first; donate stuff you don't need to charity and remember to claim deductions; finally, cut your recurring expenses. More