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

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.32%4.26%
15 yr fixed3.36%3.27%
5/1 ARM3.37%3.27%
30 yr refi4.31%4.24%
15 yr refi3.34%3.25%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
Nasdaq 4,095.52 9.29 0.23%
S&P 500 1,864.85 2.54 0.14%
Treasuries 2.72 0.08 3.19%
Data as of 5:44pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.15 0.00 0.00%
Facebook Inc 58.94 0.00 0.00%
General Electric Co 26.56 0.00 0.00%
Cisco Systems Inc 23.21 0.00 0.00%
Micron Technology In... 23.91 0.00 0.00%
Data as of Apr 17

Sections

Spencer has been a supporting member of the "Good Morning America" cast for the past three years. More

Obamacare sign ups hit 8 million, though final enrollment remains to be seen. More

Office for iPad move is a symbolic victory for Nadella's Microsoft, but the company is still weighed down by many of the same old issues. More

Schwinn, Trek and Cannondale are all iconic American bicycle brands. But none of them are made in the United States. More

As Detroit moves closer to reaching a bankruptcy deal, retired civilian workers are poised to be left worse off than firemen and police officers. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.