What It's About
An urban hiking tour company with low startup costs.
Words of Wisdom
The best part about this side hustle model is that pretty much anyone can start something similar. Research tourism in your area, and ask yourself if there is enough tourism in your town to start a tour. If there is, what kind of tour do you want to run? Are there already competitors in your area?
If it's something that you think is feasible to do, plan out a couple tours and test them out with people you know!
Most of the challenges Alexandra has had to face are related to her having to cancel tours due to rainy weather. Normally, this only happens a few times a year, but last winter the San Francisco area experienced the wettest winter ever recorded since they started tracking rainfall in 1895! That definitely slowed things down for Urban Hiker San Francisco before it picked up again this spring.
Notes from Chris
San Francisco-based Alexandra Kenin has a flexible job as a project manager and editor for a fully-remote company. It’s a dream job in the sense that she’s able to set her own schedule and go back and forth from focusing on those job responsibilities to building something for herself. The company is in the tech industry, but Alexandra’s side hustle is completely different: it’s all about getting outdoors and showing city-dwellers and tourists a lesser-visited side of SF—the part of the city that includes scenic hills and hiking trails. Depending on the season, Urban Hiker San Francisco: makes between $2,500 and $8000 per month, peaking in July. Overall, gross income is about $50,000 per year. Corporate groups are the biggest source of income. She typically earns $1000+ for each 2-3 hour event. Alexandra now has 4-5 contractors working for her, depending on the season. More than 3,000 people have hiked with Alexandra and her guides, including a lot of foreign visitors. Sometimes it’s their very first day in the United States, so she loves being able to show off her city and provide a good introduction to the USA.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Urban Hiker San Francisco: Learn more about Alexandra and her unique urban walking tours on her website!
- Urban Trails | San Francisco: Coastal Bluffs, The Presidio, Hilltop Parks & Stairways: Alexandra's complementary tour book which just so happens to be the first ever guidebook on hiking in San Francisco
- Viator, TripAdvisor, Vayable, & Airbnb Some of the companies that drive business to Urban Hiker San Francisco
- Xola: The online booking software that Alexandra uses to schedule tours that offers multiple pricing packages
- The Guardian | How to start a tour operator business: Interested in starting your own urban touring company? Get started, here
- Sagenda: A free, online booking option if you're looking to cut costs
- Tour Guide Sells Astronomy Books to Tourists: How a British software engineer moved to the Canary Islands, started working as a tour guide, and wrote her own guidebook to accompany her tours
- Renegade Museum Tour Guide Earns $2 Million: A man in New York City proves that with enough passion and innovation a side hustle can thrive in museums
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