100
7 min 41 sec

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.
Creative High Profit Service Tourism

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What It's About

A man from New York City goes on a forgettable date but falls in love with the idea of creating his own museum tour company.

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Organization & Communication
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
High

Words of Wisdom

A large part of Nick Gray's success with his touring side hustle, Renegade Museum Hack, is the fact that he stays driven by a simple goal: showing people that museums are awesome. He took something that some people would consider boring, and found a way to engage his tour attendees in a more interesting way.

Is there something out there that's considered boring that you could do better?

Fun Fact

While Nick spent his working weeks selling avionics equipment—a job he happened to be happy at—he started spending every weekend at the Met. He began offering free tours of The Met to his friends and family, which mainly consisted of showing them his favorite things. He says he was having so much fun doing the tours that the first time someone tried to offer him money at the end—around $20—he declined their offer.

Notes from Chris

Episode 100

For some, a trip to the museum promises to be a deep and meaningful experience rich with our cultural history. But for others, it can be considered on par with watching paint dry. As humans, we have this deep-seated love of storytelling that draws us in and helps us to relate and connect. Museums are a perfect environment for this, but sometimes that crucial storytelling aspect gets pushed to the back burner in lieu of education and facts.

In today's story, a New York City man is seeking to change the way that people experience museums by offering unconventional tours that peel back the curtain of modern exhibits revealing the amazing stories behind the history.

He began offering free tours of the museum to his friends and family, which mainly consisted of showing them his favorite things, but these weekend tours quickly became a very full-time hobby. Given his newfound love for museums and desire to share it, he decided to set up a side business offering fun, non-traditional, “renegade” tours at the world’s best museums specifically for people who don't think they like museums.

Several years later, it’s safe to say all of this has been a huge success. In its first year, Museum Hack made about $40,000 in sales, and in the following year this increased—no joke—twelvefold. 2016 marked his fourth year in business bringing in over $2 million in sales, and Museum Hack now has more than 50 guides, offering tours in New York, Washington DC, Chicago and San Francisco.

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Museum Hack: Learn more about the unconventional tours that Nick and his team offer on his website—these aren't your Grandma's museum tours!
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The iconic site where Nick's love for museums blossomed
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

Chris Guillebeau

P.S. If you have a moment, will you answer a quick survey for my podcast network? They want to know more about who's listening. :)

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Quote of the Day
"Do it for your friends first! I spent hundreds of hours giving my friends free museum tours so I could create an entirely new product, and this feedback from them in combination with their word of mouth advertising is what helped me launch my business."
—Nick Gray #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau