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The Business of Outdoor Guiding: Entrepreneurship in Hiking Adventures

In a world that's constantly buzzing with technology and urban chaos, the call of the great outdoors has never been louder. As more people seek solace in nature, the demand for outdoor experiences guided by knowledgeable experts is skyrocketing. Enter the entrepreneurs of the wilderness – the outdoor guides who turn their passion for hiking adventures into thriving businesses.

The portrait of a modern tour guide

A modern tour guide should tell exciting stories in an interesting way. But that's not all. Today, a sought-after tour guide is a person who:

  • Has a website, which is constantly updated and improved

  • Regularly arranges his or her own photo shoots

  • Looks neat, clean, and stylish

  • Knows the 100% of hiking routes like vier quellen weg, Lasörling Höhenweg, Julian Alps, Stubaier Höhenweg, etc

  • Knows how to talk about complicated things and keep the conversation going

In general, a modern hiking guide is someone with whom it is pleasant to spend time. He or she will find a common language with children, adults, those on the hiking trip for the first time, and those who have traveled 50 times. The basis of his or her success is a personal brand, a wide circle of acquaintances, adequacy, and professionalism in everything.

Also important is the positioning (unique selling proposition). The client needs to understand what you can offer him or her as a hiking specialist and whether you meet the expectations.

To summarize, a great hiking tour guide must be a good entrepreneur.

Difficulties and pros of being a hiking guide

Many modern hiking guides live by the principle: the more difficult the task, the more interesting it is to solve. Still, we want to highlight two main challenges that almost all hiking tour guides face. 

Challenge #1. Becoming a sought-after specialist

At the beginning of the career, many hiking tour guides face the challenge of how to get people to book tours with them. 

And the best solution is to start and develop blogs on social networks (Facebook and Instagram). There, you should organize different activities so that people will subscribe to you, write down your number in case they need an excursion, or immediately order the service. 

Challenge #2. Getting to a good income

Of course, a decent income is a question for discussion. For someone, $2000 is decent. For someone $20,000 is not enough. But you will reach the one that suits you almost immediately. For what reason? This will happen if your expectations from the profession are very low. 

If you want to have enough to cover your basic needs - food and rent, you will have it. By the way, an important nuance is that you should start looking for clients right away.

How can you start a career as a hiking tour guide?

There are a few typical scenarios of how you can start a career as a hiking tour guide:

  • They just happen to be. These are about people who have been in the profession for years. Just because, at some point, circumstances worked out that way.

  • Moving to a new country. Often, in this situation, the guy works in IT (and that's what serves as the motivation to relocate), and the girl is looking for herself. In the process, she begins to conduct trekking trips. In parallel, she can talk about it on her Instagram page.

  • Unwillingness to return to the old job after maternity. This is especially true for office employees. They come across an advertisement about the start of recruitment for a course of hiking guides. They go to study and become trekking tour guides.

  • Hobby that combines pleasantly with useful and becomes an additional source of income. It happens when a person has a main job, and trekking tours are used as a hobby. Often, such guides work only a couple of times a month.

  • Searching for opportunities for development and additional income. Often found among museum staff.

  • The desire to try something new. This is about those who follow a familiar hiking guide on Instagram and think: "Wow! That's the job. You're walking around, and you get paid money too." Eventually, interest wins out, and a person decides to try to be a hiking tour guide.

In general, absolutely anyone can become a hiking guide. You don't have to be an extrovert for this profession. You can be humble but give exciting trekking tours.


There are more pros than cons to a hiking guide job. Here are a few things for which people adore this profession and plan to stay in it for at least 5 more years: 

  • Meeting people. Interesting, bright, unusual, and inspiring.

  • The emotion and delight of clients. It is awesome to hear reactions like "Wow! I didn't know that, even though I've been walking down this mountain all my life."

  • The opportunity to constantly explore favorite destinations, to walk around them. Always know where to go, where to rest, and where to shoot.

  • Self-development. Hiking tour guide is such a profession that there are constant reasons to dig deep. To study not only the history of the region but also communications, marketing, and languages. There's no time to degrade.

No matter how many online tours, audio tours, and free guidebooks there are, people will always need a good hiking guide. People need and will continue to need live dialog. So, the main advice for hiking tour guides is to adapt and constantly evolve.

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