Have you ever gone hiking at a high elevation, taken a deep breath of the fresh air, and wished you could experience that feeling every day? The tranquility of nature and the happiness of being outdoors always draw me back. The great news is that turning your hobby and time spent outdoors into a business doesn’t need to be as complex as you may think. Making a hobby into a side hustle that could grow into something full-time is fairly simple!

Outdoor passion into profit
Credit: Tim Peck

Getting Started and Building an Excursion

Take one of your favorite outdoor hobbies or hikes and ask yourself what that would look like if you shared it with two to eight people. Is it possible?

Get started by writing the logistics of the trip and what you need to run it. For example:

  • Does the trip require any certifications?
  • Do you need any special licenses or permits?
  • Will you need to make reservations (like at a campsite or shelter)?
  • Will you need a way to transport guests?
  • Will you need to provide gear?

Don’t worry about how to market it or other “businessy” concerns. Just lay out the excursion and what it looks like. This is a minimum viable version of your tour and it’s all you need to start.

Now, you need to offer it to people. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to start, including one that doesn’t include forming a company, building a website, buying insurance, etc.

Why Airbnb Experiences are Great for Your Outdoor Side Hustle

Airbnb has made it much easier for adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts to share their passions with others through Airbnb Experiences.

Airbnb experiences

Airbnb Experiences is an online travel agency and platform like Expedia or Viator where guests can book experiences and tours in cities and towns across the U.S. It’s a very lean way to get started and test the demand for an excursion. They provide the marketing channel (their platform) and more complex legal requirements like insurance.

One of the major benefits of getting started with Airbnb is that it allows you to focus on the nuts and bolts of your side hustle, like writing the copy for your outdoor experience, describing what the tour includes, obtaining and uploading high-quality images, and setting your availability.

When/if you want to transition your side hustle to an entire business or extend your reach beyond Airbnb Experiences, you only need to worry about marketing and insurance. The rest of the work is done.

The downside is that, occasionally, Airbnb pauses new applications for Experience hosts, so you need to keep your eye out for when it’s available.

Turn your outdoor hobby into a business
Credit: Tim Peck

Alternatives to Airbnb Experiences for Outdoor Side Hustles

A quick alternative to Airbnb when it comes to building your outdoor adventure is to join a platform like ToursByLocals, where you can sign up to be a local guide for people visiting your home area. You can add your outdoor hobbies and experiences to your profile, along with any other information you’d like to share.

If you live in a state like New Hampshire—which is full of stunning hidden hikes, swimming holes, ski runs, and other natural wonders—you can use your knowledge to help tourists discover and enjoy these beautiful places that you hold dear. Or, pair an exciting outdoor excursion in Vermont with a visit to one (or more) of the Green Mountain State’s renowned breweries.

Turn what you love to do into a career
Credit: Tim Peck

Moving From a Side Hustle to a Full-on Outdoor Adventure Business

If you’ve launched your side hustle, got a decent amount of traction, and concluded that you want to take the next step and make this a business, there are some important things you’ll need to do, including:

  • Build a website with a booking system (I’ve had good luck with a WordPress site with Rezdy booking integrated into it)
  • Form a company
  • Purchase insurance
  • Create liability forms (and make sure guests sign them) 
  • Build a marketing plan and grow assets like images, testimonials, social media accounts, etc.
  • Perfect your experience offerings
  • List your experiences on multiple online travel agencies (OTAs) like Viator, Get Your Guide, etc.
  • Practice giving your experiences

That list should be enough to get you well on your way to turning your outdoor activities into your nine-to-five gig.

Turning Your Outdoor Hobby Into a Side Hustle

Turning your outdoor passion into a career might not happen overnight, but with a little thought and some planning, it’s never been easier to start a side hustle. Once you get started, who knows where the path will lead? Perhaps, a new, adventurous career.