How Jennifer turned her passion for the outdoors into a thriving tour business

On Episode 2 of the Tourpreneur Podcast, Host Shane Whaley discovers how Jennifer Gruhn turned her passion for nature and the outdoors into a thriving tour business. Jennifer is the owner of Asheville Hiking Tours and today we learn more about how she got started, the challenges she overcame and how she has developed her tour business.

Tourpreneur Jennifer also shares with us how she took advantage of a very well known app to measure customer demand and gather feedback before launching her tours.

On this episode of the Tourpreneur Podcast you will hear:

  • How Jennifer overcame feelings of imposter syndrome and feeling that she was a fraud. (Take a look at her academic accomplishments, she knows her stuff!)
  • Jennifer’s tip on how to overcome your own fear of starting a tour business
  • Why North Carolina is a good place for nature hikes
  • How she funded her business
  • The challenge with permitting as Asheville Hiking Tours leads tours on federal land.
  • What Jennifer would do differently if she had to start her business over again
  • What surprised her the most when she started her tour business
  • Why she uses her Farehabor to design and maintain the Asheville Hiking Tours website.
  • And why she uses Fareharbor for her booking platform.
  • Why she changed her original business name to Asheville Hiking Tours
  • What it was like leading a tour for the first time
  • How Jennifer solicits feedback and how she processes it
  • Recruiting tips, what does she look for in a tour guide for her business
  • Jennifer shares what it was like managing paid employees for the first time and shares her thoughts on leading people.
  • A nightmare situation and how she overcame it (plus learning lessons so if it happens again she is equipped to deal with it.)
  • What tools Jennifer uses for marking, digital marketing and search engine optimisation
  • What books and podcasts she has found helpful on her tourpreneurial journey.
  • Why she was skeptical of the Arival conference but will be going to the next one.
  • What new tours Jennifer is planning next year
  • Shane shares what terrifies him about the American countryside….

Resources mentioned on Episode 2 of the Tourpreneur Podcast

Asheville Hiking Tours

Have you signed up for the Tourpreneur Daily Briefing yet? Shane curates the best of the day’s tours and activities news every week day. Learn more here.



Online Marketing/Digital Marketing/Search Engine Optimization

JB Media Group – Online Marketing courses

SEMRush – free and premium service available

Google Analytics

Google Search Console

Books and Podcasts

The Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast

The Gifts of Interpretation – Larry Beck and Ted Cable

The E-Myth – Michael Gerber