We Started A $120K/Year Mt. Everest Hiking Business

Sanjib Adhikari
Founder, Heaven Himalaya
$10K
revenue/mo
2
Founders
6
Employees
Heaven Himalaya
from Kathmandu, Nepal
started January 2020
$10,000
revenue/mo
2
Founders
6
Employees
536K
alexa rank
1.73K
followers
405
followers
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We Started A $120K/Year Mt. Everest Hiking Business

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Namaste, I am Sanjib Adhikari, and I am the co-founder of Heaven Himalaya. I started the company 2 years ago with my brother, Ramhari Adhikari. We started Heaven Himalaya with the primary aim of promoting the beauty of the Himalayas by offering great trekking and tour packages at an exceptional value.

heaven-himalaya

We design multi-day trip itineraries to Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and India. We specialize in trekking and peak climbing tours. However, we also offer other activities such as day hiking, cultural tours, wildlife safaris, jeep tours, rafting, photography tours, mountain biking, and other adventure activities.

Although we have about 60+ tour packages listed on our website, the main flagship product is the Everest Base Camp Trek. It’s a 14-day trek package to the base camp of the world’s highest mountain, Mt. Everest.

This journey will fill the wanderlust in you. It takes you through the breathing high Himalayas, monasteries, Sherpa culture, high altitude flora and fauna, mountain glaciers, and the world’s highest peaks. It allows you to see the majestic Everest in front of you and tell everyone about it.

When a tourist books a trip with us, we arrange for everything from travel planning and management, airport pickup and drop-off, accommodation and camping, hiring of a guide or porter, booking of flights, buses, and other transportation, and almost everything until they are back in their home country.

We started with a simple reason to help promote the Himalayas. But now we have been helping travelers reach their dream destinations in the mountains and hills. Along with that, we help rural communities attract tourists and promote their villages.

Nepal is a mountainous country. Some villages in the hills don’t have enough income sources to earn their living. The only source is tourism. Thus, we have also been actively working to help communities grow and promote village tourism.

We are not just another travel company that lists tours and packages. We operate all the tours listed on our website ourselves.

We started during the COVID times. Everyone asks us why we started the travel business during the COVID time. But we had long-term plans to start the business, and we were so excited that we couldn’t hold on any longer. Starting during COVID has also given us enough time to work on building the company and its services. So, we don’t have any regrets.

What's your backstory, and how did you come up with the idea?

I am a university student studying information and technology in my hometown, Chitwan, Nepal. Since childhood, I have always been fascinated with videos and photos of the high mountains in the Himalayas. I used to regularly watch travel vloggers and follow them everywhere. I had a soft corner for the mountains and the Sherpas.

Although I was born in a village in the hilly region of Nepal, we never visited Everest, Annapurna, or any other touristic regions in the Himalayas. There were no good roadways to visit these areas, and it would take us weeks to visit the mountain base camps on foot with camping tents and food, which we couldn’t afford to attempt.

As time passed by, I applied to study at a university in Australia to study Information Technology after high school but got rejected. After the rejection, I was torn apart and completely devastated. Immediately, I returned to my hometown and started a job in an educational consultancy, KBA Global, and also registered for an undergraduate degree at a nearby college.

Life was getting back to normal again. But my elder brother, who worked in a similar tourism business, resigned from the post to start his own business. That is where the idea of Heaven Himalaya was born. We talked to each other and created a prototype of the business with the sole aim of promoting the Himalayan destinations that we dreamed of visiting when we were children.

I had no prior experience working in the tourism business. But I had that fire inside me. When the fire of doing something is burned inside you, everything comes to a place and starts helping you. My brother, who is also the founder of Heaven Himalaya, has always been a source of knowledge and motivation for me.

After the idea was born, we implemented it in real life. Although I study technology, we brought people back from the digital world to the lap of Mother Nature using the same technology. Then we created a tour website, listed the amazing tours, and hired some local guides to help us. Since then, we have been helping tourists get back to the mountains and listen to the melody of nature.

Take us through designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

I am lucky that I have an older brother who worked in the tourism business before starting Heaven Himalaya. So, designing tours and treks was not a big issue for us.

After we opened a travel company, we hired a lawyer to help us with the registration and licenses from the government. Then, after everything in the papers was ready, we visited an IT company to help us create a tour website, logos and all. We explained everything to them, and they created the first draft of our idea.

I still remember. It was noon and my brother and I was discussing the logos and the colors to be used. As our sole mission was to promote the green Himalayas, we kept green as a brand color. After a few months, our website was ready, and we launched 10 different trips as an initial launch.

First, we focused on building only multi-day hiking packages. But, when the same tourists, after a long hiking holiday, demanded short cultural and wildlife tours, we then designed one-day itineraries and short packages.

The first travel package we launched was the Everest Base Camp Trek, which is now our bestselling trip in Nepal.

Describe the process of launching the business.

Since we created our tour website, there haven't been many difficulties with launching our business. First, we had a few tours listed on the website and announced the launch of the travel website.

heaven-himalaya

We launched the tour website during the COVID period, so we didn’t have any customers until a few months after the first launch. We worked on optimizing our tours during that period. Soon, we started seeing customers.

We invested our savings and also approved some family loans to start our business. No outside investments were used.

One of the biggest lessons we learned from the launch was that launching a business should be grand. It should create a buzz in the niche in which you will be working. We failed to do so, but we learned a lesson.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

When we launched our business, we had zero confirmed customers and zero emails from potential clients. Over the years, we managed to drive traffic to our website through SEO and social media channels.

We created accounts on almost every social media channel we knew and started promoting our tours. We ran Facebook and Instagram ads, but they weren’t that fruitful. Instead, we would get free traffic from Pinterest more than paid traffic from Facebook and Instagram.

Later, we started posting more blog content on our website and optimized them for the web. Soon, we started seeing customers and also collected a lot of email subscribers.

Since then, it has been helpful for us in getting new customers. For old customers, we have discounts available and also referral points if they refer anyone in their group.

We didn’t use any other sales channels or websites at first, but now we plan on joining a few of them.

What are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Today, Heaven Himalaya is looking for partnerships worldwide. We are also investing in SEO to market our tours and treks more. We have hired content writers who can help us grow. Besides, we are also boosting our social media handles.

Since the start of 2022, we have been quite busy and are getting back to normal. The shareholders didn’t take a salary from the start, but now we have paid a salary. The salary has helped us feel like it’s a proper business.

We don’t get results overnight. Success takes time. So, give it some time after you have started.

In the coming days, we plan to add more tours and treks. Also, we have thought of expanding our core areas outside Nepal into Tibet, Bhutan, and India. We already have a few tours running in India, Tibet, and Bhutan, but we plan to add some more.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or helpful?

Heaven Himalaya is my first business. It has taught me a lot. First, I have learned many business tactics that have helped me a lot in business. Next, I have learned not to give up even if you are pushed backward. During COVID, we were running on a negative curve. But we didn’t give up, and today we have stood by ourselves.

Fear of failure was my biggest challenge. I used to be afraid that this or that would not happen; that I would lose my money or something similar. However, my brother inspired me, and as I became more involved in business, I could overcome this major challenge.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Our favorite marketing technique is SEO; we have hired SEO professionals to help us with that. We also use Instagram and Facebook to take our tours to a wider audience.

Likewise, we use Trip Advisor to showcase our reviews. It’s because Tripadvisor is one of the most trusted travel websites in the world.

heaven-himalaya

And, Mailchimp has been my email marketing platform. I am happy with the free templates and services it offers.

Last, I use Reddit and Quora to know what the audience wants so that I can make a blog around the same topic on my website.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I love reading books, but I rarely read books that relate to business or something. I am more into literary books and fiction stories. I also sometimes write poems and short stories in my local language, Nepali.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

My only advice for other entrepreneurs is to not fear failure. And, after you have started, give it some time to bring results. We don’t get results overnight. Success takes time. So, give it some time after you have started.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or helpful?

Throughout the start of the business, I have learned to stay calm and composed and wait for the results. Other than that, I have learned SEO, content marketing, business analytics, and many more. The more Heaven Himalaya grows, the more I get to learn.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Yes, Heaven Himalaya is looking forward to adding a content writer to its amazing team. The writer should be able to write SEO-optimized, engaging, and informative articles to help promote our tours and products. We don’t have any requirements set for the academic level. If you think you can outrank other competitors in the travel business, you are welcome to the team. If you care about the position, write to us on our company’s contact page.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions, drop a comment below!

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Sanjib Adhikari, Founder of Heaven Himalaya
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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