Make a living travel blogging is the dream right?
Live a life going from place to place, write about it, cash in, repeat.
Find a nice beach somewhere, pop out the laptop, order a cold beer maybe a mojito, type away then cha-ching.
Maybe live in one area, rent a spot for a few months, do an in-depth coverage of the local hot spots, sell the content then on to the next one.
This is what, I feel, the travel blogging dream is and what is hyped up to be. My question is…
Can you and do “travel bloggers” make a living travel blogging/writing?
I’ve been writing on this blog for almost two years at this point. At first it was just a for fun type of thing. I was simply doing it to keep family and friends informed of what was happening in my life.
I remember having a conversation with a coworker when an old friend came in and quizzed me for like half an hour, “Where have you been? Where are you going? How long are you staying here for? How do you do it?”
Puzzled, my coworker asked what the interrogation was about. I answered that it happens all the time. I travel a lot, I create stories, I have adventures and when I get back I answer the same questions over and over.
This led to the joke turned website creation of “Where’s Pablo?”.
Here I am almost two years later and my website is beginning to look more like a business.
My traffic has migrated from friends and family to people I don’t even know. It has begun to move towards people who can relate to me and my life.
At first it was upsetting, My friends lost interest and could care less.
Quickly, I learned that this is what needed to happen.
It was natural progression.
Of course my immediate friends didn’t understand.
They don’t chase the dreams and experiences that I chase. The people who do however, are starting to find my blog and I’m starting to find theirs.
So moving on to the original question. Now that I’ve realized that I am slowly building an audience in regards to travel and adventure, can I create a business out of it?
Can I learn to live off of providing information and invoking excitement?
I honestly don’t know…
I began to look at all of the top blogs that I follow
Were they making a living off of travel blogging? Is it possible?
I started (and continue) doing research behind the big names and sites.
What I found was many of them are at this point self-employed.
Does that mean they rely solely on writing? Surprisingly, not at all.
As much as simply making money from your own blog is sought after, it’s not often found. A large majority of the big bloggers have had to make twists to their business plans.
They sell Ebooks, teach writing courses, sell affiliate products, offer web services, write for larger media hubs, give tours and even have multiple websites.
Is this the travel blogging dream?
I know it wasn’t mine.
I imagined being sponsored by multiple big name companies. Being paid the big bucks to write my honest opinion about places and events. I imagined having such a pull with my readers that companies would pay to be a part of my words.
Was this my original goal? No
This was the image however that was painted for me once I seriously considered travel blogging as a profession.
If I could write great enough content. If I could relate to enough of my readers. If I had awesome enough adventures. If I grew a large enough email list. If I stood out enough.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t achieved a lot of those things. I’ve been looking though, and even the big guys that have achieved those things are varying their income.
I’m not upset. I’m not disappointed. I just want to know more about the lifestyle.
I’m not trying to insinuate that travel writers are lying or covering up the truth. Not by any means.
I just want to know. Can it be done without the other options?
Can somebody have enough of a voice to earn a living by simply writing about their adventures?
No side revenue, just writing for your own blog.
Looking at many of the other bloggers I can imagine myself taking their route.
I wouldn’t mind giving tours to the places I love. I wouldn’t mind helping others begin their own travel blogging journey. I wouldn’t mind starting up other niche sites where I could sell products in relation to my various hobbies.
I would enjoy all of those. At that point though, I feel like I would begin moving from the travel blogging niche to the lifestyle design niche.
Is that what the travel blogging dream is in reality? Lifestyle design? I feel like there is a huge overlap between the two “different” niches.
It becomes a blur in my eyes.
This brings me to my next point and the backbone behind me wanting to write this post.
I finally made my first dollar the other day.
That’s huge for me. I have been getting offers for about a year now from companies wanting to buy links.
They would offer anywhere from 50 to 200 per year for a link on my main page and the link had nothing to do with anything that I had written.
As much as I wanted to take the offer I couldn’t. It’s not who I am. I want to be relevant and reliable to the readers that I do have.
I could probably have been making money using adsense. This is google making suggestions to my readers through links provided by them on my page.
As good as this sounds I don’t like the idea of sending readers to other places, especially places I myself may not go to or use. But who knows, I may be losing out. I still half tempt the idea of trying it for a few months.
How did I make the money?
I had a gentleman contact me. He offered me $30 for one link on a post that was already on my site.
The link would send readers to find housing in relation to one of the places I traveled.
It was relevant and I could attach the link to content that I already had. It would help out the readers and it would help out the advertiser.
It was a win-win. I took it.
From all of my research I’ve done, it sounds like $30 is nothing for what I gave. Maybe it isn’t.
I honestly don’t mind though and don’t see me beating myself up about it later.
I remember reading and listening to many say that one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is making that first dollar.
As soon as you realize you can make $1 you begin to realize that you can make much more.
After making that money, I could not agree more.
Now I’m hungry
I want to make more, I want to offer more, I want to start making this a business.
I’ve been like a sponge this past week. I’ve been consuming information in all forms. I’ve been reading blogs, reading books, watching videos, listening to podcasts.
Now more than ever I feel like I need to start making leaps and bounds in the online world.
Here is my biggest Realization from this entire post…
After getting sick from my buffet of information in regards to making money travel blogging,
I don’t see myself relying on just my travel writing for money.
Unless I gain hundreds of thousands of rabid readers with several companies wanting to sponsor me offering big bucks, purely becoming a travel blogger will not happen.
I am at peace with that. Besides I have too many facets of my personality that I need to entertain to simply rely on making money on a travel blog.
Can you really make a living travel blogging?
I’m sure you can, however it looks like it’s a one in a 100,000 type of thing. Starting out right now, a new blogger is automatically facing off against 164 MILLION other blogs/sites! That is a lot of noise that any new blogger is up against.
What does this mean for me?
I’m diversifying, just as much as any smart investor does in the stock room. I’m still working my regular hourly job. (hopefully not for too long)
I’m working on my other niche sites. I’m working on making some things happen with a beer blog and a longboarding blog. In fact, I feel like those will end up becoming my source of profit.
They’re both big industries with few prominent web names.
What does this mean for you?
I hope that if you’ve stuck around for a while or if you’re just reading this now that you stick around for a bit longer. I feel myself directing this blog towards a more hybrid travel/lifestyle design blog.
The big thing is that I want to keep you informed about everything that I do. I want this to become a project that we can all learn from.
If you’re a blogger of any kind, let’s work on figuring out what works. If you don’t have a blog and don’t write, let’s work on finding something that you’re passionate about and making something of it.
I’m going to be completely open and honest about where I make my money on my blogs.
Do you want to know how many readers I have? Do you want to see my traffic every month? Do you want to know exactly how I made my first dollar or where I make my next dollar?
If you’re curious to see how I make my independent lifestyle happen, I hope that you come along. I’ve always been of the mindset that if I’m coming up then I’m bringing everybody around me up with me.
If I start doing well then I’m going to start giving away things that I’ve benefited from to my readers.
In the mean time, I want you to leave a comment and answer this one simple question:
Can you make a living travel blogging or does it have to be a combination of various online methods?
If yes, is there somebody that you read that currently is doing it? How did he/she get to this point?
If it’s a combination what do you think would be the most successful methods?
Let me know in the comments below.
Also, I’m really excited about what this year is going to bring and I’m hoping that you’ll join me for the ride. If you’re interested and want to see what I do to make some big things happen, I urge you to sign up for my newsletter. All newsletter subscribers will get an exclusive look to the numbers behind my site.