Money Talks Series – Part 1

We know there’s a huge interest in making money online and specifically in how individuals support their full time travel with online careers. We already told you how we make money but to further expand on the topic and to help answer some of those elusive questions with real information we will be interviewing fellow bloggers over the next few months and reporting back.  We’ll post two interviews a month so make sure you check back for the next part of the series soon.

First up is an interview with our friend Sharon over at Where’s Sharon. We love her blog and reference it ourselves all the time. We couldn’t think of a better person to kick the series off, so, over to you Sharon.

For those who don’t already know you, please introduce yourself and your blog.

Where's Sharon - Office in Ao Nang

My office in Ao Nang.

My name is Sharon Gourlay. I am Australian and recently became a permanent nomad along with my  husband and two preschoolers. We are currently based in Malaysia and having lots of adventures in Asia. I write all about it, as well as lots of travel tips and tricks, at Where’s Sharon Family Travel Blog.

In addition to this blog, I also write about how I earn an online income, all the different things I am trying and share my income reports at Digital Nomad Wannabe.

I like to show others what is possible – whether that is going on your first trip with a toddler or earning enough money online to travel permanently. If we can do it, then there is seriously no reason why others can’t.

When you decided to embark on a life of long term travel, how did you financially prepare? (Did you save money at home, plan to work on the road or something else?)

We saved enough money so that we had 6 months of travel costs as well as two months of money to support ourselves back in Australia if we were to return.

I already worked online, so I continued to work even harder to try to to start earning a decent amount of money faster.

How did you know when it was the right time to quit your job and take the plunge?

Where's Sharon and her Children

Travelling as a digital nomad with a family.

It was a combination of two things for us – the first being that we already had a trip to Asia booked for the end of last year, so it made sense to leave when we already had a flight. The second was that my oldest child starts school at the beginning of 2016. This gave us the push we needed to stop talking and start doing it as I think it is a much easier decision now than it would be once we would have to take her out of school.

How do you make money now?

I make money primarily from my travel blog – advertising, affiliate commissions, reviews, sponsored posts, there a whole list of ways to make money from a blog. I also have two niche sites which are sites built around keywords that make money from Amazon affiliate commisions. These are earning some money. My husband has just started working as a programming freelance worker online.

I publish monthly income reports, so you can see a detailed break down of what we are doing to make money every month here.

If you make money from your travel blog, how long did it take to monetise? And what tips do you have for aspiring bloggers to achieve the same success?

Actually as soon as I decided to start making money with my travel blog – I did! This was in May last year. I started blogging about 9 years before this and had been blogging seriously for about 6 months prior to starting to make money. I think I have made about $500-1000 a month since then, but it is going up now that I am working full time online and I think there is something about being away now and just HAVING to make it work that is making me suddenly more successful.

My biggest tip if you want to make money from a blog is to prioritise that – not getting a certain number of page views, followers etc. These things certainly do not hurt but I think they are a distraction from the main goal. You do not need much traffic to make money as long as it is targeted. Just chasing numbers may not give you the targeted traffic you need for making money later, so go into it with the right mindset from the beginning.

It’s also important to set yourself up right from the beginning. Don’t even consider putting your blog on a free platform. Start with a self hosted WordPress blog (it’s really not hard to set up – you can read how here), and read up on basic SEO from the beginning. You can change a lot of things later, but moving your site or having to change your permalink structure is a major pain so ensure you have these right from the beginning – and if you have no idea what I am talking about then make sure you look it up.

My final piece of advice is to be very careful who you choose to follow in regards to advice/coaching/training. My biggest mistakes have come from listening to advice from the wrong people. Ensure someone has the same success (and doesn’t just say they do) as you want before following their advice.

Have you made any financial mistakes in relation to travel and if so, how did you overcome them?

Nope! I don’t consider any cent spent on travel as a mistake 🙂

What are your financial goals? (To earn enough to stay on the road? To buy a house?)

Where's Sharon - Chinatown

Strolling through Chinatown.

To earn enough to travel for as long as we want to wherever we want to. It’s one thing to earn enough to travel and live in Asia, another to be able to do it in Europe.  After we reach that goal, we want to be able to earn enough to be able to keep working online in Australia. It is so expensive in our home city of Melbourne that this is a very big goal.

Do you have long-term financial plans in place? (Such as a pension/401K, money invested somewhere?) If not, are you concerned about your financial future?

We have an investment property that we rent out. If we earn a certain amount then we have to put money into a retirement fund (it’s a requirement in Australia). We do not worry as this is all we can afford to do when we are in Australia anyway. In fact, since we need so much less to live here, we have more chance of being able to save money.

Finally, do you have any finance related posts on your blog that you want to feature?

If you are interested in seeing more about how I make money, definitely check out my income reports. If you are interested in blogging, then check out my blogging tips and tricks. I am all about getting maximum results in minimum time, so this is what my focus is on when it comes to blogging.

Thank you, Sharon!

We hope you found this interview helpful. See you in a couple of weeks for the next one! If you’re worried about missing it please sign up for our newsletter and it, along with the rest of the Money Talks series, will be delivered right to your inbox.

Comments 3

  1. Sharon 1st March 2015
    • Glen Michael 2nd March 2015
  2. joalvinoth 2nd March 2015

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