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 have been interviewing fellow bloggers over the last few months and reporting back. We’ve already posted 3 interviews and so make sure you check them out too.
Part 4 is all about that cool guy Will from Going Awesome Places who is a big inspiration of ours and who has loads of tips to help monetise your blogs. Enjoy!
For those who don’t already know you, please introduce yourself and your blog
Hey guys! My name is Will and I’m the founder and writer behind the travel blog Going Awesome Places where I share my travel adventures with my readers around the world. I primarily focus on combining affordable luxury with outdoor adventure through detailed itineraries, storytelling and how-to’s.
I quit my cushy corporate consulting job back in 2012 when I decided I had had enough and wanted to venture out on my own to do something different. What that was I didn’t know at the time but I needed to get away and just travel for 4 months.
Like a lot of other travel bloggers, I started blogging by accident. Days before my adventure started, I had coffee with a friend who asked me if I was going to blog while I was away. I told her that I had never thought about it but a lightbulb in my head went off. It was a pretty good idea. So that afternoon, I went home, bought the domain, set up my first WordPress site and that was my very first iteration of Going Awesome Places.
From there I blogged my way throughout Asia during my four months and when I came back, I was amazed that people other than my friends and family were reading my blog. I dug deeper, learned more and blogged more and more after I came back to where it is today.
Source: Going Awesome Places
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?)
Most of the money I needed for my initial 4 months of travelling came from all the savings I had accumulated as a consultant. Prior to quitting my job, I did a bit of planning beforehand to make sure I had the proper exit strategy. I made sure I used up all of my vacation days before I left (our company didn’t have payouts), expended all my of health insurance benefits, made use of our education benefits and also made sure I quit after the bonus was paid out. Beyond that, I had no other plans to make money while travelling. I wanted to travel without the weight of work on my shoulder and for once be a free spirit on the road.
How did you know when it was the right time to quit your job and take the plunge?
A lot of it was dictated by what was going on at work. I won’t delve too much into the details but for me I had gotten to a point in my career with the company where I felt that I had learned as much as I could’ve in the role. I also made the realization that my career path wasn’t where I wanted it to move towards and that there were other way more important things in life.
If you want to know the truth, what really propelled me into re-thinking my position in life was Tim Ferriss’ The 4 Hour Workweek. I recommend this book to anyone! In the book he talks about the “new rich” and life not being about the corporate 9-5 but being able to break free from the shackles of what society deems as a “normal life” and taking that leap of faith. Sure a true 4 hour workweek is a little far fetched but the idea that anyone can go and pursue your true passions was truly inspiring.
How do you make money now?
As a blogger working full time, the key has been diversifying income. Currently here are ways I’ve made money:
- Ambassadorships with products and brands
- Hosting Twitter parties
- Working with brands on social campaigns which usually involve tweets and FB messages
- Sponsored posts (written by me or by the brand)
- Sponsored links
- Privately negotiated banner advertisement
- Display ad networks
- Affiliate marketing
- Freelance writing
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?
It probably took a good year before I started monetizing and even then I wasn’t doing a good job at it because my blog wasn’t at a level where I could monetize. The first priority when you’re starting off is definitely to build up your audience and traffic. Only then should you start thinking about monetization.
Early on, the most enticing thing to do is take advantage of those sponsored opportunities that come knocking at your door. Most of them are phishing for free links via guest posts but some are willing to pay. I won’t say these are bad because it is quick money but my big tip for your readers is to be careful who you work with. Sponsored posts where casinos are involved are a no-no and you always want to make sure the content is relevant for your audience. The best kind of sponsored posts are the ones where you can write it yourself and they simply ask for a link. When you’re first starting, you’re almost willing to take anything because it’s money dangling in front of you but always be careful.
It wasn’t until last year (2+ years in) that I started to seriously think about monetization. My strategy has been one of experimentation where I’ve dabbled in a bit of everything that you see in my list above (Q4). What I learned was having a diversified streams of income has been a great way to make more money. I highly encourage you to read my income reports to glean more insight of how my monetization has evolved.
If there’s one fluffy but true tip I’d impart is that you have make a mind-shift when it comes to serious monetization. There has to be a conscious change of behaviour to focus your energy on finding better ways to make money.
Have you made any financial mistakes in relation to travel and if so, how did you overcome them?
I can’t say that I’ve made any mistakes when it comes to travel because the experiences I’ve gained through it have always outweighed the costs. Sure I could’ve saved more money along the way and been a bit more frugal but you only live once right?
What are your financial goals? (To earn enough to stay on the road? To buy a house?)
The big milestone now is to be able to buy a house. Living in Toronto is a bit problematic right now as the market is lava hot so that is weighing heavily on me right now.
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?
To say I’m not concerned would be a lie. I’m in a position where I’m not looking to live the nomadic life and in a place where I’m looking to settle down soon. With that, there are a lot of upcoming financial challenges I have to think of.
Long-term, I have money saved and investment money in the 401K equivalent in Canada (called an RRSP) but moving forward I need to think hard about whether I can sustain my living style with the income that I am making blogging right now. The goal of course is to make a full-time equivalent income month to month but that takes time to get there.
These next few months will be a true test of whether I can get there.
Finally, do you have any finance related posts on your blog that you want to feature?
Oh yes tons :). Everything about travel blogging can be found on my sister site, Travel Blog Breakthrough where I share all my blogging secrets, host my podcast where I interview bloggers and also my popular income reports.
Thanks Will! If any of our readers would like to appear in our Money Talks series please contact us, we’d love to hear what you’ve got to say!