I am Tired of Being a Poor Vagabond, I failed at travel blogging, too, must find other work MEXICO CITY, Mexico- There is a rule of long term travel that states that a traveler must eventually find work on the road or go home. Income works best in travel when it comes from a variety [...]
I am Tired of Being a Poor Vagabond, I failed at travel blogging, too, must find other work
MEXICO CITY, Mexico- There is a rule of long term travel that states that a traveler must eventually find work on the road or go home. Income works best in travel when it comes from a variety of sources. A good vagabonding rig will have four or five different ways of making money that can be employed in appropriate succession or in tandem around the world.
As for me, I am an archaeologist, an English teacher, a farm hand, a freelance journalist, a webmaster, a blogger, a hostel receptionist who has also experienced a dozen other professions throughout his travels around the world. Though I must admit that I only like working formally for others — as an employee — where the prospect of taking out a good story, of learning new skills, or of meeting interesting people: route work for a paycheck alone is a slayer of the human spirit.
In point, I have never been much for the grueling, blank faced, “no comment,” endless work day. I am a good worker, but I am not a workingman. I prefer to work for myself, even if that means striving 10 times as hard for a check that is a tenth of what I could otherwise make working for others.
This is the goal, the double dream:
To travel the world while working for myself; to be free to go just about anywhere while being my own boss.
As all travelers should, I need to diversify my income options. As of now, my only independently derived source of income stems from this website. All of my self employment beans are in one sack. But, I must admit here, that I have held down formal employment for only 9 months out of the past three years, the rest of my income has come from VagabondJourney.com. Not bad.
My family has proven that we can travel on $25 a day in total.
But I do not know why we want to.
This website is founded on the theme of working around the world, on open ended travel, on the traveling lifestyle. But for all too many travelers — myself included — living like this are poor in terms of income. This lifestyle often means having severe financial limitations always brooding over you, it means being a vagabond in the genuine, typical sense.
Vagabonds travel and work, but they don’t need to be derelict. I want a little more success in this life — I want more money.
I am tired of being poor. I am sick of watching my wife break out in tears in the midst of our long and tedious searches for hotel rooms that we can afford, I am sick of eating bare bottom meals that are chosen on a quantity/ nutrition/ price ratio rather than by taste, I am sick of the restrictions that are inherent to traveling as a poor man. I am annoyed with feeling guilty about feeding my family a large pizza for dinner that costs the wopping amount of $8.
I will always be a vagabond, a modern nomad wandering from pasture to pasture setting up shop and making a living on the road, but I need to start living better. I need to start making more money.
Year one of family travel has been good kicks, but year two is going to need a different tune. The income numbers that I put up last year will not going to keep us dancing through this year.
I proudly reported back in San Cristobal de las Casas that I was making more money off of the website than I ever had before. I think readers took this as a sign that I am doing well. All donations outside of subscriptions have just about ceased. I am getting there, but I am still a far way off.
Living off of a website is not cutting it in and of itself: the rate of income gain is not matching my rate of growing expenditures. My fractions are growing ever less constant as I write this.
I need to diversify my independent travel businesses, go back to the drawing board on my income strategy. Our 180 day Mexican visas are just about expired, and nowhere nearby is calling our names, so the following months will see me return to my home country — the USA — and begin new projects, receive fresh tutelage in new trades, and come out with a new set of traveling skills.
You can’t make a living travel blogging
Regardless of what the white collar travel bloggers tell you, there is no longer an adequate way to make a living running a general, multi-country travel blog. These business brats will try to sell travel blogging like it is some sort of get rich quick scheme, but it is not.
The only way to make money from a travel blog seems to be using it as a platform to sell ebooks on how to make money travel blogging: the sick irony of a publishing medium that was quickly sucked dry by too many piglets at the tit.
Too many travelers set out to make money blogging, and now we all go hungry — advertising that once sold for $150 per month now scarcely brings in $10, the dying gurgles of a diluted market. It is time for a change in strategy.
I make money from my website because I worked at it for eight hours a day for six years in a row. VagabondJourney.com currently brings in over 4,000 unique visitors a day, way over 100,000 visitors a month. This traffic brings me in a small amount of cash, but not nearly what I projected six years ago. I estimated that 1,000 visitors would roughly mean $10 of income, derived from various sources. $40 per day would be a clutch amount of money for us to make off of this site at this juncture, but this is not what we bring in.
I spent the better part of a decade chasing a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow just to arrive and find it already looted — with only a few scraps and a stray lint ball or two for the taking.
DO NOT TRY TO MAKE MONEY TRAVEL BLOGGING, you will fail. The people who tell you otherwise are trying to sell you a product. Snakes and vipers. They came into travel blogging on the media hype that they are ex-white collar employees who found personal liberty through ditching their cubicles. They say they found a solid income from nothing other than travel blogging.
“Look at me, look at me, I use to be in a cubicle too but now I’m free,” they proclaim. “Want to know how I did it? Send me money to find out.”
These US and Canadian suburban youths really just brought the business world to online travel writing, leaving little behind. Same old same old. Like so, they are willing to lie to make money: they will tell you that they make $3,000 a month blogging, they will give you poor advice that could ultimately get your pages dropped hard by search engines.
Snakes and vipers.
I failed at travel blogging too.
I stand before you as a prime example of yet another travel blogging failure. I set out to make money with this website, for six years I worked my fingers to the bone, I focused my mind on the task before me, I toiled hard, and I put up five pages a day site wide. I now have one of the highest traffic independent travel websites on the planet. I don’t make a quarter of what I should from it. Six years of hard work has lead to eventually making $25 a day. With small supplementation and trading work for room and board a couple times a year, my family can live on this income.
But why should we want to?
I set myself an ultimatum at the beginning of 2010:
“If I am not making over $30 per day off of the website by the end of the year, I will give it up and do something else.”
I am not going to give up on VagabondJourney.com (I am still bringing in $25 a day off of this sow), but I am going to refine my focus and branch out into other ways of deriving an independent income.
There are some topics on the site that make money, and others that don’t. Both take time and effort to produce. I need to streamline my work on focus on that which will make money and find other publishing avenues for that which will never make me a dime if published online. The hard travel information, the travel guides, WIKI Vagabond make me money; the stories, cultural anecdotes, travel tips — the interesting banter — has little to no financial value.
New methods are needed. In the coming year, new methods of publishing will come to Vagabond Journey Travel.
The romance of vagabonding is work
I am a traveler, but I live under the same economic pressures as anybody else. I do not have the liberty to have hobbies in this life, if I am going to put a large amount of time into something it needs to bring money in. I have no economic buffer, no reliable check that comes at the end of a 40 hour work week that covers all of my expense and then some, no simple 9 to 5, five day a week schedule that leaves the rest of my time free to relax and work on non-income related projects.
The vagabond life all too often a constant search for income. The trick is to make this search as interesting, enjoyable, and fulfilling as possible: to make work a hobby. The object is to blend what I like doing with what makes me a living. But, at the end of the day, I need to add up the ledger to discover if my fractions are constant: I need to make money.
All too often the traveling life is viewed as a life of leisure, a life removed from the tar pit of work. To say that I work is to kill the romantic notion of life on the road that many people hold. I am a vagabond, I travel for work. This is part of the true romance of the lifestyle. I am not a tourist, travel is not a perpetual exercise in leisure, I am not a king presiding over a revolving lot of vassals.
If this ruins your romantic notion of travel and you leave this page because of it, then good on you — go read some tourist blog that shows a fancy, ass grabbing sort of world, suck in the lies that you want so badly to believe. I have devoted my life to travel, this is my lifestyle, my work.
I need to make a real living.
New ways of making money
I am not going to abandon travel, nor this website. Rather, I am going to optimize my money making strategies. For many years, long term readers — mostly men a couple of decades my senior — give me advice on how to make a living, almost invariably they tell me that I am thinking too small. Making money travel blogging is a dream, but it is a small dream. Many of these readers seem to belive in me, and I am sure they would smile if I reported that I am giving up this life sucking website project and diving into what I could really make a living from.
The shedding of dreams is the functional essence of maturing.
I need to mature. I am now focusing my attention on writing books, articles for the travel sections of newspapers, and on poignant online pieces that will bring in traffic and money. The story of these ventures will still be published on this travelogue daily — the deep value of a large reading audience is worth more than dollars and cents can measure (I also enjoy blogging, another unmeasurable value inherent to the occupation).
I have also started a regimen to learn new skills that can make me a living on the road. I am going beyond writing about the world and am diving into living it. I interviewed many travelers with independent travel businesses for a series that was meant to be both a vagabonding primer for readers, as well as an idea bank for me. I know that some of the income strategies that are included in this series could be better optimized with a few tweaks here and there. I am doing the tweaking and taking a couple of these strategies for myself.
Read through the stories in the Independent travel work series to discover how other vagabonds are making a living.
Must diversify income conclusion
If I can average $25 a day off of three separate ventures, I can make enough money to travel in comfort. $60 a day is more than double what we now spend, $75 per day means living large. I can make $75 a day, I just need a few tweaks in strategy to do so. I need to diversify my independent travel businesses, grow arms like Kuan-Yin, fiddle here, start up small ventures there, and bring in enough money to live and travel well on.
It is either this or the hills.
This entry is delivered in honesty. Though this angle on life is not one that often makes money or leads to success.
I am not a marketing ploy — “Look at me, look at me, I travel the world and live large, I don’t work, I blog, give me money and I will tell you how.” I am a traveler, a vagabond, and this is my story.
Vagabond Journey is the true story of world travel as I see it. It is the story of struggling for money, working, living frugal and simple, failing, and somewhere in the mix of all of this realizing that the stuggles of the open road are an essential part of the joys.
Failure is a fundamental part of success.
About the Author: VBJ
I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. VBJ has written 3657 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
VBJ is currently in: Astoria, New York
February 23, 2011, 10:15 am
As a retired airline employee with world travel benefits, I’m dreaming of the freedom to travel whenever I want, so I’m a reseller with a 12 year old company developing an online video marketing biz. http://www.comF5.com/trycomF5media
Let me know if you want to go into the program to play with it, I will give you the ID and password.
debra PS I like that I can work from anywhere, as much or little as I like and it is viral.
Let’s keep you traveling!!!!
February 23, 2011, 11:42 am
Thanks Wade. You’re brutally honest.
I’ve had my own business over 20 years. I fix appliances, heating and air-conditioning. I really thought I was going to make a lot of money. In fact, my friend is here in LA from Seattle and he has a $2 million business (same as mine) and he barely makes it. I just told him looking back, I did not achieve what I thought I’d achieve.
But one thing about having my business is that I’ve called the shots. I may have struggled, but I’ve always lived below my means, and enjoyed not working for anyone else.
My business model now is quite simple. My hourly charge is between $175-$200 per hour. My goal is to have 5 billable hours per week, but I’m happy to have only 1 billable hour. It must sound crazy to make that kind of money, but it is kind of weird to work so little and enjoy my lifestyle.
And I’m by no means bragging. I have little for retirement. It’s amazing here in US retirements of over $100K are becoming the norm. The model is not sustainable and we’ll definitely see the results of that in the near future.
February 23, 2011, 11:43 am
Have you also thought about occasionally doing writing in exchange for fun things? Say, offer to write an article about your experience white water rafting if you nad your family can go for free? Then maybe make money off the article.
I understand the need to keep your writing free of the kinds of influences that most travel writers have, but for the commercial world, no one really wants to read an honest review, most readers want a glorified, everything is rosy and exciting kind of writing. Certainly you would want to keep your website totally real, but you may have to suck in your pride a little on other writing.
Let us all know about when you will be in the states. Maybe some of us readers can put the word out that you are looking for work and get you something temporary.
February 23, 2011, 12:10 pm
If I had the money now in Peru that I did in Jan 2008 when Aidric was born I would’ve purchased a pair of minibuses (they’re called combis in this country) for around $2,500 each and joined the ranks of heavy profiteering off the lack of public transportation in Lima. These are cash cows in this city, and always have passengers (most rides cost between S/. 0.50 & 1.50 — US$0.18 & $0.54, and would likely recoup the value of the vehicle in less than 80 days). Alas, now I’m down to my last pennies, wondering how to afford our flight back to the US when we’re finally done waiting for the wifey’s USA residency visa to finish processing (10+ months and counting now…). Bleh.
February 23, 2011, 9:10 pm
I feel this article a lot… though I´m not traveling with a family, I do suffer from splurging a bit on food or coffees when I know I can feed or entertain myself for less or free.
I do make a little money from my travel blog, but I think of it more as surprise additional income and not my living.
Doing freelance travel writing for magazines and such is a great idea… with all your time on the road, I´m sure editors will jump at the chance to publish your work.
I appreciate the realness of this post, I think a lot of wannabe vagabonds should have a look before they take the plunge for a reality check.
February 24, 2011, 1:03 am
Honest, poignant, insightful and inevitably a bit sad to read this… You CAN write. That’s a fact. I wish you all of the best with the change in direction and will miss the daily travel articles in the form you fed us.
Hope we’ll still see the typical Wade Vagabond articles from time to time as you sort out the income stream… Just well… Since you enjoy doing them and I love reading them.
Best of the best for you and family,
February 24, 2011, 2:51 am
I’ve noticed your decreased presence online over the past few weeks. This is obviously a contributing factor.
I do 100% agree with you that it is not possible to make a full time living from Travel Blogging alone. At least in terms of actually traveling, and running all aspects of website like this from the road. If one were sitting behind a desk, taking small trips etc, then yes, it would be a lot easier.
I’ve always said it. A good marketer will always beat a great writer. There are more doorstep books in the world than there are classics.
Travel blogging may change in about 5-10 years if things like the internet accessibility , and blog formats, and advertising systems change. But, that’s not much good, as we live in the present, not in the future.
At the moment travel blogging has become fractured. It’s breaking off into many different areas. Some for business, others still for mom & dad. It happens in many different genre’s. One can only live true to your own intent.
I made the decision in Africa that I was not going to suffer in the worst of the worst accommodation, and eat out of garbage bins to prolong my travels, nor save money. I put health, and life first.
Writing a “travel blog” these days has become a business for many. And, as such, they employ business tactics and shrug off anyone that criticizes them. That’s just the way it is. I would not harbor on this thought, as it will only make one bitter to your own idea of what “travel blogging” should be.
As you know, many people who start off travel blogging, make a little cash, run with it for a year or two. Some even quit their jobs. Sit in room, writing that “book” which will get them fame and or fortune. Then blogging their hearts out while trying to cross comment, Alexa boost, win online voting awards, score SEO ranking and so on they acclaim “fame” in a very very small community. Then, add in another year and they end up going home.
Once home they either continue to blog for a while. Then, lose interest. Auto post plugins become the norm, or they just let the site sit there. Such is life.
I sincerely hope you find a way to subsidize your travels while working. At least you have a degree to work with. And, a family. Sometimes they may be a burden, but at the end of the day, blood is thicker than water and sweeter than the dollar.
Don’t lose sight of what you have accomplished. Don’t bow to peer pressure. Stand tall for your accomplishments are those of only a few in this world today. You’ve been to places few have, nor will. You’ve lived a life many can’t nor have the guts to do live.
Moreover you’ve always painted a picture of the world as it is. Not some glossy print of what people would like it to be. There is a difference. But, no, it won’t put bread on your table.
Do what you have to do my friend. There is no point in suffering in bad accommodation and eating poor quality food. Take this time to find a way to upgrade. Take stock of what’s really important in your life.
Only if you are enjoying yourself can you truly live the life you want. Take stock of this thought and make it happen.
You know where to find me should you need anything. In the meantime refocus, and try to find something to make you smile again.
February 24, 2011, 7:37 am
I’ve only had my blog for about a year now but I can totally relate to this post. We’ve just started making money from our site (still not that much) and for a few months we kind of got caught up in all the hoopla surrounding “making money travel blogging” when we first started out just wanting to improve our writing and share our stories. It’s easy to get caught up in it but also very tiring. It’s exhausting reading or seeing another ebook with claims to fame and actually turns me off from travel bloggers who have ebooks. I realize that they too are just trying to make some money, but it isn’t new ideas and just doesn’t interest me.
I look forward to seeing how your blog and life change or mature, like you said. We have the same conversations and worrying about money all the time is stressful on our relationship and our travels.
February 24, 2011, 9:31 am
Thanks to Dave, I saw this post and mainly just want to send you some virtual hugs. I hear ya, traveling as a family and travel blogging while traveling both are tough and I am grateful that we do not have to depend on our website for our total income. When you have a child and when you have a family, really everything changes and most people do want some sense of security. Give it more time, your ideas and plans sound good, but growing a system for a family is different than for a single guy. I have great faith that you can find that freedom, abundant, security that you are looking for while you travel.
Don’t discount all the work that you have already done for it does have great value. DO follow the examples of people who are making very good money with very good perks through travel writing and various ways of selling evergreen information products, consulting, etc.
I don’t think the only model is the travel blogging how to make money scammers.
I think you should also think about time factors because TIME is the only true wealth. So the goal for us is always to work less and make more. What is the use of being a vagabond if one is always working or plugged in? Part of that comes by being a minimalist and living large on little, which you have already mastered. It will help to have saved funds and investments that work for you and give you a cushion so I’d make that part of the priority like maybe tithing to yourself first or something or maybe teaching English for a while to build a nest egg or something, invest in precious metals or something. Being dead broke with a baby or young child is not fun, or dealing with serious health issues, deaths or other such challenges ( like we’ve had) …adding it to the vagabond life means tougher still.
It’s all about balance which is hard enough as a single, but becomes more of a challenge when one is dealing with meeting the needs of 3 individuals.The only place we ever really travel is inside ourselves, so of course travel does not mean escaping life or the endless challenge that it is..including survival. I have perfect faith that you are on the right track and will find your way through this. Be kind to yourself as you continue to build your ramp to your goal and enjoy the whole process. Hugs to all three of you.
February 24, 2011, 10:48 am
Wade – This is a fantastic, thoughtful, and heart-wrenching post. I posted something on my own site last week about how I don’t want to be a professional blogger and never have wanted to be a professional blogger. But, we do want to keep working and traveling at the same time. (In fact, today, I’m planning on writing a post on our site about how we work and travel.) In our case, we utilize our pre-existing skills and degrees: my husband is a software architect and I write and do some legal consultation (but, then again, I used to teach writing when I was younger and I have a law degree). We diversify across a variety of income sources because we’ve found that it’s the best way to keep us sustainable.
There are definitely a few people out there making good money blogging but it is a hard road to take. You should be proud of what you have accomplished here on this blog and that you are enjoying your life with your family. Good luck in your future ventures!
February 24, 2011, 10:53 am
THANK YOU for saying what has been on the minds of so many of us as we attempt to make money through our websites. We may think these things or talk about them under our breath, but I haven’t seen them written out so, well, bluntly.
I liked this line best:
“The only way to make money from a travel blog seems to be using it as a platform to sell ebooks on how to make money travel blogging: the sick irony of a publishing medium that was quickly sucked dry by too many piglets at the tit.”
HA HA – ain’t that the truth!
I do make a living in the travel world, but I use blogging and my website to sell tours and books. I’d be pulling shots of espresso at Starbucks if I was waiting for advertisers to all come on board so I could pay for that next plane ticket!
February 24, 2011, 1:27 pm
I enjoyed this read, and your honesty. I can feel your frustrations coming through and applaud you on your self reflection.
Though I would not put all travel blogs or bloggers in this box, I would agree that there are few travel bloggers that are earning a decent living with just a travel blog (“decent” being the operative and subjective word).
At its core, it comes down to personal goals and expectations. Many “vagabonds” or “digital nomads” are comfortable with having few assets and no home, and use blogs and ebooks to support this roaming lifestyle. It’s not for everyone, the ironic “free” lifestyle comes with great sacrifice. The “earning to get buy” mentality of perpetual travelers can be a tough pill to swallow when the desire to keep traveling ends.
I wish you Good luck and thank you for sharing!
February 24, 2011, 2:41 pm
I am not the traveler that everyone else is, but I play one as an editor on that “other site”. 🙂
Regardless, I do understand your need to change your current situation and improve your monetary status. Since you have Chaya and Petra to also take into consideration, the hard decisions needed to be faced and decided upon. No one is of much help to anyone else nor themselves when their mind is fought with worry and uncertainty. To that, I can personally attest.
Think of coming back to the US as a way of rejuvenating, refocusing, reorganizing and refinancing. Best wishes at succeeding across the board.
February 24, 2011, 3:04 pm
Good luck Wade, don’t give up the dream. I cannot offer advice as I am still a corporate wage slave earning only crumbs from online work, but I keep ploughing on, albeit with my safety net. You work without the safety net so I wish you greater success.
February 24, 2011, 3:35 pm
I’d like to suggest a slight change in your point of view in this article. It does not sound like you are a failure at blogging, but rather a success at something that offers minimal rewards. That may sound a bit sanguine, but there’s a big difference–especially in how you see yourself. Maintaining self-confidence is always a big part of the struggle for those of us who are self-employed. Give yourself a break. I was impressed to read all you’ve done, and sorry about the poor payback.
I admire your determination to lead the life you want. I look forward to hearing more about where it takes you. Good luck. Jim Johnston, Mexico City
P.S. I found Tim Leffel’s new book about travel writing valuable. He has lots of real information about diversifying–something he also affirms is necessary for survival.
February 24, 2011, 6:44 pm
Hello Wade, it appears your business is making 20 Dollars per day, which is 20 Dollars more than 99.99 percent of Internet sites. I was getting about 300 dollars per month in donations, then Forbes.com make me one of their Top Five Travel Blogger, all donations stopped.
Travel writing is a horrible way to make an honest living and a great way to make a dishonest living. Now, I like to Blog for fun, and do not care if I offend my audience, because I am 100 percent sure I do not make my money Blogging. I make my money understanding how to make money on the Internet, I am a great webmaster.
A webmaster works for the residual money, not for the fame, while 99 percent of travel writers do it only for the fame, which allows them to live free in hotels they could never afford.
By the way, for a chuckle, Verizon is cutting off my free BlackBerry, you will love the story.
Thanks, Andy Graham of HoboTraveler.com in Ivory Coast trying to figure out whether the rebel will attack close to me soon. They just took my girlfriends Mothers house last night, she lost all her worldly possessions, and the family had to walk to another village to be safe, abandoning the house. She was lucky to be with me, and not at the house. Now, if CNN reported that, everyone would listen, however the truth is boring, the world is owned by the promoters.
March 3, 2011, 9:01 am
Greetings from China. Not wanting to antagonize you Andy, but I see that one of your webmaster strategies is to use “false landing pages”. EG: Gay & Lesbian travel guides to absolutely every country in the world but yet each page offers zero info … (beyond ads) BUT ranks within the first page of Google.
I thought Google frowned on/penalized these practices? Apparently not; great SEO: EG: http://www.hobotraveler.com/ga2-gay-lesbian-togo.php
Wade, would you consider this, also: scoping the search engines to get more views?
- March 3, 2011, 9:01 am
February 24, 2011, 6:56 pm
Wade, there’s no failure in life only lessons to be learned. I suspect you’ve learned a lot not only about blogging but also about yourself over the past few years. In particular you may have learned you’re more ambitious than you previously realized and that the small rewards of blogging and perhaps even the vagabond lifestyle no longer satisfy you the way they once did. That sort of realization can be invaluable. Good luck to you whatever you choose to do going forward. You’re a skilled young man and I’m sure you will ultimately achieve the success you’re searching for. Just be sure to enjoy the journey between now and that day. There are times that the path seems impossibly steep and treacherous, but it just makes the view from the top that much more rewarding when you finally arrive. Vagabondjourney was a good experiment and I’ve enjoyed following along. G.
February 24, 2011, 9:18 pm
Wow! This is a depressing wake-up call. But thanks for your honesty. It does surprise me that so much hard work brings in so little… And I do hope you manage to sell more articles, though those themselves are not the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow either.
February 25, 2011, 6:10 am
I agree that most bloggers won’t make a high enough income to be able to live from it. But I think that many are just blogging for fun. So if you can make some extra money on the side… Great!
For the ones who want to earn more, I think a blog is your marketing/selling platform. Only if you have hundred thousands & more visitors per month, you could make a good income via banners. But it’s a lot of extra work to get the prizes which bigger sites charge. They get up to €65 cpm & a relatively good blogger would get maybe… $20 cpm? A huge different & a bit unfair, as we always speak about 1000 site impressions. A blog usually got a target group, so they should be easily able to charge more.
If people would know how much their blog would be really worth for advertisers, they would charge more. But as many just do it as hobby, they charge way too less and are happy with what they get.
So with the usual marketing prices, more bloggers would be able to blog full time.
February 25, 2011, 8:20 am
Respect the honesty.
February 25, 2011, 4:56 pm
Maybe there is something here that can help you. This guy is staying in one place and is a great marketer. http://www.mikeslife.org And missed the website this morning, but speaker said, unfortunately the marketing is more important than the product. Doesn’t matter how good the the product is, if no one is standing in line to buy. Seems that is often the case. More eyes is always the issue. Perhaps a little less content and more time spent social media marketing etc. Get other blogs promoting your blog = more eyes. In college, the authors of all the books we studied promoted/quoted the authors or all the other books we were studying. Now it’s the “Good ole boy’girls blogs.” Sorry you are in the cold.
February 25, 2011, 8:44 pm
Wade, I am very curious what your portfolio looks like when it comes to monetizing this site. Looking at your site I see Amazon and Adsense are the primary . Amazon is a waste of time unless it is a BIG ticket item. Adsense is worthwhile when you are targeting the right keywords. Are you writing about keywords people are looking for and have a nice CPC or are you just writing whatever comes to your mind (blogging). With 4,000 unique visitors a day, and over 100,000 visitors a month plus a PR 4 and an aged domain, there shouldn’t be a reason why are you struggling. You have a PR4 with 709 backlinks, that says something positive. Your domain has strength, START using it. You can tackle competitive keywords and rank them fast in the SERPS. Just rethink your strategy because you have everything in place to start kicking ass and taking names, you just need to regroup. Please respond because I would really like to know what methods you look to as your bread and butter.
February 25, 2011, 9:45 pm
I have some ideas that I could throw at you. Since Adsense is your bread, I really would like to see the keywords your targeting. Maybe I can help you out on them. I will throw an email your way
February 27, 2011, 10:20 pm
One thing to consider, that may or may not work with your desired lifestyle, is working in 1st world countries for a certain time frame and saving like mad (50-75% of earnings). Invest this and use this as passive income less expensive countries later. Of course the job scene in the US sucks right now but it can be done. If you are mobile and flexible about where you go, you are at an advantage. You’re smart, educated and have a multitude of skills. Get the highest paying job you can, save and then invest to spin of some amount of passive income to go back to traveling. Maybe you have heard of him but Jacob at Extreme Early Retirement.com http://earlyretirementextreme.com/ , seems to have a good formula for saving like hell for five or so years and becoming financially independent. With frugality skills and using Jacobs model, mix and match, for something that works for you. While you have to “put your nose to the grindstone” for awhile, you can get financially independent (possibly supplemented by easy work on the road) much quicker than the typical poor bastard seeking the American Dream. Something possibly worth consideration.
February 28, 2011, 10:36 am
Know what my mom said? (She asked about you when you guys were unable to come on the boat trip.)
She said that if you write well enough to make 500 bucks a month on a blog (and garner a ton of comments) that you’d be good enough to write pieces for newspapers/magazines/etc. Not full time, mind you, because print media is a dead end career but there’s lots of freelance work. So I think the thing is you just need to apply your skills to slightly different areas.
Why don’t you get started with a topic that will appeal to many: travel with family? You could write a general article about the benefits (and some cons) of traveling with a small child… someone would gobble that up and pay you for it.
Or… come back to DF and we can start the city blog. Ha ha. I’ve already started writing articles.
February 28, 2011, 2:10 pm
Wade, you are getting lots of solid advice and encouragement. Hopefully, some of the ideas will result in an increase in your income. I do believe you deserve it. You are such a hard worker and an unique person. Returning to the US for now and working as hard as you can for as much as you can is a very wise decision.
I have often felt a bit sorry for your wife, wondering how she copes with the stress, the lack of comfort and security. She seems to be a fantastic woman and mother and you are lucky to have found her. I hope for you both an answer to your dilema.
February 28, 2011, 7:33 pm
The guy who said you probably just need more heavy-duty marketing has the right idea. Also, your purist attitude might get in the way a bit. Many successful bloggers (who put out GOOD content) do sell other stuff. And these days, even mainstream editorial has to kowtow (i.e. compromise themselves) to their advertisers. They’re nudged to include plugs for the advertisers in their editorial & sometimes it’s more than a nudge.
Is this so different than putting ads on your site? (I’m not trying to be incendiary here). We do sell products but DON’T allow any advertising on our sites.
A pretty successful blogger, Yaro Starak, out of Australia, walks a nice line for both. His blog is chock full of good info (on a dif subject) but he does sell affiliate stuff & his own informational products and makes over $200K per year (& as a fan of the 4 Hour Work Week, he does travel when he wants since he is virtual).
I prefer to remain anonymous but we have traveled steadily for the past 5 years. We transitioned our income virtually and part is made from writing. The first year we made just over 100K virtually. We are now up to 200K. I would DIE if I had to compromise like your wife is doing (from your own reports & the comments section). While we can’t live like high end travelers, we pretty much find a way to stay at 3 or 4 star situations & are living within our means.
It was an intention that we set that we would figure out a way to work smart, abandon time-for-money and get smart on marketing. Marketing really goes a long way. Our content is good but the marketing is really KEY.
I hope you won’t compromise. I have to admit I HATE people’s suggestions of grounding in the U.S. and working to save a nut. With all that you’ve accomplished, I have a feeling you are just a couple of small adjustments away from making it work, hitting your tipping point where your previous goals seem like peanuts compared to what you are raking in. I really hope you find a way to keep going & streamline the effort while maximizing the income. Best of luck!
March 1, 2011, 10:39 am
Wade, I’ve been going through and reading all the comments. It seems that 1or 2 trickle in everyday.
I have nothing to add except I’m encouraged to see so many in your corner with heart-felt suggestions. And if this is how the people who comment feel, you know there are maybe hundreds or thousands who feel the same way.
Stuff you’ve written has moved me to tears, has been thought provoking and whether I realize it or not, has changed my life. How it works out for you I don’t know, but I along with all these other commenters, wish you and your family the absolute best. God bless you Wade, Mike
March 1, 2011, 10:49 am
Have to agree with Angel, you may be at your TIPPING POINT. Always to soon to give up. You have received some great advice and ideas, but you know what you know about how difficult it is. What to do and what not to do. I appreciate the truth, so will others. Why not sell an e-book cheap. Have several catchy titles(“Before You…,” or “Truth about….,” ect.) for the same e-book?
Even posting this topic was a great idea–Look at all of the responses!
Thought of you when I read these quotes in “Chiropractic First” by Terry Rondberg, DC. They were collected by BJ Palmer. “The world makes a path for the man who knows where he is going.” and “Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
Some people find fault with my chiropractor who does a lot of advertising with free health seminars where he also markets supplements and other products. Many think an individuals advertising/ money making is wrong, but have no problem going to a big box store to buy whatever they have seen on TV. Dr Dan and his wife work long/hard hours developing their business to improve/heal people. They deserve to make a living from it. Why not add value to patients lives by showing them the best supplements etc. If people trust you, you can also add value when you suggest a product you like, great if you make money from. I can tell the sites that are just info catalogs from the sites that are content with suggestions for products.
March 1, 2011, 1:07 pm
My friend knows the value of social media to promote his business, but he has no time to do it himself. Many companies now hire experts to do it for them, but my friend uses several internet marketing students as unpaid interns (on a schedule) to take content from his company website/newsletters/current news/blogs etc. and tweet and bleat their little hearts out on all the social media markets. You could just choose one (linkedin could get you paid writing jobs). The students are happy for the opportunity to build their resume. They track their success and boast about it. Maybe, you know of students or someone who can help you do the parts you hate. Offer a commission on a percentage of increase in earnings. With all of this brainstorming you will find a way to make this work for you. I know exactly what you mean, there are parts of every job we like and hate and I have always said if the world depended on my purchases, little money would change hands. Few people are like us (must confess, currently, I am resting and trading my skills as a personal assistant for a salary plus luxury living situation-while setting up my online business). Most people get their identity from their jobs $$ and want to spend the money they make. If not with you, than someone else. You are the expert in a niche and there are things that you can market– articles comparing the your kind of trip to the high end trips–too mercenary for you, then impact of high end verses your way would sell too. Having led several trips, I argue with myself all the time about what it takes for an income vs desire to be free. My travelers usually want a little more luxury, but trust me, so always have a great time despite some difficulties (closed borders–sand floors–chicken bus–cat. 4 hurricane). And it is the main reason I have not jumped into the travel blogging business. Though, as I get older, a mid-range trip is more appealing. Just returned from Mexico–stayed in high price for me $45.00 per night double. A few years ago, I mentioned to a woman that I wanted to take the 2nd class train through Copper Canyon. She told her travel writer husband. He had never even heard of it, but sent out proposals for articles. They went on a free 1st class Copper Canyon train trip and he wrote about it and received money from several magazines. I still have not been to CC. What is wrong with me? I thought about it–He did it! You are doing it, I admire you and am sure that things will very soon make a turn for the better. Most people don’t know that Rick Steves prefers low to the ground, 3rd world travel, but refuses to write about it or take people with him for fear of their behavior. He had to make his money selling mid-range travel, teaching people (who were going anyway) historical/knowledgeable travel and how not to be so ugly. He says he does not need any more money, so he travels with his family more where he likes and gives the money away. That is a great reason to make a lot of money. Your family is a great reason to make a little more than enough. More blessings! PS Love the name/place Petra.
March 1, 2011, 4:11 pm
Wow. I think the answers are easier than you think, man.
I’m a 42-year old guy, semi-retired. I’m a dumpster diver, real estate investor, e-book author, website developer.
You could do what I did. And please read this, because I’m not trying to sell you anything. In fact, if you want my e-book, e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you it, free.
Here’s what I did, and now I’m getting checks in the mail.
1. I worked at Papa John’s, delivering pizzas, for about a year. During this time, I lived for free at different friends houses, sleeping on the living room couch of one, and later, sleeping in the kitchen of another. In exchange for living with these friends, I would do errands, chores. I managed to save a lot of money, because for food, I was eating pizzas or dumpster diving.
2. I bought a small property at a tax deed sale in North Florida, sold it for profit. Used those profits to buy more properties to flip or rent out. I explain how to to this in Make Big Profits Flipping Florida Land (http://www.FlipFloridaLand.com)
3. Later on, I got an e-mail from a bank about a foreclosure sale coming up. I was in Vermont at the time. I drove to Wrightsville, Georgia, camped out in front of one of the properties about to go to foreclosure sale, snuck in the back window to look at it. Started cleaning it out. Before I left to go look at the property, I contacted a friend who wanted to go 50/50 on the deal. He would provide the money. I would buy it and find a buyer. We would split the profit. We did that, and now we earn about $315 every month, that we split.
Wade, I hope you’re reading this, because you can do the same thing I did and get freedom in your life.
You don’t have to care about real estate, either. You just need to follow what I did to make it work. If you want to learn how to do this, e-mail me. It will give you freedom for you and your family.
Another thing, Wade, you could charge $25 an hour to make word press theme websites. You’re very talented.
If it’s free, then people don’t appreciate it. People have to pay something in order to value it, at least that’s how it seems in American culture anyway.
March 1, 2011, 4:18 pm
Try CPALead.com or CPALeads.com
You can earn up to $3.56 per form fill out.
Just ask every single one of your subscribers and visitors to keep your blog going by …
clicking this link and filling out a survey or …
clicking this link and participating in a survey
You can earn 3.56 per survey.
Think about it.
If you have 100 visitors a day to your blog who will fill out the link, then that’s over $300 a day.
Wade. Start taking the advice of people who are leaving comments.
Write down all the useful suggestions and try them out and see which ones work.
You have a great blog, just refocus and try some new monetization techniques.
You’re smart, determined, and persistent. You can do it.
Real estate, too, is great. Get a junker house in Macon, Georgia. Buy it for $1,500. Fix it up a little. Sell it as Contract for Deed or Rent to Own for $6,500 at 12.75% interest. Do this with some other houses, and you’ll be getting checks in the mail or direct deposit. I can teach you how to do this.
November 20, 2011, 8:57 pm
Hey, can you teach ME how to do this? Do you sell a book 🙂
- November 20, 2011, 8:57 pm
March 1, 2011, 5:59 pm
Get a cute Donate widget and put it higher on the page. Until this article people probably thought you were pulling in big bucks and stashing it away. LOL 100,000 visitors monthly and you only need $600, only 166 people need to donate $25 per month–doesn’t have to be the same 166 each month–$100 more per month would do it. Missionaries would love those numbers. Put up a counter showing what you have received and what you need. Set up the interest account that was discussed in another article and put everything above $600 or whatever you need in it to fund the future. Ask! What do you have to lose??
March 2, 2011, 4:36 am
Wade (Sorry, I just found this now as I’ve been on the road and then off the net some weeks here in China), anyway, this is the bones bared of the travel blog – blogging scene in general; a nasty marketing lie.
AND I AGREE.
So, what can I add to the range of comment & advice – not much except, encouragement and anecdote.
>>>>>>>> You are an excellent writer, cool dude, and a real traveler. Period. Start there.
And like me, you have no stomach for the dull, cliched commercial crap of a largely pretentious, mainstream travel blogging community BUT that is where the real money is; that is what society wants.
(I was once an occasional, freelance, well-paid travel writer in the mid-90s for newspapers but I said, ‘Stick it , society!”). Now, I think of getting back into it … as the market explodes, online … So, find your place in the online travel writing scene and offer stuff to them.
Personally, my website makes no money and that’s fine as it’s my hobby and am (probably) the most uncompromising travel bastard in the entire scene .
I realized the issues – what you now speak – some time ago and also loathe networking (and the time wasted online). So, I teach English – usually – on the road and always in foreign country to get amid the culture (rather than on-screen every hour as a blogger), and I also sell my travel images and digital art. I only work about 15 hours a week – lots of free time – but often I don’t work for months or years, depending my savings.
Maybe try, again, English teaching – which would set you both up fast to living in a foreign land, saving, and traveling … And continue your site as a scaled-down mellow-income hobby, and meantime, get-known as a travel writer via other travel sites.
Stay strong; be you …
The path will find you …
Regards – Michael | the candy trail … nomadic across the planet, since 1988
March 2, 2011, 7:02 pm
Great. Problem solved !!! You continue, as is, with Petra – a “house hubby” 😉 – while Chaya teaches (as I know that teaching is not for everyone) and that way you get some extra cash, foreign experience and travels, and still have that freedom.
Such jobs usually include a free apartment, also. (And often at least free outward flight for employee).
As for Qinghai, I was intending to head over there on route to Xinjiang while on route to the “Stans” – but it could all be timing as I maybe there within 3-6 months or much much sooner . No real plans, as usual. Be cool to meet up.
Regards – Michael
March 4, 2011, 2:47 pm
Hey, I would like to suggest that you venture to read a really cool & helpful book I ran across, entitled “The Four-Hour Work Week”. I think you will find that it contains a LOT of very useful strategies that can help you boost the return on your time invested, regardless of the areas of your endeavors. Take a look & see what you think.This was written by a guy named Tim Ferriss.
Another idea for consideration as well: Have you looked at all at the possibility of doing some stock or microstock photography? This is something that has to be developed over time, but has the potential to bring in ongoing residual income, and it might fit in well with your travels. I personally have used photography to advantage for bringing in some income on the side, and a good camera doesn’t take up too much real estate in the baggage (no doubt you’re likely carrying one with you already). Some of the good ones out now shoot not only photos, but also high-def video as well, and you could try adding some video clips to your blog & websites. Considering some of the places you are traveling to, I’ll bet you would come up with some really cool and interesting footage & photos of the places you are visiting. I’m soon going to be headed abroad myself, but in my case, I’m on social security now, so I’m going to have over $1000 per month guaranteed without lifting a finger… so anything additional I can manage to bring in will be frosting on the cake. But shooting video & photos for hire could be an option for you – at weddings, quinceanera parties, & stuff like that. However, the really viable option in my opinion is going to be the microstock photo sales… no issues there of your right to work for hire in the country you are in.
I wish you the best…. perhaps I’ll run across you one day while wandering around in far-off places!
March 7, 2011, 7:19 pm
I’m not so sure about ebooks – I think they could go the way of affiliate programmes, sites like flickr and earning money through clicks – too little, and declining revenues as more and more people come onto the internet and try to make money from these programmes. But using one of the free publishers (if Bloomsbury or the like pick up your book, so much the better, but in case they don’t….) like lulu.com doesn’t seem such a bad idea to me. They stock your book, at whatever price you want to sell it, and, provided you invest in an ISBN, you can then send some off to Amazon for them to sell for you via their “fulfilled by Amazon” sales channel. They will probably, given your web traffic, be plenty of people out there interested in reading about your travels. Meanwhile, you could also buy a few copies from Lulu.com, so you could sell them directly off your website. Just don’t let them be the publisher, i.e. make sure “Vagabond Publishing” or whatever name you would like to use 🙂 shows as the publisher. Otherwise people may be put off, thinking you self published because you couldn’t get a mainstream publisher to pick up your book.
I mention lulu.com because I have bought books from them in the past, even though I don’t live in The States.
I don’t know about teaching English overseas. If you wouldn’t want to do that in The States, would you want to do it while travelling? I taught English in China for 18 months, and what I found was my time was never my own. When I wasn’t in class, groups of students would come to visit — which obviously the university encouraged. After all, by Chinese standards they were paying top dollar for our skills so wanted to milk the most out of us.
Why not tell us how we can help you make money, e.g. by clicking through to the advertisers on your site? Not everyone is internet savvy about this kind of thing.
I wouldn’t go back to working for someone else, even if it meant living on £10 a day. That’s a road to ruin creatively. Put it this way, some people are suited to that life, and good luck to them, may they live long enough to enjoy some freedom in their old age, (because that’s what they will be when they finally retire – over 65 and maybe even 70) and may they make millions. And some aren’t and that’s us – the ones who left all that behind and became our own bosses.
Going back to teaching English, I found one on one tutoring more lucrative and less stressful. But it’s not for everyone – not everyone wants to open their home to strangers. What about more esoteric pursuits like tarot reading? It’s still labour, but it does pay well. I used to quite enjoy going to spiritual fairs and just renting a booth for the day. For some of the more serious full time readers, that, to them was advertising as well as stall rental. Not phone tarot though – that’s horrible.
Failing all of this, I once did a spot of envelope stuffing and leaflet delivering. I really did it just for the exercise, but I did make £40 for the day which I was quite pleased about. I’m not sure though if they do this kind of thing stateside.
There is something that doesn’t happen over here in the UK from what I can see but was done across The Pond when we lived there. People would hire other people to drive their cars to whichever part of The States they were moving to while pulling a U-Haul enclosed trailer, including covering the train/plane journey back to base.
March 8, 2011, 4:34 pm
I haven’t even begun my long term travel, I’m still building up my experience and website hoping to eventually make enough money off of it that it covers its own expenses then we will see about any kind of profit, big or little. That and I’m half way through a free graduate program. Yet, my true goal is to make this a lived experience and then go back to school for a PhD and teach a cultural anthropology, ethnic studies style class where I can speak from these experiences not simply a book.
March 11, 2011, 1:04 pm
Debbie, you have said it well. Times are a changin’ Writers must embrace it. It is a great time to live in. Aspiring writers can be earn money immediately. It is a good thing. Just wondering if the oral story tellers were excited when the printing press was invented? LOL
March 22, 2011, 3:57 am
Hey Wade, I came across a post where you said to a fellow reader “Andy G stresses that if you put up five pages per day for two years you will begin to make enough money to continuously travel. I agree with this advice.” Where did fail to make the money you wanted to? Not reaching that point of 150 per day. What are you doing to implanting new strategies? I would really like to know where you think you messed up at?? It could really help me implement them into my plan and not make the same mistakes. Maybe we could exchange emails and you could give me some advice?? I am not a total noob. I know about keywords, H1,H2 tags, Alt images, Posting keywords in post etc but maybe I can learn something new. I would really appreciate it. Thanks for you time and maybe we can exchange emails. If you agree, what would be the best email to reach you at?
March 27, 2011, 5:23 pm
Fantastic post Wade (and so refreshingly candid!) And likewise such interesting comments. Not sure my own .02 can add anything much to the mix, but nonetheless, as a lass who long ago gave up a most promising climb up the corporate career ladder in favor of following her own brand of travel bliss, I can offer the following:
1. There must be at least a bazillion ways to make a decent living (perhaps not posh, but nonetheless quite comfortable) from travel. I sincerely believe it’s limited only by your own imagination. And yes, agreed: NOT by working for someone else, but rather, as an entrepreneur. For starters, there’s my own example: So You Wanna Be an Int’l Tour Operator, Huh? (Note: 3 posts in a series, the final fourth in the saga, still to come.)
Just one of gazillion ways to follow your travel bliss in this life, whilst not being compelled to eat macaroni and cheese every blessed meal.
2. As stated, above (“…not posh, but…”) there ARE of course trade-offs involved. Just like every other path one chooses in life. IOW, Nope, you’ll likely NEVER make as many rubles following your travel bliss as climbing (like a zombie?) up the corporate career ladder. But you can most certainly make a decent living and besides… Isn’t the trade-off of “working” at what your love, worth it?
3. Speaking of which (i.e. “working”) – let’s be realistic here. There’s surely no free lunches in life (who would be foolish enough to work at making them, only to hand them out freely to those who want one for doing nothing, yes?) Even doing what you love is most certainly going to involve a heck of a lot of hard work (not to mention, time – long hard hours, esp. in the beginning, as you’ve done here w/ VJ). But again, you’re following your own bliss after all (not say… waiting tables or changing oil), so isn’t that worth it?
4. Only other tip I might add is… Yes, yes, you’re most surely on the right path with your plan to “diversify” (i.e. “make money four or five different ways”.) Leastwise, that’s what I did/do. I started my own little int’l tour company (specializing in travel to a country that at the time, few had even HEARD of), but I’ve also ever dabbled in various other travel-related revenue streams (taught travel classes, reviewed hotels for a world-wide hotel directory, etc., as well as taught myself HTML and became a whiz at digital graphics, so I can fiddle websites from anywhere on the globe.) In short, yes, yes, diversify. A few rubles here, a handful there – it all can add up to a decent living.
And finally, I have to laugh. Yes, I recently started blogging a bit (mainly, like everyone else, as a way to chronicle my next crazy travel scheme – moving lock, stock ‘n barrel to some g-forsaken rice paddy.) But trust that when I first looked into the blog scene, it swiftly became obvious that making rubles at it wasn’t – in a million years – ever gonna make me rich. So I do the blogging merely as a fun thing and honestly, mainly because I’m just fascinated with learning how it all works.
So I think you’re on the right track – you’ve built quite a nice little revenue stream here doing what you love and on your own terms. So yes, now just a matter of fine-tuning what’s working and what isn’t, and finding a couple of other ways to bring in a few more rubles for the luxury of munching on a steak once in awhile.
October 16, 2011, 9:55 pm
Dear Wade. I loved the article and can relate.
I will give you my point first, then the summary.
Shoot for three times the money you think you will need by targeting the middle class and upper middle class that you seem to have chosen to neglect, to their misfortune. Those people need your help and experience as well as the vagabond. The shift is purely psychological, and can be made in seconds. The paradigm changes from neglect to help, from survive to thrive. It is all contained in the way you frame it, and the choice is yours. Good luck.
I am a 62 y/o career piano player that has pursued his passion since 8 y/o. I still play 3 nights per week at an upscale restaurant in Baton Rouge. I have never done any other kind of work.
I live on $600/month and that includes car insurance, rent and utilities and food and gas. I eat out often, and have no debt and I live close to my work. I save at least $700 per month.
[edited do to length]
And even though we have more handy gadgets to stay connected and do business with that are coming Down in price, the cost of the items we Need is dramatically rising. Food, shelter, clothing, cars, gas, eyeglasses, etc., and hearing aids…….lol.
Of course, this is not news to you or most of your readers!
I call this the “money trap”….others call it inflation…still others call it white collar crime, but no matter what you call it, this is a FACT that you can do little about and must plan on living with it.
Even if you had bought gold and silver at the bottom at $258 and $4, this will not make you wealthy unless you were rich before you bought it! However precious metals Will retain your purchasing power! Keep that in mind.
So my first money suggestion is this: whatever you think you will need to make a good living at over the next 10 years, triple it! Thats about right. So if you currently think $3k per month is about right for you, shoot for a skills upgrade that will bring in $9k per month to factor in for inevitable loss of money purchasing power! IMO, this is the only way to thrive, and without specialized education or incredible “personal power”, you will never make that kind of money working for someone else. This means that most of us need to get “way out of the box”.
IMO, you just need to tweak the box, do some ebooks, slighty change strategy and audience, and charge more for your services while targeting a higher paid market group. Over the years, you have done plenty to help the vagabond. How about helping the middle to upper middle class travel for less and experience the “off the beaten path” lifestyle? We are people too!
The good news is this: There are plenty of people, in various fields of interest, doing this off the internet, as you well know. They turned a passion into a big business, but one that generates alot of interest and many high paying subscribers. Shoot for that!
You don’t have to be “greedy” to make big money. You don’t have to sell an inferior product or a pipe dream to make it either. What you have do is think smart, and you must add more value to other peoples lives than anyone else is doing….Success is always a combination of great info/great product, a well thought out and executed target marketing strategy and great Love. Board of directors of successful companies don’t sit around discussing ideas on how to survive….they are only interested in how to Grow and Thrive.
So my second money suggestion is this: survey your fields of interest carefully to find what is most Important to middle class or upper middle class travelers now, one that they are most willing to pay or “have” to pay hard earned capital to get. That is a survey. Then develop those info skills, or partner with others that have specific knowledge and/or other resources(money), and go for it. Most of that you are doing very well. Tweak it brother!
I myself, who am not a vagabond, need your help. There are many others like me.
We want to go to a relatively safe place for 1-4 weeks: fly in, get reliable ground transportation at a fair price, live inexpensively but not on the cheap, immerse within the culture, know who to contact that we can trust to “guide” us to experience the out of the way spots, local restaurants, shops, markets where the locals buy, knowledge of the prices to expect to pay for goods, dinners, etc., and come home, bringing with us a unique and pleasurable “one of a kind” experience. I would pay $25-$35 per ebook for that specific info if it was a place that I wanted to visit. With some pics and trusted teasers, written within a current updated timeframe, I would buy it and never think about cost! The current info and contacts are what I am looking for.
I have no desire to stay for 3 months in another country until at last I find out these things. I would pay a local guide $25 a day easily. I would pay $50-$75 a day for great local food. There is lodging & transportation as well. There are many income streams here. I am sure you can think of more. I am not talking about “group tours” or “guided tours”. What I am talking about is my choice of experiences with an English speaking guide. I may travel alone, with a significant other, or another couple.
There at least one million of us in the USA alone. Once this gets going, you should be able to reach at least 10000 (1%) people per year and grow from there. That’s $250k just on ebooks. Not a bad goal for only alittle more work, but making a huge shift in psychology, markets and marketing.
Suggestion: start another website geared to middle class travelers like myself. Devote most of your efforts to this new venture, and let VJ run on fumes for a couple of months.
There is plenty of money everywhere! If you don’t have it, partner with someone for resourses.
Tell your potential partners, “I will touch more people and help more people find great travel destinations at low prices with the best local info and contacts than anyone you will ever meet, and there will be more than enough money for all of us!” This does not require salesmanship. What it does require is that you have a more powerful mental “frame” of actuality than anyone you meet! In other words, you are absolutely sure of yourself and your ability to conquer this quest! No doubt No fear. Just do it. That is the attitude and you already have it!
If you do not know any people with money to invest, email me.
[edited do to length]
Keep your head up – Work smart – keep traveling.
February 1, 2012, 12:26 pm
I recently reinvigorated my personal travel/photo blog before leaving on a long wandering trip. Along the process I flirted with getting involved in the indie travel blogging “industry” but I found it ultimately distasteful. The techniques that most indie budget travelers use to try and earn money off their blogs strikes me as vapid and unsustainabe.
I do believe there is money to be made, perhaps enough for those living below their means, but it doesn’t come from the stories and photographs that we love to share.
Best of luck man. For what it’s worth, I really dig your style.
March 26, 2012, 4:59 am
Im 8 months into a round the world trip. I’m not losing money, but not making a heap either. I think you are right about having several income sources. I have been making ad revenue from online video, but with recent algorithm changed, most youtube partners took a two thirds hit to income. I don’t see this as such a bad thing, as it means I now have to be a bit more proactive about finding other passive income sources. I have also realised I can’t do it all, so I am employing a secretary and video editor from the philippines. Nerdynomad is one person who is making money from travel blogging, but she is one of the few….I agree, most of these ‘snakes and vipers’ are just trying to sell product.
August 29, 2013, 8:01 am
This article is very hardcore. I mean I often look for budget travel resources online and most of the bloggers brag about how they earn this and that while traveling. It’s good to know the downside of traveling as a lifestyle. This is a very enlightening article. Thanks, Wade. (:
November 1, 2013, 7:49 pm
amen!…..ive browsed thousands of travel blogs all saying the same thing. such a choked market place. i can whiff the swine attached to the diamond though….reminds me all too much of craigslist nowadays…barely offering jobs just call centers seeking your information….but they post useful links every now and again..i fully appreciated every word of this blog..keep the sun on your face hope our paths cross one day 🙂
February 10, 2019, 8:51 pm
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