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Behind the scenes: How bloggers like us diversify income streams

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There is a lot going on behind the scenes of GlobetrotterGirls.com, and much of it has to do with the business of blogging. We don’t often talk about how exactly we make money from our blog, but since the question keeps coming up, we decided to share about the income streams we have related to this website, as we realize that most people, our readers included, don’t have a clear picture of how we earn a living as bloggers.

Originally, this site was meant to be an outlet for Jess to improve her travel writing skills with the pressure of it being a public forum, in order to push her to get better, and an outlet for me to showcase and improve on my photography. We both had freelance positions with corporate clients – Jess as a freelance writer and I was doing headhunting work on a project basis. Although Jess dreamed of writing creative travel stories instead of promotional corporate travel industry content, and using the blog as a reference for pitching traditional media outlets, our work was steady and we earned well. Blogging was something we didn’t take very seriously – at first.

After six months or so, we received an email from an advertiser whose client wanted to pay us a small fee for the placement of their company logo on our site. The income didn’t compare to our own client work, but we saw the potential. What if we weren’t distracted on working for someone else, and we could make money with our own site, we could focus all our attention on writing about what we love.

Money

Advertising and advertorials

At first the advertising was only on a reactive basis, side money that helped pad our pockets but since then we have come in contact with an incredible amount of opportunities, just like any publication on or offline does. While we are pitched from every industry under the sun, we keep all advertising travel-related, both the logos we display as well as content written specifically for companies – as long as it is 100% in line with our requirements.

The more we were able to focus on GlobetrotterGirls and let smaller freelance projects go one by one, we improved all of our skills – writing, photography, even learning to edit and share video and audio. Even more important for us was that we were able to really display our expertise about certain regions of the world. This was key in leading to several other projects, beyond the blog, which has become a platform for freelance work and co-operations based on what we are passionate about, rather than relying on corporate writing or advertising income.

eBooks

A year into our travels, we were asked to contribute a chapter to the book The Art Of Couples Travel by Indie Travel Media. As a lesbian couple who travels full-time and writes about it, we have been able to fill a niche for publications looking for more information on this under-publicized niche.

Another major area of expertise for us has been Housesitting, of course, and we published our own ebook, Break Free – The Ultimate Guide To Housesitting, in the Amazon Kindle store at the end of last year. If you have a specific topic that you rate yourself an expert in, self-publishing an eBook is a great way to grow your income, because you only have to put the effort into writing it once, but will get royalties from it every month after publishing it.

Writing gigs

Visiting cities around the globe gave us great knowledge of things like which accommodation to book, how to best get from A to B, how much to budget for the day, how long to spend in each place. Our expert knowledge led to several writing gigs for other websites, publications and, most recently, creating travel itineraries for a promising new travel app.

Social Media Campaigns and Copy Writing

There are several networks that connect bloggers and businesses in a way that makes it easier for bloggers to plug in to additional income streams. Many companies are aware that bloggers have a unique combination of strong writing skills, a built in audience, a publishing platform of their own and knowledge of social media channels as well. Bloggers are not only writers and photographers, possibly video and audio editors, but also marketing and promotional experts as well.

My pitch to a small business that was looking for someone to build up their social media following and manage their Twitter, Facebook and other accounts led to a steady monthly gig – thanks to our blog and social proof that they could see in our social media engagement.

If you don’t know how to go about finding clients, signing up with one of these networks is the best and easiest way to make businesses aware of you, your skills and your website. Hirebloggers.co.uk, for example, is a platform that puts brands in touch with bloggers. They have successfully arranged a three month contract helping build and manage a company’s Facebook and other social media accounts – for £800 a month, as an example. Other campaigns include promoting companies’ competitions and offers, getting involved in helping them write good content, research, and more.

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Freelance projects

Projects like the ones mentioned above clearly leverage the skill set acquired through blogging, but you might not be interested in freelance work that relates to your blog – you might have other skills that allow you to work from anywhere. If you are a web developer for example, a graphic designer, an SEO specialist or a branding specialist, you might want to register with freelance websites such as PeoplePerHour, eLance or Odesk. Some people also prefer to teach a language or tutor math students – also something that can be done remotely via Skype these days (a popular platform that connects tutors and students is BuddySchool.com), and others enjoy organizing the life of others by being a virtual assistant to companies. Both of us have been using freelance websites to get additional work – Jess got several writing gigs and I found work in my previous profession, as a recruiter, as well as market research and social media and blogging related work.

Some things to consider…

As you see, the direct advertising income that Globetrottergirls.com makes us is only one of many ways that support us, but all the other work we do is now related to our website in one form or another, which has allowed us to let go of the freelance gigs we had when we left England over three years ago.

Our advice is to diversify your income streams – don’t rely on only one. We don’t ever know how much money we will make by the end of the month, how many projects we get, how much advertising and how many books we sell. It can be nerve-wrecking not to know how much money we will have at the end of each month, but it is always enough to continue our lifestyle, a freedom we would never exchange for a steady paycheck!

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2 Comments

  1. Hi ladies! I’m curious about Jess’s previous work as a copywriter. How did you get into that line of work? Do you have information and/or resources you can provide as to how someone like me-without a college degree but possessing good writing skills and creativity-might go about getting into this profession? I am so grateful I found your blog. The idea of travel while sustaining my family financially is, at the very least, intriguing!!! Hoping to find an answer to our wanderlust!!! Thanks for any help you can provide and for the above blog post!

    1. Hi Dana, thanks for your comment! Jess actually has a degree in Media & Culture studies, which made it easier for her to get into writing. She still had to do a whole bunch of writing for free (in return for exposure) in the beginning to build up a portfolio before she was able to pitch for paid writing gigs. It isn’t easy to get into copy writing these days, as there is so much competition and the pay isn’t as great anymore. However, if you’re writing is outstanding, you will be able to succeed 🙂

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