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Many people wonder (and ask me) how to live traveling with a blog (or a Youtube channel, or how to “influence”).
Quienes me siguen me conocen por mi Instagran o por mi blog, y por lo tanto, saben como voy contando que me gusta explorar pueblos y hacer rutas por regiones no masificadas. Me encanta explorar “pueblos con encanto” por el mundo y casi les diría que es una de mis perdiciones viajeras. Sobre este tema hice este post >> That’s how I became a charming village explorer. And as many also know, travel is my way and means of life, that’s my job. I love to travel and communicate travel.
Traveling (on a tour exploring Greek islands)
There are no tricks. Many people ask me by private message how I travel so much, I imagine they want to know what my “trick” is, my “secret”. And my answer is no, there’s no trick to it. Everything is in sight and can be contrasted: my job is to provide you with content through my blog 101 Lugares Increíbles (lots of content) for 13 years now. Every post on the blog is a response to “How I do it” and all that published content is literally my work.
Living from a blog is about generating traffic. My blog and all its multiplatform communication (in all the social networks I am present in) is my main source of income (my other job is developing travel content for third parties with Gondwana Communication). Starting with my blog, what I say applies to any influence on various platforms (Youtube, Instagram, etc): the sources of income are basically contextual advertising and recommendations of services that can be hired from the blog. In my case, in the travel guides in my blog I leave recommendations of services so I take the opportunity to comment on how this works. In a blog I leave links to services I use in my travels. I would never recommend a service if I didn’t have good experiences in using them. These services, in case some reader hired them from the blog, leave a percentage of the sale. This is at no extra cost to the readers. Therefore, if they hire services recommended from the blog (such as excursions, car rentals, hotels, etc), in some way they are also helping me to continue with my work of communicating destinations, giving them advice, etc. But above all, they will be hiring reliable services that I recommend so that they can organize their trip on their own. However, in practice all this is very easy to implement and anyone can do it with a minimum of dedication and learning. The difficult thing in any case is to have enough traffic and visitors on the blog to be able to live off this.
Traffic is the question. How do you get traffic? The essence of it all is to publish many posts over the years, but not only that. It’s also about positioning yourself among followers, having credibility (and sustaining it over the years), providing useful, honest information. Present the content in a practical, useful and, as far as possible, innovative way. Differentiate in some way from the competition. This can take many forms: for example, one way to differentiate yourself is to provide quality content and a wealth of information in each post. Above all, the key is the quality of the content. And it’s no use getting traffic anyway, or doing “tricks” or cheating. In the long term, no shortcuts work: it’s just a matter of getting traffic with a lot of quality content and thus earning a good reputation with the fans.
No one can say they have a secret to sell about this way of life. In my case, what I do is obvious: publishing a lot of blog posts and content (believe that I make every effort to make that content quality) is the way to make a living from a blog. And this takes years of work, because to generate a decent income you also have to have hundreds of posts published, and that is not done overnight. Therefore, you’ll notice that all the bloggers who can make a living from a blog (which are few according to those I know), can do so because they’ve worked hard for years. The same applies to a youtuber, or an instagramer, or whoever lives from generating content. Nothing is achieved overnight. Also many have a presence in networks but live from activities in parallel to their blog: you can have a blog and make a synergy to live from selling books telling travel experiences (and I always say that’s perfect), or for example offering services. A practical case could be an instagramer who shares decoration tips, and who can live from offering his services to decorate houses. Or someone who shares recipes on Instagram and lives from selling recipe books or giving cooking courses. I also want you to understand that I don’t mean that giving a course is wrong. No way I’m saying that. What I’m trying to make clear is that what makes me noise is when you sell a course of something that you can’t prove you’re an expert in: for example, you can’t have a blog for the sole purpose of selling courses to make a living from a blog (without being able to prove you make a living from a blog).
No one should sell you a course on living from a blog if you don’t live from a blog. Analyze well on this subject. When someone offers a course with “everything you need to live from a blog”, in many cases that person who offers them this magic formula does not seem to have very clear how to live from a blog. So in those cases, instead of living from a blog, they live from “selling courses to live from a blog”. Living off a blog is something that takes years. No one can live from a blog that has been online for two years and barely 50 published posts. That’s impossible. To make a living from a blog you have to have hundreds of posts published, a volume sufficient to generate a remarkable traffic on the blog. Unless you’re a SEO mega cracker, you have a lot of luck positioning and always get the right topics right (and you’re a typewriter with no pause), it’s very difficult to make a living from a blog in less than three years of hard work. Yes, you can start generating some income after a few months, but talking about income to “live from a blog” and travel all the time is another matter. I also want to stress that I do not want in any way to discourage someone from starting a blog. I’m just trying to give a realistic picture: yes, you can make a living from a blog by working hard.
There are no shortcuts to making dreams come true. There is a huge market in “selling the idea that a dream is possible”. And I say yes, there are certain dreams that are possible, but there are also many dreams that are being exploited by false prophets and gurus. And by this I don’t mean that all gurus are false gurus. We must learn to distinguish between good and bad gurus. There are no shortcuts, no magic formulas, no magic courses to teach you how to fulfill a dream. And if someone wants to set himself up as the guru of a particular subject, ask for “credentials”. I mean, if someone tells you they can teach you how to live off a blog, ask for the address of that blog. Analyze your blog, your metrics, see how often you have published in the last year. If that blog has two monthly posts on average in the last twelve months, I would say that it is impossible for that person to live off his blog. If that blog is full of “guest posts”, it’s a little strange that the owner of that blog has a passion for communication.
There are also ways to measure the accuracy of a blog in terms of traffic. Some things can’t be simulated. The influencers who publish posts, or videos, and who live from it, do so at least weekly over months and months (for years). And they do it passionately because they love to communicate. I dare say that the vast majority of them are self-taught and learned either by reading free tutorials, or by watching free video tutorials. The amount of free information on the Internet is overwhelming, and you can learn almost anything by doing a Google search.
There are things you will only learn in a self-taught way. There are courses that can help you make fewer mistakes in your process or career. And I dare say that there is nothing you can learn that is not available for free on the web. Note that when it comes to occupations as disruptive as anything related to technology, and as changing as the world of the Internet, most “successful” people are largely self-taught. Mostly all those who can see that they stand out as influencing in some social network, although they studied some career (or not), in most cases they had to be self-taught to adapt to the new communication tools and their permanent changes. For example, I myself studied Image and Sound Design at a university, and I learned a lot about communication, about photography, about storytelling. Therefore I am by no means saying that studying is useless, quite the contrary. But nobody taught me about blogs, social networks, network marketing strategies, etc. Today everything is so changeable that you have to train, but also adapt and be self-taught to be “on the cutting edge”. And when it comes to studying or taking courses, it is always important to see very well that they do not try to sell us a “magic formula”.
I don’t know any other way to make dreams come true except by working hard. That’s what I do for “living on the road”. In my experience, if we really lived exclusively from a blog, there would be no time left to devote to selling courses and managing them. Living from a blog takes a lot of time and a lot of work. It is even very difficult to run a blog to live off of it alone. If you look at many of the most recognized and positioned blogs, you will see that they work between two (usually couples) or more people to reach that level of presence and work.
Living from a blog takes a long time. Living from a blog takes hours of work every day. At least four hours a day of writing, two hours more of social network management, two hours more of technical blog repairs, blog optimization, comment responses, interaction with followers, strategy design, creativity to communicate with our followers. Do you think that every day after all that there is time for more? I’d say not. Living from a blog is possible with all that work and all that time. Living from a blog is a minimum of seven hours a day, working without a schedule and at any time, almost never being able to take a total vacation, or a total disconnection for a long time. It even means not being able to disconnect from the Internet for too many hours, or being able to travel to a place where the connection is bad. Or at least not being able to travel to a place like that for too many days. What makes up for all that effort and full-time dedication? Basically the satisfaction of being able to live and do what you like.
Living from a blog is not just writing a blog. Because being a communicator today has a lot of what they call being a storyteller. And by this I mean being a (audiovisual) storyteller who develops stories (in my case mostly through Instagram stories), and having a presence on multiple platforms and networks. Because today, running a blog is much more than running a blog: it is being an octopus managing several social networks at once. In my case I am present mainly in my blog, in the Facebook fanpage, in Instagram, and in Pinterest besides the increasingly personalized newsletter where I also provide exclusive content. Each network is a different language and you have to learn to speak them all. Blogging, therefore, is much more than just blogging. Even today I no longer define myself as just a blogger, because that would be reducing what I do too much.
Living from a blog requires persistence and constancy for years. That’s right, because in addition to working hard every day, neither Google nor any current algorithm will forgive you for taking a break, or for taking a few weeks off. Living for a blog is not to give up on your work. It’s tiring, at times exhausting. And there’s no way you can endure such a task if you’re not passionate about what you do. Therefore, I also confess that I could never have endured all that effort and hours sitting at the computer if it weren’t for what I like to communicate (and communicate travel).
Living from a blog requires a passion for communication. It’s the bottom line, no matter what you’re passionate about. The important thing is that the topic that moves you and that moves you to run a blog, a Youtube channel, or an Instagram account, that that topic is what takes away your sleep because you enjoy doing it so much. No one can be “influenced” by something they are not passionate about because they will succumb to it. Living from a blog, or a Youtube channel or whatever is similar is impossible if you are not passionate about communication.
Final conclusions: I want to make it very clear that yes, living from a blog is possible (but I also want to insist that it’s not just about running a blog but about working on various platforms and networks). Living from a blog is possible, but it is neither easy nor something that is achieved quickly. It is something that requires a complete and full time dedication (or at least a dedication of hours and hours each week) for at least two years to start seeing results. It also requires providing quality content that is useful to readers. And all this is not possible if we don’t do something we are so passionate about that we don’t throw in the towel too soon. Living from a blog will give you great satisfaction, and in some ways it’s as good as running a Youtube channel or an Instagram account. It’s just that the blog was the first one to become fashionable, and today it seems to be “old”, when in fact it’s just another medium (which is simply no longer on the crest of the wave like being instagramer for example). Today, to be a blogger who makes a living from it, you have to manage it in a professional way: this is by working hours and hours per week, adapting to the latest trends, managing all possible social networks. No one can expect to make a living from a blog and run it as a “hobby” or part-time entertainment, or as a simple sideline.
When I am asked what I do for a living by traveling, the answer is all of the above and this: I juggle a thousand things, I work hard on several networks simultaneously, I am also what they call today a conscious storyteller who would be impossible to do everything I do if I did not enjoy it. And if I were asked “how hard is it?” I would answer: hard enough to think more than once about throwing in the towel when faced with problems, the overflow of work, the technical part that I don’t enjoy so much (to say the least). However, I continue to fight in this every day to continue communicating my travels because it is my source of energy. And because above all, I enjoy not only getting to know places, but also sharing them. I enjoy telling them in every post: “look at this place, know it exists (and I wish you could know it)”.
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