I have a big announcement to make friends! I am going back to full time travel blogging! I'm trading my 9-5 life to one of a bit more uncertainty but hopefully will open up a lot more doors for…you guessed it…travel.
Over the past two years, I've been trying my darnest to keep up with Going Awesome Places and while I haven't been able to stay active on ALL fronts, I've always made sure to get at least one post out a week. That didn't come without its own challenges and I've been yearning to do MORE.
So as the story goes, I started blogging after I left my job the first time around to travel Asia and that was in 2012. At that point in time, I was fresh on the scene and eager to absorb as much as I could. I was completely clueless but I was determined to figure out how to be a successful blogger.
So for a good 3 years I toiled in between growing the travel blog, building my own startup, Find My Itin, and starting up Travel Blog Breakthrough.
The latter part of those years were true breakthroughs, getting my first break in the blog-o-sphere with my first press trips, sponsored campaigns, Twitter chat hosting and a slew of other opportunities.
Alas, the prospect of stable income and “OMG I've been out of work for 3 years” hit and so I started looking for work and soon after started a new job doing my bread and butter, technology/business consulting in May of 2015.
Here's a picture of what my life was like for two years.
It was brutal.
- Work from 10AM -7 PM at my full time job
- Stay late after work or shift to a local coffee shop or head home and switch gears to work on Going Awesome Places
- Have dinner late or squeeze in dinner in between at home
- Go to local travel events if I could fit it in
- Sleep at 1 or 2 AM
- Work on the blog
- Try to carve out some personal time to spend with the fiancée or family
I was essentially working two jobs. I was working 10 hour days. It was brutal.
But I soldiered on, determined to try to kick-ass at both, I worked my butt off to do my real job and also keep up with the blog. As you can imagine though, it was near impossible to keep up with social media and growth.
What suffered of course was any semblance of balance, and social and family life took a dip as well. Trust me it was rough!
You could call it FOMO
Still, why leave with a well paying job and having big financial commitments in a mortgage and upcoming wedding? It really came down to the desire to grow Going Awesome Places and take it to a new level. For the past 5 years, I've seen the potential in terms of reader base, social following, and revenue. Watching other blogs that I follow, I knew that the opportunity was out there. It was just a matter of working for it.
You could also call it FOMO because I didn't want to miss the opportunity to really put my 110% into it and give the business an honest push. I thought to myself, “If I don't do this now, I'm not sure if I'll get this opportunity again”. Yes, I have regular expenses but I've proven that the income is real and that we can totally survive. We don't plan on having kids yet so the time is now to travel more and to grow the business.
And honestly that's how you have to think of this if you're serious about blogging. Blogging is a business and I am an entrepreneur.
So I did it.
How I survived
If anyone's counting, I lasted a decent 2 years and 3 months in the working world.
What I told myself going into full time work was that I was going to keep growing my blog however I can and I did that through FOCUS.
- Focus on writing good content
- Focus on opportunities that will bring in revenue
- Don't focus on small things that are too much effort for little value
Beyond that it was about having a plan for what I wanted to work on week to week, ensuring I was able to meet assignment deadlines, and being disciplined enough to get into zone which was usually accompanied by copious amounts of caffeine.
The uncertain but “I believe I can do it” future
So whether I'm someone you can look up to or perhaps just a bad influence, I just hope that if you're a fan, keep coming back to find out what adventures I'll be up to and if you're a blogger see this as someone not afraid to take some risks and not afraid to go after his or her dreams.
The first time around I had to start from the ground up and build my foundation. This time, I have a solid base to work from and the next step is to build a plan.
What's coming up on Going Awesome Places
I didn't jump into this without thinking it at least a bit through what the plan is for the rest of 2017 and going into 2018.
What I want to do is focus more on video. Members of the community, Ryan Thomas Woods and Arienne Parzei (make sure you subscribe!) have been instrumental in showing me what I'll need to do to step up my YouTube game. YouTube is the perfect place to tell you my travel story and take you right into the action.
Check out the Going Awesome Places YouTube channel and watch my progress.
Social media traffic has taken a massive dip in the past two years and I want to concentrate on building that back up again and properly do Pinterest finally.
Travel Blog Breakthrough has been neglected for the past year and I apologize for that. With more time now, I hope to kick start that back up and help all of the part-time and full time bloggers out there.
Balance has been missing these past few years so I want to get back to that. There's life beyond blogging and I'd like to actually have time off and go out and spend more time with family, play more sports, read more books, and in general not be ON 24/7.
More kickass content of course. There's so much I want to write about so with more planning and more time, I'll be able to finally have time to make it happen.
Lastly, I want to take this time to travel more. Sounds cliché coming from a travel blogger but when you have a full time job, you can't exactly be on the road all the time so hoping to go to more…dare I say…awesome places?
Want to learn how easy it is to start a travel blog?
Just follow these super simple steps
So what are your thoughts? I'd love to hear from you! Do you struggle with the same thing if you're a blogger? Did I make the right choice? Drop me a line in the comments below.