I think this post was inevitable, even if the title makes me cringe. But there comes a time when you start to wonder if your blog can start to make money for you. Or you start thinking about ways you can keep an income going while still seeing the world.
I first started out blogging on an old (but free) WordPress account as a way of keeping people who were interested in what I was doing updated, until I became dissatisfied with the sloppy way my own posts and pictures were laid out. But to say that I bought my own domain, researched WordPress themes and paid for hosting was merely an idea to make money off blogging is absolutely false. More like, to satisfy my own organisational impulses and the pride I wanted to take in having a pretty website that I could feel happy about each time I logged in.
This was however, also the time when travel blogging had long taken off. So people were making money off their travels in ways I couldn’t fathom and blatantly showing off their successes on social media.
It got me thinking.
The truth is, travel takes money. Managing finances while on the road can be hard. But I’m not yet prepared to quit my boring job yet, even though it doesn’t pay as well as I’d hoped or as stable as I think.
So, back to getting the money flowing while on the road. These are the things I’ve read about so far, tried and failed at. I’m still experimenting with different things to do though, and I’m not sure if any of them work yet.
I’ll add more methods I’ve used as I go along, but feel free to write and tell me what you’ve done.
This would only work if you already have a large following. Every click on the advertisement embedded on your page will contribute an amount of money to you and the program you’ve chosen to be an associate of. If you’re a book blogger, you can be an Amazon associate. For travel bloggers, there’s always Booking.com’s associate program. The latter is what I’m part of, so if anyone clicks on the ad on my page and books something with my id embedded in the link, I’ll get a portion of the fee they pay.
This clearly, hasn’t happened yet.
Some groundwork is necessary though. Social Media is a perfect way to get a fanbase, so to speak. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest…you name it. Write, tweet, share enough about yourself and you might convince thousands of people to follow you. Building up a following has always been tough for me. I’m introverted, paranoid about my own privacy, suspicious about every kind of online log-in and site, so writing about anything personal makes me think more than twice.
Teach at Udemy
Are you good at teaching? Do you have solutions to problems that people are looking for? Do up a course for Udemy. Break down what you know in bite-sized chapters and get people to learn what you already know. The information is all out there on the internet, but as I’ve been told, people will pay for information that is structured and clear.
The Gig Economy: Etsy, Fiverr, GigBucks
If you’re good with offering digital services, Etsy, Fiverr and GigBucks will be the place for you. Etsy’s terrific if you already know your niche, be it creating graphic templates to selling handmade and/or vintage clothing to people who will pay for specialised work.
Fiverr and GigBucks are microjobs (better known as Gigs) sites, if there’s such a term. Get paid for doing things that can range from offering your website-making services, photography skills or even giving health and nutritional advice for small amounts of money.
Click-working (Or better known as User testing)
There are websites out there that actually pay you for user testing and many times, all you need to do is quite literally, click on the mouse button to get paid. The truth is, they do pay a pittance (somewhere between $0.01 and $0.05 for say, a minute of two of your time, but if you’re the multi-tasking sort who can concentrate on blogging, listening to music while reading some article online, this might be for you.
Generally speaking, my experience with these is that tests are more sporadic than you think and the payout even more so, but some people do have more luck than others in getting passive income this way.
The whole point of UsabilityHub is to get public (and possibly anonymous) feedback on what works (or doesn’t work) on a website. A quick test usually involves choosing your preferred look of a website and answering questions about why you chose what you chose. The payout per test is $0.01 and the tab you have open will need to stay constantly open for you to catch a test. It’s not terribly consistent though, and I stopped altogether when it took me months just to get earn $10. UsabilityHub only pays out when you hit $20 worth of tests conducted.
Speak your thoughts out loud as you navigate your way through a website, saying what works and what doesn’t. There’s a test to go through before they approve you as an official tester, which I didn’t get past, so that’s as far as my knowledge goes.
I can’t personally vouch for these yet, but they’re just a few number of sites that I’ve come across in my research. All you need is an email address, an Internet connection, and typically, a Paypal account where they can transfer funds.
Hop on the Cryptocurrency train
Cryptocurrency (and Blockchain technology) has to be the hottest thing in recent months. I don’t proclaim to understand all of it, but the media is filled with heaps of articles that decry this trend, laud it and analyse it.
The good part about investing in Cryptocurrency is that, well, people like me can do it. But it’s in its infancy, and volatility is the only consistent thing about it so far, unlike traditional, fiat-based assets. The bottom-line isn’t known – we get financial giants giving dire predictions – and the warning is as always, thoroughly research what you’re choosing to trade or invest in.
Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin and Ripple…these are just the few cryptocurrencies that has been making waves in the last couple of months, thanks to their meteoric rise in value. Very briefly put, you can buy and sell coins from an exchange such as Coinbase, Gemini or Kraken, link your bank account to it (after you get your identity verified), then start buying. Use a wallet to store your coins (if they’re stolen, they’re gone), but keep in mind the transaction fee each time you move your coins around.
I’ve found some basic but good guides here if you want to get started:
This is by no means an exhaustive list; this is a post that I imagine I’ll be revisiting as I add (and remove) ‘methods’ that work (or don’t). I’ve only scratched the surface and have yet to find a way that’s feasible and profitable for myself.
Have you found something that works for you? I’d be happy to hear what the rest of the travel community is doing.