Turning Adventures into Income: A Travel Blogger’s Path to $500,000

Does the thought of starting a blog ever cross your mind?

Blogging is still a very real way to make money, just ask Shelley!

Shelley started off with a dropshipping business that the pandemic pretty much squashed…but it was a blessing in disguise. See how Shelley RECENTLY started a blog and is now making over $500,000/yr!

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started blogging?

In 2018, I visited Mexico City, and long story short, I never left… Part of relocating to another country meant finding online work to support myself, so I dedicated all my time and energy into figuring this out.

I had a drop-shipping store for some time, but when the pandemic hit in 2020, sales basically went to 0 overnight. I started to consider what else I could do, and I figured I could start a blog about my Mexico travels for the last two years and see if I could monetize it… and after some time and A LOT of hard work, I did!

I started my first blog ever, Travel Mexico Solo, in April 2020, and will be closing out 2023 at nearly $550,000 in revenue from my blogging business.

2. How did you learn how to blog?

I took several courses — some good, most bad — but I learned both what to do and more importantly, what NOT to do. Everything changed for me when I started working 1 on 1 with a blog coach… while this coach no longer offers 1 on 1 services, she started a course called Scale Your Travel Blog to Six Figures, which is the one I always recommend for newbie bloggers.

3. How do you get people to visit your blog, can you give us a breakdown of your traffic sources?

Nearly 100% of my traffic comes from organic search, as I don’t do any social media.

4. How much do you earn with your blog?

  • Partial year #1: April to December 2020 – I invested about $2,000 in start-up costs
  • Full year #1: 2021 – $8,490
  • Year #2: 2022 – $272,769
  • Year #3: 2023 – $550,351

5. How do you monetize your blog?

About 55% from affiliate marketing, 25% from ads on my sites, 20% from selling my own products and coaching services.

6. What are some key challenges you’ve faced in the travel blogging industry, and how did you overcome them?

Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes A LONG TIME before you see even a little money, let alone quit-your-job-money.

Of course, you need to learn SEO, affiliate marketing, email marketing, how to create a blog, etc. in order to be a blogger — but you also need to have a positive mental state to get through the tough times, and the times when you’re working very hard for basically no pay. In the end, it is worth it — but it is also hard.

7. Can you share some insights into your content creation process?

In full disclosure, I have a team in place that basically runs the blogs… but when I was working on the blogs full time, I’d perform keyword research to verify search volume, then create SEO-optimized blog posts so I’d rank #1 on Google.

8. What does a typical day look like for you?

In full disclosure, I have a team in place that basically runs the blogs… so I’m more in a managerial role, and actively seeking out new streams of income. When I was blogging full time, my time was 100% spent getting great content published asap.

9. What advice do you have for aspiring travel bloggers looking to turn their passion into a lucrative career?

Stop thinking; start blogging. You have to get started in order to become successful one day.

10. Is there still room for new travel bloggers? If so, can you explain why?

Of course there is room for more travel bloggers. I always tell people, “there’s Coke & there’s Pepsi,” which are basically the same thing, and both are multi-billion dollar companies. Naysayers will always be out there to let you know “X industry is saturated,” but by that logic, everything is saturated.

With a successful business, you don’t need the coolest, most innovative idea — you just need to get started, iterate as you go, and eventually, the success will come.

11. What platform/tools do you use for your business?

WordPress for the blog, Thrivecart for the courses, ConvertKit for email, Canva for images and graphics.

12. How do you handle collaborations and partnerships with brands?

 I don’t do brand partnerships or sponsored content on my travel blogs.

13. What are your future plans for your blogs?

Keep growing them, and eventually sell. Currently, I have 4 travel blogs, and one blog in the blogging niche — Travel Mexico Solo, Travel To Merida, Travel To Oaxaca, Tulum Travel Secrets, and Travel Blogging 101.

14. Do you teach others how to blog?

If so, please do share your resources. I teach affiliate marketing, and you can find my courses here.

15. How can others find you- as we are all fans of you now?!

Head to my Travel Blogging 101 site, and grab the FREE video training at the top of the page. It will help get you started with affiliate marketing, but also puts you on my email list. Since I don’t do social media (besides a private Facebook group I have for my students only), email is the best way.

Well, there you go! Take all of this and run with it. As Shelley said “Stop thinking; start blogging.”

Thank you to Shelley for sharing her story with us…make sure you check out her site and courses for more tips on blogging and affiliate marketing!

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