I started Traveling Nine to Fiver a little over nine months ago, it was an endeavor to open up my creative side, get back to writing, force myself to travel and explore like I’ve been wanting to, and to share what I had discovered. While I wanted to take it seriously, I think I had little expectations both for the work it would entail and the joy it would bring me.
What it comes down to is the more time I’m spending writing and working on the blog, the more I enjoy it. I originally decided to commit to the blog, two posts a week, for a year, then decide what I want to do with it. Well, I’m not to a year yet, but I can tell you I won’t be stopping anytime soon. I’ve actually started expanding. I’m now contributing to two other blogs, as well as finding spots to do guest posts like this one.
On top of writing more I’m finally taking the time to work on monetizing the blog. Yep, we are going to see if I can make some money from this. As of yet, I’ve started to get some great free experiences from my writing but haven’t made anything yet. That is one of the goals before the end of the year.
What I’m Loving
Starting to work with partners
I am thrilled that the blog is getting recognized enough to start partnering with different companies. Giving me the chance to try something I’ve never done before without having to add the additional cost. It’s not the same as making money, but it does help me cut down my travel expenses.
Seeing an increasing audience
This last month in a half, I’ve seen a big boost of growth in my audience. My social media pages keep growing, like Instagram where I’m over 5,250 followers. Plus, for the first time I broke 10,000 unique visitors in a month. This is my big goal for the year. Now it’s working to maintain it.
On top of that, the subscription to my newsletter is starting to grow. If you aren’t already signed up, you can right here. Plus you’ll get my “5 Steps To Plan The Perfect Budget Friendly Weekend Getaway” cheat sheet for signing up
Having people recognize my hard work
From friends to other bloggers, I’ve received a lot of encouragement and recognition on the work I’ve been putting into writing and growing my blog. Those little “great job” comments make all the difference to me.
Favorite moment – Someone emailing me asking for travel advice
Someone liked my writing enough to reach out for more tips on traveling in Puerto Rico. This is one of the most exciting things yet since one of the whole goals of this is to encourage others to get out and travel.
Joining a great tribe/resource or two
The number on reason why I, while only working on it part-time, have been able to reach a wider audience and now start to financially benefit from my travel blogging has been because of having a great resource of information and a tribe of people to reach out to for advice.
When I decided to start a travel blog I know I didn’t know what to do, so when I stumbled across Travel Blogging Success (now owned by Super Star Blogging) on other travel bloggers sites I took a serious look. I also caught them when they were running a sale. I decided to take the jump. It was well worth it.
With one payment, you get a course of over 30 lesson that walks you step by step into creating a travel blog, from hosting your site to monetizing. So many questions I’ve stumbled across have been answered through the course. And having to just try things but having access to best practices.
On top of that, you join a Facebook Group of over 900 travel bloggers, including many who are doing it very successfully. The number of questions I’ve had answered is well worth the cost. Plus, others ask questions I would never have thought of that have helped me make necessary changes.
If you’re looking to beat the learning curve of starting a travel blog or boosting an existing one, this is it. Take a look at Travel Blogging Success (now owned by Super Star Blogging).
As much as I love TBS, I can’t forget one other “tribe” I’ve joined. The Travel Writing Academy run by Alexa over at Break Into Travel Writing. This group is smaller, and outside of Alexa more filled with beginners, but another great resource to ask the “dumb” questions and with monthly challenges that help walk you through taking some of the next steps on your blog.
Setting a routine to write
When I was just trying to fit travel blogging in it felt stressful and overwhelming. After a day at work, sitting down and writing isn’t always what I want to do. Ever since I created a routine of waking up an hour early, to get in an hour of work before work it has made a difference. My writing is better since I’m not rushing it, I feel better heading into work each day, and I can relax in the evening and fit in some social media work in front of the tv then.
Making a travel to-do list on top of the blogging one
I’ve always got a to-do list for writing and blog things I need to do. But when I made my 30 by 30 list is one of the first time I’ve put down in writing what I want to do and where I want to go this year on the travel front. While I’m sure there will be other things it’s been great to go, I have a free weekend, let’s look at the list and pick somewhere to go.
Networking with other bloggers and sharing groups.
One great thing about social media is being able to find more like-minded people. I’ve joined a variety of Facebook groups where bloggers share each others posts, provide more writing opportunities and answer questions. While the two resource networks I’ve paid to join have been worth the cost these extra groups have added additional value.
I’ve been struggling with how to organize everything relating to blogging. From tasks, I need to complete, to post ideas, to guest post opportunities, to hashtag lists. The more I give myself a system the better it’s working. Google Docs is my favorite since they are so easy to access from anywhere, as well as keeping notes on my phone and then transferring them over. On top of that carrying a physical notepad to organize my thoughts.
Letting myself get off schedule
Being lazy, getting distracted, or whatever stops me from sitting down and writing. I’ve gotten back on track but over the summer it was harder to focus on what needed to be done. Working in the morning has been easier to commit to since in the evening it’s so easy for me to make excuses.
Stalking your analytics
It is so easy to get lost in the numbers. How many page views did I get? Oh, did I get more Instagram followers? Why didn’t that post get “x” many likes? I can easily get lost in these numbers, and while I should be aware of them limiting my exposure is important. Unless I need to share them with a company, I’m only checking Google Analytics every other week. Social media is a little hard to avoid, but I’m working on it.
Now What’s Next
The biggest thing is to keep consistently working at it. I’ve got some trips and the holidays coming up, but work will get a little slower soon, so I am hoping to put in a good push on the blog before the end of the year. I want to keep learning and perfecting what I am doing.
On the horizon for traveling, will be Southern California and some time at the Disneyland Resort next week. Then off to Seattle for a weekend in November. There is a trip or two in December in the works as well. And, of course, back to Southern California to visit the family over the holidays.