Jessie is a full-time travel blogger and owner of the sites Jessie on a Journey, a solo female & offbeat travel blog, and Epicure & Culture, an online responsible tourism and culture magazine. She lives full-time on these blogs by promoting services and products for partners (affiliate marketing) and through her online courses. Read her story to find out how her passive income helps her to travel more and work less.
When did you decide you wanted to become location independent?
I've always loved to travel. During college I did a homestay in Ghana, studied abroad in
Sydney, hiked through southern China and backpacked in Europe for a summer. When it came time to graduate I knew the 9-to- 5 life with two weeks vacation per year wasn't for me. I gave it a short go, but ultimately I craved the freedom of location independence too much.
As a travel blogger with 2 blogs and a handful of social media sites as well as online courses, how do you do it all?
At any given time I have my next six months -- sometimes even my next year -- drafted. Each
month I'll choose one large project, such as a launching a new blogging course or creating a
new NYC photo tour, and break up the four weeks of the month into smaller tasks. It makes the
work much more manageable.
Did you take a copywriting/blogging course, or did you learn on the job?
I actually have a Master's Degree in Communication. That being said, I did take a travel
blogging course when I first started in 2011. Honestly, having it all laid out saved me SO much time and frustration, and I accredit that to a good portion of my success. Although, oh how the travel blogging landscape changed since that class! Many of the ways I earn an income today weren't really being utilised back then.
What's your advice for people who would like to start earning money through affiliate links?
Find a few affiliates that you're truly passionate about and that also have a decent payout.
Consider what products can help your audience solve problems and pain points. Then, craft
blog posts and emails around that. Once you do well with an affiliate, I also recommend asking for them to increase your affiliate earnings percentage.
Do you prefer to stay put in a place for a long time or to move around a lot?
I prefer to have one base and take day trips from there. That's one reason why Ljubljana is one of my favourite cities; it's so easy to explore the country from there. To be honest, I used to travel for 3-4 months at a time. As I get older though and more settled, I like being in my home of NYC more (plus, I run a local photo tour company, NYC Photo Journeys, along with the blogs).
I miss my boyfriend and cat if I'm gone longer than 4-8 days per month!
What's the place that has a special place in your heart?
My grandma is from southern Italy, so Italy is special to me. I wish she was still alive to teach
me Italian and how to cook! From my travels, I fell in love with Slovenia. It's absolutely stunning with so much outdoor beauty that can be explored nearby, like gorgeous Lake Bled and the stunning Triglav National Park. Plus, Ljubljana has a car-free city centre where you can sip inexpensive wine on the river or enjoy some innovative restaurant meals.
What's your favourite/most useful resource, tool or extension for managing your business?
Mailchimp (or really any email marketing service). I've heard great things about Mailerlite too,which is less expensive and also includes landing pages. Anyway, which email marketing service you choose isn't my point. My point is working to grow my email list and then nurturing that email list has been HUGE for my business. Anyone not leveraging email marketing is seriously missing a great opportunity to not just increase your revenue, but also to build a community. I actually teach a How To Rapidly Grow Your Email List email course — along with an email course for creating a profitable blog. You can take these courses for free during a 30-day trial of GoHighbrow, an online email course school.
Any tips for using Pinterest to promote your business?
One thing many don' realise is Pinterest isn't so much a social media platform as a search engine. So just like you would optimize a blog post with beautiful images and keywords, do the same for Pinterest. Also, make sure to activate rich pins! It's super simple.
What are the biggest challenges for location independent entrepreneurs?
There are many challenges to being location independent. The truth is — at least for me —
I'm WAY more productive working from my living room in NYC than I am on the road when my
schedule is out of whack. This is why I advocate for also creating products/services that answer the needs of your audience so your business is still sustainable even when you're not “working.”
Why is ethical travel important?
Too many times travellers go on trips with tunnel vision, only considering what the trip can do
for them. But everything we do — our transportation choices, what we eat, how we interact with
people, animals and landscapes — makes an impact. And wouldn’t we want that impact to be
positive? Think about it this way. Maybe you love elephants and would love to be near one. But you know riding one helps create the demand that leads to elephants bring abducted and tortured. So
basically if you choose to ride that elephant you're making a choice that 10 minutes of bucket
list crossing off is worth breaking the spirit of this beautiful creature that drew you there in the first
place. People need to realise that these are the choices they're making. They need to realise that just because an experience is offered doesn't mean that it's ethical.
What's the best advice you ever got?
That I should travel solo at least once. 10 years later I'm still loving the road on my own; both because I love having ultimate freedom over my itinerary and getting to know myself, and because it makes me appreciate trips with others even more. It can definitely be scary the first time you go — especially leading up to the trip. But once you’re on the road and you can wake up and enjoy your day without compromise, you'll see why so many people love it. And if for some reason you hate it, you can always fly back home!
"Travelling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, ‘I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.” - Lisa St. Aubin de Teran
Where can we find you?
You can find me on one of my two websites; jessieonajourney.com and epicureandculture.com
We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!
OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly