The Game Changers – 16 Things That Have Contributed to Our Blogging Success

How to achieve blogging success

We’re often asked what the game changers have been for our online business.

It’s a difficult question to answer because I believe success comes from a series of daily habits and consistent steps that lead you to the realization of your goals.

I once believed in home runs and overnight success and it led me down a path that cost me nearly half a million dollars in assets and $30,000 in credit card debt (you can read about that here).

That’s staying in the past now because we’ve learned the truth about success – it’s a long-term thing.

But, there are a few strategic decisions and strategies that helped create the spikes that push us up to a new level. We’re always working towards those game changer moments, but we don’t base our daily actions on hitting these home runs.

1. Treating it like a business from the start

When we started our blog, we were in business.

This was not a hobby to dabble in, we intended for this to become our life’s work. When you have this mentality from the beginning, you open the doorway to business success.

Treating our travel blog like a business meant setting ourselves up as a business. We operate from a trust, we keep accurate business records, we plan and act towards a long-term vision, we consider the people we serve, and we have an accountant.

We’re not afraid to invest in education, tools and services. A business person invests in their future even when they don’t have the money. They start small and invest what they can afford. They then take their profits and reinvest it towards growth.

2. Marie Forleo’s B – School

B-School definitely helped me to up my game and create a business in tune with my spirit and one that can make a difference. B-School gave me so much clarity and helped transform me from a struggling amateur to a business savvy pro. (I’m still growing that side of me!)

Total game changer.

3. Focusing on email subscribers

We speak to a wide variety of people, from solo travel to family travel, digital nomads, expat travellers and everything in between. It’s hard to get the right messaging to the right people.

I’ve spent the past year working hard behind the scenes to tweak our email strategy so I’m speaking to the people who want that particular information. It’s been a challenge, but it’s starting to pay off.

Ontraport is the system that has helped me deliver this. It’s a very sophisticated system and I’ve only just scratched the surface on what it can do.

Our email subscribers are our most valuable because they want to connect with us on a deeper level and learn more. Handing over your email address is not an easy thing to do, so I like to take care of my subscribers by offering them a lot of inspiration, insights, love and support.

I can’t even express in words how much they help keep me inspired. They share with me their stories, hopes and dreams and it motivates me to continue doing what I do.

We have an email list dedicated just to the blogging and business. So jump in with us:

4. Using the data

As soon as we started paying attention to our data, we knew what our readers needed and how to deliver it to them. We got sharper and smarter.

Data can come via surveys, comments, email responses, research, Google Analytics, and social media metrics.

We still only do a mediocre job – it’s a resource thing. So don’t fear if it’s an issue for you too, just start with the basic – have good listening ears. And it will help guide what you do.

5. Pinterest

It was by paying attention to the data that we realized our insanely huge Pinterest community was actually not full of spammers, but thousands of people visiting our site every month. Using this data helped us to change our approach and making Pinterest our priority.

A few years ago we got put on the “suggested user” list by Pinterest which is when new users are directed to our page when they sign-up, I’m not sure why but I don’t believe in luck. I believe this door opened because of our intention and dedication to our business.

As I mentioned, when you treat it like a business, when you show up and offer value, flow happens and the Universe supports you. Be open to it.

Pinterest brings us a lot of traffic and, due to our time limits, we haven’t even really put much effort into utilizing its power. This year is a focus for that. We use Tailwindapp to schedule pins and to analyze our content on Pinterest to gain insight into what our followers want. (read how we use the Tailwind app here)

Pinterest is by far the best social media platform for driving traffic to your content that helps people. If you aren’t on it, rethink that strategy.

6. Working on money mindset

Having a strong money mindset is key in business. Makes sense right? You don’t have a business without income. And you’ll struggle to have money visit if you don’t feel good about it.

I’ve spent the last year intensely working on my money mindset and clearing away the blocks. It hasn’t even really been about the money, but more about a journey of uncovering my own value and how I best want to use that to help others.

Having a money mindset has helped me create better opportunities, open up different income streams – like public speaking – and create products that can help others follow a similar path.

Part of this money mindset means being okay with saying no – sometimes to large amounts of money – if you know it’s not a good fit, or undersells your worth. You trust that something better will come along.

A good money mindset is also being aware of the flow of money in and out. Part of the reason we have an accountant is she takes off my hands I job I hate. I don’t want to put painful emotions towards money. She ensures all the boxes are ticked and the reports are done well.

Then it’s up to us to analyse and make decisions according to how it is going.

7. Our website design

Our recent website design has been a total game changer. We haven’t seen the full extent of it yet, as we are still testing and tweaking, but it’s given us an amazing platform now to create destination HUB pages and resource pages.

Our content can be found more easily and we now lead our readers through a 12-steps-to-travel process. Creating this is also leading us to new products and eventually a store that will house all our offerings and trainings.

8. Building strong relationships

I spoke about this in our 15 steps to a successful blog. This is a long-term strategy, but can help create game changers.

Because of the relationships we have created, and still are, we have solid partnerships with various tourist boards and brands, which has led to consistent work and continues to do so.

It’s also helped us get freelance work and speaking gigs, form partnerships with brands, and give us a foundation to plan for our US road trip.

9. Creating proposals that work

OMG. I had not clue about proposals or pitches before we started blogging. A game changer for us has been learning how to do this properly. How? A lot of rejection. A lot of mistakes. A lot of advice. A lot of mentoring.

And learning how to craft value and give people what they need. Applying some of the principles in B-School, we were able to create a proposal that worked for working with tourism boards in Australia.

We’ll be refining these now based upon our experiences and evaluation and using them for our US road trip. Create a system that works and replicate it.

10. No sharing or follow back groups

This might sound as if we don’t want to share or help others. Absolutely not the case. We actually help and share others’ work a lot.

When we first started blogging and connecting with the community we were in a lot of groups that shared and commented on other people’s work. It was fun and a great way to get to know others work. But, then it got to be too much work and I found myself leaving comments that didn’t have a lot of soul in them. I figured the same was happening for us. What was the point then?

Did I want to write just for other bloggers, or did I start blogging with the intention to help people travel more?

It was a big move to take myself out of those groups, and of course, comments went down, but the quality of my work improved as I now had a better and more valuable focus – the readers who actually need what we are writing.

I wanted my blog to have an audience of those people and merit to stand on its own. It meant we had to work harder and smarter to build that platform, but we did.

We still continued sharing and commenting, but now it was on work we really loved and wanted to share and our comments were more valuable to them. I actually like sharing and helping others without an expectation of receiving anything in return and vice versa.

I also don’t follow people back just because they followed us. I only want to follow people I genuinely want to follow. This one was a difficult one to let go of as I felt really rude if I didn’t. But, it’s not rude, it’s respecting your own time and space and giving others the space to have people in their community who want to be there. Then they can serve better.

I knew if I wanted to create something amazing and have success, I had to do it through my own efforts and content, not just because other people were sharing.

11. Qantas Great Crusade

This was a huge game changer for us.

We were invited to attend the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand as an official correspondent for the Qantas Great Crusade. Qantas was a dream brand for us to work with, and even though Savannah was only 10 days old, we decided Craig had to go so we could take advantage of this opportunity.

It helped elevate our profile immensely and we got fantastic references as a result from Qantas and Ogilvy, which we could then put into our media kit and use as a case study for future proposals.

12. Speaking at events

Public speaking is something that will raise your profile immensely. I’ll always seize the opportunity when it arrives.

My years of teaching helped develop my confidence in speaking and I love to do it via this amazing platform. I still have much to learn and I’m hoping to dive more into this year.

Speaking at various blogging and social media events means my authority has been elevated, which can only help in building your own platform and strengths. It can often have a run on effect. I’ve gotten speaking gigs out of speaking gigs before.

13. Our Australian road trip

There’s nothing like walking your talk. We felt our business was stalling because we weren’t traveling. The only travel we were doing was the odd press trip, which is fine, it’s a great way to highlight new destinations and experiences for your readers. But, we were missing the personal story.

We were encouraging our readers to break through their fears to follow their heart and travel, yet we weren’t. It was a gigantic leap of faith, but we grew our wings on the way down, and created a story for people to follow and become part of.

Our Australian road trip has been epic, loads of fun and a game changer.

14. Involving our community

Following on from that note is involving our community in our journey. Lonely Planet used to be our bible when we traveled. We still use it, but to a much lesser extent.

Instead, we have the most amazing community of followers who share the BEST insider tips.

When arriving to a new destination we simply asked them what to see and do. Their suggestions have been incredible.

Our readers feel part of our journey more and we love having them along. We also make the effort to meet up with readers on the road when we can.

When we do our big US road trip, we will continue to reach out to them for advice and to connect with them in person.

15. School of the Modern Mystic course

I’m still working through this and seeing the benefits. This is actually a life-long process.

Belinda Davidson’s course helped me learn how to clear the junk from my inside. When you clear that junk you connect better with your purpose and how to serve others.

The mediation and healing techniques I learned through this course have helped me to become unstuck when I land in the mire, and to manifest more easily my desires. This is a woo woo course and may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I believe it really helped me with my mindset and intuition.

16. Writing for Kidspot

I wrote for Kidspot, one of Australia’s biggest parenting websites for about two years. I had a weekly column on family travel, which was sponsored by Nissan. Part of this deal involved us having a Nissan X-Trail to explore with.

Not only was this beneficial to building our profile, but learned a lot about writing, formatting, and the business behind websites owned by Murdoch! My editing team were great and taught me a lot about the craft – I’m still learning!

15 tips for creating game changers in your business

  1. Know your long-term vision.
  2. Understand who your audience is and how you can best serve them.
  3. Evaluate every opportunity to see how it fits with your mission, vision and your community.
  4. Show up every single day and give it your best shot.
  5. Look into the future to see the possible results of every decision you make. Act for that.
  6. When an opportunity seems like a good fit, take it no matter how fearful or insecure you feel. A failure can always be turned into a lesson, if you choose it.
  7. Always be learning and refining your skills so you grow into new opportunities.
  8. Mindset is everything. Work on it every day.
  9. Make networking a priority.
  10. Just ask. If you don’t ask the answer’s always no.
  11. Think outside the box. Be creative. Offer value – tons of it.
  12. Take risks.
  13. Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd.
  14. Don’t put all your efforts into the game changers. Put 100% into your daily habits and actions and the game changers will flow right to you.
  15. Believe in the magic of possibilities.

Tell me about a game changer for you. What was the strategy behind it and how did it elevate your business?

58 thoughts on “The Game Changers – 16 Things That Have Contributed to Our Blogging Success”

  1. My writing board got featured on Pinterest (similarly, I have NO idea how or why) and I grew heaps from that.
    I think the biggest thing you can do is put yourself out there. Don’t be all “Yeah I sorta know about that” be “Yes, I DO know about that”.
    And don’t get me started on like for a like…ugh. I was looking up instagram apps this morning and was shocked how many were like for a like apps – why!? Random people who don’t care about what you do are not the followers you want.

    1. Oh I dislike those liking apps! You end up talking to nobody! Well done on the writing board feature. Pinterest is so awesome how it does that.

  2. Belinda Skellern

    Thanks Caz. I’m new to this blogging business and you have given me some great tips. I actually started following you because I was after some advice on travelling with kids. I absolutely love travelling but was a bit hesitant taking my little ones (aged 4 1/2 and 18 mths) on long plane trips and to exotic places. After reading your blog you inspired me and confirmed that it’s ok to travel with kids. We’re all booked now to go to Phuket, Thailand this year! Really want to make my blog successful so we can keep travelling. Thanks so much! Looking forward to more of your posts and everyone’s comments with more advice.

  3. Great post, Caz! Will be sharing this with the Business of Blogging FB group! Hope you guys are doing well, and REALLY hope we can meet up during your US road trip!!

  4. Relationships were our game changer. Going to blogging conferences and making friends opened a whole bunch of doors for us last year from full paid trips to Poland, Finland and Sri Lanka. The world is big enough for everyone so take someone along the ride with you. We love the blogging community.

  5. Great list of game changers, and love the tips. I definitely have to remind myself that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

    If you’re planning to visit Pennsylvania on your US road trip, let me know. I’ve worked closely with most of the tourist boards in the state and would be happy to connect you.

    1. Absolutely Jim! We’re yet to visit Pennsylvania so we’re excited to visit. I think you really have to get comfortable with failure so you take those shots!

  6. Great advice!

    I’ve been holding myself back in a whole lot of small ways and can see how if I choose to, I can change this and start moving forward.
    Reading this has shown me that, I’m going to start making some changes and clearning my own blocks.

    Also, never call it woo woo if you beleive in it.

  7. Great post! I think I’m still learning to treat mine like a business. I act as if I just like sharing tips and ideas, which I DO, it’s just not sustainable 😉

    Thanks for the wake up call!

  8. These are very inspirational tips. I don’t know how you have the time to do so much for your business and have kids (and don’t you homeschool!?). I find that I spend so much time creating content that I don’t have time to reach out to brands I want to work with, let alone make up a campaign. Because of that, the only work I do is when a brand reaches out to me. That’s something I really want to change this year. Possibly decrease from 5 to 4 posts a week – but then worry about traffic dropping! Thanks for the tips again you guys are rockstars lol

    1. Yes. I think so. The reaching out and pitching is important as that is where the money will come in. It must be your priority. Writing one less post a week won’t hurt your traffic too much and will give you that time to do other stuff.

      We do have the two of us working this which helps us to get more done. Also I find t he longer you do it, the easier it is and the quicker to get things done. We’ve established ourselves so much for years now and built a really strong foundation before we left for this trip, so a lot of the work has already been done. That has helped a lot.

      We don’t worry about growing our traffic or anything anymore, we just concentrate on serving the people we have better.

      And yes we homeschool. We actually start back this week after summer break. Ugh. We’re all dreading it. Kalyra is getting more independent now which is easier

  9. Great post! I have been blogging intensively about a year now and can never have enough of information and tips on improovement. I have not though of pinterest much and I also needed way to long to put my self out on Twitter and Instagram…. I will definitely make a research for pinterest. Thanks for that!
    Oh and it’s nice to hear that I am not the only one, who does not follow back 🙂 Honestly I do not understand people who follow you, but if you don’t do it back, they unfollow you … If that is the case, I rather have less – sometimes this is more 😉
    Love your blog by the way! Happy traveling!

    1. Unfortunately, the follow then unfollow is really popular. I think it’s a waste of time and the wrong focus of making the numbers more important than the quality.

  10. Excellent post! For me it was the ‘treat it as a business from the start’. I haven’t always succeeded don’t get me wrong,and it has been a MASSIVE learning curve, but this has always been something I have strived for since I published my first post.

  11. Taking the big leap of faith and leaving Australia to follow our dream of being digital nomads. It has only been a month and already I have hit my first income target (my half of what we need to be self sufficient). I agree about mindset being so important. I also love Pinterest. It is an amazing driver of traffic to my travel blog.

  12. Thanks for sharing. There is so much valuable and very honest advice here. I think the first one that resonated with me, was that to work at it as a business from the outset. This is something that came to me later but once I had that mindset and plan, then yes there has been a dramatic change. I agree that you need to ask, whatever the answer may be. Surprisingly it can be pretty good answers. I still have many things to learn and will continue to return to this article. Thanks 🙂

  13. Great tips! Even the idea of changing from thinking about our blog as a hobby to a business has been very helpful. We’re just getting started learning how to write pitches and are riding the wave of success and rejection. Glad to be on the journey though.

  14. Great list here. I think the key is to just do it. Don’t “do things or not do things” because of fear or failure. Give it a try and adjust along the way. Believe in yourself and visualize what you want and you will go in that direction. I always think of it like driving a car. If you look at the end of the car to drive, you end up swerving all over the road and missing a turn. If you look out and beyond, you can then see the road (opportunity) approaching and make your turn.

    I know, kind of silly and we still have a long way to go. You are an inspiration to many to not only travel but to travel blog better. Thanks

  15. This is really inspirational for any blogger, I could actually print out the 15 tips at the end and refer to them once in a while. I’m going to be spending time working on email subscribers, but am afraid of the pop up subscribe boxes which I notice you don’t have 🙂

  16. Thank you for sharing your insights. I feel like I’ve been in this “collecting information” phase for a long time and not taking my blog seriously because… well… it’s silly to talk to people if they aren’t listening, right? I know that’s the wrong attitude and need to switch over to the business mindset. It’s so much easier to say my blog is for family and friends because then it’s not a failure (cue Seth Godin pep talk). And I’m so glad you don’t subscribe to the automatic follow-back philosophy. I’ve just started building up Instagram and Twitter and will always look at who follows me to see if they’re of interest, but I don’t want to jam up my feed with people I don’t care about. Yes, even starting out when I’m trying to build a following. I think “tit for tat” it’s inauthentic (is that a word?). Thanks again, you’ve given me more to ponder.

  17. Thank you for sharing your experience!
    I’m new to travel blogging but I have been wanting to share my experience for years.
    For many years I’ve used every chance to escape my home country Iceland 🙂 Used every chance to work abroad. I’ve often been thinking about writing about my experience. Only recently I discovered this huge community of travel bloggers.
    At least it’s great to get some tips 🙂 But I’m pretty happy with how my website has turned out. A lot of it is due to great tips from you guys.

  18. Wow Caz, fantastic advice in here! I personally love this bit: “When an opportunity seems like a good fit, take it no matter how fearful or insecure you feel. A failure can always be turned into a lesson, if you choose it.”

    A lot of opportunities that come my way scare the crap out of me, but I know that many times if I hesitate for too long that opportunity might be gone…so I’m trying to jump on them no matter how insecure I feel.

    I’ll definitely be able to apply a lot more of these pearls of wisdom…thanks so much for creating this post!

  19. These are all excellent tips!

    I wish I knew this when I started blogging 4 years ago but so far so good! We all learn as we go along.

    I truly believe that growing and help others grow is also important as networking.

    I definitely will be taking more risks because as if you don’t try you’ll never know right?

    Thank you for the inspiration and I wish you continuous success 😉

  20. As soon as I read no.1 the penny dropped! I really need to start doing this, once I do I think a lot of other things will naturally begin fitting into place. Thanks for sharing these tips, they’re incredibly useful.

  21. Such a great post, Caz. There are several general points you mention (like not automatically following or dropping out of groups) which I’d seen as a kind of failure rather than the other way around. You have really opened my eyes, at a time when I was becoming a bit jaded with blogging – perhaps because I didn’t heed your very first point! Thank you for the kick in the pants! I’ve loved following your current trip, and I can tell you that you’ve certainly “sold” me on Australia as a result! Despite my son and also one of my closest friends loving your country, it’s not been as high on my bucket list as it is now!

  22. I am happy to have read this post. I ignore Pinterest completely, and here it’s one of the game changers for you! I think I should shift my focus there. I agree following somebody back just because they are following you doesn’t make much sense. I think that way, too.

  23. Sigurdur Bjorgvinsson @ theRedHeadExplorer

    Great advice, I am still learning a lot how to run a website, there are so many factors that I have to think about it I want this to work.

    I have recently started my own travel blog and after writing a few posts that did not get much attention I wrote one about my work experience in a hotel and I put it in a group on Facebook, a group that had hotel employees only and it took off. People really like that post, it still remains my most popular post so far.

    I learned that writing from my heart and saying what I really want to say instead of what I think people want to hear is a better strategy.

  24. Fantastic post! I’ve heard a lot about Marie Forleo’s B School (mainly through the Kris Carr blog) so must make the effort to check it out. I couldn’t agree more about the follow-backs. There’s nothing I hate more than checking out someone’s Twitter or Instagram page and seeing that they follow as many people as follow them. It rubs me the wrong way regardless of the quality of the content. It’s taking me longer, but I prefer to grow my network and followers organically.

    “Believe in the magic of possibilities.” Love this. Thanks for posting.

    1. I’ll be sharing more about B-School next week and opening an awesome mentoring group along side it. It’s super valuable and worth exploring. Let me know if you have any questions about it.

  25. Wow, thanks once again for sharing this kind of thing! We’ve haven’t had any of these major game changers, but we started thinking seriously about our online presence when our personal blog won Peace Corps’s Blog-It-Home contest during our service in Jamaica. Now, we’re transitioning our travel blog into a travel business that promotes meaningful, transformational travel. Your insights are always so valuable to our journey. Thanks again.

  26. I’m a solo female traveller, aged 19, and am 3 days away from leaving my home the UK, to fly to Perth, Australia! I’m so incredibly excited and just wanted to thank you for writing this post and it’s made me more determined to make my travel blog a success!
    You can follow me on most social media platforms at @hollythegiant and also the weblink: http://www.hollythegiant.com

    Looking forward to following your adventures, you seem like a very cool family 🙂
    Can’t wait to see what newsletters/info you send out to email subscribers,
    Best wishes!

    Holly x

    1. Oh you’re probably in Perth now!! Have an amazing time here. I’m so glad you’re starting your Oz journey in WA – such an awesome state. Make sure you check out our site for tips. We’ve got lots coming for WA

  27. As someone who is just starting out in the blogging world these tips point me in the right direction. I can see how these tips can help me get unstuck. Thanks so much!

  28. Thanks for this! We’re travel bloggers/vloggers who are relatively new to “the game” and who are currently making the switch from part-time to full-time! Really in need of all of these tips and tricks!

  29. Thank you. A really interesting post. I am a blogging newbie so seeing other peoples success stories is not only motivational, it is also very helpful and allows me to see with the right amount of the right stuff in brings success.

  30. Darby of Green Travel Antics

    I love lists like these; it’s interesting to see how other people grew their sites and which of the most common tips were the most helpful. You included some ideas that I hadn’t heard of before, like the Modern Mystic course and doing a road trip. I’m doing a bike trip across South America, and I hope that giving readers a story to follow will increase traffic and keep people coming back to my site.
    Thanks for the post!

  31. This is such a helpful article thank you for sharing these tips Caz. My husband Barry and I are currently trying to grow our travel blog (worldlynomads.com) so these recommendations and pieces of advice are really great, especially Pinterest as we have an account but definitely aren’t using this enough! Social media is just so time consuming it’s hard to achieve the right balance as I’m sure you’re aware!

  32. Fantastic post – so many things to think about here! My fiance and I (Aussies too!!) have been working abroad the past few years and have just started to blog about it. We are getting to that stage where we want to have kids and not sure about whether that means the end of our travels or not. Your blog has me thinking that maybe, just maybe, we can keep this adventurous life alive with some extra little travelers as company! Thanks for the inspiration!

  33. These are some great tips! I like #1, as I think many people start a blog (or any other business) thinking of it as a muse or a hobby, and aren’t prepared. In my world of offshore finance, I encourage new businesses to incorporate offshore before they do ANY business, as it’s better to get incorporation and other stuff out of the way and not to have to worry about re-doing it later.

    I also really agree with #6 on mindset. Having an abundance mindset is the one thing that has catapulted me from average success to great success. Bootstrapping is one thing, but clinging to every penny is another, and that mindset rarely leads to success.

    Lastly, I agree with speaking at events and being part of a community, but not for soulless purposes. Give back in the right ways, focus on what matters and not what doesn’t, and you’ll be successful.

  34. Treating It as a business. Very Important.

    Someone said blogging is not a business. That’s the mindset that is hindering a lot of aspiring bloggers. They want to go for a white collar jobs

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