It wasn’t all that long ago that we were new to travel blogging.
We became travel bloggers because of our huge passion for travelling, and we believed we had a lot of stories, photos, information and inspiration to share that could help others create great memories.
We knew exactly how much travel could benefit your life and help improve the health of the planet by bringing so many people together; helping us to understand we are indeed more alike than we are different.
We wanted to share online, just like we always did on the road.
Share stories, share tips, share good times.
Not only that, but we wanted to create something where we could become location independent. How we were going to do that with a travel blog, we did not know. But, we had big plans for it to lead to something.
It had to. Because any other way of living would not work for us. We tried it. We failed and we were miserable.
I spent days, weeks, months, asking the questions, pleading that I soon discover what my purpose was in life. I knew there was something out there for me, but I could not find it due to my own doubts and insecurities.
We made bad choices, terrible ones in fact, that led us down a dark and scary path. We were lost and afraid and in a lot of pain.
Eventually, the questioning paid off and we found the answers. We have been doing it for the past 18 months now and we love every second of it.
It has not been easy. In fact, it has been so hard.
We have had many obstacles and challenges including financial, health, job issues, and the commitment of being the best parents we can be, but we have fought through them because we believed in our dream enough and we wanted it so badly.
When you love it and you want it, you are happy to allow it to consume every waking hour and even the sleeping ones.
Some may say now that we are one of the more established travel blogs out there, and we will certainly agree that we have had some good success.
We don’t see this as an ego thing, however, or that we have attained any type of special status. To us, we are just as we were 2, 4, 5, 10 years ago. We have a travelling spirit and are happy to sit and chat to anyone, preferably over a few cold beers.
Tell me your story and we’ll share ours.
That sort of thing.
Life is too short to play games of “I am better than you,” or “I need to stomp all over you to get ahead.” We don’t believe this is how you move forward to attaining your dreams at all.
We believe it is all about helping one another, being a friend, being true to your ideals, and offering constructive criticism when it’s needed.
So why am I writing to all you new travel bloggers now?
I spend many an hour each day reading other blogs around the net. I’d love to comment more, but with two blogs, and two beautiful girls, my time is a little stretched.
But, I like to show my support and help in as many ways as I can. This being one of them.
I’ve noticed from a lot of new travel bloggers certain feelings of not being sure where they are heading with their travel blog, what their place is in the travel industry, a certain amount of angst, and then some unhappiness at ways they have been treated by others, others that are seen to be the “big” bloggers.
I know how you feel.
We once felt like this too. In fact, there are still many moments that we do.
It happens in any industry. It is all part of your progress – you figuring it out.
You have to get clear on it or you won’t have the success you desire.
And that is the first thing you have to figure out.
What is it you desire from your blogging?
Where do you really want to see it go? Do you want to eventually make an income from it? And if so how? Or do you want it to be a place where you just express yourself?
Every blogger has different dreams, goals, and values. And they will do things on their blog that relate to these things and their purpose for blogging.
The trick for you is to forget what others are doing and why. Don’t measure your success against the success of others. Everyone comes into this with different skills, backgrounds, and time constraints.
What are you doing and why?
If you want to make income and create a lifestyle around it then great. If you just want it as a place to write, then that’s great too.
Do what you want to do with your blog and let others do what they want to do.
No one else’s actions can change the blogging world for you. You create your own blogging world based upon your purpose and goals.
The tendency to compare ourselves to others is dangerous because it usually leads to either feelings of insecurity or envy.
It is far better for you to compare yourself to yourself.
How much better am I doing today than what I was yesterday?
And then use that as a way to move forward.
Turning the Negative into Positive
Learn from others, use them as motivation to help you do the best you can, and be the person you want to be.
As long as any critique you receive is constructive, you can use it to move forward. If it is nastiness then simply ignore it.
When we made the decision to start a travel blog we made a list of all the goals we wanted to achieve. And they were BIG. And they remain BIG.
We believe if you are going to be thinking anyway, then you might as well be thinking big.
Some individuals told us that basically our goals were unrealistic and that we couldn’t do it. We couldn’t do it based upon what others had achieved. I particularly remember one man’s words telling us we couldn’t do it when we first began travel blogging. He made our dreams seem silly.
I read the words and sat and cried. I felt like my dream had just died in front of me.
Later that afternoon, a fire was lit from underneath me, and I wanted to reply…
“Who the hell do you think you are? You don’t know anything about our desire, our background, or what we are capable of? What right do you think you have to stomp all over our dreams?”
I thank him and others every single day because they provide that extra determination to be the best we can. It’s been a great source of motivation.
And it paid off. He said we couldn’t pull off our goals in three years; we’ve done most of them in 18 months.
NEVER ever let anyone else determine the results you can have in your life. Only you know what you can do. Dream big. You deserve it.
Be Yourself Online and Offline
I have heard many new bloggers talk of how they have been treated by other veteran bloggers. Kind of like they are not worth their time or below them.
I think this happens no matter what industry you are in.
Unfortunately, some people do think they are above others once they achieve a certain level of success. But, it also could be that they are just strapped for time, having a bad day, or are feeling just as insecure as you.
In fact, I think most of the time when someone acts in an arrogant manner it is because they feel insecure.
I remember approaching a blogger to do a guest post on his site. He was probably the first travel blog I came across and one that really inspired us when we were creating our own. It was almost as if he wrote the words straight from my own heart. I was a fan and looked up to him.
And then I dealt with him personally and was shocked at how different he was, not at all like his persona online and I was shattered and felt betrayed.
It is easy to be someone different when you hide behind a computer screen. True authenticity is what brings success – so whoever you are online, be the same offline.
Especially if your site is not JUST a resource site, but more of a personality site and you are building a brand. We are much more than just our blog. We can be seen as a spokesperson, an ambassador. Authenticity is very important.
Be yourself always and everywhere. It’s too much friggin hard work being someone you’re not.
It can be disheartening when someone you admire and look up to brushes you off. It has happened to us many times offline and online.
We choose to handle it like this: we make a vow that when we get to an authority position that we never become like this; we use them as motivation for us to move forward in achieving our goals; we no longer give them any energy, positive or negative.
Allow yourself to feel pissed off for a little while, but then let it go. It won’t serve you. Just don’t follow them anymore. Choose instead to hang around those who uplift and inspire you and who help you to believe that you can achieve those goals of yours.
Like I said, criticism is good as long as it is constructive. It helps you to learn and grow. But there is no reason why we can’t encourage each other to be bigger and better than what we were yesterday.
Making Money off your Blog
Making money off your blog is a topic that is hotly debated across any blogging niche.
My advice to you is to figure out what works best for you and to forget what anyone else is doing. We all have different wants and needs and things we feel comfortable with doing.
There is no reason why you should not make money off your blog.
Why not? If it is your passion and you work hard and you provide value and a service then you deserve to be compensated.
If you are treating it as a business, aren’t businesses supposed to make money?
It is not selling out, like many would like to have you believe you are doing. If I don’t find a way to make money from our blog then I am selling out;
Selling out on my dream, on my purpose, on those who I can offer some sort of value to, my family and my own happiness.
As someone once said to me, “Who do you think you are to hide yourself away? Who are you to deny those people in this world who need you for whatever particular reason you arrived here for?”
When you look at it like that, each of us then has a duty to live out our purpose, and if that involves making money doing what you love then so be it. No one has the right to comment on that.
I believe that MOST people in the world are just doing the best they can and are making the best choices for themselves based upon what they know at the time.
They are not trying to cheat people or hurt them. Most people are good.
I don’t know the circumstances of anybody’s life and I have no right to try and deny them things that will make them feel happy. That is not my place.
My place is to let them know it is possible and give them permission to live their dreams.
You won’t know all the answers straight away and you’ll make many mistakes trying to figure it out. This is okay. Just get started and learn as you go.
As long as you are transparent, you recognize your mistakes, you learn from them and then change your strategy accordingly.
And if those around you make mistakes, then forgive them, give them another chance,they are only learning.
The best thing you can do is to always provide value. This will take away any guilt you may feel in making money. If you provide value then you should never have to feel bad.
Know that if you are striving towards those goals of financial independence with blogging then there are certain things you’re going to have to do.
One of them is self-promotion. That thing that makes us feel icky inside.
It gets easier, although has never really left me, especially with my cultural background of the Tall Poppy Syndrome. In Australia, most people who try to stand above the crowd are quickly put in their place.
But I cannot worry about those people who do not wish good things to happen for me.
I can only worry about my goals, my happiness, my family and the fact that I am doing my best.
Work on promoting others just as much as yourself to help reduce those icky feelings.
Shouting out the good about what you are doing is not a bad thing. And always know that with us, we will help lift you up when you are shouting and shout it out for you as well.
Know that you are a good person and don’t let others make you feel any different.
I don’t see it so much as self-promotion, but more as celebrating.
Celebrating your successes, your wins, your uniqueness, your story, your expertise, and what you have to offer the world. What is so wrong with celebrating these things?
Imagine the world if we all celebrated more than condemned.
One thing you must always do is spend each day in total gratitude.
Gratitude for every small step forward, gratitude for every comment that lands on your blog, gratitude for every reader who crashes on your blogging couch, gratitude for every milestone, and everything that comes your way, good or bad.
Gratitude is such a powerful energy to throw out into the world and one that will bring many more things in your life to be grateful for. Let your readers know how much you appreciate and value them.
I think the biggest challenge in becoming more successful with blogging is the fact that I can no longer help everyone individually as I would like to.
If I could, I would sit down with each of my readers one on one, buy them a drink and ask “How can I help you?.”
But, I can’t and sometimes that hurts.
realize that you can’t possibly be everything to everyone and be ok with that. Try to find other ways which you can serve.
Writing this letter is one way for me.
I want you to know that your dream is possible.
I want you to know that you can create how that dream will look.
I want you to know that it is up to you.
I want you to understand that what others are doing is not important, it is how you are being and doing that is.
I want you to know that other people’s opinion of you does not matter – it is actually none of your business.
I want you to know if you focus with razor sharp vision on your goals, if you dream big, if you work hard, if you are kind to others, and if you believe, you can do it.
Spend each day asking yourself, “Am I being the best I can be? Am I doing the best I can do? Am I being true to who I am? Am I making each moment count?“
And then the most important way forward each day is to do the best you can, with what you have, from where you are. Even if you are crawling you are still moving forward.
We are no different to you. We just had a dream, we believed in it, we acted, and we did not worry about what anyone else was doing or what they were saying was possible.
You have a story worth sharing.
The world needs you to share it.
P.S. One more thing. This is your dream, your passion – go have fun with it. Despite the hard work and challenges you should still be making it all about having fun!