I’m writing this post sat in Montana Airport. I have a short layover before I fly to Minnesota for a 7 day trip exploring some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.
I had the usual grilling with US security as they questioned me about why I’m visiting the US. I usually lie and say I’m on holiday – because admitting you work in the media is often more effort than it’s worth – but this guy was tough and I quickly cracked. I’m terrible at lying too so it was easier to tell him the truth.
Yes, I’m working. I’m a travel blogger. Yes, I’m being paid. Yes, I’m being paid to go hiking and kayaking and horse riding and try the best restaurants in the area and stay in luxury accommodation. Yes, honest, this is my job. Yes, I’m paid real money, not just a token gesture.
By the point I knew the security guy had stopped his official questioning and was just being nosy. I couldn’t very well tell him to mind his own business so he carried on questioning me about the life of a travel blogger.
The answers continued.
Yes, brands send me things like clothes and cameras and beauty products and gadgets to review. Yes, I was sent this phone for free. Yes, and the camera, and the watch, and the sunglasses, and my trainers, my luggage and my handbag. Yes, companies pay me to travel around the world. Yes, I always stay in nice hotels. Yes, I often travel in business class. Yes, I often travel alone but I always make friends and I often bring my fiancé and our baby son with us too.
Hang on, you have a baby!?
Yes, I have a baby and I mostly care for him myself. I work my own hours so I pretty much work whenever I want, whenever I want, for however long I want, for the brands I want. My son has just turned one and has travelled to more countries than many adults.
“Lady, you are living the dream!” the security guy chuckles. “Jeez, I wish I had your job, you’re the luckiest person in the world.”
It was at that moment that I stopped being annoyed by this guy’s intrusive questions and took a second to appreciate what he’d just said.
Yes, yes I am the luckiest person in the world.
This is my job. This is my life! I never in a million years imagined this could be my life. This is the kind of job other people have, not me!
Sometimes I play it down and pretend it isn’t as good as it sounds. I tell my friends I’m going on a ‘work trip’ before I fly to Barbados for a week in the sun. I tell them I have ‘work events’ in the evenings but I’m really meeting with PR friends for cocktails in swanky bars as we make plans for exotic holidays.
Most people ask if it’s really possible to earn a living through blogging and I assure them it is – but I’m pretty sure they still think I earn pennies. But the truth is, I earn a hell of a lot more than I ever did in my career as a social media manager in London. Even when I worked as a freelance social media consultant, blogging is still a hell of a lot more profitable.
Making the decision to be a full time blogger
Like most bloggers, I didn’t grow up with the intention of becoming a blogger. Blogging wasn’t even a career option at the time – most people didn’t even know what a blog was.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was 21. I was just finishing university and all the jobs I looked into seemed boring and uninspiring. All I knew I wanted was an interesting and memorable life.
I was actually really scared about getting a regular, boring job and working 9-5 for the next 50 years and having a very unmemorable life. I could see my days merging into one another, followed by weeks, months and years. The time would pass without anything really happening and then I’d be old….and this thought terrified me. It still does. That’s why I like to do as much as possible.
I hate the thought of bumping into someone I haven’t seen for a while and them saying, ‘Oh hi, what have you been up to recently?’ and me having to say, ‘Not a lot really….’
I don’t want a life of ‘not a lot’. I want a life that is absolutely chocker full of adventure and excitement and stories to tell my grandchildren when I’m old.
So, instead of getting a job when I finished my studies, I went travelling. I travelled and worked around Australia, driving around the country in an old VW campervan. I then travelled and worked around Asia, picking up copywriting work for a content agency in the UK.
I blogged about my travels while I was away – partly to have a record from my trip and partly to keep my friends and family up to date. I also wanted it as an online portfolio of my written work – just in case I ever ended up working as a travel journalist. Being a travel journalist was a distant dream at the very back on my mind but so many people told me it was an unrealistic career option that I wasn’t seriously considering it.
I had no idea that this online portfolio designed to help my career would actually become my career!
When I came home from Asia I continued with the copywriting and moved to London to study for an NCTJ journalism qualification. I got a job as an intern at a travel website and ended up as the site’s social media manager. From there I got a job at one of the world’s largest travel agents as their UK social media manager. The girl I was replacing in the role, Jayne Gorman from Girl Tweets World, was leaving to become a full time blogger and that’s when the seed was planted – if she could do it, so could I!
I worked there for 18 months before leaving to be a full time blogger. During my time there I worked my ass off – both for my job and for my blog. I sat in on important meetings with management, I learned how to write compelling proposals, how to pull together reports that made my work shine, how to successfully network and how to turn small opportunities into big money-making projects.
When I quit my job in London to blog full time I had no idea what a momentous moment it was. I didn’t realise I’d be changing my life forever and I’d be creating a life for myself for which there’d be no turning back.
I probably should have been more scared then I was when I quit my job but I felt like I had nothing to lose. I didn’t particularly enjoy my job and I had some savings to keep me going for a while if things didn’t work out with the blog. And if I wanted to live a life of no regrets then I really had no choice. I had to give this is a go or I’d be forever wondering if I could have made it happen.
In my first month I earned £1,200 (just enough to cover my living expenses). Then £1,500. Then £2,000. Then £3,000. Then £5,000. Before I knew it, £10,000 months were not uncommon. Nowadays I only work 2 days per week and I’d be disappointed in myself if I didn’t reach the £10,000 mark each month.
And the best thing is that I LOVE what I do.
I feel like a fraud calling it work because when I sit down at my laptop it feels like anything but work. I’m sharing my passion and my dreams and my adventures with the world. I’m telling stories, sharing memories and inspiring people to do the same.
I often hear people talking about how hard it is to be a full time blogger. And yes, it is hard but it’s so much fun it’s a different type of hard to what we’re used to. It’s not miserable ‘slog your guts out’ hard. It’s exciting hard where you can work until 3am without even noticing the time because you’re having so much fun.
But why am I telling you this? Why am I talking about my income? I’m British after all, we’re very uptight when talking about money!
I’m telling you this because if you’re like me and you’re so passionate about your blog that it doesn’t even feel like work then you have the potential to turn your blog into a profitable career.
It’s that dream career that other people tell you doesn’t exist and make you wonder if it’s even worth trying to pursue. I’m living proof that it does exist and if you’ve got the passion to do it you can!
If you’d like to turn your blog into a career you’re passionate about then sign up to my latest e-course, The 12-Week Blogger Course. This course is a step-by-step guide teaching you how to take your blog to the next level and turn it into a profitable income.
If you’re what I’d call a mid-level blogger – someone who has worked with a few brands and maybe made a few hundreds pounds a month from your blog – then this is the course for you. This is the course to show you how to turn those small brand partnerships and collaborations into big earners and turn your blog into the profitable business you want it to be.
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Wednesday 7th of April 2021
Hi! Your story is very inspiring! You convinced me about joining your course!
However, I would like to know something before... This article is from 2016 and a lot of things have changed since. First of all social media, SEO, not to mention the Covid situation. Can you, please, tell me if the course content has been updated and if it is still on point for 2021?
Thursday 8th of April 2021
Hi Biljana, the course was updated at the end of 2019 but hasn't been updated since. Things are changing so quickly with Covid and we have no idea where we will be in a few weeks time so I've held off on updating it until we're in a steadier situation. It is something we talk about in the Facebook group but I haven't officially added it to the course.
How and why I started travel blogging
Wednesday 14th of February 2018
[…] Making a living with the best job in the world […]
Tuesday 14th of November 2017
Great article Monica, very inspiring. I have been reading a lot about how bloggers got started and I notice that many come from London, I wonder if it's because it's easier because people in Europe have more time off than Americans or because it's easier to travel around Europe...?
Tuesday 14th of November 2017
I think it's probably a mixture. We do travel more in Europe and it's also quite affordable to travel to different countries. I've also heard that there are more opportunities for UK bloggers to work with brands and earn more money so that's probably a big thing too - although I don't know how true that is!
Wednesday 19th of April 2017
Monica, I'm def gona take your course!!! Just going through your blog today I have been double inspired. Can't wait!
Thursday 20th of April 2017
I'm so pleased. I look forward to chatting to you in the course Facebook group!
Friday 23rd of December 2016
Brilliant article! this totally inspired me! Count me in. I'm a mom blogger, and I currently have around 7000 visitors to my blog per month, and am in the pool or what you refer to as a 'mid-level blogger'. Each of your points completely resonates with me, and I would love to sign up for the course. While you were blogging in the early days, did you have a mentor or such, or did you have to learn mostly on your own?
Saturday 31st of December 2016
I really wish I'd had a mentor but I just learned everything along the way with a lot of trial and error. The course will be launching again soon :)