Today, many people aspire to live the dream of working remotely while traveling the world and being their own boss. It’s an empowering experience that allows you to choose where you live and work. However, building an online business can be challenging, and many people end up unsuccessful. As the founder of The Broke Backpacker, one of the largest travel blogs in the world, and a serial entrepreneur with multiple online ventures, I have learned a great deal about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to building an online income.
My journey as a travel blogger began 15 years ago when I was backpacking the world with just $10 a day. I developed a passion for writing in-depth reports of my experiences living in a tent, hitchhiking, couch surfing, and embracing a hippy lifestyle. I recognized the potential for personal growth through challenging travel and used my passion to build my travel blog and launch other projects.
Being on the road as a young and inexperienced traveler presented numerous challenges. I took risks and made pivotal decisions that transformed my passion project into a sustainable source of income. I refined my niche and implemented productivity systems, each decision becoming a stepping stone towards building a successful business.
In this article, I will share the key decisions that propelled my budget travel blog into a profitable business with over 1 million monthly users. So, buckle up and join me as we explore the pivotal moments that transformed my blog into one of the internet’s most well-known travel sites.
1. Investing in a memorable domain name: Choosing the right brand name is essential for any business. The Broke Backpacker immediately conveys the site’s purpose and has a personal touch. This helped establish a strong brand identity and attracted the right audience—people interested in budget backpacking. By aligning my domain name with my niche, I positioned myself as a trusted resource and drew in readers who resonated with my content.
2. Pursuing extraordinary adventures: One game-changing decision was embarking on unique adventures that captured readers’ attention and media coverage. I explored off-the-beaten-path destinations and provided detailed, raw coverage that attracted powerful media outlets. This exposure helped build backlinks, boost traffic to my blog, and open doors to new opportunities.
3. Launching expeditions: A trip to Pakistan presented an opportunity to engage my audience and offer them a chance to visit this misunderstood country. By leveraging my network and using platforms like PayPal, I sold out these expeditions, generating funds to further grow my blog.
4. Embracing authenticity: Being transparent and discussing taboo topics like drug use allowed me to connect on a deeper level with my audience. Sharing authentic stories and vulnerabilities built trust and loyalty among my readership, who appreciated the raw nature of my content.
5. Commitment and sacrifice: Successful entrepreneurs are willing to go all in and make sacrifices to achieve their goals. I dedicated two years working tirelessly on my blog, temporarily putting my travel goals on hold. This allowed me to focus on writing, strategy, relationships, and hiring, despite the financial challenges and internal struggles.
6. Building a strong team and outsourcing: As my blog grew, I invested in hiring and expanding my team. Knowing when to outsource tasks allowed me to focus on my strengths and allocate resources effectively.
These strategies have helped me build The Broke Backpacker into a successful business, with a large audience and a strong brand presence. By investing in a memorable domain name, pursuing extraordinary adventures, launching expeditions, embracing authenticity, making personal sacrifices, and building a solid team, I transformed my travel blog into one of the internet’s most recognized travel sites.