When I started 40before30 in January 2010 I had no idea where it would lead. I gave it a title with a finite end (my fast-approaching 30th birthday) – certain that this hobby would go its course, lose its shine, be confined to the archives of something I once tried.
And yet here we still are.
I still love to travel but, even more so, I love blogging about it. I enjoy crafting little stories, sharing them with the internet and seeing what the online world has to say about it. I love sharing this passion with other bloggers, feeling a part of a community that supports and inspires me. Over the last 4.5 years my love for blogging has only grown.
But the most surprising part of this new hobby were the opportunities that came up because of it. Tweeting from Toronto Fashion Week, blogging from Barbados, (humble) holiday bragging for Three mobile. Going to glam events, winning unexpected awards, being featured in the magazines I religiously read. The leading travel company who asked me to head up their content and social media team on the basis of the blog and community I had built in my spare time, or that time when Hollywood called. The organisations who asked me to analyse their social platforms. The websites who paid me to write for them. (Dream job klaxon!)
The last 5 years of my life have been shaped and centred around this blog. My favourite hobby led to a career. A career I never dreamed possible. (Blogging also introduced me to man I just moved to the other side of the world with. But that’s another story for another time!)
When I first started blogging I made a conscious decision to separate my work from my play. What I did for a living was never mentioned on the site as my job in events had nothing to do with the travel I blogged about. Granted, I was travelling for work events, but I was exploring destinations and writing about them in my own time. When the blog led to my job at Flight Centre I made a decision again to keep the two things separate; to not blur the lines between what I blogged and created for them and what I sought to blog, build and share in my own time. But when I decided to go freelance, almost 2 years ago now, there was no longer a clear distinction. This blog became part of my job, and yet, I struggled to find a way to explain it.
I shared the excitement and anxiety of those first few freelance weeks in an article for the Huffington Post. And then I went quiet, online at least, and said no more about it.
Because the truth was I was still trying to figure it out. I was learning on the job, sometimes making mistakes, a lot of the time making things up! I didn’t feel I had any valuable advice to share; hell, I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to make it, not without going bankrupt anyway. I had to work things out by myself.
Looking back I realise that sharing just one side of things may have been a little confusing. That I may have appeared to have been fannying around the world, having a blast, making a living from this travel blogging malarkey and making it look, dare I say it, easy.
The truth is the way I make a living is as varied and diversified as the colours of a Sydney sunset. (Today’s was pinky purple.) Recently I’ve tried to shed a little light on some of the projects, ways and means I pay the bills in my weekly video dairies but these don’t delve into the hours of meetings, pitching, planning and networking that goes on waaay behind the scenes. I don’t want to bore you to death after all! For those that haven’t seen the videos my ‘job’ now mainly consists of the following:
- Writing content for other people’s blogs and websites
- Producing content for brand’s social media channels
- Managing the blog and social media channels/communities for travel agencies, lifestyle brands and start ups
- Consulting on social media strategy
- Public speaking (at events like Tots 100 or the World Travel Market)
- Working on campaigns with brands I admire. This year that has included retail store Muji, No 1 Traveller airport lounges and, most recently, doing the whole holiday braggie thing for Three mobile.
I have a lot of repeat clients who come back to me to discuss further content or campaigns after the first initial project but I’m always on the look out for new partners in order to keep growing (and paying those bills!).
I am sharing all this with you now is because I’ve realised, through conversations and emails from people I’ve met along the way, that I was keeping back a part of my life that people found quite interesting. Sometimes it was not what I did in a destination that intrigued them but how I was getting to be there, on blogging business, in the first place.
Part of the reason for this site relaunch is that I would like to marry the two sides of my life in one site. Going forward, I’ll not just be bringing you details of my travels but also offering an insight into the travel blogging lifestyle and how I seek to run my business. I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks in the last few years and I’m ready to share them; things I wished I’d known when I first started out, ideas I hope you will find useful for your own travels or businesses. I’m also going to be featuring some of my favourite travel and lifestyle bloggers, asking them to shed a light on the pros and cons of their nomadic lifestyle and how they go about running an online business related to travel and social media.
If this side of things is not your cup of tea, then fear not. There will still be plenty of travel tales going forward; I’m still reading, tweeting and eating my way around the world and I look forward to sharing these experiences with you too. As I always do.
Find out more about what I’ll be blogging about going forward in the Introduction to Girl Tweets World.