Every time I attempt to share my travel blogging tips (*coughs* mistakes) I start the post or presentation with a disclaimer.
Every blogger is different and will have his or her own interpretation of what success looks like.
Strangely (foolishly) though, I’ve never fully explored what my own definition of ‘travel blogger success’ looks like. After 5 years of blogging I finally sat down to think about it after my friend Vicky raised the question in her latest post.
Vicky has just launched a series called Travel Blogger High (see what she did there?) where she will share everything she knows about travel blogging for the next 15 Mondays in a row. She wisely started her high school this Monday with a post discussing what success may look like for a travel blogger and how to set attainable goals to get there. In her post (which is awesome – you should check it out) she lists some of the ways a travel blogger may measure their success:
- Being offered press trips
- A high number of subscribers
- Big audience numbers
- Site wide sponsorship
- The most amount of social media followers ever
- Guaranteed Likes on every post
- Being able to write what you want
- Getting to spend time on the videos / podcasts / articles as you like
- Earning loads of cash through collaborations
- Free travel wherever and whenever you want
And it dawned on me, that at this present point, I want none of these things.*
(*Just to be clear, I have sought and been lucky enough to achieve a number of these things in the process of building my site, they were just never the end goal or what I saw as defining success overall.)
Looking back, I realised my hopes for my blog and definition of ‘success’ had changed over the years. In the first instance I had just wanted to write and was excited by the idea that other people might read my words. Success to me was a sprinkling of readers and banterous comments back and forth.
Once I had gained a small readership and people seemed to enjoy what I was writing, I began to harbour dreams of wanting to do this travel and writing thing full time. Without fully visualising that goal, fate took hold and I was offered what would eventually be the role of Content and Community Manager for Flight Centre UK because I had proved my writing and community building skills on my blog. Then two years later I had enough enquiries coming in via my blog to allow me to pursue freelance writing and social media projects, and two years down the line that is what I still do today (from my new base in sunny Sydney.)
I can work from anywhere in the world, travel is an integral part of my job, and I make my income from a mixture of writing and social media consulting for predominantly travel brands. It turns out I am living my dream and never bloody knew it.
On Realising You Are Living Your Dream
I’ve been told often enough I am living the dream and whilst acknowledging it may indeed look like that from the outside I am always quick to point out the work that goes on behind the scenes to attain it. What a strange and negative way to look at life!
My dream was to travel and write for a living and just because the reality involves a heap of admin, pitching and earning a somewhat unstable living, doesn’t mean I’m not doing it.
I realise now that success in any field is unlikely to come easily; just because I work hard for it doesn’t mean it’s not everything I ever wanted.
So today, success to me looks a little bit different than it did in the early years. I’ve been to seminars and read books on what success may look like for professional bloggers – products, sales, branding, expansion, collaborations, lots of dosh – but I’ve realised that just isn’t me, it’s not where I want my focus to be.
I see travel blogging success as building a site I can be proud of, producing content that people want to read (be that 5 or 5000 readers), making an honest (modest) income and having an awesome time doing it.
I’ve worked hard to build a lifestyle I dreamed of and now I shall have to work hard to sustain it.
On the days I do manage to achieve that; I shall celebrate it, revel in it and be bloody grateful for every minute of it.
So thank you to Vicky for that important lesson. Seems I needed to go to travel blogger high school after all!
Have you defined what success looks like for your travel blog/job?