For being a former Digital Nomad / Entrepreneur / Travel Blogger, I think there are 5 points essential to mention to the newbies who want to take the plunge! This is not an article to scare you or dissuade you, on the contrary, just some awareness for you to take into account before packing for your new adventure!
This is not such a big of a deal but to be taken into account when organizing skype calls with potential collaborations or online publications or whatever business you deal with. You sometimes may be travelling, or the wifi at that time is busy because night time, or any other excuse that your interlocutor does not actually care but you need to manage on your end. Don’t rush an appointment just for the sake of it. If you need to schedule a conference call, make sure you will be in a reliable place where the call will be smooth. Because there is nothing worst than trying to close a deal when the connection fails or it is very noisy in the background.
2. Work-Travel balance
This one depends on the pace you’re travelling and working. But what you need to keep in mind is that your visualisation of what will be your trip / your work delivery needs to be reconsidered. In a sense, it is very tough for a travel blogger to purely ENJOY the city or the country he is in and be fully dedicated to its work online on the website and the social media. You must leave one aside for a day or two otherwise you will be doing things “mediocre” and it will reflect in your work you did not enjoy this experience full time. Plus, it can be an alibi for your audience, explaining that you were or will be off for one week, but will come back with more content and stories to share. You will obviously lose some quality score for Instagram algorithm but you can still post some stories and respond to the direct messages your followers are sending you, asking how is your trip.
To share my personal experience, when I was running Hibiscus & Nomada, I did two trips fully off internet, because I wanted to live it to the fullest. I went to Iceland for NYE and to New Zealand a month before. I can assure you, and the online stats will prove it that the quality of my pictures and the excitement in the tone of voice in my stories were a winner! I wish I had done a cola with Icelandair at that time to monitor how many people would have booked their holiday to Iceland in Winter and not Summer Time. It looked like a fairy tale, being on another planet and above all ALONE. Such a great and off the beaten track experience. During that trip, I did not worry about my followers, I just focused and lived the moment in that destination. So sometimes I think it is better to share content a bit afterwards rather than being live and not experiencing what you should.
3. Getting Paid
A lot of influencers in the industry are missing the real reason behind being a Travel Blogger. Being a travel blogger is not sharing pictures and gaining followers just to get freebies, stay in a hotel for free, get a ticket planer half price or wear some certain brands yoga pants. Being a travel blogger is sharing this passion for travel and this willingness to showing the world and the web what you see from your own eyes that someone else cannot. It can be for lack of money, time or health. The purpose of travel bloggers is to make people dream. Do not forget that first purpose. If you decide to become a digital nomad just for the money you’ve gone to the wrong industry.
Never work just for money or for power. They won’t save your soul or help you sleep at night.Marian Wright Edelman
Money comes from passion, hard work, dedication and time. If after 14k followers on Instagram you pretend to to a promoted post or write a guest blog for $2,000, you’re getting big headed! SORYY but true. You should be open to partnerships, because it’s a win-win situation. It not necessarily has to be paid with money. It can be a coverage in that printed magazine, a post on their social media. Before asking for money, you must do a full data analysis of their website and social media networks. If your account is bigger than theirs, then just do them a favor, everyone start from somewhere, everyone needs a big of a kick at some point, it could be you for a change. If they are way bigger than you, take it as a blessing, “wow it’s an honor, indeed I’ll write an article for you”. No more questions, because if they like it and so does the audience, the partnership will carry on and that’s when you can start a real talk with them, not initially. Eventually once your account and website grows and you are gaining enough subscribers you can start putting together a Media Kit with evidence of your hard work and how it paid off. Then this is when people are going to take you seriously and will want to work with you because with a proper Media Kit / Business Plan, they will understand where you want to go. And that does not mean wearing the latest sneakers from Nike, that refers to being the ultimate Travel Blogger in the industry!
4. Be flexible on your journey
You’ve initially drawn your roadmap of the next six months with a timeline, a budget and all the hostels you’ll be staying. Everything is so perfectly planned there is no room for CRAZYNESS. The bests stories are the ones not planned. The ones that were not on your little notebook, but just happened living the moment. At this hostel you met a group of people suggesting you to go with them to that surf camp. You have two options:
“No sorry I can’t I must be in Panama in three days”
“I did not have that in mind but hey, why not!”
Why would you take option 1? Unless you have a big contract signed with A agency and you must be there at that date there is no agenda that says you must be there. Why? Because you’re a digital nomad, the time is yours! So even if you hadn’t planned that surf camp, it may be a cool spot to share with your surfer followers and you will have so much fun it will be felt in your work! Try not to book too many things in advance this is how stress is created and there is no room for FUN, whereas being a travel blogger is all about fun!
5. Invest in good equipment
The success of a travel blogger relies on great style (tone of voice, humour, personality) but above all on the quality of its content. And by that I mean pictures and videos. This may be harsh to hear but a travel blogger needs to be a good photographer. Thankfully nowadays you do not need to having studied it, the cameras on automatic can do it for you. Sometimes investing a bit in a good camera or good pro can pay off in terms of likes, buzzes and content share. Social Media is all about visuals and even if Photoshop or Instagram filters can help a lot, the pixels and the quality overall do not lie. It may be second hand cameras in good state or borrowed GoPro for a certain period of time. Just don’t be cheap on that part. You can save on hostels dorms in Asia or cheap food in South America, but don’t save on good equipment to share all what your eyes can see.
Read more tips about Photography on travel at Photler.com