Hey guys! This week we are going to be switching things up a bit. Over the next few months, Ben and I will be publishing a series of interviews with other online entrepreneurs that are making money via blogging and social media. The reason we want to do this is pretty simple: we want to show you that there are a million different ways to make money from the internet, and that anybody can do it.
Note: This post contains affiliate links.
These interviews are meant to inspire you and give you a glimpse inside the heads of the people who have “figured it out.”
This week I interviewed Emma from LuxuryBackpacking.net, a travel blog with a pretty hefty Instagram following of 58,000. Early on, Emma figured out how to leverage her Instagram following into a revenue generating asset, and now she’s busy building her blog into a similar money-making tool for her business.
So without further ado, let’s turn it over to Emma!
Emma, tell us a bit about yourself and your online biz:
Hi! I’m Emma, one half of the couples travel blog LuxuryBackpacking.net. I’m originally from England, however I’m currently studying at University in Sydney, but I love to call the world my home! At 20 years old, I’ve traveled to 45 countries with no plans to stop.
Our blog, LuxuryBackpacking, is exactly how it sounds, we love to help people travel the world for less. Over the years both my partner and I have gained insider knowledge and experience on how to travel hack and travel the world for less.
We love and go by the quote: ‘Not all those who travel are rich’.
How long ago did you start?
Initially, I only started out with an Instagram account: Luxurybackpacking. I started this at the end of 2015 and within a year it grew to nearly 50,000 followers.
With that much growth, I wanted to start a blog to complement our Instagram account and serve as another way to help people travel the world in luxury for less. I started the blog back in October 2016, and since then, our blog has won 2 awards! We also started all our other social media channels around that time too.
Give us an idea of your monthly revenue:
Nearly all my monthly income comes from Instagram, through sponsored posts. I earn on average $2,000-3,000 a month through it.
LuxuryBackpacking Instagram Sponsored Post Examples:
I’ve only just started monetizing the travel blog, so its got a long way to catch up with my Instagram.
How did you discover the concept that Instagram (and a blog) could make you money?
Shortly after we started our Instagram account and began posting high quality photos from our travels, our following skyrocketed.
That’s when we started to think “Hey, people must be following us for a reason…maybe there’s an opportunity here.”
We even had a few followers ask us for our blog domain, a clear sign that people wanted to learn more about what we were up to.
Ultimately, we want to inspire, motivate and encourage young travelers around the world to go online, book a flight to a place they’ve never been before, and start exploring what the world has to offer.
We believe ordinary people just like us can live extraordinary lives. You don’t have to be part of the ultra rich and famous to travel in luxury! You just need to know how to do it frugally. That’s where we come in: helping others to travel well for less!
How long did it take you to start making money from Instagram?
We started our Instagram at the end of 2015, and we started earning an income in March 2016, with around 10,000 followers. So really not long after we first started!
What’s your favorite part about running an online business?
I personally love the feeling of helping others achieve a life long dream!
We get several comments on our blog posts saying how much we inspire them to travel and think about everything else later. Without the motivation of this, I feel our blog would be nowhere near where it is now.
I also love the challenge, once I started on something I will never give up. I believe perseverance is the key to success.
Out of all the Instagram-ers out there, how have you made yourself stand out from everyone else?
I honestly think the quality of photos you post on Instagram is SO important.
People will not follow you if your photos are blurry or not eye catching. I take time and care into which Instagram post to publish next. I also engage with lots of my followers, and other bloggers in my niche.
I also didn’t broaden my niche too wide or narrow. Having an Instagram account only about travel is far too large, and people won’t engage as well, similarly if you only post about Africa, your following is likely to be very limited.
Some of Emma’s High Quality IG Pics:
Give us an example of something that did NOT work out the way you wanted or expected it to (a particular social media platform, FB ads failures, content ideas, etc):
Apart from Instagram, I’m pretty much a newbee to Facebook Pages and Pinterest. The other week I payed a substantial amount of money for a Facebook ad (in all fairness I hadn’t read up on how to effectively use it), but it was a massive flop.
I advertised my free opt-in, but after a week of promoting it, nobody subscribed! I couldn’t believe it and I wanted to pull my hair out!
I didn’t understand why it didn’t work, when other blogger friends say it works like a charm for both subscribers and FB page likes. Before I purchased the ad, Facebook said it would reach around 10K people,but it ended up only reaching about 400…
Lesson learned: Make sure to research carefully before investing in social media!
Knowing what you know now, if you could go back to Day 1 in your biz, what would you do differently?
Ideally, I wish I started my travel blog the same time as our Instagram and used other social media platforms back then, too.
It does seem to be an uphill battle with the other platforms, but our traction is steadily increasing. I also believe connecting and making friendships is one of the most important and vital things you must do in order to have a successful blog… I should have started doing that sooner.
What are your goals for the next 12 months for your business?
Ultimately, I would love to earn enough from my blog and Instagram that it covers my living expenses and travel. I’d love to hit 5,000 subscribers and I’m in the process of writing an E-Course on how to gain more organic followers, earn a solid income and become a prolific influencer on Instagram, which I’m hoping to release in the next couple of months!
Awesome. Anything else you want to share?
I’d love to give a piece of advice for aspiring solo travellers.:
Don’t be afraid to go travel on your own.
We’ve heard all sorts of things… will I meet people, will I like it, will I be safe, will I have fun…? Yes you will! Even more so when you go on your own.
Because you’re not going to worry about what people think of you, you can do what you want. You’re free and no one is going to stop you. All solo travelers (and that’s what most people are) will be in the exact same situation as you, so everyone is trying to make the best out of it.
That’s why it always ends up being a ton of fun hanging out with people you’ve never met until just two hours earlier. All you have to do is stay in a hostel dorm; that’s the best way to meet people. Have a look at the best hostels for your intended place on Hostelworld and off you go. You won’t regret it!
Thank you so much, Emma!
Other Ways to Make Extra Money:
1. Start a Blog with HostGator: This can be just a simple side hustle, or it can turn into something really special; it’s up to you. I’m a huge fan of blogging because I love writing and connecting with people all over the world. If you want to get started, read my post From 0-$100k: How Anyone Can Start Blogging. Seriously, don’t discount the incredible opportunities that blogging can provide!
2. Do Online Surveys: Companies are willing to pay money to get inside the heads of consumers. Below are my favorite survey sites. They’re free to join and free to use. Pro tip: It’s best to sign up for as many as you can as that way you can receive the most surveys and make the most money. Swagbucks ($5 Free Signup Bonus), Survey Junkie (QUICKEST to start earning), MyPoints ($5 Free Signup Bonus), Earning Station, Survey Club, VIP Voice, American Consumer Opinion, QuickRewards, PanelPlace, Point Club, One Opinion, Harris Poll
3. Drive for Uber: This is a really good use of your time if you are trying to make some extra cash in a weekend. Here’s a signup link that gives you $100 after you give your first ride, plus check out How I Made $427 in 2 Days Driving for Uber.
4. Earn More Interest on Your Savings: Move your savings over to a bank account that actually pays you a decent interest rate on your savings. Discover pays nearly 1%, which is 11 times higher than the national average. Take 10 minutes out of your day and do this- over time, it really does make a difference.
5. Sell Your Stuff: Most of us are guilty of hanging onto things that we never use, myself included. Take a day and go through all your old stuff and get rid of some of it!
6. Invest Your Savings: Despite the risks involved, you should probably be investing as a way to make extra money. For the DIY investor, I recommend TradeKing. Motif Investing ($150 sign up bonus) offers pre-made “themes”, such as cancer research, which is neat. Stash is an app that’s great for a new investors, as it makes everything extremely simple.
7. Bet on Your Own Weight Loss: What better way to lose weight than to avoid losing a bet? Sites like HealthyWage.com allow you to place a wager and make extra money when you successfully lose weight.
8. Download the Shoptracker App: They’ll instantly send you a free $3 Visa gift card, plus another $3 for every month you keep the app installed.
9. Use Swagbucks for Online Search: Swagbucks is a great way to passively earn cash and Amazon gift cards with very little work. They have a search tool, which is just like using Google to do your online searches, except you get rewarded “SBs” for the things you do through their website. Redeem SBs for rewards. And by signing up through our link, they give you a free $5. Boom.
10. Peer to Peer Lending: Using money you already have to make more money is usually a pretty smart move. Using a service like Lending Club is a great way to act as a lender and earn interest on your money.