Since settling down in Medellin, Colombia for the foreseeable future I have decided I need to refocus my efforts on actually making a little money instead of only spending it.
I haven’t had a steady paycheck since January 2013, and while I could continue to solely deplete my bank account, I’d much rather get closer to breaking even with my expenditures. To tread water if you will.
When I launched this blog initially it was done, at least in part, to hold myself accountable. Making sure I would not back out of my plan/desire to leave the working world and set out traveling.
I feel that this sort of public accountability is an important aspect to achieving your goals, and is one reason why I think everyone could benefit from starting a blog. Even if it is just to flesh out your thoughts and become more clear about what you want.
So, in a similar vein, I am publicly stating my goal of covering my average expenditures here in Medellin within the next three months (October 2014).
My rent is $455 per month, without utilities, which should be another $150+ dollars per month (to be determined).
My expenditures have varied and are somewhat difficult to track, even using Mint.com, because of how I am financing this trip with my travel hacking technique (expenditures show up as double, kind of) but for the time being we will say $20 per day, or $600 per month for food, transportation, and other odds and ends. I will reevaluate my expenditures for July after having taken over this house.
Which brings my total desired income to around $1,200 per month.
June 2014 Income Report
I do some affiliate marketing through this website (if you weren’t already aware) which means that I get a small percentage commission for products that visitors purchase after clicking through my links (at no additional cost to them).
I have made a bit of money every month since being on the road, but nothing major. Lately I have become more focused on trying to improve my results with that as well as seeking out other opportunities. I had a few small breakthroughs in the month of June that have started adding up.
- I had my first month breaking $100 in affiliate sales on Amazon.com
- I’ve secured a recurring writing job with MedellinLiving.com (not location independent obviously, but I decided to stay in Medellin for the time being anyway).
- I made a couple sales of one of those limited time offer bundles–The Paradise Pack (my first time even trying something like that). Although I purchased the pack myself so I only really made *back* my money, not any profit. But I’m still counting it as a win.
I’m definitely not making big bucks, but it’s still really cool and really encouraging to see these little things happen.
- $175 – Amazon Affiliates sales — actually got up to the 7% bracket (the percentage increases based on the number of items sold) and made an impressive number of referred sales for the Aeropress Coffee Maker from my coffee making post.
- $70 – Three Articles for MedellinLiving.com — should be four per month in the future.
- $15 – Adsense Earnings — from old websites other than this one.
- $27 – Youtube Videos — which is actually down from what used to be a regular $45/month from my truck camping video.
- $87 – Paradise Pack — limited time affiliate offer and income that I won’t see again.
$374 — grand total for June or 31% of my goal of $1,200.
Which is actually the most I’ve made since leaving my DC desk job. Hah, should I be celebrating or crying?
Future Plans and Projects
As I mentioned, I recently took over a three bedroom apartment here in Medellin and I’m trying to rent out the other two rooms through Airbnb with the goal of covering my rent of $455/month. So that way I can live here rent free.
I am happy to say that I have just had my first guests come through via Airbnb in July which netted me $10 and $15 per night respectively. With more reviews comes better exposure on the Airbnb site, so I plan to raise my rates slightly over time.
At a $20 per night average I would need to have 23 nights total between both bedrooms each month to cover my rent, or 30 per month to cover my projected utility costs as well. A feasible number, I believe.
I haven’t had much success just linking to affiliate products related to location independent work and travel which offer higher percentage pay outs such as those from Unconventional Guides, the Digital Nomad Academy, and Travel Blog Success, so I need to do something to better highlight them and how they have helped me, most likely through an in depth review.
Nor have I seen results in just linking to the online stores of outdoor gear merchants like Second Ascent, REI, and Backcountry.com which would provide me with a commission for any gear purchased. I have made sales in past months, but still not enough to meet the minimum payment threshold. That leaves me uncertain whether to try and focus more effort there, or to solely focus on Amazon.com where I have seen better results.
The life of a struggling traveling blogger isn’t always glamorous. I’m certainly not making a livable income, but at least I’m heading in the right direction while I am enjoying my time living overseas. I could of course pursue a traditional form of employment and see bigger and quicker results, but I’m still not interested in doing that yet.