Time for another monthly recap and blogging income report. This is where I share what’s new in the world of Desk to Dirtbag over the past month and offer a bit of transparency behind the life of a travel blogger.
On to this month’s report…
Yeah, tango may be more popular in Buenos Aires, but there is still a fairly lively tango scene here in Medellin, which may in part be due to the fact that the world’s most famous and important tango artist, Carlos Gardel, met his untimely death in a plane crash in Medellin.
In any case, we went to check out the famous Salon Malaga in the Medellin Centro, which is a cool bar/cantina that has tango music live throughout the evening and then caps off with some tango dancing by the pros. It is basically like a super cheap tango show that just requires you to drink a minimum of about $16 for a table for two.
The whole scene brought us back to our time in Argentina and we had a great time… Highly recommended if you find yourself in Medellin.
Strange, yes, but our visit to the San Pedro cemetery for a free guided tour was also one of the highlights of the month… It is a place of art and history, statues and architecture, a window into the past and the sometimes tumultuous history of Medellin.
Not only that, but it is also a living place, still active and filled with an ongoing history… A place where mothers have birthday parties in the cemetery for their deceased children, where families gather to talk to the dead, or where men gather around with music and drinks to party with their fallen friend.
It is a fascinating and cool place, one that I plan to include in my ultimate guide of things to do in Medellin.
Most Popular New Article of the Month
9 Best Ways to Find Cheap Accommodation – This is my ultimate guide to finding cheap or even free accommodation when traveling… Covering everything from house sitting, Airbnb, the best booking sites, work exchanges, and more.
Definitely check it out if you are planning an upcoming trip, particularly longer trips, and are looking to save a bit of money in the process.
Other New Articles
- What is Travel Hacking and How Is It Done? <- Answering your many questions about travel hacking… Like… Is it legal? Is it worth it? And much more.
- No More Stupid Goals: Why Are SMART Goals Important? <- Make better goals to make them happen.
- The Ultimate Guide to La Candelaria Medellin Centro <- The gritty and sometimes overlooked downtown Medellin.
- The Best Time to Visit Colombia: When to Go <- There are only two seasons, but here’s what you should know.
- How Many Continents Are There? The Surprising Truth <- Who would think a simple question could be so complex?
- How to Run Your Blog as a Business <- The actual business stuff like accounting, legal structure, etc.
Seven new articles this month, meaning that I’m ahead of schedule in terms of my goal of at least one new article per week… Got to celebrate the little things.
Most Popular Instagram Photo
This shot of a rainbow over the edge of the Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina was not only my most liked photo of the month, but it was most liked photo EVER by a huge margin. At last count, it had well over 800 likes which is pretty unheard for me.
It must have gotten picked up by Instagram and suggested to new users.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more photos of my adventures.
What I Read
The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months is all about reducing your timeline for projects or business goals down into much shorter periods, arguing that those big one year or longer goals get lost.
I think that is very true… I too have set myself goals that were year-long only to find at the end of the year that I didn’t come close to achieving it.
Even just breaking those longer goals down into more easily measurable, quarterly goals can be huge. Then you can more easily course correct.
Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself is a book about going from a business that enslaves you (yes, also possible for those employees thinking about starting a business) to one that can run without you. While my own travel blogging business is one that in many ways does run itself whether I am around or not, there are aspects that need my continual attention if I want to grow.
The Clockwork book gives a framework to try and identify the main levers that move your business and identify ways to make them grow without out, ultimately striving for a four-week vacation where you don’t touch your business.
I’ve certainly gone for four weeks without touching my blog and still made money, but there were lots of great takeaways in this book. It was written by the same author as Profit First, which I’d consider a must-read. This book wasn’t quite so good but still recommended.
The Virtual Assistant Solution by Michael Hyatt
I had a $3 credit on Amazon so I picked up this cheap book… Although it might be being generous to call it a book, it is basically a long blog post padded with a foreward and conclusion by someone else.
The material itself isn’t bad, but again, it’s basically a blog post repacked into book format. If I didn’t get the book for free thanks to the credit, I’d be much more disappointed. It also reads like a pitch for a service called eaHELP which is kind of annoying. Normally Michael Hyatt’s stuff is pretty good too…
Anyway, one of my goals this year is to read a book every two weeks, so that short little guy helped me catch up and get back on track… ?
What I Watched
This Argentinean horror flick is available on Netflix (at least here in Colombia, it is) and is definitely worth watching! I haven’t seen a good horror movie in a while, and this one really blew me away with some fairly scary scenes right from the beginning (rather than the typical half hour build up).
If you like terror and don’t mind reading subtitles, check it out!
Finally saw the famous Aquaman that everyone was talking about for a while… We caught it in the theater for a 4dX show, one of those shows that include 3D glasses, moving chairs, along with water, light, sound, and smell effects.
The movie itself was so-so… Not really sure why it got such great reviews. The 4DX theater experience was good, although after almost 2.5 hours of being shaken around you’re also kind of over it, hah.
February 2019 Income Report
I know many of you are just curious about how much I’m making and how I do it, but first, here’s a quick rundown of my story:
I used to be a desk jockey working in Washington DC but then lost my job when my boss retired, so I set out to travel the USA and live in my truck. I started this blog to simply hold myself accountable with my travel dreams. I had NO idea what I was doing at the beginning and had no intention of turning this into a business.
And yet, here I am. I now run a pretty awesome online business and basically have found my passion in life.
A lot of you have wanted to start your own blogs after seeing the success that I’ve had, and I highly recommend it. If I hadn’t taken a shot with D2D, I would most definitely have returned to a similar sort of desk job and be stuck doing work I didn’t really enjoy very much.
First of all, fair warning – blogging (or any online business for that matter) isn’t easy in any way or for the faint of heart. It is definitely not something you should immediately quit your day job for. Making a living with a blog is a long slow road, but it is also incredibly rewarding.
Take a look at my free blog setup tutorial: you’ll have your own blog set up in just 10-15 minutes, and will receive some pretty sweet discounts since you’re a D2D reader when you use my exclusive link.
Have you taken my free blogging course yet?
Even if you are just thinking about starting a blog or want to figure out how to get more traffic to the one you already have, this will be useful for you.
Basically, if you want to learn the foundational elements of how I went from a desk jockey drop out to a dirtbag living in his truck to a now “successful” blogger earning enough to travel all over the place – you’ll want to check this out:
Onto this month’s income report breakdown…
- $104.73 – Big Travel, Small Budget book sales
- $224.07 – Amazon Affiliate Sales
- $30.06 – REI Affiliate Sales
- $21.86 – World Nomads Travel Insurance
- $0.52 – D2D Apparel, Stickers, Etc
- $130.29 – Get Your Guide Tours
- $2,405.17 – Mediavine Display Ads
- $40.00 – ViaHero Trip Planning
- $29.58 – Unconventional Guides
- $13.99 – Booking.com
- $1.50 – Trusted House Sitters
- $31.50 – Survey Junkie
- $28.25 – YouTube Videos
- $12.36 – Skimlinks
TOTAL = $3,073.88
GOAL = $3,750 per month
82% of goal covered
February marks an almost 10% increase over the income earned in January which marked my lowest income since May 2018. The new year always results in a fairly large drop off after the holidays, so it is nice to be back up to a “normal” rate of above $3,000.
I’m quite optimistic that the rest of the year will only be looking up and that I will be able to hit my income goal at some point within the next six month.
Note: The above figures are for income earned during the month but are often not paid until 60 or 90 days later, while others don’t pay out until a certain minimum threshold is reached. The numbers do not include income from freelance writing which is another significant source of income and my primary side hustle.
? Don’t Forget: If you’ve got any upcoming travel, please book your flights, lodging, and so forth through my Travel Resources page. I will earn a small commission at no cost to you. ???
I know many of you have enjoyed my periodic expense reports, so I thought I might try to more regularly incorporate them here… These are only my personal expenses and do not include any business-related expenses — I actually take a salary from the business income.
I’m living on the cheap here in Medellin at the moment and trying to keep expenses below $1,200 per month.
Spending was kept below my goal, which is nice, and that even includes a large expense for a new mattress (this old one you could feel the springs poking into your back, hah).
A few notes: The uncategorized section is cash that I’ve withdrawn for things here in Medellin so they don’t get categorized neatly like my credit card transactions. I also may use any cash left over from previous months during this month.
I track my spending with Mint.com and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get a grip on their overall financial picture, and which is a crucial part of how I manage my money while traveling.
Read More: Get Your Financial House in Order
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That’s all I got for you this month. Are you following along on Instagram or Facebook? Be sure to do so, if you want to get the latest. As always questions, comments, and feedback are extremely welcome.
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You two look great. Love the photos