For years, I’ve been seeing a very troublesome pattern emerge.
When people say that they want to be travel writers—even if they say very plainly that their goal is to be published in big magazines like Travel + Leisure—there are some imbeciles out there that insist that the way to get started is to get on WordPress and set up a travel blog and start writing there.
The first issue with this, if you do want to write for publications, is that you are now spending a bunch of time writing without an editor to teach you the ropes of what writing for a publication is really like in form and function. So you pattern a bunch of habits that will never serve you (and, in fact, that you’ll need to spend painful months or years breaking apart and rebuilding if you do get to the point of writing for publications).
But the second issue, the one that really needles me, is this.
When you start a blog, you are spending TONS of time learning how to do all sorts of things that are distinctly not learning how to write award-winning travel articles: selecting and managing plug-ins, building relationships on social media, keyword research, SEO, and so on.
Some people, confronted with a huge pile of things that they “must” learn that they have no interest in or inclination for give up and go back to what they were doing before they got this travel writing fever.
But others of you persist and you build up beautiful blog followings!
And, inevitably, after a certain number of years of toiling relatively thanklessly for the audience you’ve carefully cultivated, a certain crash occurs: you feel like you are never going to build enough of an income out of it to justify the time you’re putting into it.
Even worse, if you think about factoring in the amount of “back pay” you’re entitled to for the time you’ve already put in so far, the prospects of getting things to even out are distinctly grim.
I’ve been keenly watching this situation for years, just I have the common conventions that keep people from getting into travel magazine writing right off the bat and earning well from it.
And for a long time, in terms of the travel blogging side of things, I chose not to get involved.
There are too many people out there selling you on all sorts of ancillary things that you just need to buy to get your travel blog to work and turn into a business!
The calls kept coming though.
That is, the coaching calls where I speak to writers who are now effectively giving up on the blogs they’ve put years into because they realize they want to just focus on freelance income in order to know they are going to definitely earn the money they need and deserve.
So, finally, after hearing from too many heartbreaks of this kind, I’ve decided to do something about it.
But just for a very small group of people who are really fired up to do something positive about this situation.
Welcome to Build a Better Blog Business.
Why Most Bloggers Fail to Monetize to Six Figures
When I speak to individuals who want to build their full-time income around blogging, there is a very common pattern that emerges. It consists of two key points:
- Pursuing X, Y, and Z monetization plans because that’s what they “have” to do
- Pursuing X, Y, and Z monetization plans all at the same time
It is way too easy to see that Nomadic Matt sells destination guides and think you should do the same. Or that so-and-so started a course on how to do blah-blah-blah and now they have a big business, so that is definitely what you want to do.
This path is one of the most obvious ways to fail though, unfortunately. Here’s why:
- So-and-so has a different audience than you do.
- So-and-so has a different relationship with that audience.
- So-and-so has a different network than you do.
- So-and-so has different things that they are good at than you do.
- (And most importantly) So-and-so started their initiative at a different time in the marketplace than you will.
Some things work simply by being the first in their space. Some companies, like Google for instance though, succeed in a space that already has competition by doing something decidedly different.
The core issue here though is that if you don’t really understand why these people succeeded at what they did, you will never be able to:
- Tell if it makes sense for you to do the same thing or not.
- Actually successfully copy what they did.
This is deeply related to the reason why you also can’t try seven different monetization strategies (on your audience or just in your head in terms of what you are working on and researching) at the same time.
The key reason why this doesn’t work out actually boils down to the main reason most bloggers don’t transition from free content sites to sustainable businesses:
The people who come to you for free information are not the same thing as your customer base.
To transition your blog from what it is now to a sustainable business requires finding out who that customer really is. Because, no matter how well you know and connect with your readers now, that’s not enough.
Until you know who your actual customers are, you absolutely have no chance of creating something that people will buy.
You don’t know what people who pay for things need.
And if you don’t know that, then you can’t know what type of monetization will work in your situation.
How do we start to zero in on who those customers are so we can better get to know them and what that need to see if we can help them with it?
Give them something to buy from you. One, small, easy thing to start to divide your readers into those who will buy from you and those who are “just looking.”
That’s why you will leave at the end of the weekend not only having decided which monetization model you are going to pursue, laid out exactly how you will go about it, and forecasted precisely what you will earn from it and when, but you will also have already created and launched your first offer.
Yep, you’ll hit send (or schedule if you really don’t want to send it on a Sunday afternoon!) right there.
No need to feel like you need to go back and “make time” to work on a whole new project!
How Will the Retreat Be Structured?
Think of it like business school for travel bloggers.
We’re going to pursue three specific types of work together to make sure that you not only know, deeply and permanently, what we’re going to cover here, but that you are 100% comfortable putting it into practice, because you understand how these dynamics work in a variety of situations and, most important, you’ve already tried them out yourself and see your peers do the same.
- Hardcore business learning focused on successful business right in our travel blog sphere
- Analyzing case studies with your peers so you understand in-and-out why these other businesses have succeeded (and how you can too!)
- Real hands-on experience (with guidance and critiques!) to put these principles into practice in your business
When I say hands-on experience, I am really serious here.
One of the things that you do in actual busines school as an assignment in many different courses is to actually set up appointments to talk to all sorts of different people about different things to learn from real people about real-world situations and develop the practice of convincing people to say yes to you.
We will actually put this in practice over the course of the weekend so that you don’t leave feeling like you still have nagging concerns that you can really do it.
You will actually talk to your best potential customers during the weekend so that you walk away confident that everything we are talking about connects to your real-world circumstances.
Here’s what we will cover in each of the modules during the weekend:
- Module 1: Your Strengths and Weaknesses: What Business Can You Carry Off?
- Module 2: The Granularity of Offers: How That Translates to Getting Started Right Now
- Module 3: All the Monetization Methods that Work: Exploring Through Case Studies Part I
- Module 4: All the Monetization Methods that Work: Exploring Through Case Studies Part II
- Module 5: What Will You Do? Testing Your Business Model
- Module 6: Building Your Offer – Planning and Designing How You Will Deliver
- Module 7: Building Your Offer – Constructing the “Presentation” (Your Marketing)
- Module 8: Building Your Offer – Putting it Online and Testing Out the Hiccups
- Module 9: Hitting Send + What Happens Next – Measure, Adjust, Plan
- Module 10: Creating Your Follow-up Plan for Blog Business Domination!
So all in all, your workshop registration includes:
- 10 hours of small-group, individualized instructrution ($1200 value).
- A private room with writing desk and the opportunity to stay on at the retreat center the following week as many days as you’d like to continue working on your pitches in a focused writing space ($150 value).
- Wholesome, organic meals, beverages and snacks throughout the retreat ($100 value).
- A print copy of The Six-Figure Travel Writing Road Map ($25 value).
What Results Can You Expect?
We can’t promise that you will get your work done at the event and get your offer created and sent out during the weekend.
We can provide time, guidance, techniques, tips, and critiques to make sure you do, but we can’t do the work for you.
However, we are so excited about the content we are going to discuss this weekend (which has not to our knowledge ever been presented in a travel blogging context in this way before!) that we can absolutely guarantee that even if you don’t do the work on-site or even get it done afterward, the business skills you learn during the weekend will change how you approach your blog forever. For the better.
How is this different from other writing retreats?
Dream of Travel Writing has the privilege of holding writing retreats in its own private retreat center, which has been set up explicitly for writers. There are a wide variety of writing spaces, including a desk in each room, writing desk with expansive view of the garden and forest, multiple outdoor writing spaces, library stocked with travel magazines, textbooks and travelogues, and more.
In terms of the content, in addition to her involvement with the travel writing community, Gabi is also a Certified Executive Coach so she is bringing in techniques that are literally used every day with Fortune 100 companies that pay tens of thousands of dollars for these same type of strategy sessions.
Where is the food coming from?
Gabi has a food background (her first blog was around 30-minute dinner parties and featured recipes from all over the world), has often catered events in the 100-200s over the years, and has a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University (the same one as Tom Brady’s personal chef!) Expect everything to be healthy, primarily gluten- and dairy-free so we can all enjoy the same great food with lots of vegetarian options and many vegetables from our own mini-farm or other farms right in our village.
Where is the retreat center?
The address will be released to attendees after registration. It is in a village in the town of Warwarsing, New York.
How do I get to the retreat center?
There are two ways to reach our location:
- Private vehicle (1.5 hours from Manhattan)
- Direct bus from Port Authority in Midtown West to the town of Ellenville (2.5 hours, departing 5:30 from Port Authority and arriving right in time for dinner on Friday)
What is the schedule for the weekend?
- Afternoon: Optional additional coaching time or free time to work in the house or make use of the library.
- 5:00 pm: Guests begin to arrive, tour the house and amenities; reception with cocktails and snacks.
- 8:00 pm: Pick up any guests arriving by the evening bus from Manhattan, dinner, introductions. Module 1.
- 8:30 am: Breakfast
- 9:00 am: Module 2
- 10:00 am: Bathroom and coffee break
- 10:15 am: Module 3
- 11:30 pm: Bathroom and coffee break
- 11:45 pm: Module 4
- 1:00 pm: Lunch
- 2:00 pm: Customer calls!
- 3:30 pm: Module 5
- 4:45 pm: Bathroom and coffee break
- 5:00 pm: Module 6
- 7:00 pm: Break, dinner and socializing; you deserve a break!
- 8:30 am: Breakfast
- 9:00 am: Module 7
- 10:30 am: Bathroom and coffee break
- 10:45 am: Module 8
- 12:00 pm: Lunch
- 1:30 pm: Module 9
- 2:45 pm: Coffee and bathroom break
- 3:00 pm: Module 10
- 4:00 pm: Departure for guests not staying for additional retreat days (transport to afternoon bus back to New York City)
If you’ve been thinking about pursuing travel writing as a part- or full-time, PAYING job, why haven’t you reached your goal yet?
If you’ve read this far, you need additional help or information to reach that goal. There’s only a handful of spots left for the workshop. Don’t let someone else grab yours.