All Posts in Category: Income
When you’re starting from zero, the path forward is much more clear than when you’ve been at it for a while and are struggling.
Not enough people ask me that question: What is my number one piece of advice for struggling travel writers?
For those who have been at it for years and feel like they’re gong to quit if things don’t turn around soon, or like they should quit but they can’t imagine doing anything else and need to find a way to make this work.
If you’re not interested in working with tourism boards or travel companies, now or in the future, today’s missive is not for you.
However, if you are, I’ve just returned from an event that was a big investment by us for you guys: the conference specifically for Directors of Marketing and Digital Marketing Managers at top CVBs.
I always advise going to conferences where your clients, rather than your peers, are to learn what are the problems your clients are actually facing (rather than what you see to be their problems or simply the things you want to pitch them whether that is a pain point for them or not).
But it’s even more fascinating to see how your potential clients are trying to solve their problems when it is so, so far off base from the best practices that are second nature to you.
I don’t talk so much about this side of my writing, but in the summer of 2015, I took some time off from my freelance writing work to give myself a DIY MFA in book publishing, from the craft side to the ins and outs of working with a traditional publishing house.
Over the last couple years, while I’ve been working with all of you on Dream of Travel Writing, I’ve kept my ear to the ground in those circles and continued that education, but something else very interesting has happened in the intervening years.
I’ve seen many folks I know go from book proposal to published book (and often follow-up books!).
It’s simply amazing how fast and easy it is to become a traditionally published author today. That is, if you go about it the right way.
Behind the scenes, I’ve been working on something very unusual for you guys.
In a way, you could call it the map to the Holy Grail, a la Indiana Jones–that is, if becoming a full-time, well-paid freelance travel writer sounds like a worthy mission to you!
Of course, there may or may not be poisonous snakes and collapsing tunnel floors in ancient ruins in this scenario. Unless that’s your preferred travel writing topic!
Our On-Demand Coaching Concierge Now Has Answers to More than 300 of Your Top Travel Writing Questions!
Before there was Dream of Travel Writing or even The Six-Figure Travel Writing Road Map, there were questions.
I’ll never forget the time I was sitting in a room at the World Travel Market in London after one of the panels had finished up catching up on email, and a British gentleman came up and started chatting with my about what I did.
It was quite a few years ago, long before I ever even considered writing about freelancing, let alone coaching freelance business owners.
We were talking about what I did, and the conversation took a turn that it frequently did back then: a bit of puzzlement when I said that, yes, I was a blogger, but, no, I could not tell him what my blog was. I was a freelance blogger.
So I told him my mantra back then: “If I’m not getting paid, why would I write something?”
This spring, I attended, back-to-back-to-back in a period of about five weeks, a number of writing conferences either as a speaker, a sponsor, or a normal attendee.
With that kind of pace, it can be hard to reflect, to pull out the big picture that emerges when the puzzle pieces of many sessions, conversations, and observations are assembled into a view of what is going on with the industry.
One thing has been exceeding clear to me throughout this whole calendar year, even before getting out there and doing all of this mingling.
The redux version: in terms of opportunities, it’s an incredibly exciting time to be a travel writer.
But there was something deeper that I noticed, a thread underpinning so many conversations I’ve seen and conference sessions I’ve attended.
It is so easy to be held back by the ceiling you are told exists on the number of types of opportunities for travel writers.
When The Six-Figure Travel Writing Road Map first came out, weighing in at more than a pound and featuring nearly 400 pages covering every facet of the travel writing life from the schedule to the rates, the negotiating tactics to lists of hundreds and hundreds of magazines to target, and templates for everything from pitches to mapping out your best writing hours, a lot of people asked me how long it took to write.
Typically, these people were:
(a) not full-time writers, and/or
(b) not people who had ever written a book-length work
Like any profession, travel writing has its trends of what’s “cool” that flow in multi-year segments.
In the past few decades, those ebbs and flows of popular taste have elevated enthusiasm and then relaxed it around many different types of travel writing work:
- blogging on a personal travel blog
- freelance travel blogging
- earning money as a social media influencer
Most of us are aware of the rise of these temporary stars of the field—the things that people all teach and everyone wants to do all at the same time, creating a huge flood in the market so that the tactics those first pioneers use don’t work anymore, and clients become weary of quality and consistency and skittish about investing.
But while these “new media” media have gotten a lot of press and attention, in the background, the more traditional ways of earning a living as a travel writer also have their own mini vogues among those that are focused on the work of earning a full-time living as a travel writer.
You could, in fact, say that the periodic rises in popularity of these “old school” ways of getting paid for your travel writing are actually primarily embraced by those looking for the easiest ways to make a living from their travels.
Those with their nose to the ground for where the demand (for travel writers in the global marketplace) outstrips the supply (the travel writers who know about these opportunities and put themselves in their path.
If you’re still considering whether or not our coaching program is right for you, I wanted to take a few minutes today to really spell out, in detail, what our program looks like once you get started.
As we’ve been exploring in our emails on why we offer coaching, how coaching is different than consulting, what freelance and small business coaching costs throughout the marketing, and our coaching philosophy, everyone really has very different specific needs.
But that makes it really hard to know what you’re signing up for!
So, to help you visualize what we can do together, let’s start at the beginning.
I often get emails from people who are looking for coaching on their travel writing or just want to hop on the phone for an hour and talk about what they should do next. Or perhaps they have a pitch or a piece of writing that they want me to look at and tell them what I think.
One-on-one coaching is how everything we do at Dream of Travel Writing got started. I was attending events as a freelance writer, chatting with other writers, and thought the rates that I was getting paid like $250 a blog post (in 2013) or 50 cents or a dollar a word were what everyone was getting.
I was working part-time, spending half my day exploring new cities, and had a healthy, self-sufficient income I was proud of.