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How I Make Money As a Digital Nomad: Month 2

How I Make Money As a Digital Nomad: Month 2

These posts are a way for me to share the ups-and-downs of working for myself, of trying to take my business off the ground, of how to make money as a digital nomad, or whatever you want to call it. They’re a way of holding myself accountable everyday because I know at the end of the month I’m going to have to tell you what I’ve done to be better. View the previous month’s posts here.

This month literally felt two weeks long. Somehow I still managed to make a bit of dough, grow my following across all channels, and take a week’s vacation where I didn’t even bring my laptop. Not bad!

I didn’t work as hard as I should have this month. I didn’t reach out to new brands or pitch for new freelance work. I was worried that I would have to bring my laptop with me on vacation and I didn’t really want to do that. I knew Luke wouldn’t get time off again until Christmas and I didn’t want to spend our only holiday together constantly on my phone, so I just didn’t.

I don’t regret it, but my blogs definitely suffered for it. I wasn’t active on social media and I saw a drop in traffic and engagement for the last two weeks of the month.

That being said, I’m still happy with the work that I did do and I’m looking forward to really buckling down for September and kicking some online ass.

Expenses

We spent quite a bit more this month since we were off enjoying Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. As always the expenses are split between Luke and I.

1. Rent

Zip. Zilch. Nada. We have been incredibly lucky here in Mexico and Luke’s company pays our rent. It was one of the major selling points for me. It means that whether I make $1 or $10,000, we have a roof over our heads. It also means I can focus 100% of my time on my own work and I don’t have to get a part time job to cover the rent.

2. Groceries

We spent very little on groceries this month. We did a big bulk buy of meat at the start of the month then topped up on fruits, vegetables, and fresh bread. We only spent about 2,000 pesos this month, or about $50 USD each.

3. Bills

This month bills ended up costing us about 1,000 pesos or $25 USD each.

4. Transportation

We spent quite a lot on transportation this month between flights to and from Cancun, getting around on the coast and our usual Uber rides around Mexico City, we spent about $150 each on transport.

5. Drinks, meals out, & other fun

We ate out a lot while we were away, but most of it was at street vendors. We did however enjoy plenty of ice cold beers which added up quickly. I’m also including the accommodation for the nights we stayed in AirBnB’s while we were away. In total we spent roughly $200 each.

6. Marketing Expenses

Of course the running of all these websites costs money. I pay for Facebook advertising, for my domain names, for different editing software, and for courses that improve my understanding of the blogging business. This month I spent $50 on marketing.

In Total: $635 

That’s still not bad to say we enjoyed a 9-day vacation where we didn’t skimp!

Income

Not much changed this month. I received a few more jobs from the copywriting company I work for and I had a few freelance writing gigs lined up from last month. Here’s what I’ve earned and from what outlets I’m making money.

1. Affiliate Marketing 

What’s affiliate marketing? Basically I put links to products that I use and love on the site. If you click on those links and buy it, I receive a (very) small commission. In addition to this blog, I run a fashion site. Both websites are still in the fledgling stage, but have enough of a following that between them a few purchases are made every month. The sites I use most are Amazon and Shop Style Collective. This month I made $25 on affiliate sales.

2. Copywriting

I work with a copywriting company where I do some travel writing. They give me a topic and a brief and I write a short piece for one of their clients. This month I made $250 copywriting.

3. Sponsored Content

I sometimes receive a commission for writing about a company or product on one of my websites. This is still a new source of income for me and I’m learning as it happens. I made $30 on sponsored content this month.

4. Freelance Writing

Some months I do really well with my freelancing. I write for a few different websites and apps. It’s mostly travel writing, but I sometimes write fashion pieces for smaller websites. This month I made $200 on Freelance Writing.

5. Social Media Management

I have a few solid clients each month (but am always looking for more!) whose social media I run a few hours a week. This month I made $200 on Social Media Management.

Reader Question: A few of you asked how I initially get myself Social Media Clients. I use a few methods that have worked out well for me. Through this blog and my fashion blog, I have made contacts with several different small companies. Once I have built a relationship, I simply ask if they want help with their Social Media or SEO. I also put myself on Upwork where I sometimes receive one-off jobs from clients.

In total: $705

I’m excited about this. I had a slight increase in income despite the fact that I didn’t pitch for new work and I took a whole week off. It is really pushing me forward now, knowing that I’m fully capable of creating several streams of income for myself. So although I only just about broke even this month, I’m looking forward to September and possibly breaking the 1,000 mark. Stay tuned!

Clarissa Hirst

Tuesday 6th of September 2016

Hi Laura! After you followed me on Twitter, I checked out your website and this was the very first post I read. I really hope that you will continue with these. As someone who is currently transitioning out of a full time job into freelance travel writing and wanting to make it as a "digital nomad" (or whatever you want to call it), it's really great to see someone who is documenting their journey as they go, and not just sugar-coating everything but describing the realities as well. Really looking forward to reading more of your writing :)

Laura Bronner

Wednesday 7th of September 2016

Thanks so much Clarissa! I'm glad you find it helpful. Good luck transitioning into the freelance world! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

Kate

Thursday 1st of September 2016

Congratulations on a fantastic month - one that sounds like it was a good balance between work and play!