Six months ago I moved to Mexico City to start my life as a “digital nomad.” It’s been a real rollercoaster, one where sometimes I felt like a total fish out of water. I’ve had really high-highs and moments where I nearly applied for English teaching jobs (definite low point). It’s a constant learning process.
I’m so grateful for the lessons I learned in the second half of 2016. If you’re just starting out on this whole journey to location independence, I thought I would share three things that I’ve learned. I’ve found these three tidbits to be far more valuable than any other.
1. Ask for help. This is the number one piece of advice that I would give. Reach out to people who are already doing what you hope to be doing. Be genuine. Don’t just take, take, take. Be open to creating relationships. Most people are nice and will be more than happy to reply to your email and offer advice.
2. Find your people. Find others who are just starting out, who are a bit further along in their journey, who are where you want to be. A phrase that I keep finding again and again and which I believe is incredibly true: you are your five closest friends that you surround yourself with. If the people around you think going it alone is impossible, if they think moving to a random new country is stupid, if they think the only way to live is to buy a house and work for 50+ years until you can finally enjoy life, well you’re not going to get very far. If you surround yourself with risk-takers, with people who want to succeed and who believe in working hard on their passions, you probably will too.
3. PLAN. I’m still working on this one. Have a plan from the beginning. Figure out how you’re going to promote yourself, how you’re going to make money, what your expenses are, and how you’re going to execute all of it.
If you want to catch up with the first five months you can read those posts here:
Okay, let’s get on with how I did in December 2016.
I had another small expenses month leading up to the new year. I didn’t have any new expenses since I was kind of saving up a little for Christmas in New York with family. Going into 2017 though, I’m really going to start re-investing in my websites and these numbers are likely to change.
These are the costs of running both Eternal Expat and my fashion site, Collecting Labels.
I am currently using MailChimp to manage my emails and ecourses. This costs $15 a month. I was thinking about switching to another provider, but they’ve recently revamped their site, so I’m going to give them another month and see how I feel about them (the price is one of the best out there).
I find Facebook ads to be a great way to reach new readers with my weekly posts. Posts dealing with saving and making money tend to do the best, but I’m still constantly learning more about how to best utilize boosts and ads. This month I spent $30 on Facebook advertising.
This is the last month that I paid for Crowdfire. I canceled my payments mid-month when they stopped working with Instagram. I paid $5.99 this month.
This month again I focused almost entirely on my websites being my main source of income. In the new year I’m going to get back to finding clients for social media and SEO (if you need help, get in touch!). But I’m really happy with these income streams and how much they’re growing.
Sponsored content is anything that involved a company paying me to promote them. This can be an Instagram post, a Facebook post, a Twitter post, a Blog post or any mixture of them. This month I made $230 on sponsored content.
Affiliate marketing is basically when I recommend something on my site, like books that I love, TEFL courses that make a difference, or web providers that I use. If someone clicks those links and then buys those things, I receive a small commission without any added cost to the user.
This month I really worked hard to grow my affiliate income. It’s what a lot of bloggers call “passive income” because once you set it up, you can make money in your sleep! And that I did. This month, while I was traveling around New York and Mexico City, I made $109.38.
Eternal Expat Memberships
I get anywhere between 10 and 20 emails a day asking for travel advice and I love spending time answering these questions, but as the emails increase, the time I can actually afford to spend answering them is shrinking. So I came up with the idea to offer a little something extra. For the last few months, readers could pay $25 and in return get full access to me via Skype, email, and Whatsapp to answer all their travel and expat questions, as well as ecourses that I create and longer, more detailed blog posts that aren’t available to the average reader.
December was the last month I was offering this exact model. Next week I’m be releasing the new memberships available (that right, several options!!) and I’m excited to continue helping people who are ready to take the plunge to travel or move abroad in 2017! This month I made $150 on Eternal Expat Memberships.
I’ve been really enjoying making Youtube videos and I’m looking forward to the income stream this will create in the future. It’s a nice creative outlet that I’m trying not to put into any specific niche. So it will be a good mix of travel, beauty, expat life, and monthly vlogs. It would mean the world to me if you subscribed, liked, commented or shared any of the videos on the channel (which you can find here). This month there was no income from Youtube.
Total Income: $489.38
*(an increase of $19.38 from last month)
What’s to come in 2017?
In 2017, I’m really ramping things up. I’m hoping to create a few information products (an ebook for this site and an ecourse for Collecting Labels). I’m excited to roll out a few different options for the Eternal Expat Membership so that I can help people regardless of their budget. I’m definitely looking forward to getting back into social media management and sharing what I’ve learned about growing an engaging audience.
And I’m excited to say that I’m going to be starting a podcast! I’ll be interviewing people who have learned how to make travel a huge part of their lives. I want to share with all of you how others are doing it so that we can all learn how to add more travel into our lives.
There is so much whirring around in my mind that I want to accomplish this year, so much that I want to do. I can’t wait to get started.