KEEN Avatar

Blogging is Out; Entrepreneurship is In

[shareaholic app=”share_buttons” id=”20872686″]

There was a time I called myself a travel writer. Then the blogosphere imploded and suddenly everyone owned that title, whether they earned it or not. I felt like the years I spent in journalism school and working my way up the chain of command at national glossies like Newsweek and Entertainment Weekly didn’t seem to matter as much anymore—at least not in some online circles—nor did my clip book with a decade’s worth of print bylines. Suddenly, online news outlets like HuffPo adopted the citizen journalism model (translating to undervaluing writers by not paying them) and credible publications that once divvied out $1000 a story (ahem, Forbes, I’m looking at you) wanted me to write for peanuts as they had recruited a new wave of “writers” who would. (I said no. Obviously.)

I could have thrown in the towel then and there, changed careers, gone over to the “dark side,” PR. But I didn’t. I stuck around.

Don’t get me wrong: I have continued to thrive as a freelance journalist, writing more than a dozen guidebooks and hundreds of feature articles for major glossies like Glamour and Redbook. But travel is no longer my sole focus. It’s still a large part of what I do, but writing only that day in, day out started to get boring; it began to feel stale; many publications wanted “watercooler content” that would translate to high SEO value and a lot of page views more than they did experiential, inspirational pieces. So rather than give in, I adapted, I evolved, I created my own piecemeal career of sorts.

Which brings me to my point. In order to rise to the top of a diluted market, there’s one thing you have to be: an entrepreneur. You can’t just be a freelance writer (or a blogger) anymore, you have to be so much more: a marketer, a social media maven, a photographer, a strategist, someone who thinks outside of the box. Five years ago I didn’t have the slightest desire to own my own business. Now I own three: my blog, a digital marketing firm, and an events and production company producing a major conference later this week in Nashville. I began to see a disconnect in the conference circuit—either every event was still too elementary (“how to pick your blog platform,” “how to grow your audience”) or too segmented (travel or family or tech or food, but not all of the above under one roof) or one big frat party that had too many attendees and too much chaos to actually provide value (SXSW)—and so I created my own concept to fill that void.

The result was KEEN Digital Summit, a first-year event that brought 350 “digital entrepreneurs” under one roof in just two days (eek! really?) at the brand spankin’ new Omni Nashville.

But to do all this, I didn’t give up on my dream; I simply reprioritized. I continue to write frequently for magazines I love (like Southern Living), I have sailed three voyages in three years on Semester at Sea’s MV Explorer, I have a stable of web development and marketing clients, I work as an independent adviser for a Nashville-based travel agency, I blog a couple times a week and through it partner with major brands and I’m even managing to oversee the PR for a couple non-profit events in my “downtime.” The big difference from my days working in a New York magazine office is that my day-to-day is erratic but never boring—or the same. Plus, full disclosure, I’d venture to say I make more money now that I ever would have staying on the editor track.

Other industry friends who I respect immensely have pursued similar paths. The extremely likeable but tenacious Annie Fitzsimmons kept a running spreadsheet of all the hotels in the world she wanted to visit, which grew quicker than it shrank, eventually numbering 2,600 properties divided up by continent, country, then city or region. A meeting with Nancy Novogrod of Travel + Leisure turned into her first shot writing for a nationally-recognized travel brand. Eventually Annie parlayed this love for hotels into a regular gig with National Geographic Traveler. Annie now is known as the magazine’s “Urban Insider,” a biweekly column on the NGT website that chronicles her city travels across the globe.

I met another (now well-known) writer, Andrew Evans, many years ago when he was still writing guidebooks, and I remember him telling me his dream was to be an editor at National Geographic Traveler. He pitched them a very compelling series on taking a bus from the magazine’s D.C. headquarters to Antarctica, they assigned it to him, and many stories later, he is more or less the face of the magazine and their “Digital Nomad.” (Worth noting: Neither Annie’s nor Andrew’s big breaks were born out of luck, but talent, persistence and a determination not to give up.)

I receive countless emails from college students each week wanting to “break into travel writing.” “How do I do it?” they ask, as if I will have some magical link with which to provide them that will instantly land them their dream job. The truth: Such a job doesn’t exist; you have to create one on your own, and it will takes years of hard work and a whole lot of sweat equity. But it will be worth every bump in the road along the way.

What my friends think: that I vacation for a living or else sit around my house in my pajamas eating bon bons all day (the PJ part, however, is true). The reality: I’m always working, at least double the hours I logged when I still worked in house. There is no such thing as a “day off” or even a weekend. Even when I’m in the most exotic of locales—something that’s becoming far less common as I sacrifice far-flung trips for domestic meetings to sell my conference—I’m not necessarily on a beach basking in the sun, but rather holed up in a dark hotel room trying to meet deadlines. But I’m not complaining; I chose this life.

And, yes, I do realize how fortunate I am to be in a line of work I find rewarding, to be able to do much of my work from home or to take it with me on the road when I need be. Not being tethered to an office desk allows for far more freedom, even if the work is twice as hard and sometimes half the pay. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I only wish more people would learn to turn their dreams into their reality and not settle for anything less. I’m a firm believer that any career is achievable if you want it badly enough, and I wish more bloggers and aspiring journalists alike would eschew this living-on-freebies model in lieu of leveraging their inner entrepreneur to make for a more sustainable and fulfilling career.

COMMENTS
  • October 22, 2013

    I love, love this post. There is no big secret about success, you just have to work hard and then some!

  • October 22, 2013

    Well said! So excited for all your projects and especially for KEEN to come to fruition this week!

    • October 22, 2013

      And I’m excited for all your recent career developments, too! Yay, entrepreneurial women! =)

  • October 22, 2013

    Wonderful, wonderful post. I wish I could be at KEEN – maybe next year! I have high confidence it will be a success.

    • November 26, 2013

      Yes, please do! We’re working hard on getting all the details pinned down for #KEEN2014 but it’s looking like it will also be in October.

  • October 22, 2013

    Well said and we totally agree. I constantly say to Bob, how does she do it?? But when you love it, have drive and continue to seek new opportunities, you are bound to succeed. Excited for KEEN this week and to see this all come to life.

    • October 22, 2013

      You are on top of things, too! I’m impressed by all you’ve done with Travel Mindset. They’re lucky to have you!

  • October 22, 2013

    You’ve always been one of my heroines 🙂 Go, go, go!! Love hearing things are going awesome.

    • October 22, 2013

      And you mine! We need to figure out a way to see each other more than once every three years, though =)

  • October 22, 2013

    These words speak to me so much! I’m really looking forward to KEEN this weekend! Hope I have the chance to say hello to you toon!

    • October 22, 2013

      Please do find me! I would love to meet and hang out =)

  • October 22, 2013

    This piece was so inspiring without being full of fluff. Thank you for always being honest!!

    • November 26, 2013

      Thank you, Christina–that’s a very sweet thing for you to say!

  • October 22, 2013

    Awesome! Inspirational! Thanks for writing this.

  • October 22, 2013

    It is fascinating how times have changed. A few years ago I lived in China, right when travel writing seemed to become travel blogging. I was new to the scene, and fell in love with the community.

    However, a decent percentage of the community seemed to be turning into people selling eBooks on how to travel for life, funding their own travels on the sales of these eBooks, without ever having really started their own entrepreneurial business other than these eBooks.

    And I’m happy to see a shift much like the one you’re speaking of. Lately, I’ve seen more traveling entrepreneurs than ever, creating real businesses, thinking outside of the box, combining their other interests/talents with their love for travel. The bar is being raised, people want to create things that better this world more than ever. These are exciting times 🙂

    • October 22, 2013

      So true! I know a lot of people who make a whole lot of revenue from eBooks but the whole process (the layout! the design! that many words!) really intimidates me. More power to those people, though, who have cracked the code and are getting rich off of it!

      And yes, I agree: I’m loving all the startups I’ve seen that are created out of travel experiences. Makes it all that much more rewarding.

  • October 22, 2013

    You are a stud! You are an inspiration to so many people. I wish I could me at KEEN and meet you. Thank you for sharing!!

    • November 26, 2013

      I wish I could meet you, too! Maybe at #KEEN2014? =)

  • October 22, 2013
    pam

    I’m “just” a freelance writer. I’m NOT “just” a travel writer and I’m certainly not “just” a blogger. There’s a BIG distinction.

    My business model has never been built around blogging about destinations for free travel or a day rate, it’s always been about delivering the best possible written material — on whatever subject — for decent dough.

    So I beg to differ. You can, indeed, be “just” a freelance writer, and in fact, I am the primary breadwinner for our household, we pay our mortgage and health insurance and other expenses on what I earn as “just” a freelance writer. It’s still a very valuable skill that demands top dollar. It may not pull those top dollars from “just” travel, but this freelance writer earns 100% of her living from freelance writing.

    And she’s doing “just” fine.

    • October 22, 2013

      I think you’re misinterpreting the point, Pam. I’ve followed you online for years, and you partner with brands, you built PwP, you social media the heck out of stuff (which I’m sure has landed you gigs as a result, as it has me), you write columns, you work for tech companies, you do a whole LOT of things, not solely blog or write for magazines. That’s the underlying message: that anyone who rises to the top of this turbulent media environment must be innovative, has to be ahead of the curve, has to wear a whole lot of hats, doesn’t just go on press trips and then blog about them after the fact. This is not a stab at freelance writers (an elite group of which I am a card-carrying member), but a message to aspiring journalists, bloggers, whatever, that they need to carve out their own niche in order to succeed.

      And yes, for five years, my sole income was freelance writing, and I made nearly double what I would have had I stayed the in-house route. So I’m not arguing with you there.

      • October 22, 2013
        pam

        I have an itchy trigger finger today. Forgive what must seem like strong language — I’m responding to this:

        “You can’t just be a freelance writer (or a blogger) anymore, you have to be so much more: a marketer, a social media maven, a photographer, a strategist, someone who thinks outside of the box.”

        Anyone who works as a writer has to do more than just sit down and type, of course, no argument there. But I don’t identify as an entrepreneur, never have, don’t think I ever will, given what I know of that industry from my life in tech. I’m much cozier with the idea of “just” an independent biz person, without the heady implications of the word “entrepreneur.”

        At the heart, I suspect we’re in the same place, and I’m being nitpicky about semantics. Because I’m “just” a writer. 🙂

        • October 22, 2013

          Ha! As a writer myself, I’m fine with picky semantics; however, I’ve always thought of anyone who is a full-time freelancer as being an entrepreneur. When you’re a staffer, you can potentially coast on through a career having someone else tell you what to do. Sure, you’ll never make EIC with that approach, but you *could* stick around for awhile and keep that paying job if done right. (Many of my co-workers at my last in-house job at Conde Nast were prime examples of this.)

          But when you’re a freelancer, it’s all about hustling, making relationships, selling your worth, proving you’re valuable, pitching, not accepting “no” for an answer, developing a tough skin. And it takes a certain self-starter to be able to tackle that beast and survive–not just survive, but thrive. When I speak at colleges, I always try to impress upon students that this life is not for everyone and requires a certain personality type to always be “on” and trying to figure out where your next paycheck is coming. Plenty of my editor friends say they would not enjoy this lifestyle if they had the option. So maybe you’re not giving yourself enough credit when you say you aren’t an entrepreneur 😉 Or maybe having been immersed in the startup climate for several years now, I use that term too loosely.

          (Also, the band! I totally neglected to mention your band the first time around. See, you’re not “just” a writer!)

          • October 22, 2013
            pam

            Here’s the thing — in tech, and in most of the business circles I’ve been involved in, there’s a great degree of risk in entrepreneurial undertakings. Because I’m lazy (believe it or not) I’m also notoriously risk averse. I won’t bootstrap (take low or no pay for the promise of future reward), I won’t put up my own savings as collateral, and I’m not interested in growing my organization beyond it’s current management challenges of a staff of one. If I must be categorized as anything, I’ll take sole proprietor. I’m met entrepreneurs and they are usually willing to absorb a shocking amount of risk or come from a place where they’re able to do so — often it’s a second or third career for them.

            Calling me an entrepreneur is like calling an independent hitman the same. I’m a hired gun on a project to project basis. I’m not even that interested in growth, another entrepreneurial quality — I’m way more into sustainability. Profits are nice, don’t get me wrong, I like money just fine, but it’s only a tiny portion of what I’m interested having work do for me.

            In a whopping generalization, I’d say entrepreneurs start big things with the intent to make profit. PWP, non profit. Music? Ha. Travel writing? I don’t have to tell you. Tech writing? Supports everything else. That’s juggling, not entrepreneurship.

        • October 26, 2013

          Pam, when don’t you have an “itchy trigger finger?” It’s a lot easier (and, um, nicer) to turn on the internal editor BEFORE spewing venom than it is to spew and then retract. (Oh, and Kristin: GREAT post. Could not agree more. As you know. And I’m super-bummed to be missing the conference.)

          • October 27, 2013
            pam

            Matt, I *also* have semantic issues with “venom” and “spewing” and today, I’m not itching for the trigger even a little bit.

            I think that there’s a valid discussion to be had about what, exactly, it means to be an entrepreneur, that’s all. And I don’t actually think a blogger *has* to be one to be successful, it’s really all about your goals, no? It fits Kristin’s larger strategy, and that of many others, but I DO tend to get itchy ’round one size fits all analogies.

            On the business analogy side, I’m usually the V1 hired gun. I overlap in LOTS of places with founders/entrepreneur, but that doesn’t make me one.

    • October 22, 2013
      Kelly Carter

      @Pam, I think you read the word “just” in the sense of “merely” (a pejorative). I believe Kristin meant it in the sense of “exclusively,” as she explains. Words are tricky.

      • October 22, 2013

        A-ha! Thank you, Kelly. That’s how it came out in my head: exclusively. The plight of translating thoughts to online, I suppose =) (Sorry if I offended anyone else in my choice of language.)

        • October 22, 2013
          pam

          Oh, and I’m not offended, just predictably cantankerous.

  • October 22, 2013
    Shereen

    This is such an awesome post. Quite inspirational too. Thanks for sharing your story. Many people feel it’s really busy but dream or nothing great in life comes easy. I’m only now getting familiar travel writers and this post gives me a deeper understanding of some of the work the writers do that most people don’t know about.

    Great post!

  • October 22, 2013

    Well said! I’m in the process now of trying to figure out how to take what I’ve learned in the last decade of work and apply it to shape my career so it’s more how I want to work and do the work I love, rather than have someone else dictate to me. It’s a challenge, but a good challenge to have, IMHO.

    • November 26, 2013

      Ugh, that’s my eternal challenge, too, while still trying to figure out how to keep a finger in the freelancing pie (not ready to give that up just yet).

  • October 22, 2013

    There’s so much I want to say in response to this but I’ll boil it down to one word:

    YES.

    More to come later when I have a chance.

  • October 22, 2013

    Yes! to all of this. I had no roadmap either, starting out in the travel world, but just worked hard every day and put one foot in front of the other, even in moments of doubt and fear. The opportunities came and keep popping up. But I’m still learning and figuring out how to keep growing and specializing. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    • November 26, 2013

      Thanks, Lily! It sounds so easy but you’re right when it comes down to it, the real answer is: Work hard, be kind to people, be reliable, don’t give up.

  • October 22, 2013

    Fantastic post. As a traditional newspaper journalist with a journalism school training in the 90s, many things have changed. I find myself wanting to venture out of the traditional realm, and have found as I grow my blog that it’s really much more than the two or three weekly posts I write. It’s social media, it’s working for other websites, its constantly networking with other blogs. It’s a lot of work but it’s fun. I’m finally getting unique assignments that even three or four months ago I wouldn’t have imagined would be possible. My traditional training tells me a good freelance career is simply getting bylines in multiple publications. But that’s only a small part of it now. Looking forward to KEEN.

  • October 22, 2013

    Thank you Kristin for posting this blog, it was so inspiring!

  • October 22, 2013

    Well written, well said and absolutely inspiring. It’s still uncharted territory and that’s exciting and terrifying at the same time. There’s no easy answer, just getting by takes hard work, creativity, out of the box thinking and persistence. You’re journey is fascinating and I’m sorry that I’ll be traveling instead of attending KEEN Digital Summit. Whoever thought you’d hear me say that! Wishing you the best with the launch of your conference and I look forward to attending next year!

    • October 22, 2013

      your ..

    • November 26, 2013

      Ha! Well, I hope a) it was an excellent trip and b) we see you in Nashville for #KEEN2014 =)

  • October 22, 2013

    Yes, totally agree. I didn’t go the travel writing route, even though my blog, at least in the beginning was about travel. But it was freelance writing, a documentary film (with funding from kickstarter), selling my non-fiction book idea, a blogging course at http://blogbrilliantly.com — with an online course and frequent in-person workshops and a number of attempted and failed side projects that made it possible for my husband to stop working three years ago. We don’t make a ton of money, enough, but diversification is key. I tell every blogger in my course that they should be thinking about these kinds of side project/events/products because where freelance writing, blogging or photography was enough once, we’ve all become writer-slash-whatever.

    • November 26, 2013

      You were actually one of the bloggers I thought of when writing this post, given your success with ebooks. Rock on, sista!

  • October 22, 2013

    I love this. After 2.5 years of consistent blogging, I pretty much gave up on my dream and settled for the safe route. One year later, I realize that it was a big void in my life and I’m starting again – but this time with less of a “write and they will come” attitude but with more of an entrepreneurial approach.

    • November 26, 2013

      Cheers to you, fellow entrepreneur, and best of luck with your current and new endeavors =)

  • October 22, 2013

    Kristin, this is amazing. Kudos to you!! Wish I could attend your conference 🙂

  • October 22, 2013

    This post is everything. Proud to know you and it’s been so amazing to see all your hard work and plans come to fruition! Wish I could’ve made it to KEEN — will definitely have it at the top of my list for next year!! You’re right- there was definitely a void in the conference world– it’s so amazing that you recognized it and took a leap!

    • November 26, 2013

      Yes, you need to plan next fall’s visit to correspond with KEEN! Hope you’re loving NYC!

  • October 22, 2013

    You are in an inspiration! I have always had the entrepreneurial spirit, but have only helped others on their ideas or worked for start-ups. I have never done my own thing because I just don’t have the guts to do it. For years I have been tinkering on ideas, but never got very far because I was “too busy” and too afraid to give up my corporate salary. Now I am unemployed and have not thought about it at all. Your post has helped me realize now is the time to find something I am really passionate about.

    • November 26, 2013

      That’s great, Patrice! Best of luck! And helping others with start-ups is just as important, too. #KEEN2013 wouldn’t have been a success had so many people not stepped in and helped us out.

  • October 22, 2013

    I love, love, love this! This career requires so much more diversity than I anticipated (though in my case, the lack of that diversity was part of the few things that turned me off about being a writer). I especially loved the part about ALWAYS working. I hear you! Sending everyone who thinks they can interrupt me just because I’m home to this post from now on.

    Also – massive congratulations on KEEN! I hope it is as amazing as you’re hoping it will be! Have fun!

    • November 26, 2013

      Ha, the work from home conundrum might be the most difficult part. I find much of my day lately doing household chores–we have a 2500-square-foot home that needs a lot of TLC. And yes, people seem to think when you work from home that you have so much free time to do their bidding!

  • October 23, 2013

    Interesting post and discussion. As someone who will never have a career like yours, I enjoy seeing what you do and how you have done it. I chose language teaching, a career that I find hugely rewarding in many ways. However, I’ve been doing it for 13 years now (ack!) and have definitely needed to branch out into other things to satisfy curiosities and my love of learning. I wanted to “be a travel writer” when I was younger, and when I started blogging, I announced that that had been my dream and that I was hoping to finally realize it…well, I had no idea what a full market I was jumping into. It’s been fun, though, and I’m happy with what has resulted. I also see the need for using one’s skills to develop new projects; this is something I’m working on but have difficulty making much progress with two little kids at home.

    • November 26, 2013

      I think with a diverse background like yours, you could easily do something really innovative and cool with it. And I’m excited to watch and see what it becomes =)

      • November 26, 2013

        Thank you for the encouragement and the recognition of my diverse background. I do hope to branch out into something “innovative and cool” (your words), something that involves a new way of looking at things, so I’m trying to figure out what that can/will be. I need more like-minded people around me that I could brainstorm with.

  • October 23, 2013

    It is so true that you have to diversify if you want to become successful in this field.. I started as a travel writer, branching into business and SEO writing for clients (even wrote about candles for clients at one stage) to help set me off on a location independent lifestyle..

    You have people asking you how to become a travel writer.. Travel & then write! Simple as that.. But also take cool photos, get comfortable in front of a camera and take videos, learn to edit videos. Network… Focus on growing your social media numbers.. These are all relevant, it is not merely writing!

    • November 26, 2013

      Yup: Diversify yourself. That’s exactly what being an entrepreneur in 2013 is all about!

  • October 23, 2013

    Fascinating debate and major points made by several readers. As a former foreign correspondent I miss the journalism, and as a former freelance writer who paid her way across Africa and Asia in pre-Internet days without too much difficulty, I’m a bit nostalgic for the days when coming up through the ranks vertically was typical – and yielded enough for not only survival but a decent lifestyle.

    Today’s blogging/writing world is more horizontal and requires a broad range of skills which a generation ago would have been entire professions in themselves. For some of us, the catching up is challenging. But we’re up to it.

    I won’t repeat what’s already been said but I too am a bit cantankerous with the word ‘entrepreneur’, even though I understand the concept and context. This distaste reflects an inner conflict, between the business ‘need to survive’ aspect and the ‘I do it for the love of it’, where my heart lies. Unfortunately I do need to write to survive and to do so I’ll have no choice but to hone my entrepreneurship skills, not my writing ones… and that to me is a major, and deplored, change.

    • November 26, 2013

      I totally understand what you’re saying. As someone who also has a news reporting background, I can’t say I’m necessarily happy with the paradigm shift. I do miss the days when being a solid writer was enough, and self-promotion was not a part of being successful. But what are you going to do? Keep up with the Joneses, I suppose, in order to stay relevant in the online world. I’ve been battling inner demons lately over losing the “I do it for the love of it” part of me that started in newspapers 16 years ago, but again, it’s either keep up or move on (I’ll go with the former).

  • October 23, 2013

    Very well said! My pet peeve is when people tell me I’m ‘lucky’ to do this. I’m lucky to have grown up with supportive parents but I’m a firm believed that you make your own luck.

    It sounds like you’ve got some really exciting things going on! Best of ‘luck’ 😉

    • November 26, 2013

      Yes! I, too, would say I’m definitely lucky to have parents that showed me there were no boundaries to what I could do. The rest is just a product of hard work =)

  • October 23, 2013

    I have a not so secret secret to tell you. Two days ago Keith and I were talking and he asked me who’s work I’m most impressed by and influenced by these days. He threw out the names of a few of my favorite authors and business/marketing/motivational people I’ve followed for years and asked if it’s still one of them. Without hesitation, I said “It’s Kristin.” Then we had an awesome discussion about how you MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. The discussion went on to how I used to not be afraid to try anything … and for some reason, I have way too many of those fears these days.

    Last night on our way home from some “work stuff” I read this post to him (or I tried to as Mayhem was belting out “I knew you were trouble…” at the top of her lungs!). He nodded in agreement through the entire post. It’s time for us to get back to making more stuff happen.

    A massive deadline for a long time client this Friday and an event on Saturday are preventing us from being able to make it to KEEN this year, but next year WILL be a different story. I’m truly very disappointed that we aren’t going o be there this year, but this post has inspired me to “make more stuff happen” so that next year’s KEEN is a given. I have no doubt that you and your team are going to have an amazingly successful event and lots of fun too! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    • November 26, 2013

      Delayed reply, but this is absolutely the nicest thing anyone has said about me. Thank you, and now I’m blushing =)

      Also, I have mad respect for you two and all you’ve done with your business (and with a precocious three year old in tow, at that!).

  • October 23, 2013

    This post is awesome and I totally agree. Being a freelancer take a LOT of hard work these days. My friend was just saying last night that although a lot of us can write, keeping a blog or any other online revenue source takes a lot more than just being able to write.

    I wish I could come to your conference! It looks awesome and I wish you all the best for it 🙂

    • November 26, 2013

      Thank you so much! Hopefully you can come to #KEEN2014 =)

  • October 23, 2013

    Can I tell you how happy I am to have met you? I have so many things I want to say about this post, but — I don’t have time! The story of my life 😉

    You are awesome. The End.

  • October 23, 2013

    I agree completely — blogging is more of a platform to move into other projects, and with so many coming on board every week, it’s sink or swim sometimes. 🙂

    • November 26, 2013

      I love that saying: “blogging is more of a platform to move into other projects.” I’ve always considered it an unedited portfolio, but I like that much better!

  • October 23, 2013

    Rings very true to me. My husband is a reporter, and I work in book publishing. Also very inspiring!

  • October 23, 2013

    I find this to be a really fascinating discussion, because one of the most frequent questions I get when I tell people I’m a blogger is, “So where do you want to go with that?” And my answer is… this is it! I love blogging and I’m not using it as a means to getting a show on the Travel Channel, landing a book deal, whatever.

    That said, I too have to hustle. I do a fair bit of freelance writing and partnerships in order to make this lifestyle work.

  • October 23, 2013

    Very inspirational story. Unlike you, I went to school for PR, but my heart was always in writing. As a teenager, I interned at local papers and magazines, and even during my PR days, I kept up at writing. Then, one day, I decided I didn’t want to do PR anymore. I wanted to write. I started my blog to give me an outlet to do that. Once that happened, I began to pursue writing more than PR. I was pitching Web sites, publications, all with the hopes that I could get a byline. Today, I do both PR and writing. Sure, I wish I could write more, but you are right — it takes being an entrepreneur. It has to be your heart and your soul, and you cannot commit that to what you love, then it won’t happen. Very honest piece. Thank you for sharing!

  • October 24, 2013

    Well written, informative and inspiring article. I also like your honesty. Kudos.

  • October 24, 2013

    Great post. I started my own travel website three years ago, and it has been a huge learning curve for me. The success of my site has all come down to hard work and persistence, and I totally agree that I spend more hours working now vs when I was earning a salary, but I don’t notice it because I enjoy it so much.

  • October 25, 2013

    Great post. It really is to bad that so many people are scared to really live out what they want to do in life. So many people are scared to fail that they will never truly go after what they are passionate about. When we decided to quit our jobs, sell everything and hit the road it was the best choice we have ever made. “I wish I didn’t travel so much” said no one ever 🙂

  • October 28, 2013
    Yam

    I’m a regular reader of your blog, but a first-time commenter. Felt compelled to write now because I was inspired by your words. I work in a different industry but my friends and I are trying to put up our own company, driven by our common passion project. I will definitely share this post with them 🙂

  • October 28, 2013

    Every point you have made was spot-on. Every sentence, I thought, “truth” and then “truth,” again. So excited that you are becoming this amazing entrepreneur (because in truth, that’s what being a writer is) but glad that you’ve shed light on being a quadruple threat and not just putting your eggs into one basket. Am ahem, keen, to see how your entrepreneurship grows!

  • October 29, 2013

    I’m so happy to have found your website and this post via The Road Forks! Just this year, I’ve taken the first steps in going from desk job + blogger to new projects along the road of entrepreneurship! For the first time ever I’ve realized that perhaps I don’t want a regular 9-5 job with lots of vacation time – instead I want to work hard at building my own dreams into reality! It’s always inspiring to hear the stories of other folks who have built their dream careers for themselves.

  • October 29, 2013

    Well said and very inspiring. I sadly “watched” KEEN via Twitter and Instagram this year, but hope to be a part of the real thing next year. You are quite the inspiration – you deserve every smidgen of success – for all your HARD work. You work damn hard and it shows. Bravo.

    • November 26, 2013

      I hope you can be a part of it, too! We’re currently trying to pin down a date and venue, but details to come after the new year =)

  • October 29, 2013

    It is why we are casting a wide net right now. We are looking to be happy and finding ways to get there! <3

    • November 26, 2013

      That’s all you can ask for: happiness…and being able to afford it =)

  • October 30, 2013

    This is definitely inspiring! Glad to come across another blogger writer that took the plunge of doing this full-time! Keep up! You inspire us to continue!

  • November 3, 2013

    I agree with you that today everybody is a “writer”. Now the journalism degree should be rolled and kept safely in a drawer. I loved reading about what you are doing. It’s very inspiring. Thanks.

    • November 26, 2013

      True, journalism degrees soon are going to be an endangered species, ha 😉

  • November 3, 2013

    You have an impressive career! I’m a freelance writer too but I must admit that my course is not Journalism. The internet just led me into it. It was rewarding and profitable especially when we know how to monetize from various online strategies.

  • November 4, 2013

    I think hard work was important always, just somehow now it is more important to have a lot of knowledge and to work hard. And I make a distinction between knowledge and information, because nowadays there’s information everywhere, but you need real understanding to be able to use it. Maybe many of us grew up with our grandparents stories, saying that we should work hard, that somebody will tell us how and what to do, I think that part is no longer true. We need to realize ourselves what and how, and then we can work to succeed.

    • November 26, 2013

      You’re right: Hard work has *always* been a crucial component to success, but that seems to be a mantra lost on Millennials. In the days of 140 characters when everyone is in such a rush to be at the apex of their career, it seems many want to bypass the intern/entry/mid levels and shoot right to CEO…without logging the necessary time and garnering the experience to make it to that point =)

  • November 8, 2013

    Your website is exactly how I imagined a perfect travel blog, keep up the good work! I love traveling too:)

  • November 11, 2013

    I would definitely liken the life of a travel writer to that of an entrepreneur. They wear many hats: content producer, editor, SEO, social media marketer. It definitely takes guts and a whole lot of skill to rise to the top because there is no denying that the travel industry is extremely competitive.

    You have an incredible story, and your writing is wonderful. Enjoyed this post very much!

  • November 19, 2013

    My dream is also to live the nomadic lifestyle. In the beginning I thought like many other people still think about having a blog or a website. “I just have to write a few good articles and then I can earn a living with my passion.” You can definitely earn a living with your passion, I know a lot of people who do it and I am doing everything to get to this point in the future. But only writing a few articles or posts is not enough.

    It is true…you must be an entrepreneur or at least think like one. Relationship building, marketing, social media, there is so much to do besides writing. I am on my way of learning it and like I said….I will do everything to live my dreams

    • November 26, 2013

      Relationship building is so time consuming and, often, tough. People who aren’t in the blogging/writing/journalism worlds have no idea how huge a factor that is in a writer’s success!

  • November 20, 2013

    Great article! I love your energy and optimism! That can-do attitude shines through in your work. And it’s contagious! 🙂 I’m trying my hand at blogging for fun but you’ve inspired me to also consider more for myself. Thanks!

    Erin @ http://www.thecaffeinateddaytripper.com

    • November 26, 2013

      Thank you, Erin! So kind of you to say!

  • November 26, 2013

    “Yeah, but…” is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.

Leave a Comment

GET MY POSTS DELIVERED DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX
+ Sign up and receive your free copy of my eBook