There is this one question that keeps coming up in my life. I hear it from my students, as well as from my parents’ friends, or even from other bloggers in this “brave new world” of ours: “Well, then, professional travel blogger. Always on the move! But tell us (again), how do you actually make money!?”
Let’s be honest. Years ago, if you had asked me, even I would have likely found it strange to be spending an ordinary Wednesday afternoon relaxing at a friend’s house in Porto, Portugal, taking “a break from blogging as a living”. Working whenever, even when or especially while travelling.
So how do you define the everyday business reality of a travel blogger?
Thoughts like these crossed my mind, as I recently travelled to attend ITB, the largest travel trade show in the world, in Berlin. I then thought, why not ask others around me?
And I did, asking ten more travel bloggers & influencers from Germany & Austria about their everyday business lives, and “where the road would still take them”. Melanie (“Lifetravellerz”) highlights more content work for third-party clients, whereas Michael is planning on launching his own agency through “Blog Bohème”. “Reisebloggerin” Gudrun Krinzinger is currently focused on getting their own travel project #7ways2travel off the ground, and Lea (“Escape Town”) is looking for even more work opportunities beyond the immediate sphere of travel and tourism.
“Blogging as a business” is and will always be changing, depending on what you make out of it.
Later this year, I’ll have reached my seventh year of being self-employed. And every year during this adventurous journey, I have seen new opportunities unfold; including the wonderful occasion to speak in front of my peers at #NBEFinland Nordic Bloggers’ Experience, or talk at ITB Berlin via Facebook Live about the “everyday (business) life of a travel blogger“.
As those of you working self-employed will know, each and every year is different. Just three years ago, my business providing language trainings & translations has grown substantially (it’s almost seven languages I now master fluently!), whereas right now, it is mostly speaking gigs at conferences as well as EU projects I am commissioned to do.
Working as a consultant with the European Union is a very exciting step in my international career, the Erasmus project “EUROPETOUR” allowing me to discover Romania and assist with the development of Social Media Guidelines for cultural tourism in rural areas. Last but not least, Greece has been calling me to assist with their national tourism development strategy concerning religious cultural heritage tourism.
It’s great if, like me, you love working at the intersection of education, consultancy, languages & communication. However, there are certain points to watch out for.
I for myself, wouldn’t like to entirely commercialise my blog, i.e. selling content or writing because of an SEO dictate. My blog is supposed to remain the creative playground it is, while at the same time serving as my digital business card in the sense that I mind the quality of my writing, the accuracy of my research, the portray of people and their stories in a timely, honest and respectful manner. It’s a lot of work, always sharing from on the road almost daily, in the two languages German & English on my completely bilingual blog. I do, however, care about it so much that I find I love doing it just as much as I did five years ago, ever since I started www.CreativElena.com in October 2012.
This is totally in line, for instance, with having been commissioned to speak during my first webinar about Storytelling & Creative Travel by a German company called Trekksoft.
Or currently negotiating a deal to do strategic consultancy for an Austrian digital marketing & storytelling company. While, only weeks later, being flown to Portugal in order to give a speech about creative travel & Social Media marketing in the northern Portuguese town of Esposende, near Porto.
We reap what we sow: If you care about sending the “right” signals, you will end up with the “right” people. It’s the magic of modern-day networking, as enhanced by the Internet.
A (final) word about teaching: It is exactly ten years now that I have concluded my own cultural tourism university degree at the FH IMC Krems. To now being asked to teach the same subject at the FH Joanneum, another very prestigious University of Applied Sciences in Austria, is realising the second big life dream of teaching cultural tourism management; after publishing my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”. It’s ultimately rewarding, to say the least (THANK YOU, dear team at the FH Joanneum, for so much trust in, and support of, my work!).
They say you ought to do three things in your life: Plant a tree, write a book, and have a child. Well. From a metaphysical point of view, I always feel like I’m “planting ideas” when teaching students & adults about different ways of doing business, leading a life, or travelling. I have written a book, and it feels like my children are now populating the world through my words:
“Elena, thanks so much for your book. I already look forward to reading the next …!”
And me 😀 So tell me: Where will your journey still lead you?