Amanda Williams is a successful blogger in the US with over 100,000 monthly readers. Her blog, dangerous-business.com, was in the Top 10 league in 2016! Amanda grew up on a Christmas tree farm in a small Ohio town “with a good football team and even better marching band (go Raiders!)”. She says that nothing incredibly exciting happened there, except for the time in the early 1990s when her neighbour (who was a mob boss) got shot and killed in his driveway. Fast forward 20 years and she is now a successful and nationally renowned blogger giving her views to us.
What made you start out in travel blogging?
I started my travel blog as a creative outlet. I was working a job that didn’t give me much opportunity to write, and for a writer that can get a little frustrating! So I started a blog in order to have somewhere to record my stories.
What was your job before?
Amanda Williams Dangerous BusinessBefore I started blogging, I was working as a copy editor at a local newspaper in Ohio. After that, I was going to graduate school full-time (I now have a master’s degree in tourism management). And I also worked for a while doing customer service for a social media startup. It wasn’t until late 2015 that I turned full-time to blogging!
What do you feel was the big “break” for you after which things started to set off?
I didn’t have a “big break” moment like some bloggers do, to be honest. The growth of my blog was steady over time. Being consistent and sticking to my voice has helped me grow steadily.
After how many months/years did you start making any meaningful amounts of money?
I started making small amounts of money after about 1.5 years of blogging. But it wasn’t until 2015 that I became confident enough in what I was making from blogging and related work to turn to blogging full-time. (So that was roughly 5.5 years after I started my blog.)
Did you first make money from pay-per-click, Google Ads, Yahoo Bing or other affiliated ads?
None of the above! I started blogging in that golden age when selling links (just flat-out selling them) was the way to make money. But Google clamped down on that pretty quickly, and it’s not a sustainable monetization method any longer. These days, I make the most money from affiliate marketing.
Do you have a fixed income now from travel blogging or does it fluctuate? Can you give an approximate amount?
I don’t really have a “fixed” income, since it fluctuates from month to month. Some months I make $6000, other months I make only $2000. I’d say the $3000-$4000 range is average for me right now (but that’s before you subtract expenses and taxes).
Hindsight is a great thing – what are the things that you wish you had known and wouldn’t do again.
Amanda Williams FlyingI wish I would have been more confident in the worth of my work and influence in the beginning. I undercharged a lot (and sometimes still do!). But this is mostly due to the fact that there are no standardized rates in travel blogging – you really just have to decide yourself what you’re worth, and then stick to it!
Do you use Facebook Boost or Twitter Adverts to get more followers?
To get more followers? No. I’ve never used Twitter ads. I do sometimes boost posts on Facebook, but it’s mostly so more people will see my content, and not necessarily to gain followers.
What is your biggest monthly blog expense?
Probably just website maintenance. When you take into account hosting, paid plugins, and other odds and ends that I pay for in order to run my site, it adds up!
How much time do you spend on it daily/weekly/monthly?
Too much time! Haha. I definitely work more hours now than I did at my newspaper job, because there are always things to be done! There are always posts to write and social media to check on and updates to make. But I love it so much that it never really feels like work.
What’s your advice for new starters, in terms of how to make it work and pay?
I think the most important thing is that you need to be passionate about traveling and writing before you start a blog. If you hate to write, it’s going to *feel* like work – and this is one of the main reasons bloggers quit, I think. I also would not go into travel blogging assuming you’ll make tons of money, or just in the hopes that you’ll be able to get free trips. It’s not an easy thing to turn into a career, and it’s also about a lot more than free travel.
Should people abandon their jobs for travelling and writing hoping to make money?
Similar to my above answer, I would not quit your job for travel blogging if you don’t already have an established blog that is making money. It takes time and patience to turn a blog into a career, and not everyone is able to do it! So no, I wouldn’t rely on a brand new blog as a source of income.
Disclaimer: All images on this page are from Amanda’s website: www.dangerous-business.com