Sabrina Iovino is a former screen designer who left her job in 2008 to travel the world. Like many travel bloggers, she sold everything she owned and started her around-the-world trek; in 2013, she’s now making her income by blogging on her site Justonewayticket.com. Today, Sabrina tells us about making a name for herself, how to build an audience, and why she’s probably the worst travel blogger ever. Enjoy!
Sabrina, you haven’t been blogging for that long but you’ve already made a name for yourself. What made you decide to jump into the travel blogging world, and how did you teach yourself what you needed to know?
Well, most people won’t admit it, but I started blogging to earn money. Now I know you won’t get rich from blogging. But it’s so much fun! When I started my travel blog, I was already 4 years on the road and I figured if I don’t start writing now, I never will. Now, 9 months later I have to say it was the best decision I ever made. I love my job every day and can’t wait to wake up and work on my blog. All the emails I receive from my readers are so encouraging and keeps me going.
I don’t think I will ever get back at my old job, even though my earnings were 10 times higher. So all I can say is do what you love. Money can’t buy happiness.
In your opinion, what’s the secret to building an audience?
There are tons of ways, but obviously one is writing great content. Write stuff that people want to share! Contact other big groups on Facebook that are related to the subject of your blog post and ask them kindly if they want to share it. If your blog post is epic, they will do that for sure. Last but not least, write about the things you love, because your writing will be more passionate.
How has your income mix changed since you started your blog and what tips would you give others who are looking to monetize their sites?
Since April this year, my income doubled every month. This month it was enough to cover my monthly expenses which is a great achievement! (Note: I live in Turkey at the moment, it’s cheap here!) The earnings from my blog are a mix of Adsense and Affiliates. If you want to make money, you need traffic first. I wouldn’t start monetizing before you have at least 500 visitors a day. Choose Affiliate products you love and write reviews about them, they will sell much better than a simple banner in your sidebar.
I’m still not an expert in making money online, but I’ve found some great resources that taught me a lot on how to monetize my blog, I share them on my page Stuff I Love.
What advice do you have for new travel writers who want to freelance and are trying to get their first big break?
Write amazing stuff. Write more amazing stuff. Contact the big travel sites like Matador, Vagabundo. Lonely Planet etc. If you’re passionate about your writing, people will notice you. It won’t happen overnight though. So be patient. Believe in yourself and never give up. Hard work will pay off!
One of your recent posts is called “Why I’m Probably the Worst Travel Blogger Ever (+10 Tips for Getting Better.” Tell us why you wrote this.
Oh this was a mix of a ranting post and also telling the world that you can make it without following all those rules. Learning how to become an expert blogger takes a lot of time. I have never learned SEO and I don’t really have the time to comment on other blog posts every day. I mean look at my blog: I have only 12 posts so far. But still, I have about 1000 visitors a day and when you google my name, I totally show up. That’s enough for me, lol. I don’t want to become an expert blogger. I just want to write about the things I love and entertain people with my stories and some photos.
What’s it like blogging in English as a non-native English speaker? Why not blog in German?
In the beginning I thought of writing in German and English, but I gave up after one post. Takes too much time. Plus my German got a bit rusty after not speaking my mother language for more than 4 years. (Yes that can totally happen!)
Finally I switched to English to reach a larger audience. I have to admit it, writing in English is still difficult for me. I have editors who proofread my posts before I publish them. In the beginning I was very anxious to blog in English but after a while I decided to not give a damn anymore. I’m a blogger, not a news reporter. As long as people understand what I’m writing about, I’m happy. So please forgive me all my grammar mistakes and typos.
Sabrina, a German Italian Blogger and former screen designer quit her job and sold everything she owned in order to travel the world. She left Germany in 2008 and came back 14 month later. After a few months back in her home country she realized that she can’t live the ordinary 9-5 life anymore and left again. Sabrina has traveled more than 50 countries and lived in various places in Asia. Her favorite country is the Philippines. Currently she’s in Istanbul for a longer period, but she’s escaping every winter for warmer places. Get to know her better on her travel blog http://www.justonewayticket.com/.
Interview conducted in September, 2013 by Kristin Mock.