Are You Too Cheap to Succeed?

penny wise pound foolish

If your travel writing or blogging earnings have stalled and you can’t seem to move the needle, you may want to look at your spending.

No, I’m not telling you to be more frugal so you’ll have more cash left over. I’m telling you that if you’re stuck, you probably need to spend more, not less. You need to invest in your business so that you can grow your overall earnings in the future.

I have a regular mastermind group that meets on the phone once a month and on every call at least one person brings up a new investment they’ve made, someone they’ve hired, or some service they’ve signed up for.

These are all people making $100K or more from travel writing but what do they want to discuss? What they’re spending. That’s because they’re not just blowing money on a new toy or pair of shoes that will eventually end up in a garage or attic. They’re spending money to grow their business.

When I look back at the inflection points after I became a full-time travel writer, editor, and blogger, it was the investments that really took me to the next level. Things started to change when I started doing the following:

– Paying assistants to take over low-value tasks

– Paying specialists to do tech work and design

– Hiring freelancers for a new site launch, even when it had zero revenue

– Paying up front to self-publish a book so that my eventual royalties earned would be higher

– Joining organizations and paying to go to conferences

– Paying my expenses to travel strategically for the right content instead of waiting for a press trip

– Paying a sizable commission to a sales rep to pitch and close direct ad deals

– Buying any business book that looked helpful, without internal debate over whether it “was worth it” or not

Often the bloggers who are still struggling after years of plugging away are the ones who haven’t invested in their success. They stay in their bubble, look for answers on Facebook, and keep a tight rein on expenditures. There are full-time freelancers out there who refuse to spend money on editor contact info, even though this could double their targets and save them hours of research each week. There are writers struggling with things they have no business struggling with because they refuse to outsource.

outsource to earn more money

Here’s a challenge for you: find a small budget amount you can part with and spend it without hesitation. Make the most of that investment, then do it again. Once you start seeing results, plow the newfound cash back into the business and go a bit higher. If your experience is like most, you’ll look back in a year or two and be amazed.

Here are a few ideas:

Invest $20 or Less

Hire someone on Fiverr (logo, biz card design, WordPress fix, theme change, social posts, Pin creation, site speed-up, research)

Buy the Kindle edition of Travel Writing 2.0

War of ArtGet a business book that will change your outlook. (I especially recommend this, this, this, and this new one for our industry.)

Try out the Travel Magazine Database for one month and get loads of editor contacts

Purchase music to use commercially in your videos via AudioJungle or others.

Invest $75 or Less

Join the Professional Travel Bloggers Association

Become a MediaBistro AvantGuild member

Get professional business cards designed and printed

Get a new portfolio site design done

Buy a premium WordPress theme

Invest $150 or Less

Get an early bird registration for a TBEX bloggers convention

Spend a weekend’s expenses researching a local travel story not sponsored by anyone

Use Tailwind Pinterest scheduling app or Buffer scheduling app for one year

Join the community for three months and take a slew of great courses

Invest $250 or Less


Get a book cover, interior design, and e-book conversion done via jobs on Upwork or Fiverr

Hire a virtual assistant to take care of your low-value tasks so you can write more

Get the self-study version of the Travel Writing Overdrive course

Take a one-day TBEX workshop on travel photography, writing, branding, etc.

Travel Writing Overdrive course

Invest $500 or Less


Join the Mastermind level of Travel Writing Overdrive

Buy the Paradise Pack when it comes out each year and gain the kind of expert knowledge that usually takes years to acquire.

Send unlimited professional e-mails to up to 2.5K subscribers per month via Mailchimp, aWeber, Benchmark, etc. for an entire year, with powerful full sales funnel and segmenting functions.

Upgrade your hosting to a plan that’s faster and more reliable.

For that amount you can attend a travel writers or bloggers conference, maybe even pay for lodging (with NATJA and some others it’s included in a blanket rate).


What have you invested money in that has made a big difference in your career or business?

Top “penny wise pound foolish” Flickr cc photo by Eric Sagen.

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