When Kristin Addis quit her job as an investment banker in Southern California to travel the world in 2013, she had saved around AUD$26,000 in cash and about $80,000 in off-limits retirement funds.
“For a few years there I was living off the savings,” Addis told Business Insider. “I remember it was the 11th hour, I had been on the road for almost two years, and I got a contract that was good for $800 a month guaranteed for one year. That was really the piece I needed. It still wasn’t enough to fully cover my expenses, but it gave me a cushion to look for more work.”
Since then, now 30-year-old Addis has stayed on the road, documenting her travels and supporting herself through her blog, Be My Travel Muse. In 2015, she spoke to Business Insider about her post-banking life, explaining that she was earning about 40% of her banking salary on the road. A year later, she’s more than doubled her earnings and now brings in an income in the low six figures — just as much as she did as a banker.
Addis credits her business’ growth to a few factors:
Owning her niche
Addis has been blogging for the past three years, and in that time she’s made a point of dominating her niche: solo adventure travel for women. “One way to stand out and be different is to focus on a niche,” she recommends. “Think about the things you’re obsessed with — the things you would write about and read about and photograph no matter what. That’s what you should do.”
Being smart about Google
When she first started her blog, she devoted time to Google keyword research that has since paid off. For instance, a lot of traffic comes through the posts she wrote about visiting Iceland, and she’s finding her posts on Patagonia are picking up steam as well. Along with eyes, visitors coming through Google help her make affiliate revenue through promotions of useful, themed products like fleece-lined leggings and boots.
One of the biggest differences between her business last year and her business this year, earning more than twice as much, is the size of her team, Addis says.
She employs five part-time, remote writers and assistants to help with everything from sorting through her email to writing posts in their own niches, like fashion, for which Addis has less expertise herself.
“They make the site a fuller resource, and that saves me a lot of time,” she says. “It’s been more about bringing people in who can help — that’s been really great and helps me go off grid more. When I am home, it helps me to focus on the people around me even more. It’s still a lot of work, but I’m happy to be doing it.”
Addis has seen some of the largest income bumps through sales of her book, “Conquering Mountains: The Guide to Solo Female Travel,” and affiliate product sales from her site.
“These are two areas I’m excited about because that’s passive income,” she says. “That’s what I want to continue to nurture and grow.” She recommends Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income blog and podcast as a valuable free resource to learn more about setting up passive income streams.
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