Guest Post from Jamie Italiane
What Success Really Means
To answer this question, I am going to share my blogging journey. I am Jamie from The Daily Adventures of Me, a forty-five-year-old married mother of three boys, owner of my own dental practice, photography nerd and travel blogger.
Many years ago, I wanted to be a wildlife photographer but knew I wanted to be a mother who was very present with my children more. I went to dental school and was able to create a life where I work three days a week.
I was blessed to grow up in Southern California to parents who believed in exploring. Much of my childhood was spent road tripping around the west of the United States, followed by a road trip through New England then a jaunt across the pond. I then got sucked into schooling and parenting. International travel became less of a priority although my family did a lot of exploring on road trips from our home in New England.
For my 40th birthday, I took a trip to Iceland with three girlfriends, which was instrumental in reigniting my passion for travel by reminding me how alive I feel when I am in nature and around new things.
Around that time one of my friends was considered a very successful mommy blogger. She got a lot of perks, trips, and money from blogging. I also had a friend who was worked for a product PR firm. Although I didn’t follow my original dream of being a photographer, this felt like a valid way to make a little money from a passion I had. I started my blog in October 2016.
At the beginning of blogging, I just went with the flow, quickly building a social media following and taking any opportunities that came my way. Although I was always honest with my audience, I would take jobs that I wasn’t highly connected with, often not travel related. I was working on the blog any extra time I had. I was doing a lot of sponsored posts but hadn’t put a lot of time into SEO.
Two years ago I went to my first travel blogging conference, the Women in Travel Summit in Quebec, Canada. For me, it was a turning point in my blogging career. At the conference, I was sort of forced to figure out why you are blogging and what you want to get out of it.
I realized that I wanted blogging to be an adjunct to my already successful life. My life is successful because I have a good work/pleasure/family/God balance. When I did a lot of sponsored posts and was turning things in under deadlines, that was stressful for me. When you take press trips you often have to go when the sponsor needs you to go and by yourself. For me, at this time, I am particular about when I say yes to things.
I know what my brand is- My tagline is Savoring the Adventures of each taste, place and moment.
I speak to travelers without a lot of extra time, who still want to fully experience the world while learning about history and culture.
That being said, I know I am not good at narrowing my niche. I could spend more time and take care of that problem by running multiple blogs or not writing what I am moved to write. But for now, I don’t want to, because that is not what purpose I want my blog to serve in my life. I want to share my excitement about the world, have incredible experiences and make a little extra cash.
I signed up for an ad network and a few affiliates. I started putting my time into getting serious about SEO. Now I make most of my money from passive ads, instead of sponsored posts.
If I could go back to my new blogger self and give advice it would be this:
- Figure out what you truly want out of blogging. Look at it realistically in relation to what hard work you are willing to put it and what you are willing to give up for it.
- Start early working towards SEO success.
- Be yourself.
- Your success is not going to be what other’s success will be.
- Don’t assume curated lives are what they appear.
- Write down your goals and re-access them regularly.
A Harvard Study showed that 3% of MBAs who wrote down their goals made more than the other 97% of the class combined. That is a pretty powerful case to not only make goals but write them down.
What does success mean to you?
What good things does your travel blog bring into your life? What negative ways do you wish it wasn’t affecting your life? What changes are you going to write down to bring balance to your life?
For me, the highlight of last year’s travel was a three-week exploration of Alaska including a trip above the Arctic Circle to interact with Inuits. This year I will visit two new continents, Africa and Asia. So far I have visited 32 countries on 3 continents and 41 US states. I plan to see those last 9 US states before my 50th year is completed.
Other blogs that inspire me are We3Travel, Trimm Travels and Wherever I May Roam.
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Do You Have a Blogging or Travel Writing Tip to Share?
I’d love to hear what you have learned in your blogging journey! Give back to the travel blogging community by sharing your tip in this new series “Travel Blogging Tips for Success”.