Imagine traveling around exploring the local food scene. Maybe you drop in on cooking schools. Meet with chefs. Explore street food and markets. Review fine restaurants.
Now imagine sharing what you experience with the world… and getting paid to do it!
For a foodie who also loves to travel… food and travel blogging is the perfect way to go.
I’m using food and travel blogs here as an example.
But these same options apply whether you blog about cats, health and wellness, your favourite sports team, or any topic of interest to a wider audience.
1. Attract Advertisers
Aileen Adalid of I Am Aileen blogs more about travel than food.
Her followers are other millennials drawn to the young Filipino’s example of trading the rat race for life on the road.
Aileen is worth studying because of her ability to attract such heavy hitter advertisers as Coca Cola, Hilton, Marriott, Eurail, Unilever, and the Helsinki tourism bureau.
2. Get Corporate Sponsors
Unlike advertisers, sponsors tend to make a longer brand commitment and pay a set fee.
Ree Drummon is personality behind the phenomenally successful cooking blog The Pioneer Woman.
She’s also an unapologetic fan of butter-rich recipes, an approach that clearly spoke to butter manufacturer and sponsor Land O’Lakes.
Then there’s Stefan and Sebastian, the attractive couple behind the popular food and travel blog Nomadic Boys.
In just two years, their blog attracted a loyal following particularly in the gay community.
That led to paid opportunities to collaborate with hotel brands and tourism boards as well as to speak at conferences to promote gay travel.
Stefan and Sebastian aren’t the only couple crushing it with sponsors.
It’s this kind of proactivity that led the couple to star in commercials for major companies like Lonely Planet and Ford.
Ambitious yes. Worth building toward? Absolutely!
After all, no matter what your dream, somebody’s going to do that cool thing… it might as well be you!
3. Sell Products
People interested in following you and your niche are also prime potential buyers of related products.
Ree’s blog led to her own cooking show on the Food Network. From there she landed an exclusive deal with Walmart to sell her own brand of cookware and other kitchen items.
And this fall she and her husband are opening their own store in an old building they renovated on the main street in their small town in Oklahoma… and they’re hiring!
But you don’t need to run an empire in order to sell products. Nor do you need to stock inventory.
Instead you can work with vendors directly to drop ship exotic or specialty ingredients or other cooking or home-related products directly to the customer.
Want to create your own products?
Companies like CaféPress or Zazzle both supply ready-made, as well as customized, products you design.
Blogging about French cuisine? Supply the vendor with images or fun sayings that appeal to lovers of all things French and they’ll print it onto coffee mugs, calendars, T-shirts, mousepads, or scores of other items. The vendor fills orders as you get them and you earn a percentage of the sale.
4. Affiliate Revenue
A less hands-on approach is to sell products indirectly as an affiliate like Aileen does.
In addition to ad revenue, Aileen also earns money by recommending or otherwise featuring products she likes.
If someone makes a purchase using her affiliate link, she’ll receive a referral fee of anywhere from 5 to 50 percent of the sale price.
Another couple earning affiliate income are Chris and Rob Taylor of 2TravelDads.com.
Because the couple are traveling with their young kids, the 2 Dad’s Amazon store features kid-friendly products and camping gear they use and recommend.
5. Write for Others
Just because you have your own readers doesn’t mean you can’t get paid to write for other publications.
In addition to her own posts, Canadian food and travel blogger Mayssam Samaha of Will Travel for Food writes extensively for the Montreal Tourism bureau and numerous other popular travel and airline publications.
6. Sell Your Photographs
When you see Erick Prince’s, AKA the Minority Nomad, stunning photos, you’ll understand why he’s able to sell his images and videos to clients like Facebook, Shangri-La Hotels, and SAS.
Like most of the bloggers featured here, Erick has multiple profit streams of income.
In addition to making money from photos, he’s also a travel journalist for Yahoo Travel and other outlets and also serves as a luxury travel consultant for brands seeking to reach other millennials.
7. Lead Tours
Have you ever wished you could turn others onto your favorite shopping and dining spots?
That’s what the American born Italy-based food blogger Elizabeth Minchilli does.
Other Ways to Get Paid
Money is important. But it’s just one reward of being a food or travel blogger.
Eight years ago Catherine Enfield of Munchie Musings started writing about the Sacramento food scene.
For Catherine, being a food blogger was less a means to replace her pay check as a state worker than it was a way to become actively engaged in her community.
Along the way she started the popular Sacramento Food Film Festival.
Catherine has since gifted the festival to the non-profit Food Literacy Program which continues the mission of using film to educate the public about the food system.
Erick also had a larger goal: To be the first African American to travel to all 90 countries and to inspire young African American males to travel as well.
These are the kinds of rewards money can’t buy.
For most of her eight-plus years blogging, Catherine kept her day job.
However, it was her immersion in the dining world that ultimately led to landing a cool job with a restaurant software company.
Besides you don’t need to be a full time traveler to write a travel blog.
Chris Taylor has a regular corporate job and Rob is the stay-at-home parent. In addition to frequent weekend jaunts, the family takes four or five big trips a year.
They’re able to take some of the bigger trips by adding a few vacation days to some of Chris’s work trips where some of the expenses are covered by his employer.
Similarly, sites like Tours by Locals make it easy for you to run tours right there in your own community.
Learn the blogging ropes
If you want to make money from blogging – or indeed, from any online business – you have to know how to drive people to your site and build your audience.
Fortunately, there are thousands of books, articles, classes, even entire businesses dedicated to teaching new bloggers of any ilk how to get traffic and a fan base – much of it free.
One place to start is Aileen’s handy step-by-step guide on how to start a successful travel blog.
Prefer to learn in person?
At some point you need to decide who it is you want to attract. Is it:
- Professional or amateur cooks keen to learn about emerging or international cuisine or trends?
- Visitors – local or international – looking for the best places to dine or food shop?
- A future cookbook publisher?
- People who rarely travel or cook but who nevertheless love looking at photos of fabulous food or destinations?
- People who’d rather follow you via a video blog than read?
- People who identify with you based on things like parenting or relationship status, age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, region, style of travel, food preferences, etc.
Your answers will inform future decisions from choosing a URL to your content to which advertisers, sponsors, and/or affiliates to pursue.
Ideally you’d figure this out before you begin. However, if you suffer from analysis paralysis then sometimes you have to just…
Jump in and just see where it leads
Maybe you can’t move to Tuscany or become a world traveler until the kids are out of college or you retire.
But you can use the steps you just learned to start laying the groundwork.
That said, there’s a danger in trying so hard to plan everything in advance that you wind up doing nothing.
“When I started the blog,” writes Elizabeth, “I wasn’t sure what it would lead to.”
And going in Catherine definitely never expected to start a cause-driven film festival.
That’s why it’s so important that you just jump in and see where it leads you!
If you could create your perfect food and/or travel blog scenario, what would it look like?
Who would be your ideal followers and what’s the message you’d love to spread?
Which of the seven ways to make money as a food or travel blogger speak to you?
As my friend Barbara Sher says, “Isolation is the dream killer.”
Take one minute right now to hop down to the comments and share your dream or to just lend some encouragement to your fellow members of the Changing Course Community!
Isn’t It Time to Profit From Your Passion?
Still don’t know what you want to be “when you grow up?”
Know what you love to do but have no idea how to make money doing it?
Have so many ideas you don’t know where to begin?
The answers are closer than you think! And once you have a direction, doors will open you never knew existed.