As I write this, I am sitting in a folding chair, overlooking a small bay on the Isle of Skye. Next to me is a tent where Dannie is reading and little Lisa is taking her afternoon nap. There’s a nice breeze outside, and though it’s not sunny out (it seldom is in Scotland), I couldn’t ask for better weather to sitwith my computer and draft out this announcement.
A sparrow just landed on the arm of my chair. Seriously, that has to be a good sign.
It’s been just over seven months since Dannie, Lisa and I sold our home, left Florida, and embarked on what will be a year of slow travel in Europe. The more we travel, the more we learn about the world and how to make our way through it, the harder it gets to think about going home. We’ve already decided that we’re going to spend the next year in Asia, but after that we estimate that we’ll have no choice but to return to the United States and start up our business again.
Or will we?
We’ve decided to see if we can find a way to turn a profit on our travel. I guess you could say that we’re trying to become digital nomads, though the term is poorly defined. All we know is that we like exploring new places – not just visiting for a weekend, but actually living there as a family before moving on. Without a home base to pay for in addition to travel lodging, this is far more affordable than constant vacations, but it will still take a good deal of work, and probably a lot of lucky breaks, to turn into a sustainable lifestyle.
I’ll be writing a monthly blog post to keep you updated on our progress. I’ll fill you in on not just how much money we made that month, but how we made it and what new things we’ll be trying in the coming weeks. In August, if you return to our blog regularly (as I suggest that you do – scroll down to subscribe!) you’ll see that we’re adding an ad banner here, an affiliate there. We’re also working on an e-book or two that we can sell on jakeanddannie.com. Photography and photo editing are our areas of expertise, so we’ll be teaching those skills and how to apply them while traveling.
Here’s a breakdown of the kind of information I’ll be sharing in my monthly report:
Advertising, affiliate and sales income: This is how much money we make from visitors to our website. It’s probably going to be slow going at first. For example, the total from the month of July is $0.00, but that’s just because we hadn’t started yet. If we make one dollar next month, I’ll be sort of impressed.
Business expenses: This is how much we spend on maintaining our blog, doing our photo shoots, producing any products that we might put out. There wouldn’t be much point in reporting how much we make if we don’t include how much we spent. There’s big difference between gross and net, after all.
It won’t include any of our travel expenses. This is because we are traveling full time and the expenses like lodging, food and transportation (with a few exceptions) are just the cost of living that we would be paying if we were running a blog from home.
Progress toward our goal: We’ve made an almost arbitrary estimate of what we want to bring in each month. We’d like to bring in $4000.00. This is really, really ambitious (as any blogger probably knows!). The exact amount that we’ll need will vary depending on what country we are in. In some places that’s more than we’ll need, and in others it might not be enough, but we think it will average out. Either way, if we hit that goal, it’s not like we’ll stop trying to improve. If we fall just short, we won’t stop trying. Of course, the really ambitious part is that we want to get there in a year and a half. Is it unlikely to happen in 18 months? Definitely. Is it impossible? Time will tell.
Blog and Social Media Traffic: This is going to be really important for us to achieve our goal. If we aren’t luring people to our site with great content, we’ll never make a dime. So each month I’ll report how many people visited our site, what content brought them in, and where they came from. To add context I’ll go over what we did that month that increased (or decreased) traffic, and how we’ll keep improving as we move ahead.
Collaborations and projects: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it also wasn’t built by one person (that’s right Romulus, I said it). We know that we’ll be working with others along the way, and I’ll tell you who we collaborated with, how they helped us, how we helped them, and how much fun we had doing it.
Family Impact: Finally, I’ll be sharing how running this blog as a business is effecting our lives in a more personal sense. There will be increased workload for Dannie and me. I expect that sharing our lives like this will create some new tensions, and also bring us closer together. Not all of our goals are financial, so if it is bringing us great joy or sorrow, I’ll try to share that too as far as our sense of privacy will allow.
Taking the first step is priceless, so in the month of July we either improved by 0% or infinity%, depending on how you look at it. Check back next month for the first report with real data and real comparisons. And to those of you who have been following us all along, thank you so much for your support.