We’ve all heard the quote ‘If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life right? When it comes to travel, this is no different! You can turn holidays into money-making opportunities and eventually turn your job into a holiday!
So in this article, my goal is to answer the question of how to get paid to travel by focusing on the business side of being an influencer, which is what I have been doing for the past 4+ years.
In this blog post, we will talk about
- Owning your own business
- Knowing your business
- The steps to bringing money into your business
- Committing to your business
- How I used these steps to build the Wanderlover
Let’s get into it!
1. OWN your own business
Becoming a travel influencer and getting paid to travel is going to be your business. That’s really the mindset that we have to adopt. It’s not a hobby. It’s not something you do occasionally. It’s something that’s yours, it’s YOUR personal brand. You have to live it and breathe it every single day and really put your intentions and values in.
You also need to own your brand and represent it consistently across many different platforms. From social media to websites to podcasts. You can check out The Wanderlover Podcast as an example! The more people see you and your brand, the more relevant you are. Content on these platforms also needs to be updated regularly so that you can keep your audience engaged.
2. Know your business
When you are creating content, it has to be for your audience and it has to be sustainable. You need to be engaging with and providing value to your audience so they can know, like and trust you.
This makes it easier when you start working with brands because you have already developed an audience that trusts what you say.
In turn, this creates better results and your business provides the brand with incredible conversions. Therefore increasing the value of YOUR brand and the value of YOUR offerings.
This is the business side behind being paid to travel. You need to always be thinking “What value can I offer in this business?” This can be your influence, content creation, or any other means of providing a brand with a service they need. This is why follower count doesn’t matter because there are so many other ways that you can offer value to a brand without having to just take a photo and promote it.
Even if you’re not entirely sure what you can offer at this moment, really get to know who it is that you want to be working with and do your research. See what they’re struggling with and come in with a proposal.
3. Bring money into your business
Money flow is actually a surprisingly easy process that can be broken down into four steps.
The 4 steps to bringing money into your business are:
- Lead generation
- Offering products and services
When applying this to your influencer business and your personal brand, you need to be constantly focusing on one of these four steps at all times in order for your brand to grow, be sustainable and monetize so that you can reinvest it into your business with collaborations.
So to break this down. When you’re working with a hotel or a brand, your services really help them with lead generation because it boosts the exposure of their brand so that they can reach even more people. And with that in mind, that is where your value proposition should lie, because this is how you can help brands reach even more people which will, in turn, help you with nurturing, help you sell your products and services, and therefore make more money in the end. If we apply this to our own influencer business, you really need to make sure that you have all of these four steps in order to work with hotels and brands and be focusing on all of them.
Let’s break these four steps down into more detail.
This is where all of your systems come in. This is your website, your workflows, your Instagram, your social media and all the places where you reach more and more people and more and more brands.
Then you nurture these brands / your audience by building relationships with them. The more you nurture the brands / your audience, the more they know, like, and trust you, the more you can sell your products and services.
Products and Services
Whatever the value proposition (products or services) is that you offer your audience, clients or brands, it should be packaged. You should have a rate card, you should have it ready to go so that when your client comes to you, you know exactly what you offer and how much to charge.
Whilst sometimes clients may need slightly different services depending on their need and you can reflect these changes in your package and rates, having foundational packages and rates helps with clarity and efficiency.
Last but not least have your payment gateways ready. Whether you pay through PayPal or Stripe, make it super easy for someone to book with or buy from you and to get that money into your business. Payment and income is how you’re going to get more and more momentum to continue creating, to continue sharing and growing your brand.
4. Commit to your business
This may seem obvious, but having the mindset to continue creating and persevering in your business is what will ultimately make it successful. It can be especially hard in the influencer industry because it is so easy to compare and so easy to be disheartened by social media metrics. But social media is a highlight reel and metrics fluctuate. Your worst performing post could be followed by the post that goes viral and sells out your product or service.
You will only know what success comes next, if you don’t give up.
How I used these 4 steps to grow The Wanderlover
My business started as an Instagram travel repost page which I then turned into a personal travel account. I was about to go on a holiday to Rome and the account had around 10,000 followers. I do just want to say now that this follower amount didn’t matter. It could have been 100 or 100,000 followers and later I will explain why!
I really wanted to try my luck on my trip to Rome and work with a hotel. So I crafted an email template and made it super clear what I could offer the hotels in exchange for three nights stay. I researched every hotel and offered customised value to each hotels’ needs. I still use this is the same template to this day for all of my travel collaborations and it is available in The Travel Influencer Handbook
However, even if you do the best research in the world, and have an incredible pitch and offering, you are still relying on chance that your email reaches a brand at the exact time they need your services. This is where it really is a numbers game. So in the beginning, it is a lot of outreach. Perhaps 98% outreach and maybe 2% of people were reaching out to me. That is totally okay, this is how you start.
That first time I pitched hundreds of hotels. I knew if I just sent a hundred emails, someone had to respond, right? Someone had to need the service that I was offering them and one of these emails should succeed. And that is what happened. So this is step one; lead generation. I had to have as many leads as possible.
The hotel that responded to me didn’t have the budget to hire a photographer. By offering photography services in exchange for a collaboration I was giving them value by providing content they could use for Marketing. This is why followers don’t matter because the service you provide doesn’t have to be tied to your followers or influence.
When we arrived at the hotel I was very professional. I wanted to nurture my relationship with the hotel so that my brand, The Wanderlover, would have a good reputation to help build my image and secure future collaboration opportunities.
I spent so many hours of that stay shooting. We photographed every single detail in the hotel. We photographed pictures with me in it, without me in it. Photos to use on my Instagram, photos to use on their website. At night we even photographed every single person that was staff there. I over-delivered because that was my first collaboration and I wanted it to be amazing. I wanted them to remember me for the value I provided and recommend me to other brands.
I delivered all the edited content to them within 14 days. This is what we had agreed upon in the contract which we had both signed. I highly, highly, highly recommend sending a contract because it holds you accountable and it has clear definitions of what both parties expectations are. If you want a sample contract this is also in The Travel Influencer handbook.
Fast forward to now, I am the co-founder of a sustainable jewellery line. When I am choosing influencers to work with, I look for this professionalism and dedicated energy to represent my brand. Again, this is why nurturing your relationships and establishing your reputation is VERY important.
As an influencer one thing that you learn over time is understanding what brands align with YOUR brand. When you work with aligned brands you will see better conversions because it matches with what your audience wants to see from you. It’s why they follow you. This is important to be able to maintain your audience relationships as well as provide value to the brand.
But sometimes you may sometimes work with a brand that doesn’t necessarily align with what you represent. That is okay, in the beginning you don’t even know what your brand alignment is. You may also be looking for the exposure or experience that a brand is offering, so it is worth taking it on.
At the beginning I felt confused on my alignment. I remember being offered to work with a treadmill company and I was like ‘I mean, I’m into fitness. I know this is a travel page, but this is like a really, really nice treadmill. And I know that I can create awesome content for that. So I’m going to take it on’. Years later I look back on that and think ‘Hmm, I could have maybe done without it’. But at the same time, I wouldn’t have gotten that treadmill. So it really depends. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to really make the perfect decision at every point of your business, because that will never happen.
After years and years of nurturing relationships with aligned brands and providing them value, your reputation grows exponentially. Your connections grow, your feedback and testimonials grow and more and more people are will reach out to you. A Balinese hotel that I had contacted and collaborated with years ago, saw that I was coming to Bali and this time they reached out to me and offered to collaborate with me again.
So be nice to everyone and deliver the best quality content. Even if you think you’re never going to see them again, you still want to be over-delivering because you never know how it can turn into a job or a relationship in the future.
I hope I have shifted your mindset on how to approach working with brands and getting paid to travel. It’s not just taking pretty photos, you’re really building your business out of it. You want to be carrying yourself in a way that’s professional and that’s receptive to a lot of money coming into your business, all in an aligned way.
If you have any more questions, feel free to DM me. I can’t wait to hear about your dreams, how you’re going to achieve them and your success!
Ready to get started? Download The Travel Influencer Handbook where I show you step by step how to get paid to travel