Posted on November 22, 2014
I want to share some thoughts with all of you who are thinking about starting a blog or improving your online presence. Go for it, stay dedicated, but mind some lessons learned or challenges.
This is my story: My baby blog is 2 years old and I think that it deserves a little summary of the things that I learned in those 2 years of blogging. I started “Unboxing traveller” when I quit my office job in communications because I wanted to travel in South America. I thought that I might be a bit bored and lonely while traveling (not true) so it was a good idea to have a blog. I also thought that it would be beneficial to learn new skills during my career break (very true). I wanted to have an online diary of my thoughts and images that I could share with my family and friends (I have still some secrets). What I didn’t count with was the time invested into this hobby. I am happy that once in a while I survive the “lazy” crises and I continue developing this blog. It’s not really a source of my income, but it’s a good way how to communicate, express my thoughts, get feedback and learn new skills. It encouraged me to work as a freelance marketer and I believe in happy future 🙂
What is the goal of your blog? I was going to travel so there was no doubt about creating a travel blog. I knew though that I didn’t want to be a typical travel blogger who recommends places to stay and shares postcard photos. I believe that I stayed pretty authentic. Despite that I was invited on a press trip to Slovenia. It was hectic (and I heard from fellow travel bloggers that it always is), but the locals made me want to come to Slovenia again – and this time on my own ☺
Do you have a specific problem that you want to address? When I was looking for the niche of my blog, I was inspired by “unboxing” videos that I used to see at my old job. I worked for Sennheiser and I saw many videos where guys unboxed/reviewed different headphones. I thought: “I can do this! But for the local stuff I’ll find while traveling and support the local production.” I can say now, that I wish I would have been more focused on this idea. Although it’s really hard to produce quality videos on the move (technical quality and internet connection) I want to do better.
Do you have a content plan? I took my blogging and traveling seriously, so I decided to save even more money and invest in the technical equipment: MacBook Air, Canon 600D. I bought an iPhone, but that was stolen in Berlin. I bought a cheaper smartphone – HTC – and that was stolen in Chile. I stopped using smartphones. I am still very happy about my equipment and I just bought a GoPro camera. When it comes to online resources, my blog is built on WordPress and I have Facebook, Twitter and Youtube channel. I have Soundcloud too but I used it only once and I just started using SlideShare.
4. Help from friends
Who can help you? First big lesson learned was that people are nice and they are willing to help a friend who is starting a blog ☺ I’m talking especially about Matze from Berlin, Eva (http://malydizajnblog.sk) from Slovakia and Kate from Australia. Matze helped too choose the template of the blog and set it up in FTP (I still don’t know what that is 🙂 Eva is a respected graphic designer and she has always some inspiring tips and she can write nicely on maps 🙂 Kate helped me to fine-tune the “About me” section, because she is a native speaker. Thanks for that guys! I’m happy to give back and in the long run I am ready to outsource help – for money.
Which format works for you? I like to write! I forgot about that at the university because we had to work on some theoretical and boring projects. Later on I didn’t have time to write. Or I didn’t make it a priority. This is another big lesson learned. If you want to have a blog where you actually write – you have to write and do it regularly. Or you can choose another format like photo, video or quotes…
How can you make it visually attractive? Oh man. I liked photography before, but I had no idea that I loved it until I started to play with my Canon 600D. I started following more and more photographers and be inspired about the places where to go next. I have a new dream and that is to work with a known photographer and access places where people usually don’t get to. Chris Burkard hire me! ☺
7. Meeting people/Networking
Are you ready to meet new people? Blogging helps to meet people and grow your network. I can say today that my network is more diverse and includes people who are like me. It’s great to be inspired and inspire others who want to have a similar lifestyle. I met with some travel bloggers that I used to follow for a long time (Ben from Hasta Alaska), some people who knew me from my blog met me. I started doing presentations about travel and digital nomad lifestyle. Exciting times!
8. Smile, smile, smile
Do you like to smile? I hope that this blog brought some smiles to you – the readers or viewers of my Youtube channel. It brought smiles to me because it’s something that I enjoy to do. Especially the video from Nicaragua that I made in cooperation with Madula was a great experience. I believe that when we do something from our heart it will create a smile and it will bring us success. Sooner or later.
9. Staying in touch
Do you enjoy to share? My mom joined Facebook to follow my page and spy a bit (Ok, not true hehe). I was her only friend for 2 years. She is one of the regular people who like my stuff, but she is too shy to comment. My dad comments a lot. What I want to say is that I didn’t make this project to get thousands of likes and pay for advertising. I appreciate every like and comment and I am aware of every unlike of my page (less selfies!). Funny thing is that when I come home from my trips, my parents don’t even ask me about what happened while I was gone. My friends say: “Oh, you were in Istanbul yesterday. How is it possible that you are here today?” Well, it’s an online miracle ☺
Do you have a strong mind? Like with everything, I realized that I had to stay focused to produce a quality blog. It makes me frustrated once in a while because I can get distracted. I would love to post a quality blog post once a week and create great videos. But it takes time. And time is about priorities. I decided to focus more on writing in the next 6 months. I will see where it brings me and I hope that it will bring me towards my first book.
11. Entrepreneurial mindset
What’s your lollipop? I was 7 years old when I traveled for the first time to Spain (obviously not alone). I discovered” Chupa Chups” lollipops. They had cola flavor and nothing like that existed in Slovakia that time. It painted my tongue blue! WOW! Gap on the market ☺ I risked it, used my “birthday” money and I bought 100 lollipops to bring them back to Slovakia. For a little margin, I sold them to my class mates ☺ I regret that there was no internet, no e-shops and no blogs. I could have been a lollipop start-up entrepreneur! Every action produces a reaction. Once entrepreneur – forever entrepreneur. Although I forgot about my childhood skills when I was teenager and a university student, blogging reminded me of these skills. Blogging helps to open new doors in your life and make you think: What’s my lollipop? How and to who can I sell my products or services?
Are you ready to swim? When I surfed in El Salvador this year I took a decision: I don’t want to go back to some office. I’ll rather create my own office and ideally somewhere on the beach. I just didn’t know how to do it. Everything happens for a reason. I met Ale from San Salvador who recommended different online platforms for people who work online. I realized that thanks to my work and blogging experience, I could offer my knowledge and services. That’s my opportunity: “I help small entrepreneurs internationally to build their marketing plans, launch products and improve their online presence.” I believe that you can spot your opportunity too.
13. Thank you
Do you want to give some value to people who you never met? Congratulations that you made it to this point! I am so happy that I met you, via this blog post, via my blog. Or when we traveled together. Or when we studied or worked together. I would like to thank you for your interest, smiles, likes, shares or comments. I promise to be a better blogger, give you valuable content and I hope to meet you again ☺ In case you want to connect here is my email: firstname.lastname@example.org