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Ever wanted to find out how one goes about living a digital nomad lifestyle? Maybe you wanted to live a digital nomad lifestyle yourself but had no idea where to start? Ditching the 9 to 5 and going full digital nomad sounds pretty good to me! Read on to find out how one college girl is doing exactly that and preparing for her digital nomad future.
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This is a guest post written by Coco Dale of BlogDarling. BlogDarling helps other girls build their own blogging biz.
Why a Digital Nomad Lifestyle?
Everyone always says that college is the time to figure out what you want to do with your life. Growing up, I never dreamed of following a certain career path, like becoming a doctor or lawyer or teacher. Entering college at eighteen, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I just decided to pick a major and hope for the best.
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At the time, starting a business and becoming my own boss had never occurred to me. I had no idea what a “digital nomad” even was. And if you had told me that “blogger” was a real job, I probably would have laughed. I figured I would follow a normal career path of getting a job in business and climbing the corporate ladder.
For the first few years of my college career, I worked multiple internships, trying to figure out what I wanted to do. As an Information Technology major, I had the opportunity to intern at companies ranging from a tiny software start-up to a major media conglomerate to a multibillion-dollar soft drink company.
Although I gained a lot of experience, I quickly realized that the corporate life was not for me. I couldn’t stand sitting at a desk all day doing work I didn’t even enjoy. I didn’t like waking up freakishly early to beat rush hour traffic on my hour-long commute to work. And I found myself counting down the minutes until I could leave work every day.
I kept thinking, I’m barely even twenty, how am I going to do this every day for the next 40 years of my life?
Why I Decided to Start Blogging
With a little over a year left until graduating from college, I decided to start a blog.
I had been reading blogs for years—especially travel blogs because I love to travel. Reading about my favorite bloggers taking round-the-world trips inspired me. But I had no idea how they were able to travel nonstop or make a living from blogging.
Then I found some bloggers who blogged about how the made money online. They shared their blog income reports and money-making strategies. I read these blogs during every free second I had, learning as much as I possibly could. I soon realized that it was possible to earn a living as a blogger.
Blogging. Something that was fun, something that would allow me to travel the world, and something I actually enjoyed doing.
I finally started my blog, Blog Darling. I created it with the intention of documenting my own path towards becoming a full-time blogger/digital nomad and helping other girls to do the same. I started writing about blogging, social media, and monetization strategies.
Pretty soon, my blog began to take off. I started building an audience and making money from my blog. I was amazed. I decided to make it my goal to start earning a full-time income from my blog by graduation so I could work for myself and travel the world.
How Do I Make Money Blogging?
I started my blog with the intention of monetizing it right away. I actually started making money during my first month of blogging, although not a lot.
There are many ways to make money blogging, and most bloggers have multiple income streams.
Some of the most profitable ways to monetize your blog are:
- Affiliate marketing
- Selling digital products
- Offering services
- Sponsored posts
Right now, I make the most of my money from affiliate marketing. I make a few hundred dollars a month from my blog through affiliate marketing.
What exactly is affiliate marketing? Essentially, it is promoting a product or service on your blog and making a commission every time someone makes a purchase through your unique affiliate link.
For example, I am an affiliate for my blog’s web hosting provider, BlueHost. I included my affiliate link for them in a blog post I wrote about how to start a blog from scratch. Every time someone reads my blog post and decides to start their own blog and signs up with my link, I earn $65!
I am part of multiple affiliate programs. You can find affiliate programs that suit any blogging niche: fashion, travel, beauty, parenting, etc.
You might be wondering, how do you actually get people to click on your affiliate links and make a purchase?
Here are my top tips for effectively using affiliate links to earn money from your blog:
- Write helpful, valuable blog posts (how-to guides, product reviews, and list-style posts seem to do best) and include your affiliate links where relevant.
- Install the Pretty Links WordPress plug-in so you can track how many clicks you are getting on your affiliate links and see which are performing best.
- Create graphics for Pinterest with your affiliate products and link them directly to the sales page using your affiliate link (I use Canva to make my graphics).
- Start an email list for your blog and share your affiliate links with your subscribers (don’t be spammy though!).
- Offer a small incentive for people who purchase through your link—check that this is allowed first, though, because with some affiliate programs it isn’t!
- Only promote products you actually use and love. You want to build trust with your readers and it’s really obvious if you’re being disingenuous.
This is how I’ve found success with affiliate marketing, even as a new blogger.
My Plan to Work from Anywhere and Become a Digital Nomad
Right now, I am earning a few hundred extra dollars a month from my blog. As a college student, that extra money is awesome! But it’s not enough to live off when I graduate.
Over the next year, my plan is to scale my income from a few hundred dollars per month to at least $3,000 per month. Is that the same salary I would make if I got a fancy corporate IT job? No. But it’s enough to live and travel on, especially if I spend my time in cheaper destinations like Southeast Asia and Central America.
How do I plan to grow my blogging income?
- Work on creating popular blog posts that get continuous traffic and provide consistent income from affiliate links.
- Continue to grow my Pinterest account and get regular affiliate sales from there.
- Add another income stream within the next three months by putting ads on my blog (and work on getting more traffic to my blog, since advertising income is based on page views).
- Launch a digital product (most likely an ebook) within the next six months.
In addition to making money from my blog, I am saving and preparing financially to transition to the digital nomad lifestyle when I graduate. If I haven’t reached my goal of earning $3,000+ by the time I graduate, I want to have a nice reserve saved up.
Here are some things I am doing to save money and prepare financially:
- Working a regular part-time job 10 hours a week.
- Doing random side jobs like taking online surveys, participating in paid focus groups, baby-sitting, etc.
- Keeping a monthly budget (I just use Google Sheets for mine, but you can online programs like Mint or keep a paper budget).
- Using reward credit cards to earn thousands of airline miles and cash back rewards (always paying off my credit balance in full every month!)
- Starting a separate checking account for my travel fund and transferring extra money to it every month.
Hopefully, I will be running my blogging business from a beach in Thailand or a coffee shop in Budapest this time next year!
If you’re a college student (or anyone of any age!) dreaming of a life outside the 9-to-5 or wanting to live the digital nomad lifestyle, it’s definitely doable! There’s no reason to wait: go ahead and start that blog or biz you have been dreaming of, develop a plan and set actionable goals, and start chasing that life of freedom!
Want to pave the way for a future of financial freedom? Get loads of tips that I use every day to make extra money and save extra money as I prepare for mine!
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Tell us how you might be striving for a similar digital nomad lifestyle!? We would love to hear from you!
Who is BlogDarling?
Coco Dale is a college student studying Information Technology by day and an aspiring blogger by night. From New York, she dreams of traveling the world and becoming a full-time blogger and digital nomad. She writes about blogging, social media, and monetization strategies at www.blogdarling.co
You can follow Coco Dale on any of her social media here: