By now, most of you have heard the story of how I make money online, which allows me to work from anywhere. Over the last few years, I’ve built up a reputation as a Pinterest consultant, and I am slowly earning more and more through my blog itself as it grows, through avenues like display advertising, sponsored content, and affiliate sales.
To get all the details, you can check out this post where I’ve broken it all down into much greater detail.
But my story is just one example of how a location independent blogger can cobble together a full-time income, and with so many other stories out there, mine alone doesn’t even BEGIN to scratch the surface of what’s possible.
So I set out to get input from other bloggers living and working from around the world, hoping to have them answer just two simple questions:
“What’s your primary source of income, and how much does it earn you each month?”
But, being the generous people they are, most of the bloggers I talked to divulged much more information than that, revealing a veritable treasure trove of valuable advice for anyone who’s hoping to build a location independent lifestyle themselves.
As I’ve said many times before, one of the first things anyone should do if they hope to become location independent is set up your very own blog. Not only can the blog itself be monetized, but as many of these stories will prove, a blog will also act as a virtual springboard to a wide range of bigger and better opportunities.
So grab a coffee and get settled in, because your mind is about to be blown wide open with everything that these amazing go-getters are achieving! Even if you fancy yourself a seasoned pro at this whole “digital nomad” thing, you’re bound to find some inspiration here.
How 15 Location Independent Bloggers Make Money
Marissa Pedersen, Postcards to Seattle
I make the bulk of my money through doing social media management and being a virtual assistant. I’m in charge of social media for a health company and a travel app, with tasks including creating and scheduling their content for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. More advanced tasks include ad management and writing blog posts for each company.
I also am a virtual assistant to a variety of bloggers, from food bloggers to travel bloggers to pet bloggers. Any task they don’t want to do gets assigned to me, including fixing their SEO, cleaning out their inbox, or scheduling out their social media.
Being a virtual assistant earns me anywhere from $20-$30 an hour, depending how advanced the task I’m doing is. For being a social media manager, I get anywhere from $25-$40 an hour depending on the company. Newer start-ups typically don’t have as high of a budget, while more established companies have room to be flexible.
Bryanna Royal, Crazy Family Adventure
We have a virtual assistant business, Virtual Powerhouse, that focuses on social media, blogging, eNewsletters, website design and SEO (my husband does the last two). We also have a blog about how our family is living and traveling full-time in our RV with our 4 kids and 2 dogs.
My VA business brings in anywhere from $2,500 – $4,000 a month depending on my clients for the month. Since there is some freelance work involved it varies.
Heather Fergen, Hojo’s Life Adventures
I’m the blogger over at Hojo’s Life Adventures and Hojo’s Teaching Adventures. However, my “real” job is staying home with my toddler son (and preparing for baby number two, due in March).
The bulk of my home income comes from selling teaching resources online through stores on Teachers Pay Teachers and Educents (roughly $1,000/month).
I also make some money from ads ($20/month), affiliate sales ($40/month), my essential oil MLM ($20/month), and doing virtual assistant work for other bloggers and online entrepreneurs ($500/month).
So basically at the end of the month, my income averages nearly $1600/month, before expenses. With what we would pay for daycare, that’s another $500/month. (Yes, I count that–even if it doesn’t “really” count.)
Marie Edwards, Simple Happy Easy
My husband and I both work from home running a creative services company. He does all of the design and I do copywriting and client relations. We also have 3 kids that are home with us and I am the learning coach for my oldest who homeschools through connections academy.
In addition to those roles, I also have a blog of my own and I have a couple of VA (virtual assistant) clients. The bulk of my income comes from my copywriting and I make approximately $30,000/yr from that alone (this doesn’t include my husband’s income from design which is most of the company’s revenue).
I am hoping to grow my blog through affiliate marketing and digital products to a point where we can outsource all of the copywriting and I can spend all of that time with the kiddos. We really want to take them traveling and exploring the country. They are ages 2, 3.5 & 10 so we probably have another year before we are ready to get too far from home.
Rachel Jones, Hippie in Heels
My biggest income stream is always changing. It goes back and forth between brand partnerships and freelance writing. I write for a TV network’s blog about luxury travel, travel in the news, and celebrity travel (dream job, not sure how I landed it!), and when there’s nothing exciting going on in the news regarding travel I don’t earn as much, because I have no good ideas to pitch.
An example of a brand partnership would be when I worked with TripAdvisor in Sri Lanka or the Sheraton here in India. I promote for them on these trips through my blog and social media. These are higher paying (not your typical “sponsored post” that get emailed out all the time) but happen less often. I write more about how I earn an income on my blog.
I’ve been at this blogging game for 3 years now and still am not sure how it all works. I went to school for nursing! I am figuring it out every day and always learning from my mentors and by reading every article on blogging that pops up in my Bloglovin’ newsfeed!
Dave Brett, Travel Dave UK
When I noticed that I’m getting asked over a hundred times on Twitter, Facebook or by email the same question, this allows me to have a good reason to write an eBook on that subject and turn that constant email into an easy solution freeing up my time and offering an exchange in payment for my time as well.
An eBook is a product of value that you’re offering to your audience in exchange for payment–that’s a fair trade.
Writing an eBook is a wonderful writing adventure that you can set yourself. Here’s the scoop: Your First Ebook will be extremely difficult, but it will be the one you will be most proud of. Once you’ve climbed your first mountain the rest of them will be easier and this is the same for eBooks.
Once you’ve learned the ropes for your first eBook and created the template and worked out how to set it up and format, the worst part for future books is already done making the process rather straightforward.
The great thing about an ebook is once it’s put together and self-published, that’s it–sit back, relax and let the sales come in passively. The more ebooks you write, the more sales you will create. Estimated earnings: $100 a month per book (passive income).
Ali Garland, Travel Made Simple
I run a travel site aiming to help new travelers plan their trips. I write tour reviews, packing tips, planning tips, etc. I get anywhere from 110,000 to 150,000 page views a month. Here’s how I earn the bulk of my money each month, numbers in US dollars:
$1,100-$1,200: advertising from AdThrive
$100-$200: advertising from Google AdSense
$350-$700: Amazon affiliate commission
I have a chart that shows the carry-on limits for more than 150 airlines around the world, and it is by far the most popular page on my site. Since it has to do with carry-on packing, I have a few carry-on sized suitcases shown and linked to Amazon, so often people buy luggage through my affiliate links. But because of how Amazon works, people buy a wide variety of other things too, often not travel-related at all.
$0-$150: Other affiliate programs. I have affiliate links to tour companies, flight and hotel booking sites, and a bunch of other travel sites. Most of it comes from the Viator affiliate program.
So total from my blog, I average about $1,800 a month. I also have a contract with another blogger as her assistant blog manager, and I write a couple articles a month plus do a lot of behind the scenes things, like upload guest posts, format posts, make images in Canva, etc. And I occasionally do some freelance writing. I didn’t include income from these sources since they’re not tied to my blog and they’re much smaller than what I earn from my blog.
Natalie McKee, Wherever You Call Home
I’m 22 and a young wife who moved to Scotland with her husband who is getting his master’s degree. I just graduated from college in May, but I earn a full-time income to support us from my freelance work and some babysitting. I work about 35 hours/week.
My monthly breakdown:
Writing/Social Media/Google Analytics Reporting/Email Newsletter creation for a marketing company from my hometown: $700
Virtual Assistant for two blogs (this includes everything from writing posts, to creating them in WordPress, to scheduling them, to creating Pinterest images, etc.): $1670
Babysitting four hours/week: $195
Plus, my “one-off” projects earn me anywhere from $0 to $500/month, but they vary from month to month. These projects have included everything from creating Pinterest images, researching and writing blog posts on tax policy, and writing for a local newspaper where I formerly interned.
My blog is a fairly new endeavor (2 months!) and so far I’ve earned a whopping $3.67 from some affiliate sales. And of course, all of this except the babysitting allows us to live location independent–I picked up and moved across the Pond and still work for people from back home in Massachusetts.
Diana Edelman, D Travels ‘Round
My primary income stream comes from my consulting. I work with conscious lifestyle brands to help tell their stories via social media, copywriting, ghostwriting and public relations.
I am also a freelance writer and contribute regularly to Las Vegas’s top weekly lifestyle magazines and other online publications. Aside from that, I run a Las Vegas-based vegan lifestyle website that offers restaurant consultation to gain and reach a vegan audience.
Otherwise, I have passive income from ads on my websites. I use Google Ads but don’t tend to make anything from that. I’m also an Amazon affiliate and make a tiny bit through that. Largely, though, my income comes from the actual work I do for clients. I make enough to live in the States, but know my money would go much further in other places, like Thailand.
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, Making Sense of Cents
I make the bulk of my earnings through affiliate marketing. I earn around $50,000 a month through affiliate marketing on Making Sense of Cents. Most of the items I promote are related to personal finance, making money at home (such as courses), and some lifestyle products.
Want to earn more through affiliate marketing? Michelle reveals her incredible affiliate marketing strategies in her course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
Caroline Vencil, Cow Country Housewife
I’m making around $2,000 per month from my blog alone. In the past, it’s been mostly ad income, but now I’m adding in affiliate income thanks to Michelle’s course!
My favorite non-blogging sources on income are Swagbucks, Usertesting, and Bestmark. I make $25 per month at least from Swagbucks, $30-40 per week with Usertesting, and $40-80 every 2 weeks with Bestmark.
TJ Lee, CupofTJ
I’m a travel blogger & vlogger, my channel is CupofTJ. While there’s affiliate linking my camera equipment and monetizing my videos with Google Ads, that doesn’t make much at all!
To supplement my travels I pick up photography clients on the way, taking everything from professional photos to their Tinder glam shots. Almost all of my clients are digital nomads, remote workers, and entrepreneurs. A shoot can go from $50 – $270 depending on the time and needs.
I’ve also recently expanded into video services, creating video introductions, interviews, and courses. This can range from $15 per small edits to $3000 for a whole course production.
Leah Shoup, Gringa Journeys
Currently, I work as an independent contractor for two different translation agencies, allowing me to work from home. I am a native English speaker, while Spanish is my second language, so I always translate from Spanish to English. It’s a bit of a rule of thumb in the field that you mainly want to translate into your native language. As a native speaker of English, I’ll always have an advantage as far as intuition over someone who speaks English as a second language.
Translators are typically paid per word, so earnings vary from country to country depending on what is the acceptable amount to charge per word. Since I’m relatively new to the field (I’m 24), I charge anywhere from about 15-25 cents per word. You determine the price from the number of words from the original Spanish document as the length of the document decreases by about 10% after its translation into English.
Many people are able to break into the translation field without a specific degree in the subject; however, I wanted to feel the most prepared possible. After graduating with a B.A. in Spanish, I completed an M.A. in Translation and Interpreting Studies from Wake Forest University. The advantage of having the degree is that many agencies do not require me to have some of the other requirements (such as ATA certification) that they would ask from someone without a Master’s.
It’s important when deciding to become a translator that you find a niche. For example, maybe you have certain knowledge in law or medicine that allows you to understand some of the field-specific language that would be used in a document. In my case, I work mainly with research studies that are going to be published in academic journals. Particularly, I receive a lot of social sciences work as that is where I feel the most comfortable when it comes to the field-specific language.
As I’m just starting out in translation, I earn approximately $2,000/month by working remotely. I receive my translations mainly from translation agencies, but sometimes it is also possible to find extra work on the side using sites such as Upwork.
Ricky Figueroa, Launch ROI
My primary income source is my online course, The Smart Blog Funnel. However, a couple of months ago, I closed it down in order to work on my new funnels, sequences, and re-launch of the site.
The course generated $38K+ in the 15 days it was open before I closed it down. Once I closed the doors, I had no income. My next month was $0. The next month after that (October) the site generated $783 in affiliate earnings exclusively.
Anyone who see those numbers might say, “Wow! $38K in 2 weeks!” But the reality was that I worked my butt off for 8 months straight to get that course done. When I launched it… it did well, but like a wise person said once, “It is not how much money you make, it is how much you keep and most importantly, what you do with what you keep matters even more.”
My debt after the launch overshadowed the results I created ($38K) by far. It was a good start, but it made me question myself and the process. This is why I decided to start fresh from scratch. I changed everything regarding my site, funnels, email marketing approach, the name of the site from BlogLaunchInsider.com to LaunchROI.com, etc.
So, although my business model allows me to be location independent I don’t feel that freedom yet, at a personal level.
So, as an example…
If I decided that I was going to travel to a different country every 3 months for 2 years, I must accomplish a few things before I do it:
- My site’s recurring monthly income must be 3-4 times higher than my monthly expenses.
- I must be 100% debt free or pretty close.
- I’ll have to make sure my Mother (who suffers from a condition that requires professional care, is taken care of.
Blogging, affiliate marketing and selling my own online courses allowed me to be location independent and travel all over Europe and the USA in the past–until I made some financial mistakes (hard lessons learned).
Which takes us to today.
Re-launching life and business in a smarter way and completely humbled by the lessons I experienced. I will be sharing the good and the ugly of growing an online business in my new blog.
Hannah Finch, StoryV Travel & Lifestyle
When I met my partner Dan whilst traveling in Thailand a few years back, he had been running a digital business (a popular website generating income through ads) which had been supporting his nomadic lifestyle for 5 years.
When we met, we decided to start our blog, StoryV Travel & Lifestyle to inspire and help others to travel more through teaching the strategies we were using. To begin earning an income from this site, we wrote our first eBook within the first few months of going live. Since then, I’ve rewritten half of it and released ‘edition 2’, because let’s face it, no-one likes their first book. We’ve tested a few different prices and settled on $7 because we use it as a ‘Tripwire offer’, testing the waters with our audience before offering our core product (a course coming soon).
We also do some affiliate marketing (where we promote other people’s products and earn a commission), sponsored posts (where companies promote their product or service within an article on our site), and I teach conversational English via Whatsapp.
With all of that said, our main source of income actually comes from our Brazil-based business, where we work alongside an amazing team of business partners and digital marketing experts. Here we partner with other digital product owners to scale their businesses through paid traffic (online advertising). We’re not an agency because we invest in each business, so instead of having lots of clients, we have a few select business partners.
Be sure to check out everyone’s blogs for even more info and inspiration!
Featured image credit: Rachel Jones. This post contains affiliate links.