After visiting the killing fields in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, we were in two minds over what to do next.
Originally, the only reason we planned on heading into Cambodia in the first place was to visit both the killing fields and Ankor Wat in Siem Reap.
We decided that we would first head to Sihanoukville in the South, which was a 6 hour bus journey from Phnom Penh, and decide what to do next.
The Sihanoukville Office
For anyone that doesn’t know, Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s number 1 beach town.
White sandy beaches mixed with the warm waters from the Gulf of Thailand make it a very relaxed getaway location.
Yes, it’s very touristy but we’re not bothered about “going off the beaten track” like a lot of travelers harp on about the whole time. We go where we want to go and create our own experiences and memories – because that’s what travelling is after all – in our opinion anyways. (I digress)
Anyways, we found Sihanoukville to be chilled out and we quickly decided that we’d stay there for 2 weeks and concentrate on catching up with our online work and also to try and scale the business. We didn’t particularly like the place, but we were content to stay there and get our stuff done.
We found a really cool, modern cafe in the town which was open from 7am to 11pm which had extremely fast internet coupled with delicious coffee, so we made this our office for the two weeks.
We did feel a little bad about the decision to skip the magnificent Ankor Wat temples on this trip. The 15 hour bus trip from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap to visit the temples just wasn’t really appealing to us at all. Plus, we’ll get back to see them on another occasion I’m sure.
We really aren’t into temples at all either, and I know that Ankor Wat isn’t just any ordinary temple.
What We Wanted to Achieve
So we got stuck into our online world from the get-go.
We had 3 main objectives to target:
1. Catch up with a few current online projects
2. Scale up our content writing business
3. Figure out how to create niche mobile apps for the android market
We knew that to accomplish all three of these tasks would require a lot of manual time on our own part. We didn’t have any set amount of time to do all this either, we just worked when we wanted and for as long as we wanted.
In saying that, some days we spent 10 hours solid on the laptops. But it didn’t feel like work at all – especially when you consider that some days we worked at the pool and beside the beach watching beautiful sunsets.
Within 3 days we were pretty much back on track with all the stuff we’d to catch up on. This included invoicing clients for work completed, paying writers, sorting through current work orders, skyping some clients about future work, and scheduling up some blog posts for the blog.
Florence concentrated a lot on the niche mobile app task – which was no small feat let me tell you.
Without going into too much detail at this time, what this involves is creating small little apps for the Android Play store complete with ads that show up on certain pages.
This in turn generates money (how much depends on how many people download the app etc).
The inspiration for starting up a project like this came from a guy I know online who was telling me his story of how he’s currently making about $80 per day passively.
Passive-income in this sense means that he does nothing and still gets about $80 into his paypal each and every day (more on the weekends).
So this guy has set up about 60-70 of these small niche mobile apps and published them onto the play store. Each app can take anywhere from 40 minutes to 90 minutes to create. But the cool thing is that once you create them and set them up with adverts then they are done. No more maintenance required if you don’t want to touch them again.
It’s a “set and forget” system using an online platform.
Florence took it on her own bat to figure out all she could about the app creation platform and ended up developing 4 apps in the play store. She’s also in the process of showing me how to go about creating them.
Did she make any money from them yet? – Yes, a massive $0.20 in ad revenue! But the amount is not important. The key is that we now know how to go about finding niche mobile app opportunities and eventually scaling things up so that we can get to the $80 – $100 per day level. Some people are making crazy money from this biz, but we’re content knowing what we need to do in order to make it work for us.
Bagging an Extra $2000 Per Month from New Clients
The biggest win for us during our working trip in Sihanoukville came from finding 2 new clients for our writing business.
As most of you know, our main source of income comes from providing content to companies, businesses etc. We’ve a good few regular clients now that provide us with weekly/monthly orders all year round.
We wanted to scale things up after Christmas, but we didn’t realise that this would be very tough while backpacking constantly. Sketchy Wi-Fi connections and uncomfortable working conditions along the way don’t equate to very productive work sessions we’ve found.
So, the stop in Sihanoukville was the perfect opportunity to hit things up – hard!
We’d a few tails to follow and a couple of referrals to chase, so we tailored our pitch to suit each prospect and sent out a bunch of emails.
Within 2 days of sending the pitches out, we’d secured a couple of new clients for a profit of $2000 extra per month.
That’s an extra $500 per week, just from sending out a few follow-up emails and contacting a few companies that were suggested to me by other clients.
Ok, so it’s not a crazy amount of money, but it’s money that was lying on the table waiting to be picked up by someone.
We found out, that one client in particular was on the look out for a new content writer, so it was perfect timing on our end that we contacted that company when we did.
Suddenly our decision not to visit Ankor Wat turned into a money spinner for us.
If we decided to continue to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh and visit the temples, then we would not have contacted those clients.
There’s No Luck Involved in Getting Started Online
Those 2 weeks in Sihanoukville further reinforced the fact that there are just so many ways to make money online, there really is.
Up until 2 years ago, I thought that making a living online could only be achieved if you either got lucky or if you had some unique skill-set.
This is certainly not the case, and it’s not how I ended up getting involved in the online world. I did extensive research, used this travel blog to establish contact with other bloggers who are further up the food chain that I am, and took things from there.
The internet is still relatively fresh, and with the online opportunities to make money exploding right now, its never been a better time to get stuck in.
Remember that the inter web is here to stay for a very very long time!
A very inspirational guy online called Sean Ogle gives some solid advice when he says that in order to try and make a living online, you first need to establish a virtual presence in the form of a blog or something similar. It’s not critical, but it certainly helps when it comes to making money.
So, with a few extra clients on board our ship, we’re going to implement a system so that it takes care of the main workload for us, allowing us to continue to focus on scaling up the business further.
This line of work is always changing. You lose clients, you gain clients – but the end result is that you continue to generate income online so that it gives you the freedom to go anywhere you like, within reason of course!
Next Stop = Barcelona
Great post mate and congrats! Just goes to prove what money is out there. I’ve been to Angkor Wat, it’s a tad too touristy anyway so you made the right decision! You can always go back there someday. Safe travels, Jonny
Yeah Jonny, there’s definitely a lot of money floating about the place online. Hope you’d a good birthday and celebrated in style 😉 All set for the World Cup? We’ve no accommodation sorted yet…but sure as we say “Twill be grand” 🙂
This is really inspiring – awesome job guys! I also totally agree, there’s no luck involved in this, just hard work! We also tried to do something similar last year by not visiting Machu Picchu and renting an apartment in Arequipa in southern Peru to get work done instead, and it was definitely worth it: not $2000 kind of worth it, but…still!
Every bit counts in the end Sam 🙂 To be honest, we didn’t mind missing the temples anyways, but this little deal was definitely a nice treat as a result. Where about are ye now?
A great insight Carlo and congratulations on your various successes.
That change of location decision certainly paid off and I think those sort of $ numbers are not to be sniffed at.
I’ve heard about the apps revolution (shall we call it) and know that it can be a real money spinner if you hit a popular app.
I didn’t realise they were so quick to create and you seem to have a winning formula. If you can implement ideas quickly and effectively then it should be a good income stream for the next year or two. I guess apps like phones quickly become obsolete due to updates.
BTW, the city is spelled Angkor in the title. You missed the “g”. Otherwise, great article (:
Hey, thanks for sharing this. We’ve recently thought about trying to work online to free up some time to travel when and where we want. Can I ask where you managed to get your fist content writing gigs from? Was it specifically through your blog or did you use another platform?
Keep sharing you’re stories and inspiring us. We haven’t commented much but we love following your journey!
You’re welcome Janine and thanks for your kind words. 🙂 We haven’t been blogging much lately but we’ll pick it up in the new year as we’re enjoying having a base in Budapest right now with little travelling on the agenda.
We started out by contacting SEO companies in Ireland (where we’re from) to see if they needed help with their content writing. We actually didn’t use the blog at all and just contacted them on the merit that we were freelance writers who were looking to take on some extra clients.
Almost 4 years on, and we’re still writing for the very first company that hired us. If you contact enough companies in your local area, your email will be perfect timing for someone who’s looking to outsource their content and bammmm – offer to jump on a call if needs be and you’ll have your first client!
It’s a numbers game at the end of the day and if you reach out to enough people, you will get clients. Good luck with it! 🙂
I’m interested to know – did anything ever come of the niche apps your created or did this fall by the wayside? Would be interested to hear more about the platform you were using for this.
The apps, unfortunately, fell by the wayside!
We were using Pillar Apps and whilst it was very easy to use, we just scraped the surface and didn’t generate much traction in regards to money earned.
We haven’t tried to give it another go since our time in Cambodia but would be interested to hear if you get in on it and your progress. 🙂