When we left Ireland back in July 2013 to pursue our work/travel dream – I knew that the road would be an uncertain and rocky affair. In order to make a full time income online it takes a lot of work. Yeah, it can get easier as time goes on, but initially it’s tough going. The uncertainty that goes with being your own digital boss is both extremely rewarding and frustrating.
What Do We Do Online?
We often get asked what it is we do online – or more to the point; how do we make money.
It’s not complicated at all, but for those of you who’ve little experience of how the Internet game works, I’ll try and explain it as best I can.
Ok, so there’s a saying that the online digital community refers to quite a lot – “Don’t put all your eggs in the one basket”.
This is a very, very important concept when you seek a full time pay cheque online. Rather than having just one business (I’m talking freelance businesses here by the way), it’s best to have multiple streams of income.
Obviously when you’re starting out, it doesn’t make sense to spread yourself thin and try loads of different ideas. It’s best to test one idea at a time and then if it’s profitable – you build it up and scale it if possible.
So that’s exactly what we did.
Back to The Start
Let’s rewind back to the end of 2012 for a min, back to when I created my first online income stream.
I always knew that there was plenty of ways to make a living working online, the trouble was – I’d little knowledge of Internet marketing or anything related to Internet terminology.
But I did have a massive passion for learning whatever was necessary to get a foot in the door and try to make something work.
That’s when I started to wonder if there was ‘real’ money to be made from travel blogging or any other form of Internet writing. Building a business from just writing seemed too good to be true back then and something that I thought could never provide a sustainable income.
I was very wrong.
To make a very long story short, I found a website called Location180, talked to loads of online entrepreneurs and decided to start contacting companies offering to write blogs posts for them. The reason behind this was that I was already writing loads of articles for this blog and not getting paid a penny, so I figured why not write for someone else and see if I can get paid for it.
So over the following weeks I started getting a few clients here and there and I was writing posts about washing machines, mouse traps, cruise ship holidays, machine guns…you name it.
The topics were diverse and very interesting for the most part. At that stage I was getting $5 per 500 words, which wasn’t great, but when you’re trying to build something from the ground up – you’ve got to roll up the sleeves and get the elbow grease out.
It was during this time (early 2013) that Florence and myself decided that we were going to move to Thailand – specifically Chiang Mai, in order to take a CELTA course and teach English. We both wanted to live abroad and obviously travel as much as possible. So teaching English was the perfect solution for us.
Florence wasn’t entirely keen on the idea of teaching English initially but she came around gradually. We had our spot in the CELTA course accepted and we were set for starting that July and we’d our flights booked to Bangkok.
However by mid-April – the writing biz had really taken off and I’d a decent chunk of recurring clients under my wing all looking for blog posts and other types of content. They were satisfied with the service I was providing them and I was extremely happy being able to make a few grand a month from sitting in front of my laptop.
I remember one day in particular that month – I’d made $300 by 3pm and decided to text Florence to let her know the good news. She was working in a crèche at the time. It was that moment when I told her the news that she realised that the whole online thing was a definitely possibility.
The following day we put our teaching English plans to the back of our minds and focused on building up the writing business.
Fast forward to today and we’re still heavily involved in the content production business. In fact – we’ve two separate writing businesses (not keeping all the eggs in the one basket remember?) both of which provide companies and businesses with content. In addition to this we also make money from a few niche sites and our travel blog.
Our income fluctuates from month to month, but being wise with the money we make has meant that our savings are still intact and we are travelling around the world using the money that we make online.
We’ve also published our first EBook last month – which was never meant to be a money spinner, but the idea is to eventually publish a few more books down the line which should add to the income stream.
Our focus over the next few months is to grow our savings. Moving forward, we’re working on three new projects that will launch in early 2015 that will hopefully diversity things even more for us.
As with all freelance businesses – your monthly income is unpredictable. Some months you can make a killing while others you’re just making enough to get by. Initially this was a major psychological hurdle for us to come to terms with.
What we’ve learned though is that it’s normal. The nature of the online freelance beast means that nothing is certain. You’ve got to hustle and keep the finger on the pulse to make sure that your empire withstands the bad months.
Most people need the security of a solid pay cheque at the end of each week or month – and that’s perfectly fine. It’s the way the world functions.
However, the online game is different. Your income will fluctuate like the line on a heart monitor from month to month and this is the part of the location independent lifestyle that puts many people off. The amount of work you put in doesn’t always equate to the money you get out.
Making the decision to go fully location independent was pretty easy for us. The freedom it gives with time far outweighs the money side of things and that’s what we love about it.
Yes, we’re concerned with making as much money as we can in the process. I’ve been asked, what will happen if the whole online thing goes bust? If it does then we’ll try and make a go of it again online – failing that we will try something else.
Better to have tried and failed that to have failed to try.
Anything is Possible Online
Anyways, the point I’m trying to make in the post is that it’s possible to make a living online. Once you really see how vast the internet is in regards to various possibilities of making money then things become real.
We have good friends who are in the process of making a life for themselves from the comfort of their laptops. Some of them do exactly what we are doing – providing content for businesses. Others sell ebooks online on the likes of Shopify, Ebay and Amazon, selling advertising on their websites and a few are publishing Ebooks full time. Writing ebooks and selling them online is a very viable way of making a sustainable income.
The possibilities are there to be explored.
The online lifestyle is not for everyone – that’s for sure. However, if you think it’s something you’d be interested in trying out, then let nothing stop you.
Just before we left home in 2013, Florence didn’t even own a laptop – let alone know how to do most of the stuff she does online nowadays. Today you’ll find her designing mobile apps, writing ebooks, creating digital newsletters and managing social media accounts for various companies on her MacBook.
Don’t let inhibitions prevent you from getting started online. Figure out what type of business you’d like to start up and then go from there.
If you’d like any info about something in particular relating to working online then pop us an email or message us here.