– You wanna travel the world and get paid? (audience gasps) You’re living in a fantasy, buddy. Yeah, no they’re not. It’s actually more accessible today than it’s ever been. Yeah, maybe if you’re like me and have your dad’s hedge fund money.
Actually, no. You really don’t need that much money saved up. Anyone can do it but you will need to work very hard.
You gotta be willing to sell your soul to the highest bidder. My name is Christian.
If you don’t already know who I am, I’ve been making travel videos for a few years now and one of the incredible things about it is that it allows me to be anywhere in the world and to call it my job. Yes, I get to call traveling, meeting new people, and making great money my job.
It’s definitely a incredible situation I never really saw myself falling into, especially going back four years ago where the story started as a broke backpacker with just a GoPro. I always saw travel and work as two very polar opposite things.
You’re either making money at work or you’re traveling and losing money.
But the incredible thing about this career is that it takes that equation and it completely disregards it. By traveling, I make money, and therefore, this travel lifestyle becomes sustainable and profitable. Today, I’ll be sharing with you 10 things that will allow you to make money as a travel influencer. Whether you wanna do photography, videography. I’ll be sharing my own personal anecdotes, experience, as well as sharing some stories from friends who have also been able to call this their job.
Point number one and listen up closely because this one is very important. You can do it. Anyone can be here siting in this chair right now, calling themselves an Instagrammer, a YouTuber, whatever it is that floats your boat, that could be your career. I want you to put yourself in my shoes, where I was four years ago. I had nothing more than a backpack on my back.
I had about $3,000 in my bank account, I had a GoPro Hero4 Silver, I had never in my life been to film school, I had never in my life learned about YouTube, never been taught that you could actually make a penny on Instagram, and I really didn’t know what I was doing.
But, one thing I did discover on that trip was that I loved to travel and I loved to make videos. Hello. And welcome to my channel. That is how my journey started.
Very humble beginnings, no real direction, no real skill, but what I did have, what I made up for on every other front was a burning passion for what I wanted to do.
I was ready to hustle until I was able to make it happen and that’s exactly what I did. Today, I now have over 10 revenue streams that allow me to get paid even when I’m on the road. This path was not given to me and it was not given to anybody else you follow and admire on social media. This is a business for those who hustle, those who work late into the night, early into the mornings, those who don’t give up when they don’t get paid, those who don’t quit when they don’t get views.
This is for those who are ready to grind and hustle. If you think that’s you, then keep watching. And if you don’t think it’s you, please keep watching. I really can’t afford my retention rate to drop. Now, let’s get into point number two and that is going to be the importance of keeping your costs low.
Let’s get ready to hustle and ball out on a budget. As I mentioned before, when I started my travels, I really didn’t have that much money saved up. And every single day I was on the road, I was basically eating into my savings. I knew that if I was gonna make YouTube videos and Instagram photos, I was gonna need as much time as I could to create good content.
So how could I stretch that limited money?
One of the main ways to do that is to reduce your costs. Reduce the overhead of hotels, of food, of activities. How do you do that? When I first started, one of the best ways I was able to keep my costs low was door knocking. I was going hostel to hostel to hostel, sometimes 10 hostels in a row would flat out say, “No, we’re not willing to give you a free bed,” but the 11th one would eventually say yes and that would be the place where I would stay for two to three nights.
Right there, I took care of one of my biggest expenses as a nomad, which is my accommodation. If I knew I was gonna go to an island I wanted to do an island tour or I needed the ferry, well then I would try to contact different companies that would allow me to feature their service in exchange for a free ticket.
Again, I was able to keep creating my content while keeping my costs as low as possible for every single video, for every single Instagram photo, and that is how you need to keep yourself afloat during the early stages.
You’re gonna have to make sacrifices, you’re gonna have to say no to getting drinks with dinner, eat street food, knock on hostel doors, keep costs as low as possible. I wanna share with you an account who you should definitely go check out after this.
His name is Chris Lau. I consider him my first ever Patreon success story. Patreon is where I have my behind the scenes community where there’s filmmakers, there’s travel influencers who are trying to make this their living.
And it’s where I share all my information. I highly recommend you check it out after this.
Christ took all the information he learned through my Patreon, as well as his background in sales and he basically has become a free accommodation monster. Everywhere he goes, he’s been able to leverage his 10,000 followers. Now at like 22,000 followers on Instagram to get himself free stuff all over the world.
From five start hotels to free meals, he’s been able to even treat me to a couple free meals because he contacted those companies in advance. Chris embodies hustling to keep costs low and I have so much respect to him.
The next point is diversify your income sources. So, as I mentioned at the beginning of this video, I now have like over 10 income sources that allow me to make a great living.
Maybe I didn’t get as many views on YouTube that month, or maybe I didn’t have as many visits to my Shopify store. It tends to even out because there’s 10 of them and so I’m not heavily relying on any of them. It gives you a lot more financial security.
I’m gonna talk about what my revenue sources are as well as some other revenue sources that my friends are using.
I’m not gonna give them to you in the particular order of importance, but let’s start off with the first one and that’s right now the ad revenue that’s being earned by this video and basically every other monetized video on my channel. Right now, I’ve been averaging two point five to three million views every single month and that actually adds up into a pretty nice paycheck every month.
Now another income source is my products that I sell through my Shopify store. I have a Philippines travel guide, Thailand travel guide, Peru travel guide, I have a guide on how I edit my travel videos so if you’re curious about any of those, again, they’re linked down below.
This is how I make my living. Those four products, once they were made, they become passive income.
So every single time I make a sale, there’s no real cost because e-products don’t have inventory. You basically just have a protected asset that you send off to somebody when they bought the rights to it. It’s a fantastic way to make a living, especially for those of you that do develop your own communities and have people that trust your authority on a certain subject.
Another income source that’s really not that relevant to me these days is my merchandise. I’m not selling that many t-shirts, in fact, I never even push it in my videos.
For me, it’s not the biggest but for some YouTubers, it can actually be their primary income source. Another one is my affiliate linking. So basically, if you go to the bottom of every YouTube video, you’ll find out exactly where I get my YouTube music.
Anytime somebody signs up for Epidemic Sounds, then I actually get a small little bonus from that signup.
For me, it’s one of my favorite income sources because I’m basically getting paid to promote the service I love and use every single day. If you’re looking for YouTube music, you don’t want copyright claims, you want your videos monetized, then check it out. Another one that I’ve started using recently is StoryBlocks and it’s where I’m able to get stock footage from drone footage, et cetera. Anything that I need to fill in the gaps in my video and I also have an affiliate signup through them.
Another one is Patreon and again, my Patreon is my behind the scenes community to all the business side, the travel side, it’s where I share in-depth information. And one of my biggest advices to anyone who’s considering using Patreon as a means to make a paycheck, never treat it as a charity case. Do not ask people to donate just because they already get your content for free on YouTube.
That’s not a very compelling reason and you might get backlash. I know that from experience.
What I recommend is always coming up with a value proposition. What is somebody gonna get out of joining Patreon? Why should somebody pay that two dollars a month to be part of that behind the scenes community? You need to make sure there is a value that they receive and if there is, then it can be a very great business model. And for my friends at Sailing La Vegabonde, that’s actually one of the primary ways they monetize their channel.
Another income source that I really don’t do that often is consulting. One of the things I like to do the least is trading one of my hours for money because it’s not scalable. I like things that can be scaled. For example, if I create a e-product, once that time has been paid up, I can sell that to infinite amount of people. As many people as there are on this planet.
But if every person in the world wanted one hour of my consulting, well, I mean, I’d be pretty rich but, I would be physically limited to the amount of time in a day, the amount of time I can give.
But nonetheless, I like to take on a couple consulting gigs every now and then. Now, sponsored brand work. One of the income sources that started off a little bit better this year and towards late year actually got pretty slow was my sponsored work. I wasn’t getting as many opportunities.
I’m not exactly sure what the reason is. But nonetheless, the incredible thing is, I had been able to build a business that relies on itself. Through the sales of guides, through the ad revenue, and through my other revenue means, I basically am not in a position where I have to compromise my brand just to accept any brand deal that comes in.
It’s the reason so many of the brand deals that have contacted me have been rejected. I’d rather choose the ones that are the right fit and I highly recommend if you’re in the position to do so, you should always practice protecting your brand before making a quick buck.
The next one is licensing and really, it’s not been the biggest part of my income source by any means, but I do license out some of my footage and I actually have a friend that this is one of his main ways of making money. It’s just passive money because once he sent off all the footage he already filmed as a videographer, as a YouTuber, he was able to make a lot of money with that.
And it is something I wanna explore a little more, considering I’m already shooting a ton. I wanna talk a little bit about other revenue sources I’ve seen from other people and one of them is actually being a tour guide. Now, you need to be careful because once you start doing physical services in a country that you’re not resident of, visas become an issue.
So I’m not about to name locations, I’m not about to name names, I’m not gonna get into any real details on this. But I will say that some people who know certain areas have become tour guides in these areas and shown people around and get paid really well to do it.
Another big source of income for most of my friends is actually making videos for other people. So, making videos to promote their products, making their content for their Instagram feed. Now taking that a step further, I actually have my friends Cam and Kelsey, the Wanderful Lyfe and they actually manage a couple of companies’ social media feeds.
So not only do they send them the content, but they’re actually the ones who are actively posting it on their account and that gets them a nice weekly or monthly paycheck that allows them to be nomadic, work from anywhere in the world. I have some friends that do photography gigs. Whether it’s struggling to shoot some models or if it’s going down and shooting a wedding.
These can actually make some decent paychecks but they’re not that consistent, typically, unless you’ve done a really good job keeping your business regular.
The good thing about them, though, is in the one or two days that you work, you can make a few hundred dollars and even a few thousand dollars in few days if you’re marketing and branding is good.
Some of my friends have started doing workshops and it’s something that I’m actually thinking about doing here in Bali maybe in May. If you would ever consider coming to a Lost LeBlanc workshop, comment down below. I’d love to hear your thoughts if it’s something you would like to do. Now those are just a few of the revenue sources that friends and myself are using. Now to close off this point, I wanna also say that what may work for me or a friend might not work for you.
What I highly recommend, though is you look at what you enjoy doing and even examining some of the skills that you already have. If you’re a surfer, then maybe you can teach lessons. If you’re a singer, maybe you could do lessons online, maybe you could develop a singing course. Get creative and look closely at the things that people look up to you for. What skills can you offer?
Maybe that last line hit you a little hard because you’re feeling like I really don’t have any skills I can offer. And that’s gonna lead us to point number five, which is developing a monetizable skill. One of the best sources for free education is right here on YouTube.
You can learn how to become a graphic designer, you could learn what SEO is, how to run Facebook ads. These are all skills that people are paying lots of money for if you’re good at what you’re doing.
Now, what are the skills I have learned? I’ve actually become an expert at videography, at editing, at photography. I’ve become a marketing wizard. I now understand how to market a video, I understand how to use all the social media platforms. I wasn’t actively trying to learn every single one of these skills, but they were some skills that I naturally picked up just by doing what I love.
Which is making videos and photos for you guys. If you’ve toyed around with the idea of going out there and trying to make money as a travel influencer or as a travel filmmaker, I just wanna say right now that this isn’t as risky as you’re making it out to be.
You may think to yourself that what if I don’t grow that following? What if nobody watches my videos? Well as long as you’re hustling, you’re working hard for a year, for two years, for three years, then I can assure you, you’re gonna learn more in that span of time than you would’ve learned at a university.
You might not realize this, but you’re actually actively learning real world skills that companies are paying big money for. Even if after a year or two years you realize that the social media thing is not for you, you’re still leaving ahead of where you were before.
You’ve learned new skills that will make you marketable to employers and, if you’re like myself, it’ll make you capable of becoming a freelancer basically anywhere in the world. Learn new skills, become an expert in them, and there’s no possible way that you can fail in this position.
You will only be ahead of where you started.
The next point is to choose your social media platforms wisely. Now, the reason I say that is because in today’s landscape, we have so many to choose from. Luckily, some of them are slowly being eliminated. Goodbye, Snapchat, I don’t need your distractions, but that still leaves me with three really big ones that I am trying to balance.
That is Facebook, Instagram, YouTube.
And I constantly deal with the battle of would I be better off if I cut off two of them and just focused on one? I kind of did an experiment this year and it’s working. To decide my priority platforms, I asked myself these questions. Which platforms did I most enjoy? Which platforms did I have the most authority on?
And which platform best allows me to monetize my lifestyle? Now, for me, the answer was pretty obvious that it wasn’t gonna be Facebook. It maybe accounted for five percent of my annual income and so recently, it hasn’t been getting much love.
I basically just post the occasional post there but until I expand my team, I need to focus on what really matters. Next up, I looked at Instagram.
And Instagram is something that I’ve always really loved doing. I love editing photos. For me, that doesn’t feel like work. It feels like a hobby. But I did find that Instagram is a place where it’s hardest for me to find authority.
It’s hardest to be different from everybody else. It doesn’t give you a ton of space to do that. With photos and Instagram Stories being limited to 15 seconds and Instagram audiences generally having a much more limited attention span. Trust me, they’re like goldfish compared to YouTube. I found that it was not really my platform.
And even though it accounted for maybe 30% of my annual income through branded work, I decided to put a little bit less emphasis on it. I went from posting every day to every second day to now posting every three or four days. And with that being said, I have doubled down on YouTube.
It is the place I love to post. It’s the place where I have a real community where I can talk to you, I can get to know people, I feel like I give value and it returns itself so many ways.
Of course, one of them is definitely the financial way but another is just like meeting people on the street and them being like, “Christian, I just came from the Philippines, “I used your itinerary, “it was the best trip of my life.” Or, “Hey, Christian, I just got that new camera “you recommended. “I’m loving it.” It’s those moments right there that are just as rewarding as the fact that it’s able to put a roof over my head. So YouTube is the place I have doubled down on.
I wanna emphasize again what’s right for me might not be right for you but you need to ask yourself these questions because you only have 24 hours in a day and if you try to do everything, you might not do as well as you had if you’d just focus on one or two of them.
And on to the next one. Choose a niche and build a brand. When you think of Lost LeBlanc, well what do you think of? You probably think of blue ass water, you probably think of high quality information and visual storytelling, you probably think of chiseled features and dad jokes.
.. (cymbal crash sound effect) And of course, the occasional cringy moment.
It’s what makes this channel different than everybody else’s channel. Let’s face it, I’m not the only travel channel on YouTube, but I came to be one of the biggest and fastest growing by finding ways to differentiate myself from everybody else.
One of the best ways I’ve been able to do that is laser focusing on a subject I loved which is Southeast Asia.
Focusing on the places that make me really happy, which are Thailand, Bali, Philippines, and just going into those places, giving people high quality information in ways that they had never seen before. You need to ask yourself this question. Am I an entertainer? Am I somebody that is maybe a bit more serious but focuses really well on the details and the information?
Are you somebody that enjoys taking a time lapse and flying a drone around or would you rather just do talking head videos? For this to be sustainable, you have to make the channel based around who you are as a person.
It’s gonna be challenging if it’s not something that you feel compelled to do. You need to ask yourself what kind of channel can I make? And what kind of channel should I make?
These are all the pieces that will make your channel what it is. It’s the thing that makes it different from every other channel. I wanna warn you about one of the things that most new content creators fall into and that is following the cookie cutter format for videos, for photos.
From shooting the same photos to filming the exact same meaningless vlog content, I highly recommend you don’t fall into the trap that so many people do.
I understand that when you’re a beginner, you need to learn what your channel is and it won’t make sense to your right away.
But from the very beginning, I challenge you to find those ways to make yourself different. Focus on your personal strengths and really hone in on them.
Some of my most successful YouTube videos are the ones where I was trying to push the envelope and try new things. When I traveled to the Philippines, it hadn’t really been previously documented on YouTube. So I started giving people travel information.
Those videos really took off and the world rewarded me for it. Early on in YouTube, not many people were making travel guides, let alone backing them up with beautiful footage to show what the places look like. It’s the reason that some of these videos got millions of view and on Facebook, even tens of millions of views because people had never seen it presented in such a enjoyable way.
Give people a reason to say, “Wow, I have never seen it done like this “or I’ve never seen this subject covered.
“I need to subscribe because there’s no where else “I can get this content.
” You need to become irreplaceable and not just another one of the sheep. Don’t be a sheeple pers– a sheep person. A sheep people. Don’t be a sheeple. Another extension of that, don’t use cheesy travel quotes in your Instagram bio.
I’m looking at you, “Not all those who wander are lost.” I’m looking at you. On to the next, your content needs to be good. Not that good, but it does need to be good. Now that may sound very obvious, but I wanna really explain what that means.
You know, I’ve always said the story comes first. It comes before your camera, it comes before the transitions and the editing that you use, but even though story’s important, you need to make it a digestible, a palpable video that somebody can enjoyably watch.
If they’re watching it on the big screen, on their iPhone, are they able to enjoy it or is it just this rocky rollercoaster of a video that looks like you shot it inside of a crashing airplane? I used to have videos like that and people used to comment all the time how they literally had to leave my channel because my videos were so shaky. So how do you avoid that?
Two things. Maybe a lotta things. But you need to invest in the right equipment. Certain cameras are naturally just better tools for what you need to do. Now I’m not gonna tell you what that tool should be but it took me a long time to figure out the right setup, and it’s still not the perfect setup.
But it does allow me to get high quality content and people really appreciate it. I really don’t wanna discourage anyone from shooting with the phone in their pocket right now because that can be the best starting point.
But just be asking yourself these questions. How can I make my videos better? One other part to that is gonna be your editing.
Get started now with your limited editing abilities and build up into being a high quality video editor. Through practice and repetition, your videos will go from looking like this… (club music) We made it to Taipei.
To something just like this. (upbeat music) It’s possible for anyone because I did it too. One of the most important parts of all of this is to build a community. And one thing I wanna emphasize more than anything else is that each and every single person that comments, that likes, that comes across your channel matters. Your channel, this channel is absolutely nothing without the people that get behind it.
You are reliant on these people who come in and watch your videos, the people that follow you on Instagram. Without them, your channel, your business is nothing. Myself, I have been very fortunate. I’ve been able to grow community on multiple platforms. I’ve had so many incredible people pour in their support and with that, comes a lot of messages.
One of the biggest guilts I wear is when I look at a message and I’m like, “If I respond to that message, and the next message, “and the next message, and all of the messages “from the other thousand people that have messaged me “this week, I won’t be able to do “what I’m doing in the first place.” And so, yes, you have to prioritize your time, but I think that it is incredibly important, especially in your early stages and in the late stages to make sure there’s always that active communication going on with your community.
Make sure you’re giving back to the people that give you so much. Make sure that you’re commenting when you can. Make sure that if people are telling you, “Look, we don’t like the direction your channel’s headed,” that you’re actually listening to them.
You can’t always listen to everyone, but at least know what your core audience is trying to tell you.
Because at the end of the day, again, you’re nothing without them. If you have a thousand followers and you lose a follower, it’s like okay, that kinda sucks. If you have a million followers and you lose one, well what does it really matter? They’re just another drip in the pond.
I have met big content creators and that mindset is starting to bite them in the butt.
Every single person that pours in matters. And I also wanna talk about the mid-size to small content creators ’cause all the time, I meet people who are like, “Oh, I only have 20,000 Instagram followers,” or, “Oh, I only have 2,000 YouTube subscribers,” I want to tell you this right now because it’s one of the most important things you’ll ever hear about your channel.
It is less important how big your audience it is, it is more important how engaged and connected you are with these people. It’s something that becomes challenging to do as your channel gets larger is to have that intimate connection.
But there are people who have a thousand follower audiences that are making full-time income that are able to enrich a thousand people’s lives because they have such a close connection with them. So never underestimate the size of your audience or anybody else’s. I actually had this one email come in from another guy one day. I think he had 5,000 subscribers on YouTube. But he was telling me that he was basically making 100k or more off of that 5,000 followers.
He was showing me just how powerful it is if you have a strong audience. It’s the idea that it’s better to have a thousand screaming fans than it is to have a million subscribers that don’t even remember who you are or why they subscribe.
So, really focus on building that early audience, that community, make sure you give them a brand identity they can latch onto and want to support, and don’t forget that behind every single view, every single like is a real person that has actually made a sacrifice of their own personal time to give you that support. The same logic applies just as much to me. To any of you who are still listening to me babble on, I wanted to say thank you so much for being here.
Every single one of you. You are the reason my channel has become what it is today and I attribute all my success to you. Thank you so much. ♪ Ba ba ba ba ba ♪ Become an expert on a subject.
If you wanna be successful on social media if you wanna make a living out of this, you’re going to need to find a subject that you can find authority over.
My expertise is travel, but in particular, it’s Southeast Asia. Almost anyone who comes to Southeast Asia who’s an English speaker has seen at least one or two of my videos, whether they recognize me or not. Why is that? Well it’s because I know the trending locations, I know the overrated destinations, I know the best places to go for families and their kids.
I know the best places to travel for people who are looking for incredible nightlife and solo travel.
I give people tons of information and I give it to them in a presentation that they enjoy. That is something that has taken me years to craft but I’ve gotten to a place where I am an authority over a certain subject. It’s this very same authority that has allowed me to monetize through selling travel guides, that has enable me to have so many other opportunities opened up to me.
In addition to that, over the years, I’ve become an expert in videography and photography. I’ve basically become a one man production house that teaches people how I do it.
I became a self-proclaimed expert by basically just going out there and doing. Learning from YouTube, using cameras every single day and using lots of them, shooting them in all conditions, making everything from vlogs to documentaries, I have a wide array of experience in all of this and it’s what gives me again, the credibility to be able to share with other people and monetize this information.
If you’re a vegan, if you’re a weightlifter, if you’re a Canadian, if you’re a free diver, these are all unique things about you that people wanna learn more about. And if you can convey the information, if you can share that lifestyle or something about it that people wanna watch, you become an authority. So naturally, it’s best to find the things you’re already doing but some of these expertises will come with time as you invest yourself more and more in that subject.
That is what happened with me in Southeast Asia and videography, photography. My 10th and final tip for anyone that wants to make a living as a travel videographer, photographer, influencer, whatever you wanna label it, is to be flexible. Now what does that mean? Well, flexibility is really just the willingness to go with the flow. Being able to adapt, being willing to accept the uncomfortable.
Maybe you’re used to comfortable North America but now you’re going to be staying in hostels for the next 30 days. Maybe you’re used to having your mom cook you breakfast but now you’re eating street food 10 meals in a row just to keep costs low. That is flexibility. Maybe you wanted to make all your money doing photography gigs, but you haven’t had one in a month and somebody just offered you the job of babysitting their child.
Be flexible, be willing to take on these little odd jobs here and there, and be willing to do anything and everything it takes to get your business to where you want it to be so that one day you don’t have to do those things anymore.
Flexibility is like, one of then number one things to making this work in a career field that is so uncertain and unpaid.
For those of you that just show up, buy the one-way ticket, go with the flow, you will find ways to make it work and a lot of the times, it won’t be in the way you planned. A lot of the time, the plan gets thrown out the door and new brighter, more exciting opportunities arise. But one thing is for sure, it’s gonna take sacrifice, it’s gonna take a lotta hard work, and most of all, you just gotta commit. If this is the thing you wanna do, it’s the day today to make it happen.
I hope you enjoyed this video. A bit about how I make my money, how I call this my career, and how you can one day call it your career. You could be the next one sitting in this chair. Probably not this actual chair but like, a chair, sharing your information with so many people. And I really take this seriously because this information is what made my life better.
I went from being at a job where I was miserable, a lifestyle that I hated, and I now am in a place where I love every single day, even when it means being on that laptop over there for 12 hours because the edit wasn’t finished. It is the thing that makes me happy. I just hope for anyone that wants something similar, they make it happen.
If you wanna learn about anything I talked about from e-products, to Patreon, it’s all gonna be linked down below. And you guys already know, new videos every single Saturday.
Smash that subscribe button, smash the bell button, hit the thumbs up thing and let’s get lost again in the next one.