A question I get asked very often is if I have another job other than my travel blogging. I can truthfully answer that for the last 12 years I have indeed been a full time blogger although I only started making money from it in about year 4. It’s been quite a journey and pretty tough at times but it definitely has been 100% worth it!
Let’s go back to 2007
So it’s 2007 and we had just come back from a stint living in Costa Rica and Malta. We were back home and we just weren’t feeling Cape Town. Mike decided to look for a job in Malta as we really really enjoyed the three months we had spent there the previous Summer. As Mike was in the online poker and casino industry ( huge in Malta ) it didn’t take him long to find a job there. He moved first, staying with his mom in the UK and then we met about a month and a half later in Malta as I packed up our lives in Cape Town, selling our cars and storing our furniture.
Mike had found us a perfect apartment in Malta, right across from the Mediterranean in a vibey park of Malta called Sliema. I wont lie, the first few months were pretty tough. I had to go back and forth to Cape Town alone every three months to renew my visa and I couldn’t get a job in Malta as I wasn’t able to obtain a work permit on my SA passport. Eventually after about 6 months and a lot of red tape I was able to get a 5 years residence visa as Mike had a British passport. For the first time this meant I didn’t have to go back to South Africa for a while and it actually ended up being an entire year before I saw my family again. It was beyond tough as Mike was working everyday and I got so incredibly frustrated sitting at home doing nothing or heading to the beach day after day.
Superficialgirls was born
I started reading blogs a lot to pass the time and then thought why not have a blog of my own. Beauty and fashion blogging were all the rage in the UK and I decided on those as my main blog theme. Years earlier I had bought a domain called Superficialgirls when Perez Hilton was a vibe – I wanted to have a gossip website. I never used it so I thought it would be quite funny to call my fashion and beauty blog Superficialgirls as a bit of a tongue in cheek but also truthful name.
If i think back to those first posts I almost want to die in shame but it was a learning curve and on the plus side I was having loads of fun and keeping very busy.
My mission was always to post two blog posts per day. The morning one was fashion news, new in products, diy’s etc and the afternoon a big blog post with a makeup look or outfit of the day.
After a couple of years I was racking up 300 000+ unique views per month on this blog. I had no idea how to monetise it so I was making no money at all – such a shame. I did however sell jewelery that I made on the side and even Chiara Ferragni – the blonde salad – wore it on her blog once!
Moving back home
After almost four years in Malta we moved back to Cape Town at the end of 2011. I was sad to leave but I was excited to introduce my brand to South African audiences. I had started getting a lot of free clothes etc back in Malta and I thought I could actually turn this into a profitable business back home.
Well I was wrong, so so wrong. Blogging was still relatively new in SA and people did not take kindly to my blog name humour. One really popular clothing brand actually told me they have a young audience and they can’t work with me because of my name! Funny story is a few years later they actually invited me to do a lookbook for them and style their mannequins in their flagship store.
My positivity waned, I hated going to all the snooty events and basically I completely fell out of love with the fashion and beauty industry in those first couple of years back in Cape Town. I was making money but it just didn’t feel worth it.
Move over Campsbaygirl is in town
My change from fashion to travel happened in 2013 because of a few different things. Instagram was exploding and going out and taking photos with your iphone had become a thing. Mike left his job to do photography full time and I started posting less and less on Superficialgirls.
I started my @campsbaygirl instagram account first so I had a place to share my nature photos. We were very involved with the whole instagram community and because of that we both got featured by instagram on their suggested users list. It pushed me from a few thousand followers to about 60k over a year. That is when I really started seeing potential in creating a different brand for myself.
We had travelled so much when we were in Malta and Costa Rica and we loved it so it was such an easy move to make. I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I started a facebook page, twitter and website for Campsbaygirl and started putting my all into it.
2017 and beyond
This is when things really started taking off, we collaborated with some epic brands, went on some awesome trips and learnt a lot! I started selling presets and really put my all into my blog. 2019 has even more exciting things lined up. More trips, more videos and maybe even some podcasts in the future.
It’s such a great feeling to do something you love and make money from it. It really makes the very early mornings, late nights and absolute exhaustion after trips worth it!
Here are some tips and tricks if you want to start full time travel blogging
- If you have no clue where to start here is my beginners guide to travel blogging
- Struggling with page views then take some tips from this blog post I wrote on how I quadrupled my page views in one month!
- If you already have a travel blog here are some cool ways to make money.