We're trying something new this month. In the past we've only sent these income reports out to our email list. This is the first income report that's been published on our website for the world to see! Normally these income reports are sent out monthly. But since I was way behind, I've combined January, February, and March into the "Q1 Income Report" in an attempt to get caught up!
Before we jump into the income report let me start by saying, the purpose of this income report is not to brag about how much money we’re making. Trust me, when we first started sending out these reports, we were barely making any money, and we still have yet to cover our travel expenses with the income we're bringing in! However, after 16 months, we're getting really close!
There are three major reasons we started sending out these income and expense reports:
1. I (Nate) am a business nerd! I always wonder how much money people are making, and exactly how they're making it. I wish more people would transparently share their entrepreneurial journey, so that's why I do! When other people do it, I find it inspiring and incredibly interesting! So I hope you're inspired or at least interested when you read this.
2. When Kara and I tell people that we travel full-time, the response we get majority of the time is "I wish I could do that". At this point in the conversation I usually just bite my tongue. I realize that, for some, full-time travel truly isn't possible. But for most of the people who say "I wish I could do that," they could if they really wanted to. Yes, some people would have to work harder than others to make it happen, but most people could make it happen if they were willing to make travel a priority. A couple years ago, Kara and I made travel our top priority. We saved up money for over a year, we moved out of our apartment, we sold our cars, and we quit our jobs. Now we put in the work almost every day to be able to afford to continue traveling. We hope that by sharing this report each month, it will inspire some of you to go from "I wish I could" to "How could I."
3. We're not special, and we want you to remember that no matter where this journey takes us. I feel like once people become "successful" it's easy to think they're "special" and that's why they were able to achieve success. But in reality, every successful person started out as a "regular" human. At this point in our lives, Kara and I are pursuing this crazy dream of turning our passion of travel into a sustainable business. If we do achieve success one day, we hope that by sharing this journey from the beginning you'll be able to see that two regular people had a dream, went after it, and achieved success. In turn, we hope this will inspire you (a "regular person") to dream a big dream and go after it!
Thoughts on Quarter 1 of 2017
First, I'd like to start by thanking all of our patrons on Patreon! At the beginning of the year a handful of you stepped up to make sure that we could financially continue this adventure for a second year, and for that we're truly grateful! One of the most exciting aspects of this income report is that our patronage has more than doubled since the beginning of the year. Another thing I'm really excited about is the successful pre-launch of my 30 Days to Becoming a Travel Hacker course. Even though it was only a pre-launch, it's already become our largest income stream!
In terms of expenses this quarter, I'm pretty happy with how we did during these first three months. The ability to stay around our budget was thanks (in no small part) to the number of partnerships we were able to line up during the first quarter. Thanks to these partnerships, we received over 30 free nights of accommodations and many free meals and activities! With that said, we definitely spent a little more on airfare because we weren't able to be as flexible since we had scheduled partnerships. We found ourselves traveling to more off the beaten path destinations. We definitely could have spent less, but the goal isn't to spend as little as possible. The goal is to have the best experiences possible without spending irresponsibly so that we'll have enough money to continue this adventure! So without further ado, let's jump into the income and expense report!
1. YouTube Ad Revenue - $2,069.25
During the first three months of the year our YouTube ad revenue hovered around $700 per month. Depending on the day, we made anywhere from $12 to $45. YouTube ad revenue is fickle and hard to understand. An increase in views doesn't necessarily lead to an increase in ad revenue. However, I've learned that anytime we have a spike in new subscribers we also have a spike in ad revenue. Our spike in ad revenue on February 6th was due to a correlating spike in subscribers. During this time, we were holding our 30K Giveaway picking someone to win a Priority Pass and free access to my travel hacking course. More people than usual were subscribing to our channel for extra entries into the competition!
2. Patreon - $1,738.05
We set up our Patreon page last August with no clue how it would be received. Seven months later, in the month of February, the money that we were earning from our Patreon page officially surpassed our YouTube ad revenue! We are so grateful for all of our patrons! This second year of full-time travel wouldn't be possible without them! Seriously, there's a good chance Kara and I would not still be making YouTube videos if it wasn't for each one of our patrons who make it financially possible!
CLICK HERE to learn more about coming a patron!
3. 30 Days To Becoming A Travel Hacker Course - $3,344.24
This is the first time my new course 30 Days to Becoming A Travel Hacker has made an appearance on this income report! I've wanted to create this course ever since we hit the road. After saving up almost 2 million frequent flyer miles and saving over $10,000 on flights during our first year of travel, I get TONS of questions about earning and redeeming frequent flyer miles. I hesitated to create this course for a long time because there's so much information already online. Over the past four years, I've taught myself everything I know about travel hacking from free blogs on the internet. However, I eventually came to the realization that not everyone has four years to sit around the internet to teach themselves everything they need to know about travel hacking. So, I had the idea to create a course that would condense my four years of travel hacking into a 30 day intensive course that would teach a person everything they needed to know to start earning and redeeming miles and points for free flights and hotels around the world.
However, before I spent weeks of my life devoted to building this course, I wanted to gauge interest and demand. So in January I pre-sold the course with a $50 discount for anyone who was willing to pre-buy the course before it was created. Over 30 people purchased early access to the course! If 30 people were willing to buy a course that wasn't even created yet, I had all of the proof of demand I needed to start building the course.
Creating this course took longer than anticipated, but I'm excited to announce that the it is finally complete! I'm currently making tweaks based on feedback from our founding members that purchased early access to the course, and the final version will be available to everyone starting in June!
4. Mistake Fare Manual - $237.51
The Mistake Fare Manual has continued to sell the occasional copy on auto pilot. This e-book doesn't make us a ton of money every month, but it is truly passive income. However, I do expect it to drop off in the future because I'm giving away the Mistake Fare Manual as a bonus to anyone who purchases 30 Days to Becoming a Travel Hacker!
If you want to learn how I've been able to find and book CRAZY CHEAP flights around the world, check out the Mistake Fare Manual!
5. Flight Deal Notifications - $130.67
The Flight Deal Notifications are another income source that doesn't make us a ton of money each month, but it is completely passive. Once I add someone to the notifications list, there's no additional work to be done! You can get 6 free months of flight deal notifications when you purchase the Mistake Fare Manual, but you can also sign up for the Flight Deal Notifications separately! If you want the best flight deals from around the web sent straight to your phone as soon as they're posted, sign up for my Flight Deal Notifications!
6. Affiliate Income - $1,273
- Ultimate Photography Bundles - $659
- Amazon - $523.99
- Audible - $90
The Ultimate Photography Bundle was a week long sale of the best photography courses on the internet. They sold at a crazy discount! During the sale you could get $5,000 worth of photography stuff for only $79! Kara and I purchased the deal for ourselves, and then I decided to send you guys an email about this awesome deal, because I didn't want the photographers on this email list to miss out. Before I sent out the email, I became an affiliate of Ultimate Bundles, so I could earn a commission for any referrals that purchased the course. I took two hours to type up one email about the deal. Since the deal was so good, 17 people purchased it! As an affiliate, I earned a 40% commission from every sale. In total, I earned $659 just from sending out one email! That's crazy!
One of the best things I did when we started this adventure was to create an email list. I'm not always great at sending out the Sunday Summary, but we've been able to grow our list to over 4,500 subscribers! Our email list has become one of our most valuable resources. Not only did one email result in over $600 of income, but the reason I was able to pre-sell 30 copies of the course is because we have direct access to over 4,000 people's email inbox!
There are a lot of email providers to choose from when you decide to build an email list. We highly recommend ConvertKit! If you're serious about creating income through an email list, I'm confident there's no better tool available than ConvertKit!
Last but not least, we made over $500 through the Amazon affiliate program by recommending products we use and love. The majority of our Amazon affiliate income is generated through people who visit the following pages.
Since the beginning, we've been trying develop multiple income streams that will combine together to fund our travels. The pie chart above gives you a quick breakdown of how each revenue stream is contributing to our total income.
Transportation - $2,546.70
|Origin||Destination||Transport||USD||Miles & Points|
|Total||$2,546||224,143 Miles & Points|
|Nashville||Buenos Aires||Plane||$11.60||60,000 AA Miles|
|Buenos Aires||Montevideo||Ferry + Bus||$150.00|
|Puerto Natales||Punta Arenas||Bus||$30|
|Punta Arenas||La Paz||Plane||$41.00||25,000 AA Miles|
|La Paz||Quito||Plane||$181.94||79,143 Citi Points|
|Galapagos||Quito||Plane||$25.00||20,000 United Miles|
|Quito||Iquitos||Plane||$275.48||20,000 AA Miles|
|Iquitos||Cusco||Plane||$10.93||20,000 AA Miles|
The table above includes all of the major forms of transportation that we paid for during the first three months of the year. Smaller forms of transportation like local bus, taxis, and Ubers are included in the general expense section.
Accommodations - $1,968
|Santiago||Airbnb & Hotel||9||$542.00|
|La Paz Bolivia||Airbnb||5||$143.00|
|Quito||Airbnb & Hotel||16||$209.00||Marriott Points|
|Iquitos||Boat & Lodge||7||$0||Partnership|
As you can see from the table above, we were able to save a lot of money on accommodations during the first three months by partnering with tour companies! We also cashed in some hotel points when we needed a few days to rest our heads in nice places and catch up on work!
General Travel Expenses - $2,708.55
- Credit Card Charges - $1,278.76
- ATM Withdraws - $1,429.79
Unfortunately, I didn't do a good job of meticulously tracking every penny during the first three months of the year. Instead, I calculated this section by looking back through our credit card statements and seeing how much money we withdrew from ATMs. It would have taken days of my life to go through these and try to break them into categories like I normally do...
Business Expenses - $1,685.75
Partnerships Manager - $600.00
We hired an awesome guy to help us develop partnership opportunities, and he's lined up some amazing partnerships for us!
Priority Pass - $225.00
Convert Kit - $199.76
The email platform that we use to send you these emails.
Teachable - $117.00
The platform I used to build build and sell my course.
Premier Pro - $65.52
The program Kara uses to edit our episodes.
Gleam.io - $39.00
The software we used to make our 30K Giveaway go semi viral
PTBA - $75.00
We joined the Professional Travel Blogging Association. It's yet to be determine whether or not this was a good use of our time and money.
Accountant - $250
Upwork - $56.52
We've hired a virtual assistant off Upwork to add subtitles to the occasional YouTube video and upload some of our episodes to Facebook.
Google Service - $23.00
This is the money we pay Google for our email address every month so that we can look semi-professional.
Touchnote Postcard - $34.95
This is the service we're using to send postcards to patrons!
Fixed Cost - $1,172.79
T-Mobile Phone Plan - $372.81
Health Insurance - $522
Car Insurance - $277.98
Our phone plan and international health insurance are necessities. Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication with our insurance agent and we paid for pointless car insurance for while our car just sat there for three months...
|YouTube Ad Revenue||$2,069.25|
|Flight Deal Notifications||$130.67|
|Credit Card Charges||-$1,278.76|
Frequent Flyer Miles - $5,100
|Origin||Destination||Frequent Flyer Program||Miles Used||Value|
|Nashville||Buenos Aires||American Airlines||60,000||$1,600|
|Punta Arenas||La Paz||American Airlines||25,000||$400|
|La Paz||Quito||Citi ThankYou||79,143||$1,800|
Hotel Points - $2,078
JW Marriott - $1,393
Holiday Inn Antofagasta - $460
Airbnb Credits - $225
Before Kara and I left to travel full-time we saved up almost 2 million miles and points! We've used these miles and points to save over $20,000 on travel expenses. If you want to learn how to do the same check out my new course 30 Days to Becoming a Travel Hacker!
Partnerships - $31,920
Polo Day - $340
Santiago Cooking Class - $190
EL Tatio Geysers - $100
Southern Explorations - $5,390
Chile Tour - $1,000
Gustu - $200
Kuoda Bolivia - $3,000
Otorongo Lodge - $900
Delfin Amazon Cruise - $7,800
Total "Savings" - $39,098
We partnered with a TON different companies during the first three months of the year! This enabled us to go on adventures that we would otherwise never be able to afford. The majority of these partnerships were lined up over our Christmas break. When I was initially planning out all of these partnerships, I thought these epic adventures would help us create episodes that everyone would love. It turns out some of you prefer our old style of videos where we just wander around and create our own adventures on a budget. We're not going to stop participating in epic partnerships. In addition to really cool experiences, partnerships also allow us to keep our travel cost down and afford traveling and making vlogs. However, we are going to try to strike a better balance the second half of the year. We definitely want to spend more time traveling around on our own. To be honest, partnerships are amazing but also exhausting. That's because we have less time to work and usually end up shooting twice as much video as we would during a regular day of filming.
If you have thoughts on partnership videos vs. watching us wander around on the cheap, feel free to shoot me an email and share your thoughts! Please keep in mind that these partnerships are helping to fund our travels, so cutting them out completely is out of the question, unless a lot more of you want to become patrons 🙂
That wraps up our Quarter 1 income report! After this, it's back to our regularly scheduled monthly income reports! I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!