Before we jump in, let me give you the "why" behind this report. It is NOT to brag about how much money we’re making. Trust me, when we first started sending out these reports, we were actually losing a lot of money!
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 it! When other people do it, I find it inspiring and incredibly interesting! So I hope you're inspired or at least entertained when you read this.
2. When Kara and I tell people that we travel full-time, the response we get the 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 fact 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, (almost) 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 for 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 3 of 2017
Well, we are back in the red for Quarter 3 of 2017. I'm going to blame it on Iceland and our Trans-Siberian Railway adventure. My sister and her husband talked us into going to Iceland with them this summer, and while it was really expensive, it was a blast and I don't regret spending the money to go! I have similar feelings about our Trans-Siberian trip.
Even though we took a couple expensive trips, we were able to save a lot of money in several other areas. We saved on transportation using frequent flyer miles, accommodations using Airbnb credits and staying with friends, and on "experiences" thanks to partnerships were able to line up. So while we lost over $1,000 this quarter, it could have been way worse without the money saving techniques mentioned above.
On the income front, we owe a big thank you to our PATRONS! Pledges from our patrons on Patreon.com accounted for the largest chunk of our income in Q3. Every month over 500,000 people watch our videos on YouTube for free. Around 100 of them choose to support us financially. Without these 100 individuals, we wouldn't be able to continue making videos for everyone else! So on behalf of us (and everyone who watches our videos for free on YouTube) we'd like to say a special thank to our patrons!
Outside of Patreon, we didn't see a substantial amount of growth in any of our income streams. However, we broke $10,000 in income for a second quarter in a row! If we continue to sustain this level of income, we should be able to continue traveling and making videos indefinitely as long as we keep our expenses in check!
With that said, we don't plan on growing content or complacent. We'll continue to do our best to increase our current income streams, in addition to adding new ones!
So without further ado, let's jump into the income and expense report!
1. YouTube Ad Revenue - $2,137.79 (Change from Q2 +$311)
Our YouTube ad revenue increased slightly this quarter! The amount of money you make from YouTube ads is correlated with the number of views you receive and which countries those views come from. However, YouTube doesn't show an ad every time a viewer clicks on a new video. They have some algorithm that determines how many ads you get shown during your viewing session. For example, this quarter we had around 1.7 million views, but ads were only shown on about 500,000 of those views.
I found the increase in ad revenue interesting this month because in Q2 we had almost the exact same amount of views that we had in Q3 (1.7 million). However, last quarter they only showed ads on 400,000 views as opposed to 500,000 this quarter.
I've given up on trying to figure out the YouTube system. I'm just reporting the facts 🙂
2. Patreon - $3,814 (Change from Q2 +$1,130)
YouTube ad revenue can be fickle, which is why we're so grateful for the patrons that choose to support our work! This second year of full-time travel wouldn't be possible without them!
We continue to be blown away by the generosity of our patrons! The fact that people spend their hard earned money to support our work is super humbling!
For those of you who aren't familiar with Patreon, it's an online platform that allows you to support the work of your favorite creators giving them a chance to continue working on their creations without having to worry about where their next meal is going to come from!
3. 30 Days To Becoming A Travel Hacker Course - $3,224 (Change from Q2 -$2,760)
In Q2 I officially launched 30 Days to Becoming A Travel Hacker! I did a lot of promotion around the launch and generated over $5,000 in sales! Since I did so much promotion for the course last quarter (and very little this quarter), the drop in sales was expected. I'm actually really happy with the Q3 sales numbers.
In the last income and expense report, I said "I don't expect to make $5,000 every month, but I'm hoping I can sell 5 or 10 every month at the full price of $147. That would be a nice bump in our consistent monthly income!"
I averaged approximately 7 course sales per month! 5-10 sales per month was a total guess, but apparently it was pretty accurate! Hopefully we can continue to average 7 sales in the coming months! As of now, I'm doing very little promotion for the course besides linking to it in our YouTube videos, but I'm planning to put together an email drip sequence that promotes the course to new people who subscribe to our email list. So, maybe we can even bump up the average next quarter!
If you're interested in learning how to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles to travel around the world for pennies on the dollar, check out 30 Days to Becoming a Travel Hacker!
6. Affiliate Income - $739.26 (Change from Q2 +109.83)
- Amazon - $440.56
- Audible - $30
- Epidemic Sound - $240
- Gleam - $20
- Convert Kit - $8.70
As usual, Amazon was the main driver of our affiliate income. It's pretty awesome that we made over $400 just by recommending products we use and love. The majority of our Amazon affiliate income is generated by people who visit the following pages.
We also added a few additional affiliate income streams to the mix this quarter, Epidemic Sound being the big one! We get all the music for our YouTube videos through Epidemic Sound. It's so hard to find good music for YouTube videos. Kara used to waste hours of her life searching for music, now she has a huge library of royalty free songs to choose from! We love the service, so we're telling everyone about it, and we're getting paid to do it!
If you need music for YouTube videos, click here to check out Epidemic Sound!
5. Sponsored Videos & Video Licensing - $578 (Change from Q2 -$122)
We aren't proactive about seeking out sponsored videos or video licensing deals. However sometimes they fall into our lap, like the licensing deal we received from a Dutch public broadcast organization. They reached out to us and offered to pay us $578 to be able to use footage from our Peru Sky Lodge video.
They have non-exclusive rights to the video to use it for 1 broadcast and 2 re-runs. I honestly have no clue if this is a good rate to be paid for licensing a video, but it's great for us. All we had to do was send over a video file that we had already created and receive a check!
Since the beginning, we've been trying to 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 Expenses - $3,548.79
This quarter our transportation expenses are a little higher than usual because we paid almost $2,000 for our Trans-Siberian train tickets. We knew this trip would stretch our budget, but it was something we really wanted to do, and the experience did not disappoint! Plus, the videos have done suprisingly well on our channel!
|Nashville||Rome||Plane||$11.20||60,000 UA Miles|
|Paris||Dublin||Bus & Plane||$242.15|
|Reykjavik||Riga||Plane||$96.40||30,000 UA Miles|
|Vladivostok||Seoul||Plane||$15.34||18,000 BA Miles|
|Seoul||Bologna||Plane||$109.60||90,000 UA Miles|
Accommodation Expenses - $1,886.29
Thanks to Airbnb credits we've received from referrals and staying with family and friends, we were able to keep our accommodation expenses really low this quarter! We averaged $21 per night for the quarter, and that number would be much lower if we hadn't spent 8 nights in Iceland where everything is really expensive.
|Nashville||Home||10||$0||Thanks Mom & Dad|
|Ireland||Airbnb & Hotel||5||$173.23|
Destination Expenses - $2,694.49
This category is the money we spent while on the ground in each destination. This includes things like food, local transportation, and entertainment. Let's be honest though, most of this spending probably went towards delicious local food.
|Nashville||July 1 - 10||$271.89|
|Key West||July 10-14||$0|
|Ripatransone||July 21 - August 2||$0|
|Brussels||August 2 - 6||$74.97|
|Paris||August 6 - 10||$130.34|
|Ireland||August 10 - 15||$224.98|
|Iceland||August 16 - 24||$397.06|
|Latvia||August 24 - 29||$458.97|
|Tallin||August 29 - Sept. 2||$132.49|
|Moscow||Sept. 2 - 7||$222.33|
|Trans Siberian||Sept. 7 - 18||$94.44|
|Seoul||Sept. 18 - 26||$407.11|
|Ripatransone||Sept. 26 - 30||$59.95|
Business Expenses - $2,458.04 ($166.97 less than Q2)
Each month we pay for several online subscriptions and other things to keep the vlog, blog, online course, and email list running smoothly. I look at most of these expenses as "investments" instead of expenses because most of them are tools that enable us to make money.
Partnerships Manager - $1,200
This quarter we gave Benji some additional responsibility. In addition to being our Strategic Partnerships Manager, he's also started writing a weekly series on the blog called Frequent Flyer Friday. Each week he covers a travel hacking topic that will help you save money on your next trip!
Travel Hustle Editor - $300
This quarter we hired Claire to help us start our new Travel Hustle interview series on the blog!
Convert Kit - $373.03
The great email platform that we use to send emails to our email list of 9,000+ people
Teachable - $297
The platform where I host my course 30 Days to Becoming a Travel Hacker and The Mistake Fare Manual
Premiere Pro - $98.28
The program Kara uses to edit our episodes
Google Service - $45.00
This is the money we pay Google for our email address every month so that we can look semi-professional.
Touchnote Postcard - $42.73
This is the service we're using to send postcards to our patrons!
Epidemic Sound - $45
We used free music from SoundCloud forever, but we've started paying $15 per month to Epidemic Sound for more access to royalty free music.
TubeBuddy - $57
This service allows us to bulk edit the cards and end cards across all of our videos on YouTube. Basically, we pay $19 to avoid spending hours of our lives monotonously changing cards on our channel.
Fixed Costs - $1,157 ($194 less than Q2)
T-Mobile Phone Plan - $425
Health Insurance - $522
Car Insurance - $210
It would be irresponsible to travel without health insurance, so we pay what feels like too much money for an international health insurance plan every month. We've been really happy with our T-Mobile Unlimited International plan for the past 18 months. However, last quarter extra charges started showing up on our bill, and we paid a bit more than usual which is frustrating. I also forgot to cancel our car insurance when we left, so our car was covered while it set in my parents driveway for 3 months :/
Miscellaneous - $82.99
This category is made up of just a few small things that didn't fit into any of the categories above.
Total Q2 Expenses - $11,827.60
|YouTube Ad Revenue||$2,137|
This is how much money we saved this month thanks to partnerships, frequent flyer miles, and referrals. This is just a fun vanity metric to calculate. If you love numbers like me, it’s fun to look at how much money this month “should have” cost us.
Frequent Flyer Miles - $3,567
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 $25,000 on travel expenses. If you want to learn how to do the same check out my course 30 Days to Becoming a Travel Hacker!
Nashville to Rome - $1,389
We redeemed 60,000 American Airline frequent flyer miles to fly from Nashville to Rome for only $11.20! We booked this flight about 2 weeks before leaving. I love the flexibility that frequent flyer miles give you!
Reykavik to Riga - $304
These flights should have cost around $400, but by redeeming 30,000 UA miles we reduced the cost to $96!
Vladivostock to Seoul (Business Class) - $785
These fligths should have cost around $800, but instead we redeemed 18,000 British Airways miles and flew in business class for only $15. We normally wouldn't fly business class on such a short flight, but there were no economy seats available. So thanks to British Airway's distance based award chart, business class was still a great deal.
Seoul to Bologna - $109.60
We had to fly back to Italy to plan our Vespa tour. Without frequent flyer miles these flights would have been really expensive. Probably somewhere around $1,200. We redeemed 90,000 UA miles and only paid $109.60
Partnerships - $3,402
Now that our YouTube channel is getting over 750,000 views per month, we’re getting opportunities to partner with companies for free experiences/accommodations in return for featuring the company on the vlog. You’ll always know if we’ve partnered with a company because at the end of the vlog we’ll put a message that says either “Accommodations Provided By:” or “This Adventure Made Possible By:” This serves as an advertisement for the company that we partner with, but it also helps us to be transparent about content on our vlog being sponsored.
Florida Keys Road Trip - $1,000
Italia Rail Rome Adventure - $800
Burssels Chocolate Tour - $140
Paris Vespa Tour - $300
Yotel x2 - $240
Silfra Snorkel - $300
Moscow Food Tour - $150
Lake Baikal Walking Tour - $70
DMZ Tour - $184
Airbnb Credits - $946
When someone signs up for Airbnb using our link, they can save $40 off their stay. Plus, we get between $20 - $40 when that person completes their first stay!
It’s a win-win, and we wanted to say thank you to everyone who has signed up and taken a trip using our link!
If you want to save $40 on your first Airbnb stay, click the link below to create an account!
Total "Savings" - $7,916
That wraps up our Quarter 3 income report! I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!