So, how do I make money?
By far, one of the most common questions I’ve been asked over the course of my 1.5 years journey on Instagram. It’s been nearly 3 years now travelling, and I really don’t like giving random people in my inbox detailed responses about my personal life – after all, you don’t just walk up to someone on the road you don’t know and say, what do you do for a living, dude?
Because I wanted to share that information in the right way, in the right place. And this is it. The first part of this article focuses on how I personally make money. The second focuses on my lifestyle and spending habits that enable me to travel.
My Income Stream
To understand how I make money, you need to understand my academic background. I finished my undergraduate degree in Economics from Loughborough University in 2014, where I scored the highest marks in the entire course, consistently for three years. I then pursued an M.Sc. in Economics from Warwick University, where I obtained a distinction.
So basically, I’m a super super nerd. And I teach people what I know for my own enjoyment, and most of my income. I started tutoring younger students in the last year of my B.Sc. and knew that I could make a business out of it. I had this intimate connection with the subject matter which I could also translate to other students and make them understand things very easily.
For me, tutoring was something that came naturally and I never considered it to be an actual career option. But over the course of my M.Sc. and afterwards, I have been consistently tutoring university students online. It brings me both an income and internal fulfillment, because there was no way I would sustain an activity for that long, if I didn’t actually like it.
How It Works
So how do I go about online tutoring, and more importantly how do I find students? Well, this involved a lot of effort on my own part in the beginning. And no I can’t sit and share my whole marketing strategy with you for free. But yes I do find them manually as well as through different online agencies. I literally just opened up 50 tabs in google and send my resume and cover letter to anyone that was remotely relevant.
And this may sound appealing – making money on your laptop through what you know, and living the lifestyle that you want. But before you try and jump into the idea of something, you need to ask yourself some questions: Why am I doing this? Is it something that I actually enjoy? Would I even do it for free? If you’re answer to the last two is yes, then you’re in a good position.
Because for me, tutoring was never something I decided to take up just so I could make money from my laptop. It was something I did anyway because I genuinely loved my subject and loved to share it with other people, and watch them succeed as a result. It just so happened I could do it well and so I could work remotely.
Apart from online tutoring, I also take up freelance writing and photography work as and when I find that. I find additional work through websites like freelancer.com and peopleperhour.com. As of yet, I do not make a significant money through blogging or social media. I have started to do small brand collaborations here or there, but it’s not something I see as being my main income stream. However, my overall aim is to eventually make a large proportion of my income through content creation.
You can be making a fair size of money, but you can’t travel the world if your spending habits are all over the place. For the average person who isn’t a millionaire, you need to make substantial sacrifices and conserve income if you want to sustain travelling on a budget. I take a number of steps to do this. And though I don’t make enough to be comfortable, I do make enough to live, and for me that’s enough.
The key component to me managing my spending habits is my Excel sheet. I use this spreadsheet to chart out where I intend to be at what time. Before I make a travel plan, I do extensive research on how much I need as a minimum to live every day. I then add necessary transportation costs, and a margin, to work out how much I need for an entire trip. For example, I worked out for 3 weeks in Japan I’d need an average of 50 GBP a day.
Secondly, I make sure I plan everything in advance. I don’t stick to my plans like a leech, but I do want to have a ballpark figure that I can work towards or save up so that I can continue with my journey. Working things out in advance allows me to save a substantial amount on flight tickets. It also gives me time to do research on websites like couchsurfing.com to find local hosts I can stay with for free.
Next, I trim my lifestyle down to the very basics. This meant cancelling my Netflix subscription, cancelling automatic PayPal debits from the iTunes store, and making note of each pound that is going out of my account. It’s important to note the distinction between being frugal and being stingy; I definitely spend on areas that bring me happiness (like food), but this means I cut other activities to zero. It’s been over a year since I last watched a movie in the cinema.
Another important aspect of my lifestyle involves balancing things out. So if I’ve been travelling for a few months and spending a lot, when I come back to the city where I know a lot of people, I’m not going to spend unnecessarily. For the period that I’m not travelling, I’m happy to live like a hobo on someone’s floor if needs be, so that I can keep that money to travel. Similarly, I conserve on transportation by hitchhiking (for information on how I travel for cheap, click here).
The last aspect to this whole process is the energy I give to the situation. In essence, it’s how I visualize my future and to a large extent, this is how I manifest situations in my life. Though I could write a whole article on the topic of manifestation, one of the reasons I plan things in detail is because it helps my logical mind to visualize the reality of something and allows me to hold the idea in my mind. By filling my own future image with life, things tend to fall into place without my effort.