This week we are going to be switching things up a bit.
Over the next few months, Ben and I will be publishing a series of interviews with other online entrepreneurs that are making money via blogging and social media — in this case, Instagram.
The reason we want to do this is pretty simple: we want to show you that there are thousands of different ways to make money online.
First up, we have Emma, from LuxuryBackpacking.net, here to show you how to make money on Instagram.
These interviews are meant to inspire you and give you a glimpse inside the heads of the people who have “figured it out.” Plus, you’ll get cool tips you can “steal” to try and monetize your Instagram blog as well.
How to Make Money on Instagram: The Story of How One Influencer Leverages Her Following Into a $3,000+/Mo Paycheck
Emma’s travel blog has a pretty hefty Instagram following of 58,000 people (now 91,000 as of 09/19).
Early on she figured out how to leverage her Instagram following into a revenue-generating asset, and now she’s busy building her blog into a similar money-making tool for her business.
Her ultimate goal is to teach others how to make money on Instagram and keep traveling the world full time.
So without further ado, let’s turn it over to Emma!
Emma, tell us a bit about yourself and your online business:
Hi! I’m Emma, one-half of the couples’ travel blog LuxuryBackpacking. I’m originally from England, however, I’m currently studying at University in Sydney, and I love to call the world my home! At 20 years old, I’ve traveled to 45 countries with no plans to stop.
Our blog, LuxuryBackpacking, is exactly how it sounds, we love to help people travel the world for less. Over the years both my partner and I have gained insider knowledge and experience on how to travel hack and travel the world for less.
We love and go by the quote: ‘Not all those who travel are rich.’
How long ago did you start trying to make money on Instagram?
Initially, I only started out with an Instagram account: LuxuryBackpacking. I started this at the end of 2015 and within a year it grew to nearly 50,000 followers.
With that much growth, I wanted to start a blog to complement our Instagram account and serve as another way to help people travel the world in luxury for less. I started the blog back in October 2016, and since then, our blog has won 2 awards! We also started all our other social media channels around that time too.
Can you give us an idea of your monthly revenue?
Nearly all my monthly income that comes from Instagram, comes through sponsored posts. It’s often difficult to find sponsors for Instagram but if you have your contact information readily available you’d be surprised at the number of people that reach out to you.
I earn on average $2,000-$3,000 a month through it.
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I’ve only just started monetizing the travel blog, so its got a long way to catch up with my Instagram.
How did you discover you could get paid to advertise on Instagram?
Shortly after we started our Instagram account and began posting high-quality photos from our travels, our following skyrocketed.
That’s when we started to think “Hey, people must be following us for a reason…maybe there’s an opportunity here.”
We even had a few followers ask us for our blog domain, a clear sign that people wanted to learn more about what we were up to.
Ultimately, we want to inspire, motivate and encourage young travelers around the world to go online, book a flight to a place they’ve never been before, and start exploring what the world has to offer.
We believe ordinary people just like us can live extraordinary lives. You don’t have to be part of the ultra-rich and famous to travel in luxury! You just need to know how to do it frugally. That’s where we come in: helping others to travel well for less — and that, in turn, has helped us make money on Instagram.
How long did it take for you to make money on Instagram?
We started our Instagram at the end of 2015, and we started earning an income in March 2016, with around 10,000 followers. So really not long after we first started!
What’s your favorite part about running an online business?
I personally love the feeling of helping others achieve a lifelong dream!
We get several comments on our blog posts saying how much we inspire them to travel and think about everything else later. Without the motivation of this, I feel our Instagram blog would be nowhere near where it is now.
I also love the challenge, once I start on something I will never give up. I believe perseverance is the key to success.
Out of all the Instagram-ers out there, how do you stand out?
I honestly think the quality of the photos you post on Instagram is SO important.
People will not follow you if your photos are blurry or not eye-catching. I take time and care into which Instagram posts to publish next, and I also engage with lots of my followers, and other bloggers in my niche.
I also didn’t broaden my niche too wide or narrow. Having an Instagram account only about travel is far too large, and people won’t engage as well. Similarly, if you only post about Africa, your following is likely to be very limited.
Some of Emma’s high-quality pics that allow her to score Instagram sponsorship:
Give us an example of something that did NOT work out the way you expected it to:
Apart from Instagram, I’m pretty much a newbie to Facebook Pages and Pinterest. The other week I paid a substantial amount of money for a Facebook ad (in all fairness I hadn’t read up on how to effectively use it), but it was a massive flop.
I advertised my free opt-in, but after a week of promoting it, nobody subscribed! It was so disappointing. I couldn’t believe it and I wanted to pull my hair out!
I didn’t understand why it didn’t work when other blogger friends say it works like a charm for both subscribers and Facebook page likes.
Before I purchased the ad, Facebook said it would reach around 10,000 people, but it ended up only reaching about 400…
Lesson learned: Make sure to research carefully before investing in social media!
Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
Ideally, I wish I started my travel blog at the same time as our Instagram and used other social media platforms back then, too.
It does seem to be an uphill battle with the other platforms, but our traction is steadily increasing. I also believe that connecting and making friendships is one of the most important and vital things you must do in order to have a successful blog… I should have started doing that sooner.
What are your goals for the next 12 months for your business?
Ultimately, I would love to make enough money on Instagram (and from my blog) that it covers my living expenses and travel.
I’d love to hit 50,000 subscribers and I’m in the process of writing an E-Course on how to gain more organic followers, earn a solid income, and become a prolific influencer on Instagram (which I’m hoping to release in the next couple of months)!
Awesome! Anything else you want to share?
I’d love to give a piece of advice for aspiring solo travelers looking to go off and make money on Instagram:
Don’t be afraid to go travel on your own.
We’ve heard all sorts of things… will I meet people, will I like it, will I be safe, will I have fun…?
Yes, you will! Even more so when you go on your own.
Because you’re not going to worry about what people think of you, you can do what you want. You’re free and no one is going to stop you. All solo travelers (and that’s what most people are) will be in the exact same situation as you, so everyone is trying to make the best out of it.
That’s why it always ends up being a ton of fun hanging out with people you’ve never met until just two hours earlier. All you have to do is stay in a hostel dorm; that’s the best way to meet people.
Have a look at the best hostels for your intended place on Hostelworld and off you go. You won’t regret it!