Find Out How This Couple Went From Broke Travel Bloggers To Running A 40 Man Content Creation Agency

Filed in Success Stories by on July 8, 2015

Broke backpacker into NicheHacks Success StoryMaking money as a freelance writer is hard in the beginning, but it isn't difficult to get started.

Carlo and his girlfriend Florence went from being freelance writers to actually employing 40 native English speakers from all around the world to work them.

You're probably curious as to how a average Joe like yourself can replicate his success...

It's simple.

You can learn the steps and replicate them right from this post.

This is one of the many success stories that you can read and copy.

Keep on reading and you'll learn how but just remember...don't just read it, take action!

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)

1781 niches [new]

 

 

Introduction To Your Success Story

My name is Carlo Cretaro.

My girlfriend (Florence) and I are from Ireland and we’re travel bloggers over at NextStopWhoKnows.com.

We left home back in 2013 to pursue our dreams of being able to travel the world and work on our online businesses to sustain a life of travel.

We’ve been travel blogging since 2009 and in 2012 we started freelance writing which we then turned into a full-blown content production business.

 

Q. How did you get started with online marketing and how far have you come since then?:

We really had no idea how to go about making money online, up until 2012.

We’d just returned home from a backpacking trip in late 2011 from S.E Asia and we knew that we wanted to create an online business of some sort.

The goal was to be able to pack our bags and travel wherever and whenever we wanted.

Since then we've worked our socks off creating our own mini content empire where we currently have a team of nearly 40 native English speaking freelance writers from around the world.

This allows us to scale our business while still providing our clients with the highest content value for their business.

 

Q: You mentioned on the FB Group that back in 2012 you decided you wanted your own lifestyle business and so you set about creating a content creation agency and outsourced the writing. How did this idea come about? 

Getting started in a content business isn’t difficult.

The hard part is making the transition from earning a few hundred here and there to making a consistent full-time monthly income.

This is where we see a lot of people give up – when they can’t seem to get any traction with their business.

Don’t get me wrong – a content business is hard work and it has a lot of moving parts that need to be kept well-oiled in order for everything to run smoothly.

The idea came about from the desire I had to create an online business so that we could live and travel wherever we wanted.

Having the freedom to throw our laptops into a bag and jump on a plane or bus to our next destination is a magical feeling – and one that we don’t take for granted.

Of course there are tough days at the office but you learn to take the good with the bad.

One thing that puts a lot of people off from starting online is the unpredictability/instability of making money. Not having a guaranteed pay check puts 99% of people off from even giving things a proper go.

If you’re serious about starting out as a freelance writer, then start off by setting up a profile on Elance or Odesk (Odesk is now known as Upwork) and apply for the various writing jobs that are available.

You’ve got to start somewhere and the low barrier of entry on those platforms will make it possible for you to get paid for some writing work.

 

 

Q: If someone is wanting to start out as a content writer (or their own content company) would you recommend them to go niche and focus on a specific industry / topic / type of post or just be a general writer who writes on whatever he's paid to write about?

Yes, it's definitely an option to niche down as a writer.

The only negative to going down that route is that you may find it difficult to get some traction going initially.

If you just want to get some money coming in, then the general option is definitely better.

However, if you're serious about 'niche-ing' down into a specific industry then take the time to create a website that mirrors your writing preference etc.

This adds a little more weight to the fact that you're not just a "general" writer, but a writer who specializes in XYZ.

Of course you can then charge more per article or word as dedicated niche writer.

If it was me - and this is exactly the route I've taken with decent success, I would start off as a general writer and start making some money.

After a while if you think you'd like to niche down, then by all means go for it.

There's plenty of opportunity out there for both choices 🙂

 

Q: Often friends and family don't "get" this whole online marketing thing. How do yours feel about it and how did they react when you first told them your plans?

At first our family and friends didn’t have any clue about what we were doing online.

Thankfully, they now “get” it and they’re very interested in what we do.

Although our close families now understand it, friends and wider members of our families still ask us from time to time exactly what it is that we do.

Sometimes, I just tell people we’re travel bloggers as they can relate to that a little bit better than “internet marketers”.

 

Q: What was your first ever website or niche?

The first time I started blogging was on a free blogger.com account back in 2009.

I moved over to WordPress in 2011 with NextStopWhoKnows and we developed our travel site from then onwards.

 

Q: If you had to give 1 piece of advice to someone new to the online marketing world what would it be?

As cliche as it sounds, the best advice I could give someone would be to just take action.

When I started getting seriously interested in making money a few years ago, I kept reading everyone else’s stories and didn’t do anything to kick-start a business venture of my own.

One day, Florence and I decided to just try writing online to at least get the ball rolling.

Little did we think that a few years later we’d be managing a team of our own writers.

The key is to just make a start on something.

Learn from your mistakes and keep sharpening your teeth as you go.

We’ve made countless errors along our online road and we will continue to make more – it’s all part of the game!

 

Q: When choosing a niche follow passion or money?

We’re not passionate about writing, but it makes us money.

Sometimes following your passions will never make you money, so I would choose the money route every time.

But, of course if one can incorporate their passions in some way, it would be a win-win situation.

 

Q: One of the most common questions I'm asked by my audience is "How do I get started?" What would you advise them?

Find out what interests and/or skills you have.

Are you interested in computers or coding?

If so, then you could easily dip your toe into web development.

The likes of Elance/Odesk and other freelance sites are a great way for beginners in almost any industry to start making some money.

Maybe you’re interested in doing some freelance writing – in that case, get in contact with me and I can possibly get you started 😉

There’s so much potential out there for making money – the secret is to find something that you can work with and go from there.

I like to think of it as doing “keyword research”, in that you’ve got to sit down and put in some time and effort to find out what you want to do.

Again, the onus is on you to take action afterwards.

 

 

Q: If you lost everything (money, contacts, traffic, websites etc) and had to start over from scratch knowing what you know now with a $100 budget what would your plan be?

I would straight away start researching marketing and digital companies online to contact as a freelance writer.

This is exactly what I did starting off a few years ago with a budget of $0.

So with a budget of $100 I could actually outsource the research and outreach phase and concentrate on writing a few high quality pieces of content as portfolio samples instead.

Another plan would be to set up a website in a niche I was interested in and start providing as high value content as I could for readers.

 

Q: What would be your best tips for finding a profitable niche, creating the site and content, getting traffic and getting sales?

We’re just entering the whole world of affiliate niche site marketing, so I wouldn’t be absolutely too certain about what I would consider the best advice here.

However, from what I do know already – I would say that careful and detailed keyword research is absolutely essential.

From this, pick a niche that isn’t too competitive and build out a site with top-notch content.

Building an email list is without a doubt the best advice I could give for generating sales.

That way, you don’t have to rely on Google or anyone else since you’ll have your own customers banked.

 

Q: You also run a travel blog at NextStopWhoKnows how long have you been running the site, how much money does it make and what's your plans for it? What advice would you give to others looking to get into the travel niche?

We started blogging in 2009 and we moved things over to NextStopWhoKnows in 2011.

It makes some money each month from direct advertisements.

Some months it could make $1,000 while other months it may make zero. It all depends on when advertisers get in contact.

Just a month ago we gave the website a complete facelift with a new design etc.

We’re trying to steer the blog more into a combination of travel/lifestyle direction – rather than an out and out travel blog.

We realize that people would love to travel the world and have a way of sustaining it, so we’re trying to give them an insight of how it’s possible to do so.

The travel niche is ridiculously saturated.

Thankfully we don’t rely on our travel blog to make us money – however we know others that do.

It’s a tough cookie and a travel blog on its own will never make consistent money.

Based on what I know, there’s only a select handful of travel bloggers that can say they make a full time income from their single travel blog.

 

 

Q: What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future?

We’re planning on sourcing our own product from China and selling via FBA on Amazon.

It’s also a saturated market, but just like keyword research – if you find something that’s profitable then you can make some good money from it.

We’re also starting to build out a few affiliate niche sites as well.

Going forwards, we’d ideally like to have a decent chunk of our monthly income to be from passive sources – as it would give us time to focus of other possible income streams.

 

Key Takeaways

Stuart here again. The key takeaways from this post are:

  • Just get started. When you start doing something, anything, things start to become easier.
  • Always have a "WHY". Carlos had been travelling and enjoyed the freedom and lifestyle this spurred him on to create his own lifestyle business and succeed no matter what. What is your 'WHY'?
  • Niche down and narrow your focus. Don't be general about what you have to offer and really offer what you're good at.
  • Take action. Reading these stories as Carlo mentioned is great but if no action is taken, then there really isn't a point.
  • Don't give up. Errors and failures might happen but how you deal with them and staying persistent is key.
  • If Carlo can go from newbie to employing more than 40 writers and still make a profit then why can't you? you and I are no different than Carlo here. None of us were born an internet marketer. We can only get to where someone like Carlo is by putting in work and dedication.

 

(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)

1781 niches [new]

 

 

Wrapping Things Up

I hope this has inspired you to get out there and start taking action yourself.

Getting started in content creation is not difficult but you will not get anywhere by sitting there and dreaming.

If he can do it, then what's stopping you?

So get involved, let us know your action plan for the next few weeks so you can hold yourself accountable.

It might look something like this...

"I'm going to specialize in what I have to offer. I'll create an a profile in Upwork (previously known as Odesk) around writing for health and fitness articles and I'm going to let all potential clients that I find, know what I specialize in. I will make money within 6 months."

OK go ahead and comment below...

 

Nader Qudimat
Forged by the iron and cold steel, Nader takes his knowledge and hulk smashes it into his bodybuilding blog, FitFrek.

He is Stuart's right hand man as a VA, and is dedicated to make a empire online and he's doing so while studying for his MBA.
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Comments (3)

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  1. Jeremy Gray says:

    Great advice! I am still trying to get everyone to understand and "get" what I am doing.. would be a bonus if they were actually interested.

    Content creation outside of my own websites has been something I've wanted to look into for a while now... looks like I'm going to have to just dig down and start!

  2. As a guy that operates his own content writing website, I am very happy to hear success stories like this. Always over-deliver and make everyone feel welcome.

    Thanks!

  3. Thanks very much for featuring us Stuart. Delighted to help anyone out if they've any questions.