Flashback: My travel story business started inadvertently..5 years back, as I lazily sipped one of the most horribly made coffees by a famous brand, I wrote my first blog post on THE MOST HAUNTED PLACE IN DELHI. It was a travel story on one of the many weird destinations in Delhi.
I wasn’t a blogger then and did not not, obviously, know the basics of this genre of writing. As years passed, I continued writing. Initially I was writing on a wordpress sub-domain but a year back, I bought a domain, www.ahauntedtravel.com. If you are reading this then I am sure some of you will open this link and give some practicable advice on this blog.
The Next Challenge
There are several thousands of Indians who write blogs. There are pets who also ghost write blogs, so what was the big deal in my case? Every day, more than a million blog posts appear on the net, much like the jugnus, and then quickly vanish away.
My next challenge was to monetize the content that I had so painstakingly written. One obvious route was Adsense. But, I was just getting a monthly traffic of say, 2000 views (most of them are from Europe and North America ) and this figure wasn’t good enough to get clicks.
What to do then?
As things turned out, Google accepted my Adsense application and I was now busy installing the codes on my site.
But there were no visitors.
My first break
It came in August 2015 when a state tourism board invited me to cover its various destinations, free of cost to me. I did not mind. Six days of an all expenses paid trip was too heady for me to even think that I was not making any money from this trip.
My second break in my travel story business
People tell me that I have a way with words. I am sure they are right.
One day, a young man approached me to write content for his various clients. ‘No plagiarism, no grammatical mistakes, unique content, timely submission …blah blah blah…’
The money was a pittance but I felt redeemed. Content fetches money, I had realized.
Over a period, there were other offers from other clients and I accepted most of them.
I also realized that time means money. Writing is not just about words and sentences, it is also about spending your time.
Break no. 3
I had often wondered that, Swayam, how about your readers calling you and wanting YOU TO TAKE THEM AROUND DELHI AND SHARE YOUR TRAVEL STORIES WITH THEM, REAL TIME!
I must admit that it was a wistful thought, my blog wasn’t attracting decent traffic enough to get these kind of calls. Nevertheless, I went ahead and registered myself on a travel start-up website that sells travel experiences to travelers to Delhi. After doing that, I wrote a mail to the website admin to approve my membership. Nothing happened.
Nothing happened in the next week as well.
I thought to myself, here is yet another wannabe start-up that is not serious about its business. Forget this business model, I thought to myself.
As Alok says frequently, the universe is always conspiring to help you if your karma bank account is frequently updated with more deposits. One day, this website admin called me.
Hi Swayam, he began, can we talk? We began talking and discussed my content, expertise, passion and of course…my fees !
My first customer
He was and is a dear friend of mine and works with an engineering firm. He was happy with my Red Fort tour and gave me a positive review on the website of my partner client. Thank you Praveen. It was so kind of you to give me a repeat sale.
Customers and more customers…
Have I got more customers like Praveen? Yes, I have started getting clients from the United States, Canada, UK and continental Europe who want to feel and experience Delhi in a way that is unique and led by story-telling.
The next steps
- Generate tons of traffic from my website to get organic leads from potential customers
- Work with other similarly placed start-ups to get this kind of business
- More content writing opportunities (if you know someone, please link me to him/her)
- Learn, learn and unlearn
- Spread my travel business to outside Delhi
- Lastly, I would like you to help me out in getting funding on my travel story business.
I am looking forward to reading your thoughts on my plan. Does it sound good? Can I add more value to this model? If yes, then how?