I’ve gotten asked, more than usual lately, what the heck I actually do. I think most people assume Scott and I are constantly running around the world traveling as often and as much as we can (yes please!).
The reality is you can usually find us cuddled up, working hard from our little home (truly little, think 450-ish square feet) with Gibson, our cat.
So where are we living, what are we doing, and how do we make money? Read on friend.
We’re currently renting and living in thee cutest little cabin just outside of Petoskey, Michigan. It’s where Scott’s from and all of his clients, from over 9 years of owning his own business, are based in the area.
After we got married we considered buying a house either overseas or in the Northern Michigan area. Turns out buying a home is expensive, like crazy expensive. Plus we’re not in a place to dive all in. We both knew if we moved in to a new home that all of our money and energy would suddenly be put in to home projects and we really wanted to save money and time so we could travel as much as possible.
We also knew Gibson had his own limitations. He can’t live without us……for real. We once started a 5 month adventure traveling Southeast Asia and 35 days in, in the middle of getting Scuba Certified, we had to quickly fly home and save him. He had completely quit eating and it started to cause a whole bunch of other problems. He spent 3 nights in a specialty vet hospital down state just to find out it was all stress induced.
You’ll be happy to know after 5 months with a feeding tube and lots of lovin, he’s alive and happy as a cat could possible be, especially now that we work from home full time. (As I type this he’s sleeping on Scott’s lap while Scott is working away. See? Beyond happy.)
So, we found this great place to rent, in the cutest little neighborhood, right on the freaking lake. I learned to sail this summer and Scott fished every other night and we find ourselves saying how much we love our place daily. Sometimes I think we’re going to stay here forever and be the actual people from "On Golden Pond".
We also got rid of our downtown office to get rid of as much overhead as we could. We currently work from home, travel as much as we can, and when we go, Gibson stays with Scott’s parents and I’m pretty sure it’s his favorite little getaway.
Like I mentioned, Scott’s had his business for over 9 years and has a good client base in the area. We felt that staying in Northern Michigan was a good call for us and our work. I joined him full time over a year ago and the two of us do mostly commercial photo and video work. This means commercials, ads, web images and social media. Our clients vary from hotels, to hardwoods companies, to the local Visitors Bureau and everything in between.
We love it! We’ve gotten to work with some really cool clients who let us get really creative and create something special for them. Here’s some examples of our work.
Northern Michigan Hardwoods: One Man's Vision
Petoskey Hockey: Promo Video
Trout Creek: Winter is Here!
Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau: Fishing
Stafford's Hospitality: Employment Video
Northern Michigan Hardwoods: Mulch
Recently, you've probably noticed a shift in our work. We're getting in to the online world and really starting to key in to creating passive income.
With our client work, it’s a traditional model in the way we make money: do a project (provide a service) then we get paid. With passive income, you do the work and then are able to make money passively, without having to be directly involved. I can create something and it will live for however long, making us money as we go. This is ideal for us traveling and living a lifestyle that fits with our life vision. We can make money while we are out for a walk, on vacation, or even while we sleep!
My blog is an example of this and one we’ve really enjoyed diving in to. I started the blog full time in October and it’s been even better than we expected.
Doing the passive income thing is a way for us to have complete freedom and control over our business and our lives. Well not complete control, let’s be real, but a heck of a lot closer to it. Right now, we’re about 80/20 on client work and online. Scott is 80% client work, 20% online and I’m 80% online and 20% client work.
We’d like to see those numbers shift so we’re both 90% online and 10% client work in the next year. (Hey clients! This is everything we’ve been talking about. We sincerely love you and most of you are grandfathered in, it’s just a way for us to have a say in what future jobs we may or may not want.)
So, how do we make money? I’ll show you.
1. CLIENT WORK.
75% of November’s Income.
As mentioned above, client work is still our main source of income. We work with different clients to get them the materials they need to advertise, promote, and showcase their business. We have about 5 main clients and then get called for different projects here and there mostly by word of mouth.
2. ONLINE STORE.
24% of November’s Income.
Ok, the hats have been a hit and we are just so darn grateful. We created them as an idea and a way to provide something that we love, for people. We both wear hats often, especially when we travel and we thought how cool would it be if we designed our own? We put them out there to see what people would say and the response was beyond what we were thinking it ever would be.
We’re so excited to share them with all of you and are putting together our THIRD order already. We’re also hoping to expand the shop as we go. We’re not too keen on an online store being our thing, however, we LOVE what it’s been so far. We’d like to keep expanding slowly and at a realistic pace.
3. AFFILIATE LINKS.
1% of November’s Income.
Yes! 1 freaking percent of Novemeber’s income after just 2 months. You guys, writing this has me all sorts of pumped! These things take time, lots and lots of time, to build and we've already seen a return!
Let me say that affiliate links are NO additional cost to you. I have affiliate links throughout my blog and if you click on them and buy something, I get a percentage of the sale. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be the thing I was suggesting in the first place.
For example, if you go to my 21 Gift Ideas For The Ultimate Adventurer blog you'll see mostly affiliate links there. Say you buy something on Amazon, no matter what it is, I'll get a percentage of that sale because you bought it by going through my link.
For the Future.
Youtube was originally going to be the big thing we dove in to and our main way to make money. Funny how things change. We had a grand plan for videos and our travels and our lives and were super excited, but it's been the one thing we've hardly touched.
I think I had way to many ideas at the beginning to feel like anything was really working and found I enjoyed blogging the most. Now that, that’s been consistent and doing well, I’m ready to dive in to videos again.
Stay tuned as my big goal is to create a video a week starting hopefully this month but for sure January! In the mean time, subscribe to my Youtube channel to catch all the action!
5. PARTNERSHIPS AND SPONSORS
For the Future.
This too we haven’t started this yet but it’s right around the corner. Essentially we’d partner with brands we believe in and use ourselves to promote their product or services. We’re looking forward to diving in with local companies as we visit new cities and places close to home and around the world.
So there you have it. What Scott and I actually do.
Fun huh? We think so.
It’s been a big shift for us this season of diving all in to our online adventures but we know it’s the best option for us for the long term.
What started as a Youtube dream is now alive and well via blogging. You’ll never know what you’re capable of until you give it a try. Be flexible, consistent, and willing to go all in or at least all in to part time in and see if it will work for you. Stick with it and be willing to adapt. It's fun to think of how different these numbers and what we're doing will look in the next year.
If you have more questions about what we’re doing, please, please, please let me know! I LOVE to talk about it and get ideas from other people or just explain what we do because I know how different it is.
Thanks for being a part of this journey. It means more than you know.
Live boldly, always,
PS This is an example of an affiliate link. If you click on the blanket below and either buy the it or something else, I'll get a small percentage!
We keep this in our Jeep, always. It rolls up for convenient carrying, is HUGE!, and is polar fleece on one side and polyester on the other. We used it all summer for impromptu sunsets and picnics but our latest use? We used it when we hauled our Christmas tree to our house. We put it underneath the tree to protect our Jeep. We had super heavy, wet snow so it got soaked. We hung it up to dry and it's as good as new. It's seriously one of the best blankets you'll find!