Social media is SOCIAL -- you can't just post and be done
"The key to success on Instagram or any social media platform is being social," says Matthew Long of LandLopers (IG: @landlopers). "So many people lose sight of that, but it's key to become a part of the digital community. Comment, like photos, and engage, and in turn others will do the same with you. Of course, always posting excellent photos that tell a story is also important. It's all about the level of engagement."
And just to drive that point home, Daniel Noll of Uncornered Market (IG: @uncornered_market) says: "Seriously, engagement is pretty much all that matters."
Brand, brand, brand, and then brand some more
Your life is your brand. There is NOTHING more important than your brand. You must be willing to eat, sleep, and breathe it. If you are not fully committed to constantly -- with every waking minute, with every single heartbeat -- building that brand, this is not the life for you. "Be willing to spend every waking moment on building your social media and website," says Dave and Deb, who spent their first five years blogging every single day.
Getting paid to travel is a job, and like any job, it takes a lot of hard work, over a long period of time. But unlike that soul-sucking desk job most people spend their lives on, traveling on someone else's dime is an honest-to-God dream job. And with enough hard work, it might even be possible.
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Nicole Rupersburg is a recovering blogger enjoying her newfound free time and sanity. She sincerely thanks the folks featured here, as she knows even taking 20 minutes out of their day to answer these questions is a lot to ask. Join her not-at-all-impressive IG following for mostly crappy photos that are posted sporadically with long lag times between them and zero audience engagement at @eatsdrinksandleaves.