I thought I wanted to be a travel blogger, but I don’t. I want to be an inspirational blogger!
When I started ZoomGoes several months ago, it was because I was having a bit of an internal crisis. A mini-meltdown. I needed to get away, re-center myself. Swept up in a small wave of depression, I had lost my path in the woods sometime over the last couple of years. More accurately, I wasn’t who I thought I was. After building up the new me, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go.
My life was feeling so static. I felt like I’d been pushing, pulling, spinning my wheels, busting my ass – and hadn’t moved a step forward. WTF?! What was I doing? Where did I want to go? How should I get there? I couldn’t keep going on like I had been.
Finding my way by getting lost.
About a year before I snapped, I had applied for a passport.
When searching for an escape from my rut, travel seemed like the best option. It gave me the highest chance of getting an outside, fresh, perspective. I wanted to go out and discover how people in other parts of the world do things. I wanted to develop a deeper appreciation of things that, maybe, I was actually taking for granted.
Should I be appreciating my job more? My family? My possessions? My socioeconomic status? I was putting a lot of pressure on this trip to bring things into perspective for me (more on that in another post, because I’m not quite sure where I am yet).
The transformation of ZoomGoes
As a tool to share this journey with friends and family, I created ZoomGoes. Originally, it was just that – for friends and family to know I was alive. There was no goal beyond that. Through my journey of not only traveling, but blogging, it’s grown to be something bigger.
Zoom Goes has allowed me to develop a sense of community. There are times I feel tired, burnt out, lonely, or like I’m just at the top of a mountain shouting while no one listens – that my words are going unread. That I’m not making a difference.
But then, someone leaves a comment. Someone shares my post, or I get a message telling me that I’ve inspired one of my readers to have an adventure. In that moment, my fire is reignited. It is one of the best feelings I have ever felt. To me, this is more rewarding than any paycheck could be.
I want more.
I want to take the blog to the next level.
I want to deepen my community.
I want to extend my reach and inspire more people.
I want to help others accomplish what they think they can’t.
I want to empower people to adventure and live their life fully – on whatever scale that might be.
Before I get into the ‘the plan’, I want to say thank you to each of you reading this <3
If you didn’t read, didn’t comment, didn’t like or share, I’m not sure I would have the motivation to continue. It would be like talking to wall. Yes, this is something that I love, but if I have no one to share it with, what’s the point? Thank you for sharing your support and love with me!
Goals for the next year.
So, why am I telling you all of this rather than just doing it? I’ve learned over the years that communication and openness is important in any relationship! Since the one we have is so special to me, I wanted to be upfront with you about the drive behind any changes to the site 🙂
Okay, here we go! It’s about to get real. *rubs hands together*
#1 Build my audience through a social media marketing plan.
GOAL: Every month, I want my traffic to be higher than that of the previous month.
This year, I want to grow my community. Develop my tribe. Extend my family. I want to increase traffic to the blog. Not just people visiting the site – I want to attract lifers.
Lifers: People I can have a connection with who will be readers for life.
How will this be measured? Through engagement (comments/likes/shares), page views (how many pages someone views per session), and unique visitors (individual people coming to the site).
#2 Become a brand.
GOAL: Develop a product or service.
Zoom Goes will be undergoing the transformation of becoming a brand – a unique identity. As such, I’d like to develop a product, or a service, that I can begin to offer my readers. My eBook, “10+ Free Things You Can Do Anywhere”, is undergoing the final editing process. It’s almost finished!
With my mission being to inspire others to take action on their dreams, specifically relating to adventure and travel, I hope that this book will be a good resource for my cult. As someone who loves free things (could you tell by the title?), the book will of course be free for my audience!
I’ve also toyed with the idea of offering trip-planning consultations. Possibly giving webinars or creating a podcast – something of value to you.
As someone who is reading this now, I would love to hear from you regarding any ideas you have or needs you might want met. What is holding you back from pursuing your adventure dreams? How can I help you overcome your fear? Leave me a comment and tell me your struggles – I’d like to find a solution.
With this overhaul there will be some changes happening to the site over the next few months. I’m going to beg my graphic designer BFF to make me a logo, I’m going to polish up my “about me” page and toy around with the layout of the site.
If you ever see a change you like, or hate, let me know! Feedback and constructive criticism is always welcome!
#3 Build an email list.
GOAL: Have a reliable way to communicate with my community.
Over the last few months, I’ve invested a lot of time into learning about how to have a successful brand. One of the most common reoccurring themes is “get an email list”. This lets me stay in touch with my community, share extra tidbits and resources with them, and gives them a good way to keep in connection with me too.
A feeling of trust, community and genuine connection is important to me – that’s really what I find rewarding from all of this. I will never sell your email, send you spam, forward stupid things to you, or blow your inbox up. Personally, I get enough emails and I’m sure you do too.
You’ll only ever receive notification of new posts, and other things that I’m confident will be of value to you. I’ve currently got 10 email subscribers (counting my mother) and would like to grow this by 10x over the next year.
To jump start my email list campaign, next week we’re going to have our first GIVEAWAY!
If you’d like to get a headstart, you can join my mailing list using the form below. Members of the mailing list will automatically be entered into all giveaways, receive a copy of my book “10+ Free Things You can Do Anywhere”, and be the first to get notified about service discounts along with new posts and adventure tips! Don’t worry: my Momma taught me the only good spam comes in a can. I’ll never sell your email or use it maliciously in any way.
#4 Stay focused on adventure
GOAL: Continue to have new experiences, share them here, and inspire my audience.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – adventure is an attitude. You can experience adventure on a day to day basis!
While this blog started off with a ‘big adventure’ of me traveling through Asia, it will continue with the adventure theme even while I’m stationary(ish) in the states. I commit to continue to bring you inspirational stories, terrible puns, along with tips and tricks to add some adventure spice to your own life. Just because we’re going to be domestic for the next few months doesn’t mean the party is stopping. I’m an adventure addict, it must continue.
#5 Increase professionalism.
GOAL: Generate high quality, polished marketing graphics and blog images with edited content.
As stated, up until this point the blog has mainly been for my friends and family. Since it was so casual, it was okay if I had some spelling issues (spelling HAS NEVER been my strong point, embarrassingly so) or the pictures were cut off.
We’re going full pro now. Slick, professional marketing graphics. High resolution, thoughtful photos. Writing that’s undergone an extreme, ruthless editing process. Bold titles. In fact, bring in the dragons – we’re going big!
I got the mojo!
I’ve been in the market for a DSLR for a few months. I felt it would be the next tool I should invest in to take my blog to the next level. Of course any camera worth its salt is expensive. Finally, I found a camera on craigslist that is high quality and in my budget.
I email to see if the camera is still available. I’m told it is, and that we can arrange a time for later to pick it up. A few days go by and I never get a response. Damn! Then, there’s an email from her. Enclosed is a note that says they found the camera is broken, and since it’s got no value, she’ll meet me and give it to me for free.
We meet in a public place (cragislist killers, ya know) and I get the camera, a camera bag, a lens, and various other accessories. I take the camera to a repair shop to see if they can fix the pin that is causing memory cards not to be read. In typical American fashion, they explain it’ll be $300 dollars, 8-12 weeks bla bla bla. Of course, that isn’t an option.
Determined, I decide to go to Best Buy. I’ve broken plenty of pins and card readers in my time so why not give it a go? A purchase a $40 CF card…plug it in…and it works!!
I just got a $300 camera for $40!! I’m taking this as a sign it was meant to be!
#6 Make money.
GOAL: Earn enough to invest back into the blog, and be able to focus almost exclusively on its development.
I know what you’re thinking “ahhh, I knew it was too good to be true…this is what it’s all about, isn’t it? MONEY!” I’ll be straight with you – in a sense, yes. However, there is a reason this is at the bottom of the list – it is my last priority. Like they always say: “Do what you love and the money will follow”, and I believe that.
While I think an income will be a by-product of a great blog, it’s still a priority I want to be mindful of. Why? I’ll tell you.
If I’m able to generate an income from this blog, that empowers me to reinvest it back into the source – my audience. Don’t worry – this income isn’t going to be generated through the hard selling of crap that you don’t need in your life, or through so many pop ups you can barely see the site. I want to generate it through my service to you. My own products, resources, and work.
If I just made enough to allow me to simply work a part time job rather than full time, that opens up a lot of extra time and emotional energy I could invest here. I’ll more available to provide better content. I’ll be able to afford better tools. Maybe even in a few years, an assistant to help with marketing (this takes up most of my time right now).
Ideally, I’d like to grow to the point where I can outsource marketing. I can then focus strictly on writing content, creating resources, and being available for more intimate interactions with my lifers. One on one problem solving consultations, trip planning, and anything else that I might discover I’m useful for throughout this journey.
Now that I’ve declared my intentions, I invite you to continue on this journey with me. I wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t already come this far with me. I’m excited to go ever forward together. <3