Financial Case Study: Chelse Hensley, Social Media Manager

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Chelse Hensley is a Digital Nomad obsessed with traveling the world and seeking adventure beyond the 9-5 office life. When she turned 25 she decided that she was going to stop making excuses and do what she’d always dreamed. She went from having 0 stamps in her passport to 15+ countries in one year. While she details her adventures at HashtagTourist, she earns her living as a social media manager. Read on to learn more about her travel lifestyle and location independent career as a social media manager!

Financial Case Studies

This post was originally published in 2018. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content. 

How long have you been living/working on the road, and where have you traveled to?

2+ years, around the world.

Please describe what you do for income.

I am a Social Media Manager who owns I manage advertising campaigns mostly, but currently restructuring a shop to sell courses and DIY trainings.

How many hours per week do you work on average?

Approximately. 20 hours on client work, and another 15-20 hours working on my own business development.

How much money do you make?

I make approximately $2,000-5,000/month as a social media manager. I earn an additional $100-300 a month doing consults and private training sessions, and $500/month with my recently launched Power Solving Sessions.

Do you make enough money to support your lifestyle?

I do currently make ‘enough’ but I’m not even sure I know what ‘enough’ is because we always adapt to our income, right? Whether I made half what I make or double of what I make, who knows if I’d consider it ‘enough’.

I do try and allocate SOME funds to my IRA account and stocks though to prepare for the future! Typically no more than 10% of my income per month. Usually around 5%. (See also: Asset Allocation and Financial Planning for Travelers)

What do you like most about your career and lifestyle?

I wake up in the morning and get to relax in bed and bask in the fact that I don’t need to rush around arbitrarily to go into an office and sit at a desk.

What are some of the challenges you have with this career and lifestyle?

It’s tough not having a community 100% of the time. People leave, you leave, it’s so fluid that it’s hard not having a constant, stable friends and community around you.

What is your vision for the future of your lifestyle on the road?

I think I am slowly weening myself from being so nomadic. Within the next two years I want to buy a house and have roots, and supplement my time with travel – maybe only traveling for a few weeks or couple months at a time versus being on the road for 4-6 month chunks.

Any advice for the aspiring traveler about living and working on the road and managing finances?

Have your paychecks automatically deduct into an untouchable account! Whether it’s a savings fund or a retirement account. I am so passionate about financial literacy for women so I think starting a retirement fund before you’re 25 is key. (Nora’s Note: Amen, sister! Here’s how compound growth set me free, starting in my 20s)

I also SWEAR by Robinhood because I can purchase and sell stocks ON MY OWN instead of having some stuffy Wall Street type do it for me. I love learning about the market so far!

Secondly, I use Acorns app to roundup purchases on my card. So if a cup of coffee is $3.89, it’ll invest that 11 cents into stocks or savings. It’s a great way to grow my savings without even being conscious of it!

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3 thoughts on “Financial Case Study: Chelse Hensley, Social Media Manager”

  1. Cool Nora. Always neat to see how other travelers prosper online. Social media needs managers and coaches like Chelse. Lots of folks are just learning how to do social right, especially if they are just hopping on for the first time as online entrepreneurs.

  2. It’s really hard to say enough about savings & the power of time (compound interest), getting started early is a huge help.

  3. Almost every time I read a blog post, I learn something new. That’s why I like to visit blogs. New to me in this article is the mention of the Acorns app. It seems to be an interesting solution and I will so some intensive research about it. Greetings from Germany.


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