Lidiya K is a full-time financial blogger, lifestyle designer and the creator of Let’s Reach Success where she teaches millennials how to achieve financial freedom through side hustles. She started earning money on the side as a freelance writer and used that income to leave her country, travel a bit and relocate to her ideal destination. She then became a full-time blogger and now shows others how to do the same.
This post was originally published in 2019. 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?
I’ve traveled to many places across Europe (as that’s where I come from), spent a few months in Thailand, after which I relocated to the Netherlands as it’s the place that suits me the most.
I’ve been location independent for a couple of years now but first waited till I found the best way for me to make money online before I moved elsewhere. That turned out to be freelance writing. Once I was earning enough on a monthly basis, I became confident in my abilities to sustain that income and even grow it (as well as grow my savings), which allowed me to leave my home country and never look back.
Please describe what you do for income.
My income consists of earning from ads and sponsored posts on my blog Let’s Reach Success, affiliate revenue, and selling my course Financial Freedom Through Blogging.
But that wasn’t always the case. Till a year ago I was making money solely from blog sponsorships and freelance writing. I slowly took steps towards full-time blogging as a career as I didn’t enjoy writing for others anymore and wanted to focus on doing my best work, which is creating content for my platform and audience. That helped me enjoy my work even more, learn more about blogging, and hustle each month to never have to work for others again.
My next goal is to earn more from affiliate marketing and selling my courses and slowly leave behind ad revenue and blog sponsorships.
How many hours per week do you work on average?
The real work takes around 20 hours, I believe. But the rest is what matters even more.
Things like updating old content, researching, taking online courses, networking with other financial bloggers, being active on Pinterest – all these are the activities that allow me to grow my brand and blog and, ultimately, double my income.
How much money do you make?
My monthly income is $3,000-$5,000/month. In my annual blog income report here, I show how I earned nearly $50K blogging in 2018.
I publish detailed monthly income reports (and these are my favorite blog posts to write too) where I share my exact numbers (income and expenses), what income streams I’m earning from, how things have changed since the previous month, what new things I’m working on, how my traffic has grown, etc. These really help me see the bigger picture of the growth of my business and readers like to read that content too as it inspires them to grow and monetize their own blogs.
I recently increased my traffic, which led to earning more from ads each month. I’m using Mediavine and am currently earning $1,000/month passively, which I will try to maintain.
If my income gets low for some reason, I can get back to freelance writing and earn an extra $1,000/month. That means I’m basically leaving money on the table now, but the time and effort invested in my blog and its growth is something that will pay off in the long-run.
Do you make enough money to support your lifestyle?
Yes. In fact, this is the perfect way to summarize my income-lifestyle connection. I earn enough to support my lifestyle. The funny thing is, this was true when I was earning $800/month and living in my home country Bulgaria (where life is cheap) and it’s true now that I earn around 3,000 euros in one of the most expensive cities in Europe – Amsterdam.
I make sure I always save money aside each month and track my finances every 10 days, after which I analyze everything I’ve earned and spent at the end of the month. This way I’ll never end up being worried about money, struggling to cover an unexpected expense, not being able to pay taxes for my business at the end of the year, or else.
I remember how life before having savings was. So now I make sure that’s included in my money habits so I can sleep peacefully and not worry about money.
Investments aren’t my thing. Retirement is something I’ve yet to tackle. The thing is, I moved to Amsterdam at 24 and registered my business there in 2018. It’s been only one year since paying taxes in such an economically developed country and there are many different things to take care of. As far as I know, most freelancers and self-employed people in Europe don’t have a retirement plan. I’m still in my 20s, but this is something I will start investing in, in my early 30s.
(See also: Saving For Retirement While Traveling)
What do you like most about your career and lifestyle?
Two words – freedom and independence.
Some friends (although no one really has this lifestyle and can understand the challenges that go with it) ask me how I handle the insecurity of not knowing if my next salary is going to come next month. I try not to explain as it has to be experienced. But for me, the biggest insecurity was always to work a job you don’t like and make someone else rich while investing your most productive time every workday.
While others can find purpose, discipline, and security in working a 9 to 5 job, I find the same in making money online and being my own boss.
It was scary in the beginning, sure. That’s why I took calculated risks only after I began earning a solid amount month after month.
But over time and after doing this for years, you start to trust yourself, your ability to do the work every next month, and the whole process.
Other things I like about my work and lifestyle are the flexibility, the productivity and focus I can find whenever I sit down to do some work, the solitude even (I don’t want to work directly with people).
Also, I have the chance to do what I love. And while the whole blogging thing was not something I ever had in mind, I’m still writing and sharing my thoughts and inspiring others, and all that only on topics I’m passionate about.
Last but not least, there’s no limit to how much you can earn when you’re in the digital world.
What are some of the challenges you have with this career and lifestyle?
Self-discipline is a challenge. That’s why this lifestyle isn’t for everyone. But I’m a big personal development lover which means it was fun for me to form the right habits and mindset, build discipline, find focus and boost productivity.
Another challenge is the isolation many freelancers and online business owners find themselves in. But as an introvert by nature, I’m fine with that too.
Let’s not forget the lack of support and understanding a blogger and lifestyle designer experiences. If no one in your life is doing the same, you might feel like you are crazy for chasing such goals and thinking this way. But if you want it bad enough, what others think has no power over you.
What is your vision for the future of your lifestyle on the road?
I plan to always stay location independent and can easily be in another place around the world for a few weeks, but I’ve found the ideal destination for me and I’m settling down here. It’s amazing how every day feels once you end up at the right place but also know you’ve earned it!
As for my blogging business, I want to have more passive income streams and eventually move away from earning with sponsored posts. I want to serve people more with my own products in the future but there’s a big learning curve to marketing that, creating a solid sales funnel and getting readers in it.
There’s one thing I always remind myself of, though, and it’s what most lifestyle designers can say too. Even if nothing changes about my life, I’d still be satisfied because each element right now is exactly the way I want it.
Any advice for the aspiring traveler about living and working on the road and managing finances?
My best tip for them is to start with spiritual and personal growth before they make any big changes in their life. That means defining what it is they truly want so they don’t end up chasing the wrong goals. Also, make sure to find your passion and read all you can about monetizing it. If not, do the thing online that’s closest to it.
If you want to be a freelancer, check out my free course How to Make Your First Money Online Freelancing.
Save some money too and get better at money management so when you begin traveling you can always stay financially stable.
Then, choose your destination, fix every last thing back home, and get on the road with your laptop.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Be a lifelong learner. With online business, there’s always a new skill you can build, idea you can test or a person you can learn from. So invest in online courses, read books and listen to podcasts. These will keep you focused on your goals and will allow you to learn from the mistakes of others and generate profitable ideas to sustain your traveling.