Financial Case Study: Louise Cottrell, Pinterest Marketing Strategist

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Louise is originally from the Bay Area, but has been living abroad for most of the last nine years. After working abroad then dabbling in remote freelancing, she started her own online business in 2015. She’s a Pinterest marketing strategist helping content creators and online business owners to generate traffic, grow their audience and increase sales with Pinterest. She has two brands – Travel Pinners specifically for travel bloggers and brands, and Pin Coach which is more generalized but with a large focus on Pinterest marketing for e-commerce. She’s also a world traveler and dog enthusiast, currently dog-sitting in beautiful Lake Chapala, Mexico. Learn more about Louise’s career and lifestyle below!

Financial Case Studies

This post was originally published in 2017. 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?

When I finished university I spent two years on working holiday visas in New Zealand and Australia. I came back to the States to apply for grad school to become a librarian (of which I attended one semester in Vancouver, Canada) then decided I’d rather be traveling and moved to Argentina where I lived for almost five years. I’m leaving out a lot of shorter trips but basically since 2004 I’ve traveled to more than 50 countries and am now a wandering digital nomad / location-independent entrepreneur.

Please describe what you do for income.

I run my Pinterest marketing business serving other business owners through account management, training, and consulting. I also have a side-hustle: copyediting for a textbook development agency which brings me a bit of side income when they ask me to join projects a few times/year.

How many hours per week do you work on average?

That’s hard to answer because I’m not very focused and always hopping back and forth between work and distractions. If you include the distractions it’s about 20-30 hours/week. If I were more focused it would probably be more like 15-20.

How much money do you make?

My income spiked earlier this year to $5,000 month, but in general my income fluctuates between $2,500-$3,500/month from the Pinterest marketing business. It took me a long time to get to that (I had a lot of <$1000 months in the first year of business). I’m expecting it to keep growing this year, now that I am more established and have my business shit together a bit more than in the past! It’s not consistently the same from month to month though.

Do you make enough money to support your lifestyle?

Yes. I live pretty frugally and tend to spend longer parts of the year in countries that have a lower cost of living (Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, now Mexico!). And I just discovered housesitting so that’s been helping too to keep costs down and be able to set aside savings at the end of the month! I try to set aside at least 10% of my income every month to invest in a mutual fund account. It’s really important to me so I factor this into my budget. I also save on travel by playing the points and miles game with credit card sign-up bonuses so although I’m moving around a lot, I’m usually so flexible as to get amazing deals on flights, or be able to book with miles.

What do you like most about your career and lifestyle?

I love being in new places and just changing scenery a lot in general, so the fact that I can now do it as much as I want keeps me feeling pretty fulfilled and grateful. Even when I lived in Buenos Aires, which can seem pretty exotic to some people, I had a lease on an apartment that I filled with stuff over three years. Took me three weeks to sell it all and I’m not planning on doing that again for a long time!

While working on Pinterest marketing isn’t my life mission, I’m glad to have found a niche that I have built an expertise in; it’s pretty straightforward, and there is a need in the market for it so I’m satisfied that I found something to make into my own business. It’s my first experience with entrepreneurship and I really like the independence. I was never into going into an office and when I learned how easy it was to get work from home, I was hooked! I had to get over a lot of mindset stuff to start my own business but it’s been pretty exciting and awesome so far.

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

The usual – ergonomic issues, trying to get focused and get work done while moving around too much at times. Occasionally feeling lonely or wanting to have more friends around (although I’m introverted and love alone-time so it’s not as bad as it could be). My partner also works online and travels with me so it’s just us two at home all day together. We get along really well and make it work for us but we do feel isolated at times. That’s why we spend winters in Chiang Mai – such a great community of young folks like us there!

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

I don’t see this as a temporary lifestyle and I’d be surprised if I found somewhere that I wanted to stay long term (i.e. more than six months in one go). After almost five years in Buenos Aires, two to three of which I was thinking ‘why aren’t I traveling?’ I am not planning on settling down again any time soon. But of course you never know what life will bring you or how what’s important to you will change. I don’t see myself wanting a house and kids at any point, but again, I suppose this could change with age? Hopefully not!

As for my work, I’m pretty sure I won’t be doing Pinterest marketing forever but for now I’m enjoying the experience I’m getting and I’m not planning to give it all up until I discover something that excites me more and seems viable as a business.

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

Get into housesitting! It’s such a nice way to work and travel, and keep costs down. Also, track all your expenses so you know what you’re spending. Be conscious about where your money is going and try to prioritize your spending on what brings you joy and increases your quality of life. And cut the rest out!

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1 thought on “Financial Case Study: Louise Cottrell, Pinterest Marketing Strategist”

  1. Great interview! It’s interesting how you ‘just kinda found’ pinetrest marketing and then went with that. Always so many unique ways people find a way to make a go at being a digital nomad! Nice to hear your story.

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