Digital Entrepreneur Interview Series: Sydney Expert

 

I’m all about inspiring others to pursue their dream life.  Life is too short to simply exist.  Everyone has a different story and I want to inspire others by sharing the stories of other digital entrepreneurs whom have taken the leap.  Those I’ve included in this Interview Series are all doing just that.

Today, I introduce you to Paula from Sydney Expert.

Tell me about yourself

I am 52 years old, have 2 kids and 2 grandkids and work full time blogging about a city I love.  In the past I worked as a librarian and in international education roles in student services and marketing. I have always loved working with people and information. 

NOTE:  Paula often travels with her husband, Charlie, who is part of the Sydney Expert team.

 

Do you travel full time or have a base? 

I have a base – travelling full time does not appeal to me. I like 6-8 weeks at a time and then home.  I love my home city and my kids and grandkids too much to be away any longer than that.

 

 

How did you become an entrepreneur?  Did you have an ‘ah-ha’ moment?  Or was it something you kind of ‘fell into’?

I guess you could say I fell into it.  I was a librarian in an earlier career and then completed a degree in Internet Studies back in 2000 when the internet was becoming a part of everyday life.  Blogging was part of that course and I enjoyed it.  I started a blog on my hometown as a hobby and it just grew from there.  Now niche destination sites are the latest thing but in 2011 it did not seem like a business idea at all.

In 2016 I made my first income from the site and that motivated me to work harder. By 2018 I was making a couple of thousand a month and I could see real potential in the site. It was then I start to work on a strategy to make it a full-time business.

 

Tell me about your ‘why’ –  why are you pursuing this business in particular?

I like the freedom of working when it suits me and sharing travel information and planning holidays has always been a hobby – this job does not feel like work at all.

 

The big question everyone wants to know –  what’s your main source of income?   How do you make money doing what you do?

I make my income from a mix of streams, but affiliate sales and advertising are the 2 main sources.  When I left work, I expected it to take at least a year to replicate my old full-time income, but I was delighted to discover it only took about 3 months.

 

What piece of advice would you suggest to someone considering ‘ditching the desk’ to become an ‘online warrior’?  

Treat it like a business, create a plan, give yourself time to build your business to a point where you have some income and you can see it is viable before you quit your job. Build savings so you are not stressing about every bill that comes in. Study SEO and really understand how to build your online business. 

 

What’s the one thing you can’t do without to run your business? (Apart from readership…)

Taking time to keep up to date with changing in seo and social media.

 

Is there anything you miss about having a 9-5 type of job?

Not a thing!  I have created my own circle of online “colleagues”.  Some are local and we meet up every so often, but many are online and there for a chat when you want to bounce ideas off someone or celebrate a success your non-blogging friends would not relate to.

 

What three things have you learned in the last year?

Having an accountability buddy is the best way to keep motivated.  Making time for your wellbeing by getting away from your desk if vital and time management is key to success (one I am still struggling with)

 

What is the best thing about being an entrepreneur?   Or better yet, is there anything that would make you go back to a 9-5 job? 

Freedom to work the hours that suit – for me that is 5am-10am and then 3-6pm – giving me time in the day to do anything I please, meet friends, research new places to write about, exercise, whatever. Nothing could make me go back to a 9-5 job. 

 

Give me a reality check moment that people considering this lifestyle needs to understand, before they take the leap?

Your income will never be guaranteed, and it can disappear at any time.  You need to be comfortable with that lack of security. You need to build some diversity into your income streams to cover any changes in the landscape like an algorithm change and loss of traffic for example.

 

OK, let’s talk travel:

As a traveller, what is your style of travel? Do you go budget friendly or live life luxuriously? 

We are what I term local travellers, we choose family run or small business hotels and restaurants. We travel mainly by pubic transport, we try to engage with locals as much as possible, we travel slower than lots of people, a four-week holiday is usually only one country for example. Luxury is not needed, but I won’t compromise on a decent bed and private bathroom.

 

How do you keep the budget under control?  

I honestly am terrible at budgeting when I travel but we don’t have expensive taste so it’s not really a problem. I usually have no idea how much I have spent while I am on the road. Thankfully the credit card bills never get too scary.

 

Which country has impacted you the most as a traveller? Tell me why.

They all do in different ways.

 

Tell me your best travel tip!  

Take your time, resist the urge to rush an itinerary to see more, I honestly believe you see less doing this. Look for Global Greeters in the cities you visit, this non organisation matches local volunteers with visitors who give them a private tour of their hometown.

 

You can find Paula here:

Website: https://sydneyexpert.com

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/sydneyexpert

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Sydneyexpert/

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