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12 Things I Learnt From 12 months of Freelancing as a Full Time Travel Blogger

 

 

Hi guys,

You lot seem to like it when I do personal posts rather than just constantly sharing write ups of my recent trips, so I thought I should break up all the recent cruise content and write about something which is a really popular topic at the moment: freelancing. It seems like every single blogger I know at the moment is quitting their job in order to become a full time freelancer and live the digital nomad life. This is obviously amazing as it seems our work lives are ever changing and creeping away from the standard 9-5 working week, and I would of course encourage everyone to follow their dreams and live their best lives, but there is also a side to freelancing that isn’t shared online, and a side which makes the freelance/nomad life a little less glamourous than Instagram shows it to be. I took the plunge myself and went freelance as a full time travel blogger two years ago but spent just a year doing that (amongst other things) before I realised I needed to make another life change at the age of 24. Some days I loved it, other days I hated it, but overall I’m so glad I did it. Here’s 12 things that I learnt during my 12 months of freelancing from September 2016 – September 2017, both the good, the bad and the ugly…

The flexibility is fantastic

One of the best things I loved about freelancing was the ability to be completely flexible all the time. By steering away from the standard 9-5 life I was able to fit more in to my day, and alter it to suit my needs. A typical day for me would be to wake up and get dressed and ready to start work by 10ish – I never worked in my pj’s and always made an effort to get changed even if I wasn’t leaving the house as this helped get my mind-set into work mode. I’d then work for 3-4 hours at home before breaking for lunch (30 mins to 1 hour depending on how busy I was) and then continued working (with breaks) until I got everything done. Sometimes it was a 6pm or 7pm finish, other days I woke up later and continued working until 9pm or 10pm. Although I typically worked longer hours than a usual 9-5 job, I didn’t really feel like I was over-working myself as I took regular breaks, was at home, didn’t have a commute and could pick up my work/emails whenever I wanted. I took my dog out for walks every day, spent time seeing friends and enjoyed being at home.

It’s really lonely

Probably the biggest downside to freelancing is the crippling loneliness that goes with it. Working in a lively estate agents from the ages of 18 – 23 made me realise how much I love people, and how much I thrive off a busy, fun environment. When I took all of that away, I started to realise that I don’t cope very well on my own. I get really low sometimes, and feel the need to constantly talk to someone when I feel that way, which is why having supportive colleagues around me is something I have always relied on and will always look for in future jobs. Some people are fine on their own and could spend days without seeing another soul, but I’m just not like that and don’t think I ever will be! Loneliness was definitely one of the reasons I didn’t freelance for longer, and I don’t feel ashamed to admit that.

 

 

You can work wherever you want

In the same way that the flexibility I mentioned above was hugely liberating, the fact I could work wherever I wanted (Wi-Fi permitting) was amazing and opened my eyes as to how different my working life could be without feeling the need to be trapped in an office. I wasn’t a digital nomad during my freelance life and was very much a ‘work from home’ kinda gal, but I do wish I’d have taken a few more trips in order to experience what it might be like to work on the road. I didn’t really experiment much with co-working or with trying out social office spaces and I could have worked from anywhere with Wi-Fi to be honest, but I found café’s quite distracting and preferred to sit at home with the telly on if I needed some noise in the background.

Not having a routine is hard

Something else which I struggled with was not having a set routine. Yes I know we all get bored of the 9-5 life, but when I have a set routine I know where I am with things and I find it easier to make decisions, get myself organised and get on with my day. Don’t get me wrong, I loved having a few lay in’s during the week and starting later than usual, but sometimes I’d find myself working til almost midnight and forgetting to take regular breaks because I was stressing about getting things done on time and meeting deadlines efficiently. I am good at being organised and self-disciplined, but not having a routine really threw me sometimes and I’ve since found I prefer to be in a set routine to help get my work/life balance on track.

You can say YES more

The thing I loved most about working for myself was the ability to say YES in circumstances I wouldn’t normally have been able to do so. I went on 3 press trips during my time freelancing, one was a long weekend in Hamburg but still would have required taking 2 days annual leave, and the other two were week long trips to Menorca and Switzerland, which would have required me taking over 12 days of annual leave. I went to PR events on a Tuesday night in London because I could get there and didn’t have to worry about rushing home to get an early night for work the next day. I scheduled in blog collabs on week-days when the place/city was generally quieter because not everyone was there on a weekend. I said yes to sooo many things and it made me so happy and content with life. I was more spontaneous, more fun and way more exciting than I was when I worked 9-5, and this is something I really miss about my freelance life!

 

 

Motivation isn’t always on tap

Again, something I struggled with and still do even now. Having the motivation to constantly write blog content, constantly pitch for new business and constantly find ways to make money when you’re freelancing is SO BLOODY DRAINING!! I found this really hard when I was working for myself and I wanted to give up all the time. Although I am good at being organised and self-disciplined, trying to stay motivated whilst not having the support of colleagues and a manager alongside you was really difficult for me. I ended up turning to social media to find support from fellow bloggers/freelancers and that did help, and I made a real effort to attend events, listen to webinars and get inspiration from joining in with Twitter chats and Facebook groups etc in order to combat the lack of motivation that I regularly suffered with.

You aren’t restricted by annual leave

Kinda like the point I made about saying YES more, this was another huge bonus of freelance life; the ability to go on loads of trips or to take days off without the restriction of crappy annual leave. I really really hate the fact that I only get 20 days of annual leave and it is something which makes me want to quit my job and freelance allll over again. I hate being restricted by leave, and think we should be encouraged to take time off and travel more, as long as we don’t fall behind with our work load of course, in order to obtain a better work/life balance. I really believe that I would work better if I worked slightly longer hours over 4 days instead of 5 and had one day a week off to catch up with life admin or to treat myself to a nice day out, or to spend time with friends and family. Working for myself gave me unlimited annual leave, as long as I got everything done that I needed to, and I do miss that aspect of freelance life.

You don’t get legal work perks

However, the big downside to being self-employed is the lack of support we get when we aren’t able to work. Being freelance means you don’t get sick pay, or compassionate leave or a pension. You don’t get paid holiday or childcare vouchers or paid time off for dentist/doctors/hospital appointments. I always took time off whenever I needed to for things like this, but obviously when I wasn’t working, I didn’t get paid. Time is money when you’re self-employed, and that saying couldn’t be more true! I also had to make a note of my income and expenditure and had to create monthly spreadsheets of my earnings and outgoings so I could keep an eye on things. I hired an accountant who helped me put my spreadsheets together into a tax return for HMRC by the time the deadline for self-assessments came around, and this was something I hadn’t even considered when setting up on my own. Luckily my dad is self-employed so he showed me a thing or two, and my A Level Business Studies came in handy, but there is so much legal stuff to think about when you’re self-employed and honestly it can be so stressful!

 

 

You have a better work/life balance

Working from home gave me such a good work/life balance and I really miss it sometimes. I miss just working from my sofa, without the need to commute to the office every day, and I loved wearing what I wanted and not putting make up on etc, I felt so free and it was really liberating. I loved being able to start and finish when I wanted, and sometimes when I was quiet I would only work for a few hours and then spend some time walking my dog, catching up with friends, or doing boring stuff like house work which I never get time to do during a full working week. I do miss having flexible working hours and allowing my home life to be more important than my work life, especially when the long days and hour long commute to and from my current job each day really starts to get me down.

Blogging alone isn’t enough, you must diversify

There are obviously some bigger bloggers out there who just blog all day and make a full time wage from it, but honestly, I have no idea how they are doing it or how that is even possible. During my 12 months as a full time travel blogger, I learnt pretty quickly that I absolutely had to diversify in order to make enough money to survive, and it was really tough at first. Being sent on press trips (with free accommodation and flights) is all good and well, but you don’t get a fee for being there, unless you do and I’m not aware of it! But writing content and promoting it on social media all day just isn’t enough to bring the pennies in, unless you’re writing 5 articles a week at over £100 a pop, the reality is you’ve got to find another way of making money. Before I even started going freelance I had a good think about this and realised that I wanted to use social media as my secret weapon, and started advertising my social media services on LinkedIn to try and gain my first clients. I was pretty lucky as my old boss saw I was advertising for clients and mentioned me to some of his friends at his local breakfast networking club, and within a couple of weeks I had 3 new clients from this alone. These new clients had friends/relatives who also needed social media help, so I gained 3 more clients from them, and then my uncle down in Essex needed some help, and before I knew it I had nearly 10 clients all needing my help and I was absolutely SNOWED UNDER! It was brilliant on the one hand, but overwhelming on the other and I soon realised I needed to prioritise my time in order to work to my full capacity and do a good job for each of my clients. As well as offering social media management, I also wrote freelance articles for a few online travel magazines and did some blogger mentoring too, charging a small amount of money to cover my time to give Skype lessons to newbie bloggers who wanted tips on growing your blog through your social channels. Without diversifying, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to stay freelance for as long as I did.

You learn loads of new skills

You have to juggle so many plates when you’re freelance, and this certainly helped me to develop skills I didn’t even know I needed before I took the plunge and quit my job. I had so many different roles to take on in order to make everything run smoothly, from blogger, writer and social media manager to PA, accountant and marketer. I had to learn how to market myself and generate new business, so networking events were crucial and I was constantly sending out email pitches too. I had to be my own PA and organise my diary, my time and schedule in meetings whenever I could. I had to learn how to create income and expenditure sheets and keep a log of what money was coming in and out so that, by the time my tax return was due, I could input it all correctly. All of these skills were imperative to making my job work, and I’m glad I was able to spin all these plates at once – it was tough, but it taught me to be determined, to be patient, and to never give up! Hopefully the skills I learnt during my freelance life will stand me in good stead for future employment and will show how diverse I can be as a candidate, and how much responsibility I’ve had to take on in the past.

 

 

Your salary isn’t consistent – you need savings

I’ll end on this because, after all, money makes the world go round, and it is the most important part of freelance life! During my 12 months of freelancing I was still living at home so that took the pressure off having to make a large amount of money each month as my outgoings were quite low (just my mums rent, my phone bill and my opticians bill which all come to approx. £230 a month). For the first couple of months I really didn’t have many clients at all and was only making around £300-£400 a month, which is obviously not enough to live on and I did end up dipping into my savings in order to support myself. I had around £4000 saved up when I went freelance and knew I didn’t really want to go down past the £3000 mark, but the money was there if I needed it and it was a comfort to know that. As I progressed with my freelance career, I picked up more and more clients and took on more and more work, but it wasn’t consistent: some months I would earn less than £500, some months I earnt over £1500! If you’re looking at going freelance and you need to have a certain amount of money coming in each month, bear this in mind before you take the plunge. Towards the end of my freelance life the work started to dry up a little and I lost a few clients due to circumstances beyond my control, including some using their own in-house marketing and others employing someone more local to work for them, so I was starting to panic and realised I needed more wages in order to get by. It was during this time that I got a part time job at a retail store and signed up for an 8hour (min) a week contract. I really loved working in retail again (for the first time since I was 17) and the short 4 hour shifts 3-4 times a week really helped to make me feel less lonely, and boosted my bank balance too. I soon became an accessories specialist and was put on regular delivery shifts (7am-1pm) which meant that I could still have a decent afternoon by the time I got home, but I had the possibility to say yes to loads more shifts and I took extra hours wherever I could to make more money. Some months I ended up doing 40+ hours week at the retail store, and then working up to 20 hours a week doing my freelance work. I was exhausted but I knew I had to keep making money so carried on for as long as I could, before I quit everything to take on my first job in the travel industry.

So as you can see, there are good and bad reasons to quit your job and pursue your dreams as a full time blogger/freelancer, and I certainly had a bit of a yo-yo year during my 12 months of trying it, but I learnt so much about myself and I honestly wouldn’t change it for the world. I got to spend more time at home, more time saying yes to stuff I would normally have to turn down, and I got to pursue one of my passions at a professional level. I would say the good outweighed the bad, but after 12 months I was more than ready to get back to the 9-5 life and have a proper routine again as this is something I really struggled with when I worked for myself. I missed the social element hugely and realised how much I thrive off others when I am in a lively environment. I’ve seen so many bloggers quit their jobs and travel the world as a digital nomad which is absolutely incredible and I am so inspired by their bravery, but equally I have seen people who, like myself, tried it and realised it wasn’t for them, and I’ve realised that that’s okay too. Whatever happens in your working life, it’s good to take a step back to assess what works for you, and what doesn’t. I have no idea what the next 12 months holds for me as I have been told my current job at a luxury villa rental firm is being made redundant in the new year, but after almost 18 months of office life I may well be ready for a change again by the time 2019 rolls around… I’ll be sure to post more life updates on my blog as and when I know myself exactly what is going on in my little life!

Love Jess x

 

 

June Newsletter

 

I think I'm a little bit in love with #Tenerife 😍🌊

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Hi everyone,

How did your month go? Mine was super crazy busy with a big holiday and little days out but I’ve had a brilliant few weeks and don’t have long to go until my next big trip! I got back from Tenerife mid way through the month and just before that I had back to back trips to Sofia and Menorca. Since my return I’ve been working non-stop, both at my part time job, and for my freelance clients, so have barely had a minute to myself. I feel as if I have neglected my blog a little lately as I’ve been away so much, but normal service will resume shortly and I’ve got SO MUCH new content planned for you! Here’s how my June went…

 

I went on holiday to Tenerife

 

Just one more 📸 of the amazing mount teide cos I just love it 🗻 #teide #teidelover #tenerife #canaries #traveltuesday

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Literally the highlight of my entire month… my first proper beach holiday/package holiday/relax and chill holiday for THREE WHOLE YEARS! Yep, it’s been a long time since I’ve actually been away and laid by the pool, or fell asleep on a sunlounger on the beach, without being on a crazy busy trip and feeling like my feet haven’t touched the ground. This holiday was so needed, and I enjoyed every second! I went with my sisters and we spent the whole week in the gorgeous Spanish sunshine devouring Tapas, drinking cocktails and taking day trips too. Tenerife totally stole my heart, the island was absolutely gorgeous with tonnes of exciting things on offer to see and do; my favourite day trips were to Mount Teide, where we climbed an active volcano, and to Puerto Colon where we saw whales and dolphins swimming freely out in the sea whilst on a boat trip from the port. I had the most amazing time and will definitely be returning soon… full blog post to follow!

 

It’s been a whole year since my America trip

 

 

I can’t believe it’s been an ENTIRE YEAR since I quit my job to go on the trip of a lifetime across the States. The time has gone by so so quickly, yet at the same time it feels like ages ago since I boarded that flight to LA to start my new adventure. I’ve been reminiscing and posting a few photos on my Instagram page, whilst trying not to get too emosh about everything too :'( This trip totally changed my life, and I just wish I could go back and do it all over again!

 

I was featured by Mail Travel

 

 

So this was totally unexpected but I came home from a shift at my part time job to find that my recent Bratislava blog post had been shared by the wonderful team at Mail Travel – yay! I don’t very often get my posts re-shared, other than from some of my lovely blogger friends lending support, so it felt amazing to have this one recognized from such a well established travel site, and one I’m an avid reader of myself!

 

I popped into London to reunite with my #MustSeeMenorca buddies

 

 

Last week I had the pleasure of being reunited with all my #MustSeeMenorca buddies, but this time in rainy London instead! We headed to super trendy pop up bar Neverland over in Fulham, complete with its very own beach and cocktails served in giant gold swans. It was so lovely to catch up with all my friends, discussing what we had been up to since Menorca, and finding out everyone’s plans for the summer ahead. Can’t wait to see everyone again at the next one! Thank you to Michael and Paul at Traverse for putting on such a fantastic night for us all <3

 

One of my tweets got a lot of attention

 

 

So I casually sent this tweet one afternoon not really thinking about what I was saying, and after checking back shortly after, I’d had an overwhelming response and it had been liked, re-tweeted and replied to countless times. I think there’s been a lot of negative energy surrounding the blogosphere lately, particularly with the rise of bots, fake followers and sponsored ads, so I’m really passionate about making sure smaller bloggers like me get the same opportunities out there as established bloggers too. I know I can’t compete with the bloggers that have been doing this for the past 8 years, or those with 100,000 followers and a DA of 50, but what I CAN offer is quality content, an engaged readership and an authentic, genuine following. I’d love to see more brands working with smaller scale bloggers to allow them the same opportunities as all the rest, so hopefully we start seeing some changes to this industry soon! Thank you to all of those who responded to this tweet, I know so many of you feel the same as me on this one too.

 

May & June were the best 2 months on Twitter to date!

 

So I've just had a look at my Twitter stats for May and June and I'm delighted to say that I've had the best two months…

Posted by Journeys with Jessica on Thursday, June 29, 2017

 

I’ll end this month’s newsletter on a positive note, and something I’m really proud of! I’m a huge Twitter advocate and absolutely love using it for my blog – it’s my favourite platform and I’m constantly updating my profile. I monitor my stats regularly, and was completely taken aback when I saw my analytics for the past two months were the best they’ve ever been! Despite having only 3500 followers, my tweets reached over 212,000 people in May and over 185,000 in June, and I’ve seen a massive increase in profile visitors and followers too. If you’re looking to get your tweets seen by more people, and would like help increasing your following, get in touch for some bespoke social media help – I have capacity to take on TWO new freelance clients over the next couple of months, and am also helping fellow bloggers by offering 1-2-1 advice too. Visit my Work With Me page for more info, or just contact me with any queries at all as I would LOVE to help!

Another busy month for me, and I think July will be much the same, although I now have a full month at home before my next adventure – a press trip to Switzerland! I’m super excited about this one and can’t wait to share all my photos with you when I’m over there – I’ve got an action packed itinerary with so much to see and do! How did your June go?

Love Jess x

 

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February Newsletter

 

⛴⛴ #Liverpool #titanic #takemeback

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Hi everyone,

With January being a ridiculously long month I always forget that February is a super short month and therefore March comes around so so quickly! It only seems like yesterday since I wrote my January Newsletter, and my highlight of this month was my first overseas adventure of 2017 which was pretty amazing! Here’s what I’ve been up to over the past few weeks…

I started planning my European adventures

 

 

Now that January is out the way, February gave me a chance to really plan my adventures for 2017 and have a good think about where I want to go, and what I want to do. I’m still not entirely sure, and I’ve been mulling it over for weeks now, as you’ll know if you read one of my recent posts. I have however decided to book another trip and am sooo excited to announce that I’ll be heading to Bratislava and Vienna at the end of March with my lovely friend and fellow travel blogger Lucy from Faraway Lucy! We’re flying in to Bratislava, staying there for two nights and are then catching the train to Vienna for two nights before flying back from Bratislava to the UK on 1st April. We’re both super excited and can’t wait for our first adventure together… send us all your recommendations for Bratislava and Vienna please guys!

I was featured in IceLolly.com’s new campaign

 

 

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll notice that I recently posted a few throwback photos from some of my previous trips to Zakynthos and Paphos for a new campaign that holiday comparison site IceLolly were running throughout February. The campaign was called #IceLollyLoves and I posted a series of photos from destinations I completely fell in love with the first time I visited them, and I chose Zakynthos and Paphos, but focused on Paphos for the purpose of the article that IceLolly had put together. I really loved taking part in this campaign as it reminded me how much I love exploring beach destinations, something I haven’t done for the past three years whilst I have been city-breaking my way across the world! I’m off to Tenerife in May though and can’t wait for some proper sunshine and a full week of relaxation! You can read the article that IceLolly put together here – my contribution for Paphos is top of the list!

I took a social media detox

 

 

A couple of weeks ago I was feeling a little down after having a few bad days in a row. It may have been something to do with the fact that it was Valentines Day and I was feeling even more single and lonely than I usually do, but something in me was just feeling really unhappy and I knew I had to do something about it. So, on Valentines Day, I decided to take myself off social media completely for the whole day and just remove myself from what was becoming quite a toxic online environment. I don’t want to see what presents people have bought each other on the most commercialised day of the year. I spend my days browsing Facebook seeing that couples are getting engaged, moving in together and having babies, and I always wonder why it’s not me living those dreams, and why it’s always somebody else instead.

I know I’m not ready for those things yet, and I love travelling as much as I can and just enjoying myself, but deep down, I find it hard to accept that I haven’t quite got my life together yet. Anyway, I took myself off social media to try and remove any negativity and, you know what, it really helped. It just made me realise that looking at other peoples lives and comparing mine to theirs isn’t doing me any good at all, and it made me realise I just need to concentrate on what I have got, not what I haven’t got. Social media is a massive part of my job, and my blog, but I’ve decided to cut down on how much I use it in my personal life, and I think that’ll have a big impact upon the way I see things going forwards. I’ll be cutting down a lot over the next few weeks so I’ll report back in a couple of months time and update you then!

I went to Copenhagen for the weekend

 

Been in #Copenhagen for less than four hours and I'm already in love! This place is so beautiful 😍😍 #visitcopenhagen

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If you’re following me on social media you’ll know that I recently went on my first overseas trip to the Danish capital of Copenhagen and I had the most wonderful time! I travelled with my sister and we spent four days indulging in scrummy Danish pastries, people watching at the beautiful Nyhavn Harbour and exploring the stunning Christansborg Palace and Rosenborg Castle on foot. We wandered down the Stroget, the largest pedestrianized shopping street in Europe, climbed up the Round Tower for spectacular views of the city below and trekked along the waterfront to see the iconic Little Mermaid statue. We also found the time to cross the Oresund Bridge over to Sweden and had a day out at Malmo as well, ticking off another country along the way! We had a wonderful trip and I can’t wait to share my full guide with you soon… watch this space!

 

I reviewed another wonderful hotel in the Cotswolds 

 

Just another hotel review 🏨🏨🍾🍾 #standardmonday #luxlife #ionlygetoutofbedforchampagne

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Last night I was staying in the pretty Cotswolds town of Watlington where I had the pleasure of reviewing The Fat Fox Inn, a beautiful country pub with 9 en-suite rooms perfectly located between Oxford and the Chiltern Hills. I stayed with my best friend and number 1 travel companion Emily who comes with me on all of my review trips – it’s a hard life isn’t it! We had a lovely stay and enjoyed a fantastic dinner, a cosy night’s sleep and a scrummy breakfast before heading to Oxford today for a day of shopping and lunching. I’ll be posting a full review and blog post in a couple of week’s time, so watch this space…Thank you to The Fat Fox for having us!

So there we go, that’s how my February turned out! Did you have a good month? Let me know what you got up to – it would be great to hear from you!

Love Jess x

 

Watch and you'll see, someday I'll be part of your world 🐚🐚 #Copenhagen #thelittlemermaid #ifoundariel

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Social Media Overhaul: Q2 2016

Monday blogging in the garden sunshine 💻 #bloglife

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Hey everyone,

This post is waaay overdue but, you know what I always say, better late than never!! I’ve been delayed in writing this up as I’m not long back from America but I wanted to post Quarter 2 of this year’s Social Media Overhaul now and I’ll post a final one between now and the end of the year! Here’s my latest stats for you…

Trip Advisor

tripadvisor16

I must admit that I haven’t used my Trip Advisor account much in the past few months, but it’s super reassuring to know that I am still in the top 1% of reviewers in Oxfordshire with over 53,000 readers! I’ve got lots of catching up to do in terms of reviewing the various restaurants and hotels I visited across America during my time there last month so I’ll be sure to update my account over the coming weeks. I’m still on my way to reaching my target of 60,000 readers and am aiming for that milestone audience by the time 2016 is almost at an end!

Twitter

Twitter

Twitter  continues to be my biggest social channel and I smashed my target of 1500 followers earlier on this month so I was DELIGHTED! I love how easy and quick Twitter is to use and I can connect with readers, followers and fellow bloggers in no time at all. I also have a good engagement on Twitter and the analytics side of the site is great for helping me to see which of my tweets are the most popular. I’m aiming for around 1800 followers on Twitter by the end of the year and I’ll be working hard to reach that figure!

Facebook

facebook.png

On a personal level, Facebook is my most used social channel but, on a professional level, it’s probably my least favourite!! I think it just is taking a long time for me to grow the page and, after two years, I’ve still not reached the level of followers I would have liked to compared to my other social channels. I am constantly thinking of ways to improve my page though and, although I don’t have a massive amount of likes, I’m getting a good engagement whenever I do post. I’m looking to reach between 400 and 500 likes by the time December is here – if you’re reading this and you haven’t liked my page on Facebook please help a girl out!

Instagram

instagram

My favourite social channel, especially lately, is definitely the wonder that is Instagram! I try to post three times a day and I always get an average of around 80 likes per image which, for me, is pretty good and I have great engagement on my feed. I love using different edits and filters when uploading my shots and I’ve had some fantastic content lately from my recent America trip which has been hugely popular with my audience. I also use Instagram to embed photos into my blog posts when I’m publishing on WordPress and it looks great on the page. I’m aiming for a whopping 1500 Insta followers by the end of the year and I’ll be super proud if I can achieve that!

LinkedIn

linkedin

I’m loving LinkedIn and it’s something I use whenever I have a new blog post or a generic update to share – I find I get a lot of views and referrals on my blog from my LinkedIn profile which is great news! It’s a brilliant way of connecting with like minded professionals and can open so many doors if you get spotted by the right people! As I’m currently trying to carve myself a career in the travel industry it’s imperative that I use LinkedIn correctly to try and attract potential job opportunities etc. I’ve reached my goal of 500 connections so will aim for 700 by the end of the year.

WordPress

wordpress

As you know, this is where it all started for me! I guess that my WordPress following is proof of my success as a blogger and I’ve continually smashed my targets over the past few months so I’m absolutely thrilled! This year has been my best to date and I’ve reached over 16,000 hits and over 1700 subscribers which, for someone like me, is something I can be hugely proud of. I’m currently in the middle of trying to rebrand my site slightly just to make it look a bit more professional and to create a proper menu based site so I’ll keep you updated on all the latest news! Thank you WordPress for allowing me to grow as a blogger, I wouldn’t be here without you! I’m looking to reach a massive 20,000 hits and 2,000 subscribers by the end of the year and I’d love to end on a high!

Google Plus

googleplus

I really like the way GooglePlus appears visually so I always link my blog posts on there but I don’t know if it really does me any favours in terms of referrals and views etc. I’ll stick with the platform and continue to promote my posts on there, but I would say it’s a channel I focus on less and I put a lot more time into my other channels.

Snap Chat

snapchat

Soo I finally caved and got SnapChat! After months of saying I’d never get it I decided to bite the bullet and download it before I left for my American adventure in June. I loved using it to take photos in so many different places and the area filters were so fun to play around with. I’m very strict about the fact that I am NOT vlogger and therefore don’t record any videos on it but it’s a great way of connecting with my family, friends and followers so it worked really well when I was away! I’m sure there’s lots I’m still to learn about this channel but I’m looking forward to using it more in the coming months. Don’t forget to add me @jessica16_x

So there we have it, my latest stats and figures for you all compressed in to one little blog post! Taking the time to review my channels individually really helps me to see where I am with things and allows me to focus on my targets for the months ahead. As I am ‘trying’ to make the transition into a full time travel blogger I’m more and more keen to boost my following as much as possible and seek areas of improvement where needed!

As always a massive THANK YOU to each and every one of you who support me by continuing to read this blog, I wouldn’t be where I am now without you – I have sooo much planned in the next few months so please stay tuned and I’ll keep you all updated as much as poss!

Love Jess x

Beautiful day at a beautiful place 🇬🇧 #Cotswolds #wanderlustwednesday #visitgreatbritain #uk

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Contiki Grand Southern Tour Part Two

 

Baseball baseball ⚾️⚾️ #Memphis

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Hey everyone!

Part two of my American adventure is here! Sorry about the wait but I’ve just been having too much fun to blog 😉 Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been everywhere from New Orleans to Miami and I’ve had a blast! Here’s what I’ve been doing…

Fortworth/Dallas

Ah Texas you stole my heart! I absolutely loved my time in this state and Fortworth/Dallas were one of the highlights for me. We strolled around the western town of Fortworth and explored the historic stockyards before making a day trip to Dallas. We visited the Sixth Floor Museum, the site where the late president John F Kennedy was assassinated, and paid tribute to him at one of the many memorials around the city. We also visited the Dallas Cowboys football stadium for a private tour which was a fantastic experience and somewhere definitely worth stopping if your a sporting fan! There’s so much I haven’t seen of Texas and its one of my favourite states so I’ll definitely return one day!

 

 

Stockyard station at #fortworth 🐴🚂 #Texas

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Memphis

After crossing the Mississippi river, stopping at Texarkana, and being in two states at the same time, we made our way towards the rock n roll city of Memphis, Tennessee. We toured Graceland, the home of Mr Elvis Presley, and visited Sun Studios where the likes of The King, Johnny Cash and Jerry-Lee Lewis recorded. We also hit up Beale Street for some epic nightlife and watched a minor league baseball game at the Memphis Redbirds Autozone Park. Memphis was such a vibrant city with so much to see and do; if you’re a music fan this is most definitely the place for you!

 

 

 

New Orleans

New Orleans was a funny place for me, I still don’t know how I feel about it and I’ve been thinking about this since I left there! It’s not that I didn’t enjoy myself, it’s just that I felt there wasn’t enough to see and do to make it stand out for me. I felt the whole place was hot, busy and slightly smelly but that may have been all the sewage problems! Having said that, I had a fantastic time alligator hunting on a swamp boat and enjoying some authentic jazz music down on French street!

 

 

We also explored the local flea market to pick up some bargains and saw the fairytale square of Jackson Square both at night and during the daytime. I may need to return to central New Orleans in order to get the most out of this city as we were staying in the downtown area, but I’d love to hear your thoughts or tips on how I can get the most out of any potential future visits! I also did an Instagram takeover for Travelex UK during my time in the city – head over and check out their Insta page to see my selection of photos!

 

 

Panama City beach

Panama City Beach was one of the hidden gems of Florida and I had a wonderful time with the most amazing view from the hotel room! We spent most of our time at the beach, having dinner and exploring some of the local shops. Panama was beautiful and I really could have done with one more night there!

Orlando

Orlando was one of the highlights for me, mainly because I went to the happiest place on earth!! For any of you that know me well enough, I’m the worlds biggest Disney fan and have been wanting to visit Walt Disney World for as long as I can remember. My dreams finally came true in Orlando and I spent 15 hours running around the parks like a child from dawn til dark! I watched the parades and the fireworks, went on tonnes of rides, ran around after characters and just soaked up the Disney atmosphere in full. I had the time of my life at Disney and can’t wait to go back one day! 💖

 

 

After Orlando we ventured to other parts of Florida and have just been to Georgia for two nights checking out the charming city of Savannah! As you can tell, I’m a little behind on the blog posts but I’ll write again with part three ASAP.

Don’t forget you can still follow my adventure on snapchat @jessica16_x as well as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Until next time!

Love Jess x

 

Finally found my dream horse 🐴🐴 #Dallas

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#Texas you've been a blast! Next stop #Memphis 🔫🇺🇸🎉 @contiki #noregrets #USA #america #contiki #grandsouthern

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Work with Me

 

So, in case you haven’t guessed already, I’m Jessica (or Jess as I’m more commonly known!) and I’m the author of this blog.

I’m an award nominated blogger, freelance writer, social media consultant and travel obsessive and I’m looking to work with more travel brands! I’m keen to collaborate with fellow bloggers and relevant brands in the form of guest posts, social media campaigns, press trips and sponsored reviews. I’ve previously worked with a number of high profile brands and am looking to build up my portfolio. I could offer your brand a sponsored hotel or restaurant review, a sponsored blog post and travel guide, sponsored Instagram images or even a sponsored competition/giveaway on my social channels.

 

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I have worked with a number of high profile travel brands including Contiki Holidays, Expedia, Jet 2, Yahoo UK and STA Travel on sponsored posts and social media coverage. I have also collaborated with various tourist boards across Europe and in the UK such as Visit Bath, Visit Hamburg , Menorca Tourism, Visit Spain and Visit Luxembourg both on press trips and on content creation.

Are you looking for a UK based travel blogger to work on some upcoming campaigns to promote your destination throughout 2019? Or perhaps you’re looking to hire a freelance writer to add some travel related content to your website?  Please get in touch as I’d be delighted to help!

If you’d like further information on how we can work together, or if you’d like to find out about my rates and charges, please contact me directly to request my media kit. My email address is jessicalouise1601@gmail.com

I look forward to hearing from you!

Love Jess x