To travel the world, to be an Instagram Travel Influencer and actually get PAID to see the most beautiful places on earth... Isn't that what we're all dreaming of?!
Within one year, Lara has grown her Instagram following to over 150k followers and is making a full-time income as an Instagram Travel Influencer and Blogger.
Lara and I connected on Instagram sometime last year - I've loved following her journey and incredible growth and success, and finally reached out to her to ask her if she would do an interview with me to talk about the behind-the-scenes of what it's truly like to be an influencer, to travel the world, and what they did to get to turn their dream into a reality that also pays their bills...
Tell me a little bit about yourself: When and why did you start your journey of becoming a travel blogger?
My name is Lara and I am 27 years young. With a deep passion for traveling, photography and creativity together with my partner Uroš @your_passage we’ve made a career out of our Instagrams. After saving up loads of money from our previous jobs (I was working as a flight attendant in UAE and my boyfriend used to work at the bank), we decided to take a time off to follow our own dreams and path. We've been in this work for over a year now and can finally say that it's paying off. Well, "why" it's a very easy one - because of our passion for travel photography. Pretty early we knew that traveling was something that we would both want to make a living off, so we were eager to learn about the opportunities. We quickly realized the potential of gramming and we started to learn, travel and practice every day. We were watching youtube tutorials, your blog too!, and as the months were passing by we kept progressing and every time we looked back we could see the improvements.
Did you start your Instagram account at the same time or did that come later? If so, when did you start it?
Actually, it came first. Instagram was always our main focus and the blog has always come secondary - created only for the most curious audience, eager to learn more about us and our trips. We started IG out of hobby first, business wise was last year February.
The life of a travel Influencer - it sounds absolutely incredible! What’s the reality like? Is it as glamorous as it seems? And are you really constantly on the move or do you have a base? How many days/weeks of the year are you traveling?
We have been loving every second of it. It's not always glamouros and it's load of work, but if you love your work, you don't count the time you put into it. I am sure you are well aware of, we're all in the same boat!
We have a base in Slovenia, our home country, although we are on the road most of our times. This year we've been home for a month in total, the other 7 months we've been traveling.
Your photos are incredibly beautiful, does your boyfriend take all of them or do you have a professional photographer who travels with you? And how do you edit your photos?
Well, thank you so much! Me and Uroš take all of our own photos. I take photos of him, which he posts on his account @your_passage, and he takes pictures of me. When we are both in the shot we mostly use a tripod which sometimes can be a whole lot of effort! If we go on trip with friends, we also ask them to replace the tripod - on our last trip to Mallorca we met with one of our followers-friends from Instagram who also happened to work in our field so it was super easy!
We edit all of our photos in Adobe Lightroom on our computer. Over time we have created our own presets that curate the style and lighting we like best. We also always pay attention to the time (lighting) of the day we shoot in, which helps a lot in the post-processing.
I’d love to learn more about the business side of your blog and account. How long did it take until you actually started making money?
We got our first business offers (paid opportunities) when we reached around 20k, but this isn’t something you can generalise. Some people start earning even sooner and some wayyyy later. I think nowadays it's getting much tougher to get paid as there are loads and loads of new people trying to succeed in this business so the "competition" is quite high, if you can call it that. We reached a point where we can live really good from our business, but it takes lots of effort, patience and motivation. I think it will only go up from here, fingers crossed nothing can surprise us.
When was your “breakthrough moment” and what do you think contributes to it?
I don't think there ever was a breakthrough moment. We were loving what we were doing (make no mistake, we still do) and for some reason people were loving it, too, and decided to follow and support our work, so we kept growing numbers-wise. On Instagram you just keep learning every day about your audience and what it is that they want to see from you, you keep engaging with them and investing your time. If you keep working hard, it will all pay off. It's almost impossible that it wouldn't.
Did you ever think about giving up?
Never, actually. It only drives us further, as it is something we really love doing and we feel so lucky to be able to make a living out of our hobby! Every day we have been able to learn about different cultures, people, majesty of nature, photography, what really matters and life in general. But most importantly, we have been able to do what we love the most TOGETHER.
How are you earning money now (blog posts, sponsored Ig posts, etx.)? Are you constantly getting approached for paid campaigns or do you still reach out to brands/hotels?
Basically, all of our income comes through sponsored Instagram posts. We have so much potential in other areas but we haven't used that yet, as it's only us two and we're working full time on our Instagram content. The time to dedicate to other things always falls short, like selling presets, organising photo-classes-tours, writing e-books, monetising blog, etc. There's endless opportunities in our field.
We have come so far that we get 10+ e-mails daily regarding new collaborations, so we're no longer the ones reaching out first. We barely have time to respond to all requests. We are also in a much better position to negotiate as we already know that the brand is the one wanting to be collaborating with us in the first place. Plus, asking them to be paid when you’re the one who emailed them first is an awkward art to master.
You must have learned so much about this industry in the past few years. What would you recommend anyone who’s dreaming about becoming a travel blogger/Influencer? Any mistakes to avoid or things you wish you had known when you started out?
Save up, be persistent, create great content, stand out from the crowds and keep learning every day. Write down your goals and find ways to make them happen, explore and never give up on something you want. It's a though, long work, but it's the best job you could ever have.
The only thing I wish I had known, is to start earlier!
What does the future of @your_passport look like?
We haven't looked that much into our future, we're just living day-by-day, enjoying life, appreciating what it has given us, although we did work for hard for it. Hopefully, we'll still be continuing what we do in this moment, meeting new people and visiting new places, it broadens your mind so much, lets you be who you are.
Do YOU dream of becoming a Travel Influencer, too? What's been your experience so far? Let us know in the comments below!