Expert Interview Series: DJ Yabis of DreamEuroTrip.com on launching a freelance business abroad
DJ Yabis is the travel blogger behind DreamEuroTrip.com, one of the top European travel blogs in the world with over a million readers every year. We recently asked DJ about his experiences launching a business overseas and what he enjoys about living and working abroad. Here’s what he shared:
Can you tell us about how you came to start DreamEuroTrip? What is the mission behind your site?
I have always wanted to start my own online business but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. After brainstorming for three months, I figured I should start a travel blog because 1. it’s easier than having a physical product and 2. I love traveling. But I didn’t want it to be just another travel blog. I wanted it to have a specific focus or niche.
I have lived and traveled around Europe for almost three years at this point and I always have so many friends asking me about European travel so I decided to start a blog focused on Europe. I am obsessed with Europe so that was a very easy decision. And it has always been my dream to live and travel around Europe that’s why it’s named Dream Euro Trip. So the main mission of my travel blog is to help people who are planning trips to Europe.
What were some of the early challenges you faced in starting your site? What about the challenges of running the business on the road?
As with every new business, the main challenge I faced when I started the blog was knowing what to focus on and prioritize. There are literally hundreds of things you can do as a travel blogger. You can focus on content creation, branding, growing your social media account, figuring out your monetization strategy, partnerships, or networking etc., etc., etc. So it was a huge challenge to figure it all out in the beginning without getting overwhelmed and quitting a few months later. Because the truth is, most blogs don’t survive their first year.
It’s pretty challenging to run a business on the road to because you’re traveling and you have so many distractions. After five years of travel blogging I realized that I can’t actually work and travel at the same time. I can only do one at a time. Otherwise, I burn out and hate what I’m doing.
What have you enjoyed most about growing your freelance business while traveling? What would you say to other entrepreneurs who are considering making the leap to a life of travel?
The thing I enjoy most about growing my own business is the creative freedom of doing whatever I want to do. I don’t have a boss or company that dictates what I need to do or how I spend my time. And it’s also amazing to know that every minute I spend working is time spent growing my business and not growing someone else’s.
To other entrepreneurs who wants to live a life of travel my advice is to figure out your business first for a few months to a year and then travel.
How were you able to grow the audience for your site? What have been the most useful tools for marketing Dream Euro Travel?
I grew my audience by writing a lot of useful articles for my core audience. And a lot of networking with other travel bloggers.
How do you get paid for the work you do on your site?
Most of my income is from my readers actually. They pay me for the products or services I offer all related to planning trips to Europe and around the world. For example, I partnered up with a travel agency to offer flight reservation for visa application for my readers who are applying for a Schengen visa. I also have a Euro Trip Planning service and my readers pay me to plan their Euro trips.
What payment challenges have you faced running your online business overseas? How did you overcome these challenges?
It’s hard to run a business overseas because I have to figure out all the laws. I am based in Germany and my business is registered here so I have to figure out the German laws and taxes, etc. And travel blogging is a new thing so it was a bit hard to explain what I do to the tax office. It’s also hard to figure out how to get paid online with all the various options out there. Thankfully I have a German partner and German friends who help me figure it all out.
How can sites like Payoneer ease some of the frustrations of getting paid as a freelancer?
I think Payoneer can help frustrated online entrepreneurs, freelancers or eSellers by offering multiple ways to get paid by our clients securely and cheaply.
What are some other must-have tools for entrepreneurs who work abroad?
I love Snapseed (as a travel blogger) and Evernote.
Find out how Payoneer can help freelancers get paid by companies and clients worldwide quickly and securely.