Stephen Andrew Stepaniuk is a 35-year-old travel blogger from Boston, Massachusetts. In the course of his travels, he has visited many locations throughout the United States and Europe. He is an experienced photographer who takes all of his own photos for his blog. His travel blog has become popular among millennials and others who are interested in exploring the cultural side of world travel.
Stepaniuk was a foreign exchange student in high school. When he stayed in Germany, he fell in love with the language and the people. Exploring new cuisines was another benefit of his foreign exchange experience. His host family took him on short trips around Europe, visiting such sites as Venice and Rome. These trips ignited his passion for travel. Along the way, he picked up several more languages.
After graduating from Northeastern University with a degree in English, Stepaniuk was recruited by a consulting firm. He worked as a consultant for a number of years, using his writing and communications skills to further his career. While he was working in consulting, Stepaniuk began to travel as much as he could. He shared his experiences with friends and family through his blog. He never expected the blog to take off and become popular.
In the coming year, Stepaniuk is planning to travel to Dubai, India, China, and Japan. He is learning elementary Mandarin to help him on his trip. He looks forward to experiencing the flavors and cultures of the East. Stephen Andrew Stepaniuk will take his blog readers on an exciting journey.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
I created a blog to share my travels with my friends and family. I took photos and wrote stories about my travels. At first, the blog was just a hobby. I never expected it to become popular. Soon I was placing ads on my blog. I engaged sponsorships from companies and visitors’ bureaus.
How do you make money?
I get most of my revenue from sponsorships. I get some from advertising, but that market has become tighter in the past few years. It’s challenging to find new revenue streams, but I am planning to add YouTube videos to my blog and see if I can achieve more profits that way.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
It took about two years. Luckily, I had saved up some money from my previous job. I don’t make a lot of money as it is, but I love my job.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
I definitely had times when I wasn’t sure I had done the right thing by taking the blog full-time. My coworkers in consulting doubted that I could make it work. Dealing with doubters is always difficult, but I was determined to succeed.
How did you get your first customer?
My first “customers” were my friends and family. They shared my posts on social media and that’s how I began to gain traction. It’s funny to think that a blog that I started just for my friends and family has become my full-time job.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Social media is an incredible help in marketing my blog. I use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Instagram is a great way for travel bloggers to break into the business. It’s especially popular with millennials.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
I had to cancel a trip to Florida because I wasn’t able to get enough sponsorships to go there. That was disappointing. I had planned to go to Sanibel Island.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I believe that my determination and my language abilities make me successful. I speak German, French, Italian, and Polish. I am beginning to pick up a few elementary phrases in Mandarin to prepare for my upcoming trip to China.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
My most satisfying moment was when I began to receive revenue from my blog. That made it all real to me.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
I am very excited to travel to Dubai, China, Japan, and India. I am thrilled to be able to take the trip. I have good sponsorships lined up and plenty of frequent flyer miles. I’m especially looking forward to trying the special regional cuisines.
What business books have inspired you?
I got a lot out of Profit First by Mike Micbalowicz. It is a great book about cash management and working with your profits in mind. I also enjoyed The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. Obviously, I work a lot longer than four hours a week, but I have benefited from Ferriss’ perspective on profitability.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
I have a new DSLR camera. It’s smaller and better than my old camera so it’s easier to pack and take with me.
What do you do in your spare time?
When I’m at home, I love to cook. I’ve become an accomplished amateur chef, and I love to entertain. When I moved into my new apartment, I made sure that I had room for a big dining room table so I could host all of my friends for great meals.