Jeff Steinmann: Hey, everybody. Welcome to the podcast. Today, we are talking to Travis Sherry. Now, Travis is just a regular guy who liked to travel. Okay, and he wanted to figure out a way that he could live the life that he wanted traveling and doing all the things that he enjoys on his own terms. So he created a lifestyle business around it. Travis, thanks for joining us. How are you today?
Travis Sherry: I’m great. Thanks for allowing me to join you and your listeners, Jeff. I look forward to telling my story and hopefully helping some other people do what I do and get out and travel.
Jeff Steinmann: That’s what we all want to do. We were talking before the interview, Travis. One of the reasons that I was so interested in interviewing you is everytime I work with a client, the first thing that we do is we talk about, “What do you want out of life?” 100% of the time, travel comes up. Usually it’s, “I want to travel,” and occasionally it’s, “I don’t want to ever have to travel.” But it’s usually, people want to travel so people want to travel. We all know that. So you’ve taken something that everybody loves to do, and you made a business out of this. Tell us a little bit about how that works.
Travis Sherry: Yeah, sure. What I realized early on after I graduated university, and I was actually a high school Social Studies teacher, and I just started thinking. I took a few vacations, and I thought, this is awesome. I can learn a lot about the world. It kind of snowballed from there. When I was younger, I didn’t travel too much but once I started travelling in my mid-20’s, like I said, I took off. I just wanted to see everywhere.
So I started thinking about what I could do in order to make that dream a reality and I started thinking, how can I travel in a way that was affordable for me. Because I wasn’t making a ton of money and I couldn’t go jet-setting all over the place. How could I do it? So I started learning about frequent flyer miles and different travel hacking tips and stuff like that. The more I learned, I’d go on trips and people would say, “How can you do this?”
I started telling people how I could do it. Like most businesses, it became, okay well now, I know a lot about this. Originally, I didn’t think I knew that much. But people started saying, “Hey, you know everything about this, right?” I started thinking, how can I make this into a business? That’s when I decided to start my website and really go after it full time.
Jeff Steinmann: Okay. That is cool. So tell me a little bit about your life. I mean, you obviously loved to travel, that was your motivation. So tell me, what is your life like? How does your life work?
Travis Sherry: Well, I guess when I was a high school Social Studies teacher for a few years after I graduated, and that’s what I went to school for and I liked it. But it was fairly constricting. I had the summers off and all, but it was constricting and I couldn’t go wherever I wanted to go whenever I wanted to go.
Jeff Steinmann: Yeah. So you’re really kind of a lifestyle snob. Because three months off the year wasn’t enough for you.
Travis Sherry: Yeah, I guess so. I never thought about it that way. Yes?
Jeff Steinmann: I would high five you if I could.
Travis Sherry: Right. I guess I am a lifestyle snob. I mean, three months was great or two and a half months whatever it is, but I’m still being held back. I was still working for someone else. I would still had to follow certain rules whatever. So, I said, how could I travel? The first step was then I went and started teaching in Japan. Because then, I was travelling, still having a stable income, still having a job per se. But I was somewhere new. So that was for two years.
While I was in Japan, that’s when I really kicked it into high gear and said, okay, this is cool that I’m here teaching. But again, I’m here and I can’t go where I want when I want. How can I really do what I want? I said, I’m going to start my website and hopefully that takes off. Now, I can work from anywhere I please because it’s all on the internet. So my normal life? Now, I’m actually back home where I grew up, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I just returned from Spain a couple of weeks ago. Before that, I was in San Francisco for a while but I guess, normal is hard to classify at this point since I really can work wherever I want to.
Jeff Steinmann: There is no normal. That’s awesome.
Travis Sherry: Not really.
Jeff Steinmann: What’s your next destination that you have planned?
Travis Sherry: Well, there’s a few things. I’m actually going to probably be staying in the States for a little while. There’s a lot of conferences I wanted to attend that I couldn’t attend when I was living in Japan and all. So I’ll be going to Portland in June. I’m going out to Colorado in April to attend a conference and stuff like that.
Probably sometime in July or August, I might be heading back to Spain. My sister lives there right now. So seeing her and…stuff is pretty fluid though. I have a few things pinned down but I kind of take it as it comes. When I do have some time that I don’t really want to hit a project really hard and say, okay I can get away and do some actually travelling. That’s when I usually pick up and go somewhere.
Jeff Steinmann: Okay. Okay. Now you said that you wanted to attend some conferences. What kind of conferences do you attend?
Travis Sherry: Yes. So for me, I guess the realm that I fit in is kind of a travel blogger. My niche then is frequent flyer miles. So in April, I’ll be going to a conference that is just for frequent flyer mile bloggers. So there’s actually more out there.
Jeff Steinmann: Are you kidding me? There is a conference just for frequent flyer mile bloggers.
Travis Sherry: There is actually – I’m going to say off the top of my head – four or five a year.
Jeff Steinmann: Wow.
Travis Sherry: You know what I’ve learned through all, this is like every little niche has more fun than you could imagine, who do it and are into it and know about it, want to learn more about it. So April, I’ll be doing that. In July, when I’m going out to Portland – I said June but it was actually the very beginning of July – I’m going to a conference that is all about online entrepreneurship. It’s called the World Domination Summit. I don’t know if any of your listeners know about it. But it’s hosted by a guy named Chris Guillebeau. We’ll be going out that and meeting with a lot of people who I worked with and I’ve spoken with in the past but I haven’t met in person.
Jeff Steinmann: Okay.
Travis Sherry: And then, there’s other big travel blogging expo’s and conferences out there that I’ll be hitting up throughout the year.
Jeff Steinmann: Okay. What I was curious about is, it sounds like it’s a mix of going to conferences in your niche with travel. You probably do networking there. You make relationships as well as conferences like the World Domination Summit where you’re learning about how to build your business.
Travis Sherry: Right. Exactly. Some of it is me being the expert and maybe speaking about stuff. And then some of it is me going as an attendee and learning about it. Yeah, I’ve realized that the more you can expand your net and take in advice from all different other niches and stuff like that, the more you learn.
Jeff Steinmann: That’s awesome. That is awesome stuff. I’m losing focus because I’m so curious about something that I just want to go ahead and ask it. So I do travel a lot for my business and I set up a Southwest frequent flyer or whatever they call their program. I fly exclusively Southwest just to get the miles. I don’t really do anything special or anything fancy. Is there a one nugget of information you can give people about frequent flyer miles?
Travis Sherry: Yes. There’s a ton of nuggets but I’ll give you one, good one. The best way to earn frequent flyer miles is not actually through flying although you could easily do that. But the biggest, fastest, most effective, most lucrative way is through credit card sign-ups. You’ve probably seen it. You see it on commercials all the time. Earn 40,000 miles opening this card.
A lot of what my site focuses on is how to earn big chunks of frequent flyer miles quickly so that you can take basically any trip that you want and earning, signing up – if you’re a U.S. listener – signing up for credit cards is far and away the quickest way to earn big chunks of miles. There’s other things you can do to obviously continuously earn it but that is the number one way to do it. The kind of the thing that most people don’t realize like, “How do you have a million frequent flyer miles in a year, Travis? You obviously don’t fly that much.” 90% of my miles I earned not from flying but from other things like credit card sign up, spending on my credit cards, stuff like that.
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Jeff Steinmann: Okay, well that’s awesome. Because I had no idea. I just thought I just had to keep flying and that’s not getting me a ton of miles.
Travis Sherry: Right. It will get you something but it’s good to earn it when you’re flying but that’s kind of like a small supplemental thing to do on top of the other thing.
Jeff Steinmann: Got you. Got you. Okay, so now, before we talked, there’s this misconception out there that I think you can help us address. That misconception is that if you want to get known for your knowledge, you have to have 10 or 15 or 20 years of experience and education and letters behind your name. Do you have any of that?
Travis Sherry: I mean, I have a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree, neither of it is in anything related to travel. My Bachelor’s is in education. My master’s in sports management. So as far as my expertise in having those letters after my name, not at all.
Jeff Steinmann: Excellent. You didn’t own a travel agency for 20 years?
Travis Sherry: No. I didn’t start it when I was 10. No.
Jeff Steinmann: Excellent. So you don’t mind me sharing with our listeners that you’re 30. You’re only 30.
Travis Sherry: Right. I just turned 30, yes.
Jeff Steinmann: Excellent. So I just really want to drive home the fact that you don’t have to be a 50-year old accomplished expert consultant with tons of experience to do this. And tell us, what is the point? Is there a point at which your mentality shifted and you said, “Wait a minute. I’m not just a guy that likes to travel and is really good at it. I’m an expert on travelling and travelling inexpensively.”
Travis Sherry: Yeah. Jeff, I think the point you made is dead on. I think the exact same way that you do. At first, when I was starting my blog and my website, the term expert kind of freaked me out, I guess. Well, I’m not an expert. If I’m an expert, I have to have X, Y, and Z. But I can’t really tell you the exact breaking point but as more and more people started to come in the site and they started saying like, “Wow! You know how to do this. You know how to do this. You’re an expert. You’re an expert.”
I started thinking, well okay, what makes an expert? Do I know more than 95% of the world about this subject matter? Yes. Can I help people? Can I explain it to them? Yes. Do I have something to back up what I do? Yes. I have a website. I have an e-book now. I have an audio book. So, this idea of being an expert is so funny, I guess, in our culture because people think I have to do it for this many years, and I’d have to have this degree and all.
But really, being an expert just means you know what you’re talking about in a certain subject. And in my mind, I guess, on top of that, also being able to explain it and help people out. Because you can be an expert. But if I couldn’t explain to you how to travel around the world, it wouldn’t really be applicable to you.
Jeff Steinmann: Sure. Sure. Absolutely. Well so, what made you decide to start your website? It’s called extrapackofpeanuts.com. I love that.
Travis Sherry: Yeah. The story behind the name of it is, when I was a kid, I actually hated flying. I threw up basically everytime I got on a plane. The only thing that would ever placate me was when they bring around an extra pack of peanuts. I thought, man, I’m getting a steal here. All these other suckers have one pack of peanut. They paid the same amount as me, I’m getting two. So that was kind of the idea behind the site name.
Jeff Steinmann: It’s less about the peanuts than it is about the deal, right?
Travis Sherry: Right, it is. Yes. The peanuts now – before signified the deal in my eight-year old mind. Now, it’s about okay, now I’m travelling to Singapore, Indonesia, India, offer $50. Now, that’s the deal that I want. As far as starting the site, when I was living in Japan, I started to think I had moved there because I wanted to travel more. I want to experience a new culture. Like I said, I wasn’t making a ton of money, just a regular teacher’s salary. I started thinking, well, I want to go to all these places in Asia. I’m going to be here two years. How can I go home to America? How can I go to all these places if I don’t have a lot of money?
I just started researching frequent flyer miles and I dove into it. I’ve always loved deals like I said. I just learned as much as I could from other blogs, from forums. It took awhile. I spent a good six, seven months learning on my own and just telling my parents and friends and a few other people. Once they started telling other people about me and I kept getting all these emails. “Travis, can you help me with this?” I thought, okay, well I’m writing the same email over and over and over again, why don’t I start a site about it? I put all the information I had on my site. Little by little it grew, and then of course, as most of you know who are on online business or sites, it then grew quicker and quicker and quicker and quicker.
At the point that I was getting ready to leave Japan, I thought, well now’s a good breaking point. Let’s try to do it full time. I had planned to build it up, to do it full time when I left Japan in August. Luckily, it had gotten to that point that I could. So when I came home from Japan in August, I then worked on a product that I’d just put out in December. So that was kind of the timeline of how it went from being just my knowledge to then a website to “Okay, now I’m going to do it as a business, and how can I then make money from it?”
Jeff Steinmann: Got you. Got you. So, what’s the product that you created?
Travis Sherry: So the product that I created is called the Ultimate Guide to Frequent Flyer Miles. It’s actually an interactive e-book so you get the e-book and it has videos embedded in it. So a lot of the stuff I explain might be hard to explain through words. But I’ll put a YouTube tutorial on here’s how you get to this site, here’s how you do it. It’s about 70 pages of basically everything from “I know nothing about Frequent Flyer Miles,” so when you hit page 70, you’ll be an expert. It comes with an audio book and stuff like that. How to Use Frequent Flyer Miles for Dummies. All of that kind of wrapped up into one package.
Jeff Steinmann: Excellent. Excellent. So here’s the thing that I think is interesting. A lot of people will tell you, and people probably told you this, that all you got to do is put a website up, and people will just come rushing to it. That’s exactly how it works, right?
Travis Sherry: I wish. To those who know how to do that, I’d love to talk to you.
Jeff Steinmann: So tell me about what did you do to get people to go to your website?
Travis Sherry: Well, that is I think for most people who want to start a website, it’s probably be the biggest challenge. Because usually, when you want to start a website, you have a passion for something that is outside of SEO or web building. My customer’s travelling and how can I help you with travelling? I know nothing about SEO.
So I started it in January of last year, so January 2012. I didn’t know what I was doing at all. I just put the information up there. I told friends and family, I’d get 60 visits a day maybe if my mom was really into what I wrote that day and told to people. I just started learning. I then thought, okay my stuff is pretty good. I know what I’m talking about. I am an expert at Frequent Flyer Miles. I want other people to know this. Like, I really took pride in what I did. And I thought, it’s stupid if only 60 people see this or 50 people see this.
So, I started looking in the how do other websites that I read do it. They talked about guest posting and writing on other blogs. I started reaching out to other blogs: travel blogs, lifestyle design blogs, passive income blogs, or financial blogs. I did some guest posting. I made sure that my content really was quality which is key because people are going to tell right away if it’s not good. I started learning some tricks from friends who are more into it. So what I tried to do was look at the people around me who knew a lot more than I did about SEO and building a website and getting traffic. I just would ask them for any help.
What tips can you give me? What can you tell me? They’d say, make sure you do this, make sure you do that. Guest posting was huge. Coming on other blogs. Make yourself known. Overall, keep the content good and help as many people as you can because word of mouth really to this day for me is the best way to attract visitors because if someone likes what you do, and they’re willing to tell other people about it, those other people are going to come to your site and already know that you do a good job. You don’t really have to push it on to them.
Jeff Steinmann: Okay. That’s cool. It sounds like the guest blogging was a big thing for you, right?
Travis Sherry: Yeah, for my website. Because it is focused on – I’m focused on putting out content and is a blog more or less where I post twice a week. A lot of other websites might not be exactly like that. For me, I found blogs that I really like, that were bigger than mine, or some that were the same size and growing. I just said, “Hey, I’m really good at frequent flyer miles. A lot of the blogs that I read have to do with people who like to travel anyway even though travelling isn’t their niche.” I said, “I’ll help you with frequent flyer miles. I’d also love to guest post if what I helped you do resonates with you.” I’ve helped pretty big time bloggers get free flights around the world. And of course, that speaks for himself than they say – they can say, “Hey, this guy helped me go to Thailand for $200.”
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Jeff Steinmann: Wow. That’s awesome.
Travis Sherry: So, that to me, the building those relationships is key. Like everything though, it takes time. You’re not going to just go to a blogger and say, “Hey, can I put a post in your thing?” without offering them something of value. Especially big blogs. Because they have people knocking down their door everyday about guest postings. So you really want to create something that gives them value. And then, they’re obviously willing to help you out because they know you do a good job.
Jeff Steinmann: You totally went exactly where I was hoping you’d go with that because what I wanted to understand is, in order for that to work, you got to get in front of blogs that are bigger than you. And it sounds like what you did was you offered them something that was a direct benefit to them, and actually also sort of related to what you wanted to guest blog about.
Travis Sherry: Exactly. I mean, like I said, some of the blogs don’t have to do necessarily with travelling and that’s kind of almost better in a way because I would go to a personal finance blog and say, “Hey, a lot of your readers save money, or how can they make money and save money and this and that.” Well, travel is a big expense for most people if you don’t understand how to do it cheap. Any vacation you take is going to cost you thousands of dollars especially getting a plane ticket.
So, I would say to them, “Here’s what I can do for you. Here’s what I can offer your community.” If you think that they will like it, let me know.” Usually, if you target the right blogs, something like that, “Hey, saving money when travelling?” Yeah, that fits with a personal finance blog. If you target the right blogs and you just don’t shoot off stuff to things that have no interest in what you do. Then, it usually works.
Like I said, creating value and kind of thinking outside of your niche a little bit whether other areas that intersect with your niche but aren’t exactly the same thing. Like I wouldn’t post on just frequent flyer blogs because those guys are doing the same thing that I’m doing. I want to get the people who haven’t heard about it yet.
Jeff Steinmann: Yeah. Yeah. That’s the beauty of the way you’ve carved up your niche. Because I doubt you could have had that success, approaching those bloggers saying, “I’m a travel guy,” right? Or “I’m a travel on the cheap guy.”
Travis Sherry: I completely agree. I think being more specific is better especially in the beginning. Now, I do some other travel stuff. I’ve started to expand my horizon like yes, frequent flyer miles is my thing. But I’ll tell you how to get cheap hotel rooms or what you should eat in Cambodia because I’ve done that. So I’m going to obviously tell you different things. But I didn’t approach it from the beginning saying, “Hey, I just like to travel. Here’s my tips for travelling.” That might work for some blogs but there’s a lot of stuff out there already.
So what I positioned myself at in as like, okay now, I’m a travel blogger, yes. But if the hundred other travel blogs out there, if one of their readers comes to them and say, “I want to be able to fly for cheap. How can you have cheap plane tickets?” They know, okay, Travis is the guy to go to for that because that’s his specialty.” The starting as specific as you can is in my mind probably the best thing you can do. And then, expanding your reach as you get bigger and as you have more stuff to say.
Jeff Steinmann: Exactly. One of the things I always tell clients is, you got to establish that niche. And I call it like a foothold. People are afraid that they’re limiting themselves by niche-ing, right? What I tell them is, establish that foothold in that very specific small niche and then use that foothold to leverage it and get bigger. If I had a crystal ball, Travis, I’d say in a couple of years, you’re going to be on CNN talking about all kinds of things related to travel. Because it seems like – I think you’re on that path. But the frequent flyer miles are the thing that you’re using to get that foothold. You’ve got that foothold, and now, you’re reaching out for that next level which I think is awesome.
Travis Sherry: Right. I could not agree more. Establish a foothold. If I would have started as just a travel blogger, I might have had more readers right off the bat, maybe, because it’s a wider scope. But would it be able to grow as much as it could and is this as scalable then to really – getting a foothold in the travel blog is a lot harder than getting a foothold and something smaller. So once you get the foothold, expand out. If you’re good at what you do and you like what you do, and you really offer value to people, you can go as far as you want to go.
Jeff Steinmann: Definitely. Definitely. So what are some other things that you did to drive traffic to your website and to promote your business?
Travis Sherry: One of the things I did was I looked at different forums. I guess guest posting is important, and that’s good because you have an audience of someone that already trusts you because you’re aligning into guest posts. But there’s a lot of forms out there, like I said, I did not know the frequent flyer niche even existed before I got into it.
But there’s two main forums and people who even know more than me, like heaven forbid, I’m an expert. People know more than me. But these people have been doing it forever, right? They’re the 5% or 1% of the world that actually know as much or more than I do. But I got on forums and there was always new people coming in asking, “Can you help with this?” It was like a basic question. Something I would ask when I started. In fact, I did ask when I started. I’d make really good answers to them. A lot of people would come on the forums and if you’ve been in forums before, you’d know people can get snarky and rude and mean pretty quickly.
Jeff Steinmann: Yup. I’ve been on the receiving end of that.
Travis Sherry: Yeah, I just went in and I said, “Hey.” Here’s what I did. I’ve been in that situation five months ago, eight months ago, whatever. Here’s exactly what I did. I kind of established a name for myself as being someone who was helpful even to people who were asking the most basic questions. That really, you could put a little signature at the bottom in a forum and it links back to my blog. If you get on forms that are big enough, you start to see a lot of traffic from that.
That was one thing I did. I was in frequent flyer forms, then I kind of went to bigger deals or top deals forums like Slickdeals and stuff like that. That has continued to drive traffic to my blog even though I’ve pulled away from that now. People still see the stuff I posted to this day. That was a big thing to drive traffic. The other thing that I did that I really saw readership jump was…it wasn’t a guest post to another blog but it was actually a post that I did on my blog.
What I did was that I asked the 71 travel experts one question. I basically wanted to anyone I could think of who was an expert and travel. Like Rick Steves who writes the guide books. Some of the biggest travel bloggers out there who have books on the subjects, and Chris Guillebeau who was running the World Domination Summit, he’s a travel expert. He’s been to every country but one in the world. So I went to these guys and I said, “I have one question for you. If you could answer it, that’d be great and I’m going to feature it on my blog, on my website.” I asked them the one question which was, “What’s the number one excuse you hear for why people can’t travel, and why is that basically be yes?” I made it provocative on purpose so that they want to answer it. I’d say I emailed 100 people roughly, and I got 71 people to respond which has exceeded my expectations big time.
Jeff Steinmann: Let me ask you this, was that one pre-formatted email that you blasted out to 100 people?
Travis Sherry: No. That’s a great question. I spent the time. I thought, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it right. I spent the time to write an email to every single person. I wasn’t cc’ing anyone or anything like that and I took each person that I was writing to. If I had contact with them before, I would mention that. We talked about this previously.
But I made the first sentence something specific to them. “I’ve been following your blog for five years, and I love your post on…tad a dad a da. I own your book on this, whatever it is, something very specific so they knew I was writing to them. I got great advice from someone else, a mentor of mine who had done this exact same thing. He said, ‘Keep it short, five sentences at the most.” And what was sentence number 1? Tell them how you know them or why you’re writing to them. Something very specific. And here’s the question, I really appreciate if you could answer it. I thought, I want to say this. I want to say that. And I didn’t! I made sure I didn’t because the guy who mentored me was like, “Don’t. Don’t do that. Don’t do that at all.” I got tons of answers back.
Then of course I spent…that post to this day was one I spent the most time on and I made sure there were pictures there. I linked back to their blog, their Twitter and on. I made it sure it’s formatted so it’s really, really nice. When I put that out, I just sent them a follow-up email, “Hey this is Al. I gave them a free copy of the product that I had made. I also said, “If you wouldn’t mind Tweeting this or blasting out to your Facebook list or anything like that, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks for your help.” That post didn’t go viral, viral huge but semi-viral. I got people who with blogs that are 10, 20, 30, 100 times bigger than mine talking about it. That brought a lot of people to the site. The people who were interested in what I did stayed and now, I’ve achieved a level that is a lot higher than what it was prior to that. It’s kind of like a reverse guest blogging, I guess.
Jeff Steinmann: Okay. That’s a really cool technique and I’ve heard of that being used to great products or e-books, but never for a blog post before. I think that’s brilliant. I think that’s awesome.
Travis Sherry: It worked very well. A secondary perk of that now is, I not only have that post but now I have a contact with people and say I had a contact with 20 of those people out of 70 before. Now I have contact with 50 more people. I have their emails. I’ve talked to them before. I’ve given them my product. I’d say about 10 or 15 of them right away came back to me and said, “Oh, this is great. Can you help me with frequent flyer miles. And then because of that, we spun off more guest posts. It’s just ingraining yourself into a community and trying to build relationships in whatever way you can and getting creative with this.
Jeff Steinmann: That is so cool. I love that you’ve had the perserverance to just stick with it and push forward and just do any of these things which I suspect that for the most part, they’re fun. But they’re not always, right? I mean, it’s probably a grind. Sending those 100 emails? That wasn’t fun the whole time, I’m sure.
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Travis Sherry: It was not fun at all. Especially going to every person’s website and finding something I could personally relate to about. That’s the other big thing I guess I would say was how I grew my website. Like I said, I’m not an expert at SEO. I’m not an expert at growing websites. So for me, a lot of it has been organic and just being consistent and doing it when you don’t want to do it is the toughest part about it because
I guess that I put out post every Tuesday and Thursday and my readers know that now. And sure, I’ve missed some posts here and there. But everytime I had missed posts or I’ve tried to change it up, I’ve noticed that readership has dipped. People coming in has dipped. Everytime I’ve been consistent for months on an end, it’s like a slow and steady increase. Being consistent and living up to what you say like, I knew that I wouldn’t be consistent unless I told my readers, “You’re going to get a post every Tuesday and Thursday,” and they know that.
Will they call me out on it? Will I get a thousand emails if I don’t post? No, but it’s the idea that they know it, they expect it. If I don’t do it, I’m betraying their trust and they might not come back. So that’s kept me on the straight and narrow with being able to be consistent. It’s just telling people exactly what you’re going to do and then following through on it. Because it’s a lot harder to back out on something if other people know you’re going to do it.
Jeff Steinmann: Yeah. Do you write your blog posts ahead of time?
Travis Sherry: Sometimes. Yeah. I try to but yeah, like you said, there’s days I worked Monday night and I’m sitting there grinding it out thinking I’d got this out. So, I try to do it ahead of time, especially if I am going to travel. If I know that I’m going to Spain for two or three weeks. I can still do work there of course, but I want to try to have as much time to do fun stuff as possible. I’ll try to get, schedule two or three or four ahead of time.
What I’ve actually started to do now is I’ve had people ask me to guest post for my blog now that’s gotten big enough. I’ll usually schedule those people for times I’ll be travelling because then, it’s a little more hands off. It’s still…you still have to edit and talk to them and sometimes it can actually be more of a hassle but it’s a nice kind of break to do that.
Jeff Steinmann: Yeah, that’s very cool. So Travis, you’re married, right?
Travis Sherry: Yes, I’m married. I’ve been married two and a half years now.
Jeff Steinmann: Excellent. Excellent. Well so, how does this lifestyle work with your relationship with your wife?
Travis Sherry: Yeah. That’s a great question. When we got married, we got married right before we moved to Japan, which was for some people, they said, “This is crazy. You’re going to get married and then a month later move across the world.” For us, it actually worked out really well because a lot of the pressures you would have had at home were kind of alleviated because we’re together.”
So as far as this lifestyle, right now, after coming from Japan, my wife does a lot of part time work and stuff like that. So she’s also able to make her own schedule. As she’s seen success with my site, my blog, she’s actually thought, I’ve kind of pushed her to this idea like, “You can do this, too.” She’s really into fashion so that would be her niche. I’ve said like, “You’ve seen that I’ve done it, and I’m not superhuman. I don’t really know what I’m doing half the time when it comes to building sites, and it’s worked.”
So, she’s actually started to go off on that thing, too. We’re hoping that if she could work anywhere and design her blog to be at the level that my blog is and my site is, then we could do anything we wanted whenever we wanted. So it really has helped. Like I said, we went to Spain for two to three weeks and we have some stuff planned.
So it has helped us tremendously to be able to just get up and go because when you’re travelling, even if you’re fighting or something stinks, you’re still travelling and you’re still walking outside of your hotel or hostel wherever you are and seeing something new. So it’s kind of a lot easier to put that stuff behind you when you’re having these experiences. So for us, it has been a big, big blessing. Like I said, I worked hard to get to where I am. She’s working hard now to build her thing up but in the end I think, it’s going to infinitely make our lives better. So it’s worth it.
Jeff Steinmann: Yeah. That’s so awesome. One of the things that I’ve been doing is interviews for a while now and the thing that kills me is like, when I ask people what their favorite part of this business is, it’s always something simple. Like, a guy I talked to the other day just said, “I just like to sit down with my wife and have a cup of tea first thing in the morning, right? Not have worry.” The person I interviewed said her and her husband go for a walk every evening and they do it when the sun sets because they want to work around the sunsets. I mean, it’s awesome.
Travis Sherry: You take it for granted. I didn’t even think about it kind of when you asked that question, but now I think of it like, yeah, we can wake up and have breakfast together which most couples, if you’re having breakfast and getting awake at 6am and you’re eating cereal together, you know.
Jeff Steinmann: “Here’s a bagel honey, I got to run.”
Travis Sherry: So wake up, we can have breakfast together. If we want to go out somewhere in the middle of the day, we can do that. Having that flexibility is…like I said, I have taken it for granted at this point but thinking about not having it, I can’t really fathom it, actually.
Jeff Steinmann: Yeah. Yeah. No, I know actually, I don’t know if you ever get this but occasionally I wake up at night just kind of like my mind shifts back to when I was in the corporate world and having to do that death march into the office every morning. And the only thing I had to look forward to was a cup of gourmet coffee because that was the only pleasurable part of my job. But anyway, so Travis, what’s the biggest mistake that you made in this business?
Travis Sherry: I guess the biggest mistake I made was not starting sooner.
Jeff Steinmann: Oh, I love it.
Travis Sherry: But I’m lucky enough to have started when I was 28, 29 and I think that’s huge because I’m going to get experience life in a whole different way from my friends and a lot of other people. But outside of that, I think the biggest mistake I made and still continue to make is even though now, I’m talking to you as an expert, I’m sometimes scared to do stuff, right? I don’t want to contact this guy. His blog is 10 times bigger than mine. Why would he listen to me?
It’s funny because anytime I do something that I think I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone like, why am I doing this? I’m scared to do it. Anytime I do it, I can’t think of a time that it didn’t really work out or at least, if it didn’t work out how I wanted it to, it thought me a lot and worked out in a totally different way. The biggest mistake I’ve made is just really not going after it even more sometimes and thinking like I wanted to start a podcast just like you’re doing for four months down. I keep playing around with it. Oh, I have to get the right microphone. What microphone should I use? What if no one listened?
All these stupid fears in my head that you know, who cares if no one listens, right? I mean, it’s not costing me anything. I’ve put off some things and that is the biggest thing that I struggle with and the biggest mistake I made is just not actually starting even more projects. Because I know from my experience that they are successful and talking to people like you and other people who have done it. Most of the time, when you stick your neck out or you got on the ledge and you give it a 100% effort, it’s going to work in some way, shape, or form. So, that’s the biggest, I guess, mistake.
Other than that, I haven’t had anything that I’ve done. Like I’ve tried to grow my business and do a lot on my own. So I haven’t thrown thousands of dollars at stuff and being like, “This didn’t work.” I’ve tried to do a lot on my own and a lot from friends and kind of exchanging my knowledge and my expertise for someone. Like with my web designer, I’d said to my web designer friend, “I’d get you to Amsterdam for free if you help design my website,” and that’s how it worked out. So I haven’t thrown money at such stuff I don’t plan on doing it.
Jeff Steinmann: My biggest piece of advice to you is don’t be afraid to do it. That’s going to be the next tipping point for you, right? When you get to that point where you’re investing. That’s going to just make a huge difference. And you’re going to waste money. One of these days, when the wounds are a little bit more healed, I will talk publicly about the big waste of money that happened to me last year.
Travis Sherry: If you ever talk privately about it, let me know so I don’t make the same mistakes before you go public with it.
Jeff Steinmann: Definitely, definitely. Well anyway, this has been a pleasure. I got to say, I got to run because we got a snowstorm coming. And actually, what I really need for you to tell me is how do I get the hell out of St. Louis in the next two hours before we get the six or eight inches of snow?
Travis Sherry: Yeah. Well, I wish I could help you with that. I haven’t figured out transportation machines yet like going somewhere quickly.
Jeff Steinmann: Yeah. But anyway, so where can folks go to get more information about you, Travis? I know everybody who’s listening here is interested in lifestyle and they would love to hear how to get cheaper travel.
Travis Sherry: Sure. Yeah. If you want to find out how to use frequent flyer miles or cheap travel in general or anything like that, you could find my website at extrapackofpeanuts.com and you can always feel free to email me. That’s one of my favorite things about this whole gig is getting reader emails and people saying “I don’t know what to do,” and then, five months later, emailed me back like, “Here’s a picture of us in Disneyworld for free.”
So, you can go to extrapackofpeanuts.com. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Yeah, I just would tell everyone like you just told me, don’t be scared to do it. Don’t be afraid of frequent flyer miles or cheap travel, it’s not some pie in the sky idea. It’s happening. I hope hundreds of people everyday and thousands of people in the last year earn millions of frequent flyer miles and they’re going all over the place. It really can be possible for anyone. So, come check out the website and if any of your readers or listeners, Jeff, ever ask you, you can send them my way. I’d be glad to help them out.
Jeff Steinmann: You bet. Extrapackofpeanuts.com. It’ll be linked up below. Go there, figure out how you can travel and live your lifestyle business wherever you want. This has inspired me to think about going some other places as I look out the window and see the snow start to fall.
Travis Sherry: Yeah. It’s not snowing in Thailand, though.
Jeff Steinmann: Excellent. Well, thank you very much, Travis. I appreciate it. Have a great rest of the week and have fun in Spain next time you head there.
Travis Sherry: My pleasure, Jeff. Thanks for the opportunity.
Jeff Steinmann: Thanks, Travis. Bye.