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Ep.59 Offbeat Mentor: How to be a paid travel writer

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Have you ever wondered how to be a paid travel writer?

I am so excited to share this month’s mentorship segment on The Offbeat Life podcast. Where we go beyond telling you inspiring stories to helping a listener get to the next step to a life they truly want to live.

On this episode of the Offbeat Mentor, I invite back Joni Sweet who is a freelance writer and editor-driven by adventure. Her journalistic pursuits have taken her around the globe and have been published in National Geographic, Forbes, Thrillist, Huffington Post and so much more.

Get inspired and listen to Joni’s episode on How to become a full-time freelance location independent writer. 

Joni has successfully created a thriving career as a paid travel writer and has inspired our listener Cassandra Brooklyn who is a Brooklyn-based writer, tour leader, travel planner, and solo adventurer extraordinaire. She has observed Joni’s journey and has admired her persistence and work as a freelance writer.

I was fortunate enough to introduce these two ladies and allow them to engage in an incredible conversation in order to get Cassandra to the next level to becoming paid travel writer!

If you want to be part of this new segment make sure to visit or email me at for more information.

Listen on to find out the incredible tips that Joni shares on this mentorship episode.

paid travel writer

Listen Below:


In this Episode:

Joni is a freelance location independent writer. Cassandra is a tour leader who has admired Joni’s work and wants to learn how to be a paid travel writer.

| Find out why  Cassandra was so inspired by Joni’s episode – click here to listen to Joni’s full episode. 

How much time do you allow yourself to enjoy a trip when you are traveling for work?

  • Allowing yourself to enjoy your surrounding and not being focused on social media.
  • Balancing what you do for work and what you allow yourself to enjoy during a trip.
  • Traveling light for work is crucial so that you have fewer distractions and for easier travel.
  • Learn to prioritize which tasks need to be accomplished and focus on them.
  • Scheduling Social media instead of posting immediately to be more effective and productive.

What apps to use to schedule social media posts.

Is it ever OK to pitch more than one idea to an editor?

  • There should be a strategy you want to send out at a time, especially when trying to work with a new editor.
  • You will not be setting yourself up to selling a story that you can.
  • If you are going to send more than 1 pitch, make sure that they are very polished.
  • Make sure that you are sending your pitch to a relevant publication.
  • Have back up pitches ready in case the editor declines your initial pitches.

How many times should you follow up with an editor after you’ve sent your pitches?

  • There are no specific rules except to do it!
  • Be patient and follow up with an editor because they may not have seen the email or may have gotten distracted with other tasks.
  • Following up a week after your initial pitch is appropriate and feel free to send at least 3 follow-ups.
  • Change the subject line of your last follow-up to: Final Follow Up.

What to do when an editor shares an initial interest and then they go silent?

  • Following up is a great strategy, however, they may have gone silent from many different reasons and we have to learn when to move on to other projects.
  • Don’t take things personally, it is business and work.
  • Chanel that energy into something else and to pitch to other publications.

How do you find an editors contact info and are they hard to find for a reason?

  • You are pitching a print magazine you can often find their information on the masthead.
  • Look to social media to find their information such as twitter – however, do not pitch editors on social media.
  • You can also find the email and contacts via secret social media groups for writers.
  • How to use social media to create relationships with editors and writers.
  • Why you should have a Facebook profile to help you get more clients.
  • Using LinkedIn to get clients and why it can give you the highest levels of engagement.
  • Why you should be consistent with your information on your LinkedIn account.

What was the first big opportunity you had as a writer and what led you to it?

  • The piece for the Christian Science monitor where she highlighted an Indonesian woman who was paralyzed from the waist down and traveled by motorcycle to bring empowering messages to disabled people.
  • What made the piece so special is the unique angle that no one else had.
  • It’s about finding the right publication for the amount of experience that you have.
  • Keep pitching to the same editors who you have worked with already since you already have a relationship with them.

What to do when an editor makes too many changes to your work and you no longer feel like it is written in your authentic voice?

  • If you ever see your article published with something factually incorrect, you have to reach out to the editor and let them know right away.
  • Never put any blame on anyone – unless you are taking the blame yourself.
  • If its the style of your story and it no longer reads like your words – although it is frustrating, you have to move on and work on other projects. Do not let the little things bother you.
  • Understand that editors have specific visions and your work must align with it.
  • Do not take anything personally when it comes to business.
  • If you have a story that you are deeply passionate about. You need to publish them on your own so you maintain that creative control.

Is it ever OK to call out an editor when they make a mistake and do not want to make the changes?

  • Although it is frustrating, it is not necessarily a good idea to get angry and confront an editor.
  • It will not do you any favors, its a small industry and people will hear about you and you may get a bad reputation.
  • Its always good to remember to pick and choose your battle.

Spacious versus WeWork?

  • Being in a space outside your home to work will keep you sane.
  • Spacious is more affordable than WeWork.
  • WeWork is better for bigger companies because of all the benefits they offer.
  • For individual freelancers, Spacious is a much better fit.

Everyone says that it’s hard to create income as a freelance writer. Are there any specific niches that create more income?

  • Content marketing can be a lucrative way to create income.
  • Travel pieces can pay the least.
  • Health can be a great niche to go into and pays well.
  • You can also find different ways to connect different niches to create a unique piece to write about.

How do you get started in content marketing?

  • Start reading content marketing in order to understand how to create them properly.
  • Find the editors, they can be difficult to find so be patient.

Tips on how to create travel guides in your own city.

  • Start small and start with a unique niche that you are interested in.


Want to be mentored by Debbie and a guest on the show? Click here to find out how we can help you get to the next level!

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