LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- For most of us, the thought of traveling the world is a dream we store up; anticipating its fruition in our retirement.
We dream of the day we can enjoy sunsets by the beach with friends and people we love. But, what if you didn't have to wait until retirement to do it?
For Little Rock’s Emily Cole was determined to find a way to experience all the fun in her 20s and beyond. Now, her dream has become a reality.
In THV11 This Morning’s Social Media Moneymakers series, we have featured people who have turned their social media account into their side hustle or full-time business.
Emily has turned her love for traveling and fashion into a profitable blog and Instagram page. Now, she travels all over the world and writes about her experiences while companies give her some major perks to do it.
“I was newly married in college and I wanted to go on vacation but didn't have enough money so I googled how to make extra money,” said Cole.
That’s when she started selling her clothes online and making extra income. Then, she started going to places like Goodwill and garage sales to buy name brand clothes for cheap prices to resell as well. She had success and was able to go on a trip with her husband.
“I decided I wanted to start a blog talking about that and talking about fashion on a lower budget.”
So, she created and a blog and started writing. She shared her adventures and taught people about traveling in style on a budget. People started flocking to her blog and Instagram eager to read more about her journey so they could someday do it too.
“I think a lot of people feel the same way I do. They want to travel but don’t have the money.”
As more and more people started reading her blog and checking out her Instagram, companies started taking notice. They started paying for her to come stay in their hotels, eat their food, and write about her experiences with them.
“We just went to Greece and we were able to stay at some places and do marketing for them,” she said. “In exchange for our help, they provided us a free place to stay.”
She and her husband also recently got to visit Naples Florida and work with restaurants there. She reached out to them ahead of time saying she would love to come try a meal and write about it in her blog. They were happy to let her wine and dine for free.
“Usually they are open to it because it’s helping their business and it’s helping me.”
Eventually, she also got a gig with Disney after her posts of traveling to Disney sites. The company hired her to be a travel agent. Now, she helps plan and write about people's Disney dream trips.
Clothing and makeup companies have also reached out and now they are sending her free products to wear and review during her travels.
“If I’m wearing something from Nordstrom or Dillard’s in a picture, I can link it on my blog and if someone clicks through and buys it, I make commission. I’m also working with NYX cosmetics and they are sending me products and paying me to post honest reviews.”
While Emily says this whole experience has been a fun whirlwind, it takes a lot of time and persistence because she is doing it all in addition to other part time jobs.
“It takes a lot of hard work. It’s hard keeping up with my other jobs, friends, a social life, family, and also being dedicated to this blog.”
Despite the challenges, she says it's all worth it because of the friends she's met from all ends of the earth.
“That's the most rewarding part, for sure, and it really makes me keep going with it.”