The Adventure Dog Blog is now in its second month, and I could not be more thrilled! I am honestly loving every minute (except when I get frustrated with the interwebs) of writing, formatting, editing, photographing, networking, posting, and connecting with people. Just the other day, I figured out a bit of code and did a happy dance!
I wanted to take a moment to reflect and to also share with YOU, my incredibly AWESOME readers, why I decided to start this endeavor. Warning: I may nerd out, get sappy, and gush a little. So here goes!
How Did This Blog Come to Be?
I hate to start with a downer, but I am not happy in my job. There, I said it. World: now you know! I’m actually very discontent. I have anxiety. I’m looking for my new life direction. So, in September, I decided to take the entire Labor Day week off from work and take a road trip to Montana. On a whim!!
I wanted to get away from it all, especially human beings, and spend a full week uninterrupted with my dogs, the road, and my thoughts. I was hoping some ray of sunshine called revelation would strike me during my trip. I was looking for answers. Mainly: what should I be doing with my life?
Mica, River, and I piled into the dogmobile (also known as my Toyota Matrix hatchback) and set off on a 1,200 mile journey (that’s one way). I wanted to see Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. Bucket List!! This seemed like an opportunity to JUST DO IT.
Well, I drove all the way to Montana and back with only a couple small revelations. They were good! Don’t get me wrong, but I was still kinda stuck. Then, a couple days after we returned home, that lightning bolt struck me upside the head. I was letting me dogs out to potty, something I do multiple times every single day, very routine. I was asking myself: What makes you happy? What are you passionate about? And BOOM. Lightning bolt. I love seeing my dogs be dogs, running free, naturally, and exploring grand destinations. Finding new places. Getting out into nature. The wilds! With my dogs.
Seems VERY obvious now, but I was swimming in a sea of activities at the time and this had gotten buried. I had done websites before and even a dog training blog for a very short while. I love writing. So I said “self, we are going to start a blog about adventures with dogs.” And thus, The Adventure Dog Blog was born. TADA!
What's This Blog About??
So, that leads me to what this blog is all about. It is not a journal (despite what this post may lead you to believe), it is not a means to an end (I don’t even know what that end would be), and it is not something I take lightly. I’m putting hours and hours of work into this blog every week because, more than anything, I want it to INSPIRE people. I take, use, and love the stunning pictures on my blog because I hope they will instill a sense of wonder. I want to evoke emotion. Wanderlust! Awe. Appreciation of nature, and a deep urge to GO SEE THAT.
I LOVE my dogs, and I know that you love your dogs, too. My dogs, and I’m sure your dogs too, love the outdoors. They want to get out there and explore. I want my writing, my photos, and my posts to create that sense of adventure for you. So much so that you leap off your couch, grab the leashes, and hit the trail! Ok, that may be a bit dramatic, and honestly ambitious, but it’s still a goal. :-)
In my introduction video, I talk about how hard it is for me to find details about the hiking/camping/travel destinations I choose to visit. I write DETAILED trail guides so that you know exactly what to expect when you visit. You know which place is a GOOD place to take your dog and just how much fun you’ll have when you arrive. I want people to feel the experience of each trail and adventure through their computers/phones/tablets and be inspired to visit that place. And have enough information to know what you’re getting into!
Lastly, I want to share the BEST places. The secret places. The special spots. The good stuff! I take great pains to research, explore, and then write about my favorite destinations. I 100% vouch for and LOVE each and every location on this blog. You can trust that I’m only writing about places I do believe you should visit. I’m not just filling the internet with THINGS!
What's In It For Me?
Here’s why I love putting all the hours into The Adventure Dog Blog. It’s so perfect how one of my passions feeds the other. I go on an adventure, have an amazing time, and I’m so excited to write about it and share it with others! Then, when writing about said adventures, I get excited to go on MORE adventures! It seems like a crazy circle of HAPPY.
I have been happier in the last 2 months than in the last 2 years. It’s a little scary. Happiness is GOOD! However, the only part of me that’s not happy is my work self. Danielle’s work self is still anxious, stressed, dissatisfied, dejected, and sad. Blogging is helping to balance that, and I certainly have some goals in mind, but I still have to contend with my work self through this journey.
How am I going to reconcile this dichotomy? Here’s where that transparency comes in. My dream is to live in a Tiny House (LOVE tiny houses!!), travel the country, and write. With my dogs. Preferably write this blog! I’m seeking freedom, and I’m hoping that this blog can not only be a part of that dream but can also potentially fund it. By living in a paid-for tiny house, my living expenses and thus income requirements will be much smaller, and I will have yet more freedom.
How Can I Do This Full Time?
Now, here’s what I’ve learned about monetizing one’s blog. The most common way is to pack your site with ads and inundate your readers with popups, flashing ads, and CLICK HERE stuff. I hate it. I hate it a lot. Now, is it possible to use ads tastefully without being obnoxious? Absolutely! But I just don't care for them. So I'm not going to use them, even though it could bring me profits. It just does not fit my personality.
Since I’ve decided against the most common form of income for bloggers, that has forced me to get creative on how I use this blog as a platform to do what I love and still treat my readers with respect and only create value for them. I’m laying it all out for you here! It’s a little scary, but I’m hoping it brings us closer together :-)
One thing I’ve done is to work with Amazon Associates to put all of my favorite gear, books, and dogs stuff on a mini-store on my website. This felt a lot better to me than ads because it gives readers a choice. They can check out that page or not. I DO think that people will find value in it, though, or I would not have added it to my website. All the GOOD STUFF is there, and I'm so excited to share the quality gear I use!
1/3/17 EDITED TO ADD: No Longer doing Affiliate Programs. No Selling!
Here’s what’s cool for you and for me. I’ve had people ask what sleeping bag I use for my dogs, what kind of hiking boots I have, and what the best chews to bring on camping trips are. I can put ALL of that, and more of my favorite (purchased, tested, and used on every trip) stuff on this mini-store. You can then check it out, and if you love it too or want to give it a try, you can buy it straight form Amazon. You get good gear you can trust, you can ask me questions about all of it, and I get a small commission from Amazon for helping you find those products.
What Are Some Other Ideas?
Now, that is one very tiny revenue stream. A drop in the bucket compared to living expenses. I have to get creative again. One thing I’m currently working on is putting together a list of services I can offer. Along with eBooks, writing sponsored posts for companies and brands I love and support, and maybe offering help with travel planning, I’ve also played around with the idea of creating The Adventure Puppy Club. (by the way, if any of those things I listed sounds really cool, please let me know!)
My idea is to create an online “club” where you can have access to articles, checklists, and videos about how to socialize and even train your Adventure Puppy to be prepared for the trail. Again, just an idea right now, but if that sounds interesting, please let me know in the comment section below!!
Lastly, if you want me to visit your town, trail, campground, or watering hole, give me a shout! I’m very open to traveling to new places, finding great new places to explore, and writing some kick-ass articles about my experiences!
So, there you have it. My dreams and aspirations laid bare. Everything aside, I hope you find value in this blog. That’s what it’s all about for me. I want to contribute my creativity and energy to make something useful.
It means a lot to me that you read this. Thank You!