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Meet the Couple Who Are Paid To Travel

Have you met Collette and Scott Stohler? The couple who seem to have what you can call a dream career as all they need to do to get paid is travel the world for six months a year and post photos, videos, blogs, and newsletter on their website and social media channels.

Their Instagram account (@Roamaroo) is a colorful assortment of flawless moments entailing the couple snuggling on pristine beaches, kayaking in turquoise waters, or clinking glasses on balconies. However, Collette insists that behind the scenes “it’s not as glamorous as you see in a feed. Just know that we’re on the beach only for a moment to take a photo.”

She continued, saying the life of an “influencer” requires persistent hard work as various other people are in contention for the same marketing dollars.

Andaman Sea, Thailand

While social media influencers (people who have huge audiences and companies keen to piggyback on their success) are growing and the industry briskly developing, only a minute minority can make a living doing so.

The cost of the average sponsored post, according to Adweek, is around $300.

The Stohlers who are aged 30 and 34, respectively live in Los Angeles and charge around $2,000 per post, earning around $200,000 per year, although most of it is plowed back into the business. Despite this, Scott says, “It doesn’t just happen. You need to hustle. For every 50 pitches, we’ll only hear a couple of yeses. You have to have that grit and that passion.”

Two years ago, the couple who was previously an engineering manager and an ad producer, launched Roamaroo. They had just rounded up the seven-month, round-the-world trip they took with money saved for a second home, after listening to a podcast about adventurous sabbaticals. As they approached the end of their journey, they noticed that their social media following had been increasing, and decided to make a profit from their traveling lifestyle.

The Stohlers commenced their adventure by approaching potential clients and working out deals for writing, photographing and filming their holidays. Now while they still pitch for work, the companies also come to them, working alongside hotel groups, tourist boards, and other brands to plot the trips they publish on their website and social media accounts.

According to the Stohlers, posts for their brands takes up around 25% of their social media contents.

This essentially means rather than picking their destination, and they plan to travel around client destinations most of the time. Collette said the following about their away time “the majority of our time is spent shooting. We rarely have time to ‘kick back’ on work trips, but sometimes we’re able to add a day at the end (on our own expense) to explore.”

‘Middle class’ income

Another Southern Californian couple, Kit Whistler and J.R. Switchgrass, with a knack for travel, have amassed over 150,000 Instagram followers as they publish their traveling lifestyle on the handle @IdleTheoryBus, which involves star-gazing in the wilderness, swimming with no clothes on in creeks, and hiking in America’s natural parks.

After three years on the road in the orange VW camper van that substitutes as their home, the couple tried supporting themselves as influencers in 2015. However, the couple swiftly came back to reality. Kit iterated that “You can’t make a living selling 150,000 followers to brands, not unless every post is a sponsored post, or unless you want to live at the poverty level.”

Presently, they have just one long-term deal with a water-bottle company which requires their placement in photos posted by the couple once a month, a gig responsible for providing about 10% of their income.

The remainder of their income, which they term “middle-class,” is derived from the sales of their self-published book of photos and stories. Kit said “We have built real relationships online, across years, with people who respect our art and want us to make more of it,” “Companies can’t really pay enough for that.”

Spiaggia Del Principe in Porto Cervo, Sardinia

While trying to earn a living as an influencer can be undoubtedly hard, the industry is growing fast as more and more companies are beginning to seek influencers.

Ascertaining the effectiveness of influencer marketing can prove to be difficult – a study by Rakuten Marketing revealed that 38% of brands are unable to certainly determine if sales are increased because of the activities of influencers, and 86% don’t know how influencers determine their fees. In spite of this, 75% had plans to increase their influencer spend in the next year.

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