How This Debt-Free Blogger Became a Million-Dollar​ Digital Nomad

Today, I am so excited to be able to share with you one of my favorite debt-free success stories. After receiving her first student loan payment in the mail, Michelle knew she had to get serious about paying off her debt. She knocked out her loans in only 7 months thanks partially to her side hustle: blogging. I was fortunate enough to get to interview Michelle about her debt payoff and the success of her blog, Making Sense of Cents. Keep reading to see how she turned her blog from a debt free side hustle into a full-time income that has allowed her to travel by both land and sea over the last few years.

I know your blog started with you sharing your debt payoff journey. What inspired you to get serious about paying off debt in the first place?

The day I received my student loan bill was the day I realized that I didn’t want my student loans hanging over my head for a decade (or longer).

I had received “bills” for years, but they were simply reminders that I’d owe money once I graduated.

Well, a few months after I received my MBA, I got a letter in the mail that stated how much I’ll owe monthly.

I know, I know, I should have been smarter about the whole thing while I was in college – but the average person does not really think about how much they’ll owe monthly when they are done. And, that was me.

But, receiving that first real bill whipped me into shape.

I did not want my largest payment each month to go to student loans (and I had a mortgage at the time too).

So, I made an action plan to pay off my student loans as quickly as I could. I paid off my $40,000 student loan debt in just 7 months. You can learn more about how I paid off my student loans here

Are you ready to pay off debt?

If you are ready to ditch your debt and take one step closer toward life as a digital nomad, then don’t miss my Debt Snowball guide and printout to help you get started.

How did you realize that sharing your journey could actually turn into a profitable venture?

I started Making Sense of Cents entirely for me – I did not know that blogs could make money or anything like that when I first started.

However, not too much later, I started talking about side hustling on Making Sense of Cents, and I had countless readers tell me that I should try to make money blogging.

So, it all grew from there and I have now been a full-time blogger since 2013.

More on making money with a blog:

Do you work to hit a certain income goal per month?

Not really. I simply just try to have fun and enjoy what I do.

What steps did you take to make full time travel possible?

I paid off all of my debt before I left my day job to blog full-time, so my debt was paid off long before we started to travel full-time.

I also researched the cost of full-time travel, but made sure that my income was high and that I had a good emergency fund to cover anything that may come up.

Once we became location independent, we felt very comfortable with full-time travel. This is because we were able to earn a living while traveling, so we didn’t really have much tying us to our home back in Missouri any longer.

More posts from digital nomads:

This woman used her blog as a debt free side hustle to pay off student loans. Now she travels the world by land and sea making a full-time blogging income.
Follow Michelle’s travels here on Instagram.

If you could give one piece of advice to new bloggers, what would it be?

My top piece of advice would be to continue trying!

The first 6 months is definitely the hardest when it comes to blogging, and that is why the average person will quit by then.

Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme and you will have to put in a lot of hard work in order to see success.

If it were easy, then everyone would do it!

You’ve done RVing, sailing and van life. What do you think the future holds in store for your digital nomad lifestyle?

As someone who travels full-time, I have no idea, haha!

We really like traveling full-time, so I see us doing this for a while.

Eventually, we’d like to cross an ocean on our boat, do some long-distance trails, and meet some other outdoors goals that we have.

We may live in a house again one day, but I think we would still be traveling extensively too.

Want to start you own blog?

Blogging can be an awesome income that you can take with you anywhere in the world. But, it’s so important to take the right steps when you get started.

The absolute first step in starting a successful money-making blog is just getting started! How to start a blog.

The next step is to get yourself as much training as possible. I know this totally sounds like a scam and I believed it (kind of) was when I first started blogging. The truth is, the more knowledge you can have going into this, the better off you’re going to be.

My top recommended blogging courses:

Affiliate Marketing for bloggers – This is an awesome guide about how to get started and how to be successful with affiliate marketing. Check it out.

Food Blogger Pro – Food Blogger Pro has everything you need to create a thriving food blog. Made by the creators of Pinch of Yum. See the course.

Fun Sized Blogging Basics – I took every single question that didn’t get answered for me when I started blogging, and I answered it. Get started with 5 FREE lectures.

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing – Michelle makes over $50K per month with affiliate marketing alone. Learn all of the best tips in her course. Check out the course!

Pinteresting Strategies – Learn the best methods for growing your Pinterest that no other blogger has talked to you about before! This helped grow my traffic huge AND it’s super affordable! See the course.

Pitch Perfect Pro – Pitch Perfect is a course I took hosted by successful blogger, Jenny Melrose. She will walk you step by step through how to pitch to brands and what to do once you’ve got them. Start pitching

Check out my FREE guide on How to Make Your First $1,000 Blogging.

Blog organization

There is a lot of work that goes into a blog. In a lot of ways, it’s just like running your own business. That means you need to keep everything organized.

Having a blogging planner can be crazy helpful to keep everything organized and in one place…especially if you plan to turn this blogging gig into a digital nomad lifestyle!

Blogging Planner – To help you keep every single thing about your blog together and organized, check out this Blogging Planner by Carly the blogger behind Blogging Like You Mean It.

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This woman used her blog as a debt free side hustle to pay off student loans. Now she travels the world by land and sea making a full-time blogging income.