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What’s the last thing you’d do if you had a crippling fear of flying? Well for 25-year-old Sarah Gallo, it was to embrace it and overcome this fear as she decided to set off traveling the world full-time!
Since learning to work online and becoming one with the “Digital Nomad” lifestyle, Sarah has set foot on all seven continents, explored 82 countries, and continues to strive to live life to the fullest.
She created The Five Foot Traveler not only to share her experiences around the globe, but to teach others how to travel the world for free using her social media techniques and affiliate marketing skills.
She encourages everyone, even those with no experience, to get out there to experience all that this beautiful world has to offer, while learning how to run a profitable business online.
In this interview, I discovered how Sarah is able to sustain a life of full-time time travel while running a six-figure business online, and how you can too!
City where you’re from:
- Redding, Connecticut – USA
- Travel, Marketing, Flying Trapeze, Martial Arts, Live Music
- “She’s gonna dream up the world she wants to live in, she’s gonna dream out loud.”
How did you begin traveling?
Sarah Gallo: I didn’t come from a wealthy family, but every year since I was five years old my great-grandfather brought my entire family to an all-inclusive resort. Knowing that I had that one week of beach, aerial arts, and lots of laughter with my family is what pulled me through a usually-stressful year. It ultimately ended up instilling in me a love for travel so deep that I made it my lifestyle.
As I grew up, I thought back to the times I was happiest, and it was those weeks where I truly got to let go of the stresses at home and live.
At first, I had planned to run away and join the circus as a means of traveling the world. Really! While it sounds trite, it was something I had truly wanted to do since one of my biggest passions was flying trapeze. But, after tearing muscles in both shoulders and both biceps, that was no longer possible. I needed a new dream.
It’s never easy to take your life in a different direction than planned. What was your alternative route to traveling the world?
Sarah Gallo: At first, I wasn’t sure. So, I set off to study abroad in Florence, Italy, and knew then that my life would be forever changed. I knew that travel had to be incorporated in some way, yet I didn’t know how. I decided to work extra hard, graduate early, and spend my final semester of New York University in Buenos Aires, Argentina four years ago.
It was in Buenos Aires that I founded The Five Foot Traveler, a travel blog dedicated to luxury travel, adventure activities, and cultural immersion.
After spending years educating myself on how to properly monetize The Five Foot Traveler and continue to grow my social media presence, I have learned how to travel the world full-time by a combination of working with various brands around the world and utilizing my affiliate marketing skills.
What are you working on? How did you come up with this idea?
Sarah Gallo: I knew that there was a big market for people who had dreams of starting a blog and traveling the world. But, I also knew from personal experience that that’s not as easy as everyone makes it seem.
In reality, very few travel bloggers actually make enough money from their site to be able to support a life of full-time travel. They are typically not plugged into the right systems, utilizing the proper social media techniques, or forming valuable connections.
Since I’ve spent so many years learning the in’s and out’s of what it takes to work online in order to travel the world full-time, I now coach others on what they need to put in place so that they, too, can achieve the lifestyle they’ve been chasing.
How is your company different?
Sarah Gallo: I teach aspiring travelers and bloggers how to use affiliate marketing to monetize their social media channels and blogging platforms. I’m not talking about small affiliate programs where you make tiny commissions, I’m referring to high-ticket offers where you’re earning more than 60% commission on all sales made.
I want to see people earning the bulk of their commissions so that they can actively pursue, and support, their travels. Through this affiliate program, individuals go through business, marketing, and social media courses that will teach them from the ground up how to run their own profitable online business.
One of the big differences is that I teach people how to maximize their time by running their businesses on autopilot.
Once everything is setup, you can spend your days traveling and exploring and doing what you love, all while your business is working for you in the background.
What’s your dream with your company?
Sarah Gallo: I truly believe that travel is the best form of education. There are few other ways to gain perspective on life; it’s taught me to appreciate the life that I’ve been given by opening my eyes to various cultures and customs worldwide.
My dream is that more people each day decide to pop that bubble which is their comfort zone, and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. We no longer live in a world where we have to work the traditional 9-5 job. Thanks to technology, we no longer need to worry about bosses looking over our shoulders or wonder how many vacation weeks we will be allotted per year.
Today, we are able to create a life of freedom where we can work from anywhere in the world and still be financially stable. My dream is to continue to inspire and coach individuals who are committed to changing their lives for the better on how to leverage the internet and discover the same lifestyle of freedom that I cherish.
How do you creatively advertise?
Sarah Gallo: We live in a world where everyone is so “connected” via social media. We’re constantly scrolling through Newsfeeds, pinning our ideal destinations, tweeting about our day, and wanderlusting our way through Instagram feeds.
Since I started my business with very little money in the bank, I initially couldn’t afford to have a marketing budget and instead had to make good use of social media.
I learned how to leverage Instagram via attraction marketing to drive traffic and sales to my business, and I now help others do the same. It’s definitely not the most traditional means of advertising, but when done correctly, it’s incredibly powerful.
So, how does this allow you to travel the world for free?
Sarah Gallo: As you learn how to properly grow your social media followings and monetize your blog using high-ticket affiliate marketing, brands will start to recognize your online presence and want to work with you.
For the last three years, I have worked with five star hotels, tour companies, transportation companies, and tourism boards in every single country that I’ve visited; so, while I’m traveling full-time, my only expenses are food, of which much is actually covered as well.
As part of my coaching program, I not only teach other aspiring travelers and bloggers how to earn an income online, but also how to form partnerships and ambassadorship positions with their favorite brands and companies around the world.
What were your biggest failure and biggest success? What did you learn from them?
Sarah Gallo: My biggest failure, and regret, is that I didn’t start monetizing The Five Foot Traveler from the beginning. In fact, it didn’t even cross my mind to do so. Like so many other bloggers, I just thought that something would come of it. I thought that if I produced a lot of content, and shared it across multiple social media platforms, that it would go viral.
That was hardly the case, and I realized the importance of having a business and marketing plan in place before even beginning a blog. I decided to “rebrand” the look of my blog and start over, having a clear vision of what I wanted from my site and how to achieve that.
Since learning to monetize my blog, and helping others to do so, I am successfully running a multiple six-figure business while traveling full-time and teaching others how to do the same. Had you told me years ago that my dreams would have become my reality, I never would have believed you!
Give the readers the best entrepreneurship advice you have.
Sarah Gallo: Don’t try to go it alone. In the beginning, I spent years trying to “figure it out” and didn’t want to spend any money on my blog or business education.
Turns out that taking the “cheap way” and believing that I could teach myself everything that I needed to know, without any guidance other than what I read about online, ended up costing me more (both from a financial and time perspective) than it would have had I just locked down a mentor or coach from the moment I decided that I wanted to be an entrepreneur.
Nothing beats having by your side someone who is an expert in your field; they’ve already been through the trials and tribulations for you, and have learned exactly what works. Get yourself a mentor or coach, listen to them, and implement their advice — you will see results so much quicker than if you try to tackle your business journey on your own.
What would you say are the most important “selling” aspects to keep in mind when using Instagram Marketing?
Sarah Gallo: Instagram Marketing is far different from any kind of paid traffic. It takes a lot of creativity and research to ensure that you are targeting the right niches for your product or services.
There are a few crucial aspects to implement within Instagram in order to drive sales to your affiliate offer:
- Have a Good Bio – This is the first thing that someone will see when they land on your Instagram page. Be sure to introduce yourself and give them a look into your life… all in less than 150 characters!
- Link to a Business Account – If you want to track your statistics (and you should!), you’ll want to make your Instagram account a Business Instagram Account. You can easily do this, as long as you have an active Fan Page on Facebook. Once you’re linked, you can track how many followers you’re gaining weekly, your impressions, reach, profile views, website clicks, and email clicks. It will even go further and show you your age and gender demographics too.
- Post Daily – Ultimately, you want loyal followers; you want them to be waiting for your latest image of the day. That said, it’s imperative that you post daily, as this will both help you grow you following and keep your followers happy!
- Have a Call to Action – This is where many aspiring bloggers and entrepreneurs mess up. It’s easy to get carried away longing for colorful faraway destinations on Instagram, and so there needs to be something that gets the “scrollers” to stop and read what you have to say. You have to ensure that you write something catchy and compelling in each caption that will entice someone to click the link in your bio.
- Engage – Having an engaging profile is extremely important both if you plan to collaborate with brands and if you are promoting a product. You want an audience that likes, comments, and even checks out your Instagram Stories. But, it doesn’t stop there. Engagement is a two-way street; for every comment and message that you receive, it’s extremely important that you take the time to respond to that person which, in turn, creates a line of communication. That person is then more likely to continue following your page, as well as your business.
Sarah, teach us something we don’t know about traveling full time.
Sarah Gallo: Believe it or not, you don’t need a huge social media following in order to travel the world for “free.” Of course, usually this is an exchange of services — in exchange for a comped stay/experience, you will be required to showcase their brand on your blog and throughout your social media channels.
Many people think that you need tens of thousands of followers to secure sponsorship, but in reality that’s not true. In fact I received my first hotel, tour company, and clothing collaborations with less than 2,000 followers.
What’s important is finding a boutique company that fits your niche. A company that’s trying to grow and could use the extra exposure. Start there by offering reviews of their services.
As you work with more and more brands, create a “Brands I’ve Worked With” page, as this will provide you with credibility to move from the smaller brands to the bigger, more well-known brands.
I have recently released a free eBook where I go more in depth into just how to secure these sponsorships, so you’ll have to check it out!
What do you think you do better than most people?
Sarah Gallo: I put myself out there rather than holding back due to timidity; it’s timidity – fear of failure – that frequently keeps people from being assertive.
When I was younger, my parents taught me always to “go for it,” because the worst that could happen is that it doesn’t work out or that I’d be told, “No.” I never wanted to live with regrets and wonder “What If?”, and that mindset drove me to push aside my shyness and put myself out there — to introduce myself to everyone, no matter what their status.
I’ve walked up to rockstars, actors, and some of the top businessmen around with no hesitation. I don’t believe in treating someone differently because of wealth and/or position — or lack thereof; we are all human, and I approach each individual just as that. In having no qualms, I have been able to pick the brains of people I admire and form strong connections.
The online world is all about networking, and that’s something that I’ve learned to master from a young age.
What should an entrepreneur focus on?
Sarah Gallo: An entrepreneur needs to focus on remaining focused. I know that may sound ridiculous, but it’s true. So many people have “Shiny Object Syndrome,” commonly referred to as the disease of distraction.
When you’re starting your own business, it’s extremely important to be hyper-focused on your goal, and what it’s going to take for you to achieve it.
The thing is, as entrepreneurs, we are always craving more. We frequently feel as if we can tackle everything, as we want to absorb as much information as possible and apply it to our business, but in reality, we need to focus on one thing at a time.
Having Shiny Object Syndrome can absolutely kill your business, as it has the ability to pull you away from the tasks at hand, cause you to lose focus, and even burn a hole in your wallet. We are in the business of earning money, not throwing it down the tubes thanks to countless distractions on the Internet.
What are some of the best books you’ve ever read?
Sarah Gallo: As far as entrepreneurial books go, 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class by Steve Siebold, Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie are very valuable reads. For people needing some more travel inspiration, Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche and Vagabonding by Rolf Potts are an absolute must!
Where do you see yourself and your product in a couple years?
Sarah Gallo: I’m truly grateful to have had the opportunity to check off most of my Bucket List, but now it’s time for me to give back. The very talented photographer that accompanies me on many of my trips has Cystic Fibrosis, a life threatening lung disease, but he is determined not to allow his disease to define him. He has a passion for nature, outdoor activities, and adventure, but his medical issues can complicate things due to the hours of daily therapies, frequent hospitalizations, etc. He also happens to be my inspiring brother. Over the last few years, I’ve been designing a program called 66 Roses that will allow me to take other children with Cystic Fibrosis around the world to check off their Bucket Lists. I’ve seen firsthand the joy that it’s brought my brother, and I can only hope to bring that same joy to many more.