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Laura Peters Abalos on Building a $800K/year Travel Blog Business

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Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.

Laura Peters Abalos on Building a $800K/year Travel Blog Business

In an ever-evolving digital world where travel and entrepreneurship intertwine beautifully, Laura Peters Abalos is a luminary in the realm of travel blogging. As the ingenious mind behind Mike & Laura Travel, the CEO of Scale Your Travel Blog, and the host of Travel Blogging Summits, Laura has carved a unique niche in the digital landscape. Her journey from a passionate traveler to a successful entrepreneur is nothing short of inspiring.

In this candid conversation, Laura unveils the genesis of her idea, the challenges and triumphs of launching a business, and offers invaluable insights for budding entrepreneurs. Whether you’re a travel enthusiast, a burgeoning business owner, or simply seeking a dose of inspiration, Laura’s story is a compelling testament to the power of following one’s passions and the hard work that turns dreams into reality.

Join us as we delve into the captivating world of travel blogging through the lens of a visionary who has made the world her canvas.

Introducing Laura and the Mike & Laura Travel Journey

SBS – Hi there! Can you introduce yourself and the venture you embarked on?

Laura – My name is Laura Peters Abalos, and I’m the author of Mike & Laura Travel, the CEO of Scale Your Travel Blog, and the host of Travel Blogging Summits.

Entrepreneurship was never in my plans, but after seeing much success with our travel blog, I knew I wanted to help others achieve similar outcomes. By breaking down the mysteries of SEO and sharing what’s worked for us, my goal is to give other bloggers the tools they need to earn a sustainable income from their websites.

(Working on our business from Bora Bora)

My main offering, Scale Your Travel Blog, is both a course and a coaching program designed to assist bloggers at every stage of their journey in starting, growing, and monetizing their sites. We focus on helping creators seeking alternatives to social media, as we believe in the long-term stability and potential of SEO over the volatility of social media.

Since our launch in January 2021, Scale Your Travel Blog has reached over 600 students, and we’ve generated more than $1.2 million in revenue. Some of our top students are now earning upwards of $100,000 per month through display ads and affiliate marketing. To be clear, yes, that’s per month earnings, which is an incredible testament to the effectiveness of our SEO strategies and the hard work of our students.

The Inspirational Path to Mike & Laura Travel

SBS – Share with us your journey leading up to this idea. What inspired it?

Laura – My journey to creating Scale Your Travel Blog began back in 2014. At that time, I was planning to move to Thailand to teach English. There, I discovered travel blogging and was intrigued by the possibility of making money through it. Despite years of hard work on my blog, I didn’t see any success from it until 2019, when I discovered this sweet little acronym, SEO.

SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it means that we design our blog and write our blog posts in such a way that Google will like it and show our content at the top of search results.

Once I started applying SEO techniques to my blog, I saw a dramatic increase in traffic and income. Within six months, my blog traffic went from 3,000 to well over 50,000 monthly readers, and I was able to apply for a prestigious ad network called Mediavine. From that point forward, our blog was earning us well over $100,000 per year from display ads and affiliate marketing.

This was a game-changer for me, and it sparked the idea to share this information with others. I realized that many travel bloggers, despite having fantastic content and a real passion for travel, were missing out on significant opportunities simply because they weren’t visible online. And it seemed that no one else was teaching this.

Out of frustration, I created Scale Your Travel Blog to be the voice of reason among creators who were telling new bloggers to “just keep writing, you’ll see success someday.”

Crafting the Blog from Concept to Reality

SBS – Walk us through the journey of conceptualizing, creating a prototype, and bringing your blog to life.

Laura – Creating Scale Your Travel Blog started with my own blogging journey. I saw a need that wasn’t being met; hundreds of travel bloggers were continuously expressing their frustrations with a lack of growth and income from their websites. And I knew I had something valuable to offer.

Scale Your Travel Blog

I didn’t know how to create a course, so I invested in an online course called Digital Course Academy by entrepreneur Amy Porterfield. This taught me the step-by-step approach to turn my idea into an online course. Without overthinking it, I picked a straightforward business name and began to market it to my ideal audience. 

Scale Your Travel Blog initially started as a course, and I sold it at a much lower price point. The course did well for the first nine months, and while some of our students were seeing success, I knew I could offer something that would help those who were falling through the cracks.

That’s when I decided to evolve the course into a coaching service, adding site audits, done-for-you tasks, group coaching, and so much more. From that point forward, all of the students who put in the effort to grow their blogs were seeing success. That’s the beauty of SEO — if you do it the right way, it’s not a guessing game.

When I first started, marketing our course was a challenge. I had never marketed a product before. Through the advice of Amy Porterfield, I started doing webinars to explain SEO. Most of our ideal audience didn’t even know what this was, so helping them understand the concepts was the first task.

My webinars did well, but it took over a year of weekly webinars to really nail down my style and feel confident connecting with complete strangers.

The beauty of digital products is their low initial cost. I kicked off this venture with just $100 for the webinar service. Of course, we now pay for various contractors and tools, but it’s a great way to start your entrepreneurial journey if you’re low on cash and don’t have a lot to invest.

Strategic Launch Insights

SBS – What was your strategy for putting your business on the map?

Laura – Launching Scale Your Travel Blog began with a series of webinars, which initially saw a conversion rate of 1–2%. Over a year of consistent weekly webinars, my conversion rate improved to 18%. This growth wasn’t instant; it required patience and a willingness to invest more in each launch, which was terrifying.

Scale Your Travel Blog webinars

Facebook ads were key in promoting my webinars initially. I started by managing my Facebook ads, and this helped me see a positive impact on course sales. Eventually, I outsourced this task, but finding the right Facebook ads manager was a journey of trial and error, too.

A significant part of my strategy was providing free, valuable content. I engaged potential customers through Facebook Lives and sent out weekly newsletters focused on SEO. This approach helped grow my audience from a few hundred to tens of thousands.

Travel Blogging Success Facebook Group

Financially, I self-funded my first launch with just $100. From there, I used the earnings from my first launch to continue this process week after week. The low start-up cost is one of the great advantages of digital products. I was surprised by how quickly the business took off, proving that with the right offer and audience, success can come quickly. It’s been a thrilling ride from the beginning, full of learning and growth.

Building a Loyal Audience Post-Launch

SBS – After your initial launch, which tactics stood out in attracting and retaining your clientele?

Laura – As I mentioned, I started to do weekly webinars to educate more and more potential bloggers about the power of SEO. Through repetition, I was able to hone my skills, and my lessons became second nature. All attendees, whether they purchased our program or not, enjoyed learning more about SEO, affiliate marketing, and email marketing, which are the three pillars we teach in our program. 

With any sort of marketing, it’s important to keep in mind that you aren’t going to see a lot of success right away. It will typically take repetition and continuous iterations to find what works best for you.

Since our program is now $2,497, our students also appreciated hopping on a quick 10-minute discovery call to discuss if Scale Your Travel Blog was the right fit for them. These calls resulted in an 85% conversion rate, so continuously offering these seemed like a no-brainer.

And finally, I realized that I could spend less money on paid ads and use my SEO skills to not only attract travel readers to our travel blog, but also to cross-promote our travel blogging program. If travelers were on our website, why wouldn’t they be interested in potentially earning money from documenting their travels? Adding a pop-up to our website helped us fill our weekly webinars, saving us at least $600 per week in ad spend. 

The Current State and Future Outlook of Mike & Laura Travel

SBS – Give us a snapshot of your business today, and share a glimpse of your future plans. What key takeaways or beneficial lessons have emerged as you’ve built your business?

Laura – Our first official year of business for Scale Your Travel Blog was in 2021. We launched in January 2021 and have since seen immense growth. During our first year, we generated around $100,000 in revenue with a 75% profit margin.

Our second year of business started off a bit bumpy as we were making adjustments to our Facebook ads strategy. From there, it was full steam ahead, and we stopped offering our program as just a course; coaching was mandatory as we saw it improved our student success rate by over 60%.

I knew we had something valuable, and I wanted to see it grow, so in April 2022, I invested in a high-level business coach (Rick Mulready) who helped us reach $350,000 in revenue by the end of 2022 with a 60% profit margin. We also increased our prices in 2022, which was a bit scary, but it certainly paid off. Originally, we were charging $997 for our course and coaching package, but we increased it to $1,997 through the encouragement of our business coach, who bluntly told us we were providing so much for so little.

During 2022, I also introduced a new offer to our audience, a live event called Travel Blogging Summit. Our audience loved Scale Your Travel Blog, and they wanted more. We brought dozens of high-level bloggers together in person and invited our students and other bloggers to join us. The live event was enjoyable, but it turned out to be a lot of work for not as much payout. But, being our first year, I didn’t expect much.

Surprisingly, in October 2022, my mindset had shifted downward, and I wasn’t feeling worthy of the success I was creating for myself and others.

Our income also mirrored my mindset, as we had some of our lowest income months at the end of last year. During our peak, we were celebrating $65,000 months. But when my mindset shifted, those earnings dropped to around $25,000–30,000 per month.

(December 2022 payouts when our earnings were low)
(December 2022 payouts when our earnings were low)

I knew I needed to change, so I started to look into mindset books for entrepreneurs. As soon as I shifted my perspective and started to love myself for the things I was creating, our income reflected that. We had our highest earning income month at $124,000 in January. To say I was shocked is an understatement, but I also knew how much time and effort I put into believing I could do it.

(Payouts from ThriveCart January 2023 - additional payouts from PayPal and Convertkit aren’t added to this, which is the reason for the discrepancy)
(Payouts from ThriveCart January 2023 – additional payouts from PayPal and Convertkit aren’t added to this, which is the reason for the discrepancy)

While ad spend, conversion rates, lifetime customer value, and email list numbers are all essential business numbers that we track meticulously, they were small potatoes to the effects my mindset shift had on everything. 

As we continue to grow our coaching program, we hope to double our numbers this coming year. We had several high-revenue months in 2023, but we want to see those numbers stabilize to around $100,000 per month on average. We’ll end 2023 with about $800,000 in revenue with a 55% profit margin.

We are spending a lot of time outsourcing the $10-an-hour jobs and focusing heavily on the $10,000-an-hour jobs. This means I’m answering fewer emails, admin tasks, etc., and instead prioritizing growing our email list, getting leads, and making sales.

(Email list growth since 2021)
(Email list growth since 2021)

Essential Tools and Platforms for Managing a Travel Blog

SBS – Which tools or platforms have been of great value for running your business?

Laura – Since we run an online business, the tools we use are typically different from those you would need for a brick-and-mortar or service-based business.

That said, we highly recommend that all business owners use an email marketing platform. This is the best way to keep in contact with current and potential clients. Email marketing also reduces ad spend since you can show up in your ideal customers’ inboxes rather than continuously marketing to them through things like Google or Facebook ads.

As an SEO-based business, we also use a lot of SEO tools like Ahrefs and SimilarWeb. These are tools you can use if you already know SEO strategies, but we wouldn’t recommend them for beginners. SEO is much more than just finding keywords that you can rank for.

Books, Podcasts, and Inspirations Behind the Success

SBS – Are there books, podcasts, or other mediums that greatly influenced or motivated you?

Laura – Books and podcasts have been the bread and butter of my entrepreneurial journey. I listen to at least one podcast per day, and I aim to listen to two books per month through Audible.

Some of my favorite podcasts include Online Marketing Made Easy by Amy Porterfield, The Art of Online Business by Rick Mulready, and Smart Passive Income by Pat Flynn.

I also believe that mindset is one of the biggest factors for growing any business. After reading You Are A Badass At Making Money by Jen Sincero, we had our largest launch ever in January 2022. We capped over $124,000 in revenue with a 60% profit margin. Along the same lines, I’ve really enjoyed Denise Duffield-Thomas’ mindset books like Get Rich, Lucky Bitch and Chill & Prosper.

If you’re on the hunt for marketing books that will change the trajectory of your business, I recommend $100M Leads by Alex Hormozi and any Russell Brunson book.

Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs from a Successful Business Owner

SBS – What advice can you offer entrepreneurs gearing up to launch their first business?

Laura – As a successful entrepreneur, the best advice I can offer to new business owners is to invest in the information you don’t know. I see so much skepticism around online courses and investing in new skills and knowledge, but this is what has helped me grow my business so quickly. Online courses are simply textbooks in video form.

I hear a lot of people say, “You can find everything you need about your business online for free,” but the problem is that you don’t know what you don’t know. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself. I’ve spent $38,000+ on online courses and coaching to help me get to where I am today, and the return on my investment is profound.

Additionally, I recommend spending a significant amount of time working on your mindset. I always say that I brainwashed myself into success.

Career Opportunities and Joining the Mike & Laura Travel Team

SBS – Are there specific roles you’re aiming to fill in your team currently?

Laura – One of my favorite parts about our business is that we are teaching our students the skills that we need inside of our business. Therefore, many of our students work for us as writers, SEO editors, affiliate marketing editors, and email copywriters while they are growing their websites.

Growing a blog is not easy, and it takes time to see the results from Google. We feel proud that we can offer our students these kinds of opportunities while they are working hard to make their dreams come true, too.

Discover More About Mike & Laura Travel

SBS – If our readers are eager to delve deeper into your business, where should they head?

Laura – You can find out more about us at mikeandlauratravel.com, or if you’re interested in Scale Your Travel Blog, you can check out our registration page. We also have a YouTube channel where we post a combination of travel content and SEO-related training videos.

While we do have social channels, we don’t spend a lot of time there. But you are more than welcome to follow us on Instagram.


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Laura Peters Abalos on Building a $800K/year Travel Blog Business