Ben Schlappig, Author of onemileatatime.com is living proof that you can take your true passion in life and turn it into a wildly successful online job. He started out just like any other teenage kid with big dreams. At 15 years old, his love of aviation and travel was strong and his ultimate plan was to pursue a career as an airline pilot for a global airline. Being so young (and not yet able to fly), he passed the time by writing trip reports about his travels with family and posted them to flyertalk.com.
His detailed trip reports were well-received, and he slowly gained a reputation for writing interesting articles – especially for someone so young. More importantly, he was quickly turning into a savvy frequent-flyer mile guru and found great enjoyment in booking free award travel for himself and his family with frequent flyer miles.
In 2007, he started his own blog called “One Mile at a Time”. In the beginning, the blog was crude and simple. In addition to his usual trip reports, he posted about interesting happenings in the airline industry. He started college shortly thereafter, but he was still collecting frequent flyer points and spending them as quickly as he earned them. More and more readers began to take notice of his blog and were baffled as to how a college kid could travel so much (in first class no less).
Upon graduation, his blog was earning enough to provide a good living and he chose to keep that going instead of taking a full time job.
Here’s how Ben turned his part time online job into a well-paying career:
Intense love for his work vs. chasing results: In the beginning, Ben wrote about what he loved. He never intentionally tried to it to turn into a successful online job – he just wrote about what he loved and things just happened on their own.
- Persistence: He’s been posting nearly daily blog posts since he started in 2007. This persistence has made him very dependable to his followers.
- Engaging with others and developing a following: Although Ben makes a living online, he makes a point to network with others as much as possible. He speaks at travel conferences, co-hosts happy hours, and answers nearly every question in the comments section of his blog.
- He has one heck of an edge: Being a successful blogger requires an “edge” – something that makes you stand out from everyone else. Ben’s edge is his ability to travel the world in first class over and over – essentially for free. Wouldn’t you be jealous of a kid who realized that, right after college, he could make more money with his blog rather than getting a full time job anywhere else? We don’t know about you, but we started following Ben’s blog simply for the entertainment factor – and to keep reminding us that menial jobs aren’t a requirement to make a good living. His lifestyle is like something straight out of a TV show, and for that, we keep going back for more.
- Being fully open and transparent to others: Ben doesn’t hide anything from anyone. He uses his real name, he explains how he pays for each trip, and he’ll answer pretty much any question. He’s a genuinely good guy.
Here’s how Ben earns money:
Ben has monazited his blog in two ways. First, he earns affiliate income by promoting airline and hotel credit cards. Basically, he writes about these credit cards, and if any of his readers click the link and successfully sign up, he gets a referral fee. He makes quite a bit of money doing this since his blog gets a lot of traffic.
Second, he has his own side-business called PointsPros, which is essentially an awards-booking service for paying clients. In a nutshell, Ben is an airline miles expert, and people pay him to book frequent flyer awards for them.
Between his One Mile at a Time blog and PointsPros, Ben has turned his lifelong passion of commercial aviation and travel into a viable online job.
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