After living in New York all my life, I made a lifelong dream come true in 2005 and moved to Paris. When I got there, I’d retired from my catering business in New York and was looking for something new to do. I started to read about this new online craze, the blog. I surfed many blogs and discovered this new world of plain folks like me, most of them not professional writers, sharing their personal stories, passions, and expertise in a new format. Also, I read about how to make money with a blog via advertising, books, being spokespersons, and writing for other publications.
I was intrigued by this new world and decided to start my own blog — www.eyepreferparis.com, an insider’s guide to Paris for people visiting the city. I focused on writing about interesting, off-beat non-touristy things to do, including food, art, culture, museums, theater, restaurants, hotels, and shopping. The blog took off quickly. I had a few advertisers within a year and made some money from my Google ads.
However, it was not enough of an income to make a living. Since I was gaining credibility from my blog as an expert on things to do in Paris, people trusted I knew what I was talking about.
During the first year I was living here, many friends and family came to visit. Now that I was a so-called “Paris expert,” they asked me to show them around, especially places I had written about on the blog or insider places only locals knew.
After doing this a number of times and having great fun sharing my beautiful city, I came up with the idea of starting private, insider Paris tours, similar to the ones I did with my friends and family. I then realized I had the perfect built-in marketing platform, my blog.
I named the tours with the same name as my blog, www.eyepreferparistours.com, which helped strengthen my brand.
One of the ways I marketed myself was by putting a blurb about my tours on the bottom of each blog post and part of the blurb stated that many of the places and things I wrote about on the blog would be on the tours.
I launched my tours in January 2007 and booked my first tour 10 days later. By September of 2007, I was consistently booking 12 to 15 tours every month and earning approximately $3,500 to $4,000 per month from the tours.
In later years, I added cooking classes to the menu and, on my strongest months I’ve made over $5,000.
Many clients started off as blog readers. And, these days, it happens frequently that readers who have never met me, and who have not taken my tours before, recommend me to their friends and colleagues, just by the fact they read and know me from my blog.
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