- Johnny Ward, from Northern Ireland, started a travel blog, OneStep4Ward, with no previous technology experience
- After starting to make thousands each month, he branched out and ended up created a digital media company
- He has managed to explore 152 countries so far whilst earning a whopping million dollars over the past three years
- Raised by his single mother, he was determined not to let money hold him back and stop him from seeing the world
For most people, travelling the world is just a dream, but one 31-year-old is on track for seeing every single country – and he’s become a millionaire and found a very attractive girlfriend while he’s been exploring.
Johnny Ward was raised by a single mother in Northern Ireland, and was desperate to see the world despite lacking the finances to do so.
Determined to not let money hold him back, he has managed to explore 152 countries and earned a whopping million dollars over the past three years – all from his laptop.
After getting a degree in International Economics at university in England in 2006, and spending time at a US summer camp for special-needs children, he managed to get the money together for a one-way ticket to Thailand to teach English.
After reading how one travel blogger made £1,939 from their site each month, he was spurred into creating his own, OneStep4Ward, even though he had no technology experience.
He told MailOnline Travel: ‘My tech skills were on par with my grandmother’s, so I had a long way to go to learning that. In terms of actual blogging, I just publish the same way I talk.’
Not your average office job: Ward works whatever hours he chooses, along with his staff, and as long as they get the job done, they have a flexible lifestyle too. Here he’s pictured in Chile
As the company expanded he managed to take on a handful of staff and freelancers, all working for him from their laptops.
‘When business was busy last year we had about 12 people pulling together. We have no office, everyone is free to work from their laptop. No working hours either, just get the work done and we are all good,’ he said to MailOnline Travel.
Since it was created in 2012, his business takes care of corporate blogging for companies, enhancing their SEO and helping develop their social media presence.
‘Over the last three years I’ve earned between £6,000 per month to £40,000 per month, averaging out at about £600 a day every day,’ he said.
‘With everything registered off shore, and not being domicile anywhere, I get to keep a big chunk of it too which helps because you never know when it could end.’
Ward was determined to exceed what they were earning and worked hard to achieve this, making thousands before too long.
He soon began to rake in around £4,000 monthly and as these initial pages grew in success, he ended up branching out and creating his own digital media company, Step4Ward Media, managing over 200 sites.
Extreme traveller: Not wanting to be held back by his lack of finances, the traveller certainly lives life to the full. His trip to the Glaciar Perito Moreno in Argentina (left) and flyboarding in St Lucia (right) demonstrates this
Ward aims to visit every country round the globe – that’s 198 in total – by the end of next summer and has no plans to stop when he achieves this.
His next goals include cycling from New York City to San Francisco, and following that he wants to run classes on how others can follow in his footsteps.
For Ward the best part of his lifestyle is having the ultimate freedom to go wherever he chooses without having to request holiday time off.
He is currently in Namibia, about to rent a car and drive in the Namib, the oldest desert in the world. But he plans to later return to Thailand to set up another company with a friend.
Hong-Kong based FindATutor will link private tutors with students across Asia.
JOHNNY WARD’S TOP TIPS FOR RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL TRAVEL BLOG… AND MAKING MONEY FROM IT
Savvy traveller: Ward has made over $1 million from his blog, company and various investments in property and stock. Pictured at Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa
What top tips do you have for running a travel blog?
Be different. A four-month gap year in South East Asia and Australia will be an awesome experience, so much fun and you’ll meet friends for life but no one wants to read the same stories about Sydney, Bangkok and Singapore, they’ve heard it all before.
So why should people read your stuff? What’s your angle? How are you different? Every man and his dog has a blog now, but if you want it to gain traction you have to have a story to tell, and a gap year in Thailand won’t cut it.
What tips do you have for gaining followers?
You have to love social media, interacting with people. Some people love it, some don’t.
For me, it gives me energy to help inspire strangers to travel the world, it picks me up when I’m weary from the road. But if you find it a chore, then it’ll never fly. So be honest, be regular and be committed.
How do you gain money from the blog, how much have you managed to get from blogging since it started?
When I first started my blog in 2010, I didn’t understand anything about SEO, online marketing, internet advertising etc but after six months or so in Africa a company contacted me and asked for a advert, they paid about £40 and it was a huge turning point in my life – I finally believed it was possible to work for myself, make money online and be truly free.
From there it increased month on month, until it was about £4,000 a month.
After partying a bit too hard in Thailand, it dawned on me that if I can monetize one website, why not three or five or 50! So then I expanded my portfolio of websites.
Then in the last three years I’ve made over $1m (I use $ because clients generally negotiate and pay in USD).
Do you have any tips for securing flight upgrades or discounted stays?
If your travel blog is popular, you honestly, honestly will never have to pay for another hotel again in your life – madness, but true.
Do you have any other source of income?
When things started going ok for me I contacted a wealth manager so I have a stock portfolio, and I try to invest in property too, but I’m clueless about it so it’s a big learning curve for me!
Spending the day with the actors from Happy Feet in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina (left), and a trip to Easter Island in Chile (right)
Ward has met many interesting inviduals on this travels, including on his trip to Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (left). He spends nine months travelling full time each year, then spends three months in Thailand, where his girlfriend is from (right)