Episode #24

Jacob Fu – On being a successful travel affiliate

With Jacob Fu - Co-Founder, LocalAdventurer.com

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Summary

My guest and I coined a new word, and a new marketing channel, on today’s episode, Spartnerships. Yes, Jacob Fu and I merged sponsorships and partnerships together. I think you’ll really enjoy this conversation. Jacob, along with his wife Esther, cofounded Localadventurer.com, a travel affiliate and content producer.

In today’s conversation we go over their origin story, what it’s like to learn how to drive an airstream for the first time as well as how they turned a simple idea into their financial success. Jacob and I talk about how to work with them from an advertiser perspective.

So, if you are an advertiser looking:

  • To work with more content sites
  • Understand how those niche content producers function
  • To inspire your travel side again
  • And work with more no-coupon sites in the future

Then this episode is for you.

About Our Guest

Name: Jacob Fu

Achievements:

Jacob (along with his wife Esther) cofounded Localadventurer.com, and is a travel affiliate and content producer.

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Selling and negotiating are skills that influencers and/or bloggers need to have. Jacob explains his passion for “spartnerships,” otherwise known as a combination of sponsorships and partnerships. On a normal year, 50-60% of their revenue comes through paid sponsorships because it generally comes easier. He says sales and negotiation are disciplines and skills that must be learned, and many people don’t think about it that way. He mentions that influencers or travel bloggers get so caught up in creating content, they forget they must wear many different hats while running a small business. Sales shouldn’t feel dirty!

Highlights

Affiliate sales were Jacob and Esther’s first source of revenue from their website.   

“Affiliate sales were the lowest barrier of entry for us. Once we had some sort of organic following and decent traffic, we started signing up for affiliate programs. I still remember early on when we would get rejected due to size or fit. We started 8-9 years ago, and there were a lot fewer resources out there in terms of how to start a travel blog.”

Jacob explains how the idea to move to a new city every year came about organically.  

After deciding we wanted to leave LA after a year, we realized that moving isn’t that bad. It’s troublesome but if you pair down your life and live minimally it is doable… We ended up doing a year at a time because we felt it was a short enough time for us to feel the urgency to really explore the city but long enough to get to know the city well. It was a great balance.”

Quotes

[5:45] – “One thing we realized when we left Atlanta was that we left a lot of the city unexplored. Even though we grew up there and lived there for 28 years, there were so many things we left on the table. We would be telling ourselves we would eventually get to them but never did. When we did have time off, we would go elsewhere. When we started the website, we wanted to change that mindset for ourselves and others.”

[15:50] – “We were passionate about people discovering the US as a whole. I think people discount the places there are to discover in this country and how much diversity there is here. It has been amazing to see this!”

[39:23] – “The pandemic has hurt. We still feel very fortunate, as we had savings and enough income still coming through. We aren’t worried about being out of a job. Our traffic dipped 30-45% of what it normally is and still hasn’t climbed to where it was. It’s been slowly coming back as people start to adventure due to cabin fever. It’s a tough place for us, as we feel responsibility with how we communicate about travel right now and what it means to communities.”