EmpowHERto spoke with Lindsay Davies, author of the Canadian travel blog, I’ve Been Bit, about starting her blog and freelance graphic design business. Lindsay also shares the challenges of being a travel writer during a pandemic.
What inspired you to start your travel blog, I’ve Been Bit?
I’ve Been Bit! was a project I had been hoping to start for quite some time, but only finally took the plunge in February 2015. I was at a point in my life where I needed a creative outlet and thought that this was the perfect opportunity to dive in! Little did I know how much it would grow and how much it would influence my life today.
Was it challenging going from working full time to running your blog, as well as being a freelance graphic designer?
Not at all, actually! By the time the summer of 2017 hit, I had a much better grasp on what it entails to run a blog (though I still had plenty to learn, haha) so when I was fired from my job at this time, it meant I could take more time for myself and focus on IBB. I was leaving a very toxic work environment so this gave me the opportunity to take some time to recuperate and refocus. A few months later, I started working some freelance jobs and I hit the ground running!
What does a typical “day in the life” look like for you as an entrepreneur? Do you stick to a blogging schedule or do you write when inspiration strikes?
Believe it or not, the hardest part about blogging is writing for me. I know, that’s the biggest part of it too, haha! My background is in graphic design and while I’d say I’m a capable writer, I never studied journalism or anything like that. However, it can be tough to get the motivation so when the words seem to flow naturally, I ride that wave as long as I can!
That being said, I do have some method to my madness. Every morning, I wake up and start with a short meditation session to focus my mind before I start working. Then my day can vary depending on how much client work I have— if I have any meetings or if I’m focusing on IBB that day. Typically though, I work on whatever tasks are needed for my clients in the morning and once that’s done, then I hop over to IBB. Sometimes that looks like scheduling social media, sometimes that’s writing a blog post and sometimes that’s going out on an adventure in the name of research. The latter option is definitely my favourite!
Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit, or was there a specific moment in your career that made you decide to work for yourself?
I’ve often been one to follow my own path, but entrepreneurship wasn’t really on my radar. I honestly don’t even really consider myself an entrepreneur now even though I am, I guess! It’s more that I wanted a lifestyle that allowed me to be flexible so I could follow my passions – and it just so happens that my passion has become part of my career!
With COVID-19 affecting travel globally, how have you had to adapt to creating content for your blog?
I’ve always had a heavy focus on Ontario so a lot of my content is centered around our beautiful province. However, when we went into full lockdown last year, it was honestly devastating just as it was for many folks. I was kind to myself and focused on my mental health. When inspiration struck, I focused on creating content about how to travel virtually and how to bring travel to you at home. Once things started to open up, I honed in on my outdoors content which came naturally as this was already a large part of my site! Overall I was able to navigate this quite well but it’s also thanks to my close circle. If it weren’t for them, I would probably still be a mess, haha!
As a solo traveller and entrepreneur, how do you manage and create your content while you’re abroad?
Balancing work and travel is always a tricky one. I typically try to take some time to make notes about my experiences, whether that be while I’m sitting down for a bite to eat or on a subway train. When working with tourism boards, I try to schedule an hour or so every night to craft content for the next day and jot down anything else that comes to mind. This way when I go to write the posts after my trip is done, it’s much easier to share my experiences in the hopes of inspiring others to follow in my footsteps!
How do you cope with spending time alone when travelling solo? Are you a part of a travelling or writing community?
The best part about being so connected is that you’re never truly alone. I have a few close friends, some of which are in the travel writing community that I know I can reach out to at any time. That alone is comforting, and if all else fails and I really need to talk to someone, I’m fortunate to have my mom to depend on. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve called her in a panic, stressing about whether or not I should book a flight, or deciding on what I should do while on my adventure.
What has been the most rewarding part of starting a travel blog?
I absolutely love being able to use my skills to help small businesses. One of the things I pride myself on is focusing on supporting locals as much as possible in order to keep those tourism dollars in the local community. It’s so rewarding to share what truly makes a destination unique and then to see and hear about others going to support these areas because of what I shared.
That being said, I am also so thankful to have had the opportunity to learn so much from a number of Indigenous communities here in what is now Canada. Tourism is such an amazing way to share knowledge about the beautiful cultures that have survived for millennia and I’m always thrilled to have the opportunity to use my platform to share about them. I try to seek out Indigenous-owned businesses and experiences whenever I can so that I can continue to learn but also share with my followers so that they gain this knowledge as well.
Looking back, is there anything you would change or do differently in starting your own business?
Yes and no – I mean, I am where I am today thanks to this wild journey and I wouldn’t trade that for the world! That being said, I do wish I had learned more about SEO and the more technical side of writing earlier than I did. I also wish I would have taken some courses on pitching as it can be a bit tricky for me.
Do you have any plans for your blog once travel restrictions are lifted?
Can’t stop, won’t stop! I always have something on the back burner but for the foreseeable future, I’m happy to explore more of Ontario as well as the rest of Canada. I have a goal to visit every province and territory with only Saskatchewan, the Yukon and Nunavut left so I think I’ll start there!
What advice or tips do you have for a young woman looking to start her own business?
Take the plunge and stay true to yourself along the way. Don’t compromise your beliefs and values. Don’t be afraid to say no because when one door closes, another one opens and those doors that align with your values will continue to open.
Also, imposter syndrome is real and it’s something everyone struggles with. You and your skills have value so when you start to doubt yourself, think back to the times when friends and strangers reached out to you for advice. They wouldn’t have come to you if they didn’t value your expertise!
In your opinion, what is the most important skill or trait that every entrepreneur should possess?
Compassion. Especially in this day and age, everyone has their own battles and demons they’re dealing with. Taking a moment to consider where someone is coming from can make a huge difference. Personally, I feel like so many of today’s misunderstandings could be avoided if we just asked questions about each other’s point of view instead of jumping to conclusions.
How can our readers get in touch with you or access your services?
You can find I’ve Been Bit! over at https://ivebeenbit.ca and you can contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll also find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ivebeenbit/, Twitter at https://twitter.com/IBBtravel, and Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/ibbtravel/. Whether you want to shoot me an email or send me a direct message, I’m always happy to chat whether that be about graphic design, social media marketing or travel!