Home Frequently Asked Questions How Do I Make Money as an Adventurer?

How Do I Make Money as an Adventurer?

by Derek Cullen

I would like to quickly explain how I make money as an adventure. But I also want to write this post for selfish reasons – to save me from having to repeat the answer to this frequently asked question. Although I was working with an outdoor brand for approx ten months, this affiliation has sadly come to an end. Anyway, here’s the short answer:

– I’m a “working adventurer” and make most of my money as a writer online.

Here’s a few more points about me that you might be interested to know:

  • 95% of my adventures/trips etc have been funded entirely by myself.
  • I sometimes work as a content writer which accounts for 50% of my income.
  • I receive “tips” on Ko-fi/Patreon which accounts for approx 20% of my income.
  • The remaining 30% comes from my clothing brand and online speaking engagements or other minor sources of income.
  • I am very frugal with money. I don’t buy many “thing” but willing to spend most of my money on adventure and travel and camera gear.
  • During COVID, when my income took a significant hit, I worked in a supermarket and then swept a warehouse floor every morning.
  • I believe that not spending money is the key to having enough money to take an adventure rather than earning more money being the key to taking an adventure.

Why I am not Yet Sponsored by an Outdoor related Brand

For many years, I perceived professional sponsorship as being the best and only way to make a living as an adventurer. This meant I needed to grab the attention of outdoor brands and entice these companies into funding part of my trips. I knocked on a lot of doors throughout those years but nothing substantial ever came from it. I also found this process rather tedious and demoralising and decided to focus on earning my own money – to pay for my on trips.

As my viewers/followers continued to rise in recent years, I was contacted by a number of brands that wanted to work with me. I ended up writing and making videos for these brands and to be honest, I felt this influence was greatly affecting what I needed to say or do as part of my videos. In short, it was no longer “fun” and took much of my time away from connecting with my audience and toward creating videos that were designed to get my followers to visit the brand!

Recently, this brand announced on very short notice they would be discontinuing our arrangement. It was a big blow to my finances but I was also excited to resume the kind of videos etc that made what I do so enjoyable.

My point? It’s not easy to find a brand that’s happy for you to get on with a trip without trying to dictate where you go, what you say or the way you operate/behave. Also, brands will always influence how you communicate or what you talk about in videos etc and this is just not something I am comfortable with.

And that’s the real/main reason I do not have a sponsor – to ensure what I do is enjoyable and to maintain authenticity for people watching my videos. But yes, it still takes time and money to do what I do and I hope this encourages viewers to help support my trip/videos by making donations on the links that I provide in my posts and videos.

About Giving Talks to Businesses Etc

Before the pandemic, I had given paid-talks to three of the top schools in the country and five more talks were lined up with businesses in Ireland. I was also giving talks online to big companies including Dell and Paypal but decided to step away from these talks for various reasons. Instead, to get through the pandemic, I took jobs in two different supermarkets and now work a 4am shift at a warehouse to help cover the cost of my loss of sponsorship income.

How I’m Trying to Change the Way I Work

But for now, because I have a normal job (content writer/warehouse), I am often unable to afford as much time as I would like to make videos. This is why I ask my followers to “buy me a coffee on Kofi” or sign up to my Patreon as it helps me apply my time and effort in a way that will also help me pay some bills. Ideally, I would like to leave both my warehouse and content writing job behind to make videos full-time and maybe even write my first book.

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David Craig
David Craig March 9, 2021 - 10:02 pm

Sounds like hard work Derek all that work behind a computer I hope you will be banging out a few nice snap backs for the summer

Derek Cullen
Derek Cullen March 11, 2021 - 1:03 pm

Cheers Dave, yeah I’ve been looking at doing a few hats :)))


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