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 adventurer 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. I should also mention that I’ve been making videos of my adventures for more than 8 years but 95% of these adventures were funded entirely by myself and I only began earning money from what I do over the past two years.

Here’s the short answer in case you don’t wish to read on:

– 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 work as a writer for outdoor brands for approx 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 essentially means 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.

To be honest, 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. And that’s the real/main reason I do not have a sponsor – to ensure my trips are enjoyable and to maintain authenticity for people watching my videos. That said, it still costs money and I do 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. But I’m just not a fan of online talks and instead, to get through the pandemic, I took a second job in a supermarket and another sweeping a warehouse floor at 6am each morning.

About Writing Blogs and My Current Working Arrangement

FYI I do some work for outdoor brands but this work involves writing articles rather than receiving sponsorship funds for my trips. It’s important to make a distinction between these two arrangements because it explains that I do have an actual job but I am not yet sponsored by a brand. I have also received some amazing free gear from OAS.ie and more than happy to give these guys a well-deserved shout out. This is also my favourite outdoor store in the country and I’m hopeful that we can forge a long-term future together that will see me become a full-time ambassador for the brand, making videos about outdoor gear, wild camping, hiking trails and everything else outdoors.

How I’m Trying to Change the Way I Work

But for now, because I have a normal job (content writer), 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 my content writing job behind to make videos full-time and maybe even write my first book. And this is why I am inviting you to join my Patreon or “buy me a coffee” on Ko-Fi – because your support will bring me closer to creating security around what I do for a living.

Until next time 😉 

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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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