Entertainment, Comedy & Travel

Happy Reactions

How We Are Able To Work From Anywhere In The World Doing What We Love.

Entertainment, Comedy & Travel
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June 24, 2020

Who are you and what kind of content do you create?

We are Vanessa and Fernando, a full-time travel couple and full-time content creators. We share our raw and authentic travel journey on our Youtube Channel @happinesscrossing with currently 54k Subscribers. We currently moved into a Motorhome to travel Europe with it which we will be sharing on that channel as well. We like to speak about the Digital Nomad Lifestyle and push our Audience to leave their comfort zone as we did as well. We talk about how to earn Money online right from your laptop and how to become a digital nomad. 

As we started our Content Creation Journey on the 01.01.2019 without any knowledge or experience, we like to remind and show people that it is definitely possible for them to live their dream life as well. We are offering a 5- day completely free email course on all the juicy details and how to get started in this ecommerce and influencer business. We really do want to change other people’s life as Social Media changed our life, too. It took some time for us to achieve the things we did, but every step was worth it. We are now able to work from anywhere in the world, and earning our money with our passion. We experience some of the best moments we ever did and don’t plan on stopping this anytime soon. 

In January 2020 we started our second Youtube Channel @happyreactions with currently 260k Subscribers. As we really enjoy watching and reacting to videos we decided: why not create a whole Youtube Channel for it? We just love sharing important, funny, inspiring and emotional videos with other people and like to share our opinion about certain topics as well. On happy reactions we mostly focus on the Philippines, filipino food and culture, music and in general artists. These are topics we genuinely enjoy learning about and we are sure that our audience enjoys watching these videos together with us. 

We lived in the Philippines for 6 months and do consider ourselves half filipino. ;-)

We have a big filipino community that we just love and even while living in Germany for the past 5 months we were able to create a filipino community right here which we can hang out with and eat filipino food. We found filipino’s very kind hearted and very supportive. We feel at home in the Philippines and it feels right to be there. 

We really love connecting with our filipino Audience and learning more about the filipino Culture. We are planning to come back to the Philippines in 2020 and also move back there for a few months. All depends how the Covid19 Situation will develop. :-( Anyhow, we have big plans for the Philippines! 

As already mentioned above, we started Happiness Crossing on the 01.01.2019. That’s when we started uploading content on Youtube and Instagram. We didn’t know back then how Social Media really works and how we will be able to grow an Audience that will be interested in watching our videos. For one whole year we uploaded daily travel vlogs and next to creating, recording and editing content, we also studied and learned as much as we could about how it will be possible for us to earn our full-time income through it. It wasn’t easy to get to the point where we are right now, but it was surely worth it and we would not do it any other way. 

We created the brand name Happiness Crossing while sitting in the living room of our apartment in Port Douglas, Australia (that’s where we lived for 3 years together). In that time we were pretty much stuck in full-time jobs craving for freedom and wanting to become somehow self employed with something we are passionate about and travel the world. We wanted to find Happiness for ourselves and to share it with other people as well. That’s how the Name got created.

Now we are super grateful how things went and are happy that we didn’t gave up on the way to where we are right now. We are earning our full-time income with our 2 Youtube Channels, our ecommerce business (our online shop and our website) and paid advertising as brand deals. It’s for sure that everyone can do it, but you gotta work hard for it. You have to believe in yourself in times when no one else yet believes in you and no one yet watches your videos. In these times it will be decided if you will make it or not. There were times where we wanted to give up and right now we are so happy about the fact that we didn’t. 

Here a video about how we became digital nomads:

Let's go down memory lane, tell us your backstory! 

We met in Port Douglas, Australia where we quickly fell in love with each other. Fernando was working as a Restaurant Manager and I was working as a Supervisor in a Restaurant and freelance Singer. Once a year, we saved up money to go and travel for a few months. We both knew that we absolutely loved to travel and create content but didn’t even had an idea that this would be our job one day. In the middle of 2018 we came back to Australia from yet another travel adventure in South America. We knew that we had to stay in the same place for now to work as much as we can to be able to travel again. But only this time we decided to work for another 9 months and save up every single dollar, to be able to hop on a one way flight to Bali, Indonesia where we would start our Journey as Digital Nomads and Content Creators. 

We started to use mainly Youtube and Instagram and @lostleblanc was a huge inspiration for us. He also quit his job and apartment to just leave on a one way flight and become a full time youtuber. We wanted to do exactly the same and he gave us motivation to fully decide to do it. So in the end of 2019 we quit our jobs and gave away our apartment, all belongings and started to get ready for our new adventure and new life. We started our journey in Bali, Indonesia and learned more and more things about how we will be able to make this content creation thing our full time income. 

How do you brainstorm ideas for your content and your advice in getting the creative juice flowing.

Fernando feels more inspired and motivated during the evening while I work better in the morning. Usually right after waking up and having a coffee. It’s when I have most of my ideas. We like to write down our ideas and manifest them as well, that makes us in the same time more inspired and it clears our thoughts up.  

We usually create a spread sheet for the coming week and our video ideas that we want to upload. If one of us got a bad day or feels unmotivated we push each other up and remind ourselves which achievements we made this year or the past months. It helps a lot to break the creation block. If we both have a bad day, we also decide sometimes to take a day off to free our mind and start over the day after. It doesn’t help to work while having a bad mood, you won’t give your 100%. 

What are the tools and platform you use to help with your brand?

Fernando uses Photoshop to edit the Thumbnails for Youtube and Pictures for Instagram. I (Vanessa) edit the videos and use currently Filmora video editor for it. We both learned all our skills through free youtube videos and a lot of practice. Our first videos and pictures were terrible but as we practiced every day it got better and better. 

We believe that when we were uploading daily vlogs, it helped us so much as we practiced for hours daily. 

In one period of time our daily routine was just like this:

  • Wake up at 9 am 
  • Explore the whole day until 6 pm
  • Start editing at 6 pm
  • Edit videos and content until 5 am 
  • Upload the content and go to sleep
  • Wake up at 9 am….

That was our routine for a while and even if it was exhausting, we had so much fun and learned the most especially in this time. We knew we had to use everyday to the fullest if we want to make our money last and eventually start earning some money. 

We are on these social media platforms: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok. Our username is @happinesscrossing (except our reaction YouTube channel where the name is @happyreactions). But we are mostly active on YouTube and Instagram. 

We do not use any third party software to help us scheduling our posts or to take notes. YouTube helps us to schedule our video uploads. We take notes currently either in the old school way via pen and paper ;-) (you are 40% more likely to actually achieve your goals when you write them down on a piece of paper) or we just use the Notes App on our Laptops.  

What were your fears starting out? How did you handle it? 

Our fears were mostly to run out of our saved money and having to go back to a “normal” 9-5 job which we really did not want to do. We were loving our content creation journey so much that we hated the thought of stopping it. Luckily, we never had to do that. 

When we started Happiness Crossing we weren’t scared what people would think. We really did believe in our vision and knew that people always judge and criticize doesn’t matter if you do certain things or don’t. In the end it is important that you are happy with your life, as long as you don’t hurt others. Same goes with hate comments. People will always hate, especially when they aren’t happy with their life. We are always open for recommendations how to better ourselves and work though. :-)

Fernando had problems talking in front of the camera which he got only better because of practicing daily. You can get better in everything when you just focus and practice daily, we believe. For me it was kinda normal to talk in front of the camera as I had an Instagram account already before and shared my travel journey over there while talking daily on Instagram Stories etc. I do believe though that we both got much better talking in front of the camera lately and are now able to show our real and authentic character on camera. 

How did you build your brand to where it is now, take us through your process.

Since we started our YouTube Channel on the 01.01.2019 we uploaded daily travel vlogs. (almost everyday). We saved up enough money to rely on that for at least 4 months. Luckily we started earning money with our Brand after 4 months into it. 

We do believe that uploading daily or at least every 2nd day helps you to practice and get better in editing etc. It also affects the algorithm of the platform you are uploading to, to recognize you and push your content up. Also, learning and studying the algorithm of each platform is very important and that will be on your daily To-Do List. 

In total we saved up 10000 AUD and started our journey with this money on the 01.01.2019. We knew that every dollar we would save, could give us another day on the road. Another day on the road, could be the day that we would start being successful with our brand. Therefore we lived on a low budget, meaning that each country we visited we would be our own tour guide instead of spending money for tours. Staying in the very cheapest accommodations, eating at the cheapest and most local restaurants. This was one of the best times of our journey though. Traveling on a low budget gives you usually the best memories and makes you appreciate the little things. Once we started to grow a following we were able to apply for sponsorships with hotels or restaurants, these places would let us stay or eat for free in exchange for exposure on our Instagram or daily uploads on YouTube. In this way we were able to save money and also create content for our brand. It was a win win. 

We never purchased a course and neither did we work together with mentors. We believe though that by doing so you would be able to save a lot of time and stress. We teached ourselves everything through free YouTube videos, tutorials and blog posts. It was for free, but it did take time to find these information and learn everything from 0. It’s like studying a new course at university, but without any help from teachers or in general guidance. That can be very scary and overwhelming. Also, in the beginning we believed that it wasn’t “so much” that we would have to learn. It turned out to be SO much more. If you want to make a business out of your passion, we think that it is important to invest money into eBooks, courses or coaching. 

If we could change something in our journey, that would have been to purchase a course for sure. It can totally open your eyes and you can learn a lot of information in a short period of time. We could have saved a lot of time while doing so. But we also believe that everything happens for a reason, so of course we are happy and grateful how everything went. It’s also the best decision to learn from people that are already there, where you would like to be and who are willing and kindhearted enough to teach you. So please make sure to trust the person that you purchase the product from.. There are many people out there that sell courses and eBooks but don’t share the helpful information that they promised. 

We reached our first 1000 Subscribers on YouTube after 3 months and we were so so excited for it. It meant for us, that we would be able to monetize our channel and maybe be able to attract a bigger audience with our content. There are sayings that YouTube pushes your content more, if you reached the 1000 subscribers point. ;-) But who knows.

After 3 months traveling and working hard to create content it was a bit devastating to see our bank account growing smaller and smaller. Yes, it was a lot of fun and we were very passionate about what we were doing but we were very scared having to go back to a 9-5 Job. After like 4 months of uploading daily to YouTube and every now and then to Instagram, we started to see our channel really taking off and in this month where we reached 1000 subscribers, we also reached 10000 Subscribers which was CRAZY. We got the very first pay check via YouTube and that motivated us so much to keep going and believe in our vision. 

We were not breaking even yet (spending as much as you are earning) by that time but it definitely made us more motivated than ever before. 

Right now our usual day starts like this: 

Wake up at 8am: 

  • Analyze YouTube Channels, read and reply comments, read and reply emails, write down our daily to-do list, have coffee. Work on some projects such as our eBook, course etc. 
  • Record Videos and edit them. Have breakfast and a long break until around 4pm. 
  • After 4pm we usually work on uploading the videos to YouTube and pictures + stories to Instagram. There are always things to do especially while living in a motor home, so there might be other things to do such as: filling up water tank or emptying toilet of our motor home, cleaning and doing the groceries and so on. 

The video that reached for the FIRST time way more than 100,000 Views was our vlog where we arrived in the Philippines. We had one of these travel nightmares and as we were vlogging we of course shared this with our community. We stayed for 2 days too long in Bali, Indonesia (without knowing it) and had to pay 60$ each head (so 120$ in total) for this mistake. In that time that was a lot of money for us and could have been 4 days on the road. After that we tried to get on the plane to Manila, Philippines but the Aircraft Staff didn’t let us as they wanted us to purchase a ticket away from the Philippines. 

We wanted to stay as long as possible in the Philippines and did not know when we would have to possibly leave. They didn’t give us any other chance and we had to book a ticket for another 200$ somewhere out of the Philippines. On top of that we were very stressed and the plane was about to leave. I was crying and Fernando was angry. Not the best mix but it was apparently very entertaining for our audience. :-D We ended up living in the Philippines for 6 months and did not attend the flight to Vietnam *of course*. Who wants to leave the Philippines anyway? Its our favorite country until now and our second home. :-) If you haven’t gone to the Philippines yet, go there! … NOW! 

For someone who wants to get into content creation, what is your advice?

I guess the biggest advice and also thing we would have done differently in the past would to only start creating content, once we left Australia. We clearly jumped completely into cold water and we believe we could have been more prepared and used our time better and wisely if we would have started already once where we were still working and living in Australia. Before or after work would have been a great start. In this case we could have started our journey already more prepared and knowing how to start things right. 

Probably the best thing to do is to take a course or purchase an Ebook where you can learn this knowledge in your comfort zone at home before you start traveling (if you want to become a travel vlogger/influencer).

For anyone who is struggling with creating videos or editing videos, I would highly push them to create and edit videos daily. Only in this way you will learn as quickly as possible and as effective. 

Save up enough money in order to be able to live at least a 4-5 months without having to earn money. We started to earn money after month 3 but broke even for the first time after month 4-5. Be patient. 

Don’t ever give up. Yes, there will be moments where you WANT to give up (we were in these moments a few times). But we picked each other up and kept going. Now, we are so incredibly happy that we kept going.

Believe in yourself, even when no one is watching your videos yet. You will be able to grow an Audience but it will take time. 

Don’t ever stop learning and studying. There are many things to learn once you get into this business and to be able to make a business out of a hobby, you’ll have to study a lot. Nights or days through, where others might lay on the beach or go to a party. That’s when you will be working and learning. We think it’s totally worth it. 

How did you finally commit to X platform rather than your regular day job?

We saved enough money up and booked our one way tickets to Bali, Indonesia a few months before leaving. We already told our Bosses though that we will leave our positions a week before actually stepping on the plane to Bali. 

We did have to empty out our apartment and sell or donate all our belongings. So yeah, we quit our jobs which wasn’t really hard for us. We were so excited to take this step and literally couldn’t wait. This new journey was so important for us that we couldn’t think of anything else and we knew that in the worst case we could always find another job. Creators like @lostleblanc also motivated and inspired us that it is possible to earn your income with content creation.

Tell us your best milestones in being a content creator.

Our first milestone was being recognized by a fellow subscriber from our videos. That meant so much and made us realize how amazing our community is. We still remember that moment as it was yesterday. He had really cute dogs, too. 

The second Milestone was to be able to break even (earn as much as you spent monthly). It showed us that we will be able to create content for a living and focus 100% on it. Right before the first month we broke even, we ran out of our savings.. So good timing hey! 

Our biggest milestone in being a content creator were for sure, reaching 100 thousand subscribers with @happyreactions. That is a big milestone for every YouTuber and means way more than just the actual Number. There are 100 thousand people out there that felt touched and inspired by our content! It felt like getting promoted at work. ;-)

Buying our motor home, Albert was a huge step for us as well. We traveled Australia by van a few years ago and it was our dream since then to purchase a tiny home on wheels. This milestone in particular changed our life in a way that we have our base and own home in Europe for now. Once we go back to the Philippines, we have a home waiting for us in Europe where we can leave our belongings and stuff. That means a lot. Especially after traveling for 1 year and a half with only a few things in our backpacks. We appreciate the small things in life like having a wardrobe. 

What are your marketing strategies to grow your brand?

Our marketing strategy was to be as authentic, raw and real as possible. We see/saw it as a way of connecting with friends rather than growing an Audience to be honest. In the beginning of our Journey we uploaded daily travel videos to be able to reach as many people as we can. We believe that this helped a lot and we definitely recommend everyone to do the same. If you cannot upload once a day, try twice a day. It helps the algorithm to recognize your videos and will show your content to more people. 

How do you handle brand deals and sponsorships? 

We rarely reach out to brands regarding sponsorships. If there is a brand that we would love to work with, of course we would give it a go but usually brands find us and reach out to us. 

What is important for us when accepting a brand deal: 

  • That the brand seems legit and professional
  • Our audience would enjoy the brand deal and is interested in it
  • We as creators are interested in it 

We definitely receive emails of many shady brands on a daily basis. For us, it doesn’t seem trustable when the brand doesn’t have a website or social media account. A business email address is also important and grammar of the text they sent us. 

If you are interested in working with a brand I would always include these following steps in an email:

  • Introduce yourself and what your brand is about as a creator
  • Tell the brand what you could offer them and your idea about the content you could create for them 
  • Tell them WHY they NEED you
  • Be nice and down to earth 
  • Make sure that grammar is right and the email sounds good
  • Talk to the right person: If possible only send email to the RIGHT email address. A social media manager or an influencer marketing email address. 

Luckily, we only had good experiences with brands, as we are very specific in what we see and want in a brand deal. It is definitely important to be careful and do your research.

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