10 min 18 sec

Management Consultant Creates Astute Traveling Videos

Travel videos on YouTube seemed like a crowded market, but this rewards-loving consultant finds a way to stand out.
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What It's About

YouTube videos for the astute traveler.

Business Model
Skills Required
Travel Hacking & Research
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Content creation is a very slow process, and a lot of people ditch it because it's such a grind. However, it's an investment, and you have to accept that you may not see any money from your effort for a while. Though if you persevere as a content creator, your odds for success and growth are exponentially higher.

Fun Fact

A recent study indicated that 31% of people with credit cards have never redeemed their reward points. The main reasons are that people don’t know they have them, are saving them up or it’s simply too difficult.

Notes from Chris

Episode 777
Ernest Shahbazian loves to travel hack. When off on an adventure he’s always on the lookout for the best deal. To get there, he often uses credit card rewards points to get discounts on flights. In that respect, he isn’t special—there are a lot of people doing the same thing. That’s why, when it came to starting a side hustle, he wasn’t instinctively drawn to something travel related. Why add one more anonymous voice to a crowded marketplace?

But, while working his day job as a management consultant, he was inspired by a co-worker to just try. It was the catalyst to begin the side hustle trip of a lifetime.

One day, Ernest and that colleague were chatting over lunch. The guy was interested in learning more about earning credit card reward points but didn’t have time to read long blog posts to learn. He explained to Ernest that he’d much prefer to watch videos about it, but there were no good ones out there. He suggested Ernest do something about it.

At first, Ernest was skeptical. It was already 2016 at this stage and surely there'd be plenty of video content out there about reward points. But, after searching YouTube, he agreed with his colleague. What was out there wasn’t very good, and he could do much better.

So he packed his bags and decided to get started. His journey? Create a YouTube channel for the astute traveler. Offering travel advice, reviews and of course, tips on earning rewards. He decided to call the project Trip Astute. The mission was to help people maximize their travel experience.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor are YouTube channels.

He committed to posting a new video every week and improved along the way. A few months later, he was more comfortable in front of the camera, the quality of his videos was better, and he became much faster at editing each video.

By the six month point, he’d reached 1,000 subscribers and felt like he’d hit cruising altitude. It was now that Ernest decided to invest more heavily in his own website. For every video he posted, he created a page on his own site. The idea was, he’d pick up more traffic through Google and eventually have more opportunities to monetize.

Currently, Ernest is earning about $1,000/month from his efforts. He has big plans, including a goal to reach 50,000 subscribers. In addition, he hopes to partner with brands to create sponsored videos as a way to attract more revenue.

Most importantly, Ernest plans to put a lot more work into his own website. He understands that YouTube, while amazing, is a platform not under his control. By focusing on his own site, and building an audience there, he won’t be at the whims of any algorithm updates or changes that he can’t control.

Long term, he’s hoping Trip Astute can become his full-time gig. For that to happen he wants to be generating $5,000/month consistently.

Right now, Ernest is continuing to enjoy the journey.



Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Earn 50,000 travel rewards points (enough for 2 round-trip plane tickets or $625 in travel credit). You'll also earn 2x points on all travel and dining spend, with zero foreign transaction fees.

I use this card every day all over the world! ✈️

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Quote of the Day
"As a content creator, you have to produce content regularly. Even though YouTube isn't like broadcast TV, your audience still expects to see content on a regular basis. Sticking to a schedule really helps with building a community and seems to help in terms of ranking with YouTube's/Google's algorithm."
—Ernest Shahbazian #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau