My name is B. That's right, just B. It stands for Birgit, a German name impossible to pronounce, spell or remember for Australians. They shortened it to my initial years ago. (They still ask me how to spell that.)
I live in the Kimberley, the most beautiful and wildest part of Australia, and I travel for a living. Yes, my travels pay my bills, and this page tells you how.
Many people envy my lifestyle. Many people tell me they'd love to travel more, that they dream about visiting Australia, but lack the money, the time, or both…
A common problem, and one that I have faced many times myself, along with other setbacks. But I solved the problems, I overcame the setbacks, and so can you. How? Read my story...
My biggest passion is travel. Freedom and adventure, new experiences. My biggest fear is that life will pass me by while I'm busy paying the bills.
I had always wanted to leave Germany. The thought that my 9-to-5 job and life in suburbia would be all there is scared me silly.
I worked and studied as a biochemist, and so did the love of my life. I loved biochemistry, laboratory work and university, and I loved my man. But I only had two years of uni left, and then? Nine to five?
I first came to Australia because my boyfriend accepted a position at Melbourne University. Of course I was going to follow him asap. Ten days before my much anticipated flight the love of my life informed me - via email! - that he had come to the conclusion that I wasn't the right woman for him after all, and that he had been back together with his ex-girlfriend for a while.
I took a deep breath, looked at things objectively and reached a conclusion myself: He probably wasn't the love of my life after all. (Coward!)
I was left with one problem: I had been mouthing off for months about this trip. I couldn't stay to continue studying. I would rather have died than tell everybody how I had been ditched. So I packed my bags.
It turned out that getting ditched was...
I never would have set out on a trip like that on my own, if circumstances hadn't forced me to do so. I discovered the freedom to go where I want, do what I want, when I want... I travelled all over Australia...
...and in the North I found and fell hopelessly in love with the Kimberley, a remote and beautiful wilderness region.
Just driving through it... The scenery was so... majestic, awesome. To me the windscreen was a movie screen, and the movie held me captivated until sunset.
For the first time I felt that I had enough space to move and enough air to breathe.
Only one night of camping in the bush...
... and I had made up my mind: this was where I wanted to live!
Reality eventually caught up with me (read: my visa ran out) and I had to leave.
The next years I spent flying back and forth between Germany and Australia. In Germany I studied and worked hard, and was very successful. It took my mind off the void that I felt inside. There was a chunk missing, like I had left part of me behind. Lucky it was always there, waiting for me. When I returned to Australia I felt whole again.
I finally finished university and said my goodbyes.
I had no job to go to, and only a tourist visa. It was a decision based on passion, not reason.
Everyone in my laboratory understood:
"What? You're going to abandon your career and pack banaaanas for a living?"
My friends encouraged me:
"It won't work. You can't just pack up and leave. You need a secure existence here first, and then... "
You get the picture. But I was undeterred, and the next few years were some of the best in my life.
I travelled around and across Australia
several times, worked casual jobs, got some money together, took off
I left the country every six months (Timor, Bali, South Africa...) and renewed my visa on return. I loved my nomad life!
But as I got a bit older, I discovered that I also wanted a real home. Somewhere to return to, and to store my books, my pictures and all the wonderful things that I had collected during my travels. And I longed for a big garden to grow fruit and vegetables again!
I was sick of casual work, which didn't require any skills and didn't challenge or fulfill me in any way. I also started to think about the future. I didn't want to scrape by on $10/hour jobs for the rest of my life.
To cut a long story short: I managed to acquire permanent residency under the regional sponsored migration scheme. (Huh?) If an employer in regional Australia can't fill a position locally, but someone from overseas is qualified and wants the job, then they can get permanent residency.
Finally I could get "real" jobs for real money.
Today I am the proud owner of 5 acres of beautiful bush and a house, with magnificent gardens all around that are a haven for our wildlife.
...I also had a full time job to pay for it all. Travel, my first passion, fell by the wayside. I had left everything behind and followed my dreams to one of the wildest parts of the world...
...and 10 years later, here I was, in the same situation as so many other people: stuck in the 9-to-5 job that I had run from to start with!
When I drove to work, the windscreen was just that: a windscreen. The movies had ended. My job paid the bills, but it didn't exactly inspire me. Between commuting to work, house building, household duties, keeping five acres in shape and looking after the animals there wasn't much time and energy left.
I set myself a new goal:
"I will find a job that makes me happily jump out of bed in the morning, that pays the bills, that allows me to travel for at least six months of the year and that I will still be happy doing in twenty years time." (So far I've become sick of every job I've had within months!)
Sounds unrealistic? I assure you, it's not. If I learned one thing in life it's that nothing is impossible! Think about your life. What is it that you really want from it? And turn off the little voice that keeps saying, "It can't be done." It can.
...is so simple, I wonder why it took me so many years to find it: Make a living doing what you love! You can. I'll show you how I'm doing it.
My passion is travel, but you can do what I'm doing with any passion, hobby, skill, area of expertise... whatever it is that makes you happy. And you can do it in your spare time!
First I tried my hand at travel writing. English is my second language and I quickly realised that I wouldn't be earning a living as a writer any time soon. But I had bought a computer for my writing. I discovered the internet, and somehow, I don't even remember how, I stumbled across SBI.
SBI! stands for Solo Build It! and helps you to turn any hobby, passion or skill into a viable online business. You probably don't even realise that almost any topic can make money with a website.
Build a website?! Exactly. Remember, I was relatively new to computers and the internet world. This website was built with SBI, so you see... anyone can do it.
You need no programming skills or webdesign knowledge, no business and no product to sell. Just bring your brain and motivation. SBI has all the tools you need, and they take you by the hand and teach you step by step how to use everything.
(It is 2017 now. This page was originally written around 2007. Everything below is, while still very true, somewhat out of date. The internet has evolved since and so has SBI. It is as powerful and cutting edge as ever. It includes a thorough education on social media, on mobile sites and apps, on everything that has been added to the internet landscape since, and it is still as ridiculously low priced as ever.
These days you can also use it with your Wordpress blog, you don't have to start a new site for it.
I am about to launch a new, totally different business, and I will most certainly use SBI again.)
SBI will help you find the perfect topic for your site, to build it, to get traffic to it, and, most importantly, it will teach you how to make money with it, no matter what it is about!
Have a look at the Video Tour to get an idea of how it works.
And have a look at this: hundreds of successful SBI websites, built by normal people like you and me. All these sites are in the top 1% of the most successful sites on the web. (You can find my site in the travel category.)
You can also see that there is a staggering variety of topics that people have turned into profitable websites with SBI.
I started the very website you are on right now in September 2005, early the next year it started to make money and by May I was so encouraged by the results I saw that I took the plunge and quit my crappy job. And all the time I'm just writing about something I love and I am genuinely helping people. How much better can it get?
(Actually, it can. Because I have this website all my
camping research trips are tax deductible!)
Yes, in the beginning this is a lot of work. But keep in mind that doing something you love never feels like work. And you can do it in your spare time. YOU set the pace.
The main thing is, it's totally risk free. SBI has a full money back guarantee. They're happy for you to try it out to see how you like it.
How do I make money? Initially I made money mostly with advertising. You probably saw the links throughout the site that say "Ads by Goooogle". Every time someone is interested and clicks on one I make money.
(This is such a popular question that I wrote this page with more details about my income and answers to other common questions.)
Over the years I added additional, and more lucrative, income streams.
There are countless ways to make money with a website: create your own e-goods to sell (my main source of income as of 2017), sell other people's products for a commission, get paid for leads and referrals (my second most important income stream) and more. SBI shows you how to do all that.
You can get some more ideas from what other SBIers are doing. Just have a look at the case studies.
People always email me to tell me how inspired they are by my story, and how they wish they could do something like that: escape the 9-to-5 drudgery, travel to Oz or see the world, do what they have always been dreaming of...
Well, you can, so what are you waiting for?
You only have one life.
Make the most of it.
PS.: It's been a long time since I wrote this page, and it has generated a stunning amount of feedback and of questions about SBI. I figured it's time to add an update and answers to your most common questions.