Category Archives: Building an Online Business

Guides for people looking to build a profitable online business including how to start a blog, niche site or move an offline business online, tips for working from home, and how to monetise and create funnels.

Stay Fit While Working From Home in 6 Steps

Working out at home exercise items

Looking for tips on how to stay fit while working from home? Working online, TV apps and games to play on Zoom – the temptation to move from designated office chair to dreamy sofa then off to bed can be strong! Most people WFH like myself need some helpful advice on things to get them moving throughout the day to help keep the weight off, mind healthy and motivation rolling.

Stay Fit While Working From Home Tips

Here are some things that have helped me, a digital content creator who works from home, create some balance when it comes to keeping fit.

If you’re looking for general working from home tips, click here.

1. Create a WFH Routine and Stick to it

Even if you don’t have to clock on for work, commit to a wake-up time and create an achievable routine to stick before you switch on your laptop or even check your phone.

Shower, get ready, switch on a tracking app or fitness watch, enjoy a healthy breakfast such as oats and fruit, overnight oats, eggs (not fried) or low sugar yoghurt and fruit then do some exercise.

This could be a morning walk and/or your designated exercise time.

Now that I work out at home, I prefer to work out after walking the dog in the morning. When I attended classes, I did this just before dinner.

Find a rhythm that works for you. The key is to create an achievable morning routine that you want to wake up to and can also stick to.

Don’t beat yourself up if you struggle to do it for the first while but do keep trying.

Bass Rock Dunbar Scotland Bowie Dog

2. Plan Meals and Go Grocery Shopping

When ‘screwing the nut’ with food, I plan my meals and do a big grocery shop once a week.

If I leave working out what to eat until the last minute I end up eating junk food.

Candy, chocolate, white bread – I am obsessed with sugar and have to keep this under control to help maintain a healthy working from home/keeping fit and happy balance.

Drink lots of still water to keep hydrated.

Cutting out sugary drinks is a relatively easy way to kick off your new healthy outlook and balanced eating.

Pancakes River Bothy Cafe in Berriedale North Coast 500 Scotland_

3. Check Out MyFitnessPal App

When WFH pants are getting a tad uncomfortable, consider tracking what you are eating using a free app such as MyFitnessPal.

You can add meals so if you go for a similar breakfast each morning you don’t have to repeat food items every day.

If you’d prefer guidance on what you should be eating to see steady weight loss, consult a nutritionist or health professional to help guide you on how to use a weight loss app best.

Some nutritionists have online consultations which means you don’t have to carve travel time into your day to meet with them once a week or month, ideal for those WFH.

Don’t just rely on scales to track progress.

Use a measuring tape around the areas you plan to focus on such as the chest, waist, stomach.

Keep a record of changes in notes or an Excel spreadsheet.

Make it visual! Pin your results up so you can appreciate your acheivements.

Girl-waving-on-phone

4. Find an Exercise That Gets You Moving

Everyone differs when it comes to exercise and luckily for us, there are heaps of options when it comes to finding ways to move that are fun.

You don’t have to buy into the fad exercise of the month even if everyone on social media is doing it!

When we find something we like, we are more likely to commit to it and it’s totally OK to try other things out to keep your new exercise routine fresh and exciting.

There are lots of free ways to try exercise classes on YouTube.

Consider the following kinds for WFH classes:

  • Yoga
  • Body Balance
  • Low Intensity Training (LIT) – don’t have weights? Start with tins!
  • High Intensity Training (HIT)
  • Band workouts
  • Dance
Yoga with Adriene_

Take a break and get outdoors with the following:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Swimming

If you are willing to invest in exercise, it is worth checking out personal trainers (PTs) in your area or online.

If you put money where your mouth is, there is a good chance of sticking to it.

PTs are a great option for beginners who need shown the ropes (literally) and are looking to build their confidence.

Advanced exerciser fans use PTs to push themselves when they begin to plateau.

I would not recommend trying to do weight-based training with weights before a PT session, even just a couple to get positioning right.

You don’t want to hurt your body and stunt your progression or even worse, cause long-term damage!

Working out at home exercise items

5. Invest in Fitness Trackers and Watches

Analytics and data will become your keep fit best friend!

Watches such as the Apple Watch US / UK or Fitbit (US / UK) track your steps, exercises and can connect with other users so if your friends use the same tracker, you can keep each other company and motivated!

I have reviewed both the Fitbit and Apple Watch and personally prefer the Apple Watch.

Its technology feels more sophisticated, the connection between other Apple devices is seamless and you can also do other neat actions such as take a photo or receive calls.

With Apple Watch you may receive free access to Apple Fitness for a period of time which is a bank of exercise classes recorded in LA featuring classes such as HIT, dance, core and strength.

New classes are updated each week.

What is really cool is how your Apple device knows to connect to your Apple Watch when you start a class on Apple Fitness.

This reminds you to put on your watch and start the exercise app on it.

The Apple Fitness screen reflects the data on your wrist. Crazily sophisticated syncing!

Don’t get me wrong, the Fitbit is pretty and tracks movement but the Apple watch feels more robust and capable.

The only downside to the Apple Watch is having to charge it most nights however, you get attractive bedside charges which double up as alarm clocks or phone, watch, earphone combo chargers.

6. Use Social Media Apps During Social Times Only

If picking up the phone to check social media apps is your morning magnet, be strict on yourself and only allow social checks during social hours such as morning breaks, lunch and after you switch off for the day.

Switch on app usage and screen time stats to assess how often you are using your device and consider what else you could do in that time like moving!

Consider purchasing an alarm clock if switching your phone alarm off is too tempting. TikTok can wait! Your healthy routine is more important.

Do you have friends using fitness watches/activity trackers? Why not connect through the device and keep each other motivated!

FREE Easter Zoom Backgrounds For All

Easter Zoom Backgrounds

Planning an Easter-themed virtual get-together and looking for creative Easter backgrounds for Zoom? This guide has assembled a variety of designs for you to download for free. From Easter eggs to cute little bunnies, bunting to spring flowers, just right-click your Zoom background of choice and save to your phone or computer.

Looking for ideas of games to play on Zoom? Check out our popular guide.

Hosting a quiz and need some trivia rounds inspiration? We’ve got that here too.

Let’s take a look at the fun Easter wallpaper, free for you to use.

Zoom Easter Backgrounds

Easter Egg Background

Easter egg background

Lovely Little Bunnies

Easter bunnies background

Bright Easter Eggs

Bright Easter eggs Easter Zoom Backgrounds

Chocolate Egg Background

Chocolate Easter eggs drawn image Easter Zoom Backgrounds

Cute Spring Backgrounds

Spring flowers in field Easter Zoom Backgrounds

Religions Easter Picture Backgrounds

Cross and palm Easter Zoom Backgrounds

Bunting Background

Cute heat bunting Easter Zoom Backgrounds

Cherry Blossom Background

Cherry Blossom Background

Pretty Easter Display

Pretty cracked egg shells and leaves

Happy Easter Background

Happy Easter backgroun

Line of Easter Eggs

Line of eggs Easter Zoom Background

Bunny Ears Background

Bunny eays Easter Zoom Background

Easter Wallpapers

If you would prefer Easter wallpaper for your phone, download here.

FREE St Patrick’s Day Backgrounds For Zoom

Guinness Background

Planning an Irish-themed virtual get-together and looking for creative St Patrick’s Day backgrounds for Zoom? This guide has assembled a variety of designs to guarantee some craic. From Irish flags to lucky leprechaun, pots of gold to four-leaf clovers, just right-click your Zoom background of choice and save to your phone or computer.

Looking for ideas of games to play on Zoom? Check out our popular guide.

Hosting a quiz and need some trivia rounds inspiration? We’ve got that here too.

Let’s take a look at the fun St Patrick’s Day wallpaper, free for you to use.

Free St Patrick’s Day Backgrounds For You To Download

Simply right-click (desktop) or hold down (phone) the image you wish to save to your device and then upload as your Zoom background.

Take a screenshot and tag me @twoscotsabroad on social media. I love the craic, too.

1. Lucky Leprechaun Background

Leprechaun background

2. 4 Leaf Clover (Pale Yellow) Background

4 Leaf Clover Background

3. 4 Leaf Clover (Gold) Background

Four Leaf Clovers Background Yellow

4. 4 Leaf Clover (Pink) Background

Four Leaf Clovers Background

5. Green Balloons (Blue) Background

Green balloons and clover background

6. Green Balloons (Yellow) Background

Green balloons with clover background

7. Green Beer Background

Green beer background

8. Green Beer (Yellow) Background

Green beers cheers background

9. Guinness and Clovers Background

Guinness and clovers background

10. Pints of Guinness Background

Guinness Background

11. Irish Flag Background

Irish Flag Background

12. Irish Hearts Background

Irish Hearts background white

13. Irish Heart Flags Background

Irish hearts background Zoom

14. Irish Hearts (Green) Background

Irish Hearts Background

15. Leprechaun Hat and Rainbow Background

Leprechaun hat and rainbow Background

16. Leprechaun Hat Background

Leprechaun hat Background

17. St Patricks’s Day Hat Background

St Patricks's Day hat background

18. The Temple Bar Background

The Temple Bar Background

You may also like our Easter Zoom backgrounds.

12 Simple Virtual Team Building Activities: Icebreakers + Challenges

Virtual team building games computer blue backgroun

If you want your in-house staff members and remote teams to feel more tight knit than ever, virtual team building activities are the way to go. These games will help you leverage enthusiasm, vision, and purpose by bringing people together for some crowd-pleasing activities.

Team building games for remote workers strengthen communication skills to emphasize a shared identity in any organization. This is even more necessary now due to social distancing and people working from home so that nobody is left feeling isolated and unsupported.

Here is a list of the best strategically designed premium and free virtual team building games that will have your employees roaring with laughter and engagement to boost motivation. All you need is Zoom or Loom to start having fun today.

Looking for a trivia quiz that’s ready to go? Check out our quiz store for our decades’ quizzes.

Purchase, download and host. It’s as easy as that.

90s Quiz Callout Cellphone with 90s Quiz text against pastel coloured background

Virtual Team Building Activities For All

1. Rose and Thorn Icebreaker

This is one of the best team building games for large groups to serve as an opening icebreaker so that people can get to know each other better.

Each person should get a minute to share their rose statement (anything that makes them feel happy or grateful) and their thorn (a challenge they are currently facing).

For example, a person may say that their rose is starting a new position at the firm or a place at college and the thorn might be not getting to meet people face to face.

Or their rose might be getting a Peleton bike for Christmas and the thorn is getting over the fear of starting classes!

As an employer or team leader, this team building game will provide plenty of insights into people’s lives, especially with things they usually may not share during meetings.

More examples for roses (grateful) – thorns (challenge):

  • Latest iPhone – fear of breaking or losing it
  • New haircut – styling it can be hard
  • Training for marathon – hitting that wall
  • Instant Pot gift – how on fiery pressure steam ‘ell do you use it

There is also a ‘pruning’ follow up. Team leaders or fellow members could offer up support suggestions.

It’s also a nice way for members to connect with each other in future…

Hey, Laura! How is the new veg patch coming along? Did you manage to fix your soil problem?

Share your rose and thorn icebreaker experiences below in the comments!

Group Call Facebook Messanger

2. The Critical Thinking Game

This game is one of the most fun staff meeting ideas where you can use a lateral thinking exercise to ask people questions and have them make a difficult choice under pressure.

The questions you can ask are – “What are the 3 things you would bring to a deserted island and why?”

Give each person only 2 minutes to think about their answers, then go around taking turns to discuss them.

You will be amazed by how differently people think and plan their lists.

Some answers might be humorous, while others could be very practical.

During this exciting get to know your coworkers game, people might instantly bond if they share the same items or thought process.

Rishiri Islnad

If you want more than an icebreaker, make it a bigger project by adding layers.

Give team members roles that match or don’t fit their CV skills and experiences.

Set the scene on a strategic island with specific resources like the TV show Lost or The Wilds.

Another challenge is to move the goal posts at specific times during the challenge.

Challenges may include:

  • A storm has caused damage to progress so far
  • $X humanitarian aid has been offered – how would the team divide it up?
  • Friendly neighboring country has sent resources but something has to go…

Add time limits and external pressures to put the heat on.

Ask groups to evaluate their performance as a team including their academic goal and social (soft skill) goal.

This is straight out of the Cooperative Learning teaching toolkit, a phenomenal resource for trainers.

3. A Team-Building Activities For Travel Fans

Looking for something less college and more wordly? Straight out of the travel guidebook without leaving the comfort of you own home, teams can visit Paris and learn more about Parisian culture!

This group conference call takes the pain out of organization as the Parisian host does everything for you.

All you need to do is select a date and get ready to learn about the city of Paris, French food, art and celebrities!

Crepe and Nutella Paris

Played over Zoom, the local host meets the team over video call and sets the humorous tone of the hour-long call.

They split larger groups into teams and use the ‘rooms’ function of Zoom for pre-set challenges.

Since it is expected smaller groups complete these tasks, it the perfect onboarding virtual game for companies employing new team members.

Here is an example of one of the challenges “the Parisian smile”. That’s Gemma from Two Scots Abroad in the hat and black and white top.

Onboarding virtual team games

This entertaining virtual team building game has been hugely popular with companies moving their Christmas parties, onboarding process and annual conferences online. Sound familiar?

They have worked with likes of Airbnb, Chanel, Netflix and Two Scots Abroad!

Find out more and reserve your spot in Paris for the day.

Moulin Rogue Paris_

4. Virtual Open Mic Night

Since this game may be a little daunting for shy and introverted people, you should always give everyone prior notice instead of surprising them at the last minute.

For this get to know your coworkers game, each person is given the opportunity to showcase their talents and learn about each other’s skills.

Ask each participant to either read a poem, write a joke, play their favorite instrument, or even just narrate a story that interests them.

Las Penitas Leon Sunset Nicaragua Band

Spend about ten seconds between each performer to give them all a round of applause.

In case some members do not want to do a live performance, they can also record their talent on Loom and send you the video to play during their turn.

All they need to do is sign up to Loom before the event and allow the software access to their computer’s webcam and microphone to record a short video.

Live a Great Story Art New Orleans_

5. Group Puzzle Challenge

This facilitated challenge by 100 Points Challenge has been super popular among teams from the start of the year.

The online challenge takes place over Zoom and the host talks you through ten mind-bending puzzles which then form the overall ‘master puzzle’ which teams are encouraged to use Google for.

Facilitator Handbook_ The Puzzle

The group is split into competing teams who are set against the clock for additional pressure.

Teams usually complete the puzzle around the 40 minute mark.

This is the perfect virtual team building challenge for businesses who want to see how their employees perform in tricky situations while keeping the vibe light.

Facilitated/hosted games are $179 and you can reserve your time here.

100 Points Competition The Puzzle Facilitated Game

6. How Well Do You Know Your Team?

If you are a team leader, this might be your favorite game for large groups to get to know everyone and discover random facts about them.

This can also be one of the best fun staff meeting ideas with the theme “About Me.”

You can ask each person questions such as what food they would eat for the rest of their lives, their favorite holiday destination, or even ask about what movie they love and why.

The answers to these questions may also help you organize incentives for top employees in the future.

Alternatively, you can also collect everyone’s responses (only keeping the players’ names to yourself) and encourage the whole team to guess who the displayed answer on the screen belongs to.  

This also works with baby pictures. Want more of these quick trivia style ideas? Check out our guide here.

Friends on Zoom

7. Virtual Show and Tell Icebreaker

When it comes to virtual team building games, this is one of the most exciting choices.

Each Zoom attendee can have 5 minutes to present an item that means a lot to them and explain its uniqueness.

For example, someone can show the audience and discuss their favorite book and why they love it so much.

Or they can show off a souvenir they brought home from their most recent holiday abroad.

Examples may include:

  • Instruments
  • Jewelry
  • Pets
  • Art

A Two Scots Abroad freelancer pulled out a trumpet and played My Heart Will Go On during this task.

A ‘wow’ moment.

A year before committing to full time blogging, Gemma had worked alongside the freelancer as a teacher and never knew he played the trumpet!

These virtual challenges give opportunity for team members to open up in a safe space.

Team leaders need to create a community which ensures trust beforehand for these types of activities to work well however, the show and tell props give quieter members something to hide behind and a focus to talk about.

It can also curb the more outgoing members of the group from consuming all of the space too. Win win.

Why not add wine and cheese? Break the ice with a sophisticated tipple. This popular virtual wine and cheese tasting session lasts 60-90 minutes and is available to mainland US.

Four cheeses and three wines are delivered overnight to participants and a Parisian guide talks attendees through the history, culture and funny stories about wine and cheese from France.

Camper Fortrose on North Coast 500 in Scotland_

8. Show and Tell Photography

This game is like the above mentioned, but this time everybody must take a single snapshot of something meaningful and talk about why they chose to photograph that specific subject.

Everyone can have 5 minutes each to use their smartphones and take a picture of their desk space, children, pets, favorite outfit, or anything they are fond of and want to share with the team.

After the game, you can have everyone send you their photos to create a digital collage that can be emailed to each participant as a memento.

Make sure to gush about everybody’s pictures equally and ask questions to let them know that you are paying attention to all their creative ideas.

Otherwise, people may not feel motivated enough to participate in future virtual games.

Bowie, husky German shepherd on Ben Vorlich munro in Scotland.

9. Virtual Escape Room Adventures

This is one of the best paid virtual team building games for groups of 4 or more.

For 60 minutes, players can collaborate to do an online escape room and solve a series of exciting puzzles.

The Escape Game Remote Adventures boost teamwork and communication skills because everyone is stuck in the same tricky scenario and must bounce ideas and listen to each other to play the game correctly.

Online Virtual Escape Room Games

There will be a live camera feed showing the room, and participants will have to look around to find clues and try to escape within the time limit.

The Escape Game costs approximately $30 per player, but it is worth the money because it is one of the most fun and unique virtual team-building experiences you can invest in.

Online Virtual Escape Room Games-3

10. Current Events Virtual Team Building

For this game, you will need to prepare a current news story to give the team to read before starting, and then discuss their thoughts for 10 minutes each.

During these 10 minutes, no one else can disrupt the speaker despite having different opinions.

Every participant should have a fair go explaining their own individual thoughts, and then at the end, you can set aside some time for a group debate.

The story you choose can be anything – Business, Politics, Global Events, Entertainment, etc.

Remember to have a moderator to mute everyone aside from the speaker, especially someone who can break up any arguments.

If you know the team well, a disruptive version of this activity can be used.

When the speaker is discussing the topic, team members can put their hand in the air if they feel they are umming and ahhing too much or if a fact is incorrect.

The latter wouldn’t work with personal pieces.

Washington DC. Cherry Blossom

11. Virtual Trivia on QuizBreaker

Everyone loves trivia because it is an excellent opportunity to exercise a person’s quick-thinking abilities and general knowledge.

For the best trivia virtual team building games, you can use QuizBreaker. This web app can curate up to 100 questions that are carefully researched about a chosen topic.

By inviting your participants to QuizBreaker, they can also skip the questions they are unable to answer.

This will save you a lot of time. Instead of researching the subject yourself and coming up with creative questions and answers, QuizBreaker does all the work for you.

QuizBreaker costs 3 USD per month for each user, and you can also create the teams you want on your account to send them an invite. Y

You can also set up a challenge and a weekly leaderboard to celebrate the top trivia winners.

12. Virtual Scavenger Hunt with Scavify

Who does not love a thrilling scavenger hunt? It is impossible to resist a day of fun while interacting with each other as players solve numerous challenges.

Your team will jump at the chance to take part in this activity.

Through Scavify’s mobile app, participants can shoot photos and videos, answer questions, scan QR codes, and even provide feedback without leaving their homes.

It is one of the best virtual team building games for remote members.

Scavify generates all the challenges for teams to complete and monitors all progress for you.

It is also one of the top-rated virtual team building games for large groups and has been used by companies like Cisco, Google, eBay, Exxon Mobil, and CVS Pharmacy.


Author’s Note

By engaging with employees through these virtual team building games, you can understand their strengths and weaknesses more effectively.

This will be beneficial in the long term when you need to delegate tasks to individuals.

Your remote staff members will be grateful for the opportunity to play these games and appreciate your leadership qualities to bring them all together for some fun and excitement.

Most of the team building Zoom games are free, but the paid ones on third party platforms are worth every cent because they boost communication, trust, cohesion, and productivity like no other.

Where else would someone get to play an escape room during this pandemic if not for a virtual platform that is carefully designed to challenge their mind and team-building skills?

Even though people love remote work for the flexibility it provides, it can get lonely at times.

The lack of emotional connection with coworkers may demotivate some, and they may also feel undervalued as though the company has forgotten about them.

Therefore, virtual teams that need a strong bonding experience will cherish these games to no end, and you will notice the results in their work performance and positive moods.

What’s your recommended remote team building activity? Tell us in the comments below.


Bookmark for later. Save to your team planning board

The best virtual team building activities to keep remote team members connected, motivate new on-boarding employees and promote community!

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About the Author

Shipra is an extrovert who loves all kinds of virtual games, which is why she has picked her favorite ones for your teams to enjoy as well. She will come to work for your company just to play the virtual Escape Room. Read more of Shipra’s guides on Two Scots Abroad starting here.

Top 100 Women In Tourism in Scotland Winner

Top women in tourism winner

There’s no denying that things have been tough in tourism this year. At times I’ve wondered what’s the point especially, with VisitScotland data predicting that 2019 levels of tourist activity are unlikely to return until 2023.

This week, things were looking particularly bleak with the early dark nights, trodden autumn leaves on the ground and grey tones taking over blues skies, but then an email dropped into my inbox that brightened up my miserable puss…

I’m one of Scotland’s Top 100 Women in Tourism!

What’s really lovely about this announcement is that someone in the industry nominated me. 

Thank you to Susan Russell, Chair of Women In Tourism who popped into my inbox to tell me I’d made it to the Top 100 Women in Tourism. 

Bullers of Buchan Abderbeenshire

An Introduction 

Hiya, I’m Gemma Armit from The Kingdom of Fife, and the owner of Two Scots Abroad. The other Scot is my husband Craig. He doesn’t do anything for TSA bar occasionally looking good in front of the lens for me.

Craig and I met in 2012 and pretty soon into our relationship decided that we wanted to travel together. 

In 2013 we tested the waters with a 5-week trip to Southeast Asia. Since we survived sipping Slings in Singapore, hiking Sapa in Vietnam, swimming in rooftop pools in Cambodia and a massage from a prisoner in Thailand we decided to plan a bigger trip together.

Over the next two years we worked hard, lived by the ‘Canada or crap’ philosophy and saved £20K regardless of attending seven weddings in one year!

Waterfalls in Pai, Thailand
Hiking Sapa Valley in Vietnam, Craig, day bag, flip flops, bug spray, water bottle, native woman.

An 18-Month Career Break To Travel

In March 2015, we pressed pause on our lives in Scotland and embarked on a career break from our jobs as Modern Studies teacher (me) and gas engineer (Craig).

We kicked off our travels partying in New Orleans and discovering new bands South by Southwest festival in Austin.

Then we backpacked around Peru, Bolivia and Colombia before flying over to Cuba where we really started to feel the impact of travel burnout.

I Love You So Much Wall | Ten Cool Things to do in Awesome Austin
Classic cars Havana | 10 things to do in Havana
Classic car tours in Havana

Luckily our next destination was six months in Canada where we lived in a 70s campervan for the summer, cleaning toilets and changing beds at a lodge on BC’s Sunshine Coast.

Soames Hill Gibsons Sunshine Coast BC

Autumn and winter was spent living in Vancouver with frequent visits from friends and family, lots of coffee and craft beer and a surprise engagement on Hallowe’en, my favourite holiday.

Craig proposed under the fake stars at the MacMillan Space Centre using a plastic straw cover shaped into a ring which I had been carrying attached to my day bag for months.

A Vancouver Engagement

An Austin Elopement

I said yes and we eloped to Austin, Texas the following March. Our wedding officiant, Sarah, married us at Lou Neff Point.

Lou Neff Point Austin Wedding Special

I wore yellow and Craig wore a tartan tie. In 2017, Sarah flew to Scotland to attend our big Scottish wedding party at Thomas Morton Hall (Leith Theatre). And that’s the beauty of travel.

An Austin Elopement - Lou Neff Point, Ladybird Lake - Corey Mendez Photography I Long Term Travel Planning

After our wedding we headed back to Europe, strapped for cash we based ourselves in Eastern Europe before heading to Spain then Portugal and home back to teaching, house buying and adopting our dog, Bowie.

Two Scots Abroad Is Born

During our travels, when I was supposed to be on a career break, I was fumbling around with Wordpress, speaking to fellow travel fans on Facebook and sharing stories from our big adventure on Instagram.

As a newbie blogger, I was lucky to stumble into a supportive community of like-minded content creators who helped show me that blogging is a viable business.

In 2016, I learnt how to rank on Google (search engine optimisation), traffic exploded, I started making money and I began to realise my worth as an online marketer in tourism.

Gemma Kimono Seto House Wakkanai_

Since then I’ve been creating ridiculously useful travel guides on Two Scots Abroad, engaging with my community on Facebook and Instagram and teaching fellow bloggers how to rank on Google too.

In 2018, I quit high school teaching and since then I’ve been publishing travel guides and packing lists at Two Scots Abroad and sharing my SEO knowledge with my friend Laura, at Make Traffic Happen.

Make Traffic Happen Laura Lynch Gemma Armit

Since returning, Craig and I have had exciting campaign opportunities such as working with ScotRail, Calmac Ferries, Visit Aberdeenshire and Nuart Aberdeen to market what’s on our doorstep, we’ve trained as astronauts at NASA space camp in Huntsville and road tripped through Hokkaido in Japan.

I’ve also had interesting speaking gigs at TBEX (Ireland, Czech Republic), Traverse (Italy) and Braw Blogger Conference (Scotland).

Hama Woods Nuart Aberdeen Street Mural Trail
Craig Mount Asahidake Hokkaido_

While campaigns are fun, I make most of my income from my website. I monetise through ads and affiliates which requires interested users reading my content and booking tours and accommodation or purchasing travel gear through my affiliate links. 

Train Like an Astronaut at NASA Space Camp, Alabama

Everything Edinburgh

In April this year I launched my new brand, Everything Edinburgh, a friendly resource for locals and visitors. 

While an Easter launch was always the plan, the pandemic changed our focus slightly.

Instead of publishing content for tourists, we created helpful posts for locals such as food and drink deliveries, walks under an hour and where to find free gardens and parks.

New Town edinburgh

When Scotland’s lockdown rules loosened, we developed our tourism content to encourage Scots to become a #HameTownTourist and support local companies such as walking tours. We also have a handy guide on what it is really like to visit Edinburgh in 2020. 

QR Scan menu Rose Street Gardens Bar Food Edinburgh

Blogging in 2020

While promoting Scotland to Scots is great, I can’t lie, monetisation is at its best when North Americans can travel. Restrictions on travellers from the USA has had a detrimental impact on travel guide traffic, associated income and motivation.

Fringe Performer on Royal Mile Edinburgh_

Seeing locals flaunt lockdown rules while they enjoy the cushty monthly pay packet and pension schemes enrages me. Self employed creatives are being hit hard and not just financially.

When you own a business you create (at least) a three year plan and to see goals be cut short by something out of your control is crushing.

Every self employed person will tell you that the key to success is mindset. 

It has taken a lot of time and energy to get here and it is an ongoing emotional rollercoaster, but I am trying to not focus on the actions of people I can’t control, regardless of how much impact it has on my business, and work on what I can. 

Queens View in Perthshire

Wee Scotland Stays

This week I launched another side hustle called Wee Scotland Stays, a Facebook page where I share cool accommodation from around Scotland, daily!

If you like laid-back lodges or luxury glamping trips, history castles or quirky city apartments, give us a follow, tag your pals and share if you see a stay you like.

John o Groats Boat Houses North Coast 500 Scotland_

Thank You

Being a content creator has taught me three things.

Firstly, you need to be flexible and constantly be ready to hustle. I’m sure you’ve heard of the term pivot, it has been the only way for small businesses and the self employed to survive this year.

Pringles and Gemma Salt Flats in Bolivia

Secondly, you won’t get far if you are not resilient. Ignore the Twitter gang who think blogging is not a viable business, say no to the agencies who selfishly keep all of the marketing budget to themselves and don’t be afraid to work your worth.

Sagrada Familia Ayre Hotel Gemma and Craig

Finally, being a content creator is about being part of a community. I am very lucky to have support in the international blogging industry and more localised friendships in Scottish travel blogging. A day doesn’t go past where I slide into another blogger’s DMs for a rant or reassurance.

Scotland Travel Bloggers

So if I was on the podium, in a cute tartan dress, I’d be giving a shout out to all the fellow travel content creators and their side hustle projects seeing them through this shitshow that is 2020.

And thank you to whoever nominated me! This was a truly lovely surprise.

Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed this join me at @twoscotsabroad on Instagram for daily stories about my dog, travel, social issues and being a self-employed online marketer.

Bloggers! Join us at Make Traffic Happen Facebook group, it’s free!

Cheers,
Gemma Armit
Two Scots Abroad 

Barcelona Cathedral Night Gemma_

Here’s the official word from WITS:

Celebrating Tourism Leaders in 2020

During what has been one of the most challenging years to date for the Scottish tourism industry, Women In Tourism today announce the 2020 Top 100 Women In Tourism.  Following the inaugural Top 100 which was launched in 2018, today’s announcement recognises not just individual achievements over the last year, but the combined passion which has supported the sector throughout 2020.  

Reflecting a diverse industry which drives the Scottish economy and delivers the warm welcome which visitors from all over the world recognise and celebrate; the 2020 Top 100 includes those working within hotels, destination organisations, tour operators, marketing agencies and visitor attractions.  

Glasgow Duke of Wellington Statue

During an unprecedented year, the Top 100 gives special recognition to those working on behalf of the Scottish tourism sector, including colleagues from the Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Association of Scottish Self Caterers, HIT Scotland and the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions.

In ensuring the sector continues to be heard, Kate Nichols from Hospitality UK receives special recognition as the only addition to the list from outside Scotland.  As a key voice of tourism and hospitality, Kate has worked tirelessly to ensure individuals and businesses are heard and continues to lobby on behalf of the industry.

Ellie Lighthouse Fife, flowers, grass, blue skies

Commenting on the 2020 Top 100 Women In Tourism:

Susan Russell, Chair of Women In Tourism, said: “2020 has been an unprecedented year for not just tourism, but our way of life as we know it.  Today’s announcement gives us an opportunity to recognise colleagues across our industry who go above and beyond on a daily basis.  

The Top 100 reflects the sector as a whole – from Shetland to the Scottish Borders and the Outer Hebrides to Fife, and while we recognise the challenges facing our industry, today’s announcement is an important moment to celebrate and thank everyone for all that they have done, and continue to do.”

The inaugural Women In Tourism Top 100 was announced in July 2018 in response to the Caterer Magazine’s Top 100 Most Powerful people in hospitality which recognised only 13 women.  Sadly, many of those in the 2020 Top 100 are no longer in the roles attributed in the list due to the impacts of COVID-19.  

Reynisfjara Icelands Black Stack

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