There are a dozen reasons you might follow someone on social media. They inspire or entertain you, they’re always wearing the cutest outfits or they have a Pinterest-worthy home, their adventures around the world excite you, or they show up to serve and educate whoever scrolls by. I follow Glo Atanmo for every single one of those reasons.
Glo started The Blog Abroad to document her journey as a solo female traveler, and through it all she’s become an incredible educator on more than just the topic of travel. She lifts the weight off heavy topics and answers the questions we’re quietly asking from the other side of our phone screens, all within the powerful squares of the @glographics Instagram feed.
I’m so excited to learn about her entrepreneurial journey, her travels abroad, the transition she’s navigating in her business and life, and one hot topic that I’m eager to hash out with her — is a business built on passion actually sustainable?
Where It All Started
Gloria Atanmo remembered the moment that she realized she was different, and different was a good, powerful thing. She was 11-years old and tasked with picking a dream career from a flash card in class. None of the options excited her — nurse, firefighter, engineer, teacher… Nothing felt right, so she returned to her seat without a card.
When the teacher called on Gloria to share the career she picked, she came clean about her decision to not pick. The teacher asked her to stay after class, but she wasn’t in trouble. Instead, the teacher told her to go home and look up the word “entrepreneur”.
“Everytime I felt isolated by my differences, I’m like, oh, it’s because you’re an entrepreneur,” Glo shared.
At 25-years old as her digital media creator journey became her focus, Glo felt pressure to fit herself into one box. If you’re multi-passionate, maybe you can relate to the struggle that comes when someone asks you what you do. Do you try to simplify all of your work and passions into one title?
Glo felt that if she wanted to build a legacy and be known, that she needed to get really good at one thing. That one thing became travel blogging.
She perfected her photography, got her name on all the Top 10 lists, and reached what she felt was the peak in earnings and potential. Glo explained, “When you reach the peak of a mountain, you don’t just stay there. You gotta humble yourself, climb back down and find another mountain to climb.”
The biggest reckoning Glo had was when she hit the six-figure income mark with her blog. She’d hit massive milestones for herself, but what was she doing for her community? How was she giving back? “The real fulfillment, the legacy, comes from serving others,” Glo realized.
Her words for that year were service and surprise. “I wanted to surprise with all the ways I could serve other people,” Glo continued, “And I 10x-ed my income by giving back.”
Already on Stage
In 2020, Glo was thrust into the spotlight for something different from her travel blogging and the audience for the content she created changed and expanded. Glo shared a quote from her friend Austin Ashford, “Some people try to take steps towards the stage not realizing that they’re already on it.”
“All this time I was online for the last 20 years, I was already on a stage, I was already building my stage. When I gained the 180,000 followers on Instagram in a matter of two weeks, it wasn’t too surprising,” but Glo continued, “I’ve been preparing for this moment, I’ve always had a strong voice, I’ve always been an educator.”
As our country witnessed the events of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, Glo knew that what she had the capacity to do and how she felt called to speak up would take a toll on her. “I stepped up,” Glo explained. “I got up everyday and thought about what the world needed.” She started creating carousel posts on Instagram with a mission to teach and as she says, “lifting the weight off heavy topics.”
Glo also explained what it’s been like navigating all of the requests for her to speak on stages and get paid to post for companies… And why she says no to a majority of them.
“Love What You Do…”
And you’ll never work a day in your life. We’ve heard that quote before, we’ve seen it posted on Pinterest and Instagram and even before the internet was a thing, it was probably hanging in an office somewhere to inspire the employee at the desk under it.
Glo laughed when I asked her what she thinks about that quote. “Entrepreneurship cannot be all shiny, all fun, all glitz and glam,” she started. “There has to be work involved. When we talk about entitlement breeds from thinking nothing has to be hard.”
She explained that in her view, there will be hard journeys and hard pieces of your journey. “I genuinely believe that quote no longer applies to me. I love what I do, but it is work,” Glo laughed.
More from Glo Atanmo
My favorite quote from Glo in this conversation was when she said, “Never feel like you’re starting from square one. Everything is a part of the journey. Honor the transition.”