“Nomadic” Matt Kepnes has been traveling the world for the past four years. During that time, he has created several websites and eBooks that support his lifestyle.
I caught up with Matt last week to ask him about his experience with working on the road, writing and selling eBooks and other online business models. Matt shared some secrets with me about successfully selling ebooks and gave me some details about his new book, Nomadic Matt’s Secrets to Successful World Travel.
Corbett: So, Matt, you’ve been traveling the world for the past four years, right? Where are you now?
Matt: It’s been a little less than four years but I’m getting close to that mark. I’m currently in Bali, Indonesia. Next week, I’ll be returning to Thailand for the Thai New Year.
Corbett: That’s really awesome. How do you finance your adventures?
Matt: All my travels and lifestyle are supported by my websites. Most of my income comes from my blog Nomadic Matt but I also have a few adsense websites that bring in some money.
Corbett: How do you work on the road? What is your work schedule like?
Matt: I tend to work in the mornings and then go out during the day, do some work around dinner time, and then go out for the night. However, if there is a lot of work to be done, I’ll take 3 or 4 days and stay in one place and just do work. Sometimes there’s a lot to do and you can’t really afford to spend the time traveling.
Corbett: Tell us about your experience writing for-sale eBooks. Was it worth it?
Matt: It was very much worth it. Selling the eBooks allowed me to better create a brand, diversify my income, and help people out at the same time. EBooks are a great tool.
Corbett: What lessons have you learned about successfully selling eBooks?
Matt: EBooks can do very well or fail miserably. To make an eBook do well, you have to write about something you are an expert in. People read you for a reason so your book should complement the topics of your blog or your lifestyle. Moreover, you need to market it relentlessly. If you don’t it will fail. Because of some serious traveling I’ve done recently, I haven’t had the time to market my new book as much as I would have liked and thus it has taken a lot longer for it to gain traction.
Corbett: How many eBooks have you published?
Matt: I have three eBooks: how to build a travel blog, how to monetize a travel blog, and my secrets to traveling the world. The book on building a blog is a complement to the book on monetizing your website, which goes into heavy detail on SEO, traffic strategies, and how to find advertisers for your website. Plus, as a bonus, I give away two advertiser names to help people get started.
My new book is my baby though. It’s all my travel tips, experience, and money saving strategies rolled up into 140 pages. I take people through the whole experience of an around-the-world trip from planning, to life on the road, to what to do when you get back. Even if you aren’t planning a long term trip, there’s a lot of tips and tricks in there that can help you save whenever you travel.
Corbett: Would you recommend building a business around a blog as you have to people who want to be location independent?
Matt: I think you can but in order to make it a lifestyle, you need to create a brand. You are a personality and if you don’t become a personality then you won’t be able to build a business around it. Think of all the people who have big websites — Tim Ferriss, John Chow, Darren Rowse, Perez Hilton. Their websites are their personal brands. If you want to be a success, you need to think of that.
Corbett: What other online business models or opportunities are you a fan of for digital nomads?
Matt: I believe there are a lot of ways to make it work. You can be a website designer, writer, photographer, consultant, etc. Anything that you can do from a computer can be done as a digital nomad. Sky is the limit.
Corbett: What’s next for you, where are you headed, and what are you working on?
Matt: I’ll be releasing a whole travel guides section to my website in the next few weeks and promoting my new eBook. After that I want to move into iPhone Apps. I think those are the future as is video, which I have already begun doing. On a personal level, I’ll be heading back to Europe next month before returning to the states for awhile. I plan on driving around the US and visiting old friends.
Editor’s Note: Matt sent me a copy of his new Travel Secrets book, and he’s put together a really fantastic and extensive guide to all aspects of the type of long-term worldwide travel Matt has been doing for the past four years. Check it out if you’re wondering what it takes to live on the road, or if you’re already planning to embark on an epic adventure.