Nomadic Matt posing by a narrow canal in sunny Amsterdam
Posted: 4/2/23 | April 2nd, 2023

As we speak is an enormous day. It marks fifteen years working this web site. I posted my first weblog entry in early April 2008, after spending over a month bugging associates I met in Vietnam for assist with coding. Again then, within the days earlier than WordPress, you needed to hand-code all the pieces, and I spent a whole lot of time determining find out how to transfer photos round, design graphics, create hyperlinks, and format the positioning.

I began this weblog as a approach to get freelance writing gigs so I may afford to maintain touring. I simply needed to place off going company for so long as doable. I by no means thought I’d have a profession in journey, however I assume after fifteen years doing so, this counts as a profession. I’ve created books, courses, and tours, spoken at conferences, and am quoted within the media. So, I assume I’m form of an professional in journey? That feels bizarre to say.

Being a public determine is surreal to me, as a result of, in so some ways, I’m nonetheless only a man who desires to maintain touring. There’s a lot of the world I wish to see. Positive, I like the enterprise of working a web site. It’s a psychological problem I discover fascinating. However, to me, it’s nonetheless only a approach to fulfill my travel addiction and keep away from having to work in an workplace (although, now that I have a team, it’s a extra sophisticated approach to keep away from the workplace!).

Within the final fifteen years, I’ve seen the web and journey content material creation change dramatically. Digital nomads are not bizarre, and earning profits on-line isn’t odd.

“You give up your job? Are you loopy?” isn’t one thing lots of people say nowadays. There’s a whole lot of constructive encouragement for this factor that was as soon as thought-about so loopy that there will need to have been one thing incorrect with you for those who needed to do it.

As persons are liable to do throughout milestones like this, I needed to share some classes I’ve realized as a grizzled previous web particular person (as a result of individuals consult with me as “an OG digital creator” as if I’m 90!).

1. Most individuals succeed due to luck

Nomadic Matt posing for a photo along the winding road of Hawaii
Somebody’s video goes viral, and all of a sudden their bakery in Australia has extra orders than they know what to do with.

Some individuals get that fortunate interview that opens the door to fame.

Some individuals simply meet that one proper particular person at a convention.

In fact, talent is required to keep up that success, however a whole lot of instances, luck and timing play a much bigger position than individuals wish to admit. That’s not one thing you possibly can management. Would I be the place I’m if I hadn’t began early with a deal with search engine marketing? Most likely not. I simply occurred to begin on the proper time. That’s not one thing I managed. I acquired fortunate.

2. Throw a whole lot of spaghetti in opposition to the wall

I’ve had a whole lot of failed concepts — from apps to T-shirts to a convention to a hostel. A few of these ventures caught for some time; others have been fast failures. Some got here again years later (we do tours again!). I’m continuously attempting new issues after which discarding what doesn’t work. However all these issues that didn’t work helped us do different issues that did work.

3. Nobody reads blogs for private updates anymore

Matt Kepnes of Nomadic Matt looking over a canal in Paris
Again within the day, blogs have been the place you advised tales and gave life updates. Folks had RSS feeds and left feedback. Now, that occurs principally by way of e mail and social media. Yeah, some individuals will click on over to your tales, and blogs are nonetheless helpful for sharing service-based content material, however the way in which individuals used to eat private updates is useless. It most likely gained’t come again both. The form of engagement weblog feedback used to generate is now discovered on social media.

4. Due to this fact, you must be on social media

You possibly can’t be in opposition to social media. You must be on it. I don’t consider you possibly can run a personality-based web site with out utilizing social media these days. You don’t have to be on each platform — be part of people who make you most snug — however you must be on some. As I mentioned, all social engagement occurs there now. It’s the place you join and preserve a relationship together with your readers. Your weblog is simply the place you ship them after they have questions.

5. You must study to make some video content material

I hate video. I like phrases. However video is the wave of the long run, and you must study to provide it. I’ve already began doing extra video and plan to do much more. In case your weblog has a face (you), that face needs to be making video. It’s how younger individuals eat media, and, if you need your message heard by them, you must do it.

6. It’s vital to at all times reinvent your self

Matt Kepnes of Nomadic Matt speaking at a book store while on a book tour
Change is the one fixed in life — and the web modifications at lightning pace. In the event you don’t continuously reinvent your self, you’re going to get left behind actually quick. I do know tons of on-line creators who by no means moved off their dying social media platform or modified their enterprise mannequin and is puttering alongside, grinding it out however by no means actually rising. They didn’t undertake new methods or get on new platforms. They didn’t comply with their viewers. And, consequently, whereas they make a residing, it’s only a disturbing grind of diminishing returns.

You must be prepared to vary course typically if you wish to succeed on-line.

7. Some methods are timeless

Though all the pieces modifications, some issues stay the identical. You must at all times have your personal web site, e mail remains to be king, and high quality content material versus gimmicky developments and memes (on any platform) remains to be one of the simplest ways to develop. The tried-and-true advertising and marketing methods to get individuals to comply with you, purchase your stuff, or join one thing haven’t modified (as a result of individuals don’t change), so following the recommendation of a bunch of “boring” entrepreneurs remains to be one of the simplest ways to succeed.

8. Don’t go all in on one platform

Bear in mind Vine? What occurred to all these creators who went all in there? At all times unfold your self round, as a result of platforms change — and so they don’t care about you. Algorithms change, development slows, and platforms alter course. So don’t put all of your effort into only one platform. Be in a number of locations, but additionally: at all times direct individuals again to your web site and e mail checklist, as a result of, it doesn’t matter what occurs to social media, these are at all times going to be the 2 stuff you personal and management.

9. Rent a workforce

Nomadic Matt reading a stack of books about travel
You’ll by no means develop for those who don’t have a workforce. There are solely so many hours in a day. You simply can’t do all of it. And your time needs to be spent on development and creation, not formatting photos. Hiring employees to assist with admin work, content material updates, e mail, and something in between will skyrocket your development. It’s not possible in any other case.

10. Consider your self as a pizza store

If you wish to be a profitable enterprise, you must behave like, for instance, the brick-and-mortar pizza store down the road. You must take into consideration bills, P&L studies, taxes, advertising and marketing, gross sales, and many others. You must provide you with boring advertising and marketing plans. You want workers. In any other case, you’re simply taking part in enterprise, not really working one.

I do know tons of creators who say they “run a enterprise” however when requested for specifics they don’t even know the fundamentals.

11. By no means cease studying

Go to conferences, learn books, and hearken to podcasts. The highest individuals in any area learn — continuously.

And so they go to occasions the place they study from their friends.

And so they go to area of interest occasions, the place they study from consultants in different fields.

The best disappointment within the journey trade for me is that few creators are actually specializing in bettering their abilities (I say this as somebody who ran knowledgeable growth convention). However the ones that do? They crush it — and so they keep on high! The remaining putter alongside.

12. Study to let go

Matt Kepnes of Nomadic Matt working on a laptop at a desk
We used to gross $500,000 a 12 months simply from our running a blog programs. Then gross sales dropped. I spent some huge cash attempting to get them again up, however the market had modified. Immediately, everybody on-line had a course on running a blog and was throwing large sums into advertisements. Clients needed extra movies and weekly calls. We tried to adapt, however in the long run, what the course market grew to become wasn’t what actually me. Now, we make about $50,000 a 12 months as a substitute. You must be prepared to let issues go if one thing isn’t working.

13. Don’t attempt to work and journey on the identical time

It’s not possible to work and journey on the identical time. You simply can’t do it. Your work suffers, your travels endure, and your psychological well being suffers. If you wish to be a digital nomad, don’t transfer quick. Transfer gradual, keep in locations longer, have devoted work days, and discover good coworking areas. Don’t run from café to café and vacation spot to vacation spot or else you’ll at all times really feel like you might be solely treading water, by no means like you might be transferring ahead.

14. You MUST community exterior your trade

Nomadic Matt on stage speaking at a WDS conference
You could community exterior your trade if you wish to succeed. In your personal trade, individuals know you and there are overlapping audiences. You possibly can solely develop a lot. However going to occasions exterior your trade? These are extra impactful since you might be that different trade’s professional. I am going to finance, enterprise, and social media conferences so I can meet individuals and be their journey man. Do they want quotes or an interview? I’m there. Going to non-travel occasions has carried out extra for my web site’s development than any journey occasion I’ve ever been to.

15. It’s OK to give up

It’s arduous to confess failure. I do know a whole lot of journey creators — and creators typically — that maintain working on-line as a result of they really feel they will by no means return to an workplace job, regardless of the very fact they’re barely surviving. Typically issues don’t work out — it’s OK to give up and let go. Use the talents you must work for another person and get an everyday paycheck. We idolize working for ourselves within the on-line house a lot that we neglect that it’s OK to simply receives a commission to do a job and clock out and in. Don’t let delight get in the way in which of admitting that one thing didn’t work. Life is just too brief to be continuously confused and anxious for years. Let go.


Final 12 months, I quit blogging on a regular basis. I simply felt like I’d mentioned all I may say about journey. This 12 months, I’m going to proceed that pattern and semi-retire. I wish to write extra books, journey for enjoyable (not for work), and proceed to deal with my well being and health. Final 12 months, I gave up a whole lot of private time when journey restarted post-COVID — occasions, excursions, and conferences. It took up most of my free time. Actually, final 12 months was the primary 12 months since I began touring and I didn’t go to 1 new place.

However no extra.

After this month, I gained’t be happening any extra full TNN tours (although I’ll nonetheless pop in now and again). I plan to proceed at hand off the day-to-day operations of this web site to my workforce. (Letting go is the toughest a part of all of this!) I plan to attend my final journey convention this 12 months.

I’ll proceed to weblog once I really feel the urge, however I wish to replace my ebook How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, write a brand new ebook, deal with bringing journey to individuals by way of video, and perhaps do one thing fully new. I’m unsure actually.

The final fifteen years have been a wild journey. However it’s time to do different issues. I’m unsure what, nevertheless it’s time to develop and see what’s on the market!

E book Your Journey: Logistical Suggestions and Tips

E book Your Flight
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Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
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Take a look at my resource page for one of the best corporations to make use of while you journey. I checklist all those I exploit once I journey. They’re one of the best in school and you may’t go incorrect utilizing them in your journey.

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