When I first started Full Suitcase travel blog, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know what running a blog meant and I didn’t have the slightest idea how to start a travel blog, let alone how to make money from a travel blog. Now just three years later, I’m running a very successful business that is growing faster than Amazon. How? The answer is simple. I didn’t try to reinvent the wheel, but learned about travel blogging from the best.
One of the first travel blogs that caught my attention when I was starting out was Nomadic Matt, a budget travel blog ran by Matthew Kepnes. At the time I started, he was already an established travel blogger making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, while inspiring millions of people to travel better, cheaper, more.
I remember checking his website, trying to figure out his secret to success and find out how he actually makes money from his travel blog. Funnily enough, a few months later Matt introduced his Superstar Travel Blogging Course, where he shares all his secrets and shows you how to turn your travel blog into a business. So now you don’t have to try to guess how travel bloggers make money anymore.
Matt’s course is one of the most complete and no-nonsense blogging courses you can find. It’s not about getting famous on Instagram and traveling the world for free. It will also not tell you how to turn your travel blog into a money making machine overnight. However, if you are willing to invest some time and learn, it will teach you all there is to know about travel blogging. Furthermore, it will help you find your own niche and creative ways to turn your travel blog into a business.
Recently I met Matt at a travel conference and interviewed him about his blogging career and Superstar blogging course. I also asked him to share some of his best tips, lessons learnt from over 10 years of blogging. Below, you can read my interview with Nomadic Matt. He shares some tips on how to turn your travel blog into a business and tells what you can expect to learn from his Superstar travel blogging course. Matt is an entrepreneur at heart, someone well worth learning from. So read on!
In case you wonder, yes, I will make a small commission if you will subscribe to one of Matt’s courses using the links in this post. However, this is not how I make 99,99% of my income and also not the reason behind this post. The reason for this article is to prevent you wasting money on scams and pyramid schemes that are unfortunately very common in the blogging world.
If you want to turn your blog into a business, taking a blogging course can be one of the best investments you can make. Just make sure it’s a reputable course that actually teaches you what you need to know; otherwise you’re just wasting your time and money. Find out!
Nomadic Matt interview – how to make money from your travel blog
- You have been blogging for almost a decade and Nomadic Matt is undoubtedly one of the leaders in the travel blogging industry. What’s your secret to success?
There is no secret! It’s just a matter of working hard and being lucky — among other things! But if I had to highlight something, I would say that one reason I succeed where others failed was because I treated my blog like a business. I read business books, went to business conferences, and learned how to transform my blog from ‘some website’ to a valued online resource. That’s one of the main reasons I’ve been able to last so long!
- If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
So many things! But the main thing I would change is that I would have started an email list sooner. It’s the best way to communicate with your readers and start on the road toward monetization. Had I started earlier I would likely have been able to grow my business even bigger. Lesson learned!
- In addition to travel advice, Nomadic Matt is now offering a Superstar blogging course. The course has only been introduced recently and quickly became ‘the talk of the town’. There are so many blogging courses available and I often hear new bloggers ask the same question – which blogging course is the best, which blogging course is right for me… Can you tell us what makes Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging course different from the rest and who will benefit from it the most?
The best course is the one that directly addresses the needs of the student. I always ask people who are interested in my course what their goals are and what their struggles are, because that’s how I find out the best way to go about helping them succeed. You need to have a teacher and a course that understand where you are coming from and where you want to go.
Superstar Blogging is different because you get direct access to your teacher via email, via homework assignments, and via a private Facebook group. Just like in a classroom, you can ‘raise your hand’ any time to ask questions and get answers from teachers and classmates alike. This unfiltered access is what students need, and it’s why Superstar Blogging has grown to the amazing platform that it is today.
- Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging offers four different courses – travel writing, photography, filmmaking, and the business of travel blogging. Are all courses equally important when you are just starting out? What’s the best place to start?
The best thing about this program is that is caters to different goals. Looking to break out on YouTube? Dive into the video course! Want to try writing for travel magazines? Take the travel writing course! We cover all the major angles so we are better situated to help our students succeed, no matter their goals.
Of course, if you’re looking to start building a business and blog then the Business of Blogging course is where you’ll want to start. But again, it all depends on what your goals are and what your experience is. That’s why I made each course its own entity: so you can start with any of them and go whatever direction you choose. It’s your business, after all!
- Superstar blogging course is mainly tailored towards travel blogging. Will somebody in another niche benefit from your expert tips and tutorials?
If your niche is related to travel to some degree — like a health and wellness or a lifestyle blog — then you will likely still be able to benefit. We try to focus solely on travel, since that’s what I’m an expert in. If you’re blogging about dogs or rock climbing, my expertise isn’t going to be as useful.
I’m here to help my students succeed, and I can’t do that if I’m not an expert in what they are working on. So we usually only accept students that are focused to some degree on travel.
- What about people who already have a blog, but haven’t had much success in monetising it. What can they expect to learn from Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging course?
They can expect to learn how to make money! Whether they are just looking for a supplement to their income or hoping to make a full-time living, my course can help.
We cover all the bases in the course, and I have plenty of students who are making money — even full-time incomes — from their blogs. It takes hard work and a lot of effort, but I am here every step of the way to help you succeed!
- Can you lift the veil and tell us the most successful strategy you have been using for monetising your blog? Was this the same strategy you have applied from the start?
These days, everyone seems to be looking for free press trips or Instagram deals. And that’s fine if it works for them! But I’ve found the best platform for making money is to make your own products. Social media platforms can disappear, leaving you high and dry. The same goes for affiliate programs. But with your own product, you own it — it’s yours forever.
I always encourage my students to make their own products. Yes, also explore affiliates and ads and partnerships, but try to make your own products as your main source of income. That is the best way to remain financially independent!
- If you could give just three tips of advice for someone starting a blog in 2019, what would you say?
1. Learn to write! There are so many poorly-written blogs these days, so if you can write quality, engaging content you’ll be able to stand out from the crowd.
2. Start an email list immediately. Even if just 1 or 2 people sign up, it will be worth it in the end.
3. Learn about business! You don’t need to go get a PhD in it, but read a few books to help get you in the right frame of mind.
- Quickies, because after all, it’s all about travel…
Your favourite travel destination. Thailand!
Your least favourite travel destination. Vietnam, though maybe it’s time I give it a second chance!
Strangest travel experience. There are too many to list, though my hostel horror story is likely one of them!
Thanks, Matt, for the interview. And now on to work on my email list and brainstorm about creating my own products!