Interview with Nomadic Matt and Superstar blogging course review

How to Make Money from Your Travel Blog – Interview with Nomadic Matt

In BLOGGING, INTERVIEWS by JurgaThis post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. More info: Disclosure.

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!

How to turn your travel blog into a business

 

 

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!

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Comments

  1. Great interview with Matt. He is such a legend in travel blogging! Did you take his Superstar blogging course? I ask because I have debated taking it several times. Right now, I am just trying to learn the basics of blogging, SEO and promotion. I can’t commit to learning something else at the same time. It’s very overwhelming. My blog is about 4 months old with 18 posts.

    Christine

    1. Author

      Hi Christine, yes, it’s extremely overwhelming, definitely in the beginning. And I have to be honest with you, it doesn’t really get better with the years. There is always so much you have to learn and keep learning. There is also so much you have juggle as a blogger (writing, photography, video, SEO, technical issues, social media, etc. etc.) and it’s really tough to do it all on your own. Not even to mention your personal life, home, and family…

      One thing you’ll often notice is that you don’t know what to do first, so it’s indeed good to just focus on one or two aspects of blogging for a while. But at the same time you have to realise that each component is very important to your ultimate success as a blogger. If you start writing without SEO knowledge, you’ll have to go back and re-write your posts later on. If you upload big pictures on your blog, you’ll need to go and resize them later on when you learn about page speed, etc. If you don’t start with social media from the start, you’ll regret it later, as it’s another component that ads authority to your blog… If I can give you one tip, start with Pinterest right away! You can find some more tips for beginners in my article on how to start a successful blog.

      To answer your question about the course, I didn’t take Matt’s course myself, because by the time it came out I felt that I was pretty confident in what I already knew in terms of first steps of starting the blog and how affiliate marketing works. I also had a pretty good knowledge of photography and editing as I’ve been selling pictures online long before I had a blog…

      I think it’s an excellent course for beginners and I heard nothing but good comments from people who took the course. What it does, it saves you TIME and GUESSWORK by giving a lot of useful information. You could also just find it all online, but it would take you much longer and you’d also inevitably make more mistakes. Matt is really good in what he is doing and he is a no-nonsense guy; his courses are built in such a way that you can truly learn the art of travel blogging. Also, big parts of his course are built by professionals specialised in areas they talk about. The course also gives you access to Matt’s FB group, which is another great place to ask questions and learn from the others.

      My honest opinion is that the earlier in your blogging carrier you take a course like that, the better ROI for you. It makes no sense to wait another year, if you do it, better do it sooner than later. Will it be a ticket to immediate success? I don’t think so. Blogging is hard work and it takes time and lots of persistence. Also because Google will not treat your site as an authority from the start, you have to prove yourself. But once again, a good course will save you time and take lots of guesswork away, empowering you to jump-start to the next level and hopefully start making money sooner.

      All the best!

      1. Thank you so much for your advice! I know the course is on sale a couple times a year because I am on his newsletter, so I will definitely consider it. I do love your website, I am glad I stumbled upon it. I have been following so many miles & points travel blogs for years, I never really looked at family travels blogs until I started my own. Wishing you a Happy New Year!

        1. Author

          Hi Christine, yes, indeed Matt has his courses on sale once in a while, but you may need to wait till another Black Friday for that (and lose 11 months in the process trying to save a few dollars…).

          On a side note, if you already follow blogs, then believe me, you’re several steps ahead of where I was when I started 3 years ago. I didn’t even have a Facebook account, read any blogs, or knew how they work or make money… 🙂
          Happy New Year to you as well and success with your blog!

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Jurga. It’s so overwhelming when you are just starting to blog and it feels like I will never make any money from it. Spending money on courses is also a big investment and you never know if it will be worth it. Do you have any personal tips on how to make money as a beginner (my blog is 2 months old)?

    1. Author

      Hi Sab, first of all, congratulations on your new blog. And I know exactly how you feel – it is so much work with little reward in the beginning, but there really isn’t any way around it. You first have to build your blog and get trust from search engines and from your readers BEFORE you can make money from it.
      If you start your blog with a business mindset, you’ll understand that any business requires investment. Taking a good blogging course can give you a really good jump-start in the beginning. Of course, you can probably just Google all the information – there is so much info available – but it will take you a bit longer to learn the same. So it’s really a personal decision, time vs money.
      As for personal tips on how to make money as a travel blogger, there are so many ways. I always joke that there are as many ways to earn from your blog as there are bloggers – everyone is doing it their own way. My own focus is passive income, which means that I’m less interested in paid (or free) trips or sponsored posts, but more in advertising and affiliate income. It’s my personal choice that fits well with my family situation and the way we like to travel. I talk a bit more about affiliate networks in this post – check it out: How to start successful travel blog from the start.
      Hope this helps and good luck!

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