Three E-Books to Help You Make Money, Travel, and Change Your Life


It’s no secret that many of us are looking for something different in life. And one of the biggest things we can change about our lives is how we work. If we are not tied to a desk all the time, the options for how — and where — we choose to live open up dramatically.

Following are profiles of three e-books that feature a different aspect of making money, traveling, and changing your life.

Although each e-book is very different, they share the following commonalities:

  • The authors all make a full-time living with their unconventional professions.
  • The authors practice what they preach.
  • The authors have time for extensive travel (although not all of them are full-time travelers).
  • Each e-book is jam-packed with concrete resources to get you going, as well as lifestyle design tips to keep you inspired.

So without further ado…

The Unconventional Guide to Working for Yourself

The author of this e-book, Chris Guillebeau, has a wildly popular web site called The Art of Non-Conformity, which is a template for living life outside of the box by challenging our ethos and ideas. Chris also has great business sense, and regularly shares the details of his ongoing entrepreneurial ventures with his readers.

The Unconventional Guide to Working for Yourself is a guide to starting your own very small business. Chris shares his personal experience of breaking free from the 9-5 cycle to run his own businesses, in an effort to escape the cubicle-lifestyle and to set his own course through life. Since the age of 20, he has worked for himself in one capacity or another, so he has lots of experience — good, bad, and otherwise — to share with you.

(Incidentally, Chris is currently fulfilling a mission to visit every country in the world by April 2013. Because he works for himself, he is able to incorporate such travels into his life, and has already visited 119 of 197 countries.)

Who this e-book is for:

  • You want to start an online business and generate a source of revenue without having to quit your job.
  • You are prepared to work for it.
  • You are not overly familiar with various ways to make money online, and need help getting started. (Online marketing gurus need not apply.)

Here are some of the business ideas and possible streams of income profiled in the e-book:

  • Blogging — and how to actually make some money with it (which most people don’t)
  • Ebay selling
  • Stock photography (and other ways to make money with photographs)
  • Consulting
  • Information products
  • Continuity programs
  • Affiliate income (and why most affiliate programs don’t work)
  • Maximizing Adsense revenue
  • Chris encourages you to come up with your own ideas, and even discusses a few wacky unconventional career ideas, like speaking on cruise ships

The e-book also goes into lots of detail about the logistics of running your own online business, as well as the pitfalls you can avoid to ramp up your success even faster. Chris shares his personal experience throughout the book, which adds character and humility to the writing along with a good dose of inspiration.

Each chapter ends with an action plan that is easy to follow and implement right away, complete with specific actionable steps. Chris provides the practical tools required for moving forward; I enjoy the personal testimonials of online products and services he uses and how he uses them (sometimes unconventionally) for his benefit. It has already helped me to better monetize my own online streams of income.

This e-book is not a roadmap to instantaneous riches, as many e-books of this nature tend to try to be. Chris is realistic about the amount of work required to start and maintain a business of any sort, and makes no bones about it to the reader. If you want to start an online business to generate some extra income (and maybe escape the conventional 9-5 working life), then The Unconventional Guide to Working for Yourself is a great launching pad.

The Unconventional Guide to Working for Yourself

E-Book Length: 54 pages

Bonuses: 3 audio MP3 teaching sessions (25 minutes each), a 26 page guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), plus free email updates to the guide as new information becomes available.

Cost: $58 US

How to Make Money With Your Travel Blog

The author of this e-book, Matt Kepnes, may be better known as Nomadic Matt; a 20-something traveler who has been on the road full-time since 2006. He started a travel blog (like just about every other traveler on the planet), and expected to be making money hand over fist before long with his tales of adventure.

It didn’t happen.

After sifting through many of the “make money online” courses, Matt learned through trial and error how to make their internet marketing strategies applicable to blogs (which are different from static web sites), more specifically — travel blogs.

Now, he makes over $3,000 US/month with his travel blogs and web sites. And if you recall what the cost of full-time travel is, you’ll know that this sort of income is more than enough to pave the way quite nicely.

How to Make Money With Your Travel Blog teaches you how to create a money-making travel blog, from conceptualization to monetization. The e-book is very specific about how to do it, providing precise instructions for each step along the way.

Who this e-book is for

  • You want to start a blog that will make you money, or already have a blog that you want to monetize.
  • You understand the basic principles of blog management and know what SEO stands for(!), but you don’t know exactly where to start or how to put it all together.
  • You are interested in the travel industry.
  • You want extra income on the side.

Although the e-book is very travel-centric, many of the principles taught in this guide could apply to any blog. However Matt is very connected within the travel genre, and one of the benefits he offers his e-book readers is access to advertisers and other travel-friendly SEO tips.

A random selection the interesting things I read about in the book include:

  • Specific Wordpress themes and plugins that are suggested to maximize SEO
  • Various techniques for attracting new traffic, along with an evaluation of the efficiency and effectiveness of each technique
  • The finer nuances of Stumble Upon (although I have been a Stumbler in days past, I only now realize I haven’t even begun to maximize its potential)
  • How to find advertisers of all shapes and sizes
  • A huge number of services and systems that you can use to get links to your site (henceforth: pagerank, henceforth: popularity, henceforth: advertisers, henceforth: money!)

Of the six sections of the e-book (Setting up Your Blog, Creating Your Blog, Increasing Traffic, SEO Tips, Monetization, and Putting it All Together), the one entitled Search Engine Optimization Tips is the beefiest and jam-packed with specific resources to help you promote and evaluate the effectiveness of your blog.

If you aren’t interested in learning all Matt’s lessons by trial and error, then How to Make Money With Your Travel Blog will help launch you well beyond the learning curve. Had this e-book been around when I started my own travel blog, I might not have had to reinvent the wheel as many times as I did.

How to Make Money With Your Travel Blog

E-Book Length: 37 pages

Bonuses: The author will tap you into his private link networks to generate SEO-friendly traffic to your blog. He also has a list of advertisers looking to place ads on travel blogs, and by purchasing this e-book you will gain access to these advertisers.

Cost: $37 US

X Marks the Spot: The Indispensable Guide to Living and Working from Anywhere You Choose (2nd Edition)

Lea Woodward and her husband Jonathan have been living a location independent lifestyle since 2007. In that time they have stayed in various destinations around the world for a few months in each place, and can prove that traveling the world with a location independent career can actually be less expensive than staying home and working the traditional 9-5 career.

X Marks the Spot is a guide to living location independently, from taking the initial plunge, to organizing the logistics along the way, to finding and developing a location independent career. Both the intangible emotions as well as the concrete logistics of becoming/being location independent are balanced throughout the e-book — since such a lifestyle change entails a lot of emotional groundwork.

Who this e-book is for

  • You are considering — or are creating — a location independent career and lifestyle..
  • You want to know if being location independent is for you.
  • You need help with the logistics of living location independently.
  • You want to understand the cost of living abroad.
  • You need a location independent business idea.

I already live location independently, and I still found this book useful and inspirational. Lea provides dozens of useful resources with regards to ongoing business management and administration, including some that particularly intrigued me (and helped me realize that being location independent doesn’t have to be difficult):

  • Global wireless internet service
  • Online faxing service
  • How to search for suitable accommodation from abroad
  • Remote mailing/scanning services

With brutal honesty, Lea shares her victories as well as her mistakes. She outlines their exact finances for each place they lived in, and compares them directly to the cost of living in the UK and other western countries. She encourages you to ask some tough questions of yourself to determine where you might want to live, and helps you through the process of becoming nomadic with sage advice on everything from luggage to immigration.

This book is less about the sheer mechanics of making money, and more about how to make money with a location independent lifestyle. If you have made the decision to become location independent, or want to know more about it, then X Marks the Spot will be the book for you.

X Marks the Spot: The Indispensable Guide to Living and Working from Anywhere You Choose

E-Book Length: 82 pages

Bonuses: You can order both the 1st edition and 2nd editions for the same price as just the 2nd edition. (The 1st edition contains much more of Lea’s personal journey to becoming location independent, which may be quite appealing to some people).

Cost: £15 (approx $25 US)

“Some people feel like a “real job” is their security against the economy. Entrepreneurs know the opposite: their competence is their security.” — quote from The Unconventional Guide to Working for Yourself

Review Disclaimer: I received these e-books free for review, and the post includes affiliate links.

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Guest's picture

The first e-book, The Unconventional Guide to Working for Yourself, is amazing. I myself live a very unconventional life. I wake up bright and early for the stock market, make a few trades, then spend the rest of my day at various coffee shops around town blogging about what I am passionate about.

It's a great way to network, meet locals, and escape.

Good post.

Guest's picture

I'm so intrigued by these authors' lifestyles! I've decided after 15 years in corporate America to shift to doing something location independent. I'm not sure that I need to travel as extensively as these authors though.

I'm trying to create a life by writing and consulting. I've worked long enough to know that the conventional lifestyle simply isn't my gig.

I look forward to hearing from others who have read this post and who are living this lifestyle! Taking the leap of faith that I'll make enough money to still have some fun is important.

All my best,

Nora Dunn's picture

@Zen - I too, was impressed with the first book. It is well put together, and contains some really solid information. (Of course, it is twice the price of the other books too...)

@Kim Mango - Chris Guillebeau travels a lot, but he lives a more "conventional" life than the other two authors in the realm of having a travel lifestyle. The other two authors live on the road pretty much permanently; Chris simply takes trips (dare I say "vacations") to travel.

Guest's picture

Um, not to be cynical Sam over here but these prices are outrageous for a book that never actually gets physically bound and has no shipping costs attached. In addition, what do you think the odds are that these writers discovered that overpriced e-books are the way to be financially independent in the course of their experiences? They get rich, and we get a bunch of ideas that anyone could implement without instruction if they really wanted to and had the drive to do it... no thanks.

Nora Dunn's picture

@Guest - The e-book industry is a curious one; the average price for an e-book of this sort is $30-60US. Although it never gets bound & has no shipping costs, it is usually written for a specific audience to attain a specific goal, and contains practical steps to get you there (unlike conventional books, which often cater to a larger audience by necessity). And when the end-goal is to make money (or more money, or different money), the price point is justified as a means to an end.

Although you have to pay for the information, the alternative is that you could possibly waste a whole heap of your time (and money, circuitiously) learning their lessons on your own and reinventing the wheel yourself. 

And yes - the authors are making money. But I see value and inspiration in their products, and recognize that there was a lot of time and effort that got put into it. If you don't see the value though - don't buy! (smiles)

Guest's picture
Linsey K.

I have nothing to add.

You may go now.

Guest's picture

I like the idea of these but my favorite is the one where you can work anywhere in the world. I think this is a huge decision but with real advice and guidance it could be easy.

I would love to take the plunge and see more of the world.

Guest's picture

I met two couples earlier this week who have chosen to live on a boat. Each couple has their own boat and they travel all over the place together. Each had their family dog that they took with them.

They told me stories of people who work on the Internet from their boats and travel the world. So, I know it's being done, but like you, I'm not sure exactly where to start. I guess I should read the book :-)

Guest's picture

great books! thanks so much.
it's always great to find people willing to share info to help everyone out. I am trying to help as well With This Page
There's a bunch of free ebooks and some not so free but I make sure to continuously update the free section.

Guest's picture

Matt Kepnes "book" was a waste of money and I regret paying $27 for information that I could easily find on my own just by spending a few hours on Google. If you are lazy, then maybe this book is for you; however, travel blogging most certainly is not. He does a good job at outlining all the information but there is really not much else to the 37 page pamphlet. Charging $27 for this is straight robbery.

I can't say the book wasn't helpful to me at all. No, it certainly helped me realize who I didn't want to become in the blogging world, but I probably would have figured it out on my own in due time anyway.

Nora Dunn's picture
Nora Dunn

Thank you all for the comments!

@Joe - I'm sorry you didn't see value in Matt's book. I find that many e-books are a combination of information you could find elsewhere if you had the time & energy (and propensity towards trial & error) to do so, combined with some form of added value or experience that the author brings to the table. The reader pays to have all the information they need in an easily digestible format, plus the added benefits that have intangible value.

I think that all three authors successfully do that with these books; Matt does so by providing basic travel blogging and SEO tips, and then utilizing his connections with advertisers and expensive subscriptions to collaborate with readers and aspiring travel bloggers.

I hope that you can see some value in the book after looking at it this way, and having spent the money on it. If not, you may want to contact Matt, he's very approachable.

Guest's picture

That third e-book looks interesting. Does it go into detail about the different career paths? I would love to get additional ideas :D also knowing the logistics is just as important... Just wondering whether this e-book offers both ;D

- Maria Alexandra

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