Expat Bookshop introduced us to Nick Snelling (a Brit who runs the authoritative site, Culture Spain and who has authored five published books). We talked to Nick about his latest book release, Laptop Entrepreneur: How To Make A Living Anywhere In The World.
Expat Women: Nick, let's start at the beginning... what made you move to Spain nine years ago?
Nick: I was working as an equity trader in the UK and my company wanted to open up a European office. It sounded like a great opportunity, so I moved to Valencia with my wife and children.
Expat Women: How did your children cope with the move?
Nick: Amazingly well, given that they spoke no Spanish and went straight into full time Spanish education! In fact, one of the great triumphs of our move has been to help our children become international. They speak Spanish fluently now and my son is now at Valencia University on an Erasmus course in Turkey. So, they have left the constraints of the UK far behind and have developed a pan European outlook, which I think will stand them in good stead.
Expat Women: So, did you effectively swap equity trading for writing?
Nick: Yes, these days I am, more or less, a full time writer (although I also have a small estate agency dealing in properties local to my area in Valencia).
Expat Women: Why did you (and Graham Hunt) write Laptop Entrepreneur?
Nick: We wanted to write a problem-solving book for a time of problems. Increasingly, job security is being lost amidst the dreadful economic problems that have surged around the world. This has caused real hardship and I know, as an expat, how difficult it can be to earn money when you have no immediate support system available. This, I think, is a common experience for many expats.
Expat Women: Is the Internet the answer?
Nick: Well, it is certainly one answer and it has great advantages over starting other businesses. The overheads can be negligible, the risks almost absent and it is strategically sound, as the Internet is constantly expanding and is here to stay. Perhaps best of all, there are so many different ways of using the Internet to make money that virtually anyone can adapt their existing skills to cyberspace and make it work for them.
Expat Women: Where should someone start?
Nick: That is actually a very good question! Indeed, if anything, there is too much advice around, much of it very confusing and contradictory – which is one of the reasons my co-author and I wrote The Laptop Entrepreneur. What we wanted to do was to produce a clear accessible ‘road map’ for people who want to use the Internet to earn an income, which explained everything in simple terms. I think we have achieved this and produced a book that not only shows you how to use the Internet to make an income but also has excellent advice from very successful entrepreneurs who have done so.
Expat Women: Can people really make a living using the Internet?
Nick: Yes. Whilst there is no guarantee of success, it is not unheard of for a part time Internet business to quickly develop to such a point that it can become the main source of income for a family. This can be fantastic and, of course, because you can work worldwide, it means that the family also gains tremendous freedom. Furthermore, apart from the potential financial rewards, it can be great fun.
Expat Women: What tips can you give, for example, for someone who wants to start an income-producing blog?
Nick: Again, there are no guarantees, but six sound guidelines to help you on the right path for this would be:
1. Find a niche, and one that has commercial viability, that will enable you to enter a marketplace effectively, whilst providing something different and ‘eye-catching’. Try not to do what everyone else is doing.
2. Get your own domain name, your own hosting (thus being totally independent) and an excellent publishing platform (such as WordPress – which is user-friendly, powerful and ideal for blogging).
3. Publish frequently. The more you publish the better, initially, as you need to get ‘granularity’ and build up the content and ‘depth’ of your site.
4. Be consistent with your quality and develop a compelling style that is authoritative. Blogs work well when they are personal. So, write in the first person, present tense (wherever possible) and hold opinions (ones you can defend – however controversial).
5. Search Engine Optimise (SEO) all your posts carefully. Use relevant and well researched search terms, tag your posts properly and SEO all your images.
6. Sustain your blog. Even if you are successful instantly but most blogs take time to gain momentum and ‘traffic’. Keep publishing, be determined and check your statistics for what appeals to your audience and try to give them what they want – an interesting and reliable information stream, whether polemic, fun or useful. That way, over time you will gather a loyal readership who will trust you and who will then buy what you are selling.
Expat Women: Thank you very much for your time Nick and best wishes for Laptop Entrepreneur (Amazon affiliate link).