Job for Nomads Part 2: Blogging, Websites and Making Videos

This is the second in series on how to make money on the road by writing a blog, running a website or making Videos for Youtube. In the first of the series I tried to provide a balance of a warning against having too high expectations of success, but also being aware there was still a market for anyone who had a modicum of talent and also was willing to buckle down and do the hard work required.

Today I want to look at the talent that is needed and where your hard work has to go. I firmly believe that if you either possess these eleven skills or are willing to do the hard work required to learn them and master them, then you can be a success with a blog or videos.

Let’s take a look at them:

Required Skills for Success: 

Before you even consider creating a website, blog or Youtube channel, read this list of Required Skills. The more you have the better, but you must at least be willing to work to gain them. My advice is, if you aren’t willing to do the work, don’t even bother!

  1. Passion for your topic: Some people will tell you to use keyword searches to find a topic that is under-covered online and cover it. I say forget that! Only blog or Vlog about something you love! If you are in it for the money, then your audience will see and sense that and will not be loyal to you–why should they be, you just want their money? Above everything else, you are seeking to build a relationship with an audience and they can spot instantly if you are a phony out to make money off them. Never do that!! Only pick a topic you have a genuine and deep passion for!
  2. Be genuine, open and honest, the more transparent you are with your audience, the more they will like you and stay with you.That seems counter-intuitive, don’t you want to convince them how great you are so they will listen to you? No! People who toot their own horns are a dime and dozen and people will follow them for awhile, but eventually the truth show through and they will stop following them. What’s hard to find is someone who admits they have the same problems, questions, and fears as the audience has–but they are figuring it and getting through them. That is so rare, people will be very devoted to that person! Vulnerability and honesty are your number one assets!
  3. You MUST like and care about people enough to Serve them! If you are in this for the money, everyone will see that and no one will care about you– you will get back from your audience the care and compassion that you give out. The truth is we are all mainly focused internally on ourselves and so finding someone who seems to genuinely care about me is so rare, I’ll instantly be drawn to them. If you are just using them, they’ll never follow you! Decide what you have to give to others to make their lives better, and be single-minded in doing that. Making money must be a distant second place in your priority list. Surprisingly, if you will do that, the money will come in.
  4. Dedication and Commitment: One thing you should never do is carelessly get a pet like a cat or dog and then get rid of it quickly. That is a relationship you form with your pet and it’s too important not to take it seriously. In the exact same way, you are creating a relationship with your audience and once you’ve created that relationship you must maintain it. Honor them and treat them with respect by being dedicated to it for the Long Haul. So I strongly encourage you to commit to putting in the hard work and time it requires for at least one full year–and preferably more like 2-5 years. After the first year make a strong evaluation and maybe make some changes. If you haven’t made it after 5 years, it’s time to give up!
  5. Have a Passion for learning: It’s likely you will face a steep learning curve on the technicalities of web-building, blogging, and making videos and sharing them on Youtube, but you just have to put in the time and work to learn and do it right. If you do a half-ass job, you’ll get half-ass results! Plan on spending a LOT of time studying and learning by reading, watching videos, and doing research–it’ll pay off in the end result. More importantly, you must become an EXPERT on your topic, and competent on the other topics surrounding it. When I first started cheap I had already been living in my van for eight years and during that time I learned everything I could. But, there was still much more to know! When I started blogging I thought I was an expert, but, I knew there were many other ways to do the same things, and I only knew my one way to do them. There is an infinite variety of ways to accomplish the same goal, and I wanted to learn as many of them as I could! Since then I’ve tried to learn something from everyone I met so I could answer any question and help anyone in any way. That is the attitude you must have, “I’m a learning machine that will end up knowing everything possible about my topic.” I recommend Amazon Kindle books as the cheapest and best source of books.
  6. Play Well with others: One thing every blogger and Youtube Creator can tell you is there are lots of trolls and haters out there that want to make your life miserable. For whatever reason, they are unhappy people and they want you to be unhappy too! Plus there are also people who legitimately think you were wrong and need to tell you why (I get that a lot) so they’ll write and tell you how wrong you are. I never object to a legitimate discussion of ideas, but I draw the line at the people who write in and just want to insult me and hate on me. There are also others who love drama and write in with the sole goal of causing a fight and stirring up trouble.  You must be able to deal with them in an intelligent and reasonable way. You will get angry and you will be hurt but you must develop a thick enough skin to cope with that. If you can’t you may want to reconsider this as a field to make money in. There will be haters and you will be hated! and you can’t respond in kind.
  7. Writing skills: writing skills are essential for your new job. Even if you’re not writing a blog or website and you’re just doing videos you still have to write titles and descriptions. All of those things require writing skills. Writing titles is one of the hardest things you can do. They must be very short but they also must grab attention that’s a difficult chore. So whatever skills you have now start with them and they’ll be good enough. But you must also always be working to increase your skills and gain more. Read books on the topic, have a good thesaurus on hand. Have a grammar book on hand to learn grammar skills. Do whatever it takes to become a better writer! But, be aware that a lot of it is simply practice, the more you write the better you’ll become. Over a period of time, I’ve found my writing gets better just because of the large amount of it I do! I’m living proof of the old adage practice makes perfect and you can too! Don’t let a lack of writing skills keep you from starting–you can improve with time and work.
  8. Photography: I’m very lucky in that all of my life I have enjoyed photography. Nature photography has been my number one hobby since I was a very young man. So when it came time to have photographs on my blog and website I was ready for the challenge! I had the camera and I had the skills. I could take decent photographs from the very beginning. And just like writing, my skills and my artistic ability with both a still and video cameras have improved, and your’s will too! If you lack that background, start studying and taking lots of pictures now!! With hard work and persistence, you can gain competence and even artistry!
  9. Marketing: The bad news is that the fields of RVing and Vandwelling are very saturated by both blogs and Vlogs! But the good news is there’s still room for more if you’re willing to do it right! The hunger and demand for it is virtually insatiable! If you do it well, you can build an audience. But because the market is so saturated and full already you have to make yourself stand apart. People are NOT going to come flocking to you because you opened a new channel or a new blog. You have to make them aware of you and that is the Art and Science of marketing–like it or not, you have to learn the basics. I don’t have the time now to go into details about how to do it we will cover it a little bit later this is one of those areas you may want to hire a pro and have a professional guide you through it. At any rate, there are plenty of books and videos on it that will give you a beginning and a start on marketing–do your research and learning!
  10. SEO: the single most important element of gaining an audience is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and you must become at least competent and have a basic understanding of that. Most of us know nothing about it so you’re going to have to take the time to learn! You keep hearing me say that over and over again that you’re going to have to read and study the books and videos and you’re probably getting tired and discouraged by it: GOOD! You need to go into this with a clear view of what lies ahead of you. Learning and more learning is the key to success! It won’t just happen because you’re so pretty or admirable or a Nice Guy! People still need to find you the first time and that comes mostly from just good old fashioned hard work. So do the research and learn SEO and make it happen on your Vlog and on your blog.
  11. Computer Technical Skills: finally you have to know at least a modicum of computer knowledge and skills to put it all together. If you have a crappy looking Channel or a crappy looking website no one’s going to stick with you. If your website is slow or they can’t hear your videos or find anything in your videos channels or websites no one will know anything about you. So you have to have the technical abilities to make it clear, concise, fast, and usable. Usability is the key and only computer skills will give that to you. You’re going to have to know some basic underlying facts and skills but you still may want to hire a professional to do the initial build on your website it will pay off in the long run.

The more of these you get right, the far greater your chance of very good success!! Fail to embrace them with hard work, and success becomes unlikely. It’s all in your hands and your control!

Be sure and check out my YouTube Channel here:

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I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

13 comments on “Job for Nomads Part 2: Blogging, Websites and Making Videos
  1. The one of these I know most about is writing. Good writing is really good editing, which is where those skills you mentioned come in. Writing, for me, is just pouring out ideas on paper or pixels. Editing is shaping them to be clear and interesting to my audience.

  2. Avatar Tom Swenson says:

    Bob, as usual, your advice is spot on. I’ve been studying this craft for a couple years now. You’ve done a great job of taking the varied skill needed and distilling it down to a single web page. I’d like to expand on a couple of your points and add one of my own.

    We all have tremendous pride in our work and our expertise our chosen topic. However, I believe it is very important to check your ego at the door when interacting with your audience. Just because someone disagrees with something you said in a video doesn’t mean that person is out to damage your reputation or undermine your credibility. In many cases the commenter feels he or she is legitimately contributing to the conversation. The worst thing you can do is start a online argument that quickly escalates into a flame war. In most cases, your best responses is to simply thank them for commenting and move on.

    Trolls and haters are a different animal. These people fee powerless over their own lives. So, they prowl the Internet provoking reactions from others. DON’T give them the attention and sense of empowerment they crave. They only have power over you if you give it to them. It’s like dealing with a two-year old throwing a temper tantrum. If you refuse to respond, they’ll eventually get bored and move on to someone else. Just delete them.

    Finally, ALL comments whether positive or negative boost your rankings in YouTube and/or Google’s search algorithm. The same applies to thumbs up and thumbs down. The search engines see it as user engagement. The more engagement you get, the better you’ll do. So, go ahead and thank that negative commenter. He’s really is doing your a favor whether he knows it or not. And this brings me to the next topic.

    #10 SEO
    I have found the most effective SEO strategy revolves around “long tail keywords”. These are short phrases that clearly describe the subject at hand. First, there is a lot less competition for these multi-word phrases. For example, its far easier to rank for “Dutch oven candied yams” than simply “yams”. The second reason is relevance. Search engine users these days know they won’t find the specific information they seek with a one word search. If you can, anticipate the multi-word search phrases folks use to find the specific information you offer. Title your videos and set your keywords and video descriptions accordingly.

    I run a cooking channel. I recently switched to a plant-based whole food (vegan) diet for health reasons. Most of my prior videos were unhealthy featuring meat, butter dairy, sugary sauces etc. In early December, I announced to my audience that I was pausing production of new videos for a month because I needed to change my diet. Two weeks ago I came back and told my audience that I was eliminating meat, dairy, eggs, etc. and will be making whole food plant based recipes from now on.

    I truly thought this would be the end of my channel as I knew it. I feared my audience would react to it like a fart in Church. I assumed that subscriber base would instantly vaporize and I would be forced to rebuild my audience from scratch. But that simply didn’t happen. Yes, I lost a handful of subscribers on the day of the announcement. But, something truly amazing happened. I got a overwhelmingly positive response for my audience. I’m talking hundreds of messages most of them congratulating me on taking control of my health and telling me they were excited and looking forward to healthier recipes on my channel. And, aside from a small subscriber loss on that one day, my audience base continues to grow.

    The take away is this. You just don’t know how folks will react to your ideas until you try them. If something appeals to you chances are it appeals to others as well.

    I hope these insights help. I’m looking forward to hearing more from Bob.

  3. Avatar Wayne (Wirs) says:

    This post might be discouraging to many because of all the work and learning involved, but Bob is spot on in breaking down the skills and attributes needed. Here’s the secret though: If you have #1 & #3 (passion for your topic and a desire to serve your audience) all the rest of the skills are easy. #1 & #3 MOTIVATE you to grow the other skills.

    I hate marketing. Hate it, but if instead of focusing on sales or hits or likes, I focus on HELPING my audience, “sharing the word” actually feels good! Who would have thought? Passion and Love baby. Passion and Love.

  4. Avatar Dave Burdick says:

    Very good so far Bob, looking forward to more. One thing people need to be aware of also are the scammers…those who make comments as if they are interested in travel blogs, RV blogs, or VanDwellers…but in reality they are just trying to get clicks for their business. We get that with our blog, which I don’t use to make money, just to share our travels with others with. I fell for one or two, but learned my lesson real quick. Write about seeing a dentist…all the sudden someone makes a comment about how they agree, but that there are precautions one can do and leave a link to some miracle mouthwash.

  5. Avatar DJ says:

    You should read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I think that you will like it.

  6. Avatar Carol Joos says:

    Hi Bob…I really wish I could click on your YouTube channel address! I find your videos so helpful and encouraging.

  7. Avatar JIM PETERSON says:

    Another great installment in your series. As I was reading a couple of maxims percolated to the surface:
    “Do what you love (without worrying about the money) and the money will follow.”
    “People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
    If you’ll permit a bit of self-promotion, this is my newest blog post about the DIY install of our new 3,000 watt inverter which some of your readers might find useful:
    If this is a problem, feel free to edit or delete my post — no hard feelings 🙂

  8. Avatar Mike says:

    Bob glad to see you claified your purpose in your vidos. Sorry to hear your weakened by trying to do good. Take care of yourself, we are like antique cars..the just don’t make us any more. Also nice to see you stand up for your purpose in the following RTR vids. Having so many folks, wow.
    I just know so many tramps got friends there. Energy well expended Bob, I suppose whenever you create good, you gotta expect to have that energy hammer you on the yin and yang thang, no one sees it comin, nor does anyone ever see what they got comin, but thats another topic.
    Enjoy your videos alot, keep up the good work. Regards, Mike.

  9. Avatar Ivan Jordon says:

    Just wondering if this is open to anyone cause I love to join!

  10. Avatar Trafla says:

    Can someone tell me the best route to travel from Florida to Eugene Oregon or Lincoln NE to Eugene Or to avoid big steep hills. I have a vintage travel trailer 15 ft and a pick up truck from Florida. PLEASE HELP ME pick the best route. Email me at hotflagirl at

  11. I thing . sure you know “There is no path to success without failure” .And I really thanks your post. It help me learn more thing.

  12. Avatar Leona Paris says:

    Thanks for sharing this article, it’s really an interesting topic.
    It’s also good to know!

  13. Avatar John says:

    Congrats on the NYT article on RTR Bob….

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