By Prebuilt Sites Team
August 1, 2022
In our July Prebuilt Power Hour, we interviewed Megan Fine, the digital nomad behind the Rootless Adventure Company. She talks about her life living on the road and exploring our country, while maintain a full time job. She has grown her personal website & brand on Instagram. She shares is also releasing a instructional course called “How To Use Instagram Reels To Promote Your Blog and Online Business” this August (go here to find out more!)
She is a full time world traveler living part time in her Jeep Wrangler with her dog, Chi. During the day she works as freelance writer, SEO specialist, and travel coach, and when she closes her laptop for the day you’ll find her out in the mountains or on the beach. Her mission is to climb to the highest summit on earth, dive to the deepest depth of the ocean, and experience every adrenaline-filled adventure in between.
Watch the video below to learn about her exiting life, and get some tips on using Instagram Reels (and other video services like TikTok & YouTube) to grow your own company.
Hello, everybody. This is Vincent from Prebuilt Sites. Welcome to our next Prebuilt Power Hour. Today, we are interviewing Megan Fine. Megan does some work for us as a freelancer. She is a digital nomad. She’s a full-time world traveler, living part-time in her Jeep Wrangler with her dog.
During the day, she works as a freelance writer, SEO specialist, and travel coach. When she closes her laptop for the day, you will find her in the mountains or on a beach. Her mission and her goal are to climb the highest summit on earth and dive to the deepest depths of the ocean. That one’s going to be a trick. I hope you can pull it off, though, and experience every adrenaline-filled adventure in between. As she’s travelling the world and every time we talk to her, she is typically in a different place. She is able to work and sustain her life as a digital nomad. Granted, she has to find Internet to do her job. So, she’s going to talk a little bit about her adventures, and what her life is like as a digital nomad. And then she’s going to talk about how she uses her website and Instagram to promote her brand. And she also has a course that she is going to be releasing on Prebuiltsites.com on how you can use Instagram to grow your business. Now you can follow her adventures online at instagram.com/ruthlessadventureco or on her website ruthlessadventureco.com. Megan, welcome to the Prebuilt Power Hour. How are you doing?
I’m so good. How are you?
I am doing very, very good. So, I have a bunch of questions for you. Now, I know some of these answers because we’ve worked with you for a while, but everybody is very curious about your lifestyle. So, what is a digital nomad?
A digital nomad just means that I don’t have one specific home. I just move around all of the time. As you said, every week when we talk, I’m in a different location. That’s how I love to live my life. I like to camp; I like to stay in fun Airbnb’s. And there’s just so much more of the world to see than I can experience if I had rent to pay and one house to live in, so that’s why I chose to live my life that way. And I work all online s that’s how I’m able to maintain full-time work while also traveling full time.
So, you have no permanent residence?
No, not at all.
All right. So, questions that I personally have and I’m sure other people do, and if anybody else in the Power Hour has questions, feel free to type them in the chat. How do you get mail?
So, I set up mail to go to my parent’s house, and then my mom tells me if I have anything important. You can also set up whenever you get your mail forwarded, you can set up an email system where it sends you a picture of what your mail looks like every day. So, I get in my email inbox what mail is going to my parent’s house. But if I want to get any packages, you can get packages delivered to any post office around the United States, at least. And if you want to order anything on Amazon, they have hub locations now, like gas stations usually that have a locker and you can go pick up your packages. So, it’s actually very easy.
That’s pretty awesome. So, because you’re a digital nomad, you have utilities that are getting sent to you. Now granted you’ll get tax statements and all that other stuff, so they’re just going to your parents. And there’s a service that just tells you what mail is arriving, the subject of it, or who the sender is?
It takes a picture of the envelope on the front, so I know who it comes from.
That’s pretty awesome. I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that service existed. How did you become a digital nomad?
So, kind of a long story. When I was in college, I was in school online and I went to Europe for a while. Well, I just bought a one-way ticket to Europe, which happened to be Barcelona, it was the cheapest place. And I really loved that whole easy breezy, just go where I wanted to and work online whenever I had time. And so. I eventually came back, ran out of money, moved to Colorado, and really loved it. The pandemic hit and I lost all of my jobs, every single one in one day. I was a bartender for the most part, most of my adult life, and then I worked in retail as well. And there was nothing to do there. But I had my blog. I started it whenever I was in Europe. And so, whenever I needed money I just started reaching out to like Airbnb’s asking if I could write for them. I found that I was really good at SEO so that was something I started offering to people. And eventually, I found the BBS Agency which has definitely allowed me to be able to work remotely, which is awesome. And I just slowly started picking up more clients. And then whenever my lease was up, I moved to Florida to stay with my friend where I didn’t have to pay rent. And so, I spent that time building a platform in my jeep, and then a whole kitchen/desk thing that comes out of the back, which is really awesome. And I’d never even held a drill before in my life, it was my first project ever. And it’s okay, it’s a little janky. There are some upgrades that I’m going to make to it. But overall, I just like slowly started building up an online income and then I built out my car and then I just started driving wherever sounded fun.
So, how do you find clients? If you’re traveling all over the place, how do you find these online jobs? Because you’re a writer, it applies definitely to being a writer, but it can apply to so much more, like anybody who does a job that just requires the Internet.
Yeah. You can look for jobs on Indeed, you can look for jobs on Upwork. I found the most success just by emailing people that … I don’t know, any service that I wanted to offer, I started looking at websites that I thought might need that, and then I started reaching out to them. And honestly, I think my biggest advice here is you’re going to receive a no way, way, way more than you’re going to receive a yes. It did take me a year to build up my clients. I also was bartending full time at this time from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m… And so, I would come home, sleep for a couple of hours, be up by nine and start working online. Just email people and just don’t give up when you hear no’s because you’re going to hear way, way, way more no’s than yeses, but the ones that say yes are very worth it.
So, when you were browsing the Internet, if you found somebody’s website and you’re like, man, this is awful, the writing’s bad or they need somebody. Did you just cold the email them and said, Hey, I’m Megan, this is what I do, I think I can help you?
Yeah. And I followed up five or six times before I gave up on that client. And always make sure you send them your portfolio with the first email or a link where they can find your portfolio and your website.
So, I can say from experience because I own two companies, I get a ton of cold emails. I don’t think I’ve ever had anybody include their portfolio right off the bat, which I think is actually really, really smart because the ones I get, they seem kind of spammy, but that has some good attention to it. So, when you would reach out to people, for every 100 emails that you sent out to people, would you get one positive response?
Probably like … I’d say one out of every 20. But once I started including my portfolio and asking people to hop on a call, those two things were when I started seeing a lot more success. But before that, probably one out of every 100. And once I also started having more experience and having more to show, aside from just my own blog.
I can say from when I started BBS and when I started being a web developer, until you have a portfolio, people are like, Well, there’s no proof. But you’re like, How do I get proof until I can get jobs to build the portfolio? And it’s just like in the normal world, you can’t get the job until you get the experience, but you can’t get the experience until you get the job.
Yeah. But at least in the online space, you can start your own writing. You can start a blog if you want to show people that you’re a writer. And when I started getting photography clients, I’d had literally no photography experience, but I was just taking my camera out as I would if I was working with a client and then using that as part of my portfolio.
Absolutely. That’s actually a really good idea. Let’s talk a little bit about your blog, therootlessadventurecompany.com. What made you start the blog?
I started my blog actually when I was going around Europe. I had a friend. I went there because it was my first solo trip, which was a wild year long.
You went completely alone, nobody with you, across the ocean to a foreign country?
Yeah. Like 12 foreign countries.
Do you speak any foreign languages?
Yeah. I took French for four years in high school, and I learned Italian whenever I was abroad. But it doesn’t translate exactly the same, I will say that. There’s definitely a learning curve. But whenever you immerse yourself into things like that, you learn it a lot quicker. So, I eventually did learn foreign languages. But overall, I just went there. I had a friend who was also going through a breakup and was about to go on his first solo trip to some of the same places that I was at. And so, I started writing out just my favorite things to do in those places, and also just some tips that I was learning about solo travel and nomadic travel in general. And I was sending them to him via text message, and he was like, You should publish these on the Internet. And so, then I started doing that, and a lot of people liked it. And it was called Lost and Found originally. It was just a solo travel blog, but then after the pandemic and I moved to Colorado, I was going outdoors a lot more, and I bought my Jeep … and so, then I noticed after a while all of my outdoorsy blogs were what was performing the best, and that’s what people were asking me questions on. And especially since I was about to switch gears and move into my car, I felt like it was time for a little bit of a rebrand. And I just eventually kept the things that were working and got rid of the things that weren’t so much. And that’s when I saw massive success, once I rebranded and really paid attention to what people liked.
So, you mentioned some key points. This honestly is very much what we preach to our clients about the importance of having a blog and one of the reasons why we put analytics on a website. So, how did you why the outdoor ones were outperforming the other tips that you did?
I’m not totally sure why. I guess …
Do you have analytics on your website that told you they were doing better?
Oh, yes. I use Google Analytics. And my top performing blog posts, the ones that were far outperforming all of my other ones were …. there was a weekend guide to Telluride, a seven-day Colorado itinerary. And I think most of my audience was based … I think more than half of my audience was based in Denver at the time, and so obviously that’s probably why those took off. But I just started paying attention to my audience, looking at the demographic, looking at what was performing well, and comparing it all.
Just out of the curiosity, the post that we’re doing well, were they more just informational, or were they more helpful? Like if you’re in such and such a place, here’s what I recommend, and here are some tips, and here are some tricks.
Yeah, it was definitely the helpful ones. People really loved my weekend guides more than anything. I started learning that. And another one that did really well was moving across the country, what I did right and what I did wrong. I eventually learned people really like to know what mistakes you make so that they can avoid them in the future.
That’s one of the things so many people are afraid to share their mistakes online. Everybody has a Facebook persona where it’s their ideal life and they never have any problems, and them and their spouse, they never argue, their kids are angels. And the reality is so far from the truth. And it’s the reality stuff that’s not so pretty that people actually want to know about.
We can’t all be a Kardashian. And I find that really awesome. And I love the fact that the posts that you said we’re doing well with the help, help, help ones. This is one of the things we see time and time again. A business would be like, Vince, I don’t know what to write about my blog or my blog isn’t working the way it does. And we go look at it, they either don’t post, or all their posts are to buy, buy, buy. Buy from me. Here are my services. Nobody wants to read that. What they’re looking for are helpful tips. That’s how you get found online. If you help people, people will share your articles with other friends of theirs they know who go, Oh, this might be helpful. It’s all about the help, it’s not about the cell.
Yeah. One thing that I learned is that inspirational stuff is really good. It gets a lot of views and it gets people to follow you. But anything that’s valuable, people save and they share a lot more and it gets them to engage with your brand and trust your brand. So, inspirational stuff is good for getting views and followers, but at the end of the day you have to have some sort of substance. You have to be helping solve people’s problems or they’re not going to come back.
That is a really, really good point for any of our viewers who are going to watch this. If you are running a business, don’t focus on, Hey, we paint your house. Focus on the problems you solve or give people tips. Some of the best small businesses that I follow online, it’s never about their sales, it’s them telling people what they’re going to do to fix you or things that they can do themselves. If it’s a painter, they would be giving away painting tricks, and you can go try it yourself and it will definitely work, but it’s going to take a lot of time. And if you don’t have the time, you’re going to hire the painter who is giving away all these really good tips.
It’s all about the help, help, help. I love that. Let’s talk a little bit about your Instagram. So, from our conversations beforehand, Instagram is one of the primary ways you gain followers online. How did you grow your Instagram?
Definitely using Reels.
So, for those who are not on Instagram at all or vaguely familiar with it, what is an Instagram reel? And Reels are R-E-E-L-S, not R-E-A-L-S.
Yes. They are short-form videos. At this point in time, I believe you can record up to one minute, it might be two because TikTok is two now.
So, it’s really short bits of information.
Yes. And it’s video content.
How do you use those Reels? How do you use those Reels to promote your brand?
There are a few different ways. I obviously post some inspirational Reels; I post some Reels that provide tips. Generally, you want to give quick wins, you don’t want to give too much information. So, what I do, especially when I’m linking it back to a blog post or I’m trying to sell something, I will the three key points out of that blog post or out of my book or whatever I’m trying to sell, teach people how to do a small snippet out of there, and I will put 3 to 5 main tips on the screen and physically show people a little snippet of that tip. And then in the caption, I’ll explain more detail about each tip in a sentence or two, maybe even include a couple of more tips in the caption, and then also have a call to action telling people where to go to learn more. So, you can use Reels to …
It’s like a call the action that goes back to your website.
Yes. Or like a landing page. But yeah, something of that nature. So, it all links together.
And we try explaining that to people all the time. It’s great talking to you who get that. One of the best things about a website is that you own it. It is your it should be your central focus for everything. Everything should always be linking back to your website and you’re driving people back to your website. And that also protects your brand. If something happens to Instagram and they go out of business or they get bought out or they change their terms and conditions or whatever, you’re content … and it’s in their terms and conditions, can just go away. Tomorrow, it could be gone and you have no recourse. But if you have a website and stuff linking back to your website, it’s yours. You own that and they can’t take that down.
Yeah. I know a lot of people whose Instagram accounts got hacked when they had 20,000 followers and they had all of a sudden lost everything. And that was their whole livelihood and they lost it all. But if you get people back to your blog, you get people on your email list, that’s all stuff that you own. And yeah, you want to get people on that.
How do you come up with subjects for your Reels?
A lot of it is based on what people ask me for. I get a lot of questions through my DMS.
They’re coming through Instagram?
Yeah. I get a lot of questions in my DMs.
DM is a direct message, right? Kind of like a Facebook message?
Yeah. That’s if I’m starting on Instagram. If I’m starting by posting a blog post, then I always research Google SEO, what is going to rank, look at different keywords of whatever I want to talk about. Like California, for example. I just went to California for two months, so I was all over looking for some keywords related to California and the places that I went, and kind what people were searching for and those places, especially from the perspective of a digital nomad. And that’s how I pick blog posts. And then as part of my marketing for a blog post, will always post a reel about it. So, that’s if I’m starting with a blog post and going to a reel and vice versa.
Just out of personal curiosity, do you have a paid Ahrefs account or do you use the free version?
I use the free version for the most part. I use a couple of different keyword tools, quite a few. I also like using Google Keyword Planner. And Google Trends is one thing that you taught me to look at.
Oh I love Google Trends.
Yeah. Because there I learned how to phrase things. Like should I be saying how to become a digital nomad or should I say how to travel full time? And you look at what’s more important at the time, what’s trending more, and that’s how you know what to use.
That’s a great tip. So, one of the reasons we invited you to be on this on this show is because you have a course coming out about how people can use Instagram that we’re going to be selling through Prebuilt sites. Because one of the common questions we always get is once people have a website, they’re like, Well, how do I get traffic to it? You can buy ads, but that costs money. Social media just takes time. And so, you’re working on this course. Your course’s name right now is How to Use Instagram Tools to Promote Your Blog and Online Business. And it’s going to be for sale, hopefully in August 2022. There’s going to be a link beneath this video recording for anybody watching it where they can go drop their email address in and we will email you when the course is available. But tell us a little bit about the course.
Yeah. So, in this course, I outline exactly how I grew over 10,000 Instagram followers in less than 30 days.
In less than 30 days?
Yeah, I gained 12,000, to be exact, Instagram followers over the course of 30 days.
Yeah. But having followers is not enough. You also, if you want people to buy something from you or you want people to trust you, you have to create educational content. You have to nurture your followers. And so, in this course, I lay out how to gain all those followers, but also how to use those followers to link back to your business and create sales.
I know you can’t give away everything there is to about the course. So, first of all, How technically savvy do people need to be to do your course and do an Instagram reel?
You don’t need to be tech-savvy. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was the one for a very long time who was like, Oh, I can’t do Reels, I have literally no idea how to edit videos. And one day I just started practicing. And so, you don’t need to be tech-savvy. I have three tutorials in the course where I lay out exactly … One section I literally walk everyone through how to go from a blog post and turn that into a reel. I have one section on how to turn a blog post into a reel. I have one section on how to just create a fun, easy reel that takes less than 10 minutes to create. And then I also have a section where I walk you through a tutorial where there are multiple clips, there’s a ton of text, just a little bit more of a technical reel that has a lot of different aspects to it. And so, there’s a bunch of those. I also included a 30-day calendar, so you don’t even need to think about what to post for 30 days, you just need to focus on practicing.
Now people go, Oh my God, a 30-day thing. Do they have to do it every 30 days or is it basically like 30 suggestions you do when you can?
30 suggestions that you can do and you can. However, I would recommend whenever you are first starting to create Reels to try to do one every day. That’s when I started learning the best, perfecting it the most when I start working on it every day. Most of these over time, they’ll start to only take 10 to 15 minutes to create, even if they’re super technical. But at first, I recommend just getting into the habit of showing up as much as you want, whatever schedule you can commit to consistently, do that.
I love that you mentioned getting into the habit of showing up. That is probably the most important with anything like this. It’s a new venture. It’s frightening, it’s scary. The most important step is the first one, show up, get started. Now, I’m going to go out on a limb, but I’m going to bet your first Instagram Reels compared to what you’re doing now are very different in quality.
Oh, yeah, absolutely.
So, it’s okay to suck at the beginning. And that is one of the things I find, it frightens me when I’m going out and trying. You’re always like, Well, what if I suck? It’s okay to suck it. Nobody’s perfect at the beginning. And like most people we see online, be it on Instagram or TikTok or whatever, when you’re seeing those videos, most of those people have been at it for a while. But if you go back in and look at their early stuff, they’re no better than me just grabbing my smartphone and starting with what I got.
Exactly. The best is advice just start. Focus on quantity over quality at first because you don’t know … I think a lot of people get in their head, too, and think, oh, well, if this isn’t perfect, I’m not going to put it out. Let me tell you, I had a Reel get 1.5 million views, and I accidentally published it when it was half finished in the middle of the night. So, you never know what people are going to like.
And sometimes it’s those not polished, raw, authentic videos that resonate the most because it’s raw and because it’s authentic. Everybody thinks, oh, it’s got to look like it’s done in a Hollywood studio. No, it doesn’t.
Nope. Just start in your backyard and your bedroom.
Now, the stuff that you’re teaching in your Instagram Reels course, I’m assuming because it’s focused on basically short videos., that information is going to apply to if you’re doing YouTube videos, if you’re on TikTok, you’re doing Facebook videos, if you’re just put videos on your blog. It’s going to apply to absolutely all of them, right?
Absolutely. It pretty much just shows you how to create videos in general and just a lot of very good marketing tips and tactics for promoting your blog and your online business on the Internet. It can be applied anywhere.
Now, I’m going to go out on a limb, though. I’m guessing, though, that this is not a silver bullet. If somebody does it and they do five Reels, they’re not going to have massive success. It takes some effort. It takes a little bit of time. As you mentioned before, it takes some quantity.
Yeah. And once you start practicing, look at your analytics again, see what is performing well, think about why and start creating more of that. So, in the beginning, you just need to throw spaghetti at the wall until you see what sticks, and then you can start focusing on the quality and things of that nature.
So, for those who decide not to buy the course so they’re more curious about what’s going to be in the course, you already mentioned a tip and that’s quantity-wise. What other tips do you have for people? Do you have two or three other tips we can give people who maybe want to want to know something about their courses, about getting comfortable on camera, things like that?
Oh, yes. Getting comfortable on camera is a big one. And my best advice there is just fake it until you make it. Because I was so not confident in the beginning, but as I practiced more, I got more comfortable. I became more confident and then people liked it. So do that. The best tip that honestly helped me get comfortable on camera was to just start filming myself for 5 minutes a day without the expectation that it was going to go anywhere. So, I just started creating these short little video clips about my day and I wasn’t showing them to anybody, so I wasn’t so all up in my head about how it was going to look. And then at that point, when I did start sharing them, I wasn’t really thinking about what other people were going to say, how they were going to react because at the end of the day, I get a lot of hate on my stuff, I’m not going to lie. People think I’m some sort of rich trust fund baby and whatever, but I find that the people that leave those comments don’t know anything about me. They didn’t click on my page. They probably aren’t doing much with their time other than putting people down on the internet. So, just don’t worry about what anybody is going to have to say about what you’re posting.
You have to ignore the naysayers. If you talk to anybody who’s ever made it successful, gone out on their own, anybody who’s ever started a business, started freelancing, I guarantee in your lives you have people who say you’re crazy and say all kinds of bad things. And then when you become a success they either disappear or double down on being jerks. And if you listen to those people, you’ll never go anywhere. Just keep moving forward and ignore those people.
Yep. Do what you think feels right. Put out the information that people are asking for and don’t even think about how other people are going to receive it. Don’t even look at the comments at first, if that’s going to bother you. Just look at your analytics and see what’s working and just create more of that.
Now, does Instagram have analytics in it as well to tell you what videos are doing better?
Yeah, you can. If you go to your insights, it’ll be … you click on your profile picture at the top right-hand corner, and there are three little lines. So, you click on that and you’ll see insights and it’ll tell you how many views that reel got, how many saves, and shares. I think that’s it. I always look at my real interactions and you can do it within the last 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days. It depends on what I’m looking at. 30 days is typically a pretty good time frame to look at, and then you’ll just start looking for patterns in your analytics. One funny thing that I noticed the other day when I was looking at my analytics is that anything that the cover photo has my dog in it gets a lot more views. But overall, you will notice that anything that has you or an animal or something, a subject, generally yourself in it is going to be those top performing analytics. So, that’s why it’s important to get comfortable on camera and show your face because those are going to be the things that people like watching the most because it opens up trust and people want to see your face.
That’s awesome. And that’s one of the things we preach as well. If you’re a freelancer and you have a website, get your picture on your website, particularly on the homepage because you’re the brand. And people want to see you, want you to be authentic. And you can’t be authentic if they don’t know what you look like. And it doesn’t have to be a professional picture.
Oh, no. Most of mine are of me …
That’s awesome. The analytics part that you were talking about, do you cover the analytics and how to find that inside of your course?
Awesome. All right, Megan, thank you very much for taking the time to join us today for the Prebuilt Power Hour. I’m going to share my screen for everybody so they can easily find it.
Thank you for having me.
Thank you very much. If you want to know more about Megan’s upcoming course and be notified when the course is available for launch, you can come over to prebuiltsites.com/instagram. You can see what the cover picture for her course is going to look like. You can see some highlights of the course and see a picture of Megan. You can then follow her on Instagram or visit her website and then drop in your name and your email address and we will notify you when the course is available for sale. We don’t spam anybody. You’re just going to get emails about this course. And if you want to know anything about a prebuilt site and getting a prebuilt site for your business, you can visit us at prebuiltsites.com, and you can either book a walk-through and we’ll walk you through the process, or you can go pick a website and follow that and let us know if you have any questions. Megan, thank you very much for joining us. Thank you, everybody, for attending the Prebuilt Power Hour. We will talk to you and see you at the next one in August.