Firmology’s How I Power My Business series profiles the technology business owners use to run and grow their business.
Firmology Founder’s Note: A couple of years ago, I woke up on my birthday and had the sudden urge to travel more. It dawned on me that I had spent the last 6 years after college working non-stop, I wasn’t getting any younger and it was going to be that much harder to travel once I started a family. The problem was I didn’t know how I could afford it, so I did some research online and learned about travel hacking, the art and science of traveling for little to no money. I learned from well-known travel hackers such as Chris Guillebeau, Rick Ingersoll, and Brian Kelly. Since learning the travel hacking game, I have used rewards points and airline miles to travel to Aruba, Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Puerto Morelos, Mexico, Miami, Captiva Island, Florida, and am planning a trip to Saint Martin in the winter.
Pretty cool, huh? Yes and no. While reading every travel blog, news site, discussion forum and Twitter account I could get my eyes on, I learned about amazing adventurers like Colin Wright that practiced the art of exile travel or nomadic travel. Every 4 months, Colin moves to another country that his readers have voted on. Now that is cool. How does he pay for his exile lifestyle? Colin writes books, produces a travelogue, and runs a publishing company called Asymmetrical Press.
Excited? Here’s a look into the adventures that Colin has embarked on in the past few years:
“After Argentina, I bussed my way around South America. I then moved to New Zealand, followed by a sponsor-paid road trip around the US with my ex and a fellow blogger. Next was Thailand, a trip around Southeast Asia, and a TEDx talk in Cambodia. Next came Iceland, where I met a gal who I invited to come be my fake wife in India (it’s a long story), followed by another road trip around the US in which I visited all 48 continental US states in 60 days riding only Greyhound buses. After a quick jaunt to the Caribbean, I lived in Romania for a bit, and now I’m back in the US, visiting family for the holidays and ramping up for my next adventure.” -Exile Lifestyle
Name: Colin Wright
Business: Asymmetrical Press
Location: Missoula, Montana, USA
Smartphone: Nexus 4
Tablet: Kindle Touch
Computer: Macbook Pro & Sony Vaio
Other Gadgets: Zoom H4n Portable Recorder, Canon Powershot ELPH 300HS Digital Camera, iPod Touch
Tell us a bit about you and your background:
I’m an author, entrepreneur, and full-time traveler. For the past four years, I’ve moved to a new country every four months based on the votes of my readers. I have a background in branding and am currently making my living in the publishing industry by writing and publishing my own work and helping others do the same. In addition to being a co-founder of Asymmetrical Press, I run a highly-trafficked blog called Exile Lifestyle, a twice-monthly newsletter called Exiles, and a T-shirt company called I Have No Shirt.
What’s the story behind your business?
I founded Asymmetrical Press with two other authors (Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus) with similar backgrounds to my own. All three of us found a great deal of success in blogging before segueing into book authorship, and as such we three had substantial audiences to help us refine our books and gain groundswell for them right out the door.
We found that there are a whole lot of talented people out there who were producing amazing work but didn’t have the same audience-advantage we had, so we decided to start a publishing company with a non-traditional business model that allowed us to partner with and invest in authors rather than buying the rights to their work.
What apps or services are essential to the operations of your business?
Gmail helps me keep my many email inboxes in one place while also allowing me to archive all correspondence I’ve ever had. I use my inbox as a to-do list as well, keeping it empty except for action-item missives.
Evernote is where I keep information on random things, like contact lens prescriptions, but also where I write most of my blog posts and short stories. I also outline books there, before I start writing them. It helps us share information between the three of us, too, since we work from different countries a lot of the time.
Scrivener is a godsend for independent publishers—it’s reduced the amount of time it takes to build and publish an ebook or paperback book in numerous formats from days to minutes.
I use Adobe Audition to record podcasts and audiobooks, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to do most of my graphic work (book covers, t-shirts, web graphics), and Adobe Bridge is where I organize my media (photos and videos, primarily). Occasionally I’ll whip out Adobe InDesign for catalog work and such, though Scrivener is a lighter-weight option when I’m designing published work that isn’t photo-heavy.
Mailchimp is my newsletter service of choice, and I use it for several different types of project, from updates to short published works. It’s a pleasure to use, compared to the other options I’ve tried.
I host my podcasts on Libsyn—again, super simple to use and more power than I’ll probably ever use.
I use Wufoo for forms, including the voting mechanism that helps my readers decide where I’ll move next.
Spotify is my jukebox at the moment—I published the URL for a collaborative playlist so my readers can recommend new music for me to listen to whenever they like.
Which social media platforms does your business prefer to use and why?
I probably get the most value from Twitter, but my co-founders see a lot of success on their Facebook fan page (so does Asymmetrical Press). We dabble on Pinterest and Google Plus, but we see more activity on our private forum (built with XenForo).
Lightning Round: What apps or services do you recommend to other business owners?
Biggest time-saver(s)? Mailchimp makes building and sending newsletter a pleasure rather than a hassle.
Biggest money-saver(s)? Gmail is free and amazing, and the best email service I’ve seen out of the box anywhere.
Favorite mobile app(s)? Square is a fantastic on location credit card processor. Nice that it’s tiny enough to fit in your pocket, too.
Favorite personal app(s)? Sounds simple, but having the Google Calendar widget built right into the interface on my phone is glorious. I’ve never been a big fan of calendars, much less calendar apps, but this is the first one I’ve actually used regularly and happily.
How can others reach you?
Asymmetrical Website: http://asymmetrical.co
Exile Lifestyle Website: http://exilelifestyle.com
Other (email, phone, etc): firstname.lastname@example.org
Firmology Readers: Let’s hear your thoughts!
Do you have any questions or comments for Colin? Drop him a note in the comments below!
If you have a suggestion for someone we should feature, questions we should be asking, or would like to be featured on Firmology’s How I Power My Business series, email email@example.com with the subject line: How I Power My Business