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Featured photo by the incredible Joe Hendricks
What happens when you get 250+ entrepreneurs who are growing businesses out of their RV’s together?
A pretty incredible experience, let me tell you!
This past week, Pete and I attended the RV Entrepreneur Summit hosted by Heath and Alyssa in Fredericksburg, TX. These two full-time RVers have grown their influence and brand by building a wonderfully supportive community of RVers – many of which now come together in person once a year for their RVE Summit!
Everything You Need to Know About RV Life
Before we dive into the business advice and takeaways from the Summit itself, I wanted to share a little background about our personal RV journey and the impact the RVE community has had on us.
When Pete convinced me that we should start our marriage by living in an RV (he was totally right – it’s the best), I instantly started researching everything I could about full-time RV life.
After finding some other digital nomads online, I was led to Heath and Alyssa’s Facebook Group, the RV Entrepreneur. From the start, I was blown away by the support and engagement. There were people from all walks of life – from full-time RVing experts to Weekend Warriors to aspiring RVers like us!
We started asking questions like “what kind of RV should we buy?” and “what in the world is a black tank and why does it sound so scary?” We knew absolutely NOTHING about RV life, and the members of the RV Entrepreneur Facebook group poured their knowledge and experience into us at every opportunity.
(Side note: if you want to know the answer to questions like this, we highly recommend buying Alyssa Padgett’s ebook: A Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV: Everything I Wish I Knew Before Full-Time RVing Across America.)
The RV Entrepreneur
Once we got past the logistics of RVing, we wanted to learn more about the business side of it. What were others building on the road? What were their biggest struggles and takeaways? This lead us to Heath’s podcast, the RV Entrepreneur (see a theme here?), where he interviews nomadic entrepreneurs about how they’re building or growing businesses while traveling full-time.
The RV Entrepreneur podcast introduced me to SO many other entrepreneurs who were building incredible businesses while traveling and seeking adventure. Needless to say, I was amazed and SUPER relieved to know there was this entire niche community of people just like us!
About this time last year, Heath and Alyssa hosted their first conference, aptly called the RV Entrepreneur Summit. I watched a few of the livestreams on their Facebook page and was immediately convinced that Pete and I needed to be there next year.
We didn’t have a rig or much of a plan yet, but I knew we’d be attending. When they released the tickets for this year’s conference, I bought us both tickets and secured an RV site – even though we were still planning the wedding and didn’t have a rig! (It was also the first time I registered for something as Jordan Jones, and I was pretty darn excited about that…)
And here we are! Heading out from our first RVE Summit, feeling so full of gratitude and inspiration from this amazing group of traveling entrepreneurs.
Now onto the good stuff – what did we learn?
The short answer: a lot.
It’s hard to sum up everything we’re taking away from this experience, but here are our top 7 lessons learned from attending the RV Entrepreneur Summit:
1. Importance of Networking & Showing Up to Conferences
This first lesson learned is something we haven’t valued much in our business the past three years. As we started our marketing business, we were heads down in our work and felt like we didn’t have the money or opportunity to invest in attending conferences.
Being perfectly honest, we were hesitant about the cost of attending the RVE Summit. Would it really be worth driving our home all the way to Texas and showing up if we weren’t growing an RV blog?
Our answer: it was 100% worth it.
Aside from the speakers and workshops, the connections we made and the relationships we built alone were worth it.
There’s something about 250+ RV Entrepreneurs getting together in one place that just can’t be replicated with something you can learn online. The sheer value in the community and experience of it made attending worth it to us.
It also taught us that we need to do a better job at prioritizing showing up to conferences and industry events!
Networking can sound a little scary and intimidating, but summits like this made it feel so natural and organic. And while we’ve learned a ton of practical business advice from attending, our biggest takeaway was the community we found and the people we met.
2. The Power of Outsourcing
Outsourcing is something that Pete and I have been talking about for months now… and something we’ve done very little about.
We know we can’t scale our business with just the two of us. We’ve been feeling at capacity for a while now, and yet there’s so much more we want to build to serve our clients even better!
One of the speakers and workshop hosts we were looking forward to learning from the most was Jill Sessa.
Jill has built up an incredibly success business, Ultimate WP Help, by building out a team that gives her the ability to scale without sacrificing a life of time and financial freedom.
One of the key points Jill spoke about in her workshop really hit home with me: “It’s really expensive trying to do everything yourself.”
We’ve been hung out about how to find the right people and whether or not we’re ready to invest in hiring help. Jill challenged us to think about the opposite view: that it’s more expensive for Pete and I to take on everything ourselves, rather than focusing on our genius and hiring others to focus on theirs.
Lesson learned: we’re now actively searching for our first official hires!
3. Create a business and brand that allows you to do what you LOVE
…and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.
This one is kind of two lessons in one.
Before we attended the RVE Summit, we were a little nervous that the talks and workshops would be very focused on building an RV brand. We follow a lot of the influencers who were presenting, and we were curious to hear what they’d speak about.
A lot of people we know in this space are actively building RV-related blogs and businesses – which is totally awesome (there’s a huge opportunity there!) – it’s just not the route Pete and I are taking.
We already had our marketing business before we hit the road, and that’s our primary focus and business we want to grow.
We were so pleasantly surprised at the diversity of the businesses people were creating.
It was so encouraging to hear from new friends and old, speakers and presenters, that it’s okay to not blog about every place you’re traveling to. It’s okay to not grow an RV blog.
On the flip side – it’s totally okay to make an RV blog your #1 priority.
What it really comes down to is building a business around what YOU love.
So many of the speakers really encouraged us to create a brand that represents what you love most and what you’re best at.
Take Peter Holcombe of Famagogo, for example. He and his family travel around the country full-time in their motorhome and 22 kayaks. What started as an epic trip in between their wedding photography projects, turned into Peter and Kathy following their passion of kayaking and outdoor adventures, eventually turning that kind of photography into their full-time work.
Pretty incredible right?
They didn’t try to build a business like everyone else. They did photography their own way – they followed their passions and have now built up their entire brand around it!
Did we mention their daughter was the youngest person to kayak the entire Grand Canyon by herself? She’s pretty incredible – you can listen to her own talk at the Summit below!
4. Focus on your genius
It’s easy to show up to an event like this and be inspired by what everyone else is doing.
It’s also easy to fall into the trap of thinking you need to do everything that everyone else is doing.
Listening to successful Youtubers like Marissa and Nathan from Less Junk < More Journey may inspire you to start a YouTube account. Listening to Eric and Brittany from RVWanderust may inspire you to start building out a successful blog. Listening to Heath and Alyssa may inspire you to start a podcast or host your own summit.
And while these are all amazing business ideas and options to pursue, the truth is you don’t need to try everything.
Even thinking about which social media platforms you want to focus on can get super overwhelming!
One big takeaway we learned from many different speakers, as well as a lot of other RVers we met at the conference, was that we shouldn’t try to do everything.
Shiny object syndrome can become your own worst enemy, especially as an entrepreneur.
Instead of trying to do it all – or what others are doing successfully – you should focus on your OWN genius.
What do you do best?
What area do you want to serve and focus on?
The truth is, you can’t become a successful YouTuber by filming or editing videos for an hour a week. It takes time, effort, and commitment to grow any part of your business or influence.
Take Less Junk < More Journey for example – they shared that in the first 6 months of being on YouTube, they were both spending 20 hours a week working on their videos and channel, and they made just over $400.
Now, they may spend the same amount of time and are supporting all of their lifestyle with their YouTube channel.
The key was that they stuck to their one big idea and really focused on their own genius.
5. Don’t Give Up on Your Dream
This brings us to another huuuuge lesson learned, especially from Marissa and Nathan of Less Junk < More Journey’s talk.
I just shared that they made a few hundred dollars in their first 6 months on YouTube…
A lot of people would probably see these results and get discouraged, perhaps even give up – but they didn’t.
Instead, they kept going. They knew consistency was key and so they kept showing up and producing content.
Want to know what happened?
The second 6 months on YouTube, they made over $10,000. They saw a significant jump in income and subscribers!
All because they didn’t give up.
What would this look like in your own business?
What if you stayed consistent at YouTube, or blogging, or web design, or content creation, or serving your audience and clients in whichever way best suits YOUR genius?
I know this personally challenged us to look at all of the different aspects of our business and think about three big action steps we need to take:
Simplifying our business and focusing on key service areas
Choosing which social platforms we want to be most active on and giving ourselves permission to de-prioritize the others
Setting a schedule and making a commitment to producing more content consistently
6. Everyone Has a Story to Tell
In both RV life and entrepreneur life, I think it’s pretty easy to look at what other “successful” people are doing and feel like you’re less than.
Those annoying little doubts can fill our minds and make us feel like we either will never have as “cool” or as “good” of a story as someone else – or worse, that we have to be like someone else in order to be successful.
This summit was such an incredible reminder that EVERYONE has a story to tell.
Your story and your journey is what makes you unique. It’s the heart behind your brand or business.
For a loooong time, Pete and I kept our personal lives and beliefs out of our marketing business. We had a separate legal name, a totally separate website, and none of those first clients of ours ever knew about our personal blog.
It wasn’t until we starting sharing our story and weaving it into our business that we really started to grow our business in the right way.
Now, so many of our clients find us and hire us because they feel like they know who we are and what we believe in just from watching some of our Instagram videos. Opening up and sharing our story definitely hasn’t been the easiest transition – and it still feels a little weird sometimes! – but it really has helped us find the right clients and partners.
And yet, as much as we’ve started sharing our story more, we still find ourselves holding back.
What if our story just isn’t that special? or different? or unique? What if people don’t resonate with it?
The summit reminded us of two really important things here:
EVERYONE has a unique journey – and it’s one worth sharing
If someone doesn’t resonate with your story – that’s okay. They’re not the right fit for your business or community!
7. Finding Your Niche
Finally, the RVE Summit gave us the confidence and encouragement to do something that we’ve been holding off on for FAR too long in our business…
When we first started our business, our client was pretty much anyone that would hire us…
Which meant we got a TON of experience, but it also meant we wound up working with a lot of NON-ideal clients.
Slowly but surely, we started narrowing down on who we wanted to serve.
But we still didn’t go all in. We were too scared to turn people off or away if we were to get SUPER specific in our ideal client + industry.
Maybe you’ve been there too?
Hearing from the speakers, talking to other RV entrepreneurs, and just getting filled to the brim with inspiration at the Summit really gave us that final push we needed.
We finally took action.
Not only did we commit to focusing and narrowing our niche, but we updated our branding and web site to make it REAL and VISIBLE.
And so much of that inspired action is thanks to the RVE Summit!
We couldn’t be more grateful that we attended the RV Entrepreneur Summit this year!
Heath and Alyssa did an incredible job bringing together an amazing community of RVers. If you’re an RVer – or if you’re dreaming of hitting the road + building your business – we couldn’t recommend their conference enough.
Be sure to follow them on Facebook + stay up to date on next year’s Summit! (Tickets sell out SUPER fast)
If you also attended the RVE Summit, we’d love to know: what were YOUR biggest takeaways?
Let us know in the comments below!