Marc and Julie Bennett from RVLove.com recently visited one of our Venture Planning classes to talk about their entrepreneurial journey and adventure. They shared some great lessons and demonstrated that entrepreneurship comes in all shapes, forms, and sizes.
Making it Happen - The Lifestyle
About four and a half years ago, Marc and Julie sold their Colorado home and decided to hit the road — to travel and live on the road full-time — with a 36’ motorhome. To make this decision a reality, they had to make a number of lifestyle and financial choices and changes, to give them the freedom to live the life that they wanted. Some of the key lessons and decisions that they shared with the class included:
Priorities - give yourself the time and space to understand and establish your priorities. Think about the rocks, pebbles, and sand that you want in your life and place them accordingly. The big things come first. For them, it was travel, work-life balance, and more time together.
Budget - create a budget that starts to align with your priorities. Work on getting rid of debt and unnecessary expenses. Sell stuff you don’t use or need.
Fixed costs to variable costs - One of the key things was figuring out how to change their finances from being two thirds fixed costs and one third variable (when they had a home mortgage and two cars in their regular life) down to one third fixed and two thirds variable (with their RV and tow vehicle in their mobile life). This gave them a greater opportunity to have the flexible lifestyle they wanted and to pursue opportunities that brought with it some associated greater benefits for them.
Making it Happen - The Business
After living on the road successfully for over a year, Julie’s creative passion project – their RV Love blog and YouTube channel – started to become an income generating business. They started developing more high quality content addressing key questions they wished they had answers to when they started, while Marc was still working a full-time job. Over time, this content started to generate revenue and enabled them to grow a highly engaged audience.
By continuing to produce content that was valuable for their audience, not only did they continue to grow their audience and revenues, they created additional opportunities through this content. They created an online “RV Success School” offering self-paced courses on how to make the RV lifestyle possible, how to buy an RV, and fielded coaching and consulting opportunities. In 2018, they were also featured in a documentary “RV Nomads” about the full-time RV lifestyle and movement, and were approached by a major publisher (Adams Media/Simon & Schuster) to write a “road map for the mobile life.” Their new book “Living the RV Life – Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road” was published on November 20, 2018.
The RV industry has an annual economic impact of more than a $50 billion and Marc and Julie are well placed to be a key resource for that growing community.
Over 10,000 people are turning 65 every day (expected to increase to 18,000 a day by 2022) – these are Baby Boomers ready to retire and enjoy a life of more adventure. Combine this with advancements in cellular technology that now make it possible for younger people and families to hit the road to work and travel (Millennials and Generations X, Y and Z), and it’s easy to see this is a fast growing movement across multiple generations.
Making it Happen - The Content
Lastly, they shared some of their top tips and secrets around how they produce great content and the process that they go through.
Teamwork - they realized that they both have very different working styles and strengths and have leveraged this to produce more and better content. Marc is great at producing large amounts of initial drafts of content, and Julie then goes in to work her magic in creating the tone and voice of RVLove, linking to other content as appropriate and creating associated social media posts.
Focus on value - they continually look for topics that will provide value to the RV community. Furthermore, they put in a lot of hard work and love into the content that they produce, attracting a loyal following and trust in their content.
Put it out there - lastly, they work constantly to overcome personal fears, take deep breaths, and leap – creating a lot of willingness to put their ideas out into the wild, learn, grow and adapt as they go.
Throughout it all, they are focused on staying on brand, developing evergreen content that is helpful for attracting new audiences, and continuing to have a sense of humor and fun as they write and publish the content. This has enabled them to significantly increase their following six-fold between 2015 to 2018 across their channels - YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and their blog. They are now starting to focus more attention on YouTube, Google, and Pinterest as these are the search engines that help drive revenue, rather than simply measure success by an increased number of followers.
They work constantly to overcome personal fears, take deep breaths, and leap – creating a lot of willingness to put their ideas out into the wild, learn, grow and adapt as they go.
Inspiration to us all
Marc and Julie have roots in Colorado. Marc is a Colorado native who grew up in Golden, Julie moved from Sydney, Australia to Boulder in 2008, and they last had a home in Broomfield before hitting the road in 2014. Their financial, business, and content lessons were well received in class and will be very helpful for the students in the future.
I encourage everyone to check out www.RVLove.com, the trailer to their movie, and their new book “Living the RV Life – Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road.” Who knows, maybe you will be inspired to live a mobile life of more travel, freedom and adventure, too?