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In today’s blog I’m documenting a few big projects Alyssa and I have going on during 2017. Last week we published a year end review of 2016 which you can read here.
2014 was the year of Hourly America and our introduction to the RV lifestyle. While making our initial 48 state road around the country, we fell in love with this whole idea of being fully remote, able to work when and where we want.
2015 was the year of RV VS. student debt. We flew to Hawaii and drove to Alaska before spending the rest of the year hustling to scale up our income and pay down my student loans. It wasn’t as sexy as traveling to all 50 states, but it set us up to continue this long-term travel lifestyle.
2016 was the year of executing on the things we spent the past two years dreaming up. We crowdfunded our documentary on Indiegogo, hired an editor, and premiered our documentary in Portland and Austin, created a top-ranked travel podcast, wrote a book, and launched a software company. (And took a LOT of naps.)
2017 is going to be year of… well, to be honest we really don’t have a solid theme for this year yet. This year we’re scaling what we built last year. We’re going to continue RVing around the country, blogging, podcasting, and building Campground Booking into a successful SaaS(software as a service) business.
But if you want to know specifics, below are a few of the big projects we have happening in 2017.
Our 5 Big Projects in 2017
1. The RV Entrepreneur Summit
What it is: Conference for RVers who want to make income while traveling
When: February 24-26, 2017
Goal in 2017: Gather 100 RVers to talk about work, travel, and life on the road
Learn more: therventrepreneur.com
February 24-26th we are hosting the first ever RV Entrepreneur Summit in Fredericksburg, Texas. Over the course of the weekend we’ll have speakers, workshops, wine tastings, and time to meet other travelers. The goal of the conference is to bring together people who want to build some type of remote business/income while traveling.
The idea actually came from our Facebook group and The RV Entrepreneur podcast. The prospect of putting together a conference was kind of intimidating (considering I’ve never planned an event of this size before), but luckily Alyssa is a former event planner. She planned freshmen orientation and various other conferences at our university, so she’s been leading the charge on all things RV Entrepreneur Summit.
While at first I was hesitant on how many people would want to join, we’ve almost hit our 100 attendee limit! If all goes well, maybe we will host more RV Entrepreneur Summit’s in the future.
If you want to learn more about the summit, you can check out the website here.
2. Campground Booking
What is it: Property management software for campgrounds to accept online reservations
Who founded it: Myself, Paul Ryan, Bob Orchard
Goal in 2017: Reach $50,000/month reoccurring revenue
Learn more at: CampgroundBooking.com
A huge focus of mine in 2017 is reaching $50,000 of monthly recurring revenue for Campground Booking. This is roughly the amount of money that would allow my two cofounders and I to go full-time on the business.
It’s been nearly three years since I sold software, but it’s kind of like riding a bicycle. While I’ve openly complained about my disdain for selling, it turns out selling is more fun when it’s your own product AND it’s solving a huge problem. So far we’ve had a really solid reception from early demos and we’ve started the on-boarding process for our early beta customers. At the time of writing this, we actually have a campground who is taking reservations through the software we’ve built (which is pretty cool).
If you haven’t heard me talking about Campground Booking yet, you can learn more here.
In short, Campground Booking is a property management systems for RV park owners that gives them the capability of easily accepting online payments at their campgrounds, which means you can book your site online easily. Our Campground Booking software will also allow them to take over the phone reservations, in-person, bill monthly customers, and much more.
Selling campgrounds on using our system will be a big change of my personal focus in 2017, but something I’m really looking forward to. It sounds corny, but because I believe in what we’re doing 100% it makes it so much easier to sell campground owners to use our software.
I’ll be chronicling progress of Campground Booking throughout the year here on our site, focusing on what we learn and what it’s like building a software business while continuing to travel full-time.
3. Traveling the East Coast (Again)!
This is a rough map of our travel schedule this year so far.
Many of you have asked, so I want to be clear, Alyssa and I rarely (and by rarely I mean once ever) make reservations for campsites. We booked in advance for Banff last year, because they fill up fast.
During our first year on the road, we spent a brief amount of time in the northeast during fall and I’ve been dying to get back ever since. So this year our plan is to slowly make our way up the east coast and spend the month of September in Vermont (woohoo! Apple cider donuts here I come).
A snapshot of our former RV, Franklin, while driving around the fall in the north east
Any awesome suggestions for places to visit along our route? Drop a comment below, would be awesome to hear from you. (You’ll see on the map that we keep track of recommendations with bright orange pins, thanks guys!)
4. Drum roll…We’re vlogging!
What is it: Video + Blog = Vlog (I know, it’s a weird word that sounds exactly like blog when you say it aloud)
Goal: 50 weekly episodes in 2017
Subscribe to our channel: Heath Padgett on Youtube
This spring will be three years of traveling in an RV for us. At times, I feel like we’ve really missed the boat on starting a Youtube channel to document our travels. We made the intentional choice to focus on making our documentary and working on our professional video production business, so we didn’t have any bandwidth to look into vlogging.
However, for Christmas we got an awesome vlogging camera (Canon G7X II) and we plan on releasing more vlog style content in 2017. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what kinds of videos we’ll be releasing. I know we’ll produce some videos from our travel destinations and RV specific videos, but we don’t have any specifics lined up yet (comment below if there’s something specific you’d like us to vlog about).
Since I’m heading up Campground Booking and the podcast, Alyssa will be managing our blog, vlog, and Facebook community. This is probably the best part of working with your spouse. Divide and conquer! Alyssa’s goal is to produce 50 vlogs in 2017, roughly one a week, all posted on Friday mornings.
5. “Going Pro” on the Podcast and Blog
Blog goal in 2017: 100,000 page views/month
Podcast goal in 2017: 200,000 downloads for the year
Where: Listen to previous episodes here
I’ve been blogging off and on since 2011. When we left for Hourly America, I really put my head down and focused on consistently creating content. Hundreds of articles later and last year we finally saw decent traffic and a little bit of revenue coming in from our blog (200,000 visitors and 350,000 page views). This year our goal is to hit 100,000 page views/month. This isn’t a ton of views from most blogging standards, but it’s still a pretty decent uptick in traffic from the past year.
Last year the podcast saw a little over 100,000 downloads. However, I didn’t consistently publish on any one day each week. This year, my goal is to publish a new episode every Tuesday morning at 8AM CST.
While I have some download numbers I’d like to reach (somewhere north of 200k downloads), I’m really focused on releasing a quality podcast every week, on time. In many ways, turning pro is more of a mindset shift than anything. I have plenty of metric goals, but I’d like to think of our podcast and blog as more of an actual business vs. a hobby. This is especially important for me because I tend to feel like I always needs to be working. Changing my mindset to thinking of blogging and podcasting as a business helps me enjoy my work and invest more time in it.
I’m grateful for another year of being able to travel, do work I enjoy, and explore our amazing country. I don’t take it likely that we’re able to live this lifestyle and want to ever take it for granted. If you’ve been following our blog, podcast, or social channels for awhile… I just want to say thank you. I hope the podcasts, blogs and videos we produce in 2017 is something that will continue to inspire you, make you laugh or challenge you in some way.