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Last year, our friend Michelle hosted an AMA on her website. If you haven’t heard of it, AMA stands for Ask Me Anything and the trend started long ago on Reddit. I’ve always wanted to do one, but I don’t use Reddit. So it wasn’t until I saw Michelle’s that I realized it must be okay for bloggers to host AMAs too!
Ask Me Anything means you can Heath and I anything. If you don’t know what to ask, here are a few things we love talking about here on HeathandAlyssa.com:
- Full-time RVing
- Ditching the 9 to 5
- Starting a business
- Binge watching Netflix shows
- DIY chocolate and wine pairings (just kidding ALL wines go with chocolate)
Ask us anything in the comments and we’ll answer each question. Let’s go!
Love your blog, we just stumbled across it the other day and are hooked on it. My question is… You mentioned in your expenses across 48 states that your 3 square meals run approx $11 per day. I assume this is for both of you. What do your meals consist of for such a low cost? We are planning a trip to Canada this summer in our motor home and I figured $20 per day for both of us. Your ideas could help us save some $$$. Thanks Bruce & Suz
Hey Bruce! Yep that’s for both of us. We eat the same meals now that we did when we lived in apartments. Eggs and turkey bacon for breakfast, and for lunch and dinner we have a few standard meals we cycle through: roasted chicken with veggies, spaghetti, kung pao chicken, pork chops, ground beef tacos, turkey burgers and fries, etc. Everything we eat is gluten free as well!
The biggest way to save money is to just cook all your meals. Looking back at our budget, even in months where we spent the most on groceries, we still averaged $16/day or less!
My wife and I are planning on taking a year off from our traditional teaching jobs and work from the road with VIPKid. It requires a pretty steady source for wifi though and I was curious about your experiences maintaining a connection as you travel. Would you recommend a satellite for the RV or would our AT&T unlimited plan cover us? I worry about spotty connection in some of the places we plan to visit. Thank you in advance and thank you for all the information you’ve already provided.
We’ve never used satellite, but the thing about cell signal is that if you’re somewhere without great service, you can always move somewhere else. We have rarely found places that don’t have enough cell signal for us to record podcasts or play videos. But when we run into a place that really doesn’t have signal, we just move somewhere better! The cell booster has made the biggest difference. We rarely find ourselves anywhere without signal now!
Since you said to ask you anything……..
On taxes, etc., I am a resident of Colorado. I own a house here, so for now, that will probably remain the case. However, if I can eventually get away from the part-time desk job that keeps me tied here, I hope to become more location independent. My main business (planning meetings/conferences/events/etc.) is 100% online.
So…..for state tax purposes, how does that work? If I am in Florida, for example, taking care of my parents and I earn online income from events that I booked in multiple states (without ever having set foot in those states in many cases….), would that income be taxed as Colorado income, or if I earned it while I was physically in Florida, would that be (not) taxed as Florida income?
This may be outside the realm of your knowledge, but just wondering if anyone within your network might have an idea.
I am interested in the answer to this question as well.
So since I’m not a CPA or EA, I can’t give you tax advice. If you want to talk to Heather Ryan, we’ve had her on the podcast talking about business formation and taxes. You can reach out to her at tax-queen.com. She’s a wealth of information and can give you better advice!
Thanks–I’ll check with her when the issue comes up!
Hey, guys! I love the blog and podcast. You’ve traveled extensively in both a class A and C RV, and soon you’ll be exploring New Zealand in a camper van. If you had to select an RV for future travel, any idea on what you’d choose? What are your plans after the international travel? Thanks!
We know exactly what we want next! https://winnebagoind.com/products/class-c/2018/fuse/overview
After New Zealand, we’re planning on exploring more of Canada this summer and then hoping to RV Europe in 2019!
As Alyssa mentioned, we’re looking at a Class C motorhome because we’re doing a big & fast trip across Canada to Alaska and we want to be nimble. As far as what we do afterwords? Not really sure to be honest. Lots of life plans up in the air :).
Hello Heath and Alyssa! I’ve been following you for the last few months now and am so inspired. I’m Lauren I am 31 and I just kicked breast cancers ass!! Yes, after 16 rounds and 6 months of chemotherapy and my recent double mastectomy I am officially cancer free. If there’s one thing this experience has taught us (my partner Ryan and I of 8 years) it’s to go, do, now. We’re travelers at heart and spent the early years of our relationship living in different places and countries. So our newest goal is to buy a used rv, make minimal upgrades, and hit the road by winter 2018! I’m so excited but am confused of where to start. I already have a mobile business that I started prior to my diagnosis as a virtual career coach. I can easily pick that back up again but am truly being called to something bigger. Perhaps I want to work with young cancer survivors guiding them through life after cancer and how to integrate travel into the recovery process etc. however I know I want to start a blog and start to grow a following even though we do not yet have our rv. Long story short I think I’m asking, how do I position myself in this industry to have a blog pre-rv without coming off as disingenuous since I’m not a full time rver? I’m wanting to be using #fulltimerv on my instagram now but don’t want to turn away potential friends and future collaborators. The blog will be about more than rving since I have a lot to share about my story etc, I’m just scared to jump into the rv world before being an rver. I’m also allowing myself to get in my own way and saying that I haven’t started the blog because I can’t think of a proper title. Can you let me know how you decided on heathandalyssa as youra? Any input would be helpful!
Woo hoo cancer free! Congrats!
As long as you’re honest with your story, it won’t matter that you aren’t full-timing yet. I wouldn’t be writing any blogs that are tips for full-timers or best places to camp or anything like that. When we see people doing that, it shows that they aren’t really sharing their real story. Jumping into full-timing is a journey worth documenting. I think your story of realizing how important it is to do things now instead of waiting is so important. If you keep that as the theme or overarching motif for your site, I think you’ll really be able to resonate with a lot of people, RVers and non-RVers!
Picking a URL is hard! Your name is always a safe bet. We talk about how we decided on HeathandAlyssa.com in this podcast episode: https://heathandalyssa.com/rve-0061-happens-quit-rving/ We decided on it after a LOT of going back and forth! 🙂
Hello Heath and Alyssa,
I am on course for the hitting the Rv-ing road by late May or early June this year. Just a few questions (I know you have been asked these before but, I cannot find past info) before I go any further. 1) what system of banking management do you suggest for Rv’rs? Prenently, I am a credit union member, one which is out of the state I reside in. I have excess to some C/unions that are co-partners with mine in my state and not sure of others across the US.
2). State of Residence? I am considering South Dakota due to no state tax and no major restrictions for home basing from.
3). Mail ?.
4). Budget plan?
Thanks in advance for your help.
Jeff Welch / RtTraveler.
We bank for both business and personal with Chase since they have locations worldwide.
We are Texas residents (also no state tax) and prefer that to South Dakota. For South Dakota, I know from friends that you have to spend at least one night in the state each year. Florida is another good option.
For mail, we highly recommend Escapees. They can also set you up with a legal address in any of those three states and will forward your mail wherever you are. https://www.escapees.com/support/mail-service
For budgeting, we actual have all our finance records from our first year on the road in our course here: https://therventrepreneur.teachable.com/p/how-to-travel-america-on-2k-month We average $2,000 to $2,500 a month for all our living expenses.
Hope that helps! 🙂
Thanks so much for the info. I will put my answered questions to rest and roll forward.
Hi Heath and Alyssa,
I’ve followed your podcast and the RVE summit since I began working on my startup. My question for you is what is the best way to approach some of the other entrepreneurs showcased during the RVE that provide products/services in the RV travel ecosystem (including Heath) about opportunities to work together? Email? Your Facebook group? I didn’t attend RVE summit because I’m not a fulltimer – I’m a sometimer who is building an RV related service.
The best way to reach out to any influencer is to become friends with them first. Comment on their blogs, videos, Instagram, etc. Contribute in their communities on Facebook and reply to their newsletters. Buy their products or support them on Patreon. That will take a few months for them to get to know your name.
People want to work with people they know. We probably get 6-10 emails a day from strangers wanting us to use their service or buy their product and we delete them all. When you reach out cold, you come off like a spammer. When you take the time to build a relationship first, you have better chances of getting your email noticed (and I would say email is always the best way to reach out. Social media messages get lost in the chaos).
We are not quite ready to take the plunge to full-time RVing, but I was wondering if you can have your domicile in South Dakota if you own land in Colorado?
I’m pretty sure that you can, but I’m not an expert! But you can get a free consultation from Escapees. They are pros in domicile laws and the CEO is a lawyer, so he really knows his stuff! https://www.escapees.com/support/mail-service
When you were getting started in business on the road, how did your prioritise the “what comes next…” We left summit with so many ideas and plans and we see the big picture of what it all could be…we’ve taken the first steps…now what. How did you keep the ball moving forward in between being able to launch and success?
That’s a really good question! For me—because I’m super type A—step one is to write out a plan. I find that the hardest thing about progress is when you start getting overwhelmed and not knowing the next step. Having a plan all written out is the only thing that keeps me sane.
So for example, our next course launch is going to be the second week of May. I have a calendar that has day-by-day action items from this week until then. It took a few hours to get the whole plan on paper, but it saves me from hours of trying to figure out the next step or trying to decide what is supposed to come next.
I’d also search for books or guides on whatever it is you’re trying to launch. We’ve read books on marketing, launches, and Kickstarters that have helped give us a framework for establishing a timeline and realistic expectations for the workload. I feel like making that investment has made the biggest difference!
I struggle with this a lot. I’m very much an idea guy and I want to chase all of them.
However, I’ve typically found that there are at least one or two ideas that are typically more concrete and realistic for the next step.
I love the idea of a bridge business for example.
For instance, we wanted to build a software business and have the freedom + flexibility to spend more time writing or podcasting, traveling, etc. While we’ve known for years this was our goal, it wasn’t super practical early on. By getting video skills it helped us get paid for a service that we could monetize while working towards these longterm goals.
Another thing I’ve found super helpful is thinking about most all projects in term of runway – financial runway & emotional runway. If this project isn’t making “x revenue” or at a certain traction by a certain point, it may not be worth our time. Emotional runway is basically how many no’s I’m willing to go through before calling something quite (i.e how many campgrounds can I get a no from before I’m willing to quit).
I find that both these are super helpful things that have helped me keep projects on track. Hope that’s helpful
My husband and I are about 20 months away from joining the full-time community. At that point we will still be in our early 40’s, have a 40 lb dog, no kids and looking to spend a lot of our time outdoors. That said, we’ve shifted our initial purchase plan toward a small enough travel trailer that we can pull it with my Toyota Highlander and then, if the first few months/ half year validate our thought that we will love this lifestyle AND want a bigger setup, will upgrade at that time. Are we setting ourselves up for failure by starting with a trailer in the <4,500 weight range (i.e. smallest of the non-collapsable trailer). Thank you and we are so excited to hear of your New Zealand adventures!!
Oh, I forgot to mention, in case you’ve seen this make a difference… we’ve been married >14 years so are pretty in tune with each other’s quarks and pet peeves. Doesn’t mean we always agree or respect them, but we do recognize them. 😉
I think most RVers start off with what they think will be the perfect rig and then after traveling for 6 months, they realize what features are important/necessary/not important. As long as you don’t buy something brand new and end up taking a big loss from depreciation, then I wouldn’t worry about planning to change! If you’re worried about it, I think having a set time frame helps a lot. We set that we would be in our Class C for one year and it helped us stay sane on the hard days or when things broke!
Yes. We’re definitely looking to keep our initial investment as minimal as possible without making live miserable with our choice. Thanks so much and again, have a great time in NZ. Please continue the blog and other social media as I appreciate learning from you both whenever I have a chance to read. Cheers!
We definitely will 🙂 Thanks Brandy!
We are 1.5yrs at MOST out. Family of 5 going to start my own online coaching, I think! BUT hubby works for a restaurant that has the perk of “passport’ing” to any other location. I was thinking we could do a month in each location to start but I was also thinking about reaching out to the restaurant and making them aware of our intentions #1 I am not sure any other employee every passported to all their locations during their tenure so have to make sure it is ok #2 do you think it could raise any potential marketing/PR opportunities to get sponsorship from his job?–what would be the best and approach and to what dept would we direct our inquiry?
That’s an awesome idea! I definitely think you could find PR/marketing opportunities within that realm. However since he’s already an employee, I think it would be harder to get sponsorship. If you could make it a campaign to visit all of the locations, then I definitely think you could get them to contribute to travel expenses from location to location. I’ll have Heath chime in too since that’s his area of expertise!
If the company has a decent social media + blog combination, they may be able to see the value in something like this. As you mentioned, it would be really cool to bounce around to all their locations and mix it into y’all’s own journey. You can document your journey via photos or video. This is also a great way to show the company promotes alternative lifestyles and has this little known option of passporting around to other locations. Love this idea :).
Hi there H and A! Here’s a question on (online) branding and extending the brand into social medias various arms and legs. What strikes you as the most effective recipe for developing and engaging an audience for both fun and profit? I struggle with the options (Facebook, Instagram, open web, YouTube, etc) and the best way to leverage those options in a way that is effective rather than convoluted. IOW — which are the better channels and how, in an ideal world, would you time and order your outgoing messages/stories/posts/etc to generate value and stickiness? I find myself dealing with legacy pages on FB and IG (personal, Group, Place) and fumbling when I have something to say/post. Would love to hear your advice!
That’s a great question! Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) is basically useless for your brand. It’s expected that you be on them, but they do very little for you. (Facebook groups are a different story though. Ours has been wildly successful for building a place for our community to gather online).
You want to be on search engines. We tackled getting on three last year: Pinterest, Youtube, and Amazon. Of the three, I would say Youtube is the best one right now. The content there will last the longest and the search engine is so powerful. It seems to be growing leaps and bounds every day. (Although Pinterest has been our biggest driver for actually get clicks back to our website).
We didn’t start focusing on any social media until October of last year and didn’t even create a HeathandAlyssa Instagram until six months ago. Part of me thinks “oh, we should’ve done this years ago!” but the other part of me knows that creating lasting content is always the smarter choice!
Are you guys planning or wanting to make another documentary in the future?
Also, what is your favorite kind of chocolate to go with wine and why is it dark chocolate?
We’ve talked a lot about another potential documentary, but I think we are going to focus on web series and vlogs. It’s much easier to get traction that way! Plus we’ve found it’s easier to time wise to produce 100 Youtube episodes than one feature length documentary.
My favorite kind of chocolate is plain dark chocolate, usually paired with roasted almonds, gluten-free pretzels, popcorn, or a semi-dry red wine. (I’m just now realizing we always pair chocolate with salty snacks!) I don’t like sweet chocolate, so the super dark stuff is my favorite. Heath I’m pretty sure will eat any kind of chocolate with any kind of wine. We did a wine tasting in the Finger Lakes region that paired wine and chocolates together that was really amazing too!
Hi guys! I am considering downsizing to the RV lifestyle within the next few years and I have a million questions. Most can be answered with research, over planning and trial and error, but one thing has bee troubling me. Address. Now I know the whole point of RVing is so you don’t have to adhere yourself to a permanent address, but what about mail. I know most things in life can go paperless, but for the few things that can’t (or if mom wants to send you a Valentine care package) where do you have things sent to? Or do you have a PO box?
There are services that will set up a legal address, called a domicile, for you. That will be the address you use for your driver’s license, insurance, etc. We recommend a service called Escapees that will get you set up in one of the three states that is best for full-timers. I actually talk more about how domicile works in chapter 14 of my book, A Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV: http://amzn.to/2FRiT1W
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