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It’s taken me a month to write a RVE Summit recap because really the only word that comes to mind when I think back on the summit is wow.
Wow at the stories we heard from attendees.
Wow at the speakers’ presentations that I’ve been re-watching and soaking in.
Wow at the community of incredible people we’ve built.
Wow at how out of breath I was when we all climbed to the top of Enchanted Rock.
Wow. I’m humbled and in awe of the hundreds of people we met.
But Heath insisted I write more than just one word to describe our 2018 RV Entrepreneur Summit, so here are my four biggest takeaways from my favorite weekend of the year.
Community is powerful.
I’m not going to lie to you—Heath and I created the RV Entrepreneur Summit for purely selfish reasons. We wanted a whole weekend devoted to hanging out with our RVing friends and talking about business.
We had no idea how our community would respond to this little idea, and we’ve been continuously blown away by what happens as a result of the Summit.
People walk away with jobs, new freelance clients, and accountability partners. Many attendees hosted attendee-led meet ups and taught their expertise for the first time. One Australian couple got to have their first-ever s’mores (which I have to say was hilarious to watch!). Heck, two people met at the Summit and started dating! (Basically, if you want to fall in love, eat marshmallows, or build a business, this is the conference for you.)
My favorite part of this community is watching how people’s lives have changed from one Summit to the next. Friends have started full-timing, started their first business, and built a repertoire of freelance clients. When we ask them how they reached all these goals, large credit goes to the friends they made at the Summit. Friends who provide much need encouragement and accountability. I love what one attendee told us before he left: “I’ve connected with people this weekend who I will be friends with for the rest of my life.”
Tell your story—no matter what it is.
Someone asked me a question a few months ago that has really stuck with me. She said “Does it bother you when you see people copying what you do? Like when they start posting blogs about how to make money while RVing.”
“No,” I said. “Because one day, they will realize whatever it is that they are really passionate about and they will start writing about that.”
When I started blogging, I copied everything the bloggers I followed wrote. I mimicked their styles, the way they wrote their titles, their topics. All artists do this.
There is a misconception in the RV world that if you live in an RV, you have to blog about RVing. You need to talk about your favorite campgrounds, how to hook up your tow car, and the best solar set up for boondocking. This is ridiculous. But after talking to many people at the Summit, people feel an unsaid pressure that these are the things you should talk about.
If you feel that way, let me tell you: You can blog about anything you want. Heck, you don’t even have to tell the people reading your blog that you live in an RV. Your story is unique and meaningful just as it is.
Nathan and Marissa of Less Junk, More Journey presented on Saturday night about what it looks like to share your story—your real story. Not the fluff pieces and the good parts, but all the parts. They didn’t edit their story to fit in better with what other RVers were producing. They just told their story—the real, genuine truth.
I walked away from Nathan and Marissa’s talk feeling lighter. Heath and I have talked a lot about sharing more of our personal life on Youtube and it’s something that we fear. It’s hard to let people—strangers on the internete especially!—see so many sides of you. But as they pointed out, sharing the real story is what people love.
Whether you’re a blogger, a Youtuber, or an entrepreneur, sharing your story is one of your biggest assets. Don’t feel pressure to conform your story to fit in with what everyone else is writing, filming, sharing. Share your real story and you’ll attract an audience.
If you want to learn more about how to share your story, listen to Nathan and Marissa present Connecting with Your Audience Through Story for free here.
Do what makes you come alive.
Peter and Kathy Holcombe are my and Heath’s #CoupleGoals.
For years, they ran a photography studio in Boulder, Colorado, shooting weddings and events. But they are also brave adventurers who love kayaking. They wanted to create a life that allowed them to kayak across the country while continuing to pursue creative photography.
Their initial plan was to photograph 10 weddings a year. That would cover their basic expenses and free up the rest of their time to pursue their passion for kayaking. Of course being amazing photographers, it didn’t take long for them to start landing gigs and sponsorships with companies like GoPro, Jackson Kayaks, Winnebago, and more. Now they are on the water almost every single day (talk about commitment!) and they can devote their talents to the adventures they love so much.
(I’m really not doing justice to their amazing story, but you can listen to their whole session for free in our RV Entrepreneur School.)
I’ve never met two people who are better at creating opportunities for themselves to do the things they love. While I sat backstage listening to Kathy and Peter present, I kept thinking two things:
1. I want to be them when I grow up!
2. What makes me come alive? And how can I create opportunities to pursue that?
I walked away from Peter and Kathy’s talk feeling empowered to chase my passion (and also craving a bit of adventure).
Our Summit is nothing like any other event for RVers. In fact, if you looked at our schedule, you may have noticed there wasn’t a single session that actually talked about RVing. We don’t discuss boondocking strategies or have workshops on the best towing set-up. Every session we add to the schedule is 100% focused on strategies and tactics for growing your business.
Because there are a ton of other rallies, convergences, and workshops that can teach you about RVing basics. Plus, we already wrote the book on all that too. We wanted to talk with other RVers about our favorite topic: running a remote business.
We could’ve added in sessions that focused on RV basics, but we chose not to. We chose to be different. It’s the people who break away and do something different that get to blaze new trails and create the future.
I love what one of the product planners from Winnebago said of his experience attending the Summit this year:
“With the feedback we received during our lab exercises, I feel very confident [that] in the future, Winnebago Industries can provide some of the primary needs and desires of these ‘Working Road Warriors’, as they travel, live, work and play.”
Our goal is that our event makes an impact on the future of the RVing industry and that the RV industry takes notice. We think it will be more and more common for people to travel and work full-time in the future and we want to be a part of molding that future.
Those were my biggest takeaways from the Summit, but I’m just one person.
Hear about the RVE Summit from Attendees:
Pete and Jordan share their top tips for growing your business based on all the sessions they attended at the Summit.
“It’s been interesting over the past nearly 12 years as working on the road RVers. Our first few years were pretty lonely, we could count our fellow peers on one hand that we encountered. And now, we can hardly keep up with the communities that keep growing and growing.”
“We never want to leave. Although that is a bit counter-intuitive to this year’s slogan of Never Stand Still.”
Catch a sneak peek of Joe’s presentation on how to self-publish a book and hear We’re the Russo’s perspective on their first time attending the Summit!
This roundup recap features all of the WinnebagoLife writers who attended our Summit! I love this quote from Kenny & Sabrina of Moving Forward Adventures:
“What is the RVE summit you ask? It’s pure magic in its rawest form! A group of amazing people coming together not only to improve themselves, but to help others improve as well. It’s a place to set aside your ego and lend a hand to anyone who is trying to think outside the box and live a life where work and life are so blended that you’re not sure if you are having fun or working hard.”
We haven’t released the dates or location for next year’s RV Entrepreneur Summit yet, but will do so in the next few months. In the meantime, you can watch the replays of this year’s Summit for free over at The RV Entrepreneur School!