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Back in 2017, Heath and I had just paid off all our student debt. It was a huge moment for us because when we first started traveling, it felt irresponsible to travel with $30,000 following us around the country. But after two years of hustling, growing our business, and continuing to full-time travel, we paid it all off. 🍾
Up until then, we said yes to every single business opportunity that came our way. We filmed weddings, designed ebooks, launched products, wrote magazine articles, and once filmed a conference on a very specific coding language where everyone spoke English and I still didn’t understand a word anyone said all weekend.
We took RV entrepreneurship to be “do anything to make money so we can keep traveling.”
But once that debt was gone, our options suddenly opened up. And we realized that our existing pace of work could change.
We could reorganize our business to free up our time.
So we spent the next few months slowly firing all of our clients. We wrapped up projects, found replacements for long-term gigs, and flew to New Zealand to campervan for three months.
Which felt crazy at the time. It even feels crazy and irresponsible to type four years later.
We spent years working so hard to build up a client base with monthly recurring revenue to cover our cost of living plus $1,000/month of debt payments. We were bringing in great money and voluntarily giving it all up just to have our time back.
But here’s what we knew:
1. We really didn’t want to deal with scheduling meetings with a 17 hour time difference. Almost always we would both be living a different day of the week. It’s mind-bending and would mean really early or really late meetings for us.
2. Having no clients meant we had more time and fewer restrictions on when we needed to be at a computer. Clients require deadlines and meetings and upkeep. Without all that, we didn’t have designated hours where we needed to sit down and work. We could be completely flexible.
3. We could focus on our own projects. I published my book after we paid off that debt. Heath started onboarding his first customers to Campground Booking. We hosted our second Summit. We posted 30 videos on Youtube of our time in New Zealand just because we wanted to remember our adventures.
All because we had the time.
RV entrepreneurship went from doing anything to make money to creating a business around the things we loved to do most. We enjoyed our client-based business, but this was the epitome of owning our day. Fewer meetings, more passive income, more time to work on projects that we 100% owned, and more freedom to travel the world.
And in the next year after paying off the debt and restructuring, we visited five countries and replaced our old client income with income from our own products.
The risk at the time felt monstrous.
But we knew that ultimately it was the right move to free us up to grow Campground Booking, to have kids, and to keep traveling.
Our business was built around the type of life we wanted to live.
This month we’ve shared a few things we really want to do with our campground property:
- Automate it so we spend fewer hours on site
- Find a niche of campers and build our campground for them
- Diversify income streams to ensure our property is profitable
We’ve got so many ideas and things we are eager to make happen with this park—rooftop patio, coffee roasting, live music, food trucks!—but we filter everything through that same mindset:
Building a business around the type of life we want.
If we automate park processes, we can save on staffing costs, increase reservations, and spend fewer hours working at the property in person.
If we focus on a specific niche of campers, we can garner great reviews and attract repeat customers by offering something different than every other RV park out there.
If we diversify our income, we can handle slow camping seasons and stay open year-round without stress because we’ve created additional ways to increase our revenue.
And all the while, we can travel the world with our family.
At times, Heath and I have really questioned if we should move forward with this campground. After all, our existing businesses are already mobile and have traveled well for years. We can work from anywhere. We can travel anywhere and know that we have income. Adding a campground was a huge risk and a major lifestyle change that came with a zip code—something we are 100% not used to having.
But it was a dream that we wanted to take a chance on.
And since it requires a physical location, we feared how we would handle an in-person business.
Rather, we still fear how to handle an in-person business. It’s a set of total unknowns.
But there is one thing we can control, and that’s how we structure our business model from day 1.
What can we do now to make the campground run smoothly even when we’re 6,000 miles away RVing across the islands of Japan?
It requires getting a little creative and developing our park differently than most campgrounds we’ve ever visited. But if there’s one thing we know, it’s that we’re not going to be the couple to live on-site at a campground so we can get a knock on the door at 2 AM that someone’s septic dump is backed up.
We’ll be the owners who develop systems and processes and a team so that the campground can thrive without us always being there.
It’s more of an uphill battle with a physical business versus an online business, but it’s one thing we’re not willing to give up. Because building a business that fits with the lifestyle you want to live is what RV Entrepreneur is all about.
And while we may be in one place right now while we are planning and building out this property (not to mention having a baby), we can’t shake that RV Entrepreneur mindset.
Heath and I are deep in the throes of building this property right now. We’re currently going through permitting for rezoning (if you’ve never read a Department of Transportation report on local traffic flow, your life is waaaaay more interesting than mine at the moment), getting bids and quotes from utilities for our hookups, and putting together all the calculations for what the build out of our campground will actually cost.
It’s by far the biggest business challenge we’ve taken on so far, but we couldn’t be more excited to build this park for RV entrepreneurs where you can work and explore our corner of Colorado 🏔