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If you're in need of some inspiration and motivation you're going find it right here and right now. On episode 10 of Rebel Boss Ladies we have Camille Attell from More than a Wheelin' to share her journey from a 20+ year career in corporate America to living in an RV full time with a travel blog.
Camille's story is incredibly inspiring. She and her husband ditched their house, solid jobs, good income, the “American Dream”, to make a big change in their lives. This transition was super risky and more than a little scary. But they went for it anyway because that's what felt right to them.
Today, Camille is going to share her story, how she financed her life during that time with remote work, freelancing and blogging, and how that ultimately transitioned into a business that relies on digital product sales.
Today, Camille lives in a 32-foot RV with her husband Bryce and her cat. In a little over two years, she’s travelled across the country, she’s visited about 32 states and covered 28000 miles.
Her location-independent lifestyle began a little over two years ago, when Camille chose to leave the corporate America job she had worked at for almost 11 years.
“I’d been in corporate America for at least 20 years… before I decided “hey, I’m going to do something else,” which was just a huge, scary decision and one that I never thought I would make.”
In the back of her mind Camille always had a desire to do something different, but it was easier to follow the “safe route” – working for someone else, getting a paycheck, and feeling secure. She and her husband bought a house, but things just kept going wrong, and they started to feel unhappy about the direction their lives were headed in.
This was a wake up call.
Camille recalls discussing with her husband, “it’s now or never. If we’re going to go figure out something else, we’ve got to do it now while we still have a little bit of time to make a mistake.” Her husband was on the same page, and they decided together to completely change their lives.
Transitioning to life on the road wasn’t easy. Camille and her husband had to pull themselves out of their ties to their previous life – the home they had bought, their jobs, their family.
Camille’s family and friends weren’t thrilled with her new plan.
After living near her family her entire life, they had to get used to not seeing her as much. Her friends were worried about her giving up the “American Dream” – after owning a home and working in a steady corporate job for years, Camille’s decision to work for herself was surprising.
For Camille, quitting her job was bittersweet. She liked the company she worked for and her co-workers, but decided she needed to challenge herself. “None of it excited me. I just wasn’t passionate about it… I think sometimes you have to leave comfort zones to go find what it is you’re supposed to do.”
Not only did Camille have to transition to a new style of work, she also needed to transition to living in an RV. “We actually created a project plan called the Wanderlust Transition Plan… it literally shows you all the steps we took to make that transition.” The plan went through all of the steps to transition to the RV lifestyle, including looking for jobs, finding health insurance, and buying an RV.
While the transition was difficult, and giving up safety, security and benefits seemed like a crazy idea, Camille and her husband pushed themselves to work through it. In the beginning they were excited, but also felt a lot of fear. “We just had to really challenge ourselves and think about being more creative and what else we can do.”
After hearing some recommendations from others, Camille started her blog More than a Wheelin’.
“I had no idea what I was doing. And it just took a while to figure out that if I was ever going to make money from that I really had to invest in learning and really understand what it took.”
She realized that monetizing her blog would take a lot of time and effort until it became really successful.
Camille also pursued freelance work through her previous connections. “I come from the world of corporate training… I networked in my own community and I picked up a lot of work that way.” She used the skills she had learned in her corporate career to find consulting and training opportunities.
A big part of Camille’s financial freedom was her changing lifestyle and the different expenses she no longer had after moving to the road. Even though she had a smaller income, she also had a lot less to spend in her new life. She and her husband were able to assess their needs and chose to spend their money on the things that were most important to them.
From 2016 to today, Camille’s work and sources of income have changed a lot. She still blogs and gets a passive income from the affiliate links on her website, but she no longer freelances.
After a few months blogging, Camille instead chose to focus her time on building her own product, which she knew early on was the direction she wanted to move in.
“Owning my own product has brought in enough money that I don’t have to keep freelancing.”
Now, her main source of income is her digital product, Remote Work 101: Work, Live and Travel Where You Want.
“It’s a combination of my experience going through this but I also have a background in career development… with my corporate training I’ve been able to leverage all of that to create this program.” She also used the questions that her followers had previously asked her to build her product.
Despite all of her varied previous experience, Camille did have to do some research to learn about the best ways to create and market her product.
Even though she had a lot of experience with corporate training, she wasn’t quite sure how to build an online training course. “I was actually quite intimidated by it even though I had experience in it. I was still like woah there's a lot to learn here.”
Remote Work 101, Camille’s product, is for people who want to transition out of a 9-to-5 job into a remote position. It’s built for people looking for remote work with a company or freelance jobs. “It really does take you through how do you start thinking about this transition and what are the steps take.”
She emphasizes that her course isn’t for people who want to build an online business. While her course isn’t about branding yourself or building your own agency, the course covers a lot, from skill assessment to career skills. These skills, however, could help you transition to building a business down the line, or working towards that ultimate goal.
Camille started by launching a “messy” version of her digital product, to gauge interest and get feedback about what she hoped to build. “That way I didn’t invest tons of time and money in something that I didn’t know if people would actually want or buy.” Testing this first iteration of her product was a great way to affirm she was on the right track.
The second iteration of Camille’s product began with a pre-sale, where she sold the product before actually creating it. She reached out to everyone on her email list and offered a lower price to encourage sales. It also let her get feedback from her customers through out the creation of the product.
A pre-sale is when you sell the product before you actually create it. This allows you to ensure that your audience is interested before you spend all your time and resources creating something.
Her presale was quite successful, and it gave her a small salary and a source of income while she was building the course. “It’s such a great model because you get income coming in before you actually have to build this product which can take time.”
These different iterations of her product really helped Camille to figure out and “lock down” what she wanted to create. Since then, she hasn’t had to do much to sell her product. Her affiliate sales and email lists have worked really well during her product launches, but she does hope to build her marketing strategy in 2019 by buying ads and reaching different audiences.
Camille says the success of her digital product was helped by the strong relationship we had with her audience. Her advice: “it’s so important to have a relationship with the people who are willing to give you their email addresses… I really need to invest in that relationship.” She recommends that you should think about email as making friends, and building a more personal relationship.
Camille emphasized that throughout her freelance and remote work, she’s had some great opportunities to collaborate with other people online. “You should look at people who are doing similar things to you as possible partners as opposed to competition.”
This “abundance mindset” has helped her create great online connections and build great products with other online entrepreneurs. She recommends finding online Mastermind groups or accountability partners to help stay on track and share ideas. “It’s just great for the socializing, feeling like you’re not alone, and of course you grow faster when you can leverage all these talented people.”
If you’re ever doubting that you can succeed online, Camille has one final piece of advice: “I went through all of that. We all do. And it’s a journey. It’s just you got to keep showing up, doing the research, taking little steps and eventually over time you can do it. So if anyone’s thinking that they can’t, I know for a fact that it can be done.”
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