Ep. 24: Living the RV Life (with Marc and Julie Bennett of RVLove)
Meet Marc and Julie Bennett, the couple behind RVLove.com. The couple have been living, working and traveling full-time in their RV since 2014 – visiting all 50 USA states, plus Canada, Mexico and Australia. They began sharing on their blog, YouTube, and social media as a labor of love, and within a few years, RVLove evolved into a thriving business that now supports their life and travels.
In this episode, you’ll learn why Marc and Julie decided to take a huge leap of faith: first into living full-time in an RV, and later into pursuing their business full-time. We talk about the power of simplifying your approach as a business owner, and the importance of having multiple revenue streams, especially in a time as uncertain as this one. We also get into the deeper benefits and freedom that comes with working for yourself, and quite literally unchaining yourself from your desk.
Today’s guests: Marc and Julie Bennet
“We really just we wanted to create the courses that we wish had existed before we hit the road.”
Marc and Julie Bennett of RVLove have been living, working and traveling full-time in their RV since 2014 – visiting all 50 USA states, plus Canada, Mexico and Australia. They began sharing on their blog, YouTube and social media as a labor of love, and within a few years, RVLove evolved into a thriving business that now supports their life and travels.
In 2017, they launched RV Success School with a series of online courses for wannabe RVers. Additionally, in 2018, they co-authored and published “Living the RV Life – Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road” (published by Adams Media/Simon & Schuster). Living the RV Life is now a bestseller in its third print run, with 200+ 5-star reviews, and will be released in audio format this summer.
Marc and Julie are known for their honesty, inspiring, positive attitudes – sharing practical advice and invaluable tips about the RV lifestyle, while sharing the realities of life on the road.
Where to find Marc and Julie:
Learn more about the Bennetts and how you can hit the road in an RV at their website: www.RVLove.com.
- Website: rvlove.com
- Instagram: @rvlovetravel
- Facebook: @rvlovetv
- Twitter: @rvlovetravel
- Pinterest: @rvlovetravel
- YouTube: @rvlovetv
Read the full transcript below.
This transcript is created by a helpful but imperfect transcription bot. Please forgive any typos or errors.
Marc Bennett 0:00
When we tried to learn everything we needed to learn to hit the road, there was a big gap in what we could find for education. And still a couple years later, we still saw that as being a big gap. And so we thought that was a great opportunity. And so that was a major tipping point for us is realizing there was still there was still a lot of opportunity to be able to share education with people, and I could no longer continue to do my work, especially my work with the other on top of it.
Julie Bennett 0:28
Yeah, I think we really just we wanted to create the courses that we wish had existed before we hit the road.
Melissa Guller 0:34
Meet Marc and Julie Bennett, the couple behind RVLove.com. The couple have been living, working and traveling full time in their RV since 2014. Visiting all 50 US states plus Canada, Mexico and Australia. They began sharing on their blog, YouTube and social media as a labor of love and within a few years, RVLove evolved into a thriving business that now supports their life and travels. In this episode, you’ll learn why Marc and Julie decided to take the leap of faith. First into living full time in an RV, and later into pursuing their business full time. We talked about the power of simplifying your approach as a business owner, and the importance of having multiple revenue streams, especially in a time as uncertain as this one. Finally, we get into the deeper benefits of working for yourself, and quite literally unchaining yourself from your desk. Let’s say hello.
Welcome to “Everything is Teachable,” the podcast that takes you behind-the-scenes to learn how everyday creators have transformed their skills and passions into online courses and businesses. To introduce this week’s guest, here’s your host, Melissa Guller.
Melissa Guller 2:02
Hey everyone, I’m Melissa from Team Teachable. And today I’m excited to be here with Marc and Julie Bennett. After moving into their RV in 2014, the benefits started their blog RVLove.com. It began as an online labor of love. And in 2017, the Bennets launched RV Success School with a series of online courses for wannabe RVers. Then in 2018, they co-authored and published “Living the RV Life – Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road” (published by Adams Media/Simon & Schuster). Living the RV Life is now a bestseller in its third print run, with 200+ 5-star reviews, and will be released in audio format this summer. Marc and Julie are known for their honesty, inspiring positive attitudes and for sharing practical advice and invaluable tips about the RV lifestyle while sharing the realities of life on the road. Marc and Julie, welcome to the podcast. I’m so thrilled to have you.
Marc Bennett 3:07
Thanks so much. We’re excited to be here.
Julie Bennett 3:09
Melissa Guller 3:10
I am so excited to have my first couple on the podcast big milestone for us. And I have to just start by asking what made you guys decide to move full time into an RV all those years ago?
Marc Bennett 3:22
Oh, yeah, so many factors, actually. But I think one of the big drivers was just that there’s so little time off with our work. And we wanted to be able to have a lot more travel experiences with the limited time off we had. And I think the big thing that kicked us over that was going to Australia and meeting so many of Julie’s friends. When Julie starts talking, you’ll hear her Australian accent but meeting so many of her friends and family who had seen more of the United States than I had. And obviously I’m the one that lives here. And so I’ve just done work travel before that, and this was a great way to be able to make our home mobile.
Melissa Guller 3:56
That’s so interesting to hear you say that they’d seen more of the US I’m sure that’s probably striking for listeners to to think, Oh, I live here but how much of it Have I really seen?
Julie Bennett 4:06
Absolutely. And here’s my Australian accent now get a mate. I’ve been living in the US since late 2008 Mike and I’ve been together since 2010. And it has been eye opening for both of us because I’ve just kind of taken it for granted in Australia to Big Island down in the South Pacific and, and so, to go anywhere, we all jump on a plane and we go to New Zealand or Asia or America or Canada or Europe. And so a trip Australia is a pretty well traveled bunch actually. But you know, when I’m at my kid mostly done travel for work, and that seems to be very common here in the US is just it’s a very strong work culture here in the United States. And as Mike was saying earlier, most people only get one or two weeks a year of vacation, if you’re really lucky three or four. But so many of those get spent around the house and doing projects and things that a lot of leisure recreational travel doesn’t always make its way into the main
Melissa Guller 5:01
Mm hmm. And like you said, we do often put work first, for better or worse. It’s something that’s very important to all of us. Obviously, we need money to make a living. So I have to ask what feels like the big question listeners might have, which is, how were you able to start earning money while you were traveling full time?
Marc Bennett 5:18
Well, our transition into full time travel was interesting in that I, I had wanted a job that I could do remote from home for many years, and I finally was able to get that and I had a job I worked in operations for a company out of Texas. But I was able to do that from home. And after we did that for a couple months, we started to redefine the idea of home and that’s when we started to do the RV and start traveling. But I had that remote work that was providing an income to us and sustaining our lifestyle for those first couple years. And meanwhile, Julie actually started doing our side business,
Julie Bennett 5:54
right so I was in between jobs when we decided to hit the road in an RV. So I had been looking for another job. The company I’ve been working for had laid us off when they close the US office and looking for another job in Denver with a commute just wasn’t really very exciting to me in this RV conversation just just became more about daily conversation really about are we really going to do this and, and so Mike just said, Look, you used to have your own business in Australia, and you’ve been wanting to get back to doing your own thing. I’ve always been in writing and Marceting and creating content, which I really enjoy. And he said, so why don’t you just go and do that will travel my job can support us in a way Great. So we hit the road and I started a blog and I started learning how to make YouTube videos and I started out social media channels just for fun. You know, it was a real labor of love was just a way to share what we were learning and you sharing the adventure and where we’re going and the experience we were having. So we started that as we called it Avi love and really just it grew very organically from there. But definitely Marc was a great husband. Great. Support us both financially because of the level is definitely a labor of love for those people. fee was a labor of love. But it was something really you’re passionate about and having fun with. And there’s just really organic and as a creative outlet to allow you to explore and ensure intrinsically rewarding, I think is that Mike would have his full time job. But then after hours, we would obviously we go and do fun things, we’d go and hike national parks, we’d go for drives around Lake Tahoe, we, we started out with a dog at the time we’d get take the ball down the beach and throw for her and this was after after work so we could move and travel wherever we wanted. So when work was done, and Mike’s really good about work life balance, five o’clock works done, shuts the laptop off, doesn’t check emails, and we’re at doing something fun. So it really was a great way to get a lot more life in our life.
Melissa Guller 7:43
I love that. And I think it’s so interesting to hear you describe both things as a journey, getting the RV that was a journey, but also blogging and learning how to do all these things online was a journey in itself and sharing that with others must have been not just rewarding, but I have to imagine people started reaching out to you as well.
Julie Bennett 8:01
Yeah, yeah, we have a really really active vibrant community at RVLove. You know, we’ve got Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and will is not comment so much on Pinterest. YouTube is a big one for us as well and the blog so, so we’re kind of across everything, which is a lot to juggle. But we have different audiences in each of those platforms, you know, and so we have different conversations with them there. But it’s it’s been fun with really, I was a bit concerned hitting the rider was going to be a bit lonely because I’m an extrovert Mike’s an introvert and so having friends and community is really important to me. So leaving Colorado and leaving family and friends was a big thing. So there was an emotional journey as well that was part of this whole transition. So many, many journeys within the one big law I call it a never ending road trip because we’re just we’re just always, always on the move. But the journey is, you know, it’s emotional. It’s been in growth of a new business. It’s been in learning about the RV lifestyle, learning more about this country and all of the amazing In places you can visit and things you can do. So it’s really been a very huge journey even in personal growth, you know, in every in every aspect, but the people we’ve met along the way, definitely a big part of that.
Marc Bennett 9:13
Yeah. Well, you mentioned the community. But I think we also important to note that, yes, we do have a really big community right now. But when you first started, I remember you regularly talking about how you feel you’re talking to Oh, yeah.
Julie Bennett 9:24
Yeah. When we first started, you know, was 70 friends and family on my ad on my phone that I put on an email list and started sending email newsletters and writing blog posts. And I feel like is anyone actually reading this is my writing to an empty room here, but eventually, it grew. It’s pretty big now.
Melissa Guller 9:43
I’m sure that must be a relief for some listeners to hear though because it’s easy to look and see where people are five and six years down the road and forget that. They started off just telling their parents about it to or friends and family and it does grow. But I think part of what makes creators successful is Just knowing that it takes time that it is a journey and that it won’t happen overnight.
Julie Bennett 10:05
That’s a really big point, Melissa, because it’s so easy. And I did the same thing myself when we started not look at these other bloggers or YouTubers that were, had been doing this for years and had big followings and had really great quality content. And I’d look at it and I go, oh, gosh, I’m never going to get there. And it’s so easy to compare yourself to others. And that’s just, that’s just not really I mean, it’s great to be inspired by what others are doing. But at some point, you need to pull that back and say, No, I need to focus on my own voice, my own message, stay in your own lane. We’ve all got our own unique ways to be able to share a message. Really nothing’s original out there. made all of us sharing something that is probably not completely unique, but how we deliver it and how we share it and how we teach it is unique and that’s what we need to focus on. And I think that’s the great thing about the journey with with social media is you can just give yourself permission to listen to your own voice and allow that to come through in a way that’s natural for you instead of copying someone else. I think that was a big part of our success and organically growing in audiences, who were just being ourselves and having fun and being goofy and, you know, sharing the mistakes we made as well. And people, people just relate to that.
Melissa Guller 11:16
I love that. So we’ve talked about how small you are at the start with your 70 people. Then from there, how did your business start to evolve?
Julie Bennett 11:25
Well started first with the blog at RVLove.com and I’ve always been a writer, I love to write. So I liked writing articles and stories about, you know, what we’re learning about the RV life and how we came about the decision to purchase the RV that we did and the places that we went in to visiting Lake Tahoe, things like that. And then I’d send it out in an email. And I think at the beginning, I probably had an Excel spreadsheet, you know, names and email addresses and that eventually I changed that to MailChimp instead of getting a bit bit more organized with that, and then I started Learning how to make YouTube videos. And, you know, I just started out with the iMovie that you get for free on the Mac, and just pretty much self taught with that. And pretty much self taught with everything really.
Melissa Guller 12:13
Yeah, it’s reassuring to hear that because you don’t need fancy tools. And I think there are a lot of good free options like MailChimp, you mentioned that starts off for free iMovie starts off as a free tool. There are a lot of even now new apps coming out that make it easy to share like social media videos. So the barrier for technology i think is just getting lower and lower.
Marc Bennett 12:32
Well and I also for the YouTube side of it too with camera equipment. You know, we started off filming with just an iPhone and taking photos with an iPhone and then we started feeling pressured to get fancier and fancier equipment and then coming full circle. We’re actually back to doing almost everything with an iPhone because partially because that technology’s improved so much but you know, a lot of people already have a phone with an amazing camera so the quality is amazing. You don’t need a ton of fancy equipment. You If you’re gonna do YouTube videos and stuff like that,
Melissa Guller 13:03
Hmm, I think that’s really interesting to hear because having you guys go from the phone to complex back to the phone, I think is not just a testament to that technology, but like you said, it’s easy to use. Everyone has one. It’s working for you guys, so I’m sure it could work for anyone.
Julie Bennett 13:19
Yeah, and it’s more affordable because we just found that technology gets outdated so quickly. And it was just getting more expensive to get new camera equipment and more audio equipment and more tripods and lighting and all of those things and, and it got to the point we actually went to Australia in September to visit family and and we didn’t do much work when we’re there. So we didn’t take much camera gear, and it was really freeing and we just always asked myself why do we set out to live this life anyway, it was to have more freedom and enjoyment, you know life and we didn’t want to complicate that with carrying loads of heavy gear around. It just didn’t feel light. It literally felt like a burden. And we have some friends actually, they usually produce a team The show about being called the obvious. And they were off to Italy around the same time we went to Australia. And I remember seeing an Instagram post where they showed a picture of the hundred pounds of luggage of all of the camera gear. And I get it, they’re producing for a TV show. But I remember thinking to myself, nope, that is not going to be honest. And that was the catalyst for to say we’re selling all their camera equipment. And we did that around, I think in December, simplifying down to the iPhone, because then everything’s all in one place as well. It was also I had different memory cards from different cameras and phones and drones and GoPros. And it just, it just got messy and complicated. And we’re just like, that’s not how we want our life to be. So how do we simplify it and how do we bring the joy back to what we’re doing and not get bogged down in all the technical stuff in spindle the money on it too? Hmm.
Melissa Guller 14:48
I think the simplifying aspect is very easy to see when you talk about like the physical gear, but I’m sure a lot of early creators can think about their online world too. I think we accumulate so many digital Things that maybe listeners can think about, you know, what digital gear can they get rid of? And maybe the physical gear as well?
Julie Bennett 15:07
Absolutely. And we get people ask all the time, what gear do you use to make your videos or what video editing software to use, and we’re definitely happy to share that. But I always make the point of, it’s not about that and all of the great creators will tell you that like Casey Neistat, who’s legendary, and he’ll say it’s not about the gear, yes, you can get better quality production when you’re using higher end gear Of course, but it’s really about you and your voice and the authenticity of your message that people are going to relate to and resonate with. You know, a really valuable lesson I just want to quickly share is when we first started with really upping our game with our videos, and I was looking to one particular channel that did beautiful quality work. He’s a videographer. His wife is a makeup artist. They’re cute as a button couple and I was kind of looking up to them as a benchMarc that felt completely impossible to achieve. Because that’s the that’s the profession that that’s On our profession. And then I watched another gal who had very homegrown basic, very unproduced videos in the same space in the RV space. And she had way more views on her videos than they had on these. And that was really valuable for me to realize that it doesn’t matter how fancy and expensive your equipment is, as long as people like you and relate to you, and you’re authentic and relatable. That’s, that’s really what people want.
Marc Bennett 16:26
Yeah. And they want to see what you have to share, whether it be for entertainment or for education. Mm
Melissa Guller 16:30
hmm. Perfectly said. I think that’s a nice segue to actually start talking about your online courses. So at what point in your business did you start thinking about adding online courses to the mix?
Marc Bennett 16:41
Well, as Julie mentioned earlier, we know we love the freedom aspect of our lifestyle, we love being able to travel around and we’d love the independence that location independence, but we also my job still had a lot of restrictions in that I had to be on the computer from 8am to 5pm. Time in whether whether I was in the Pacific Coast or the East Coast, my time zones would change. But it was such an intense work schedule and that I would sometimes in my we joke about this, but the way our office my office was set up in the motorhome was that I could literally reach the door handle to the bathroom while sitting in my desk chair. But sometimes my days were so intense, I literally could not go in that room for six or seven hours at a time because I literally could not step away from my desk. So though I had the location independence, I had a lot of intensity at my work and it eventually started to really weigh on me and also doing our side hobby business on the side was on top of that job in the evening, sometimes so and it was growing and growing and the work was getting more intense in the work. So my work is getting super intense and less rewarding. And yet what we were doing on the side was still very intrinsically rewarding, though. It wasn’t making as much money it was very intrinsically rewarding. And it was with us only spending a little bit of time on it. And it eventually reached a tipping point for us. And in that it just became too much to bear. And I was starting to have some health concerns, because it was impacting my health and, and so that’s when we started getting more serious about doing our own thing and online courses is because we, when we first hit the road, we realized there was a gap there that when we tried to learn everything we needed to learn to hit the road, there was a big gap in what we could find for education. And still a couple years later, we still saw that as being a big gap. And so we thought that was a great opportunity. And so that was a major tipping point for us is realizing there was still there was still a lot of opportunity to be able to share education with people and I could no longer continue to do my work, especially my work with the other on top of it.
Julie Bennett 18:54
Yeah, I think we really just we wanted to create the courses that we wish should existed before we hit the road. to just make it a lot easier, we spent hundreds and hundreds of hours researching, and it was kind of a piecemeal approach. And we just couldn’t believe that something like this didn’t already exist, actually. And for the first few years on the regular, why hasn’t somebody created this? Why? Why hasn’t someone made a course online that you can learn what you need to learn to hit the road in NaVi and be safe and know where to look for information and know how to how to not electrocute yourself? things. And then eventually, as Marc said, When his work was getting to a point where it was it was literally making him sick, and it was impacting us in our relationship and our happiness and thought, this is not why we hit the road to do this is not worth it. You’re killing yourself for your job. And at some point, we have to draw a line in the sand. And so we’ll move on maybe the reason the course hasn’t been created yet is we’re the ones that are meant to create it so right
Marc Bennett 19:48
well, I can do that too is we wanted to take enough time to feel that we were credible and an authority and authority enough Do we need to see serious Yeah, no know in hindsight, we might have been able to teach this much sooner, but at that point we were we wanted to have enough ground behind us into feel like we could really speak clearly an edge and without any religious conviction. Yeah, we could speak with conviction and authority at that point.
Julie Bennett 20:11
Yeah. And know that we felt really comfortable that we were giving people really great quality information and education to get them out there. But I do want to say one thing is it Marc’s job the reason it was getting so stressful is the company was trying to sell a very successful company and they were looking to get bought out and he was going to get a nice big check. Right and so we were hanging out waiting for this big check that we thought as soon as you know the company sells and Marcet sees check them will have the money to go off and solder and business will kind of waiting for all the stars to line up for the situation to be perfect. And then it wasn’t perfect because it was killing him in and I said you know what if this company doesn’t sell because they kept delaying the date and pushing it out and pushing it out and putting everyone under more pressure and I said you can’t keep doing this and whether they sell or not. Whether you get the money or not. You have to have to make a decision. And then if it doesn’t sell this time, you’re going to leave. Because we will, we’ll be okay. We’ll find a way. Because you you miserable like you kill yourself. And sure enough the company was supposed to sell. And we learned at the end of January that it didn’t it fell through. And Marc had a moment of.
Marc Bennett 21:16
Yeah, well, that’s interesting, too, because Julie mentioned earlier that I had really good work life balance. And up until that period, I really did. But when the company was up for sale, a lot of the executive team and the leadership team all started working far more because we were trying to do our regular job work, and then all the stuff for the business sale on top of it. And that’s what lost work life balance, which is what caused a lot of the health which is what threw everything out of whack and what made us have that reevaluation. And then that real moment that Julie’s talking about is that I was on the call and they announced that the deal had fallen through and I had maybe half a second of real disappointment and then I all sudden realize, wait a second, I’m free because you already decided decided that we’re whether it’s all not believing and when the deal fell through, I knew that it’d be at least six months, probably a year before they try and put the company back on the Marcet, which meant there is no way I’m staying that long. And so within a couple weeks, I put in my resignation and
Julie Bennett 22:12
left. And that’s a huge leap of faith. That was
Marc Bennett 22:14
a really big leap of faith to go, fully supporting our own business. And but, you know, in hindsight, it’s been such a wonderful decision because it’s given us so much freedom and now it’s it’s not all been easy and it’s been a lot of work. And we spent a lot of we spent hundreds of hours building that school plus the thousands of hours that
Julie Bennett 22:35
we work a lot. Yeah, we do try to get back to that work life balance that we used to have.
Marc Bennett 22:39
Yeah, but you know, the what’s interesting though, is you know, I talked earlier about how I literally my work was so intense, I couldn’t even use the restroom if I needed to for and now, even if we work a long day, I still know at any moment I can get up from my desk, I can go for a bike ride, I can do whatever I want to have the choices because we have our own business that we we make the rules and so it Really has location dependents, and it has time independence. And if we have a day, you know, we don’t feel like working at all today. It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is. In fact, I very rarely know what day it is. We have to really put reminders in our things to remind us to come do this podcast with you.
Julie Bennett 23:16
It is, but I think everyone’s having that problem right now during the
Marc Bennett 23:20
during the lockdown, a lot of people have trouble remembering what day it is.
Julie Bennett 23:24
Yeah, the freedom is something we really can’t put a price on it just having more control of your own destiny.
Melissa Guller 23:31
I think it’s interesting that we often describe leaving the stable job as a leap of faith. But hearing you describe your story, I mean, there’s almost a curse in the as soon as thinking too, because there’s no guarantee about anything in a stable job. A great job that had great work life balance for you changed. It sounds like fairly quickly when the company started working on something. And so although it seems like a leap of faith to start something on your own, and it certainly is think that it’s clear just hearing you guys share about your story that there are so many benefits, so many good things that could come from it. And even if it hadn’t worked out, there’s always things that you can do after that as well.
Marc Bennett 24:12
Well, and I also think it’s important to point out that we actually have a different type of stability. Now that we did before, you know, in when we were, in our initial stage, when it was my income supplying everything, everything was coming from a single stream. And now with our personal business or online business, we have probably a dozen or more small streams of income that add up to become greater income. And that creates a separate type of sustainability in stability. Because before and as a lot of people have realized with the recent pandemic where a lot of jobs were lost, that was if they had only the one stream that could really hurt them. But if you have 10 small streams, that can actually create more stability because if one drops, maybe another one benefits.
Melissa Guller 24:56
Mm Hmm, yeah, great point. And maybe just to give listeners a second of things. You said you have 12 smaller streams, but what are some of those streams of income for you now?
Julie Bennett 25:06
Well, our online courses are one stream of income. Another one would be the revenue we get from our YouTube channel. We have advertising on our website at Avi love.com. And that’s another stream. We have affiliate partnerships and relationships, we have an Amazon store, although here’s a great example, as anyone that’s got an Amazon store with an affiliate program knows that they recently changed it again, in the the affiliate revenue. So that is definitely one of our streams. And remember when that happened, we thought, wow, you know, that hurts, but it doesn’t hurt us as much as say someone who’s built an entire business based purely on Amazon affiliate revenue. Because then, you know, if you’ve had that slashed by Cameron, what it was, was it 75% or something was lost substantially, but for us, it’s just like, Okay, well, we make usually maybe on average, I don’t know, maybe 500 bucks a month from Amazon. So even if that gets cut in half, a couple hundred bucks, it’s not gonna make or break us. So the other affiliates, and then you know, we’re just having to be more nimble and adjust, adjust their business model in response to those things. So, but the most stable income is, of course, the ones that you can have the most control over in that you’ve got your email, list your website, things that you control, whenever you depend
Marc Bennett 26:19
on another platform or the Amazon or YouTube or anything like that, you have a lot less control.
Julie Bennett 26:24
Right? And I’ve got another source of income is we actually have a book as well. So we can talk more about that later. But that’s another stream of income as well, which has been great.
Melissa Guller 26:33
Mm hmm. It’s so helpful to hear you just talk that through because you’re right, especially in a time, like right now where a lot of people may have had one income stream and now unfortunately, have zero income streams. It’s helpful to hear about how many options are possible, especially when you do have your own online business, where it’s not really the same as a standard job. It’s not one online business equals one stream of income anymore. There’s so many more options.
Julie Bennett 26:58
Absolutely. And we’ve had different periods of time where our revenue from our school has been much higher at certain times than others. You know, it’s not consistent every month, we, you know, had a really big successful launch. And then we’ve had other launches since then and different sales and promotions or different Marceting campaigns. But that’s where having the multiple streams, it really is very helpful. And that’s, that’s what we’re always looking to build is how can we keep building more foundations in our, in our online business, to be able to withstand what’s what’s especially what’s been going on now. I mean, this is life changing for so many people. I mean, we’ve we’ve seen a drop in our income, like I think almost everybody has, but we’re so grateful that we do have an online business already. We’ve already got the skills that we’ve gotten what we’ve already got set up. And it took time to build that. So anyone that’s out there thinking about doing it, I mean, you can do it, you can do it. It’s going to be scary. It’s going to be a lot of work, but it’s something that you can have more control over and it’s going to give you some focus and something to really look forward to building something of your own, because I know that a lot of people listening to this call that have been thinking about creating a course for a long time we thought about ours for three years, before we finally pulled the trigger and did it. So you know, if you’re listening to this, because maybe this is definitely the time to go for it.
Melissa Guller 28:17
Mm hmm. Well said. So speaking of your course, I know we’ve already kind of hinted at the hundreds of hours that have gone into it. But I’d love to hear more about not just what your course is about, but how has it grown? What was it like for you to make the course and what does it look like now?
Marc Bennett 28:32
Well, when I first left my job, and I took a couple weeks off to stern, regaining my health, and then I dove into building the course full time and all day every day, I was just spinning, writing this course and building all the course content. When we first launched, we had a few courses and then we had a bundle option that would give you all of them at once. And it was really great platform to be able to provide those options to people in an effective sales process. We also used some launch the book called The launch, which was also a really important part of our original launch of the school. And over the years, we have added more courses and added more courses. And we eventually realized that it got a little bit too complex. And you know, now we’ve cut it back to being more streamlined again. And then we’ll plan on doing another launch or some other some other tools to try and promote the school in this changed environment. But it definitely grew. You know, Julie mentioned, we had a very successful initial launch. In fact, it gave us a lot of comfort for a big part of the year. And then it still continued to generate revenue passively for months, many months and even years after that. But now we’re wanting to do a relaunch and a restructure of it, but it’s it’s so it’s changed over the years. But it’s been really wonderful.
Melissa Guller 29:47
It’s interesting to hear you talk about how you started with some courses and ended up adding and now are paring back are going simple because I think maybe early course creators assume that the way their business will grow By adding more and more and more courses, but it seems like instead, you guys have found that something much different has been working for you.
Julie Bennett 30:07
Yeah, we heard a few different courses for people to buy, we thought, well, maybe they don’t want that part, you know, maybe they’ve already got an RV so they don’t want the choosing the right RV course maybe they just want to learn what they need to do to hit the road in an RV, especially as an extended traveler full time RV like we are, which is a whole other level of, of learning. And then we really priced the bundle to make it to really encourage people to buy that in the vast majority of people did buy the bundle. But just some feedback that we’ve been getting. We’ve been working with a business coach, too, that’s been helping us and he’s just like, there’s too many choices. And I think we can say that about most things in life. You know, you go to a restaurant, and you see sometimes it’s just oh my gosh, there’s too many choices. There’s too many options here. What’s your special of the day, and you just kind of want to make it a little easier. It’s just I think we get decision fatigue and always having to think about things and maintenance. About even little things, you know, people might remember Steve Jobs used to wear the same outfit every day because it was one less decision he had to make every day’s What am I gonna wear? I’m always gonna wear my black Polo and my jeans. And that was what and you hear that about a lot of really successful entrepreneurs do that. We don’t do that.
Unknown Speaker 31:20
But I think just
Marc Bennett 31:21
Julie Bennett 31:22
but it is it is, I think, you know, I’m somebody that likes to have lots of choices. But then I can also see where there’s a point where it’s just like, just just give, just give it to me just I like what you do. I trust you. I know what you’re about. Just Just tell me where I sign. And I think we made it in some instances a little harder for people with too much information almost overselling it. And I think now we’ve just, we’ve stripped a lot out of that now because if people come to the course and discover the courses, they’ve already found us already know who that who we are. They just like know that we’ve got a deeper level of education and they want more of that and then they don’t need to be sold so much. They just need To know what’s really powerful and
Melissa Guller 32:02
I think that’s such a good tip, and maybe it’s even reassuring for listeners because it means they don’t have to create a dozen different courses instead, people want you for your expertise and the knowledge that you can share with them and so just by offering fewer things, maybe that’ll be helpful for somebody listening in today.
Julie Bennett 32:20
comes back to simplification again, doesn’t it and don’t be afraid to just film the whole thing on your iPhone and you can get one of those simple ring lights. You know, they’re really inexpensive. We’ve got like a $500 lighting kit that we bought years ago and we’ve hardly been using it I’ve been using this $35 ring light I bought on Amazon and and it’s it’s actually working really well and it’s it’s cheap. You know, you can tell it’s not good quality might complain every time he puts
Marc Bennett 32:45
puts it up what a chintzy cheap thing it is I said but it works and the lights good and it’s around ring lights designed for faces. It’s actually to me more flattering light. And so you know we’ve just got a little a little mic that goes into the phone and set it up on a tripod and easy one, I think it’s funny that you’re making that comment about the gear is that when we were filming that all the content for this school, you know, I said we wrote all the school content. And then what we did is after we wrote it all then we had little outlines for speaking to small short videos to introduce the written courses at the time. And we had planned to do this big filming production with all of our fancy gear. And days, we’d scheduled two days to do that. But then, you know, there’s too hot to do outside and then inside with our RV it was it was also going to be hot without running the air conditioner. But our camera overheated. We couldn’t use the main camera. We couldn’t use a lot of the gear we originally planned on. And so we’re like, oh, well, this is the time we plan on booking to do that. So we just grabbed our iPhone, and that was a couple years ago, too. So it was like an iPhone six or something like that. Yeah. So it wasn’t super fancy. But again, that makes the point that it was the content. No one ever complained about the quality of the video, no production and it was just use what you have. Put your skill out there. Share What you have to learn and don’t overcomplicate things and be put your put your stuff out there?
Melissa Guller 34:05
Yep. I’m glad we’re talking about this because I know that a lot of creators worry so much about video, whether they’re intimidated by the technology, don’t think they can edit have never done it before. I know it’s a big concern. But you guys are absolutely right that it comes down to the content. And if you have something valuable to share, people aren’t going to notice if you don’t have the fanciest gear, and I hope that it doesn’t stop people from creating a course by thinking they need all of that instead of they can get simple iPhone, a $35 ring light definitely adds a little something something I think it’s worth looking into some cheap enhancements but doesn’t need to be a lot of money doesn’t need to be very complicated.
Julie Bennett 34:45
Absolutely. And to that point with what’s been happening now with the pandemic and we like watching shows like Jimmy Kimmel Live, for example. Well, he’s doing it from his house now. You know, he doesn’t have all the time and all the fancy gear and we’re actually really enjoying the whole day. The different vibe of the show. I think a lot of people are enjoying a lot of these. A lot of these late night show hosts are just doing it from their home. And it’s different, but it’s still cool. Because you’re getting to see the realness of it. And it’s not as fancy and polished, but, but it’s actually, I think, in some ways more enjoyable.
Melissa Guller 35:17
I think what’s been interesting is, when you don’t have a ton of gear, you don’t have a giant crew. A lot of people are forced to rely more on creativity. So like john Krasinski, some good news, I think, is a great example. He’s just filming in his home office, and he’s having a great time because he’s focusing on something positive and really doing a good job. I think finding joy in little things, and people love it. Yeah,
Marc Bennett 35:42
it’s a great we actually watched one of those. The internet
Julie Bennett 35:43
was really cool.
Melissa Guller 35:45
It just so light hearted, and I think too, he’s opening the door to sharing stories. And I think that’s something that RVLove does really well to where of course you guys have a lot of practical tips, but you’re sharing the story of how you decided to buy this RV. And then your full journey from there. And I think in the world of online business, even though we’re not in person, and right now, during the pandemic still ongoing, we’re not together necessarily, but I think it’s so nice to feel like you can still connect with a real human on the other side of the website instead of just a company with a brand name.
Julie Bennett 36:19
Absolutely, yeah, people and you know, just even we have a YouTube channel and in a lot of the other YouTube creators out there, our channels are bigger than most of the RV manufacturers, these big companies with big Marceting budgets, will have a couple of thousand subscribers. And the rest of us have 10s of thousand subscribers. So it’s that realness they like they’re like a real person and they can trust that is not just hiding behind a corporate logo.
Marc Bennett 36:43
Yeah, and when they’re buying your course, they’re buying you they’re not buying the education too much. I mean, obviously, they want the education, but it’s, you know, their
Julie Bennett 36:50
body. They relate to you. They trust you and they want to hear from you.
Melissa Guller 36:52
Yeah, Mm hmm. So as we start to wind down our interview, I still am really curious. What are Maybe some of the biggest misconceptions people have about either your work or just your RV lifestyle in general.
Julie Bennett 37:07
I think people think we’re constantly on vacation. Every day. We’re out hiking national parks and kayaking on the lake and biking through Well, actually, we have been biking through garden at the gods here in Colorado Springs these last few weeks that we work a lot more than people probably realize. It does take a lot to not i’m not saying this to scare anybody off, but I mean, they’re they’re quite a few things that we’re juggling right now with some projects that are our own choice. But But yeah, I think we’re not just sitting around having happier and campfires every day and every night.
Marc Bennett 37:45
Yeah, that’s definitely a big misconception, but about what our lifestyle is in our travels. But that said, we still have far more adventures and interesting things in our lives than a lot of others. And that was actually really big for me was a year later. Last year, the year before I feel like we all we did that year was work. I felt like we were working 6070 hours a week and didn’t get to splore anything but then we did a year in combination, I realized, oh my gosh, we still went to like 14 states. So we still do have some of that travel element, even though we were working a lot. And we It is our choice, we don’t have to work as much and we’re making a big vision to start working less, you know, work more like a reasonable person, work smarter,
Julie Bennett 38:25
not harder. You know, we’ve been on a big learning curve, and we’ve taken on some projects that you know, like for example, we after launching the course, one of the great things that came out of that apart from being able to help so many more people hit the road with really great information is a publisher reached out to us at Adams media division of Simon and Schuster, which is one of the biggest publishing houses in the world actually reached out to us and said, Look, I’ll beings a hot topic. There isn’t a book out there by a major publisher, teaching people how to do this. Would you be interested in writing the book and we’re just Wow, that that and that I don’t know if that would have come about if we didn’t already have the course that we’d created because they knew from our writing style, and they knew that we had a platform. They knew that we had a following. They knew that we had authority and credibility and good information and that we could write. And so that that led to having a book publishing in late 2018 is a best seller now already. So it’s been amazing and great timing. Now, of course, because nobody’s going to be taking cruises or international trips for a while. I think road trips off the road trips are definitely going to be the flavor of the year, and perhaps longer, but, you know, I think I think that it’s been another unexpected benefit that’s come out of this whole journey. Definitely.
Melissa Guller 39:39
How do you see actually the state of RV being moving forward after such an unprecedented moment for all of us?
Marc Bennett 39:48
Well, I think we were really optimistic about this space. And you know, the travel industry in general has really been hit, but the RV space is one of the few forms of travel that you have a lot of control. Your environment, you have your whole, your kitchen, your bed, your cookware, everything is your contained environment. And so I think in a world that’s scary about people traveling, I think RV space will be one of the best served, you know, economic conditions aside, you know, that’s going to impact people all around the world. But when people do spend any money on travel, they’re likely to be doing it on road trips, and especially RV travel because that’s the most contained and, and there’s a lot of merits to it.
Julie Bennett 40:27
Yeah. A lot of people are now like really prioritizing health, even over finances right now says How can I keep my family safe and you know, use my own restroom, prepare my meals, don’t have to sleep in hotel beds. Everywhere you go and everyone’s got cabin fever. everyone just wants to get out and get outdoors and do something. But I think an RV helps overcome those fears and you can have the best of both worlds. We we certainly have found that
Marc Bennett 40:52
you know and we have this is our full time home. We live in ours full time year round. So it’s a little different than just traveling
Julie Bennett 40:59
but you Just a second home for you know, you could have something small keep it in your driveway and, and even if we end up having to be cooped up again, which they’re predicting, I mean, you’ve got another space to go out and use as an office or to you know, record your podcasts or your videos or that’s the other thing is a lot of people have been forced into working from home now they didn’t have to before but didn’t necessarily have the space for home office. So I think there can be a lot of additional benefits to an RV even beyond just the travel is just having that extra space or if somebody does get sick or needs to be quarantined. I think there are just so many benefits to having one or even if you don’t buy one, you know to rent want to go on a road trip. I think they’re just it’s gonna be a big part of the big part of the conversation in what we see, I think many reports in the in the year ahead.
Melissa Guller 41:45
And kind of thinking the question on my mind and maybe on some listeners minds is well, but how expensive is it to live maybe full time out of an RV or just compared to regular life? Is it crazy expensive or is that a myth?
Marc Bennett 41:58
Well, Julian, I often make The joke that it’s how long is a piece of string right it’s it’s there’s so many there’s so many variables in this you know, if you there’s we know people that spend 10,000 a month and we know people that spend less than $2,000 a month. So there depends on your goal and getting into the lifestyle if you’re retired age or if you’re otherwise financially independent and you’re wanting to just have a big time and travel and see the world then you may have higher expenses but if you’re getting to the lifestyle with the goal of lowering expenses, you can absolutely do so and and have a lower cost of living than you did in regular home.
Julie Bennett 42:33
Yeah, we cover all that. I think it’s in chapter two of our book, we talked about the planning and the budgeting the prep stage. In our book, by the way is living the RV life your ultimate guide to life on the road and we go into that and share some specific examples of what it costs people but it’s like it’s like saying well how how much does it cost to live? live in a house? Well, what part of the country are you in? You know, how big is your house? how fancy is your house? How, what’s your taste and what are your standards and we all have different standards in Basically we find general as a general rule of thumb, people end up spinning around about what they spend in their life right now, unless your goal as as Marc said, is either to specifically save money or to go out there and spend money, we end up picking something that’s within our budget. You don’t have to buy new, you don’t have to buy big, you don’t have to buy fancy. We bought our RV It was 20 years old, but it was a really high end RV back in the day, and we bought it for $25,000 it’s less than and cheap. And then we did a remodel on it. Mike did all the work and we did a remodel and it looks you wouldn’t even know it’s not a new RV. It looks beautiful on the inside. So you know you can do that too. And I think that’s one of the things that we really like to convey to people in our book in our courses in all of our content, all of our free content on RV, love comm on our YouTube channel. Anyone cannot be it doesn’t matter what your budget, you can find a way to do it. And that’s what we try to convey. And that’s what that’s what we teach people in all of our materials is how you can do it in a way that works for you and for your budget and for your lifestyle.
Melissa Guller 44:00
I love that Well, before we do go I know you mentioned a few places but where can people connect with you or learn more?
Julie Bennett 44:08
Well, you’ll find everything at our website. RVLove.com. And from there you’ll find links to the book and our courses and also RVLove on YouTube RVLove travel on Instagram, RVLove TV on Facebook. Basically, if you type in RVLove and Google will pop up everywhere.
Melissa Guller 44:27
Easy, I love it. Well, you guys have certainly left me itching to leave my tiny Brooklyn studio and head out into an RV but before we do wrap up Do you have any final words of wisdom or inspiration for our listeners today?
Julie Bennett 44:41
I think just have confidence in yourself. Know that you have something to share and that in and get out and do it don’t don’t be afraid to do it and don’t feel like you have to be the polished, perfect thing when you just start. Just start and you can learn we are self taught and have learned everything as we go in Google and YouTube’s a wonderful tools to be able to type in an answer and up will pop a question and just just learn. Just don’t be afraid to learn and get out there and just do it but just start, just start. We all started, we all started at zero. So the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get to where you want to be.
Melissa Guller 45:19
Thank you all so much for joining us this week. You can learn more about Marc and Julie Bennett, RVLove and Teachable in the show notes at Teachable comm slash Ei t 24. That’s Teachable comm slash it to four. Before you go, make sure you subscribe to our podcast so you can receive new updates right when they’re released. You can either subscribe right in your favorite podcast app, or you could sign up for email alerts at Teachable comm slash Ei t 24. And if you are enjoying the show, I hope you’ll let us know. I love reading through your reviews and Apple podcasts and if you have a minute just Fair, I’d love to read yours. On behalf of team Teachable We hope you enjoyed this episode about simplifying and taking the leap with Marc and Julie Bennett. We’ll see you in the next episode of Everything is Teachable.