The RV Entrepreneur Summit
Last year, I was invited to be a speaker at the RV Entrepreneur Summit, which was held this past weekend, about living on the road full-time as a professional photographer. I wasn't sure what to expect from it. I wasn't sure if anyone needed to hear my story or not, but I put together some pictures and try tried to tell everyone what it was like for us to be on the road full-time. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I've made this year!
The hardest thing about being on the road full-time (for me), is that it's hard to motivate myself. I don't have other creatives or entrepreneurs to bounce ideas off of. I get stuck on so many ideas that never see the light of day, but I'm always coming up with ideas. For a creative person, it's a huge struggle to have so much creativity bursting out of you and nothing to do with it. The RV Entrepreneur Summit changed that for me.
I met so many amazing people who are living full-time on the road or planning to do so. For the first time in a year, I was around an endless amount of people, who all had the same ideals and ambitions! We all wanted to live our life in a manner that sets us free. To always be on our schedule, and not worry about deadlines or fighting traffic into work. For the first time, I felt that the future of entrepreneurs living full-time on the road is looking pretty amazing!
So yes, I was asked to be a speaker. A week prior, I spoke at a photography conference and it was fun, but there was something different this time. As I was up there, looking around at the audience, telling them my story through laughter and a few held back tears, I could see faces relating to what I was saying. I personally like to look at every single person while I'm talking. It makes me feel like I am connecting with them one on one. I was energized by speaking in front of them... it felt amazing, and it was very cool that others could relate to all the different things I'd already been through. It was like being with family, where nothing is off topic and everyone is interested. My goal during my presentation was to motivate people. I figured, if I could let them know what I'd been through, and that I was still going with our life on the road, then they could do it too! Here is my talk that was streamed live via Facebook Live. (I start at 23:00.)
I was also asked to give a night photography workshop. Now, this was something I wasn't 100% sure I could do, with all the different people, cameras, skill levels... but I said yes anyway. I thought it would be good for me to give it a shot and see if I like it. Evidently, a lot of people were interested and my first class filled up immediately! Heath Padgett (who ran the whole event with his wife Alyssa) called me and asked if I would be interested in doing a second workshop. Again, I took it as an opportunity to learn if this is something I like to do or not, so I said yes.
It turned out to be the best decision! The first night was exactly what I expected. I was finding my way through the workshop, hearing questions and concerns for the very first time, so I answered them to the best of my ability. I think I did a good job, but it was obvious to me that some people were going to get a lot more out of the workshop than others. With that knowledge in mind, I went into the second night with a completely different mind set. I knew the questions that were coming and I was able to address them immediately. Knowing the concerns before hand is invaluable, because I was able to set expectations. Even though the night sky wasn't as clear as the first night, the class was so much more engaged, because I had a better idea on how to teach everyone. People helped each other figure out their cameras, and I was going to everyone one by one to see their pictures and help them understand what they needed to do, to make the shot better. I tried not to fiddle with to many settings, but to let the photographer learn themselves, and I was able to explain it in a way they could understand. It was FUN! Once everyone got into the groove, that's exactly what we started focusing on -- having fun and doing some light painting!
The night photography workshops were so great, and the business part of the summit was so inspiring, that I've decided to start presenting workshops across America! I'd been playing with the idea for a long time, and the RVE summit was the encouragement I needed to make it finally happen. I can't thank everyone enough for being so patient with me and helping me find my voice at this summit. It was truly an amazing experience that I cannot wait to be a part of again!
I want to encourage all full-time RVers to find community, share your stories, and learn from them, to encourage each other with ways to make a living on the road. There is no need for any of us to hold anything back, because together we grow stronger and we can live the life that we've always dreamed of.
If you are a full-timer on the road, I would love to hear from you! Please comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe we can connect down the road and share stories.
Heath & Alyssa Padgett, RVE Summit founders (They run an RV lifestyle blog, host The RV Entrepreneur podcast, and run their video production business from their RV.)
Jellystone Campground/RV Park in TX Wine Country in Fredericksburg, TX (One of the most family-friendly campgrounds we've ever been to!)