Updated: Jan 18
People are so quick to equate going viral to making money, but it doesn’t always work that way at first or sometimes at all. I would've never imagined that my strategic way of designing a lifestyle for my family to reach our goals would be so interesting to people and income-generating. If anything, I could've thought people would've believed I was crazy, but I didn't care because my son and I were happier than we were trying to keep up with the Jones years prior.
Accepting The Role As A "VanLife" Influencer
I'm known for being the first single mom to publicly share her lifestyle living, traveling, working and homeschooling from a van online. My presence is widely known to be authentic, fun, and inspiring. After moving out of my van in 2020 and into an R.V. when the pandemic began, I was able to step outside the picture frame of my van life reality and reflect on what 3 years of full-time van life was like before it became a popular trend and now an industry.
Before van life, my son Carter and I traveled and lived in various countries working and studying online. I can comfortably admit that I created "Off The Grid With A Kid" only by popular demand before I knew I could make money on platforms like IG and YouTube. I didn't have a professional camera, tripod, or even a plan. My son and I just showed up online at any time and talked about what was going on that day. While we received a lot of supportive feedback, we did our best to maintain our privacy.
When I finally started documenting our journey regularly, I had no idea how to share my life's realities without bringing people directly into my world by going live on YouTube daily. I shared everything! The good and the bad with no shame! It was exciting and gratifying just to be able to connect with people that accepted and loved my unconventional journey.
New Financial Roadblocks & Defining Moments
Social Media VS Reality
Before my I.G. and YouTube growth, I had done OK for myself in entrepreneurship without having a large platform. Therefore, I had a hard time trying to accept that people were more interested that I lived in a van with my kid than what I did for a living. As my YouTube platform grew, what people didn't know is that it became harder to keep up with the demands of managing growing social media platforms. I went from having so much spare time when I decided to do van life to chasing WiFi and joyfully spending countless hours online responding to comments while overlooking that I was going broke like a leaky faucet.
I remember being worried and excited when my YouTube channel exploded from 2000 subscribers to 16,000 practically overnight. I was excited about the growth. However, I was afraid of losing sight of my founding followers that I frequently interacted with. In my mind, it felt like they were now lost in a vast crowd, and I was hoping that they would continuously comment and stand out so that I could see them.