Are you a passionate writer? Have you thought about becoming a freelance copywriter to support yourself on the road? Or, maybe you’re looking to hire a copywriter for your small business?
We discuss it ALL on today’s episode with Sierra Eberly of Boondock Consulting.
Small Business Copywriting From the Boondocks
How To Make Money As A Freelance Copywriter From Your RV
with Sierra Eberly – The RV Entrepreneur Episode #301
Your Host: Rose Willard
Sierra’s lived full-time in a converted campervan with her dog, Snow, since September 2020. She was tired of the corporate grind and being stuck behind a laptop during set hours in a day, so she decided to start her own copywriting business, Boondock Consulting, following her long-time passion for writing.
Sierra supports small businesses encouraging nomadic, off-grid, tiny living, or sustainable lifestyles. Since these are her passions, she writes in her customer’s voice, and her copy resonates with their customers.
Listen to The RV Entrepreneur Episode#301
In this episode we discuss…
- What it was like for Sierra to transition from corporate to starting her own copywriting business on the road from her RV
- Safety as a solo female RVer
- The difference between copywriting vs content writing
- How Sierra prices her work and how she acquires clients
- Sierra’s process for copy writing and her top tips for writing copy
- Skills needed for copywriting
- Hardest part about being a small business
- What a copywriter typically gets paid
- Retainer work
- Why a small business should hire a copywriter
- What Sierra does for Wifi on the road
- Pros and Cons of Van life
- AI as a tool for small businesses
- What a small business should look for in hiring a copywriter/content writer
- Sierra’s biggest challenge in owning her own business and how she tackles it!
Hope this gives you inspiration today and a boost to go for it! Enjoy the journey!
Find Sierra Eberly at her website:
The RV Entrepreneur #301 Full Episode Transcript:
Sierra Everly: Welcome to the RV Entrepreneur Podcast, the weekly show from Nomads, work campers, RVers, and entrepreneurs looking to earn a living or build a business while enjoying the RV lifestyle. This week’s host is Rose Willard. Let’s settle in and enjoy the RV Entrepreneur Podcast brought to you by RV Life.
Rose Willard: Hey there, it’s Rose Willard of the RV Entrepreneur Podcast. Many people wonder how to make money from the road, and you may have heard that copywriting is a great way to earn money as you travel. And now maybe you wanna know how to become a copywriter too. Or maybe you’re already a copywriter and you’re trying to figure out how to keep your copywriting business and take it on the road.
Living in an RV and starting your own business can be very intimidating, but it can be done in this week’s episode, I speak with Sierra Everly of Boondock Consulting, who shares her experience as a nomadic copywriter. Sierra’s lived full-time in a converted camper van with her dog snow since September.
She was tired of all the corporate grind and being stuck behind a laptop during set hours in a day. So she decided to start her own copywriting business called Boondock Consulting. Following her longtime passion for writing, Sierra only supports small businesses, encouraging nomadic, off-grid, tiny living, or sustainable lifestyles.
And since these are her passions, she writes in her customer’s voice and her copy resonates with their customers. So let’s get into the interview with. Hi, Sierra. Welcome and thanks for joining me today. I am so glad you’re here. Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Well, I knew I just had to reach out to you when a fellow nomadic entrepreneur mentioned your name and your super niche down business that also supports other small nomadic businesses.
But before we get into all those details, please tell us a little more about you and what you do.
Sierra Everly: Yeah, so my name is Sierra. I travel full-time in my ProMaster camper van conversion with my dogs. Now. We’ve been traveling since 2020, so I’m almost coming up on three years now. Uh, when I hit the road, I had a full-time corporate job.
I was working in, um, corporate recruiting, human resources consulting. I.
And decided to go out on a whim and try to start my own thing. And that’s what brought me here. So I ended up starting my own business doing copywriting, some marketing strategy, content strategy, things like that for small businesses who support nomadic living, um, off-grid lifestyles, tiny living, things like that, things that just really resonated with me.
And I’ve been doing that for almost a year and now.
Rose Willard: Wow. That’s wonderful. And you went from corporate. But then you were still, you were traveling, you went right into traveling while still having that corporate job. How did that go?
Sierra Everly: Yeah, so I was really lucky as in the consulting firm that I worked with, we were remote prior to Covid, so we worked remote already for about three years before the pandemic.
So when the pandemic hit, uh, it was really no change for us. Um, as in, well, I should say them because I’m not, I’m not an us with them anymore. Right. So I had been considering traveling and doing the, you know, the, the van life thing for, gosh, probably 10 years off on. And I always had a reason why I shouldn’t and couldn’t.
And then when the pandemic hit, yes, I’m a pandemic baby. When it to hitting the road, I had literally no reason to stay in the city. I hated it there. I love trail running. I take my dog out all the time when we can. And I talked to my boss and I was like, Hey, we’re already remote. I’m thinking of doing this.
Can I do it? And she was very supportive and was a little skeptical. And of course the concern was, you know, having internet and being able to be online during business hours because I had a very demanding job in that respect and was, uh, always having to be on lots of Zoom calls. So I just assured her that we’d make it work and if it didn’t that I’d come back.
Which I never had any intentions of coming back. But, uh, yeah, so I was really lucky to where it was very easy to make that transition. The hard part for me was more just like figuring out, okay, where am I gonna park for the day so I can do my, do my corporate job? Um, so there was definitely a little learning curve there, but the remote aspect was, Uh,
Rose Willard: So, did you ever travel, you know, and camp and all that stuff in an RV before?
Sierra Everly: Uh, not in an rv. I’ve done a lot of backpacking. I’ve done some car camping. I grew up in northeastern Washington in literally the middle of nowhere, uh, up on a mountaintop. We had no running water. We didn’t get electricity until I was, you know, pre-teen. I think I was like 11, 10 or 11 when we finally got electricity and very basic. Like I had one outlet and one light in my bedroom. It was pretty Wow. Pretty basic. Um, so just outdoors and camping, again, kind of ingrained in my d n a, so that was never a concern for me. It was more just learning about where you’re allowed to park on public land and things like that. Mm-hmm.
Rose Willard: Yeah, that is kind of still a huge learning curve, but that’s great that you just dove, dove right in, and now you travel solo. So being a solo female traveler, do you feel safe out there?
Sierra Everly: I do. I have not had any crazy situations, and I’m thinking back, like I’ve had maybe one or two situations to where I haven’t felt comfortable and I’ve just left.
I am always a proponent of following your gut, especially as a woman. I feel like we have that intuition, and if you’re not comfortable, just leave. I’m also, again, I feel like I really was lucky to already have a lot of this stuff kind of under my belt before starting this lifestyle because I’m an only child.
I was homeschooled. So I’m very used to being by myself, and there’s times that I have to remind myself, like when I’m in the middle of nowhere and there’s no cell service and I’m, you know, 10 miles back in the back country, and I’m like, oh, wait. Like I should probably make sure someone knows where I’m at and I, I should make sure that I have my Gs thing with me and things like that.
So I’m a little more comfortable than most in the back country and traveling solo, but I’ve been really lucky to not have anything real crazy happen out here. I feel safer. Camping on public land than I do doing my errands in the city, quite honestly these days.
Rose Willard: Yeah. I was wondering if you would say you’d feel safer. That’s, uh, how we felt. My husband, my family and I, uh, we always felt safer. Boondocking. Yeah. And being on public land so much so. And that’s what we primarily did out west. Yeah. I feel like, you know, definitely saver anyways. Yeah.
Getting into the nitty gritty of what you do, and you said freelance copywriter, is that all you do or.
Sierra Everly: I do a lot of things now. It’s been interesting, so I did not think that I would get to create my dream job. And my dream job is absolutely copywriting, content writing. I love to write. I always have. I started my business more with the idea that I would just support other small businesses with like admin work and random projects and maybe some recruiting, like I, I didn’t think that copywriting would be a real need.
So when I started advertising myself, I had people reaching out and I did not realize how hard it is to find a good copywriter, and people were reaching out to me going, oh, hey, like I did say I could do copywriting, but I wasn’t really promoting that because I didn’t think anybody would want me to write for them because I didn’t have a formal portfolio.
And when I was getting asked if I could do the writing, I realized that this is a real need and by golly, it’s something I really love doing, so that’s fantastic. I ended up starting out. Yeah, I ended up starting out doing some blog writing. That’s probably the majority of what I do. And then I started learning a lot about SS e o and content writing and all the different things.
And then when clients would ask me, you know, can you do X, Y, Z? Instead of me saying no, I would say, well, Let me try and I would figure it out. And I think that goes back to my roots of being homeschooled too, is I’m very good at teaching myself things and figuring things.
Copywriting content writing, full-blown marketing strategy plans, content strategy plans. Um, I do some website design, website optimization, ss e o audits, uh, pretty much anything that has to do with words and promoting small businesses.
Rose Willard: That, that really is fantastic and that you just kept such a great open mind.
Again, going back to your homeschooling background and just the fact that you’re like, alright, I’m gonna try and let’s just do that. Yeah. Why not? It’s just, that’s a great business, business plan, business idea.
Sierra Everly: So getting into copywriting, I had no idea really. I mean, I heard about copywriting and all that, but I didn’t really understand, you know, copywriting and like the difference of different types of copywriting and the difference between that and content writing.
Rose Willard: So can you give us a little more details about what is copywriting?
Sierra Everly: Yeah, absolutely. So funny that. I promote myself as a copywriter, and most people that say they are copywriters, mm-hmm. They’re actually content writers, but the world knows copywriting as writing words in any format. And the true definition of a copywriter is someone who is writing words, more or less to make sales. So writing sales pages, writing things like, you know, product descriptions, anything that is going to make money. Whereas a content writer is someone that writes engaging, fun, informative content that people will like to read, that they will learn from. So like blogs are typically considered content.
Informational posts is more content, things like that. But when you say you’re a copywriter, you know, all of that just kind of dumps into that same thing. Okay.
Rose Willard: Alright. So why is copywriting so valuable then to a small business?
Sierra Everly: Yeah, so. Gosh, I’ve always been fascinated with marketing and it’s really the psychology behind humans and how we can be persuaded to buy things or be influenced by things.
I mean, you look at the the top content creators on social media, and those are amazing copywriters and content creators and copywriting is so important because a good copywriter can write in a language. The company’s target audience will understand and relate to. And thus, in turn, we’ll bring them the more money and be able to bring more sales and more engagement with their things.
Where some people just don’t really understand how to communicate to their audience and they’re just writing, you know, random words and think that if they just say a sentence about the product, that it’s gonna get people engaged, but there’s a whole psychology behind it that’s gonna make people continue to read and then click that button and then add to cart or schedule the call or what have you to promote their business.
Rose Willard: Right. Can you give us an example of some of your copywriting that you have been successful with?
Sierra Everly: Oh, gosh. You know, I can’t say enough great things about email marketing. Uh, email marketing is probably the best r o i that you can have. Uh, it’s free. People are already interested in your, you know, they’re already interested in you.
If you have an email list, those aren’t people you’re trying to convince, like they’ve already been convinced somehow. So I’ve probably personally had the best success with email marketing where I have sent out an email talking about myself and mm-hmm my own values and why I would be good for writing for their businesses.
And I’m not really trying to like sell my product. And that really resonates with my target audience because, been able to gain every single client that I’ve had is because they’ve all reached out to me and said, you’re on the road. Do you understand our client? You have this background. You know what we need? We’d, we’d like you to work with us. Uh, and I’ve been able to resonate with them that way. So it’s been more of being able to relate, and that’s really important with copywriting and content writing.
Oh, that’s wonderful.
Rose Willard: Getting back to your business, your Boondock consulting. Mm-hmm. Your target audience, I think you mentioned that is more the small businesses, nomadic businesses, tiny living, correct.
Sierra Everly: Yeah. And they don’t have to be nomadic. I like, one of my largest clients is a, um, a solar panel company.
Uh, you know, I work with, gosh, so, such a wide variety of different businesses. At the end of the day, I want them to be a good business that resonates with my lifestyle. So something that supports nomadic living, tiny living sustainability that’s, mm-hmm. You know, I don’t wanna work and write copy for Amazon or Microsoft.
Like, I, I get it. Yep. Yeah. Especially from my background, from my corporate world when I was working with consulting, like all of our clients were those huge, huge clients, and it was honestly quite disgusting to see like the money that was put into it and just the culture behind it.
Rose Willard: Right, and, and honest, to be honest. They’re squashing some small businesses, so Yeah, exactly. It’s not cool. Exactly.
So how do you structure your fees, like per word, per hour? Oh man. That’s the hardest thing as a small business. Anyone who’s listening to this is probably like perking up going, oh my gosh, how does she do it? How, yeah, I, I, how does she do it?
What’s the magic? It’s all the place. So to be completely honest, and when I started, I did. The thing that I do not recommend anyone do, and no other business owner will recommend, but I feel like everyone does it, is I offered to do like an initial project for free because I had no portfolio. So I said, Hey, yeah, I can do this.
If you’re not happy with it, you don’t pay me. If you do, you do pay me. Mm-hmm. I started out with a per. Word or a per project fee. Mm-hmm. And that varies depending on what it is. I found that, especially with smaller businesses, when you say an hourly rate, that makes people really nervous because they dunno how to budget for that.
They don’t understand, well what does an hour mean to Sierra versus what does it mean to me? But when I’m able to say, I will write this many blogs, or I will redo this website for this amount of money, and it doesn’t matter if I screw up and it takes me 10 hours when it shoulda taken three, or if I get it done in one hour when normally it would take me three.
Like you’re still getting that value. Yeah. So I have found that having a per item rate is much better than hourly. Mm-hmm. I’ve been able to sell more work of my own that way as well, and budget my own that way. And how I’ve figured out those rates is I’ve just practiced and literally sat down with a timer.
And said, okay, how long does it take me to do this? How much do I need to make per hour to meet my bills? What’s the bare minimum? This is what I’m gonna charge somebody.
Right. Well, that’s smart. I like that. I think that’s a good idea. So how did you initially acquire these clients that you have today?
Sierra Everly: Social media. Uh, yeah. The, the, oh my gosh. You know, it’s inevitable. It’s something that every business has to do. Unfortunately, I do not like that. You have to do it. But yeah, I started, I made a website. I started a Instagram account, a business Instagram account. Made a few posts, followed a few people.
Added some hashtags and my first three clients actually reached out to me directly. Wow. And then I went to a few events, got some business cards made super cheap through FedEx. You can get like a hundred business cards for like 15. Yeah. Less than that. Through Canva. It’s pretty great. Mm-hmm. Handed out some cards.
I got a few clients that way. Few, and then I’ve also had quite a few referrals, which has been really nice. And then I also do very targeted searches, so I only reach out to people that I’m actually interested in working with. So I’ll go and gather emails from websites that look like they’re business that I would enjoy, add them to my email list, send out an email.
Either they’ll respond or they’ll unsubscribe. And so far, every time I send out an email, somebody responds and I end up with a new client.
Rose Willard: That’s awesome. Yeah. That’s very interesting how you niche down and it’s really seems to be working for you.
Sierra Everly: Yeah, and my email list is tiny. Like any, any business marketer will say, you know, you need thousands and thousands of emails to make it work.
And I, I think I might have maybe 200 people on my list and they’ve been literally curated by hand.
Rose Willard: That’s wonderful though. That reminds, yeah, that reminds me of our business. In the past and how personal and just niched down we were. Yeah. And man, they loved it. That just that relationship with that client. That you can build. It’s so important. Absolutely. Very cool. So let’s see. So if someone really is interested in this or like, Hey, I’m a good writer. Maybe I should start copywriting. What kind of skills do you think one needs really to start copywriting?
Sierra Everly: I think you have to be able to be personable and empathetic and understanding with your clients and really understand and listen to what your client’s needs are.
And it’s very important these days to understand how Google works and SS e o if you are looking to do articles that are gonna be online and somebody wants to gain. More organic traffic on their websites. If you’re just wanting to write articles, I shouldn’t say just, if you wanna write articles for a magazine or whatever, that has nothing to do with seo, then you can just be a beautiful writer and write wonderful things and be very successful that way.
But if it’s anything that needs to be online, uh, you do have to have an understanding of ss e o and obviously the, the client’s target audience. Oh, exactly.
Rose Willard: Can you elaborate a little bit more on the SS e o? I know, I understand that search engine optimization, but yeah, like key words, what else in entails for you?
Sierra Everly: Yeah, absolutely. So yes, search engine optimization. Again, kinda like social media, like it’s inevitable. Everything. You, we are in a society of instant gratification. Yes, we, and we carry little computers in our, in our pockets all the time. And anytime there’s anything, you look it up. A question now and you look it up.
So everybody is on a race to be on that top landing page for Google, and Google has very specific criteria that it uses to rank people’s results and with bazillions of people searching and posting to the internet every day to be on that first page, second page, third page. Mm-hmm. Is. Very hard. So something as simple as the types of headers that you use in your blogs or your articles is important.
So Google understands how your article is categorized. Uh, you have to use keywords in a certain way that that doesn’t seem like you’re actually using keywords. Redundantly, yeah. It needs to still be informative and engaging and original. You can’t just, you know, put something boring out there. Google has the AI to understand what is quality content and what is not, and if you’re just trying to rank for a word or not.
So there’s, there’s a lot behind it. Mm-hmm. It’s been really interesting to learn over the last year. I knew nothing about it before I started and mm-hmm. Then I did the, the deep dive rabbit hole, many, many late nights of reading all about it. Right.
Rose Willard: Yeah, no, that’s how my husband and I have been learning too, and from some wonderful guests that have been on the show as well.
It’s been, it’s been really inspiring, so, yeah. That’s cool.
Sierra Everly: Yeah, it’s, it’s hard. And there have been clients that have, or potential clients that have reached out to me, and quite honestly, like their websites have been awful when it comes to ss e o and trying Yeah. When I’ll try to, you know, gently give feedback and I’ll actually decline work if I don’t think I’m gonna help.
If someone just wants you to write a blog on a website and expect it to rank on Google, it’s not gonna happen. And a lot of people don’t understand that, so I’ll try my best to educate and if it’s, I don’t want them to gimme money with expectations with something that I have no control over. Right. So it’s, it’s definitely a big picture thing.
Mm-hmm. To consider and not just take on work. Because someone, if you see that big.
Rose Willard: Now, so why should a small business hire, I mean, and this is kind of getting into it, but the, a professional copywriter. Why, why can’t they just learn like we’re doing? You know? I mean.
Sierra Everly: Yeah. Well, I mean, you absolutely can learn on your own. Yeah. But why a small business should or could hire one is when they don’t have the time.
I mean, as you know, anyone, like it’s, it’s all a matter of time is money. Right? When you have the time, you don’t have the money. When you have the money, you don’t have time. So
Rose Willard: Correct. You just can’t do it all either.
Sierra Everly: Exactly, and there are lots of tools involved that you need to use to have quality copies.
So like an example is, mm-hmm. I pay for specific tools that help me determine what the best. Titles for a blog would be what the best keywords are, how likely they are to rank on them, and it extracts all this information from Google. And I pay for those tools and it makes sense for me because I have multiple clients.
But for a one small business, if all they’re wanting to do is do a blog, it might not be cost effective for them to pay for these tools and try to learn all the things and try to write it all, and then fingers crossed, hopes that it actually works or not. Mm-hmm. A small business copywriter is going to understand more of the big picture.
They’ll help you make evergreen content, that you can use across multiple platforms, which is what I try to do, I feel that’s the best value for small businesses. A blog post written in a way that you can rewrite it and put it on LinkedIn and then rewrite that and make an entire social media series for postings, and you can rewrite that and even put it on Twitter for those people that are on.
I mean, there’s so many ways that you could use one piece of content in different ways, won’t cancel themselves out on Google, because if you have the same content in multiple places,
Rose Willard: Yeah, it’s a little complicated. No, I would definitely hire someone to do all that. So speaking of you, kind of what you do and what does a typical copywriter content writer get paid?
Sierra Everly: Oh, it’s all over the place. Um, it, I’m sure, I mean, it’s, yeah, I mean it, that’s such a hard question because you get on Fiverr and there’s people that are, you know, In, in different countries that are like, I’ll write your blogs for $5.
Um, or I’ll write for, oh man, you know? Mm-hmm. 3 cents a word or whatever, like, yeah. And then you get on there and there are some like small business copywriters that have a minimum of, you know, $2,500 per blog and they have a two blog minimum for anyone that’s gonna ask them to write with them. Mm-hmm.
Because of the value. So even my own writing. What I charge, and that’s why I don’t have very specific rates on my website because with each client mm-hmm. It’s a little different based off of what they want. And that’s how I wanna be able to adapt to small businesses and not just say, I’ll write for 10 cents a word or 15 cents a word, or 25 cents a word, or 50.
Like I, I look at what they want and if it’s something that I. It’s a little easier. I will try to scale back my pricing to help them, because I know small businesses have a budget, but I also have to Yeah. Survive. So it, it’s a really hard thing.
Rose Willard: You need to make money. Yeah. Yeah. Mm-hmm. But that’s, that’s awesome that you can adapt and work with them.
Yeah. Yeah. Mm-hmm. And I’ve
Sierra Everly: definitely, you know, since I’ve gained more experience and I have acquired more tools, I have raised my rates, um mm-hmm. And they’re still very low compared to what you would get from like an agency. It’s hard to explain the value to certain people. When you know, you go on, they go on Fiver they’re like, well, this person will do this for five. Why are you charging 500 for this? Mm-hmm. But yeah.
Rose Willard: No, that’s great. So what, what’s your plan before sitting down to write copy? Like you’ve got a project in front of you, what are your steps? Like how do you, I mean, there’s so much probably that goes into it. Tell us a little bit.
Sierra Everly: Yeah, there’s so much I research of course. Um, mm-hmm. I use my tools to research keywords. I always have intake calls with clients based off of what their needs are. I try to have all those questions answered. A lot of times I’ll have an intake call, make a bunch of notes, and then I’ll follow up via email with some additional questions that maybe forgot to ask or something came up.
I research a lot of competitors as well, of course, and see what their writing looks like. Signed up for a lot of their emails just to see what they’re putting out there and what they’re promoting. I look at content across all different platforms. You know, Instagram, are they on Facebook? Are they on LinkedIn?
Not very many. Really small businesses are on LinkedIn, but it is a very powerful platform. Um, and I, I do recommend it for those that are wanting to scale their businesses. Um, so yeah, it’s, it’s a lot more time researching and then, I’ll just start working on outlines and it’s definitely never just a one sitting thing.
A lot of times it’s like, I need a break and I’m gonna go on a trail run with my dog and come back and figure this out later.
Rose Willard: Perfect. That’s smart. Yeah, we all need that. Some breaks in there. And what are your top tips for writing copy? Anything in particular that we didn’t mention?
Sierra Everly: It certainly helps to enjoy what you’re writing about. Yes. Awesome. Which is like a no-brainer, but that’s one of the reasons also that I’m supporting these types of businesses is I was so tired of doing things and supporting things that didn’t make me passionate and. I find it fascinating, like I just wrote, you know, a whole blog post about a new type of installation for vans and like things that can help the DIYers that are building out their own things.
And then I’ve learned a lot about solar panels with my other client and I, I love learning things, so for me it’s really fun to write about the things that I’m also passionate about. Um, it makes it feel a little less like work.
Rose Willard: That’s awesome.
Sierra Everly: Yeah, but I, I mean, for me, like the biggest tip would be if you’re not feeling it and you, you’re just sitting there trying to write something and nothing’s coming out. Just go take a break. Go take a walk, work on a different project, like give yourself a break. I think too often, myself included, I sit down and try to pump something out that has a deadline and it ends up being not great quality and. I end up having to rewrite it anyway, whereas if I would’ve just like waited a little longer and let my brain have a break and gone and done something different, then if I’d come back to would’ve come out better, less time and better quality.
Rose Willard: Now getting back to your van and traveling, I mean, you really need good internet. So what have you been doing or what did you initially do, and then what did you morph into for wifi?
Sierra Everly: Yeah, so I’m currently using a combination of cellular hotspot and then I have hotspots on my cell phone and my iPad, and I have starlink. It is expensive, So I completely understand some can’t afford it.
Because of my business, I’ve been able to maintain it. I wish I’d had that when I started. That would’ve been amazing. Mm-hmm. The first year and a half or so, I just used a hotspot, a cellular hotspot. I had four different sim cards that I had to rotate, and then I also had the hotspot on my iPad and my. Cell phone because I had my corporate job and I was on Zoom all the time.
I was using, gosh, close to, close to 200 gig a month. Wow. Just for that. Yeah. It was, it was a little ridiculous. I believe it. And it was very expensive. Like I, I mean, what I’m paying now for starlink and what I have is still less than what I was paying for rotating sim cards in my Oh man. And, and I have a cellular booster as well, which is really helpful.
Okay. It does not give you signal when there is none, but it can make unusable signal usable when you’re in a tough situation.
Rose Willard: Yes, yes. We had a WeBoost yeah. Yes. And it does not give you a signal if there’s no signal, but yeah. And then we had a hotspot, a MiFi. Truly unlimited, but you know. Yeah.
Sierra Everly: They’re not, they stay unlimited and they’re not.
Yeah. They, they throttle you. Like, and I tried for a while, like the nomad internet. That is a complete scam. Complete scam. Yeah. That was, yep. Big scam. Oh my gosh. Yeah. Won’t even go into that. It was awful. No, no, no. And, um, I tried a few other things and I just ended up having to stick with the, with the cell signal and it mm-hmm.
You, it still won’t work. So you need a clear view of the northern sky for starlink. And there’s times I’ve showed up and been like, oh, there’s a lot of trees here. Whoops. Yeah, I guess I gotta go back to plan B. So, right, right. In all the, the three years that I’ve been traveling now, there’ve only been maybe three or four times that I’ve actually had to backtrack back to my, like, here’s my plan B if I can’t make it work for work.
Rose Willard: Well, that’s good. Good to know. So I kind of wanna get into then the little more pros and cons of the van life and working on the road. Do you have any Yeah. To mention? Mm-hmm.
Sierra Everly: Gosh. Um, I mean the cons obviously are when you’re working on the road, just trying to find, signal and making sure that it’s stable, ’cause even starlink at times it throttles you and it’s embarrassing. Mm-hmm. You’re on a call and all of a sudden you’re not. Whoops. Yeah. Luckily my clients know that I’m nomadic and that I sometimes like, signal isn’t great, so it’s never really been an issue for me. But with my corporate job, it was very stressful because most of the people that I worked with didn’t even know that I was in a van because it was, I was told to keep hush hush.
Yeah. Mm-hmm. They were a little more old school, so, you know, definitely trying to find the spots. I tend to take an entire day just off if I, you know, have to go do chores and have to go find a new spot and all of that because mm-hmm. A lot of times you’re like, oh, it’s only an hour, and then you get somewhere and there’s lots of people, or the roads are closed, or the roads are bad, and or what you thought was there like wasn’t, and you have to go find somewhere else.
So it’s inevitable that. Everything in a van just takes longer. That’s just, that’s just how it’s, doesn’t matter what you’re trying to do, it takes longer.
Rose Willard: Right. Right. Anything can come up. You have to be flexible. You gotta be on your toes. Yeah.
Sierra Everly: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. And if there’s a time where like you have super, super important meeting and gotta make it, like, go into a city, go, go into a town, find a quiet place to park, try to, you know, just make sure that you have good signal.
Rose Willard: Right. Near libraries and all that stuff too.
Sierra Everly: Exactly. Yeah. Mm-hmm. I’ve, I haven’t used libraries. I know a lot of people that do. I don’t do the coffee shop thing very often. I know a lot of people that do. I, you know, with my dog, I prefer to just be in my van. Um, he does better in here anyway, and I, I have a pretty nice setup in my van for working, so it’s very comfortable, uh, which I know a lot of people don’t have.
Mm-hmm. So like it’s just a challenge to find the spot to be able to sit and work all day and when, when you have a set schedule. That was the main thing that was more frustrating for me is like, especially in the winter when I was working my corporate job. I had to be behind my laptop from, you know, 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM and then it’s dark and I’m not gonna go running with my dog in the middle of the desert or in the middle of the mountains when it’s, you know, after dark.
So it was really hard to like do anything recreational during the week. Whereas if I was in the city, there’s city lights and like you can go do things after work, which I’m very much enjoying the more the flexibility of my own business now, because I pretty much just plan everything, all my work around what I would like to do with my life, you know?
Rose Willard: Right. So you probably, so you work, like you just stay put for the week, I would assume. And then.
Sierra Everly: Yeah, I’m, I’m a pretty slow mover anyway before. Mm-hmm. With a corporate job, I definitely stayed put for a week. Sometimes I’d have a slower day and go into town and take calls in between things or whatever.
Now I also usually try to go somewhere and just find somewhere near some trails, and I usually work more in the evenings. That’s when my brain actually works a little better for me. So I’ll take the morning and go out for a run with my dog and come back and have a good meal and then work and do whatever else is needed.
Yeah. That’s what works well for me.
Rose Willard: That makes sense. Yeah. Get out, move your body. I mean, homeschool, I’m thinking with my kids. We get out, move our bodies first, get all the wiggles out, kind of get that fresh air, that sunlight, and then we can sit down and chill. Yeah. Yeah, very good.
Sierra Everly: That’s definitely how I work best, so. Mm-hmm. Yeah, it works out well and sometimes, I mean, sometimes you end up with, you know, a big huge RV that comes, parks next to you with generators and it’s annoying and you end up having to leave and people don’t give you your space and you end up having to leave sooner than expected. But most of the time I’ve been pretty lucky to where I can just find somewhere and and park.
Rose Willard: That’s good. So speaking of getting out there, what do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?
Sierra Everly: Yeah, I’m pretty simple. I trail run. I like my feet on the ground. Nice. So we’ll go for hikes and run. Um, I do a lot of work with my dog as in, you know, I just sent him to some training. We were struggling with some reactivity and he’s, uh, a rescue and he is very timid and gets scared at a lot of things, so, mm-hmm.
I do a lot of groundwork with him, just making sure that he’s comfortable and confident and issues, which is a. Yeah, just a lot of things, but I just love being outside and going and exploring, and usually we’ll do long, longer runs. I mean, I’ve done some ultra races before. I’d love to get into shape and do a few more, 50 Ks, get those under my belt.
So a lot of times when we go out, it’s like an all day deal or you know, more than half a day, and by the time we get back we’re just like done like that. That’s our fun for the day.
Rose Willard: Right, right. Well that’s good. So back to your business real quick. Mm-hmm. And ai, that’s a big topic right now. Oh yeah. I mean, do you use any AI or, I mean, do you feel like small business should use some AI copywriting tools? What do you think?
Sierra Everly: Yeah, I do use ai, but I wanna be very clear that AI is a tool and more of an idea generator. Businesses should not go into chat g p t and say, write me a blog about Van Life and have it spit out a blog and it’s amazing. Oh no. To watch it work and do that. Mm-hmm. But Google actually has tools to be able to identify AI generated content and Google will deprioritize that content online.
Good to know. ’cause it’s, it’s not all, all AI can do is regurgitate what’s already on the internet. So number one, it’s not original. And granted that’s what we do too. Like we do research and all of that, but there isn’t that human element. It’s not as original, right? It’s just rewriting things that are already there.
It’s limited to things up to 2021. So if it’s a new product, it’s not gonna give you anything. Things are outdated, they change so much, and a lot of times it is just outright wrong, especially in our niche. For smaller businesses and things because there’s a lot of information on the internet that is wrong.
So when you have things written with ai, you still have to go back and fact check and, and make sure everything is right. So really long-winded answer to, yes, I use it, I use it more for idea generating when I’m just like stuck on something or to help me with outlines and then I rewrite everything in my own words.
Mm-hmm. But it’s a really great way to just, generate like ideas.
Here’s some fun titles to use and, and things like that. Mm-hmm. I do not think that business owners that don’t understand how to give AI prompts should use them for their websites or their blogs unless they’ve done that research and really know how to use it. If, if they’re wanting to rank and get organic traffic, I mean, if they wanna out use it however you want.
Right. But understanding how Google works. How obvious AI generated content is when, like, when you’ve been reading it as much as someone like me. Mm-hmm. Yeah. You don’t, you just don’t wanna use that.
Rose Willard: Yeah. That’s interesting. Good to know. And what are some things to look for when someone is looking to hire a copywriter or you know, someone like yourself.
Sierra Everly: I mean, my number one thing is are they a good human being and do you get along with them? Because if you don’t get along with them, that’s not gonna be very fun to work with. I love it. Yeah. Yeah. I, you know, asked to see their portfolio and if like what I did, if you don’t have a portfolio, give them an example of your writing.
I mean, I have a lot of content online now, and I’m very lucky that my clients have given me credit for all of it, even though. Not required. A lot of the times they still put my name on there. So I’m able to send over blogs and information that I’ve done and infographs and all sorts of content and show examples of my work and just make sure it resonates.
And don’t be afraid to ask questions. Just because someone’s a good writer doesn’t mean they’d be a good writer for you, right? Or just because you get along with them might not mean that they’re a good writer for you or a good writer at all. So those are the two things that I look for.
Rose Willard: Great. Those are awesome. What are your goals or your vision kind of for this year? What are some things that you’re working on to grow your business too?
Sierra Everly: Oh man. Keeping myself focused, honestly, that’s like the hardest thing for me. I am such a spa. I’m all over the place. Uh, but in all seriousness, I. Love that I have been able to give other nomadic people some business.
So when I get very busy and I can’t meet all of my clients’ needs, I work with other nomadic and so far they’ve all been women, which has also been like a bonus. Other nomadic women and have them do some writing for me, so they do the work for me, I then review it and then give it to my client and it’s more or less like a pass through, but they just work through me so the client doesn’t.
So my goal for my business would be to continue. Mm-hmm. On a route that I can grow my business, do more of what I really love, which is more of the strategy side. And I, some of the writing, of course, I, I love that as well, but I really enjoy doing like the marketing strategy and making the plan. Mm-hmm.
And then being able to support other nomadic freelancers and have them do some of the backend work, some of the writing and the social media content, you know, planning and all of that stuff. To be able to support my clients on a larger scale and more consistently. I, I really wanna be able to help more of that ’cause I’m, because of my corporate background. I’m really good at being that bridge. And I have managed a lot of people in my career. I don’t like calling it managing, but Right. I’m really good at being that bridge and working with the client, having that business sense, but also working with the vendors. And a lot of people that like to do the work, they don’t necessarily like working with the clients, they just wanna do the work.
Mm-hmm. So I wanna help them too. That was a really long winded answer. Sorry, but No, that’s great.
Rose Willard: No, I love it. I love everything about your business. It’s awesome. Oh, thank you. And then working, you know, for yourself. Mm-hmm. I know there are a lot of challenges, so what is your biggest challenge?
Sierra Everly: Oh, okay. Now, now we can go back to the focusing part. Yes. Yep. Mm-hmm. Yeah. So I, I mean, I’ve been in a corporate role and for many years we won’t say how many I’m gonna date myself, but many, many years. You know, the eight to five office, whatever. And I’ve never been a morning person. I’ve never been the person that is good in that, but I didn’t have a choice.
And then when I choice, because. I really struggled with figuring out a routine that worked for me and my body and my dog, and allowed me to produce great work. And the difference is, is with my corporate job jobs as a plural, I never really truly enjoyed it, and it was all, this is gonna sound so terrible, but it was also easy for me.
It was just like I’d sit behind my computer and I’d check the boxes and be on calls. Kind fire things and it was very mindless. And now the work. Requires the creativity that I love and yeah, all the more original thought process all. Yeah. And, and I love it, but it takes so much more energy. Yeah. And it’s not like, get it, I’m gonna sit behind Zoom calls for eight hours and call it a day.
It’s like I have to do this really intense thing and make it sound good and, and you know, show some results. Yeah. So that has been the biggest challenge for me. And I feel like it took me, Honestly a year to figure out that I don’t have to get up and start working at eight and mm-hmm. It’s okay if I don’t start working at until 9:00 PM sometimes, if that’s what my body and my brain wants, and I need to take care of me first.
I need to get my body moving. I need to eat well. Mm-hmm. It’s okay to say no if a client wants to meet at 6:00 AM and just be like, sorry, like, I’m not gonna be any good to you right now. Right.
Rose Willard: So. Right. Yeah. How long do you typically work then? What have you figured out?
Sierra Everly: Oh man, I’m all over the place. So there’s some days that I will wake up at eight and mm-hmm.
Um, I’ll, I mean, start working at eight. I’m usually awake before then. Mm-hmm. But like, I’ll, I’ll work all day and sometimes into the night. I mean, there’s days that I’ll put in 12 hours or more, and then there’s some days mm-hmm. That I won’t work at all. And some days that I’ll sit down and work for half an hour and just be like, this is not gonna be work day. I can’t do this. Typically, it’s more like a half day. So I’ll usually put in a good four to five hours of solid work each day. Mm-hmm. And my days off are when I’m like, it’s chore day and I have to move, and I up responding emails and stuff.
Rose Willard: I think you had mentioned, or maybe I read about it, that you have a lot of retainers, like you do retainer work. Mm-hmm. Instead of just like, Yeah. Per project. So how does that work?
Sierra Everly: Yeah. I highly recommend doing retainer work because it helps you. Well, it helps me. Mm-hmm. Be able to budget better and understand like, okay, every month this is how much I have coming in now what’s the extra project? One off work that I need to go find for myself to make ends meet.
Mm-hmm. And I prioritize the retainer work, obviously ’cause a retainer, you’re paid ahead of time. I know a lot of freelancers have struggled with not getting paid at all, or not, you know, getting paid way late. And with a retainer, I’m guaranteeing X amount of work based on a statement of work, an SOW, and a services agreement that I have written up.
And. I’m able to say, you know, you’re, you’re gonna get this and if you don’t get it, like you’ll get your money back and it’s a legal document. So they feel a lot more confident about that. And then I know I can prioritize retainer work first and get that done. And then I have the project one-off work, and it depends on the client and the project.
Sometimes I require a 50% deposit, sometimes not at all, but it, there are also legal documents in place that make it to where if they don’t pay me, I can take against them, which I’ve never had an issue. I’ve never had a client not.
Rose Willard: That’s great. So how do you feel then about where you are right now in your life and your business versus prior to going full-time? Like do you feel really good about it? Any changes?
Sierra Everly: I am so happy and I am so I. Just proud of myself. I, I’ve always been a very independent person anyway, so like going out on myself in the van, like anyone that knows me, any of my friends or family members, when they heard I was doing it, there was no shock.
It was just like, oh yeah, that sounds like Sierra cool. Like, you’re gonna have fun. So that part was just like the easy part, but I. I am happiest in nature ’cause of how I grew up, and I just love it. And it makes me so happy that I’m able to explore this planet while it’s here. Like who knows how much longer it’s gonna be here the way we’re going.
True. Mm-hmm. And that aspect just brings me peace and happiness and I love that I can just go on trails and explore with my dog and be in secluded areas and sometimes not see another human for, you know, a.
I am just shocked and I’m so appreciative of this community and of the clients that I have and that people believed in me when I started. All I had was my personal blog, which is literally like six to seven years out of date. I still haven’t had time to, to update it at all is embarrassing. So I was like sending that as my portfolio, but it’s very me, you know, and people liked that, right?
And I did not think that people would believe in me or gimme a chance, and they did. And because of that, I mean my first year, Granted, I made a lot less money than I was in corporate, which was I was totally expecting, but I didn’t, I didn’t go broke and I didn’t, I was still able to pay my bills, like I still didn’t go into debt.
And then this year I’ve been able to maintain that and even grow more. So just the fact that I’ve been able to do that in my first year, I feel it’s just incredible. It’s very rewarding. Yeah. Yeah. And just shows how wonderful the community and other small businesses can be, because we wanna support each other.
You know? Yes.
Rose Willard: Yep. Yeah. Yeah. No, that’s great. It is a great community. Love it. So is there anything else you would like to tell us or anything we didn’t talk about that you wanna mention?
Sierra Everly: Oh my goodness. All the things, just do it. Don’t be afraid and do it. I’ve, I’ve had so many people, I mean, when it comes to Van Life, when it comes to business, um, when it comes to not even Van Life, just traveling, nomadic, I don’t even like the term van life, it’s kind of mm-hmm, overused.
But, um, right. Just traveling the, if you’re scared, I mean, what’s, what’s the worst that’ll happen? The worst that’ll happen is you won’t like it and go back. That’s what I. You can do it. You people are like, I have kids, I have this, I have the child. Like there, there are ways if you wanna make it happen, that you can make it if you really wanna try it.
And then when it comes to businesses and working for yourself, I feel like so many people don’t have the confidence or the understanding of like what they have to offer. And um mm-hmm. I know so many talented, they don’t see it. People don’t, yeah. They don’t see it and they don’t know how to market themselves.
And that’s fine. Like marketing yourself. It’s. Yeah, but talk to other nomad. Like, I, I always tell people, reach out to me. I’m happy to help if I can. I’ll give you tips. Mm-hmm. I’ll show you what I did. Um, but just because you don’t have a portfolio, I didn’t have a portfolio, doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
Just because you don’t have the education that backs up what you’re doing doesn’t mean you can’t do it because you can learn yourself. You’re smart. You can figure it out.
Rose Willard: Yeah. That’s, that’s so great. I mean, yeah. Gosh, you can learn so much from others. And of course, internet now. That’s great.
Sierra Everly: It takes a lot of time for sure. But it’s, it’s worth it. It does anything wonderful like great like that and Oh, you get such satisfaction from it takes time. Yeah, it does. Yep. For sure. But it’s, it’s the best.
Rose Willard: So Sierra, where can our audience connect with you online?
Sierra Everly: Yeah, so my business is Boondock Consulting and I’m that across all social media platforms, Facebook page.
On Instagram, my website, BoondockConsulting.com. Uh, I even have a LinkedIn page and my. Personal Instagram is Sierra’s Traverse and mm-hmm. It’s pretty much just pictures of my dog and I running through the mountains. So not really business related, but if you have questions about, you know, van or whatever, I don’t actually post a lot of van content.
It’s more just like travel and running, but that’s where my personal stuff is. But yeah, and then I have, I have people message me on Instagram and my email address is on there as well. So welcome to reach out any way that meets your fancy.
Rose Willard: That’s awesome. You have such a great story and a great vibe, and I think it’s, oh, thank you. Wonderful. Yeah, and it’s very important also that you understand this nomadic lifestyle. It obviously really, really helps and I will be sure to put all these links that you mentioned in the show notes. Thank you Sierra, so much for taking the time to share your world, your business, thank you, and all of that great information today.
I hope you all enjoyed and learned something from this episode with Sierra. Her story’s exciting and inspiring and just the fact that she was able to grow her side hustle enough to quit her full-time corporate job and support herself 100% is so cool and it shows sometimes it’s worth a little bit of fear to try something new rather than to just sit in something that you’re just not happy with or doesn’t resonate with you, or doesn’t make you feel fulfilled.
So it’s really possible to start your own business from your RV and do what you love. So I hope you enjoyed this. I just wanted to give you all a little boost and inspiration today to go for it, especially if you’re on the fence. So go find Sierra if you’re interested in what she does or if your business needs some help with some online content or promotional help.
I’ll put all of her info in these show notes. And if you guys just wanna talk more about RV entrepreneurship or just connect with us, head on over to the RV Entrepreneur Facebook group. We love chatting with you all. Thanks again for taking the time to listen today. Until next time.
THE RV ENTREPRENEUR
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