Are you a blogger or creative? Then prepare to be MAJORLY inspired by this episode. A few years ago, Allie started her yoga and mindfulness blog, The Journey Junkie. Like many bloggers, she assumed that the best way to earn a living as a blogger was by putting ads and sponsored posts on her site. Soon, she began to realize that despite her amazing content and engaged community, this monetization route wasn’t ever going to lead to a full-time income.
But Allie trudged on, and eventually enrolled in my program, Blog to Biz Hive. There, she learned why I believe Online Courses are the best way for bloggers to monetize, and she used my formula to launch her first course to her audience. Within a few weeks, Allie had earned a year’s worth of salary…from her blog. Nearly $70,000! Now, she and her husband literally plan to sail the world, while working on her blog full-time.
It sounds like a dream come true, right? And it is.
But how did she do it? AND with a full-time job to boot? Well, in this eye-opening interview, Allie is dishing out her best advice for bloggers who are tired of the rat race of “ads” and “sponsored posts” and want to learn a better model to grow their community and monetize their site.
This girl has got soul and a TON of wisdom to share about following your purpose and living the life you’ve always dreamed of having – right this second.
I know I probably say this about each episode, but I am so, so excited to share this conversation with you! Talking to Allie gave me chills, and made me even more motivated to follow my own dreams. I know you’ll feel the same.
Check out the episode below:
In this episode, you’ll hear about things like…
- What Allie was doing before working on her blog full-time, and how she made the transition.
- Why bloggers should NOT try to monetize with ads and sponsored posts and what to do instead.
- The strategies she used to launch her course and how she executed them (including pricing — her course was only $129, a free challenge, and more).
- How she grew her blog and had a $70,000 course launch even with a full-time day job.
- Allie’s best tips for creating engaged online communities for your blog and business.
- Why your blog is NOT your end goal (but rather, the foundation for your empire).
- How Allie’s blog and successful launch have allowed her and her husband to fulfill one of their lifelong dreams (which includes sailing around the world).
- The key reasons why people should explore the practice of yoga and how it can impact your life.
Want to learn more about my exclusive program that walks you through how to grow your audience and income as a blogger?
It’s called Blog to Biz Hive and I only open enrollment for this course ONCE a year. Well, my friend…it’s currently open for a limited time! I firmly believe that, like Allie, you can grow an engaged audience and turn your blog into a massively profitable business. Click here to learn more about the program! Enrollment closes on August 30th, 2017, so make sure to join soon.
Links from the interview:
- Allie’s Website, The Journey Junkie
- Allie on YouTube
- Allie on Pinterest
- Allie and Carly’s Podcast, Truth and Dare
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert
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Also, podcast reviews are pretty darn important to iTunes and the more reviews we receive, the more likely we’ll be able to get this podcast and message in front of more people (something about iTunes algorithms?). I’d be extremely grateful if you left a review right here letting me know your favorite part of this episode!
Loving the podcast? I encourage you to use the hashtag #PursuitWithPurpose to show our PWP tribe how you live your purpose everyday. Plus, you’ll get to sift through the hashtag to find other business owners who care about community and connectedness over competition and comparison. And I’ll be reposting some of my favorite images and stories, too. 🙂
Thank you for listening!
TranscriptRead the Interview Transcription Here
So I know I probably say this before every single interview, but I am genuinely so excited to share this conversation with you, because Allie van Fossen is one of my students in my Blog to Biz Hive course. She has just this absolutely incredible and unique story of how she took her yoga blog, turned it into a mega successful business with an online course, and now has plans to literally sail the world. So more on all of that in today’s interview, but first, Allie’s the woman behind The Journey Junkie, which is an online community that aims to help people live their best life through the practices of yoga and mindfulness. She’s taught thousands of people how to create and sustain a yoga practice at home with her weekly yoga videos, free challenges and paid programs.
So in today’s interview, you’ll learn about Allie’s story; how she started in a cubicle or cube land as Allie calls it, and now runs a quickly growing online yoga business and community. You’ll also hear the specific strategies she used to have an amazingly successful course launch, where she actually made her entire year’s worth of salary in just three weeks. You’ll also hear about how she attracts an ever growing community to her YouTube channel, blog, email list and Facebook group. Allie’s interview won’t just inspire you with strategies and tactics. This girl has got soul and a ton of wisdom to share about following your purpose and living the life you’ve always dreamed of having right this second. So if you want major knowledge bonds and a ton of motivation to get started, this interview is about to rock your world.
Melyssa Griffin: So Allie, I’d love to hear more about what you were doing before you started your blog, where were you at, where were you working. Tell us a little bit about that story.
Allie van Fossen: Absolutely. I went to school for advertising PR in marketing. So I was in a traditional corporate marketing setting, what I call cube land, and in this bureaucratic, depressing place. I’ve worked at three different corporations, each for a good amount of time. Consistently at each space, I saw this consistent theme of everyone being unhappy and I wasn’t okay with that. From very early on in my corporate life, I was thinking to myself how can I get out of here, what is the secret to me not having to work in a corporate office. At first I thought it was working from home or doing a remote job, but never did I imagine building my own community and business, ever. I think the first time I got wind of people making money online, was I moved to Italy at 24 with some girlfriends, and I met travel bloggers who were living off blogs. I was fascinated by them. Simultaneously, I remember Instagram becoming more popular and the first yoga pictures being shared on Instagram of beautiful girls in beautiful islands, in beautiful bikinis. I came home from that trip, it was about six months, and I told my then boyfriend, now husband, I am going to figure this out. I want to be a travel blogger. I want to be a full time Yogi and blah, blah, blah. He said, “Okay cool, go for it.” I think he didn’t really pay any mind to it as most partners might do in the beginning of an idea stage. That’s when blogging started.
I have to say the first six months of blogging, I was petrified. I fell into that comparison trap. I didn’t know how to make a website. I did everything DIY. Like you said, when I found you, I was doing what everyone else was doing; trying to find sponsored posts and getting free yoga swag, and then eventually making the brands pay for it. It was this rat race of trying to find people to pay me to write about their brand. So essentially, just me doing all the work to then, them getting the fruits of my labor. I did that for about two and a half years, that whole blogging, working with brands thing.
Melyssa Griffin: I’m curious why you went that route in the beginning. Why did you – why did that feel like the right thing to do, working with brands and doing ads, and that kind of thing?
Allie van Fossen: Mostly because of the other people I followed. So whoever – I can’t truly remember who I was following at the time, but mostly just the example of the people that I was following and who I thought were people that were doing it. They were doing it really well, but it became “unfun” (that’s not a word), but not fun, not pleasant. I felt like I was an admin and receiving packages and shipping things out. It just became a cluster f**k of not enjoying the process. Mind you, I was also working full time and then going through yoga teacher training, and then also teaching in a studio three to four times a week class, plus trying to build this budding blog business that was really just driving me insane. That’s when I found you and you gave me this whole new outlook on how to run a business online, what it meant to create community. I hadn’t really thought of that before. I always thought it was just me talking to everyone and sharing whatever I thought was important.
Melyssa Griffin: That’s so interesting. I ask that too because I did the exact same thing when I started my blog. I would look to other bloggers and online businesses, and see that they are doing these big sponsored collaborations or having ads all over their website, and getting like packages and posting about them on social media. I thought this must be the way to do it because these people are the people I admire and look up to. I didn’t really think at first that there could be another option. So I love that you mention that too. I feel like for a lot of bloggers, even now, it’s kind of like the old model of blogging. I like to tell people, like back in the day, that was the way to do it. Now I feel it’s different. We’ll talk about that more too I’m sure, but try not to fall into that trap now because things are so different. So really interesting that you started that way too. What is The Journey Junkie, your website, your brand? What does it look like now? Are you making money, you’re growing your community? How are things looking at this stage?
Allie van Fossen: At this stage, I have this incredible community of people that are so like-minded and so supportive. Majority of them are women. So The Journey Junkie started as a travel blog, but as I journeyed further into becoming a yoga teacher and going online, it is now primarily focused on yoga, yoga mindfulness and what I call positive living. Mindfulness for me can be meditation, it can be reading a book, it can be just taking the time to kind of disconnect to reconnect. And then positive living: healthy habits, building positive relationships, self-development – all of that. So I think that it’s this threefold approach that I want people to learn from me and then develop in their own lives. Usually the click bait* of the whole situation is yoga. You market the yoga. I do free weekly yoga classes on YouTube, and then people start loving how they’re feeling in their bodies. Of course, they’re seeing some weight loss or some toning. Their minds are becoming clearer, more focused throughout their day, their relationship is better. Slowly but surely, the deeper layers of yoga start to sink in a little bit unconsciously, which is what I love. It’s exactly what happened to me. You want to just keep opening one door after the other on this self-development journey of becoming who you’re meant to be, who your essence is and what your purpose is here.
Melyssa Griffin: I love the way that you talk about that, where it’s not like you need to do all of the things right now in order to have a great life. It’s like you start with one thing and it’s almost unconscious where, then your mind starts to change, and you’re like this is actually pretty sweet. I want to do more things like this. You, little by little expand that reach into these amazing things. So it’s kind of like self-development doesn’t need to be this overwhelming state.
Allie van Fossen: Yeah and it can be, and it still is for me. I sometimes have the pressure that I should be reading a yoga book and a self-development book, and then a spiritual book, and I should be meditating. I heard you talk about this on a previous podcast, how it becomes this – it could be a three hour practice if you did everything you wanted to do to develop yourself. Going back to your original question about where The Journey Junkie is at. At this point in time, I launched my first program, using your Blog to Biz Hive model. I made over my entire yearly salary in three weeks, the cart being open.
Melyssa Griffin: That’s insane.
Allie van Fossen: It blew me away. It blew me and my husband away, and my parents and our friends. It felt like these three and a half years of consistent and applied effort were now suddenly proving to me like why you sacrifice all of those nights and weekends of filming in this hot, sweaty Zen Den I used to film in, that you did it all for a reason. Seeing the success of the program gave me this incredible foundation of confidence. I was telling my husband the other night that because of what you created and taught me, and then I created in my own life, now I feel so confident to continue doing it. I hope you know how much your work is impacting others’ work.
Melyssa Griffin: That’s so sweet of you. I mean the biggest gift for me is seeing people like you just take it and create insanely incredible things for your community. And also just thinking about the people you’re impacting and who they’re going to impact too, is such a cool thought. So you should be really proud of yourself. I’d love to hear about your course. What is it about? When did you launch it?
Allie van Fossen: Absolutely. So just like we were talking about this threefold concept, the course is based on that premise. It is called The Body, Mind, Soul Detox. It’s a 21 day program. Week one, we focus on the body. Week two, we focus on the mind. Week three, we focus on the soul and connecting it with the chakra system. There are seven chakras, seven energetic centers, and there’s seven days in a week. So how perfect to end on that. It is a full length yoga class, a meditation and a worksheet each day for 21 days. It’s a lot. It’s an intense experience. I know from listening to my community members that when you leave it, you’ve shed so many layers of false and limiting beliefs and fears, as well as some pounds here and there. You’ve built this incredible bond within our community that you walk out feeling ready to take on your journey, ready to pursue your purpose, ready to maybe let go of some old baggage and move forward in a lighter, more clear way. There’s also a 40 day food plan that goes with it, and all these extra additional guides to help you learn more about yoga. It’s almost, as I finished it, I would love to facilitate yoga teacher trainings one day. It’s almost like I wrote the beginning stages of my own training program through creating the course.
Melyssa Griffin: That’s amazing. It sounds like an absolutely incredible course with so much good information. I actually want to look into it now. So one quick question. How much was the course when you launched it?
Allie van Fossen: It was $129.
Melyssa Griffin: Wow! For all that? Wow, that is amazing. For making such a big sum of money in three weeks for $129 course. That is super inspiring.
Allie van Fossen: Yeah, so we had 550 people join the course. It was the right conversion rate that most people say, as far as your email list. I worked my butt off the year before that, after I got into your course, building my list, building my YouTube channel, doing free yoga challenges to build trust and connection – all the things you told me to do. It worked, like it worked tenfold. Anyone that comes to me now and asks how you did it, I say you first have to do it out of a labor of love and build this community off of trust and pure dedication and discipline. I think about – you don’t have to do it four years in like I did, but I think about a year in, you can start to build some great programs within your community.
Melyssa Griffin: I completely agree. Did you know when you launched this course that it would be so successful? Were you expecting this?
Allie van Fossen: I had an intuitive feeling that yeah, it would be that successful. I wanted to hit 500 and I hit 550 members. So that was – I hit my goal number. There were times during when the cart is open, where it’s going so slow like you prepared* us in Blog to Biz, and then it just ramps back up towards the end. I did a lot of Facebook Lives. There was a free challenge before it, and all the special secret ingredients that need to go into it. Now I’m relaunching it in a month. It’s so exciting to relaunch it, having people gone through it.
Melyssa Griffin: What are some of the results that your students have gotten now and how have you felt about that?
Allie van Fossen: Some of the results include, the most surface level of losing weight; some people have lost up to 20 pounds. They’ve changed their complete eating habits, which that’s a big thing for me. I cook almost all my own food. I’m recently a vegetarian as of a year ago. it’s just really important to me to know what I’m eating. And so, that was a big part of the program, is cook your own food. I gave a bunch of different ideas on how you could do that. And so, people built this new lifestyle habit into their daily lives with their families and their partners when they used to get take out all the time – so those kind of positive lifestyle changes. Some people made career changes. Some people quit their jobs or had the courage to move into bigger spaces with their businesses, like a few massage therapists that were in the group. And others, I think found themselves or found the door to at least open to continue finding themselves. I will say some felt like it was too much all at one time, and it is a lot all at one time. And so, I think when I relaunch it, I’ll be very cautious in telling people don’t feel obligated to do every single thing every single day. Choose* what you want each day. Do you need a yoga class? Do you need a meditation? Do you need a self-reflection through the worksheet? So I think that is the one thing that kind of trips me up, because it’s so crucial to the program, but at the same time, I can’t imagine it not being part of it, all three steps each day. That’s the one piece I’m fiddling with.
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah, it’s always tough when you create something that you know is essential. If people just did it, they would get fantastic results, but they just don’t or they are out of time or something. So I totally get that too. I’d love to hear about your launch. So you talked about a challenge, you talked about Facebook Lives. What did you do in your launch that you feel really impacted it?
Allie van Fossen: Yes. I did a free seven day challenge that almost mirrored what we were going to go through during the course. It was called Align Your Life. It had a yoga class, a worksheet, and then a meditation each day for seven days. So I pretty much made a free mini seven day version and then I went live every day for seven nights after I got home from work eight o’clock at night, and would talk about that topic for the day. The topic could be mindfulness or healthy lifestyles like we were just talking about, or having compassion for yourself instead of falling into the comparison trap, and just building the connection deeper and deeper and deeper within my tribe. Also, I do want to backtrack and say I did start a Facebook group about six or seven months, which is now around ten thousand people. So that greatly helped my ability to connect with people in a quicker way. Instagram is really difficult. I think a lot of people don’t catch your post. Email, you’re not – 30% of the people open my email. So I felt it was a huge leverage point for me to connect with them. While the group does take a lot of my time and energy still to this day, it’s the number one way I can reach people quickly and effectively. So that was a big component. And then during the launch, I still have a weekly yoga video that goes out. So it was themed to the launch, to The Body, Mind, Soul. I would do a Facebook Live twice a week for three weeks after that seven day big thing that happened first. So it was four weeks of intensity just rolling ahead, connecting every single day that I could with my tribe until the doors closed.
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah I love that. It’s obvious that you put in a lot of work here. I like too that you did this when you had a full time job. It’s like you came home after work and did Facebook Lives even if you were tired, even if you had a bad day at work. It’s like you still put in that time. I think a lot of people who want to have the kind of success that you’ve seen and launch their own successful course, can kind of get in this mindset, where it’s like well I have a full time job or I have kids so I can’t do it. You’re saying you’re a testament to creating so much content for the challenge and your course, and hustling before and after work to make it happen. So I love that too.
Allie van Fossen: Yeah. I’m sure you know it takes waking up in the morning for me, then it was waking up at 5 A.M. and knowing each task I had to do every morning was crucial in order to get all of the content written, and created, and filmed, and recorded in time for launch. so it was six to eight months of consistent effort; morning, lunch break and night, and every weekend.
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah, such a good point. I’m curious, how did you structure the planning of it? How did you know what you’re doing every day? Did you plan it all out in advance? What did that look like for you?
Allie van Fossen: Well for one, I had been thinking about the course for at least a year before it ever got written down. It was in the back of my mind for a long time. The more I got on YouTube – which was a scary transition too, to go from blogging to YouTube to camera. The more I did YouTube videos and the more I did the free challenges, the more I was able to be confident in what exactly that program needed to be. And so, when I finally wrote it all out, it came out so succinctly. I knew what each piece needed to be. From there, I basically took pieces of paper and wrote each month up until launch, and what had to get done each month. And then I chunked it down to weeks. And then I put it into my Google calendar and then I used a huge Google spreadsheet to tick off everything I got done. So it was a lot of keeping it very organized, and it was in Google, and it was in my planner, and it was in a journal. I mean it was everywhere.
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah. Oh I love that. I am such a like, write it all down, use tools, use calendars and spreadsheets kind of person. So I’m just geeking out super hard right now. Yeah right, you have to, especially when you’re busy too. So for this next launch – and actually first, I just want to ask you about – I feel like there’s this myth online that you can only launch a course if you’re teaching people how to make money. You obviously launched a completely different course in a non-marketing niche about how to do yoga, how to be more mindful – all these great things. Were you scared to launch a course in a niche that’s not about teaching people how to make money?
Allie van Fossen: I wouldn’t say scared. I guess at times I do feel like there’s a ceiling for me. I can’t ever foresee me charging anything more than $200 for a yoga plan course, which makes it apparent that I always need to have a really large number sign up if I want the launch to be successful. As far as being nervous about people engaging and buying it, no, because I had done so much work prior to that, laying the foundation of giving away so many free yoga videos that I knew people were ready to support me in this way. I could feel it through all of the emails and the comments and the group. Every way that people were participating with me gave me that sense of people are ready to buy. They want more from me. I feel it now again, as it’s been six months I haven’t launched anything that costs money. And so, I can feel the shift happening again as my email list has almost doubled and the group has almost doubled, and so has my YouTube channel since then. I can feel it. The new people who are in the group are like where do we go next, how do we keep doing this, we love practicing yoga. I almost feel that you can sense the energy within your tribe of when people are ready to move up to the next level. So no, but I will say there is a ceiling I think about and I wonder how can I make different programs that involve a deeper meaning or deeper knowledge, more education that I would have to first go get on my part to then share and teach, how can I create those type of programs. I definitely have ideas, but like I said, it comes back to me going to get some further education and trainings in my field before I can start teaching those types of subjects.
Melyssa Griffin: So just to share my perspective on that, is a) I feel like you could charge way more than $200 for this incredible course that you created. That’s my personal perspective. I would pay way more than 200 for what you created. Even just thinking about a membership to a yoga studio, how much that costs and getting your course with everything else that comes with it and they get that for life, is invaluable to me, or it’s worth a lot more than that. So that’s just my perspective there. Also, like you were saying, it’s kind of like you have this maybe intro course and then maybe you can charge more for that next step, maybe it’s like a teacher training or maybe it’s kind of the advanced version or something like that. So I do think there’s room to charge more. That’s just my opinion because I’m like yes, she’s doing so many amazing things. You might get less students, but you’ll end up making more money, and maybe even have students who are super committed.
Allie van Fossen: I think you told me that once before when we chatted. And so, I do plan on raising the price this time that we launch. There will be a quick window of it being the original price and then it’s going to go up. I think with each launch it will go up, because I’ll keep tweaking the materials, adding updated content and then – yes, you’re right, I’ve already brainstormed a few other additional courses that will still be related to The Body, Mind, Soul, but a new way to keep experiencing throughout the year so that it’s not just this two time thing. If you’re in the course, you can now go to the next step of your experience. So that’s definitely all brewing in my mind.
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah, I love that. I like what you said a minute ago about how since launching the course, you’ve noticed like your tribe is growing faster and people are asking for, like we want more, we want to buy stuff basically. I noticed that too after I launched my first course. It was like my community just started growing at a much faster pace. That to me seems like one of those things about course creation and creating digital products that people don’t talk about that often or don’t see as a benefit. They just don’t notice it. It seems like a really real benefit that you give them something valuable that they can pay for, and then more and more people just want to be in your tribe. Did you feel that too?
Allie van Fossen: Definitely. And for instance, I have a free challenge called Yoga Body Bootcamp. It’s been around for almost a year. And so, at the end of this year, I’m going to be adding on a paid course to that free one because I see how many people are still engaging in it, months after the free challenge came out. People are cheering each other on and they do it at the beginning of every month as like a reboot*. And so, if you really start paying attention to what people are doing, you have to kind of like put your stalker* pants on – I mean but that’s part of being a business owner, knowing what your customers are doing and wanting and saying. You can see the threads of opportunity and where you can build off something that you already created, and just further the experience. So I think just staying intuitively close to what you’re feeling from your tribe, will lead you in the right direction, almost every time. That’s what we talk about in yoga too, that if intuitively, you’ve come to the mat today and your body is not wanting to do XYZ pose just because you did it yesterday, it means it’s about honoring today and not taking that advance pressure and possibly injuring yourself, or overworking your body in that moment. That’s a huge loss. I had to learn on my mat through a pretty annoying injury that I sustained, that you have to take each day and be really connected and in tune with what’s going on with your body. I operate the same way with my business. So I try to be in tune with what everyone’s feeling and doing.
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah I love that. So we talked a little bit about your communities. From me, like the outside looking in, you are an amazing community creator. Like you said, you’ve grown this Facebook group pretty quickly. You have a YouTube channel that’s growing really quickly as well. You have an Instagram account that’s doing well, a blog that is amazing. How are you attracting all of these people to what you’re doing? How are you growing such an engaged large community of people?
Allie van Fossen: Well, I’m sure you could guess my main traffic source is Pinterest. I started off four years ago. So it was kind of before everyone was preaching the Pinterest thing. Probably the first two years of my Pinterest images are all these mismatching Canva templates, but I’ve now gotten onto a branded bandwagon. I would say the majority of my traffic came from Pinterest and now it’s evened out a little bit with direct and Google hits. Still, Pinterest is this huge traffic driver for me. Every week when the yoga video comes out, there’s a Pinterest image that goes out with it. And so, there’s an opportunity every time for people who are simply scrolling through the Pinterest land, Pinterest Wonderland, to find me and hopefully take an opportunity to get on their mat and practice alongside me too. So that I think is still my main traffic driver, as well as YouTube, because I’m learning the YouTube community is so large. There are so many people who come from YouTube who’ve never visited my website. They’ve only met me on YouTube, whether it was through a recommended video on the side or suggested video at the end of another one. YouTube is another big traffic driver now. So that’s been growing my community as well, and just leveraging every space you’re in. At the beginning of every video, I say come join our tribe, click the link in the description below. So you don’t ever have to go to my website at this point. You go from a YouTube video to my welcome email series. You then probably land in my Facebook group from your first email. And then you might be like oh this girl’s got a website. So it’s interesting how it’s starting to change and unfold with me ramping up the YouTube more than the blogging. I used to blog three times a week, now I just blog once a week in conjunction with the videos. It’s interesting to see how it changes and ebbs and flows.
Melyssa Griffin: I like that you’re saying that because that’s how I see a blog too. It’s not – to me, it’s not the end goal. It’s kind of the foundation to everything else that you want to be doing. So maybe it’s where you post your YouTube videos, but YouTube is the focus, or you post your seven day challenge and get people to sign up for that. The blog is just kind of like the headquarters I guess, for this entire empire that you’re creating. So yeah, that’s awesome that you’re doing that. Just to recap the flow here, it’s YouTube or Pinterest, some kind of search engine. They’re coming to your email list, getting inside of your series, your nurture sequence in the beginning, and then they’re joining your Facebook group and also just on your list for launches and things like that?
Allie van Fossen: Yes. Exactly. I totally agree with what you said. I used to be so focused on my website, and of course I am. It’s like you said, headquarters. It’s the baby, but now my biggest focus is YouTube because it’s how I connect with people in person. You’re practicing with me. I’m sweating with you. I’m breathing heavily into the mic. I’m f**king up my verbiage when I’m trying to tell you how to do a pose. People really feel like they’re in it with me. They’re in my living room and I’m in their living room. So it’s this intimate exchange of energy that I can’t recommend enough if you’re in that kind of world where YouTube would work. It’s super vulnerable for sure. There’s days that I’m having a really bad break out and I don’t want to be on camera or I just feel bloated and don’t want to be in skin tight leggings. I have to remind myself it’s not about me, it’s about the people that I’m serving, and another YouTube video needs to go up because that’s my business model now. I really am enjoying the YouTube world.
Melyssa Griffin: That’s awesome. That’s something I’ve been wanting to get into and you’re inspiring me to actually make the step and do it. It seems like a lot of fun and a great place to form a community with people.
Allie van Fossen: Definitely.
Melyssa Griffin: So you’ve got some cool plans coming up with your husband pretty soon here. Can you tell us a little bit about what’s next for you and what are you dreaming up?
Allie van Fossen: Oh man, we could do a whole podcast on this. About two years ago and what was definitely the motivation for me to get on YouTube and buy your course and take my blog way more seriously as a business, was this dream from Myers*, my husband and I, to buy a sailboat and go sailing. I had been bugging him since I came back from Italy almost five years ago, that we need to quit our jobs and go travel the world. He is in love with his career. He’s a civil engineer. He loves concrete and cranes. He doesn’t want to leave it, except he told me he would leave if we left on a sailboat. We’re both from Florida, were born and raised here. We don’t get seasick. We love scuba diving. I said fine let’s do that then. The next step was well how can we save $200,000 to buy a boat. That’s where the conversation went, like how can we afford that, do we want to pay for it out right. That is what catapulted us into this two years of building our careers. He started putting himself out there and getting bigger and bigger buildings. I started brainstorming the course and working on the YouTube channel. For about a year and a half, me and him were so succinct with working our asses off to get to this phase of saving this money. So it was a two year dream and we didn’t achieve the money until a year and a half in. For a year and a half, it was just manifest sailboat shopping and watching other YouTube sailing channels, and going down to the water to look at sailboats just to stay connected to the dream, because it’s so easy to have a dream. It does require years sometimes, like in our scenario. It would have been so easy to take all that cash and buy an incredible home on the water here in Florida and buy like a 30 or 40-foot boat to take out on the weekends, and live a very normal, traditional, conservative lifestyle. In my gut, I knew that’s not what I wanted and I know that’s not what he wants either, even though he might have needed like a year and a half of coaxing to understand that. So needless to say, we have purchased a sailboat. It’s a 52-foot sailboat, three bedrooms, two bathrooms.
Melyssa Griffin: Wow.
Allie van Fossen: Yeah, it’s a home.
Melyssa Griffin: That’s amazing.
Allie van Fossen: It’s like an RV on the water.
Melyssa Griffin: Yeah, it really is.
Allie van Fossen: I will say I have never sailed, disclaimer.
Melyssa Grififn: Love that.
Allie van Fossen: People who are listening are probably thinking what is this girl getting into, but I’m really up for adventure. Number one, I don’t get seasick which is the most important thing to make sure before you’re living that type of lifestyle. My husband has sailed for an extensive amount of time. So we’re in the clear. We bought a boat and it’s down in Antigua, which is down in the Caribbean. We did quite a bit of sailboat shopping here in Florida. We didn’t find what we wanted and we found the boat online in the Caribbean, and flew there and checked it out. It’s now ours. It’s waiting for us in storage for hurricane season to end. We will be leaving the first week in December.
Melyssa Griffin: Wow. And then what’s the plan from there? Are you going to sail to different places?
Allie van Fossen: The plan is to stay in the Caribbean for about a year and a half. So we’ll sail hopefully the whole damn Caribbean. And then we would like to pass through the Panama Canal and cross the Pacific Ocean, and make it over to French Polynesia, so like Bora Bora and Tahiti and all those beautiful Pacific Islands. I think that’s the big goal. From there, if we’re sick of it, maybe we’ll sell the boat in Australia where there will be a nice exchange rate with another first world country, English speaking, and fly back, or maybe we’ll keep going. I hope we keep going, but I also want a baby and we’re 30. So at some point, we have to start making one of those. So it’s very unknown and uncertain. I was just listening to a Deepak meditation, Deepak Chropa about how we grow in uncertainty. Life so far has been really certain. Yes, being on line is scary, and yes, getting in front of the camera is scary, and yes, creating a course is scary, but this is what I feel life is about. And so, I never set out in Journey Junkie land to be a millionaire. I really only set out so I could quit my cube job and go to travel. And so, I finally feel that the accomplishment has happened and we are now on the path to doing that. So yeah, my husband wants to sail the whole world. That’s a five year minimum. I’m not sure if that’ll happen.
Melyssa Griffin: I’m getting like warm feeling right now, just so inspired by you wanting to live a different life than most people venture to live, and actually making that happen. I love what you were talking about, where you would go look at the sailboats and you would watch sailing videos, and didn’t just have the dream but you kept the dream going throughout those years as you are working your way towards it. So that is so inspiring. I can’t wait to hear about your sailing lifestyle. You’re going to keep doing the yoga business while you sail, is that right?
Allie van Fossen: Yes. That’s the one scary thing I think for both of us is, Myers has done an incredible job at building his career. And so, we will be not receiving his income anymore. While The Journey Junkie has proven to be a fruitful business and we will have a nice amount of savings, it is going to be solely on me to keep the funds rolling. He gets to be the captain and he will return to his role of videographer once we’re sailing. Yeah, we will be filming on probably just different beaches everywhere we go, yoga videos, yeah. I’ll continue to launch the course. I have a few more that I want to prepare and create. I’m just so excited to not know what my day looks like and meet new people and try new food, and really test and challenge what it means to be a human being and how we can adapt to new lifestyles, and take this one moment where I’m young and I’m healthy and my life is so vibrant to go do something that’s so challenging. Because gosh, all I can think about is so many people that are around me that tell me so and so at 65 has cancer, and so and so has passed away, and you wait, I think for this later time in life. My parents couldn’t understand why we were leaving. They said, “Can’t you do this when you retire?” I just said absolutely not. It will be so different at 65 versus 30. Our bodies will be different. We’ll have children by then. Our ability to be okay with really shitty conditions will not be – the threshold will be different in life. So I think that’s the biggest motivator to me, is that when my life comes to an end, I want to look back on it and know that I did it to live life, and not to let life live me. That’s what I tell everyone all the time, is live your journey which is the premise of what I do and what I teach. I hope that I can just translate that through the yoga practice and through my message.
Melyssa Griffin: I love that so much. I completely relate. I was having a conversation with a couple new friends recently. They were talking about their jobs and how their jobs aren’t really fulfilling them, but that they’re okay because when they hit 60, 65, they can retire and do all the things that they wish they could be doing right now. To me, that almost seems backwards. It’s like what if you created your own business, you created your own lifestyle, you could have the life you want for your whole life, not just until the maybe latter portion of it. It’s exactly what you’re saying too. It’s like if you get to have those experiences now, then like you were saying, you take that knowledge and that experience with you through everything else that you do. So it gets to impact how you raise your kids or how you run the rest of your life from a more worldly perspective. So I love that so, so much.
Allie van Fossen: Yeah. Who knows, Myers and I think maybe we’ll raise our kids on the water. People do that and they homeschool them. I think not knowing where my life is going to be is so scary, but so exciting. It gives me butterflies right now. It gives me goosebumps. I’m like sweaty just thinking about how everything I know, is now going to be turned upside down. And so, for those who are listening who have an idea, who have an inspiration, who have a goal, it’s okay if it takes years. Just start one day at a time, map out how you can begin the process to moving forward towards it. I think what we have done in our lives is a pure testament to that. We never thought we could afford to buy a boat out right, and here we have it already in our hands. We will have a really good cushion to leave and feel really safe and nurtured as we sail off into this new life.
Melyssa Griffin: Absolutely. Yeah, that’s beautiful. So just to quickly chat about yoga itself, is something that I’ve done throughout my – not throughout my whole, but for the past few years on and off. It’s brought so much peace and happiness to my life. So I’m curious, why do you think people should try yoga?
Allie van Fossen: Oh man, why should people start yoga? It’s this incredible practice like we were talking about earlier, where you come to the mat and you’re moving through the different postures. Once you get through the awkward stages of where to put your foot and how to engage or activate your muscles, so that might take about one to three months, but after that, it becomes this incredible moving meditation of breath and awareness and shape making. You’re either practicing in a studio or at home alone. Everything becomes fuzzy externally and everything lights up internally. It’s the most profound practice I’ve ever experienced. I came to the yoga mat like many others wanting to lose weight, on a Groupon*, for some unlimited amount of classes at a studio. I left with a monthly membership and have never stopped practicing since. Each time I come to the yoga mat, it’s a different experience, but the experience almost every time is this deep connection with myself. So unlike walking into a spin class or a really busy gym, it’s this moment of clarity where you have to face yourself. Sometimes what happens on the mat is not pretty, but it’s like self-therapy in a sense. Sometimes there is crying and sometimes there is anger. Sometimes there is pure happiness and other times there is absolute confidence. Each time is this small sound bite of a lesson that happens on our mat. Most importantly, I want to let listeners know that what you practice and learn on your mat is what eventually you’ll take off your mat, usually unconsciously but then very consciously. You’ll start having better conversations with your partner or your family member, you’ll start treating your health a lot differently, you’ll start engaging in better relationships and conversations with your friends. It slowly starts to weave its way through your life and make this profound positive impact that you usually have no idea it’s coming for you. That’s what I love about the practice. So it’s physical, it’s mental*, it’s emotional and it’s spiritual. It’s everything you need all in one.
Melyssa Griffin: I don’t know who could listen to that and not want to start yoga. I’m already planning in my head, like when is the next time I could go to a class. Tomorrow, Sunday? Like I need to go to a class soon. That’s amazing. So I’ve one final question for you that I like to ask all of my guests. That is: what do you feel like entrepreneurs or just people in general, could do to live more meaningful, fulfilled lives?
Allie van Fossen: I have to admit, I’ve listened to your podcast, so I was ready for this answer – just a disclaimer. I just re-read Big Magic by Liz Gilbert, and I love that she talks about simply staying curious. I think if we can stay curious to what turns us on and what inspires us and what piques our interests, and we actually then take the next step to do it, we’re going to have these amazing, fulfilled lives of things that we adore and eventually become passionate about. I think oftentimes telling people go find a passion, is really difficult, but if we can just follow the curiosity of what interests us, maybe it’s that you want to try a yoga class and now you have been inspired to go. And then I actually want you to go sign up and go. That might lead to another step to another step, and eventually, a fulfilled life of things that are meaningful to you and give you so much worthiness in this world to own your purpose.
Melyssa Griffin: Absolutely wonderful. Love it. You are such a beautiful force, Allie. Thank you so much for doing this interview.
Allie van Fossen: You are so welcome. Thank you for putting yourself out there and changing mine and my husband’s life.