This guest post is by Beer Now 2020 speakers April and Ken from Living a Stout Life.
“Beer isn’t just about the beer. It’s about the people you meet along the way.”
People ask us all the time how we make a living while traveling. Are you retired? Uh, no! Do we look old enough to be retired? Careful how you answer that.
Are you rich? Do we look like we’re rolling in money? Have you seen our rig? It is actually only 24 feet, but those 24 feet have taken us all over the country and even into Mexico. Those 24 feet are home.
In all honesty, home is Colorado. Currently, with around 400 craft breweries in the state, you now have a glimpse into how we started liking beer. According to the Brewer’s Association, in 2018 Colorado was ranked 4th in breweries per capita and second only to California in actual breweries. That combined with 15 breweries now located right around five miles from our previous suburban home in Englewood…it was quite easy to fall in love with beer.
Although years ago when we first hit drinking age, we didn’t like beer. I suppose that could have been that back in those olden days of the early 90’s there were just under 300 breweries (as compared to the 8,000 today) in the U.S., let alone only 11 in Colorado.
However, it was adventure that brought on our beer love. Snowboarding to be exact. Not ready to head east to Denver at the end of a ride day, we would hang out at the slopeside bars excited to share our adventures with like-minded people. This is where beer became our love.
Memories of Lefthand Nitro Milk Stout at Copper Mountain, Black Butte Porter at Breck, and 1554 at ABasin are held firmly and fondly within our hearts even as we travel today. And there’s no doubt in my mind that as our adventures have transitioned to a different type of riding – mountain biking – memories of new craft beers will arise.
Lighter beers now such as pilsners and lagers are making their way into our palates, or more than likely whatever local brews are being made right outside our door where we have spent parked for the last week enjoying the local trails.
From these forays into snowboarding and biking and beer pairings comes a pairing of a different sort. Beer pairs very well with conversations and travel.
Which brings us back to the original question: How do you make a living while traveling?
We took our passion for beer, travel, and biking, and turned it into a blog. We started an Instagram and a Facebook page. We then started interviewing brewers and others living a Stout Life and created a YouTube channel as a medium to share those videos. We wrote a Craft Beer Adventure Journal. We added a “Work With Us” page to our website. We pitched stories for freelance writing. We got a few gigs. We got excited. We started a podcast (live in early April). We pitch, write, photograph, record, create, drink, ride, work, play, and travel, all so that others may learn how to create a lifestyle around their passions.
And now, we are presenting to you. Craft beer is a beautiful thing on its own but paired with travel and adventure, it’s even better.
From our misadventures in building an online business, we have learned three key points:
One – Don’t be stingy!
Creating content only around beer limits you. We’ve always said that beer isn’t just about the beer; it’s more about the people you meet along the way. Those are the stories we tell, the ones about the people, the places, and the adventures, all around a good beer. Keeping that in mind, pitch your knowledge to a variety of markets. Think outside the typical beer crowd.
Two – Sell yourself!
You created this lifestyle; you better consider yourself an expert or nobody else will either. Commit to believing in what you are doing and create materials around that belief. Those materials can be anything that demonstrates your expertise, from something as standard as business cards to something as fancy as media kits to everything in between including an online presence to in-person meetings.
Three – Be consistent!
You won’t be able to do anything with the other two points if you haven’t built credibility. Great! You love beer. Millions of other people do, too. You’ve visited hundreds (if not thousands of breweries). In fact, you’re kind of an expert on the subject. Others are, too. Search “craft beer” on Google and you get 583 million results. Search “craft beer and travel” and you get 200 million results. Search craft beer and mountain biking and you get 19.8 million results. Notice how the numbers decrease as you niche down. Notice, too, that they are still ridiculously high. Everyone out there has great ideas, but your great ideas can get you places if you demonstrate that you are committed. Send out weekly newsletters, stay in touch with your audience, update your social media and websites on a regular basis. If you want people to pay attention to you, you need to pay attention to them.
Bonus Point – Be patient!
This lifestyle doesn’t come easy. Creating something of value takes time and nurturing. So nurture your business as though you are nurturing your favorite craft beer. Sit at the bar, say hi to a stranger, invite conversation, build relationships. Be patient.
You see now that we have made the commitment to living and traveling in a very small RV, we aren’t limited to the slopeside bars, we are only limited by where we decide to go.
Learn more about Ken and April at LivingaStoutLife.com
Stout – bold, brave, dauntless, valiant, gallant, fearless, courageous, full, strong of body, hearty, substantial