Making It Happen – Amy Clover

amy-01This week’s update is the first in a series of interviews with friends of The Hundred Dollar Club who are doing great things.

We focus on how they got started, what keeps them going and try to understand a little bit of their story along the way.

First up is fellow WDS attendee speaker, blogger, personal trainer and general all round awesome person, Amy Clover, of Strong Inside Out.

Questions are yours truly, Rob Young, answers are all Amy.

Here we go:

 

Rob: Hi Amy, thanks for agreeing to be our first guest interviewee on THDC. Can we start with a bit of background? We know you as a fitness blogger, but I’m guessing it hasn’t always been that way – What were you doing before, and what prompted you to get started blogging?

Amy: I started Strong Inside Out 2 years ago, and have been a fitness trainer for the last 5. Before that, I was an actress in Los Angeles, forcing myself down a path that I knew was making me miserable, all because I thought that’s what I’d always wanted. Discovering fitness and how much I enjoyed really helping people become who they’ve always wanted to be drove me to quit acting and focus solely on fitness. I’ve never looked back.

Starting out with your blog, when you were faced with that “welcome to wordpress, this is your fist post” greeting, an empty blog and no subscribers what pushed you to start and then keep going

I began with a blog on wordpress.com, just writing general fitness posts that you’ll find everywhere and anywhere. I had no USP, but my posts were kinda funny I guess, so I had that going for me. It wasn’t until the first World Domination Summit that I realized my story needed to be told.

Did you have a “big break”? Was there one event that pushed your blog to the next level? A share from an A list blogger, a particular guest post, appearing on the front page of digg?

I met Steve Kamb, blogger at Nerd Fitness, at that first WDS, and he helped me launch my own blog with my own domain. He definitely helped me along in the beginning, and has been an inspiration and mentor ever since.

When I launched the indiegogo campaign for The 30×30 Project, so many people helped me who have extraordinary klout in the blogging world. Chris Brogan was one of the main promoters of 30×30 when it went live; he even did an interview with me on my site to get that last little bit. Pat Flynn jumped in as an angel investor at the very end of the campaign, making up for the $4,000 we were short. Antonio Centeno reached out at the very beginning to fund the Strong Inside Out Workout Video Series so that I could include them as perks for the campaign. Steve Kamb, Corbett Barr, Scott Dinsmore, John Lee Dumas, Peter Clemens and Srini Rao were amongst some of my amazing supporters who got me up on their blogs and/or podcasts to spread the word.

Botttom line: I couldn’t have done this without all the support of people in high places whom I now call my friends. I don’t think I’ve ever had a “big break” because I think I just worked really hard on building those friendships, and creating a movement that people would want to be a part of.

If you’re willing to share some of the financial side of your business, what does it all add up to – are you riding around in a private jet from having a successful blog, or is it more like the starving artist stereotype?

Here’s the funny thing: after being a starving artist for such a large part of my life, I simply refuse to go back to that ever again.

I own my own personal training business out here in LA while running Strong Inside Out, and I also hustle with quarterly Strengthen from The Inside Out Intensives online. I am planning to take more of my business virtual over the next few months, so I’m opening up my doors to online fitness training again as well as working on some product ideas.

I am not at the point where any income online is passive. I hustle. I don’t feel comfortable going into the exact numbers on my tax forms, but I’ll just tell you: I’m not starving. ;)

30x30

You started the 30×30 project this year – what pushed you to do that? What made you want to create something from nothing?

After the 2nd WDS, I left feeling drained and honestly, inadequate. I was surrounded by a thousand people who were leading extraordinary lives while I sat and waited for someone to give me permission to shine.

I realized that, if I kept waiting for permission, I’d never live the extraordinary life I wanted. I wanted to help people in an awesome way that would create an impact… that would start a movement.

I’d had big dreams of creating a movement ever since I first shared my story on Strong Inside Out.

When I was younger, I struggled with clinical depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. I refused to talk about it for fear of judgement, so I kept it inside until it festered into an undeniable darkness that pervaded my every thought.

In 2005, I didn’t see the point in fighting through the pain any more. I decided to take my own life.

Luckily, I was stopped, and after being admitted to a suicide watch program, I decided things had to change. I could no longer wait for someone to be happy for me. After years of therapy and medications, I found that the most effective form of mindset re-framing was the combination of counselling and work outs. Working out made me feel stronger, inside and out, and that strength bled into my ability to handle everyday stresses.

Having been through my own dark times, the cause that’s really close to my heart is suicide prevention in teens and young adults. To Write Love On Her Arms is unparalleled in their ability to speak directly to the kid who’s struggling in the darkness. They are the hope-providing charity I wish had existed when I wanted to take my own life.

I knew I wanted to help them, so I asked myself: what can I do with my skillset to help the cause that means so much to me, while making the biggest bang possible?

And this is what I came up with: In order to celebrate the 30th birthday I almost didn’t have, I would teach 30 donation-based bootcamps in 30 different cities across North America to benefit To Write Love On Her Arms.

My whole story is based around the idea of making something from nothing, because years ago, I truly felt like nothing. We just finished up the 30th city in coordination with this year’s WDS in Portland, Oregon, and I’m already planning for next year’s Strong Inside Out Tour. If I can do this, imagine what all of those kids out there, struggling to feel worthy of being on this earth have to offer us!

Tell us some of the highs and lows of your 30×30 story – maybe the biggest high or lowest low.

The lowest part of the tour was probably the breakdown I had in front of my fiancé in Montreal. I was so tired, and had just arrived from a city that had the worst turnout along the whole tour route, and I just didn’t want to be around anyone. I broke down in exhaustion and confusion, not knowing why I was feeling the way I was. Luckily, I have the best fiancé ever. Rick brought me back up, got me to look at the facts and to talk it out so I could take the few days I had off before the next bootcamp to simply rest. A few days later, just in time for the Montreal bootcamp, I was all good to go.

The biggest high along my 30×30 Tour was the final bootcamp in Portland. Many WDSers were the ones who helped the indiegogo campaign go viral and got the word out for tour stops. Being able to teach many of them in the same space with my friends (Steve Kamb, Rog Law, and Joel Runyon) stepping in as special guest instructors, I was filled with so much love I almost couldn’t handle it. I taught the class on the verge of blissful tears the whole time.

Do you ever have times when you doubt yourself, or wonder why you’re bothering? How do you push through those troughs where you might want to give up.

I often doubt myself. I’m one of the most indecisive people ever!

When I start doubting that I’m on the right path, I take a look at my overall goals. I know that I want to revolutionize the way people look at fitness and mental health, and bring those together as a whole entity, rather than keep them separate. If my decision is pointing me toward that goal, I release doubt with a deep breath. If it isn’t, or is causing me more worry and stress than good feelings and excited fear, I drop it.

If you’re aiming to overcome doubt, map out your short term and long term goals. Does the choice you’re about to make align with one or both? If not, JUST SAY NO!

You get a lot of posts up on your blog, and they’re always in depth. Do you have a regular daily or weekly routine that helps you be productive and keep creating?

Since I launched Strong Inside Out, I’ve devoted myself to a twice-weekly schedule with only a few exceptions over the last two years.

To be honest, I don’t have a regular routine. I know that I have to carve out time to be completely alone in order to do my best work, and that I need at least 3 hours to write a blog post that’s worthy of posting (it’s usually more like 5 hours), but those are my only requirements when it comes to creation. I try to keep it as loose as possible so I keep my anxiety at a minimum.

Talk to us about out the impact that being healthier has on your creativity and productivity.

I am at my most creative when I have either worked out, or while I’m working out. Some of my best ideas come in yoga or on a run! I find that getting those endorphins flowing also gets my inspiration going.

On that same note, when I’m eating clean, I find it’s easier to focus and think more deeply, which comes in handy if I’m writing an analytical post.

Sleep is a priority of mine: I aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night, otherwise I’m worthless as a writer and a trainer.

If you could get us to do one thing to improve our health, what would it be?

Just go DO something. Anything. Get outside and walk. Run. Swim. Dance. Whatever it is, our bodies are meant to MOVE. If you stay physically sedentary, your mind will follow suit. They’re connected, remember? ;)

What’s the best thing that’s happened to you as a result of taking the initiative and doing something that might not have worked? The 30×30 project looked like it might have been scary to start, but seems to have opened up all kinds of opportunities?

My confidence has sky-rocketed since 30×30 took off. After raising the money, teaching in front of hundreds of people I didn’t know, and completing all 30 cities, my world has completely shifted. A large part of that shift is the knowledge that I have found my calling in this work.

If we’re talking about more tangible benefits from creating 30×30, I’d say the actual tour itself was the paramount prize for having done all this work. Being able to travel across the US and Canada, meeting hundreds of supportive people who wanted to help me further this movement, was life-changing. I’ve realized that this is my life now; this can’t be the end of this movement.

Do you have one bit of advice for anyone starting out on a new project?

  1. Do your research, but have a deadline so you don’t come down with analysis paralysis.
  2. Don’t wait for someone to give you permission to create.
  3. This is your gift to the world. Share it without apology.
  4. Just start.

Thank you so much for sharing so much Amy! So, our turn now: Do you have a project that you’re working on right now – can we help you with it?

Right now, I’m developing plans for next year’s tour, but I’m going down the route of sponsorships and partnerships to make it happen. If anyone is interested in sponsoring the tour on a local or international level, I encourage you to please reach out by clicking here. I will also be working with local partners in each city to schedule tour locations, market locally, and help with the event. Want to partner up with me? Click here to let me know!

I’m always updating Strong Inside Out with the latest on tour updates, programs and happenings, so please do come join our supportive community of mind/body health nuts! When you subscribe, you’ll get a free copy of Restart Your Life, my 45-page ebook of Strong Inside Out’s most popular posts in one, pretty, downloadable package!

Thank you so much Amy!

Amy’s story is fantastic. (If you had any doubts about that, check out this video) There’s so much to take away from it and for me a few of her points hit right at the heart of what THDC is all about:

  • Successful people haven’t been doing this stuff forever – this was built up in the last two years.
  • Relationships are key to success – working hard on those is really important, and whatever you’re working on you need to build your support team.
  • Everyone feels inadequate sometimes – even people who are successful. Wherever you’re at right now,  your future can be different.
  • Permission is for other people. You have to take your opportunity, no one will give it to you.
  • “Just do something. Anything.” “Just Start”. Enough said.

If you’re looking for this weeks practical exercises they’re inspired by the team of folks who helped Amy’s 30×30 project along:

1 – Who would your ideal team of supporters be?

Go wild, list out anyone who you think could help you.

2 – Pick the top one or two of those people and reach out to them.

Don’t ask them for anything, but let them know why you admire them, or how you like their latest project, or generally say something nice to them. You might be surprised how they respond, and where that relationship might lead. Even if they don’t respond, so what? You’ve lost nothing, an something great might come of it.

Thanks again to Amy for giving so generously here. I highly recommend getting more Strong Inside Out in your life – Click here to subscribe to it.

Want more THDC? Sign up and get our 8 Steps and Stories eBook for Free


  • http://www.communicationsrebel.com/ Nina Grenningloh Reyes

    Thanks for featuring Amy Clover and her inspirational story on THDC! I saw Amy share her story at WDS 2013 but this in depth interview gives an even better insight into Amy’s story and her mission. Thanks Amy for sharing your story and for NOT giving up! Your an inspiration to me!

    • Amy Clover

      Nina, thank you so much for the very kind words! They’re fuel to my fire. :)

    • Rob Young

      Thank you for taking the time to comment Nina. I agree Amy’s an inspiration. I hope she spurs you on to do great things

  • Karen Marston

    Good shit, you guys! Super inspirational story, Amy. Thanks for sharing.

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  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    WOW, great article and thank you for the kind mention…I am honored!