Amy Clover – Creator of 30×30 Project

[quote style=”boxed”]I don’t wait for permission to bring my ideas to life. I ask myself what actions need to be taken, and then I do them.[/quote]

Amy Clover hasn’t always been a bubbly fitness trainer interested in changing lives. In high school, Amy was diagnosed with clinical depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. Too afraid of judgment to reach out for help, Amy kept her pain inside, trying to self-medicate with alcohol, drugs, toxic relationships and other unhealthy habits until it came to a breaking point in her early twenties; she decided to end it.

Thankfully she was stopped and admitted into an inpatient program where she started to realize all the blessings and freedom she had been taking for granted. She decided to rebel against the life sentence of depression that she was given and start creating the life she wanted, on her own terms.

Over the next few years, she succeeded by blending fitness with positive action, and now she helps others do the same through her blog, Strong Inside Out.

Her project this year is one of epic proportions:

To celebrate the 30th birthday Amy almost didn’t have, she’ll be touring across North America teaching 30 donation-based bootcamps in 30 different cities to benefit a nonprofit that provides support for those who struggle with depression, self-injury, substance abuse and suicide (To Write Love On Her Arms).

The IndieGoGo campaign has been featured on the home page, and has also been IndieGoGo’s Campaign of the Day. The campaign ended on February 8th, and the tour begins in March.

What are you working on right now?

Now that The 30×30 Project is fully funded, I am working on getting ready for the tour and training for my workout video. I am focusing on the hope movement and amplifying it as much as I can through the tour and my site, Strong Inside Out.

Where did the idea for The 30×30 Project come from?

I had this feeling of insignificance or helplessness after coming away from Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit in 2012. I knew I wanted to spread this message of hope, and it needed to be on a grander scale than Strong Inside Out was at the time.

I asked myself: “How can I combine my message with my skill set to create an epic movement?”

Knowing fitness training inside and out, and having taught bootcamps before, I decided I would do it to benefit the charity I wish I’d known about when I was struggling. I reached out to TWLOHA and they jumped on board, then started reaching out to fellow bloggers who I thought could help me get the message out to the world.

When I envisioned this idea, it was more of a movement than a tour, and it has definitely become one with the help of social media and people who have gotten behind the message.

How do you make money?

I work with a nonprofit, but I myself am not a nonprofit. I decided to use crowdfunding to raise the money I’ll need to cover expenses on the tour, and it worked out quite well. We raised a large part of funds for the tour on as well as from investors. The cool thing was that I didn’t pitch them; they just believed in the movement and wanted to help.
I still own my personal training business, in which I have a full roster of 15 clients working out 2 or 3 times a week. I will be taking a 3-month sabbatical to conduct this tour, but all of my clients are completely supportive.
I am open to the idea of sponsorships, but I don’t want to cheapen the message of this movement, so I’m quite picky as to who I’ll collaborate with in that regard.

What does your typical day look like?

Right now, my day is chock full of interviews, writing for Strong Inside Out, social media management and personal training clients. I don’t have a set schedule because every day I have a different load of clients.

I usually start my morning off by checking email; I know some people prefer to wait a bit before diving in, but I wake up ready! I filter the non-urgent emails into a folder to respond to later, and start getting back to the more pressing ones.

I have to include a workout in my day, as I’ve found that when I don’t, I’ll get anxious, more easily stressed and less productive and creative. I usually work out for 30 minutes to an hour with whatever I feel like that day: yoga, running or strength training. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of prep for my bootcamps and workout video, so I’ve been rehearsing my moves while trying to talk: that’s a no-joke workout right there!

As busy as I am during the day, I always try to turn my laptop off by 9 so that I can get to sleep by 10:30 or so. If I don’t, I find I’m restless at night or I have a hard time falling asleep.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I don’t wait for permission to bring my ideas to life. I ask myself what actions need to be taken, and then I do them.

Every person who is living life on their own terms has to take action by definition. Those of us who sit around waiting for it to happen to us, will probably be waiting for a long time.

I also use fear as a sign that I’m going down the right path. If I start thinking about an action to take, and I feel fear and excitement at the same time, it means I’m heading in the direction I need to be heading. Fear is a sign that I’m reaching outside of my comfort zone. I’ve pretty much been living there for the past 6 months.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I just discovered the Vine – Make A Scene app for iphone and I’ve been playing with it quite a bit. It’s like instagram but you can tell a story more easily with short video.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

The worst job I ever had was at a hookah bar when I first moved to LA. I literally worked there for a month. It was smokey, people were rude, we shared tips with the managers, it was just all kinds of wrong.

What really bothered me, however, was being treated like I was less-than those who were buying food. I think every person should experience waiting tables; it will inject some humility into all of us.

I learned a lot from my experience in the service industry, mainly how to present a sales pitch without coming across pushy or too salesy. When I would upsell menu items at a restaurant, I had to keep in mind that what I was selling was something these people would really want to eat, instead of thinking that I was trying to push it on them. Now, when I sell personal training or pitch my project to people, I remind myself of how I can help them. I can change this person’s life. That’s what I’m selling.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Nothing. Every piece of my life added up to this moment and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

If I were to advise someone else who was going down a similar path, I would tell them: do not compromise yourself for someone else. Whether that be in a career, in a relationship or in a social circle. The people who don’t dig you for you aren’t worth your time. Your tribe is out there; you just have to spend the time to find it.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I recommend above all else taking action and kicking procrastination of the big things to the curb. The only way you’re going to get anywhere with your goals is by doing something about them. What are you waiting for?

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I like to think of failures as “lessons.” Nothing teaches you quite like that feeling of failure.

I launched Strong Inside Out coaching last year to a smaller audience at a pretty high pricepoint. Though I charge the same rate or more here in LA for personal training, online doesn’t translate quite the same way.

My landing page had no images, and none of my personality (which is what I’ve built Strong Inside Out on). It didn’t do nearly as well as I thought it would. I closed down the page because I was frankly a bit embarrassed of it.

I realized in the end that my heart wasn’t really behind it, which is why the copy wasn’t great and I “just didn’t get around to” adding images and video. From that experience, I decided to only commit to those things I could fully get behind.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Please, someone make a dessert delivery service! There needs to be a truck that answers house calls at night, that’s stocked with all kinds of delicious desserts. Trucks could be franchised and opened in all the major cities; you could even develop mobile carts that patrol certain areas of the city.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

I would change the stigma around depression. So many people suffer in silence every day because people who are depressed are made out to be “weak-minded” or negative nancies. What these people need is knowledgeable support and encouragement, not criticism and judgment.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I worked at Disneyland as someone you probably know pretty well. That is all. 😉

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

Facebook – of course, right? Strong Inside Out is community-based, so Facebook is the perfect platform for me to keep engagement up and to expand my community. The 30×30 Project has done amazingly well because of shares and such all over social media, but especially on Facebook.

MailChimp – Thank God for a service that makes my email updates look pretty without very much work. I love the fact that MailChimp doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously (thanks to the bits of humor spattered throughout the site) and they’re very responsive when it comes to customer support.

Google Docs – I keep everything right on my Google drive so I can check it whenever and wherever. It’s so much more efficient than word, and I can create documents, spreadsheets, even surveys through it very easily, then share it with collaborators rather than copy-and-pasting or attaching documents to emails.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Spark: The Revolutionary Science of Exercise and The Brain by Dr. John J Ratey enlightened me as to why finding fitness was the tipping point in the recreation of my outlook on life. It explains how aerobic exercise can help you take on new habits, and even grown new brain cells, as well as overcome depression, stress, anxiety, ADHD and a host of other disorders. Definitely one to check out for those of you who are interested in the ties between physical and mental health.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

@ChrisBrogan – constant updates of useful (or hilarious) information. He’s also quite responsive; it’s highly likely that you’ll have a conversation with him if you reach out.

@Greatist – ok, ok, so I’m biased because I’m a Greatist ambassador, but Greatist is a great source of health and fitness information.

@DanielleLaPorte –s imple, beautiful thoughts from this beacon of empowerment make my heart burn a little brighter with passion.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

Last night I went to a meetup with bloggers and I laughed out loud quite a few times. The one I remember most was when I took a step back and tried to view our heated conversation about spotlight and hot corners from the eyes of someone outside the blogoshpere. I thought, “This is exactly what people think we would be talking about while pushing our taped glasses up the bridges of our noses.” I started laughing to myself; my friends didn’t know what was wrong with me.

Who is your hero?

Every person who has taken action to overcome something that they were told they couldn’t is my hero. Even if they didn’t succeed.

What words of advice would you give to someone who is about to run a crowdfunding campaign?

Read Seth Godin’s posts on crowdfunding, as well as the individual site’s tutorials and tips. Kickstarter is quite different from IndieGoGo in many respects.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If it’s a project that would help others or is very unique, people are bound to get behind it. The worst you could hear is “no,” and the best you could get is thousands of dollars…

Your site is more personal than most out there in that your life story is your about page. What prompted you to share such a personal story?

I was looking for a USP when I started my fitness blog. I didn’t know what was going to set me apart from all the other fitness blogs out there.

I was talking to a good friend of mine who runs a successful blog, and he said, “You have to tell your story. This is what people are going to return to your site for.”

Though he didn’t know my full history at the time (nobody did), something clicked. I had been hiding for so long, trying to be like everyone else. I started to think of the people I could help by shedding some light onto my dark past.

It was the best decision I ever made.


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