Pat Bailey is a friend, mentor, and a beautiful free-spririt who has taught me to manifest the hell out of my dreams. I met Pat through the interwebs and attended her free Instagram workshop in San Francisco. This was about 3 years ago: before Girl Gang Craft, before I was really selling my art publicly, and even before my 500 hr Yoga Teacher Training. She taught me the BASICS, and when I mean basics I mean basic hashtags, how to present yourself, plus she told me to archive all my college party pics that I still had on my instagram (which I have yet to do).
Recently we re-connected and she called me into her Hell Yes Life. I participated in the HYL Portal and then the Academy. I built my brand with Pat shouting my name from the sidelines.
Pat is a travel writer, an entrepreneur, and a practicing yogi. She eats, breathes, and sleeps her Hell Yes Life. She is someone who follows her heart, manifests her dreams, and finds herself in places like Paris because that’s where she wanted to be and she made it happen. If it’s not a Hell Yes, than it's a no!
I interviewed Pat to get the inside scoop on her brand and balancing it all to have it all.
How’d you get started with this whole instagram thing?
I literally created my Instagram account when Instagram started because my sisters told me about it and it looked like a really cool way to share things with them, and in general. My @patbailey account began when Instagram began, nearly 7 years ago and it started as a “moment sharing” account where I shared my #ootd and lattes and every day things…it was a creative outlet for me and I used it in a way that it was originally intended to be used, to share everyday things with people I love. This start evolved into what it is now, but the start was simple with a simple intention to share what I love.
What was the catalyst for you to be really being SEEN on the platform?
I think people who do well on Instagram don’t necessarily have the original intention to be “seen,” I think we are all being authentic with our stories and creating compelling content and this creates a collection or story that a community is interested in and then this community grows…everything else evolves out of this I believe. This is what happened with me. My original content changed when I found my yoga practice again and I started sharing this practice on Instagram daily, then I had a big heartbreak happen in my life and I started writing poetry and I shared my story and used the Instagram space as a creative outlet to heal. In addition to this I started sharing my cycling in the space and combining all of these things. While I was doing all of this, which was really authentically me and my story with no solid intention to be “seen,” more and more people started to see me and engage with my story and my community started to grow. During this time Instagram put me on their “Suggested Users” list in 2015 and Bicycling Magazine featured me in an issue for cycling and yoga and this was certainly a pivotal time for my story, content and account to be “seen."
What is the biggest thing you’ve ever manifested?
I love this question, I manifest big things every single day. Probably the biggest thing that I’ve manifested is my Hell Yes Life. Every single day I live a life on my terms doing things that I love. I’ve designed this life to do work that I have created (my own brand and academy), that I know for certain is my purpose. I do creative things my heart loves (luxury travel writing, poetry, content creating) and I have designed this life to do these things and this work from anywhere in the world, because I am open to it being “anywhere” I have manifested living in my dream city of Paris currently which is where I am living, working, and creating.
What is your advice for those that want to follow their hearts but also pay the bills?
I don’t see these two things as separate things. My official answer to this question would be that if you feel like “following your heart” and “paying the bills” is two separate things, or independent from each other or not connected, related or possible, then that will be your reality. Instead I choose to think, say and believe: “I follow my heart which creates opportunities and abundance for me to pay my bills,” and this is my reality.
Can you give our GGC readers an insight scoop on the traveler influencer thing? How do you get to sooo many fabulous places? Is it on your dime? How do you make it work?
I would love, love, love to share every detail with your group and anyone reading this - none of it is exclusive or a big secret and everyone reading this can have access to and create this opportunity and reality. There isn’t one way to do it but what I do believe and know is that the “traveler influencer thing” is based on currency, just like other types of work. In my case the currency is trade: I travel to places that host me in exchange for sharing the experience. In order for this trade to be perfect and effective both parties must have something the other one wants/needs. The properties have the story and experience that I would like, and I have the audience, skill and creativity to share their story and the experience. It is a win-win. So, the first bit of insight is that you must have something of value that travel partners need or want. Can you write? Do you have an audience that loves what you do and is influenced by it? Are you a photographer or creative that can create beautiful content for them? Most travel influencers have one of these or several of these skills and they offer them in exchange (or for pay) to travel partners. We are writers, content creators, photographer, videographers, ambassadors, models, etc.
I decided last year that I wanted to add travel writing to my life and creative projects, I had been traveling on my own up until this time and I published my poetry book and I love to write and tell stories and share my travels. I also had a solid community on Instagram. At this point my “currency” that I could pitch to travel partners was: content creation, sharing on social and writing…but I didn’t have a single travel writing piece. I could have started my own travel writing blog which many people do, but I realized that if I wrote for an established blog that I loved that this would be better leverage for me (and I honestly did not want to focus my time and energy on a new travel blog) - so that is what I did. I was introduced to my current editor by a friend, and I write for The Fit Traveller. Now when I pitch a travel brand or partner I can say that I have influence (nearly 100K Followers on Instagram), I can create beautiful content (I’ve been successfully doing this for years, and that I am a luxury travel writer with a portfolio of writing (my page of content can be found here on The Fit Traveller: https://thefittraveller.com/author/pat-bailey/); this is a compelling pitch for my brand partners to host me in exchange for this exposure and sharing and we both win.
Last year many of the trips I planned were on my dime, I traveled to the properties and they hosted me. This was my investment in my new idea while I was building my portfolio and proving my talent and skills. I traveled on my own to places like Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Italy, Corsica, France…and I built my portfolio along the way. At the end of last year I was invited on my first Press Trip which was my first travel writing experience that was fully paid, and since then into this year I have been invited on many trips hosted by travel partners, properties, agencies and tourism boards that are fully hosted. It is indeed a dream job, and it is something I feel is well-deserved because I put in the work and time and investment in myself to do this - I also take the work and opportunities very seriously and I’m incredibly grateful and I know this shows in my work every single day.
I think the biggest misconception is that being a travel influencer or travel writer is easy and pays well/is fully sustainable. No matter what it looks like, it is not easy, it is work. The best influencers and writer make it look easy as they are sharing the work, but behind the scenes it is a lot of work capturing content, sharing in real time, managing travel, keeping up with the itinerary, writing, etc. And, rarely are influencers and writers fully sustaining themselves on being a travel influencer or writing alone - most of us have additional forms of income that off-set the travel we must pay for on our own, additional expenses, and everyday life expenses. Many of us have additional brands, work other jobs in addition to the travel, up-sell additional content, etc. to travel partners, etc.
Does your heart belong to a specific place?
This is a popular question that many ask people who travel a lot and it is also the hardest question for me to answer - I love so many places! What I can tell you is that I let my heart decide on a place right away and I hear my heart clearly and quickly when I land in a new place. I know almost instantly if a place feels good in my heart or feels like a “heart place.” Some of my favorite heart places are: Paris, Thailand and Bali, Italy and Greece, Nicaragua, and newly Cook Islands. To choose one of these wouldn’t be possible…but I’ve currently chosen Paris which is speaking to my heart the loudest these days.
What is your favorite thing about traveling?
This is another hard question! Traveling is addictive, the more you travel the more you want to travel…and now when I’m not traveling it feels strange and I get the itch to move or go. I love traveling because it exposes me to the world: people, cultures, beliefs, food...and each new experience teaches me something about the world and myself. I love the empowerment it has given me, I travel mostly by myself and this is a beautifully liberating and powerful feeling. I love how light I’ve gotten and how traveling more and more each year has taught me to really focus on what matters, instead of material things I focus on experiences. I love exploring brand-new places and feeling anonymous. But mostly, the more I travel the more I realize that we are all so much more alike than we are different, this has been a really beautiful realization as I experience people and places all over the world.
What is your favorite thing about instagram?
My favorite thing about Instagram is how small it has made the world, partly by the intention for this to be true that I place on the app, my vibration with it and the energy I attach to it, and partly by design of the platform. What was once not accessible is literally at our fingertips, people who we may not have ever connected with are magically our new friend, connections, etc. I have experienced so much magic over the seven years I have been on Instagram. Magic in experience, magic in abundance, magic in connection, magic in having a space where I can create my own mini universe and glean all kinds of intentional things from it!
What do you think are the components to making a good photo?
First and foremost a good photo is one that you LOVE, it is a HELL YES for you. You love everything about it. Great content tells a story, it invites the viewer in, it is edited well, styled beautifully and shows thought and creativity.
Any advice on how to stay grounded when running your own business?
Staying grounded in life is important in general. I stay grounded by focusing on ritual, discipline and routines that keep me in my heart, connected to spirit and to myself. Grounded means connected to myself, to what matters to me. I stay grounded by meditating, by connecting to my faith, by listening to myself, and by focusing on following my heart and intuition. All of these things are helpful when you add anything into the mix, including running your own business. Taking care of yourself first, everything is integrated, means everything else is easier to manage beyond this.
What is the Hell Yes Academy?
The Hell Yes Academy is a 12-week program in three parts: creation, management and elevation that began as a program to help people with their brands, and it has evolved to be a space for people to shift and evolve in life as well as with what they are creating. I bring all of the parts of me: teacher, guide, healer, yogi, entrepreneur into the program’s content and I create and hold space for the students I have the honor of guiding to feel fully seen and supported as they learn how to create in their life, manage themselves, their brand and their lives, and elevate themselves, and their brands. The program is an intimate one, 7-10 students participate each quarter, group classes happen online and students come together from all over the world. Each student has a Mentor who is a graduate of the program and every single student has unlimited access to me and weekly one-on-one calls. The program is a holistic approach to branding and business with beautiful integration of intentional living and mindful work. Students are working on their passion projects, their dharma, their heart work and it is my biggest honor in life to do this heart work of mine and witness their evolution and shifts in this sacred space. The Academy will be 2 years old on January 1st and it currently has 41 graduates of the program. I will take the Academy public for it’s 2nd birthday and also launch a Passport concept which will bring all of us together in real life in the coming months. It has become more than a program, it is community…family, and something I am really proud of.
What is your favorite thing about helping other ladies trying to start their own businesses?
My very favorite thing about helping women is a deep knowing that I am doing what I am here to do, and feeling fully appreciated and seen for doing this work. Nothing feels better than this. This is selfless work and it feels incredible to be the catalyst for someone, anyone, to make a shift, evolve, create something they love, live a bigger/happier life, feel better…etc. I feel so grateful to be able to do this in my life, and to be able to serve in this way.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in this lifetime of entrepreneurship?
I’ve learned so many lessons as an entrepreneur! But the biggest thing I’ve learned in my lifetime is that who you are as a person and the work you put into this has everything to do with what you create in your life. The lesson is to work on yourself to create the foundation for your life in every way: personally and for business. And, I’ve learned the power of intention; intention is everything.
Any advice for our readers on how to stay positive?
Staying positive is a choice, just like anything else. I know sometimes staying positive seems beyond our control and certainly we all experience extenuating circumstances that challenge this, but ultimately even when things are beyond our control we have a choice in that moment for how we respond, or our outlook. Choose to be happy, choose to be positive, choose to look at sadness, difficulty, challenges as a great teacher or contrast for you. We are as positive as we choose to be, as happy as we choose to be. If you don’t believe me, next time you aren’t feeling super positive, smile. Just try it. It is impossible not to start feeling more positive instantly if you are smiling…see? We have the power to instantly choose to change how we feel.
Find out more about Pat Bailey and her Hell Yes Life :