Watch Us On The TV Show “House Hunters International” June (Progress Report #2 May 2012)

Househunters International

Recap: This is my second progress report where I share with you how I’m making progress on my goal of creating a location independent business from scratch.  Remember, we’re putting it all on the line and living on our savings and some passive income while we invest in ourselves, our kids, our family and try to create a business that will support our lifestyle while also spending a year in the south of France. Plus my husband is writing his first novel. You can read about it and watch the video I made on the subject by clicking here.

I hope that by sharing with you my progress you will not only learn from my successes and failures but also get motivated to pursue your own dreams no matter how big or small.


 My progress this month towards my goals.

2 things happened this month that pushed me a wee bit closer to making my location independent business dream a reality. I clarified my brand and I’m going to be on T.V.  Before I get into the details about the t.v. show let me first tell you about why and what i did to my brand.

1- Made my brand and my services more clear.

I read somewhere that when a person comes to your site, in addition to having relevant helpful information, you have to make a good first impression and you only have a few seconds to do that.

One of the gazillion ways you do that is through your header. (The image at the top of your website). The header often has to do double duty. It not only has to be visually appealing but it has to tell your readers what they are gonna get by visiting your site at a glance.  A picture really is worth a thousand words.

 Old Banner:

Old banner before changes

I thought my old banner (the one above), was ok visually speaking but I felt like there was a disconnect with what i am trying to do and what message i am giving with my banner. In other words, I didn’t  feel like it gave the reader a clear vision of what the site and what I was all about or how I was going to help them. It was too vague so I niched it down and made some visual modifications.

New Banner

New updated banner with changes

I went to the drawing board and came up with about 5 new header mock ups and finally settled on the one you see above. It took me about 8 hours to make it. I know it seems like a long time but it’s not as easy as it looks.

What Changed and Why I made them.

banner-changes rebranding website with updated header

 

indiana_jones_and_the_last_crusade

Font: The first thing I changed was the font on the words “Practical Adventure-ology”.

I don’t know about you but when I think of adventure, I think Indian Jones so naturally I searched for the closest font I could find that mimicked the font used on the Indiana Jones movie posters. I found a font called “Adventure”. See for yourself. It looks pretty close don’t you think?

website colours

Colour: The second thing I changed were the colours.

I wanted to give the feeling of adventure but in a more practical way. Fiery red and yellow didn’t seem like a good fit.  I went to the local french bookstore and library here in Marseille looking for inspiration. I found it in retro and vintage looking travel and adventure books.

The end result, I went from a dark Blue, pink and brown to a more lively aqua blue, a cream-sickle orange and of course the Brown. I think it gives it a fresher look but not too racy.

sleeping_panda eye mask

Updated Photo:  I took a new photo of myself using my Cannon T3i Camera (in Europe they are called 600d and not T3i).  It was a piece of cake compared to what i used to have to do when I had my sleeping mask business. Try taking a picture of yourself blind folded and you’ll understand what i’m talking about. Anyways, you can take  a picture of yourself too. All you need is a remote control for your camera or if your camera doesn’t have that capability, put the timer on.

Travel Visuals:  Because travel is such a big part of my site,  I had to find some way to convey that message without making the banner look too cluttered. I ended up putting some polaroid looking photos on the banner and then I added the paper airplane followed by a white dashed line to indicate movement.

Tagline: Ask any entrepreneur or solo-preneur but coming up with a good tagline is harder than it looks.

My old tagline was vague and more like my motto [ “Find Adventure, Go Travel, Live Your Dreams”].  I changed it to “For Busy hard working people who want to take a break to travel more, do what you love, live your adventure and purpose”   Then I added little bullet points telling you exactly what I talk about. Career breaks, long term travel, sabbaticals etc.Now my readers come to my site and they know exactly what they are going to get and how it’s going to benefit them.

I did a few more changes but those were the big ones.  What do you think? Did I achieve my goal? Is it more clear now what I do and do you like it better than the old one?  Leave your comments below.

 2- Use T.V to Promote My Career Break & Sabbatical Mentoring Business

Indirectly promote it that is..

My family and I will be on national T.V.   Not just any T.V. show but a show called House Hunters International on the HGTV channel. I just recieved word that the show will air on June 20th at around 10:30 p.m. I think it’s pacific standard time. For now it is only shown in the U.S.

If you are not familiar with house hunters international, let me give you a quick background about it.

House Hunters International is a spinoff of the wildly popular HGTV show called House Hunters which takes viewers behind the scenes as individuals, couples and families learn what to look for and decide whether or not a home is meant for them.

House hunters international ( the spin off) has been a huge hit for HGTV and has been on the air for over five years now. The show is based on the same premise as house hunters (U.S.A.) with a twist. That twist is probably partly the reason for the shows popularity. You see, it taps into the viewers dream of living in exotic and far away locations from the comfort of their couches. You get to vicariously globe trot around the world as you watch individuals, couples and families  and their real estate agents check out all sorts of architectural styles and work through the idiosyncrasies of buying or renting real estate in other countries.

About Our House Hunters International episode

filming-crew-househunters international

Filming Crew in Marseille France

In the episode about us, a film crew followed us around Marseille as we looked at different homes that we could live in for our year long family sabbatical in France.  You also get a bit of back story as you get to see me in Montreal with my family talking about our trip to France. The best part is you get me on camera eating POUTINE. A very Quebecois dish of French fries, gravy and cheese. It’s the BOMB.

I won’t get into the details about the filming. Maybe later I’ll share more.

Why being on t.v. fits in with my business goals

Now, you are probably wondering how being on House Hunters international is relevant to my location independent business goals.

FREE EXPOSURE

The topic of finding a place to stay while on a career break or sabbatical abroad is one of the many hurdles one has to jump through when planning an extended trip abroad. Since the show gives you a peak into the trials and tribulations of finding a home abroad it ties in nicely with my “Career Break & Family Sabbatical Mentoring Business”.

Like any business, I need exposure. The more exposure, the more eye balls on me and hopeful one of those eye balls will look to hire me to help them plan their career break or family sabbatical abroad.

There is nothing better than free exposure. Plus it was so much fun making the show and i learned a bunch of video tricks..

househunters-International-Montreal

Filming Crew in Montreal Canada Near WestMont

If you are interested in the show, you can read a short bio about the episode here.

And…. You can tune In to watch it on HGTV on

  • June 20, 2012 10:30 PM e/p
  • June 20, 2012 1:30 AM e/p
  • July 21, 2012 6:30 PM e/p

That’s it for now. Hope you enjoy this sneak peak into the actual work that has to go into creating a location independent business while on a family sabbatical abroad.. It’s not all a bed of roses. It’s hard work people..

Adrienne

First off I love the header. I think it’s much more eye catching then the first one. Not that I didn’t love the first one but you’re right, it tells us all just what you’re all about Annie.

I’m so excited for you guys that you’re going to be on TV. I just wrote myself a note to set it to tape closer to that actual date. I can’t wait to watch you guys and I know this has got to be so exciting for you.

Thanks for sharing this Annie and you’re moving in that direction young lady! Congrats.

~Adrienne
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    Annie Andre

    Hi Adrienne,
    the header seems like such a minuscule thing but I’ve been watching my own surfing behavioral and a persons header can make or break them. I know within 5 seconds weather i will stick around or not so i figured i better make mine more clear.

    Can’t wait to see the show. I hope it all turns out ok.. UGH..

Shayna

How exciting, Annie! Do you know if the show will be broadcast online at all?

I like the new header, and I love the way you broke down the rationale for the changes. I thought the choice of the “Indiana Jones” font was particularly brilliant! To me, it still looks a tad cluttered, though; it has quite a lot of visual elements and text. That could just be my minimalist preferences speaking ;-)

Looking forward to your next post on business-building… I’m interested in hearing how the heck you’re managing it all!
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    Annie Andre

    Shayna,
    I don’t actually know if it will be aired online but you can be sure that i will look for it and promote it if it is online..

    Thank you for your feedback on the header. One of these days i may be able to hire a graphic designer and PR person to help me clarify things for me. for the moment, it’s just me, myself and I..

    Until next time..

John

New header looks great – congrats on the HGTV appearance! I’m gonna have my wife set the DVR now so I don’t miss it.
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Benny

Exciting!! I can’t wait to watch it and tell everyone to watch!!!

The new header looks great!! I love the evolution of your blog and design.

Awhile back I was going to make Get Busy Living with the Indiana Jones font. I can search again to find out the exact font if you want. You know where to find me.
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    Annie Andre

    Thanks Benny,
    it’s been a long time coming hasn’t it. And the design of this blog. well, i am annoyed at how many times i’ve changed it but on the other hand, having this blog was more of an experiment in the beginning. but now it’s time to get serious and no more changes to it while i start to monetize it..

Alan

Hey Annie,

I prefer the new banner, I prefer your photo in the new one (probably because that’s the ‘you’ I’m used to seeing) and of course I agree with your rationale for changing your tagline.

It’s just superb that you did the TV thing – just brilliant as was your following video you did for Adrienne and quite apart from the free exposure, who wouldn’t want to have that experience? Congrats for getting out there and making that happen.

I hope the changes bring even better results – I’m sure they will,

also can’t wait to get to see the TV show somehow…

a bientot,
Alan
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    Annie Andre

    Thanks Alan,
    At first my husband was not so keen on the idea. I kind of had to beg him to do it. Ok, not beg but i had to do a lot of convincing. In the end, we bot had fun just for the experience. hopefully the show doesn’t make us look like cray baboons..

      Alan

      I bet you were great – you were in your recent videos around marseilles.

      Didn’t you make another comment recently about baboons? I think you’ve secretly got a thing for baboons…

      In any case, there’s nothing wrong with acting like crazy baboons in my book. More people should do it ;-)
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      Annie Andre

      I do like my cray baboons. I mean Crazy baboons.

David A Moore

Annie,
Can’t wait to see the HGTV episode, it’s one of our favorites. Just put it on the calendar to be sure and not miss.

Everything looks fantastic.

One suggestion: do more video work. You’re good at it. Exploit that. And as they say some faces are made for radio, you were made for video.

Take care,
David

    Annie Andre

    Hi David,
    wow, what a compliment. I certainly plan on doing more video. I’m a visual person and i love doing them but man do they take a lot of time to do..

    ps
    was fun doing the video interview with you. send me all you questions about spending time abroad ok?

Lisa Stoops

OMG that is sooo awesome! I LOVE that show and record it on my DVR!!! Can’t wait to see your episode…very cool!! When we look for a house that would be cool to be on the regular House Hunters lol.

I love the new banner. Your picture is much more warm and welcoming in the new banner. The style is nicely laid out too. I am actually in process of doing the same thing. I’m having a VERY hard time narrowing my focus down though. Ah well..I’ll get it right eventually LOL.

Oh and thanks for the tip about using the remote to take your pic..duh!
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    Annie Andre

    Hi Lisa,
    I had a hard time narrowing down my focus too. But i found that by focusing it down, i was able to write better, more focused articles and content.

    ps
    i just stopped by your site and it looks great. very clean.

      Lisa

      Thanks for stopping by my blog. I will be redesigning very soon to pull more of that focus out! I agree it will make creating content MUCH easier!
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Steve

What an exciting opportunity! This is a great way to promote yourself plus the experience would just be fun.

I’ve marked my calendar so I can see it. I think it will be really interesting to see. After getting to know you online, it will be a little surreal to see you on TV.

By the way, I like your new header. Although I thought the old way was good too, but I think your effort was worth it.
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    Annie Andre

    thanks Steve,
    it is going to be good exposure. I just hope it’s good exposure. I haven’t seen a bad episode yet so i’m very hopeful.

    Glad you like the header. After our chat with Allie and Allen, i felt compelled to make some changes myself. More to come in the future.

Devesh

Hey Annie,

First, I love the new header, looks really eye caching and sharp. You did fantastic job.

Next, it’s fantastic to know that you guys are going to be on TV. Excited to watch you guys on TV.

Thanks for sharing this great stuff, Annie.
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    Annie Andre

    Thanks Devesh,
    I actually really enjoyed making the banners. And well the tv thing is just my 15 minutes of fame. I’ll take it… thanks for stopping by.

Sylviane Nuccio

Wow, Annie,

Just a few days ago, I go to your blog and there weren’t any new post and now two!

First off, I love the new header and I think it’s much better, and yes, it tells us more about what your blog is about.

Wow, again!!! What an excitement to be on a TV show! Is there going to be a way for us to be able to see that show in the US?

Great post and and great news, Annie. Thanks for sharing with us :)
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Sonia

So excited for you girl. I loved what you did with your banner and the use of the different pictures and fonts. I have my DVR set to tape the show as it is a show I watch almost daily.
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    Annie Andre

    Sonia,
    Sadly i can’t even watch it here in France. I have to try and find a copy somewhere on the internet.

Cat Alexandra

Hey Annie,

Getting here a little late, but saw that Adrienne had posted on Facebook that you’d be on House Hunters International tonight, so I cleared out to watch!

Your family is so beautiful! It was too cool to see you guys exploring Marseille and choosing a home! I totally knew which one you’d picked because I recognized your space from a video you did on Adrienne’s site.

Great to see you all! Cheers on the exposure for your blog too!

Cat ;-)
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    Annie Andre

    Cat,
    Thank you for the kind words about my family.
    It was a bit surreal having a camera follow you around as you try to act natural. People were stopping us asking who we were, what were we doing and staring. But then after a few hours you get used to it and start acting more normal.

    I hope that knowing which house we were going to pick didn’t ruin the surprise for you. :/

Roz

Hi Annie

I saw your family featured on House Hunters International on HGTV. Congrats on the decision to live abroad. I live in New Jersey and was in the process of making plans to move to France — when coincidentally — I saw the HGTV feature.
We should stay in touch. I plan to move by September with my 4 yr. old son.
Your family’s story is inspirational.

thanks
Roz

    Annie Andre

    Hello Roz,

    What a coincidence. Planning your trip to France and then you saw us on T.v. I think the universe is confirming your decision to take the leap.

    Lets do stay in touch. In Septembre we will no longer be in Marseille. We are opting to move to a smaller town one hour away. More quaint, more wholesome and more family oriented.. Let me know when and where you land…. :)

      Roz

      Hi Annie

      It looks like I will be living in Palavas Les Flot in the south of France. My little boy will attend a bi-lingual school near Montpellier.

      Hopefully we will arrive in September. Any advice you can give me to make my move smoother would be appreciated.

      I look forward to staying in touch. feel free to write directly to my e-mail.
      Roz

Krystal

I just watched a rerun of your episode and of course had to google you when the business was mentioned. My dream is to take the family and run too so I’ll definitely be staying tuned!

Good luck, Krystal
Central Oregon

    Annie Andre

    Krystal, just let me know if you have any questions you need help answering. I’ll do my best to help answer them. Or put you in contact with someone who can.

    Olja

    Hi Annie,

    My husband and I watched your story featured on House Hunters episode last night. We watch house hunters international faithfully. I googled you right away. Our dream is to live in France one day. My husband is a chiropractor and owns his own practice so we are trying to figure out a way to take a break.mWe have a six year old and feel the same same way about the intensity of life here in US. Thanks you for sharing your story and reinforce the fact that IT IS POSSIBLE. Olja

      Annie Andre

      Olja,

      It sounds like you are half way there by your desire alone. And a big fat yes it IS possible. I’ve come across so many people who have made their dream to take a break to travel with the kids a reality. If i can help in any way let me know..

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