“He hoped to turn social media on its head. Instead of inspiring fear of missing out or jealousy by posting ‘as so many other accounts do,’ he wanted to bring awareness to our shared humanity, to ‘inspire a large group of normal, regular people to get outside and in the process, to love themselves a little more.’“
GetYourAssIntoNature is an online community and retail business dedicated to the idea of courageous individuals who inspire everyone to love their bodies, make connections to nature and use social media in a unique and fresh way. I started GYAIN in early 2015 as a project to experiment and develop my skills in social media. It eventually turned into a business and a well-loved movement. I have since slowed down on the project for other professional pursuits but it’s something I love dearly and have learned a lot from. I shared thousands of stories from all over the world and met tons of awesome people along the way.
The Instagram page for GetYourAssIntoNature was the bread and butter of the whole project. I started the page as a bit of a dare to myself and it morphed into a beloved international community. I grew the page from 0 followers to over 120,000 without paid promotions through the use of organic hashtags, tags, shares and shout-outs from other prominent pages. I accepted submissions from community members as well as created a lot of my own content.
I experimented with using GYAIN as a source of income for me by selling merchandise on the website. I built out an online store using my existing WordPress platform, a WooCommerce integration and a Printful store. I sold stickers that I designed, printed and distributed on my own. T-Shirts were sold through the Printful store and they took care of the printing and shipping. It was a complicated system but certainly a fun process, and I made some money!
In 2017, I was given the opportunity to speak at TEDx Bozeman about my experience with starting and running GetYourAssIntoNature and what it meant to me. After a hail mary of an application and months of practice and revision, I floundered my way through an 8-minute talk and was able to tell my story on the TEDx stage.