Earning A Living On The Road Can Be Done And It Can Be Fun!
You want to pursue the RV Dream, but you do not have a steady, fixed stream of income that is enough to pay for your daily expenses or not all of them anyway. So, what do you do? Just stay in your current situation?
NO WAY!! I am not going to let a little thing like living expenses kill your dreams. I don't want to get your email that says "It sounded great, and I really wanted to do it but . . . "
There are so many ways to use your talents and passions to earn income on the road. There are also many, many ways to just find work on the road.
It may be work that you are not passionate about and don't even particularly like. Just keep in mind what it is doing for you while you are not on the job.
Trust me. Going from a huge salary to nothing overnight was terrifying. But the thoughts of the journey, the adventure, the excitement, the peace, and the opportunity to really connect with Linda far outweighed the fear.
Well, let's be honest, those thoughts and the fact that my research showed how easy it is to earn some cash got me over the fear.
Let's look at some options.
"Workamping" is the term most associated with working while living in an RV. Usually, it involves the provision of an RV site by an employer as part of the agreement (whether formal or informal) between the RVer and the employer.
Since workamping is the most often cited means of earning a living on the road and because it encompasses so many types of jobs, we have devoted several pages to workamping.
Click on the Workamping link to learn more.
Traditional Jobs While Full-timing
Though any job performed while living in an RV would fall under the broad definition of workamping, in this section we are talking about jobs that could be done from a sticks & bricks home.
If you really need to earn quite a bit of money on the road to support your lifestyle, many workamping jobs would not be sufficient. Often you can work for a local company in the area of your desire and earn more money.
Though most workamping positions include a "free" campsite, you may find that it is financially better to pay for a campsite and take a more traditional position in the location you desire. Also, if health insurance and other traditional employee benefits are important or even necessary, traditional employment while living in the RV may be the best option.
Working Out Of Your RV
With the continual improvement of mobile technology, it is becoming easier and easier to work from a mobile office. Cell phones, email, and internet access have changed things tremendously.
Some people just take the jobs they had before full-timing and take them on the road.
We have met a few couples that were not planning to continue their prior jobs, but their employers made them offers they couldn't refuse. They were allowed to work from the road and the employers even agreed to pay for their technology expenses.
There are consultants, webmasters, graphic artists, writers, photographers, insurance claims adjusters, and all sorts of sales people working from their rigs. The possibilities are endless.
It's certainly no longer necessary to wait for retirement to become a full-timer RVer.
Dream Jobs Dialog (formerly Dream Jobs To Go)
As I often tell people, one piece of advice is to try to establish multiple sources of income. They may all be little sources, but at least you don't have all your eggs in one basket.
It allows you flexibility and it allows you to test which sources you enjoy the most and which ones provide you the most income. Hopefully, the best income producers will be the most fun and you can drop others along the way.
Before we got started, I found a website called Dream Jobs To Go. On that website they had links to short, 30 - 35 page, downloadable ebooks for several different types of "dream" josbs. Each ebook was written by authors that had "been there, done that".
I downloaded and read 16 of those ebooks before we went on the road:
Living in an RV
Live & Work Full-time in an RV
Flea Market Vendor
Living & Working in a National Park
Professional Speaker or Trainer
Yes, you read right. Even Stand-up Comic. :)
The point is these were all things I was interested in, "jobs" that could be molded to our passions. And "jobs" that could be done to some degree on the road.
We haven't really established an income stream based solely on one of those ebooks. However, we have taken bits and pieces from each of them. And, more than anything, they let us know that passion can turn into earning a living.
Now, those ebooks are no longer available and the website has been flagged as having malicious software. So, I no longer link to it.
Still, the ultimate point is made: Find Passion, Develop Passion, Work Your Passion, Grow From There. If you have to have an income stream on the road, or would just like to have some extra spending money and something to do, follow your dreams and your passions!
Continuing the Dream Theme
If you follow your dreams and passions, it may take awhile and it may take effort, but you can earn money doing what you love. It just naturally follows after awhile.
The good news is there is no one telling us we have to do a particular thing. Yes, we need to earn some income, but we don't have to earn a huge paycheck, and we can adjust the lifestyle to what we earn, what jobs we want to take, and how hard we want to work.
Another point. Envision options. You can earn all your expenses on the road and you don't have to clean bathrooms or cook fast food to do it.
You can, and we might, but our dream is not about just making enough money so we can live in an RV. It is about pursuing things we love with the full-time RV lifestyle as a means to do that. If we have to work forty hour weeks at something we do not care for, what is the point? It may be a struggle, but keep following your dreams!!
Property Caretaking is kind of an all-inclusive phrase. It encompasses all kinds of jobs such as house sitters, property managers, groundskeepers, campground hosts, butlers, innkeepers, etc.
There are property caretaker opportunities for RVers that need some extra income. The caveat is that most property caretaker positions are long-term and most do not consider the fact that those selected for the positions will bring their home with them.
However, there are a few positions that are perfect for RVers. Our favorite source for these positions is the Caretaker Gazette.
They provide us with daily emails of intriguing positions all over the world. Heck, one day we might even store the RV for several months or a year and take a position in another country.
Since Linda and I have always loved staying at Bed & Breakfast Inns and Linda has thought for years that she might like to own a B & B someday, we sought training for positions as Interim Innkeepers to supplement our income.
Interim Innkeeping is taking over a B & B or small inn while the owners have to be out of town or just need to take a vacation to get away from the business for a while. If they shut down they will lose revenue for the time they are gone and also revenue from future reservations that could be captured had someone taken over operations while they are gone.
This is a fairly new concept and many B & B owners are not even aware that there are interim innkeepers out there. Find out more about opportunities at the Interim Innkeeper Network.
Though we have completed a training class and actually ran a real B & B for a weekend, we have not yet seriously pursued this particular option. Having the training does look good on our resume for any position that requires heavy contact with the public.
Establishing An Income Producing Website
One of the big ways to earn some cash is to develop a website that drives a lot (and I mean a lot) of traffic to the website. Once you get enough clicks to the website, there are all types of advertising and affiliate programs.
You can earn income just from a visitor clicking on an advertisement or when a visitor purchases a product or service via a link from your website. The key is attracting enough visitors and that is the tough part.
I hope to have a page with more information on that soon. In the meantime, there is a thread on our Forum called "Blogging For Profit" that addresses many questions on this topic.
Also, if you have a product to sell, a strong website might be just the ticket for you. The challenge once again is to learn how to drive traffic to the website.
A Little Advice
First, don't rely on a single source of potential income. Explore several options and combine a few. Have a multi-tiered approach to making money on the road.
Open your mind and think about doing things you and/or your spouse are passionate about. You may not earn all you need and it may take a while, but anything you make will help pay for some expense and you will have fun doing it. You never know - you may turn something you love into something quite lucrative over time.
My second piece of advice is to be proactive and bold, in a very nice way, in seeking income. The RV forums are full of people that are discouraged and whining that employers are not seeking them out and they can't find work. There is plenty of work if you are willing to take active steps to find it.
If you have the right skills and/or personality, often employers will create positions for you if it means more potential income to them. Just because a job is not posted, doesn't mean there is not something that an employer needs.
Two other pieces of advice, numbers three and four since we are counting, that I think are great came to me from other sources. I read them first in a Coleen Sykora publication, but have seen them reiterated elsewhere. Coleen is a full-timer with her husband. She is a writer, has an RV website, and her name shows up all over the web on RV related issues.
So piece of advice three is to go to the geographic location that you want to explore before you accept a position. If you accept a position just to earn money in a locale you don't want to be in, you have really defeated the purpose of going on the road in the first place.
Most employers of RVers are great to work for, but sometimes the job cleaning bathrooms and doing maintenance is not something you may enjoy. But if you are in an area that intrigues you and you are close enough to explore all its wonders in your time off, the job becomes much more tolerable.
Also, you would be naive to think that all jobs in that location are posted where you can see them remotely. By going to your favorite spot, checking things out first hand, talking to locals, and asking for work at campgrounds or parks, you may find a match made in heaven. Yes, that's right - I am telling you to go where you want without having employment first. It will work out.
The fourth piece of advice is to take volunteer work. If you are good and like what you are doing, very often volunteering can turn into a paid position. Now I understand you may not be in a position to volunteer for long, but a lot of employers like the "try it before you buy it" plan. Keep it in mind as an option.
The fifth and final piece of advice is to take classes or get certifications that will give you a leg up on the competition. For example, first aid certification is an easy, inexpensive certification to attain. Yet many other full-timers will not have it.
Also, a food service certification will help if you will do any type of food handling. Even if you don't plan to handle food, it will still look good to a prospective employer. It tells them you are serious and you care about their customers.
I have also noticed that preference is often given to those with a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) in many job offerings. If the employer runs a shuttle service or tours, they will often prefer an applicant with a CDL. The added benefit of a CDL is that it helps you in driving or towing your own rig.
Again, the point is make yourself stand out with special training. This is especially important if you do not have that outgoing personality that sometimes opens doors for others. And try to go ahead and get the training before you go on the road. Many classes are conducted on nights and weekends, so there are no excuses.
There are unlimited ways to earn a living while full-timing.
It only takes ambition, creativity, and passion. Either passion for the job, passion for what the job provides you as a full-timer, or a combination of both.
Good luck! We know you will find the best option for you.
For more detailed information on workamping click on the links below.
What is Workamping?
What are the types of jobs available?
What kind of commitment is required?
How much can I expect to earn?
What if I just want to volunteer for a campsite?
What are the Pros & Cons of working for pay vs. volunteering for for a site with no pay?
What are the tax implications of workamping?