Holy crap. Full time RVing is a lot to take on in the beginning. When I first decided to say goodbye to the real world and hello to RV living, I was pretty overwhelmed.
Check out this guest post by our friend Liz Wilcox on How To Make A Successful Income While Full Time RVing:
Finding the right RV.
Community on the road.
And of course…
How the heck was I going to make a living while living in an RV?
And after two years of ups and downs, I now have a solid foundation. Here’s how I created an income to full time RV and you can too.
Research your butt off before hitting the road. Once you make the decision to embrace the RV lifestyle it can be really hard to do anything but map out your National Park must-sees.
But let me tell you something. Unless you’re about to retire from a Fortune 500 company or your name is Rockefeller, you’re probably going to want an income plan. I highly advise against winging it.
And as inspirational as those little Facebook videos are when they tell you to leap and the net will appear (talking to you Steve Harvey), it’s best to have at least an outline of what you’re going to do on the road.
I’ve leaped and fallen before. #ithappens #realitycheck
Table of Contents
First, I advise you to start doing some soul searching.
Get out a piece of paper, open your Google docs, whatever. Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I an entrepreneur?
- Am I open to the idea of creating my own income?
- Do I like the job I have right now?
- Am I open to the idea of asking to take this job on the road?
- Am I capable of being a remote employee?
- Do I have any income streams right now I can take on the road with me?
If you’re unsure, do some research. Being an RV entrepreneur can be a great way to live on the road.
You can be more flexible in your schedule and work as much or as little as you need in order to support traveling full time. It’s also fricken awesome if you’re creative like me!
Of course, it can be stressful and confusing in the beginning stages.
I highly suggest if you decide to own your own business, become an entrepreneur before you become a full timer.
Of course, like the owner of this blog Bryanna, who has spent more than 4 years on the road, you can build a business on the road. But I promise it’s easier without travel plans.
I lived full time stationary in an RV park before we put in the slides and started traveling. And man am I grateful for building my business in that big ole 5th wheel before hitting the road.
That year helped me work out the kinks. I was able to experiment with my business, take bigger risks, and hone my craft. My husband had a steady j-o-b that allowed me to invest in the business.
It was also a major bonus that I had friends to consistently watch my daughter during major periods of growth in my business.
In other words, I got comfortable as an entrepreneur and in my business. Now that we’re on the road, it’s much easier to be flexible and work around our travel plans.
How precious that stationary year was!
If you can build your business before hitting the road, do it.
Remote work is another great way to make a living on the road.
When we first hit the road, my business wasn’t exactly where I needed it to be. And my husband’s new business? Well it required him to go to school before he could start.
What I’m trying to say is we were broke. And scared.
I applied for a remote position that would put cash in my pocket immediately while also helping me learn strategies to apply to my own business.
Having a remote job changed my whole perspective the first few months of full time RVing. Being able to count on a paycheck every other week did wonders for our sanity. It allowed our family to have money come in that was predictable and stable.
If you’re like most sane people, predictable income appeals to you, too.
There are many ways to gain a remote work gig while also traveling full time.
You can do it my way:
Realize you’ve hit the road and need money. Then scour the internet for remote positions that aren’t scams, get a little help from Remote Work 101, and get hired right away.
You can do it the easier way.
Ask your current employer about switching to remote work.
Here are a few tips on how to make sure this goes in your favor:
- Do your homework before asking.
- You want to be taken seriously so take this seriously. Know that your employer is going to ask questions. Be prepared to answer them.
- Focus on the benefits to your company.
- Remote work is so hot right now. There’s a reason for that. And it’s not just millennial’s who refuse to wear pants.
- A remote employee can mean huge savings for the company and more productive and creative work. Let your employer know that and back it up with research.
Ease into it.
- A lot of employers will be leary of you working from home. Do trial runs. And kick butt at them.
- One day a week. Three times a week. Etc.
- This advice also applies to telling your employer about full time RVing. (But that’s a whole other blog post, my friend.)
Have multiple income streams
As an RVer, you learn really quick to have a Plan A, a Plan B, and a Plan C. You also learn that Plans D-Z are usually necessary as well.
RVing is great, but please! Don’t let Instagram fool you. There’s always something happening that forces you to adapt or adjust.
And the scariest of those “somethings” is your bank account.
Of all the advice out there, creating multiple income streams for yourself as an RVer is numero uno.
As you read above, I have my own online business and a remote job. My husband also owns his own business.
That’s three different streams (read: blessings) to our bank account.
And each stream has several components to ensure we not only stay afloat, but are comfortable and at ease in our travels.
Here’s how my online business works from the road:
I own a blog. **update she has sold the blog and is now running www.lizwilcox.com**
This blog is monetized and brings me money each month through:
Online summit (more on that later, my dear.)
Then you have my remote job.
This is pretty straightforward. I get paid hourly and work part-time. My boss is also an online entrepreneur so a few times a year I work a ton to help with product launches.
Last, my husband owns an RV tech business.
Yep. I’m blessed and never have to pay for rig problems. I know.
Seriously though, this business seems pretty straight-forward, right? He works on an RV, gets paid, goes home.
Even with a repair business like his, there are ways to diversify:
So how can you apply this to your situation?
First, you’ve got to look for ways to make money.
Unless you’re drop dead gorgeous, chances are no one is going to start throwing money at you when they hear of you want to start fulltime RVing.
You’ve got to be a bloodhound tracking a bear when it comes to your income.
Get creative. Take advice. Read blogs. Watch videos. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities.
After the soul searching you did earlier in this post, do everything you can to learn how to make money from the road.
Here are some tips:
- Look on Craigslist under gigs.
- Join Facebook entrepreneur groups and look for freelance gigs there.
- Open your mouth and ask people how they are doing it. Write down and research what they say.
Second, say yes to #allthethings.
The best advice about work my husband and I ever got when we first started out was this:
“Your first year, take all the jobs you can. The second year decide what you liked and what you didn’t. Then the third year, do only what you absolutely love.”
This is great advice because it made us realize it isn’t going to be all peaches or whatever when you start RVing.
It’s going to require some work and doing things we didn’t necessarily like.
And while yes, full time living is supposed to be about freedom and all that, it’s also still real life. Which means getting uncomfortable sometimes.
And boy have we been uncomfortable.
So when you’re first starting out and someone offers you $100 a week to post on social media, you should do it.
Unless of course you’re that drop dead gorgeous person we talked about earlier. Then work your beauty magic.
For the rest of us, open yourself up for opportunities to flow your way and try them all out. As time goes on, you’ll see what you’re good at, what you like to do, and be able to let go of everything else.
Stop moving around if you have to.
I see this mistake all the time.
RVers traveling quickly and not having enough time to work. Or working so much during their stay and not being able to enjoy it before their next scheduled road trip.
If your job requires a regular 9-5, it would probably behoove you to stay in one place for a month or so. This way you can really explore on your time off and not feel pressured by your work.
I know during product launches for my remote job, I really try not to move. We find a campground with good wifi and stay put.
Currently, I’m working with some partners on that online summit I mentioned. This is a huge ordeal.
And my camper is not moving for 3 months because of it. All road trips canceled until further notice.
Does this take away my “full time RVing” license?
It makes me a non-retired human being that needs to work more than anything else sometimes.
Make some RV travel friends
Life is hard. RV life is hard.
Get some friends.
I think an easy trap to fall into when you start moving towards RV life is that no one else gets it. Your family. Your friends.
They all think you’ve lost it, right?
Well, that might be true but I promise you there are others out there that get it. They love the full time RV lifestyle and also need to learn how to make money.
Make friends with those people.
You’ve got a lot to deal with. Naysayers. Learning how to make a living. Planning for travel.
Friends will help you navigate the emotional journey of RVing as well as the financial aspect.
And the right friends will help get you to a happy place both emotionally and financially. Even when you’re sitting in a state park all alone with no job prospects and a smelly dog.
Here is Proof:
When I first decided to full time RV, I signed up to attend a conference where there would be other RVers. I knew there was a ton of stuff I didn’t know but needed to learn.
This is where I met Bryanna and other friends that I’ve been able to lean on heavily in times of doubt.
Now when things get hard, I don’t freak out and wonder what to do. I have friends by my side to connect with and gain strength from.
I could never have build my business (or even named it, honestly) without a close group of friends that were also full time RVers. The impact they’ve had on my income is immeasurable.
Now that may sound sappy to you. And it is. But it’s also true and could be the difference between your success and lack of success.
Learn from others about full time RV life. Can I suggest one last thing?
My friends (see above) and I are putting on an amazing online event to teach people everything they need to know about RVing…including how to make a living while full time RVing.
And because you’re reading this, I know you’re serious about RVing and making it happen for you financially.
Full Time Freedom Week will go even deeper than this article to help you solidify how to make a living on the road. We’ll talk to 20+ other RVers about their stories and best advice for hitting the road.
If you want to learn more about life on the road and things like health insurance, memberships, etc. check out our posts below:
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- How To Make A Successful Income While Full Time RVing - November 5, 2020