This has been the BIGGEST question that we have been trying to answer for the last couple of years.
How are we going to earn money while RVing?
In this article, I’m going to go through what WE’RE doing to try and earn money online, and also what I see OTHER people doing to earn money while they’re RVing.
If you are also struggling with this question of income, my hope is that showing you these examples will reassure you that there are plenty of ways to make money and maybe one of these will inspire you to look at different options for yourself.
A bit of background
We knew we wanted to RV, there was no question of that.
But what we DIDN’T want to do, was to save up all this money, go and have a wonderful trip, and then have to go back to jobs we didn’t like and a life that was rather boring.
We were pretty desperate to escape our life in Auckland, New Zealand.
Don’t get me wrong, NZ is a wonderful place to live in and to be from. But we felt like our lives were wasting away as we were ‘stuck’ in Auckland at our jobs for 48 weeks per year, only 4 weeks per year to explore and adventure.
So we did what any sane person would do (?), we sold up everything, withdrew all our savings, flew to Australia and bought a camper trailer. You can read about that story here.
And we spent five wonderful months travelling around Australia.
We had every intention of spending that 5-6 months enjoying all the sights of Australia, AND growing an online income.
We totally and utterly failed to achieve that.
Instead, we found ourselves with fast dwindling savings and virtually no online income.
So we came to Dubbo (large regional town in the middle of nowhere New South Wales) to visit our friends and get jobs to top up the bank account while also saving up to get a caravan. (We realised that we LOVE this travelling life but we really need to upgrade from the camper trailer to a caravan so that we’re comfortable, since we plan to do this full-time.)
We totally lucked out, in that our friends brother has an old house he’s intending to renovate, and until he does he’s allowed us to stay here for a very reasonable amount. The whole family has lent us everything we need: fridge, couch, tv, table and chairs.
We’re so lucky, and we want to make the most of this time to finally figure out this ‘earn money while RVing‘ thing. So Ben is working at a local tyre shop, while I try and make a go of getting us set up with online income.
How WE earn money while RVing
After that depressing introduction, you’d think this section on ‘How WE make money on the road’ would be very short.
But there are a few different things we’re doing and I’ll explain them all below.
So these are the different ways we’re making money, the amounts are embarrassingly small and you can be assured that we couldn’t afford to eat if it weren’t for Ben working a regular day job.
Pinterest Management Services
You may be aware that Pinterest has totally changed the game for bloggers and small businesses all over the world. Instead of your blog or website sitting in cyberspace keeping crickets warm, Pinterest has exploded the growth for anyone using their platform; well, anyone using the platform in a strategic way.
In the same way that Facebook, Twitter and all the other social media platforms have their own unique way of driving traffic to websites, Pinterest does too… and in massive numbers.
But Pinterest is different in that it’s not actually a social media platform, I mean, there’s not a whole lot of socialising happening on the platform. But it is, by their own description, a visual discovery tool. Think of it like a google for images.
And because small business and blogs either don’t want to learn the platform, or just don’t have the time, they’re looking for people to manage their accounts for them. And so now we have: MichelleRudge.com | Pinterest Management Services.
It’s totally because of Pinterest and the success I’ve had in getting traffic to my own websites that our other income stream is from blogging. I go into that below.
Update: October 2018 – Added Virtual Assistant to this list.
Since the 1st July I’ve been working as a virtual assitant for a US blogger. Doing just 20 hours a month managing her instagram account, and it’s been AWESOME! I can work from anywhere (as long as I can get a data signal) and do whatever hours that fit best for me.
I’m going to be pursuing VA work as a full-time gig from here on in.
And to think, I’ve been resisting VA work for, literally, years. I have always viewed it as no different to working in a normal job. But it’s not the same! With VA work you can have variety, not only of work tasks, but of employers as well!
We have two blogs that we consistently post to. This one you’re reading, RVObsession.com and another one where we blog about our travels around Australia, BenAndMichelle.com
Here’s how we make money on those blogs:
I have recently put ads here on RVObsession.
This site is now getting about 30k page views per month, so I signed up to an advertising company called Mediavine (they require a minimum number of page views) as I had heard that their rates are much better than Google Adsense.
I’m not a fan of ads. At all. But I am a fan of the $15-20 per day that this site is now generating.
Since I’ve only just added the ads, it will take a couple of months for us to get some data about the most effective ad placement and ad frequency. Until then, we’ve all gotta sit through the cacophony of ads littered here.
I’m really glad I went with Mediavine. They are such nice people to deal with, they’re responsive and willing to help with the technology stuff, and they talk to me like a human being.
I don’t have any ads on the BenAndMichelle.com website because that’s only averaging a measly 500 page views per month.
Afffiliate marketing is where you put a link to a product (a physical product, eBook, course etc) and if your reader clicks on the link and goes on to buy that product, you will get a small commission.
You may have noticed I have a number of posts about storage solutions and I show pictures of products on Amazon that could be useful. These are all affiliate links, so if someone clicks through to buy that product (or any product), Amazon will send me a small commission. This does not add any cost to the purchaser.
Affiliate marketing is probably the most passive way to make money blogging, because once you’ve written the post there’s nothing more that you need to do like customer service, posting the product or returns.
I’m currently averaging about $60-$90 per month in commissions from Amazon.
There are plenty of other affiliate marketing opportunities, so I’m not just limiting them to Amazon. They’re just the easiest to start using cos they have so many products.
I have been learning about affiliate marketing from Michelle Schroeder-Gardner who makes over $50,000 per month just from affiliate marketing (I kid you not, you can see her income reports here). She has created a course that is gang-busters at explaining how affiliate marketing works, how to apply it (correctly) to your blog, the legal requirements and more.
I’ve purchased the course and gone through it myself and am working my way through applying all the things she talks about. I have high hopes! (And a realistic expectation of how much work is involved.) If you want to have a look at the course yourself (I mean, a look is free) this is my affiliate link to the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course.
I wrote a PDF for my audience over at BenAndMichelle.com called ‘Road Trip Around Australia – A Beginners Guide to Getting Set Up’, I had these aspirations of putting together a massive tome with everything that a person new to the world of travelling and camping their way around Australia, would need.A Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV: Everything I Wish I Knew Before Full-Time RVing Across America. (<–That’s an affiliate link, so is the picture of the book) The author, Alyssa Padgett writes about much of the same things that I wrote about in my PDF of Australia and her book is awesome.
But I lost my nerve.
I did really want to help people (which is what the PDF is all about) but I didn’t want to charge people because I was afraid they wouldn’t want to pay for it.
Or worse, pay for it and then tell me (and the world) that it wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on.
So I gave it away for free.
I justified my fear by telling myself that it was worth giving it away for free because it would be an awesome way to grow my email list. And I’m told that growing your email list is a super-important thing to do.
It’s not until now, months later, that I realise I sold myself short.
My PDF was only first draft quality, but it has the bones of a good product, so I’m going to pull the free version and work on making a great book to sell.
I would like to create more products, ones that solve the problems or questions of my audience. So I’ll be working on that in the near future.
I recognise that telling you about how we intend to make money isn’t overly helpful until you can see money actually being made. I do intend to share our income reports with you… once I have something to share!
Sharing our income numbers may seem super weird to you, but it was reading other bloggers income reports that totally made me realise it IS possible to make money from blogging. Here’s some examples of other travellers in case you’re interested.
P.S. – With the list of bloggers’ income reports above I’ve really tried to limit it to the people that are making money from their blog, NOT people who are making money from telling others how to make money from their blog. (I have no issue with bloggers sharing their strategies and tactics for how to make money online, and being paid for it; but I just want to show you people who are making money simply from the blogging side.)
I personally prefer the income reports that also show you how much traffic they get. It’s comforting to see that you don’t need to be getting one million page views per month in order to make money.
How OTHERS earn money while RVing
Okay, now that I’ve talked enough about me and what we’re trying to do … let’s talk about how others are making money on the road.
Stop to get short-term jobs
This option would make a lot of sense to most people I think. Heck, it makes sense for us too, except we would rather not do it. I’ve done one administration job for three months while we’ve been here in Dubbo, and now Ben is working at a local tyre/tire shop.
Here are a couple of examples of people here in Australia that regularly stop to work.
Renee travels with her husband and son, and they stop whenever they need to and she picks up work as an Emergency Department nurse. They’ve been doing this for two years now.
Or there’s the sparkies who get work as they go…
And plenty more people who don’t have social media pages…
This would work for almost any type of work. But you may have to be flexible. If you’re an administrator, you might be a receptionist for a while. If your last job was as assistant principal, you can be a teacher for a while.
I don’t have any experience of this, as it’s not widely popular here in Australia. But I’ve read a lot of people saying how they do stints at workamping to offset their living costs.
There are a number of groups like this one: https://www.facebook.com/groups/workamping/ that you can join to find workamping opportunities.
MLMs get such a bad wrap. And it’s unfortunate cos there are plenty of people that are working their business and making a great income.
In case you’re not aware, an MLM or Multi-Level Marketing is:
Multi-level marketing (MLM) also called pyramid selling, network marketing, and referral marketing, is a marketing strategy for the sale of products or services where the revenue of the MLM company is derived from a non-salaried workforce selling the company’s products/services, while the earnings of the participants are derived from a pyramid-shaped commission system.
The word pyramid selling sends a shiver up anyones spine; but just to be clear, MLM is not a scam, it’s not a fad and it’s certainly not illegal. Just because someone spent a tonne of money on a business opportunity, and then gave up on it 3 months later because they didn’t make a million dollars , does not make the business wrong or illegal.
It probably doesn’t help that whenever people share their MLM business on facebook they are very secretive about what they do and will only DM (Direct Message) you instead of just saying what they do. I understand that they want to connect personally rather than be judged (and dismissed) on first impression… but geez, everyone knows it’s an MLM you’re referring to they just don’t know which one, and all this secrecy does nothing to improve the image of MLMs.
I’ve been involved in my fair share of MLMs over the years – Amway, Nutrimetics, Tupperware and Empower Network – so I’m not talking from ignorance here. For me personally… I always felt like I was trying to sell people and I hated having to reach out to my network of friends and family, and it really just wasn’t for me.
Some of the big networks that seem to be most popular in Australia at the moment are: doTerra (essential oils), Herbalife (supplements) and Stampin’ Up (card making/crafts).
Consultant / Virtual Assistant / Freelancing
Now, I know these are very different types of work, but either consulting, virtual assistant or freelancing is perfect for if you have a specialist skill set and you’re able to offer that skill set without having to be there in person, i.e. you can work virtually. That’s what I’m doing with my Pinterest Management services.
I have a lot of friends in the online world (I do have real-world friends too!) who are doing work as a consultant or virtual assistant. This can be a huge range of tasks including social media management, diary management, organising events, editing, email management, online course administration, I could go on…
If you’re a writer, developer, programmer, musician, copy writer, photographer, editor, videographer (oh soooo many things) then you could offer your services as a freelancer.
Do you think that your experience would translate well to a consulting or virtual assistant side hustle?
Social Media Influencer
This can often look like the ‘glamorous’ part of travelling and making money. There are those people that grow their social media following (facebook, instagram, twitter) to such a large number that companies will sponsor them to promote their products.
An example of this is is TripInAVan.com. This Australian couple are currently travelling around Australia with their three young children. They travelled their first year living off their savings; they shared their journey on social media and managed to grow quite a large following. They are now being sponsored by a few companies and they work really hard, constantly putting out content on their own platforms and others, and it’s certainly not an easy way to make money. In my opinion, anyone who can garner a huge following deserves all the sponsorship they can get!
Or there are Cees and Madison (and baby Theo and Vladimir Kitten) from ourvie.com who were able to get sponsors for their epic trip to visit all 59 National Parks in the US.
“The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer.” -Paula Poundstone ORRRR, when they see #BryceCanyonNationalPark for the first time! Just wanted to wish everyone out there a Happy #Caturday! • • • • • • • • • • #vladimirkitten #adventurecatsorg #purrfection #kittylove #travelcat #adventurecats #travelkitty #tailsfromthetrails #campingwithcats #trailkitty #adventurekitty #backcountrypaws #catsofinstagram
There are lots of examples of people creating videos for Youtube and making an income from advertising revenues. I’m sure you can think of lots that you already watch yourself. Here are a couple of my favourites:
We’re the Russos
Less Junk More Journey
So there’s plenty of ways to make money, you just have to really think about what your skill set is and how that can be translated to earning money while RVing. Not always an easy task (I hear ya!), but I’ve found that by lots of researching online and talking to different people, you can make it work.
Oh, and lots of compromise. I could easily get another admin job somewhere, but I don’t want to do that type of work. So I’m doing the hard slog now to try and earn money while RVing so that we don’t have to stop!
August 2019 – We’ve got an update! Click here to see how we’re going, one year later.
Have you been able to earn money while RVing, some other way? Let us know in the comments so that others could see if it would work for themselves as well.
Pin to your RV or Make Money boards!
Tuesday 19th of February 2019
Excellent information and I love your "realness" too
You are doing a great job..
Tuesday 19th of February 2019
Thank you, Jackie! :-)
Friday 30th of November 2018
I feel I just read the most "real" article in awhile. I am new to blogging...well, a year in & still struggling...and this shows that there are really others out there like me, still just trying to make it work. My family is planning a year-long getaway through Central America next fall and I started to blog to document our journey, and hopefully find a way to have it generate some income along the way. There are just so many things to learn. Thanks for putting this out there. I am also not a fan of ads, unless it's something I believe in, and this company sounds great! I mean, the commented on your blog post!! Can I ask, how long did it take you to get 30K visits and how do you feel you achieved that?
Friday 30th of November 2018
Wow, thanks for your comment Shannon! :-) A year-long trip through Central America sounds amazing, what a wonderful adventure for your family and will be a great education for your son too. To answer your questions, it took just over a year to get to 30k and I attribute that to Pinterest mostly. A couple of my pins took off quickly and it just really helped me gain traction. HOWEVER... not long after writing this post, my traffic totally tanked. Like, now I'm not even getting 10k visitors per month. :-O And that's because my Pinterest pins weren't getting shared and viewed as much. So Pinterest totally got me the traffic but (in my opinion) SEO is the better thing to focus on (because if google loves you then Pinterest will love you too). If you have any other questions please feel free to send me an email, I'd love to help if I can. Michelle :-)
Tuesday 19th of June 2018
We're glad you're with us at Mediavine, Michelle! As publishers, we completely agree that ads aren't our favorite, but we also firmly believe that digital content creators should be compensated for all of the wonderful material they create. We do our best to make our ads the best we can and avoid doing the things that really interfere with user experience. If anyone has questions, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you for mentioning us! — Susannah at Mediavine
Tuesday 19th of June 2018
Thanks, Susannah! :-)