By Ramona Creel
When folks find out that I'm a working full-timer, they always want to grill me about how I make money on the road. I explain that I run my own business, but that you don't have to do that to earn a living as you travel!
I was chatting with a fellow RVer the other day, and when he found out I was a full-timer running my own business on the road, he asked if I’d ever done any workamping. I jokingly said no, that I don’t like cleaning toilets -- he laughed, and then said, “Really?” I laughed too, and said, “Really!” I know that not every workamping position involves scrubbing a bathroom floor. I’d be willing to do trail maintenance at the Grand Canyon, I’d work on a ranch for the sheer fun of being around animals all day, and I think helping out at a vineyard would be tons of fun (especially if they paid you in wine).
I’ve never believed in working just to pay the bills -- and there’s no reason that folks (especially the determined, tenacious kind that make good full-timers) can’t have jobs they love, even on the road. Of course, I’m a fan of self-employment. And these days, there are so many opportunities for working either remotely or at a mobile career. I write, do photography, coach people on how to live simpler lives, and organize clients when I’m in their towns. I know folks who sell their artwork at craft shows, sell collectibles at fleamarkets and antique shows, or buy and resell used items on eBay. But it wasn’t until I started connecting with other younger working RVers through social networking that I realized just how many variations there are on the “work-and-travel” lifestyle. When potential RVers ask, “What can I do to earn a living on the road?” — my response is usually, “What CAN’T you do to earn a living on the road??” Some of your options include:
- Mobile consulting services (working short-term projects for different clients in different areas)
- Bookkeeping (Quickbooks and tax prep for long-distance clients)
- Freelance writing (either for magazines, blogs, or working on a book)
- RV repair and maintenance (offering your services at the RV parks where you stay)
- Computer work (programming, web design, or other remote IT job)
- Graphic art (either commercial advertising or illustrations)
- Photography (either assignment-driven and client-based, or fine art/travel)
- Fine art (painting, sculpting, drawing, mosaics, fabric art, you name it)
- Music (either going on a concert tour or performing local gigs, and possibly giving lessons)
- Coaching and training (can be done via Skype, phone, and email)
- Pet sitting (especially for those in your RV park who travel away from their rigs)
You can also consider product sales as a way to bring in some mobile income:
- Arts and crafts (selling your handiwork at fairs and festivals as you travel)
- Resale (selling just about anything at flea markets around the country)
And, of course, there are those jobs that are do allow you to travel, but only within certain limitations:
- “Drive-away” jobs (driving vehicles across the U.S. and delivering them to a remote location)
- Caretaking (house-sitting and campground property management)
- Temp agencies (short-term office, cleaning, or even manual labor assignments)
- Tourism jobs (working at amusement parks, as a historical interpreter, giving tours)
If you’re thinking about starting a business that will support you on the road and need help, contact me! I’ve done it successfully myself, and I coach others on being able to break free from the typical 9 to 5 grind in order to travel full-time!