How we make money: Income streams on the road

The big question: how do you make money?

The question we always get asked, or would be if we had a big enough following (this blogging gig is hard.)

Simple answer: We work remotely. Our tasks consist of online based marketing that can be done anywhere.

Longer answer: We have built up a portfolio of income streams to support us on the road. By diversifying where we get our income from, we can be better prepared if something were to fall through. Since we are not employees of a company with stable work hours & benefits this was key for our success on the road.



We focus on 5 things to support ourselves financially.

This list is ever growing as we spend more time on the road and harness new ideas.

Micah has always been interested in work that would promote location independence and while he has always had the opportunity with his work, Bailey has had to find new ways to make an income after quitting her 9-5.

Co-Founder at Augurian; Digital Marketing Agency

I started in digital marketing 8 years ago. First by learning on my own and picking up various small business and non-profit clients (often non-paying) while in college. Today I am the Director of Operations at a firm that I co-founded with my partners almost 4 years ago. I am incredibly fortunate to have awesome partners and an awesome team that is able to operate with me remotely. I want to note that while this is our main source of income it would be very possible for someone (us included) to sustain a nomadic lifestyle without starting a digital marketing agency with employees, insurance, liabilities, etc.

Tldr; this is our primary income, but not necessary to make it on the road or traveling as a nomad.

Real Estate

Right out of college I bought my first condo in Minneapolis, MN. It was the ultimate bachelor pad with industrial vibes and lime green accent walls. While there are better investments out there, this one was my first home, first rental property and first home sale netting around $30k after only a few years. This got me excited about real estate. Quickly after I started onto the idea of house-hacking and became a regular reader and listener of Bigger Pockets. Right before our wedding Bailey and I bought our first duplex (2 units) in Northeast, an up and coming neighborhood in Minneapolis; the neighborhood all the breweries are popping up, everyone is moving to and property value rises by the minute. Bailey and I purchased our duplex for $265k. We were able to use and FHA loan because we lived there so that meant we only needed 3-4% down. We did a light renovation on the upstairs unit, which took about 1 month before finishing and renting it out. Then we spent the next 3 months (moving pretty slowly) renovating the downstairs unit while living in it. We ended up putting around $20k into the property before getting it to a spot that is nicer than most comparable units in the neighborhood.

Tldr; we love real estate; our duplex nets ~$800 / mo & offers us some flexibility in housing when we aren’t on the road.

Freelance Marketing and Business Consulting

This is where Bailey shines. When we first started talking about traveling in an RV it was Bailey who had the most to figure out. She was working as an Event Specialist at a mid-size corporate company; it was OK; maybe she’ll talk more about it later. Anyway… Marketing and event experience in her corporate job, a marketing degree from a well-respected business school, growing up in a family-run small-business; she has the tools and experience to move the needle for small businesses. She now works with a handful of small-business owners and has been experimenting with work ranging from website design to full fledged marketing programs finding work through our own relationships and online gigs.

Tldr: More about freelancing and how to get started later. Our focus is on small-business marketing and we’re able to produce enough income from this to sustain the nomadic lifestyle. Avg. income $3-4k / mo.

Etsy

Etsy is another avenue that Bailey is perusing. She has tried a couple of different types of products to sell on Etsy starting a couple years ago with home crafts where she made homemade trinkets ranging from clay keychains to party streamers. Now that we’re in an RV, our capacity and space for crafting is limited so she started using one of her other skills (design) to create digital prints. She has around 60 unique prints and creates 3-4 per week so it is slowly growing. She is now getting custom requests from folks off Etsy and has started to see some traction with her frequency, custom jobs and positive feedback from the Etsy community. Etsy is a supplemental source of income for us. We only sell digital (no physical products) so we can continue this work on the road. We consider it incremental fun money and it is so awesome when the sales come in and people are excited about our designs and asking for custom work

Tldr; Avg. income $50 / mo. We hope to grow this to $200+ / mo, which will be mostly passive once the designs exist. Plus, Bailey loves it. Check out the shop here!

Blogging

This one has yet to generate any income so not technically an income stream YET but there has been plenty of hours put into setting up the platform for success.

Our blog centers around location independent living with a specific focus on RV living and Travel. There are many ways that you can monetize your blog, we have been focusing on affiliate marketing. We have a goal of making $2000 a month from the blog when it is fully up to speed and generating income.

This is an income stream that we have a lot to learn about but is a great way to diversify the way we make money from the road that is very tightly controlled by us.

Tldr; we make no income off of our blog yet but hope to grow this as a steady stream of income. Bailey focuses a lot of her time on this project.

There are so many different ways to make money without being confined to a desk. Some work for us while they might not work for you. We’ve compiled how you can make money from the road based on different skills & access below!

Upwork; selling services online

Upwork is a marketplace for freelancers to find work in many different specialties. This is going to be our number one recommendation because the income potential is high and there are countless needs that you could fill. Bailey has found success finding work with event planning and marketing. It’s not just the obvious categories like marketing or website development that you think of though. If you have a skill that can be done online there’s a good chance you can get hired for it on UpWork. Accounting, HR, design, translation, legal, data entry, administrative… There are tons of people looking for all of these services on UpWork, Fiverr and other sites. I actually use UpWork on the flipside to hire contractors for various needs at my agency. The hardest part is getting that first client so you can get a positive review and show that you have been successful on UpWork. For this I recommend a few things.

1) Price yourself competitively until you have built up the clientele and reviews to increase to premium rates. Don’t undercut yourself so much that you are devaluing your service, but look at the existing rates of contractors and price yourself on the lower end explaining that you are looking for your first few gigs to get started. I LOVE finding people who have no UpWork reviews because you can find that diamond in the rough for a great rate.

2) If you have existing contracts or employers ask if they will hire you for a gig on UpWork and leave a review. This will give you a leg up in the UpWork algorithm because you’ll have experience and reviews. This also looks appealing to potential employers.

3) be real, get people’s attention and ask for to have a conversation. From the hiring side, I get anywhere from 10-30 applicants for a job one-off posting. The people that reach out with a thoughtful message and a desire to hop on a video or phone chat stand out and are much more likely to get hired. This is especially true if you are starting out with no reviews or past UpWork jobs.

Tldr; Do you do something that only requires a laptop? You can make money for it from anywhere with UpWork.

Etsy; selling handmade products online

Etsy and Amazon amaze me because you can start to get sales without a painstaking amount of upfront marketing. You’ll have to pay the commissions to each sure, but they are existing marketplaces with millions of users who are ready to buy. In both experiences Bailey had on Etsy she had sales within days of posting her products with only the basics of a well optimized product, description and title. You’ll need to come up with a solid marketing strategy to scale, but there is something super motivating about getting your first few sales. Etsy is geared towards hand crafted items; physical and digital. Jewelry, clothes, toys, furniture, gifts all rank among the top categories of products people sell on Etsy. People particularly love items that can be customize. I purchased unique growlers for each of every guy in my wedding party and Bailey got jewelry for her bridesmaids.

Tldr; Are you crafty? Do you like to create? Make hand-made products, physical or digital and sell them on Etsy.

Traveling for work; Workamping, work assignments etc.

This is an area that we don’t have any experience in but have seen that many people fund their life on the road this way so we wanted to make sure to mention it as all of the other options are digital. Workamping is a unique concept that can include anything from managing a campground to working at an annual fair. Most assignments are a few months in length & while they most likely won’t cover what you are making in a full time job, they are good for supplement income here and there. Workamper.com is a good resource to see what kind of jobs are available, where they are located and how much they are paying. Some will compensate with a free place to hook up your RV for your duration of your assignment.

On this same thought, there are many people who begin traveling due to work assignments. Nurses & other careers in the medical industry, construction workers and many many more that we are missing offer work assignments around the country that allow you to travel to new destinations every few months. We are no experts in the

Tldr; Do you work in a field that allows travel assignments? If so, take advantage!

Blogging

This one may be obvious and tends to come easier to those who are looking for location independent lifestyles. You are generally in new places more frequently and have a lot of knowledge to share, living the nomad life requires tons of research to be successful. We are in no way experts at blogging but after finally get our page up and running, here are a few tips to the new blogger:

  1. There is seriously no trick to starting a blog in a day. Yes, you can set up your domain, find a hosting company and have a template on your page but there is so much more that needs to be done.
  2. Set aside time to focus on the blog once a day. It can be 30 minutes, 3 hours, whatever you have time for. If it doesn’t become a priority it will be very hard to get off the ground!
  3. Perfection is just not possible, you’ll never feel fully ready to publish a page, blog post or update. If you are checking off all your “must-dos” it is time to hit publish.
  4. Lastly, it will take a lot of time to feel like you are getting true results. From research, it takes most successful bloggers about a year to start really seeing the results they had hoped for. It is no easy feat like some will tell you so DON’T GIVE UP!

Tldr; if you are willing to put the time and energy into starting a blog, do it. If you can’t make it a priority, it should either be for fun or you probably shouldn’t do it.


Have any more questions on how we make this lifestyle work on the road? Contact us!


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