10 Awesome Business Ideas for Van Dwellers | Vantrepreneur

 
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We’re gonna start this blog off with a quick reality check. All of the adventure and traveling you see when you look at other van lifer’s Instagram feeds… it costs money. It isn’t free to live this lifestyle, and the people that are the most successful at it long-term are the people that have a steady stream of income to cover their costs and the unexpected things that will inevitably come up.

You might be wondering how you can make a steady stream of income while you travel and live out of your van. Don’t worry; there’s actually a lot of options for vantrepreneurs to make a living. Here’s 10 of our favorites (many of these we’ve done or currently do in some capacity):

Social Media Marketing/Manager

Why it’s great:

Most people already know a good deal about social media, e.g. what works, what doesn’t, how to create different kinds of posts, etc. Compared to something like web design, this has a pretty easy entry. Of course, it’s more than just posting random things online. There has to be a strategy and constant research regarding best practices and any updates that you need to know to perform well on social media. But, this is an easy job to do while on the road, as long as you have regular internet access.

What you’ll need to do to get started:

You’ll want to familiarize yourself with some social media planning apps like hootsuite and planoly (there’s lots out there, but these are two good ones to start with) so you can plan content out ahead of time. This is especially important when you’re traveling and don’t have access to the internet. There’s lots of programs out there that offer analytics or planning help, so play around with different platforms and try out some free trials!

What skills you’ll have to learn:

Marketing skills, mainly. When you’re posting on behalf of someone else, it’s a little harder because you have to keep their voice and their brand in mind. You’re going after their target audience, which may be different from the audience you’re used to. You’ll need to do a lot of research and think about what topics will resonate with them. Study the analytics (usually included right on most business versions of the social media platforms) to see what’s working, then tweak your approach.

Video Production

Why it’s great:

You’re already seeing some of the most beautiful sights as you explore the world in your van, so you might as well shoot some video and create great content that you can sell to people that need video for their marketing strategy. This is a fun way to showcase your creative and technical skills and make some money while doing it.

What you’ll need to do to get started:

You’ll need some decent camera equipment. Your videos will need to be very high quality in order to sell them, and they’ll need to be professionally edited. You can great some great cloud-based software for this; we use Adobe Creative Cloud for all of our video editing. Once you have a few videos created, you’ll want to showcase them somewhere so you can show them to potential clients.

What skills you’ll have to learn:

Of course, you’ll need to have an eye for video, but equally, you’ll need the editing knowledge to be able to turn all of your footage into a beautiful video that your clients will love.

Etsy or Creative Market Sales

Why it’s great:

Anyone can sell on Etsy or Creative Market, and it only takes an hour or so to set up a shop and get started. You’re not limited to selling just one thing, either. On Etsy, you could sell anything from coffee mugs to jewelry to digital items. On Creative Market, it’s all digital, but you could sell fonts, templates, stock photos, graphic design, etc. There’s really no limit, and both sites are free to join (but they take a percentage of your sales as a fee).

What you’ll need to do to get started:

You’ll need something to sell, so if you’re not already proficient at making something, you’ll definitely need to start there. Many crafts can be picked up quickly, like soap making or candle making or embroidery. The more you do it, the better you’ll get.

What skills you’ll have to learn:

Setting up an account is pretty basic, so you’ll really just need to learn whatever skill it takes to make the thing you’re selling, and some basic marketing principles to find new people to sell your items to.

Photographer

Why it’s great:

If you know how to take great pictures, you can make money in lots of different ways. You could do marketing photos for businesses, portraits, sell stock photos, shoot events, etc. There are a lot of possibilities and ways to make money, you’ll just need to think about how you’re going to get clients while you’re on the road.

What you’ll need to do to get started:

You’ll need to invest in a great camera, editing software, and probably a website. Get your work up on your site and on social media so you can market yourself to your dream clients.

What skills you’ll have to learn:

Aside from photography skills which will get stronger the more you practice, you also need to know how to use PhotoShop or Lightroom to edit your photos. You’ll also need to have some marketing skills so you can connect with clients that want to hire you or buy your photos.

Virtual Assistant

Why it’s great:

This is the perfect job for people who have a lot of skills but not a ton of experience in any one thing. It’s a great option for administrative assistants that want to work from anywhere. If you find a few clients that will pay you for a certain number of hours each week, you can easily create a steady stream of income.

What you’ll need to do to get started:

You’ll have to decide what skills you have now and what skills you want to start learning. Join some Facebook groups for virtual assistants or creative entrepreneurs to see what skills are in demand and start teaching yourself how to do new things. This is a job that can be as broad as you want it to be.

What skills you’ll have to learn:

It depends on the client. Some VAs manage emails, do customer service, and data entry, which is all pretty basic. However, some clients may want you to handle more advanced tasks like optimizing their website or handling their SEO. Respond to job inquiries or market yourself based on the skills you already have, and keep learning new things along the way. That will allow you to charge more and be able to work with a wider range of clients.

Podcasting, YouTubing, and/or Blogging

Why it’s great:

This is another job that’s easy to do from anywhere, and you can do it on your own schedule. You will want to make sure you have regular content most of the time, but if you miss a day or want to post more content one week and less another, that’s totally fine. There isn’t a huge hurdle to starting any of these, and the more you do it, the better you’ll get and the more fine-tuned your content will be.

What you’ll need to do to get started:

For podcasting, you just need to get a good microphone and if you can afford it, an editor. For YouTube videos, you need a camera (preferably more than just your iPhone, though if you have to, you can start there) and you’ll need software for editing. Blogging is pretty simple. All you need to do is set up a blog. You can start with a free platform like WordPress if you want, however to be taken seriously you probably need a more professional looking site with a custom domain.

What skills you’ll have to learn:

Aside from the editing side of things, you really just need to flesh out your own style, whether you’re talking into a microphone, speaking on camera, or writing blog posts. You have to offer something new to the conversation, so you’ll want to spend some time thinking about your voice and your brand before you start creating content.

Content Creator and Strategist

Why it’s great:

You can use your skills as a marketer to help someone find more success in their business. If you’re the kind of person that likes to have control over a project, setting up someone’s strategy and creating their content is a dream come true. You can decide if you want to offer a range of services, like blog posts, video content, infographics, etc. or you might feel more comfortable specializing in one thing.

What you’ll need to do to get started:

You need to find clients to hire you, so you’ll probably need some kind of website and a social media account where you can network with people. If you don’t have a portfolio, start there. You can create “fake” content at first just so you have something to show.

What skills you’ll have to learn:

It depends on what kind of content you’re creating, but you will need to have a good understanding of digital marketing, SEO, and be familiar with commonly used programs like WordPress, Asana, and Trello to be able to collaborate with clients and stay organized.

Web or Graphic Designer

Why it’s great:

As a web or graphic designer, you can make a really nice income because when you’re good at what you do, clients are willing to pay a lot to work with you. People are always going to need great looking websites, logos, and graphics, so this is something that can  sustain your lifestyle for years and years to come, especially if you keep investing in your skills.

What you’ll need to do to get started:

You’ll need to get a good computer (probably a mac) and software like Photoshop, Illustrator, and inDesign. You’ll also need to create a website to showcase your work, and build a social media presence to connect with potential clients.

What skills you’ll have to learn:

Graphic design and web design are skills generally learned in college, but it is possible to teach yourself using online courses and tutorials. It just may take a while before you’re able to start charging decent rates for your work so this is a skill best developed before you embark on your van life journey.

Copywriter or Ghost writer

Why it’s great:

You really don’t need much to get started as a copywriter or ghost writer, as long as you’re really great at writing and can market yourself to your potential clients. You can write everything from email sequences to blog posts to courses and webpages for other professionals. You just need to have a good understanding of their industry, their target audience, and persuasive writing skills so you can help them convert sales.

What you’ll need to do to get started:

Just start writing. You’ll get better as you go, but the best thing to do is just write as much as possible and research the best techniques for the different kinds of projects you plan to work on. Market yourself online so people can find you, then link to a portfolio of your work so they can get a sense of your style and skills.

What skills you’ll have to learn:

Aside from grammar and spelling, your biggest obstacle is going to be mimicking the client’s voice and brand, and writing confidently in many different niches. Research will be your best friend, so spend just as much time doing that as you do actually writing until you feel comfortable with your client’s voice.

Affiliate Marketing

Why it’s great:

You’re getting paid when people click on your links and make a purchase, and there’s very little work you have to do aside from creating the content and setting up the links. You don’t make a ton of money off each individual sale, but once you put a link out there, you can make money off of it forever.

What you’ll need to do to get started:

Find out the different websites you can become an affiliate for and find things that you want to link to. You can start with Amazon and Target, and then go from there based on what you like to write about and what your audience likes to read about. You’re much better off linking to products you already love because then you don’t have to work so hard to make it fit your brand.

What skills you’ll have to learn:

Basically, you’re just adding links to the content you already create. You can add them to the description box of your YouTube videos, to your blog posts, and to an ebooks or digital downloads you send out to your subscribers. As long as you can create content, you can do affiliate marketing.


If you’re thinking about becoming a vantrepreneur, you need to download our free digital nomad starter guide! Just click here to grab it. In it, we share more ideas for remote work and a five-part get started plan that will get you feeling excited and confident as you leave your 9-5 behind and create a life for yourself that you truly love.

 
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