6 Best Ways to Make Money While Traveling Full Time

 
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We talk to a lot of van dwellers about how to make money while traveling full time. Everyone’s situation is different, but most people want to have a steady income while living on the road. While van life is less expensive than having a mortgage or rent payment (in most cities, anyway) you still need money for gas, insurance, parking, and the fun things you want to do. Plus, there’s routine expenses like your cell phone, food, and probably student loan payments. Even if you have a good amount of money saved up, you’re going to need more eventually.

The suggestions we’re sharing below are passive income streams, which means you do a bit of work upfront, but then you earn money off that work over and over again. Just know that sometimes it takes a little while for the money to start flowing in. So, if you don’t think you need money yet, but you know you will eventually, it’s best to start on some of these now so you’re not in tough spot later on.

If you want to know exactly how we earn an income while traveling full time, you can read this post right here.

Here’s some of our favorite ways to make money while traveling full time:

Write an e-book and sell it.

Writing an e-book is a great way to create some passive income. You can do everything yourself online using software you probably already have. Once you create your e-book, you just have to promote it and make it available for people to purchase.

Lots of van dwellers we talk to are thinking about creating “van build” e-books, where they share all of the steps they took to build their van. This is a perfect way to earn an income! You’re not only selling valuable information that other people can follow as they start their own journey, you’re sharing your personal experience and saving them from making mistakes that would cost them time and money. That’s a lot of value!

You don’t have to create a van build e-book, there’s lots of topics that you could explore. Some ideas off the top of my head: how to start a business, how to become a photographer, places to visit in a certain part of the country, etc.

Tips to get started:

  • It’s important to build your audience first and see what they’d be most interested in. You can just start writing a book and see what happens, but it’s much better when you know there’s real people out there who are interested in a topic before you spend all that time working on it.

  • Test your audience and your idea by offering the first chapter as a freebie. This is great because you can see how many people download it, plus you can collect email addresses in exchange for the chapter, and then email that list when your book is available.

  • Hire a copywriter to help you edit and review your book. You really want to deliver something that’s polished and free from typos. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to hire an editor, and we think it’s a worthwhile investment.

Some helpful resources:

Creative Market - a great place to get professionally designed e-book templates.

Canva - a user-friendly design tool for making your own e-book covers.

SamCart and SendOwl - online platforms for selling and marketing your e-book.

Kindle Direct Publishing - everything you need to know about selling e-books on Amazon.

Start Blogging and Create an Amazon Affiliates Account

Blogging is a great way to create passive income. You can do it from wherever, and you can post whenever you have time. Of course, having a regular blogging schedule will help keep you consistent, but compared to other types of work, this is pretty flexible.

To monetize your blog, you’ll want to add affiliate links to your posts. Set up an account with Amazon Associates and find items that your readers would be interested in. You definitely want to be picky about what links you post, since you only make money if someone clicks on it and makes a purchase. Think of things that have to do with the topics you already talk about, so the links are more natural and don’t feel like a sales pitch.

Tips to get started:

  • Set up your blog. You can use Squarespace which is our personal favorite or Wordpress

  • Think of a good name and hire someone to design your branding. You want to start off on the right foot so people take you seriously.

  • Do some keyword research to see which terms are a) being searched for online and b) underserved by other bloggers. This is your sweet spot.

Some helpful resources:

WordPress - a free blogging platform that you can easily upgrade into a professional site.

MailChimp - email marketing tool you can use to let readers know when you have new content.

Evernote - digitally capture, organize, and share blog ideas between your devices.

BuzzSumo - a handy tool for seeing which content is being shared most from your site.

Grammarly - a handy browser tool that checks your grammar for you (this is a must have!)

Start a Youtube Channel

YouTube is a great way for creators to make some money. If you develop enough of a following, you can even replace your salary just with this one income stream. It does take a little bit of time, so start posting videos now and keep at it.

People love watching videos, and that isn’t going to change. However, you can’t just shoot a video, upload it, and expect to get paid right away. Your channel has to have 10,000 total views before you’re eligible for monetization. Don’t let that discourage you, though. If you’re putting out interesting content that’s edited well, it won’t take long to reach 10,000 views.

Tips to get started:

  • Just start. Don’t let fear or uncertainty stop you from putting content out there. You’ll learn over time (through trial and error) what works and what doesn’t work.

  • Take some classes on video production and editing. You can find classes like these online through platforms like Skillshare or Lynda.com.

  • Brand your YouTube channel to match your overall branding. This will help people to know, like, and trust you… and be able to find you elsewhere.

  • Be consistent. Post at least once per week for the best results!

Some helpful resources:

TubeBuddy - tool for managing comments, creating templates, scheduling videos, and more.

Epidemic Sound - library of copyright-free music you can use for your videos.

Adobe Creative Cloud - professional tools you can use to edit your videos from anywhere.

Teach Your Skills & Create an E-course

If you are skilled in something, why not teach it to others? For example, if you are a photographer and you love teaching people, you can easily create your own e-course showing people how to take their own beautiful photos. Similarly with other skills like hand-lettering, graphic design, illustrating… you name it. You can turn anything you love into a course and share your knowledge with other people online.

Tips to get started:

  • Brain dump everything you know and create an outline of different lessons you could create in your course. You might find that there’s more to teach than makes sense for a single course. In that case, you can make multiple courses, e.g. a beginner’s course, an advanced course, etc.

  • Test your market by sending surveys to your ideal customers to see what specific things they are curious about or have always wanted to learn.

  • Get yourself on social media. Start sharing your work and teasing your course, even if you’re still working on the content. You want to build excitement and interest well before you launch.

Some helpful resources:

Teachery - a simple program for designing and hosting courses with customizable templates.

Kajabi - an all-in-one content hosting, marketing, and sales program for online businesses.

SurveyMonkey - free online survey software that allows you to create and send custom surveys.

Take on Freelance Work

The traditional workplace is changing, and a lot more companies are hiring remote employees. This is great news for those of us that want to travel full time! If you already have a full-time job, you could ask about switching to a remote role (as long as it makes sense for the work you do). You never know until you ask!

If that doesn’t work, you could always take on freelance work. You could find people who need help with the things you are great at, e.g. writing, marketing, social media, graphic design, etc. If you find enough clients, you could eventually transition your freelance work into an LLC and start your own business. The growth possibilities are pretty endless as long as you’re disciplined enough!

Tips to get started:

  • Create a portfolio to showcase your work. If you are just starting out, create some work for imaginary clients that highlights the kind of work you want to do. Put time and effort into it, then share it online so your dream clients can find it.

  • Create a website. In order to charge legit prices, you have to have a legit website. At the very least, write up a little “about me” section and share your portfolio. Make sure you let people know how they can contact you if they’re interested in working together.

  • Connect with people and talk about what you do. Join Facebook groups, comment on other people’s posts, and attend meetups for like minded people when you can.

Some helpful resources:

Dribbble - a site specifically for designers to find work and interact with other designers.

Working not working - an platform that connects you with companies who are hiring freelancers.

Hello Bonsai - easily send proposals, contracts, and invoices, track your time and expenses.

Sell Digital Products

SImilar to creating an e-course, you can create other digital products like templates, photo presets, and stock photos and sell them online. This is a great way to make a passive income because you truly just work when you have time, upload your content, and sit back and wait for people to buy it.

There are many online platforms that you can use to sell digital products, and the more popular ones even do a lot of the marketing for you since they’re already the go-to place for digital content.

Tips to get started:

  • Find out what is trending by following people in your industry. Look at what’s selling online and create something unique that capitalizes on that popularity.

  • Figure out the best way to deliver your content. Depending on what you create, you might want to sell it as a Photoshop file, or maybe you need to create a zip file full of content, including a text-based instruction sheet.

  • Make sure in addition to creating products, you’re also building a following online. What good is a product if you don’t have anyone to sell it to?

Some helpful resources:

Creative Market - a great place to sell digital products like fonts, graphics, and templates.

Canva - a user-friendly design tool for making everything from magazines to menus.

Etsy - an online marketplace known for selling digital and physical handmade items.

Squarespace - a website platform with simple and easy-to-use templates.


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