How We Make Money While Living In A Van
You’re diving into the world of #vanlife and you are even considering quitting your job and buying that perfect dream van. Except for one issue: how are you going to be able to afford this lifestyle?
Surely, you’ve thought of saving up money but what do you do once the money runs out? If you are in this for the long run, you know you are going to need to figure out a good way to make a sustainable income.
Even though van life can be cheap, in order to fully experience it you are going to need money.
There are many ways to earn money that have nothing to do with having a full time job. We understand that this way of life is not the norm, so we’ll assume that most people don’t realize that money is everywhere!
Although it may seem hard to find a way to earn an income, with an open mind and some proper tools, you’ll be able to figure out how to quit your job and earn a living in no time.
Making money on the road, or becoming a “Digital Nomad” is going to look different for everyone based on their individual skill sets.
You could choose to start your own small business like us. We’ve taken our skill set in the creative field to develop a career path for us that allows us to work remotely.
You can sell your services, you can sell digital products, or you can sell physical products like our friends Jace and Giddi from @ourhomeonwheels.
There are others who earn money through their YouTube channel and through blogging like Kristen from @bearfoottheory.
There are also people that work seasonally in town somewhere, and then travel during the off season. There are even simple jobs that do not require an entire business or portfolio, like working on a farm or finding small gigs on craigslist. There is something out there for everyone.
Don’t worry: the jobs won’t run out and the money won’t dry up.
To give you a better idea, we’ll share with you how we make money while living in a van. These are our sources of income currently. This is by no means a way to brag or boast about how much we make, but rather, we’re intentionally sharing this to inspire you.
We earn money in four different ways, and we're working on more! We'll break it down for you:
Our creative business helping small businesses with branding, video, website design, and photography.
We started our business four years ago and both have a college degree in design and film. We built our business from the ground up while we were freelancing in college. Now, most of our work comes from referrals, people that discover us on social media platforms, or just plain cold-calling.
Every month varies with our income depending on how many clients we have and what type of projects we are working on. It's not an easy feat to start your own business selling creative services, but we wouldn't trade our job for anything else. We love what we do.
We earn, on average, about $2000 - $7000 a month from this, but because we run the business ourselves, we still have to pay taxes on it. That money isn’t necessarily all of ours until Uncle Sam takes about a third of it, and after our business expenses are paid for.
Our blog through sponsorships and affiliate links.
This source of income is not as significant as the income from our creative business, but it is enough to give us just a little extra each month. You can earn money by promoting other businesses products, and this is called Affiliate Marketing. We specifically only sign up for affiliate programs that align with our readers, and we only promote products we personally have used! Sponsorships are when companies will pay you either in money or free product to promote to your audience.
Also, sponsorships are not as glamorous as some people make them seem, so we don’t really rely on them as a great source of income. Again, the amount we take in from these avenues varies each month, but we earn about $100 - $500 per month from this.
Our YouTube channel through monetization with advertisements.
This source of income was unexpected by us and we only just started earning a good amount from it. Until you have more than 10k views total on all of your videos, you aren’t able to place ads on them.
Because we average between 8,000 and 20,000 views per video, we can earn a pretty decent amount. We’re not really sure the exact formula to determine how much you can earn, but it seems to average out to around $1 for 10,000 views.
We earn around $200 - $400 a month from YouTube.
Field Scouting For Hipcamp.
Field Scouting is an amazing job for people that live in a van. We’re photographers, so we naturally could take on a job like this with ease.
Basically, Hipcamp is the AirBnb of camping. Hosts can rent out their backyards or property, but it’s up to the field scouts to scout the locations, take great photos, and leave reviews on their listing.
PS: Do you have property, backyard, or an amazing yurt you'd like to rent out as a campsite? Click here to sign up to become a Hipcamp Host and enter in Lexi Smith as your referral.
It really depends on where you are and if there are any sites to claim, but the benefit of this gig is you can camp for free - perfect for people living in a van! You get paid between $75 and $125 per campsite. Click here to apply to be a field scout.
We earn about $100 - $300 per month from this, depending on whether there are any local sites available to scout.
As you can see from the examples above, the income we take in each month varies, which does make it harder to budget and plan for future months. There are always slow months and we've learned it’s always good to have a backup fund! It's also good to never place all of your eggs in one basket. Having multiple sources of income reduces the stress that can come with being an entrepreneur.
Hopefully you realize by now the huge benefit of earning an income from multiple sources, because when you do so, there’s no cap on your earnings. You can make $100 in a month, or you can make $15,000 in a month. The beauty of this lifestyle is the fact that we can create our own path, we can earn as much as we believe we can, and we have the freedom to travel and live the way we want to.