How do you make money while RVing? This is a very important concern for anyone that is of working age and considering the full time RVing lifestyle. There are two main ways to afford this lifestyle: 1) be independently wealthy or 2) work. For those RVers that are far from being wealthy, we will be exploring the various work opportunities for both temporary on-site and location independent employment.
Updated January 9, 2017
Temporary On-Site Employment
FlexJobs does the dirty work of finding and qualifying legitimate professional flexible work opportunities. Companies listed with FlexJobs offer telecommuting, part-time, flexible schedule, or freelance contract work. These companies vary from hospitality and web design to education and non-profit. Pay is dependent on job type and level of experience. Every year Forbes lists the top 100 companies offering telework positions offered via FlexJobs. Here is the list for 2016 (the list for 2017 isn’t available yet). Additional information about FlexJobs is available here. Please note that a subscription fee (ranging from $14.95/month to $49.95/year at the publishing of this article) is required for their service.
Amazon offers a yearly, seasonal opportunity specific to RVers. The work lasts from early fall until December 23rd. Along with great pay, Amazon CamperForce provides benefits such as paid campsites, overtime opportunities, shift differentials, and paid completion and referral bonuses. I have spoken to RVers that have worked for Amazon’s CamperForce and they caution that the work is very hard and that you don’t always get to pick your shifts. Some jobs require walking 12+ miles per shift. It could be a great opportunity to work hard for a few months and then take a few months off, if you can. I’ve heard most people need a small break after working Amazon’s CamperForce, especially if they took advantage of overtime and stayed for the entire season. Find out more here.
Workamping is loosely anyone that works while living in a RV. Workamper News is a website specific to working RVers searching for employment. Jobs range from working at campgrounds and national parks to working concession stands and temporary venues. Like all job hunting websites, potential employees are required to sign up. There is a free and paid membership available. The free membership is pretty basic, but still includes some job listings, webinars, and an online magazine. The paid membership includes everything from the free subscription plus a print magazine, wanted ads, training, and other services. The price for the most inclusive membership is only $47 for the year (updated January 2017). Unlike the other opportunities I have listed, workamper.com also includes volunteer positions. Some volunteer opportunities come with perks such as free sites with full hook-ups (water, electric, sewer) or free admission to events or parks. Get additional information here.
Location Independent Work
Independent distributors generally pay an initial sign up fee and then they are free to sell various company products (member fees and “active” status vary by company). Distributors decide how much, if any, inventory to keep. Limited or no inventory is possible because independent distributors are given an online store, created and maintained by the company. Start-up fees, for this type of business, are usually pretty low. Pay is directly related to the amount of product sold and various bonuses for other activities dependent on the company. If you are thinking this would be hard to take on the road since home parties would be difficult, you are wrong! Some RV parks have club houses where you can host a party or you can do a virtual party. There are many RVers that are successfully running businesses as independent distributors. I’m including the names of several companies below. These links go directly to the sales pages of friends and if you decide to join, they would receive a small benefit. I know there are more companies out there, but these are the ones I have seen most often. A word of advice, to succeed in these lines of work, you have to treat them seriously as your personal business. You must be willing to invest serious time and effort and outreach to succeed. Training is available, some of it free. Here’s a great one: meetjenjohnson.com
My short list of companies offering independent distributor positions:
Sell your Creations
This is one that I think gets overlooked too much! Can you sew, embroider, draw, paint, make jewelry, etc.? These are all things that can be sold. Here you will need to keep an inventory, unless you can negotiate with an existing business or gallery to display your goods in exchange for a fee. You can also avoid stocking goods by creating digital artwork that is then sold, applied (to phone cases, t-shirts or scarves), and then shipped via an online store such as Redbubble (like our friend Neal’s store and our store!). If you prefer to keep a small inventory, you can still sell online without creating your own website using an online store such as Etsy (like my mother-in-law’s “My Storybooks Boutique“) or you can create your own online presence and store without using a third party. Finally, you can sell your unique items at craft shows, markets, or special events. I think fear keeps a lot of folks from selling their own creations. Here’s the thing though, if you love it and you are passionate, there is someone out there that will love and share in your passion. They will buy your creation because they can see that love and passion and because they can’t make it themselves!
Online Freelance Work (Upwork)
There are various online places where you can find online freelance work, but I have heard great things about Upwork. Here you can create an account and you can search for freelance opportunities or employers can find you. The job opportunities are quite diverse. Pay is negotiated between the employer and employee. Can you freelance on your own? Of course, but Upwork has a very large community that can help you connect with employers. Whether you have experience as a translator or as an engineer, Upwork helps connect you with online opportunities. There is a fee for using Upwork; 10% from each payment. They also have a premium membership, but the cost is not disclosed on their FAQ page.
Take your current job on the road
What do you currently do? Can you take it on the road? This is what I did. I did it before I even hit the road, to spend more time with our children. I told my company I did not want to return from maternity leave and asked if I could help in some other capacity, maybe from home. To my surprise they said yes. If you have been working with a company for a bit and consistently done well, you might want to consider asking about telecommuting. Make sure to have a list of the exact activities you can do from home and how you plan on maintaining connectivity. Make sure you have consistent internet access and the ability to use web-based meeting platforms, email, and anything else critical to your job.
Think Way Outside the Box – Brand Yourself
If you have succeeded in selling your own art or traveling
the world, you can help others by sharing how you did it via a blog, YouTube channel, or e-book. The possibilities are endless on how you can do what you love, share your passions, and earn a living. I will be creating a separate post that covers this topic in detail!
For RVers interested in additional reading, I would recommend the book, Support Your RV Lifestyle!. The book includes how to find jobs, how to handle mail, and other RVer concerns. After reading the book, we felt that we could financially support ourselves on the road even if our current employment ended. Note: If you use any Amazon or Bluehost links to make a purchase, we will receive a small commission.
This of course is not an all-inclusive list of jobs you can do on the road. There are so many other options, it would be impossible to list them all. If you are already full timing, what are you doing for work? Let us know what you think. Thank you so much for reading. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them below and we will answer them to the best of our ability.