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Flexible work that pays well - full timing


travelrider73

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My wife and I are working on our plan to go full time. She's going to be travel nursing, so we have "enough" income covered just with her job. However, just for my own satisfaction of not feeling like a mooching husband, I cannot sit around the campsite and wax the 5er all day while she's off earning our money (not to mention, I'd be bored senseless while she was at work).

 

I do have a computer science background. I am not set on making money with computer technology but I'm not opposed to it either. I simply mentioned my computer science background in case it helps some of you help me with some brainstorming ideas.

 

I also need flexibility. I've always been in situations that dictated where I was going to be, when I was going to be there, who's butt I had to kiss, when I had to kiss it, and so on. My wife is most likely going to be working three 12 hour shifts per week (giving us 4 days off to explore and enjoy life), and those particular days are going to change from time to time. (It won't always be Mon-Wed on and Thurs-Sun off). It would defeat a lot of the purpose of full timing if my work schedule were different than hers, so I need the flexibility to work while she's working.

 

I'm even open to additional training for something that I could do (as long as I don't have to go get my PhD).

 

Your thoughts, ideas and suggestions would be appreciated - even if it's just advice to help me look inward to find the answer.

 

Thanks!

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Lead Generation - Place those card boxes in stores that ask people to fill out cards. Or put up banners at local flea markets, etc with those cards on the table to fill out. Gather up at end of day and send via Priority Mail - COD. I understand they pay ~$2.00 each for filled out cards. Used by telemarketers.

 

There was a thread on here a few months ago about that and other alternatives to workcamping:

http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=106016&hl=%2Bwhy+%2Bwork

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You may touch base with Jack Mayer and Mark Bruss. Both are full timers and frequent this forum. They spend most of their time in the HDT section. They are both very tech savvy and full-time. I know in the past Jack has done things for RV parks to assist them with their technology challenges. Just an Idea.

 

JIm

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She's going to be travel nursing, so we have "enough" income covered just with her job. However, just for my own satisfaction of not feeling like a mooching husband, I cannot sit around the campsite and wax the 5er all day while she's off earning our money (not to mention, I'd be bored senseless while she was at work).

Have you considered volunteer positions? There are organizations that have RV sites with full hookups in most areas which you could volunteer at in return for your site and utilities free and so help the budget, not go stir crazy, and have some new and interesting experiences doing things that you have never done before. Many want two people but not all of them do so look around. For more ideas, I invite you to take a look at the places we have been and what we did there. Federal sites do take singles and most states do also.

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You might consider working for yourself, with a business you can run from your RV. Done right, it will give you income and flexibility, and be something you enjoy doing. As to what? Well, perhaps you could put together a workshop to present at RV parks, schools, or other venues -- on most any topic. Or, a repair or trouble shooting service, helping people with their computer issues. Find -- or make -- a product you like and sell it, either online or at area flea markets and trade shows. Maybe you'd like to build a profitable website. Etc.

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Problem with workcamping / Volunteering is you end up with minimum wage jobs.

 

Problem with a jobs is all you are doing is trading hours of your life for very few $$$.

 

Far better off to look for ways to make money.

 

i.e. Peruse Craigslist Help Wanted section and figure out how the person placing the ad makes his money and ask "Can I duplicate that?" Then try it! Amazing how many ideas come up that require no up front investment and you have the advantage of being free to locate wherever is most advantageous.

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Not a steady income producer but if you let it be known you do computer repair and cleanup you can land a surprising amount of work.

 

If you have programming skills Android development offers a lot of promise, look at the popular categories in the app store and narrow it down to ones that have low ratings or issues with the apps offered then do one better. A fresh idea is not a bad choice either but maybe not for your first effort else someone more practiced applies the first suggestion to your app. Apple may have similar options but I haven't looked at that.

 

We got several free weeks of camping by offering to sort out WiFi issues for RV parks, not messing with their systems other than sending in trouble calls , but working with RVers systems that weren't working and doing a bit of training. The manager hated computers and was happy to let us sit and use his water and power for free.

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Thanks for the replies so far.

 

I could definitely fix and teach people about WiFi, assist people with connectivity options, and could also teach a lot of other computer skills. Repairs of desktops are no problem, but laptops are a challenge sometimes. I can also fix software related issues - even if a computer won't boot, I'll eventually get it working again (usually). I am also very versed in Audio/Video components and can consult, set up and troubleshoot fairly complex A/V systems. Although I'm not speedy at it, I can usually figure out 12v and 110v issues that people may be struggling with.

 

Harry and others: What types of computer skills are you looking to improve? This will give me an idea of what level of training people might be looking for, albeit a small sample of people overall.

 

I've considered an idea of offering remote assistance as well. There is commercial software I can acquire that would give me remote access to other people's computers (with their permission by clicking an "accept" button of course).. With a phone call and my being able to see your screen and operate your computer remotely, I could troubleshoot computer issues from anywhere (so long as the computer is booting up). I was thinking this is something I could offer as I meet people in campgrounds and make a personal connection with them. I suspect some may be wary of this type of software residing on their computer, but if I gain the appropriate trust and respect, I think I could help a lot of people no matter where they are and no matter where I am. Getting enough clients would be the key - and getting the right clients - people who will respect my time off and work with my schedule. I think other RVers might be inclined to understand and respect that I'm not a 24x7x365 operation...???

 

You also mentioned that locals want you to come to them and are very expensive. What do you think is expensive and what would you be willing to pay for a good teacher to come to your rig and work with you? I know that places like Geek Squad are ridiculously expensive and not all of them are very knowledgeable.

 

As we move around, I have to figure out how to make it known that I do this sort of thing. My own answers to this question include: (a) telling the campground staff and leaving them some cards (B) telling people in the campground as I meet them © if the campground doesn't mind, door knocking and leaving a card with every camper (not my style to be aggressive in this way, but I guess I could) (d) again, if the campground doesn't mind, putting a small sign by my rig (e) posting where I am and what I offer on boards like this (f) web site (g) craigslist... That's my list - any other ways you can think of that I've left out, please let me know...

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How much are you willing to pay to have someone come to your rig & solve your problems?

Might depend upon what your guarantee is............. I have a neighbor who the only way to solve her computer problems would be to operate it for her! Now I wonder why I ever offered help...... :unsure:

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Such is the rub in that business plan. Too many "neighbors" willing to help for free. Why would I pay for the service? Only when I get a real stickler - then the labor to fix may not be worth what I am willing to pay! But then the "fixer" won't find that out until well into it and a significant investment of his time. Then if he walks away - no fix - no pay! That's why most Computer Repair places charge for a diagnostic session.

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If something is really messed up you can give them a choice of wipe and reinstall along with copying their data back at your base price or a per-hour cleaning. Figure a couple hours of your time for that so tag it at $50 and $25 for the hourly rate.

 

For training I just charged a flat rate, ridiculously high given that I was dealing with rich idiots, for typical RVers pick an hourly rate you think will sell and see how it works out, you can always change it. I'd say $10 per hour would be the minimum I'd bother with but I'd rather be at 20-25 and that is for helping with basic common programs and issues. One class I did that paid well was Windows cleaning and backing up important files, ran them through a list of cleaning tasks for malware, disk cleanup, defragging and updating as well as showing them how to copy important files to a backup.

 

You can even get work configuring routers, selecting and installing printers, adding backup disks and programs and similar stuff. One lady gave me $20 for setting up her screen saver to show her photo collection which took about five minutes. I spent a few more checking and cleaning a few things so I didn't feel guilty.

 

 

Kirk, I do not feel your pain... I had to quit helping folks for free as they kept expecting more and more free help, then they told their friends and they wanted free help too. I lost a couple folks as friends when I wouldn't tackle their issues any longer, they felt like I'd done it once and therefore I was on the hook forever. Going to a paid mode cut way back on the foolish calls and when we settled down I made it clear that I didn't know Apple or Windows even though I have a house full of computers. Not everybody is happy that I don't work for free but at least I'm not tied up several days a week fixing something I have come to dislike.

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You can make a pretty good living installing wifi in small mom/pop RV parks. If you use the right equipment it is pretty easy, NOW. Used to be way more finicky and harder to support. You can definitely make good money - but you also have to support it. Or train them how. It is a hassle, but then again I'm not looking for a second career....so I am biased in the amount of "work" required. You do have to go to them, though. Although it could work preconfiguring things and shipping the stuff to people that are above average in their willingness to learn about the technology. That can work. I used a "Cheat Sheet Guide" for them...it pretty much had the answers for those who had the willingness.....these days you have to throttle the connections somehow, either by restricting access to certain class of sites - OpenDNS does that nicely, or putting in some higher level of router. I happen to like the Cisco ISA line and that is pretty much all I spec now. Of course, you can get way more sophisticated if required, but it usually is not.

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Thanks for all the replies so far. The $20-30/hr range would work for me on the road. I haven't worked as cheap as $20/hr in 15 years, but being on the road and my freedom are worth the pay cut. As long as all our bills are paid and we don't end up living in an efficiency and bagging groceries at 85yrs old...

 

I like the idea of installing WiFi. I assume you're talking about the physical and technical aspects of it - including setting up the main routers and all the access points necessary to insure every site has a decent signal, including the electrical connections for the repeaters... I suspect getting power to the outdoor access points is the biggest challenge in most cases - at the back of the park where you're not near the office, and in cases where there are no restroom buildings to utilize? I know just enough about electric work to be dangerous - I guess you could install a small subpanel at one of the camp sites and put a repeater on a pole by tapping the line coming into that site...

 

I like the idea of helping people with their computer issues. I could definitely make that part of my business.

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Look into POE (Power over Ethernet) that is a big help in powering remote access points, most of the gear you'd want to be using supports it.

 

If you want more per hour you need to look for a different bunch of clients, that is hard to do when moving but medical offices that don't have a support contract pay very well, I had a group of brokers that I did individual support and training for that weren't sensitive to costs, I also did some stuff for small used car dealerships, they paid well but wanted a lot more ongoing support than I was comfortable with.

 

I never did it but looking into becoming a dealer for a campground reservation system might pay a few bills if you move around enough or are in an area with a lot of parks.

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As Stan points out - you must broaden your scope. At $25/hr you need 40 billable hours per week - week after week just to put yourself where you were 15 years ago. Difficult when you have to do your own Sales & Marketing. Best to find some clients in the $75-$100/hr category to free up time for that inevitable Sales & Marketing.

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Look into POE (Power over Ethernet) that is a big help in powering remote access points, most of the gear you'd want to be using supports it.

 

If you want more per hour you need to look for a different bunch of clients, that is hard to do when moving but medical offices that don't have a support contract pay very well, I had a group of brokers that I did individual support and training for that weren't sensitive to costs, I also did some stuff for small used car dealerships, they paid well but wanted a lot more ongoing support than I was comfortable with.

 

I never did it but looking into becoming a dealer for a campground reservation system might pay a few bills if you move around enough or are in an area with a lot of parks.

 

PoE: So you ran CAT-6 throughout the park to wired Access Points everywhere?

What about wireless repeaters - a beefy commercial quality wireless router back at the office and wireless repeaters throughout the park? Granted, I've never done a large scale WiFi deployment and so I'd have to research and learn a little bit before I felt qualified to sell myself as an expert in that area, but it seems that the technology should be there to minimize CAT-6 use these days.

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