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ONLINE BUSINESSES?


Jim/Alona

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Hi Jim & Alona,

 

We're working-age and have a number of ways we make money online. We've found that the key to earning a living online is to never rely on one source of income. There is no "magic bullet" or single thing that's been a gold mine (for us anyways), we work hard at a number of different online businesses and projects ranging from managing websites and Internet communities, to freelance writing, graphic design, jewelry creation, seasonal workamping and as product marketing reps for a health and wellness company.

 

When you combine everything it's a good living, especially considering that we get to change our office view whenever we want to. This week our headquarters is a gorgeous high alpine lake in Western Colorado, where we're boondocking for free with only 2 other campers here. We can only do this because we have satellite Internet connectivity (as well as redundancy with Verizon broadband, when it's available), but that's another convo.

 

Here's a few articles I've written about it, including our e-book:

 

Income Anywhere: Practical Tips & Remote Work Opportunities for Full-Time RVers

 

LIveWorkDream: How to Prepare for the Full-Timing Lifestyle

The Full-Timing Nomad: Making Money in the Outback The Full-Timing Nomad: Working Age RVer Trade-Offs

Good luck to you! Keep us posted with what you find. I'm curious to see what others have to say too. Thanks for starting this topic.

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There are a lot of avenues you can explore. Did you have something in mind already that lead to your question?

 

I've been an entrepreneur for 5yrs, currently working as a Front End Developer, my job is 100% location independent. This does require several skill sets though, including basic business skills. I gave my hand at web hosting for awhile, and while it was profitable, I didn't enjoy handling everyones problems. And sometimes you have to handle your clients for awhile until you get big enough to pay someone else. But it's an area that is commoditized and hard to really get big in.

 

One of the things I've been exploring personally is creating an online specialty store geared towards hipsters. Gosh, can't believe I just made that statement, but yeah. I meet an older couple who successfully started an online business selling vintage things to hipsters while traveling. I've had an idea for something similar, and my grandfather used to be a picker, and I thought, hey why not give it a try if I can come up with a good strategy.

 

Believe it or not, a young girl who runs a company called Nasty Gal (don't ask me) went from selling things on ebay she found in thrift stores to multimillion dollar company in the course of 4 years. Now she has her own product line. The thing is, if you go back and read about her, she had a unique concept and way of promoting herself. She got an audience, catered and grew. Just google, Sophia Amoruso and Nasty Girl.

 

Hey, trading dollars for hours sucks, but if we all had million dollar ideas we wouldn't all be doing it.

 

Don't be afraid of failure though. That's the biggest key to making money online. Be willing to test your ideas and ok if you fail and fall on your face.

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A business that requires a commitment of inventory to sell would be difficult for FT RVers because of the lack of space. The examples given by mikekey might be challenging in our lifestyle.

 

I also had a small online business selling on eBay, but this required the room to stock inventory to ship to customers. Would not have been practical even in my large coach. I suppose now that I own a lot with a shed I could look into something like that, but not if all I had was the coach!

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A business that requires a commitment of inventory to sell would be difficult for FT RVers because of the lack of space. The examples given by mikekey might be challenging in our lifestyle.

 

I also had a small online business selling on eBay, but this required the room to stock inventory to ship to customers. Would not have been practical even in my large coach. I suppose now that I own a lot with a shed I could look into something like that, but not if all I had was the coach!

 

Not entirely, depends on the size of what you are selling. And how much of it you want around, but it could be a challenge for some things. We're actually not in an RV but pull behind. I can make soap fairly easy with 3 buckets and some shallow cup cake pans. Having about 100 bars does takes up the same space as the 3 buckets to start. You have to really consider what kind of inventory or product. This is the main reason why I lean towards the idea of speciality brand that sells very limited quantities of stuff. I won't lie, it's a difficult business concept.

 

This is probably why if you could create an electronic product you'd really be set. Technomad is one of the people who I've really been inspired by, he's leveraged his skill and passion to create income.

 

Good luck in your endeavours.

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Not entirely, depends on the size of what you are selling. And how much of it you want around, but it could be a challenge for some things. We're actually not in an RV but pull behind. I can make soap fairly easy with 3 buckets and some shallow cup cake pans. Having about 100 bars does takes up the same space as the 3 buckets to start. You have to really consider what kind of inventory or product. This is the main reason why I lean towards the idea of speciality brand that sells very limited quantities of stuff. I won't lie, it's a difficult business concept.

Mike I've always wanted to learn how to make soap but doing it on the road seemed difficult (we're in a 24' fifth wheel). But you're right, inventory depends on what you're selling. I make jewelry and my inventory and tools all fit in a pretty small space, takes up about 1/4 of the space underneath our bed.

 

We're upgrading to a 27' at the end of summer, I might have to try the soapmaking. Thanks for the inspiration!

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Obviously there are exceptions to the space problem. I guess it does indeed depend on what it is you offer. In my case I was selling bicycling apparel and I had to stock quite a bit. The business took up one entire bedroom in our SB home. Plus the time spent on this PT business started getting exhausting when working FT. Financially it was nice, but I began to think it was not worth the time spent.

 

If you can find a service to offer that would be ideal, or if you have a gift with words, you could write. I'm always thinking there must be a way of making a buck while traveling, but finding and developing those ideas is not easy.

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What types of online businesses are actually working right now for fulltimers? Sales? Service?

Didn't you used to have a hot dog cart? Or am I thinking of someone else? I always thought that looked like a great deal of work to make profitable.

 

We have managed to live what we consider to be quite well on our limited income just by spending a lot of time in resident volunteer positions where we find interesting or educational things to do in return for an RV site.

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I'm with Kirk. The volunteer positions are available all over the country at both state parks and federal parks. You might even find these positions elsewhere. You get a free site , free electricity and other bonuses in many cases. We were going to camp host at a state park in Colorado for the summer, but had to cancel our trip due to my mom's passing. We will hopefully be able to do this next year.

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I'm with Kirk. The volunteer positions are available all over the country at both state parks and federal parks. You might even find these positions elsewhere. You get a free site , free electricity and other bonuses in many cases. We were going to camp host at a state park in Colorado for the summer, but had to cancel our trip due to my mom's passing.

Sorry to hear of your loss! :(

 

To add to the point, we have volunteered at national wildlife refuges, state parks, county parks, national parks, state forestry tree farm, a state game management area(hunter check station), a grass airfield, several historic sites, and a fish hatchery. There are many different opportunities out there. :)

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DW has been a corporate recruiter for seven years, placing into mostly high-paying special-skills positions. She has an MBA and was an HR manager for a major aerospace company. She works on commission and income can be erratic but still significant. Fortunately we have retirement income as well as savings.

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We've been full timing for 8 years now, and do a variety of things that are mostly online. We advise companies on technology strategies - from social media marketing, developing a unique product launch, product development and even custom app development. We have developed our own suite of mobile travel apps for iPhone/iPad and now Android. We have a couple of eBooks we've written (and we just got crowd funded to write an update to one of them). We just started a new membership site for those who want more content on mobile internet topics.

 

And.. to keep things interesting & fun, we also love taking on short term gigs. From volunteer hosting to packing boxes at Amazon or other unique experiences that come our way.

 

Here's our article about mobile income ideas for full time travelers: http://www.technomadia.com/jobs

 

- Cherie

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And.. to keep things interesting & fun, we also love taking on short term gigs. From volunteer hosting to packing boxes at Amazon or other unique experiences that come our way.

It should also be noted that they volunteer helped the "Geeks on Tour" with some of their workshops at Escapade and the extra help really made an effective difference. With their able assistance, Pam & I learned more in that workshop than we had learned for Apple and AT&T combined in a year's time about our iPhone's!

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It should also be noted that they volunteer helped the "Geeks on Tour" with some of their workshops at Escapade and the extra help really made an effective difference. With their able assistance, Pam & I learned more in that workshop than we had learned for Apple and AT&T combined in a year's time about our iPhone's!

 

Awww.. blush. Thanks Kirk! It was so lovely to meet both you and Pam, and so happy the class was worth your time to attend! We had fun helping the Geeks out!

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As working-age folks who are still stuffing money into retirement savings, the big issue that we've encountered when volunteering at workamper positions in return for a site, is that it takes away from time we spend on developing our businesses and earning money for our later years.

 

Some day we hope to be able to just volunteer workamp but for now that takes a backseat. We will however, take on workamping jobs that pay a salary, like we are doing this summer at a dude ranch in Colorado. They're out there, just harder to find.

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I was fortunate enough to have a job already that's remote. I manage an IT services organization so I typically do sales, contracts, people management and customer relations from the back of my RV. I only need phone (Cell phone works) and decent Internet (512k-1MB min) to work effectively. I love being able to change locations when I'm tired of the scenery, although I need to check out LiveWorkDream's remote Internet options as I've yet to find a reasonably prices solution or I'd be by an Alpine Lake working as well!

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I was fortunate enough to have a job already that's remote. I manage an IT services organization so I typically do sales, contracts, people management and customer relations from the back of my RV. I only need phone (Cell phone works) and decent Internet (512k-1MB min) to work effectively. I love being able to change locations when I'm tired of the scenery, although I need to check out LiveWorkDream's remote Internet options as I've yet to find a reasonably prices solution or I'd be by an Alpine Lake working as well!

 

Larry that's an awesome gig to have! As for our Internet options, we have satellite Internet and a MiFi for redundancy. It's not cheap but we write it off as a cost of the lifestyle we love so much, it's the only way we can really get out there and be in the kind of remote places we dig. Unfortunately sat service hasn't gone down a penny since we got our system. Maybe some day!

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I keep looking into it but it seems Hughes Net doesn't really like or even allow it to be used in anything other than a permanent location. At least the service I've looked at. Seems like it might have been a spot beam or something.

 

Keep seeing the Motosats on rigs and have Sat Envy! We've already got 300W of solar and could easily add 300W more if I'd ever figure out the reliable Internet.

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I keep looking into it but it seems Hughes Net doesn't really like or even allow it to be used in anything other than a permanent location. At least the service I've looked at. Seems like it might have been a spot beam or something.

 

Keep seeing the Motosats on rigs and have Sat Envy! We've already got 300W of solar and could easily add 300W more if I'd ever figure out the reliable Internet.

 

We have mobile satellite Internet, which is different than fixed sat service. You can find more info at MobilSat, our provider.

 

As far as "reliability" well, nothing's always 100% every time, that's why we have the MiFi as a backup. Redundancy is key.

 

Awesome solar setup, now I've got the envy!

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  • 2 weeks later...

It is hard to make money but what you have to do is attract visitors to your site, lots and lots of them as step one. Then you can add advertisements, add affiliate links or even add your own web store. None of which works if you don't have the hordes of visitors, most folks blogging are happy to make back their site costs.

 

This guy isn't doing badly with ads and affiliate links to Amazon: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php with Linux reviews this guy makes a living from donations to support his very political adult cartoons daybydaycartoon.com and there are a lot of similar sites.

 

Bottom line you have to be interesting to a lot of people every day for a long time to build the volume you need to profit from it.

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Do people really make money blogging? How does that work?

Yes, they do, we do, but what it comes down to is how you define blogging and how hard do you want to work at it. You can generate substantial income from a blog and there are many ways to monetize one, from direct relationships with manufacturers to affiliate advertising, from e-commerce sales to e-publishing, all of which we describe in detail in our e-book, Income Anywhere. What kind of blog do you have or are you thinking of starting?

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If you want to sell a product online, you could get someone else to stock and ship your merchandise--someone who has a real sticks and brick house. If you are selling a LOT of product each month, there are fulfillment companies that will do it for you for a fee. (Note that all that TV stuff charges you "shipping and handling"? They use fulfillment houses and pass the costs on to you.

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