By far, the most common question we get when we meet someone new is how we make money while traveling full-time.
Did we win the lottery?
Do we have a rich family member footing the bill?
Are we living off an inheritance?
This is How We Make Money While Traveling Full-Time
In TREKKN episode 8 we share a little about how we make money while traveling.
We make money blogging.
Our blogging story
Back in 2005, I (Julie) had a professional organizing business. Yep, I went into people’s homes and helped them organize their stuff. I had some early success and was featured in a local magazine and a local newspaper. Having the newspaper come over and take pictures of my organized closet was a dream come true.
I did receive a couple of jobs from those interviews, but as soon as the next paper and the next magazine came out, I was long forgotten. I knew a “one and done” promotion in print wasn’t enough.
And then someone (I don’t even remember who) told me I should start a blog to promote my organizing business. A what?!
My first blog
Long story short, once I figured out what a blog actually was, I pitched the idea of an organizing blog to a blogging network I found through my research. They loved the idea. So I was hired. I went on to work for them for several years, until they went a new direction and let all of their bloggers go. At one point, I was running seven blogs at a time for them. SEVEN!
It was a pretty crazy and exciting time that set me up for a career I didn’t even know existed and didn’t even know I wanted.
While I can’t say I’ve never looked back (I tried to quit blogging a couple of times because of burnout and frustration), I am so thankful that company took a chance on my idea. Blogging has changed our lives.
Next blogging steps
After the blogging network job was over, I decided to go out on my own. One of the seven blogs I was running for them was a toy blog. Since I had gained quite a few media contacts in the toy world and just so happened to have kids who like to play with toys, launching a toy blog made perfect sense. I also really enjoyed it.
Since I seem to like new challenges and I was, once again, getting burned out, we decided to sell the toy blog. I thought my days of blogging were over so I took some time off to decide what I wanted to do.
And then I bought another domain name on a whim one day. I guess blogging is what I wanted to do. 🙂
My plan for this new blog was to build it up and sell it. It was fashion and beauty focused for moms, so I knew there was a huge target market ready and waiting for me.
Making a full-time income blogging
What happened to this blog I started on a whim with plans to flip it quickly? I kept it for seven years.
It wasn’t until about 5 years in that I really started taking it seriously, bought a blogging course, worked my way through that and then turned it into a full-time income. This little blog allowed my husband to quit his job in 2015 and work from home with me. It also allowed us to hit the road full-time in May of 2017.
After almost a year on the road, waking up and working on a blog about beauty and fashion became harder and harder. I mean seriously, I wear the same thing over and over and wearing makeup is a rare thing. I started to feel like a fake running a blog so heavily focused on outfit ideas and makeup tutorials. My interest and passion just weren’t there anymore.
So we sold it in April 2018 and launched…TREKKN!
As of today (July 2018), we’re living off the proceeds of that beauty and fashion blog sale while we build up TREKKN to a full-time income.
I can confidently tell you that it doesn’t take near as long as it used to in order to create a money-making blog. So, if this is something you’re interested in, don’t let the fact that I’ve been doing this since 2005 scare you away and make you think it’s not possible for you in a realistic amount of time. Because it most definitely can be.
Our history with making money online
Now, blogging isn’t the only way we’ve made an income online.
In 2004, Todd and I decided to dabble in building websites. After lots of research, we launched a site called OutdoorFam.com. Now, if you’ve watched any of our YouTube videos you might have heard us say that we weren’t campers or RVers before launching into this full-time RVing lifestyle. Not at all.
My idea of a weekend getaway was a local bed and breakfast. Our idea of a great vacation was staying in a hotel or Airbnb, not ‘roughing it’ in a tent or RV.
So, no, starting a website about outdoor recreation and calling it Outdoor Fam made no sense at all. And needless to say, it didn’t work out very well for us.
We did move on to create other websites that we were able to make some income from and then eventually sell for profit.
Our Amazon business
While I was still building up my fashion and beauty blog and Todd was working a job he didn’t really look forward to going to every day, we decided to launch an Amazon business by private labeling our own products. Essentially, this means that we created a brand and found existing products we could purchase, brand as our own, and sell to the public.
We ended up going with two products in women’s beauty and skin care. Now, when I say ‘we’, I mean Todd.
Todd built up this business, which allowed him to eventually go part-time at his job, in the early morning hours before work and in the evenings after dinner. He’d get up at 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. and work and then do it some more up until bedtime.
Was he tired? Um, yes. But he had a vision and a plan. The money he made from that business allowed us to breathe a little.
It eventually ended up not being the right business for us personally, and we struggled to find a way to overcome the hurdles we were facing, but we learned a lot from it.
We’ve done a lot. And then some.
Why am I sharing our online journey story with you? Several reasons, really:
- To share with you how we currently make money which allows us to travel full-time
- To share with you how we did a lot of things that didn’t work out, but we learned from it
- To share with you how hard work, persistence and consistency can lead you to live a life you love
If building a remote income is something you’ve dreamed about, now is the time to get started. What interests you? What topic could you talk about all day long? Is there a product that has changed your life and you want to share that transformation with others? Do you love to write? Do you love to be on video?
Take a few minutes today to dream and then get those dreams on paper. Write down your passions and also topics you either know a lot about or would like to learn. And then do some research to see what’s out there.
Lastly, join a community like The RV Entrepreneur that’s filled with like-minded individuals who are there to help you. When you surround yourself with people who share the same dreams and desires as you, magical things can happen.
But it all starts with taking that first step and allowing your journey to be fueled by an unquenchable desire to succeed. The path is right in front of you.
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Julie Bonner is one-half of the TREKKN team. She specializes in helping you whip up delicious meals in your tiny RV kitchen, as well as RV organization tips and helping fellow RVers make their RV feel like home. Her favorite RVing spot is in Banff National Park in Canada where yes, the water really is that blue and the people really are that nice.
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Wednesday 5th of February 2020
I am so interested in starting a blog but can't figure out my niche. My husband and I want to be RVers within the next year or two. Any help is welcome . Thanks for all the great advise and information. I can't wait.
Thursday 6th of February 2020
I would ask yourself a couple of questions first: 1) What topic(s) could you talk about all the time and feel you know a lot about? 2) What topic(s) are you passionate about? I'm a big believer in going through major brainstorming sessions and writing down everything that comes to your mind.
Also, the course I took that helped turn my blogging income into full-time was Elite Blog Academy. They're opening their doors in March and have a ton of free training coming up. Even if you never purchase the course, the free training is worth it alone. Here's my affiliate link to be put on the waiting list and start receiving emails about trainings: https://ig203.infusionsoft.com/go/EBA/jbonner
Let me know if you have any more questions! And good luck on your RVing journey! :)
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Wednesday 18th of September 2019
We are into this now our 6th year, 97 countries and all the continents and we are 70 running a blog. I do wish I had your experience when we started. I wish you much luck but the travel blogging world is tough especially if you don't niche down. That was a huge win for us and I am sure Family RVing will be for you. Hope we someday get to return to the U.S. but for now, we will just have to do what we know best which is find somewhere else to go. Good Luck and Safe Travels
John and Laurel
Wednesday 18th of September 2019
Hi John and Laurel,
Thanks so much for sharing some details of your travels! That is really fascinating and it's great to hear that you are still going after 97 countries. Keep it up!
Our choice of the Family RVing niche was obviously a no-brainer with the first-hand experiences we had, but it has definitely worked out well for us so far and provides us a full-time income. We have no thoughts of leaving it behind any time soon, especially since we are still "babes" in this space and really just getting started. So many opportunities out there to continue exploring.
We talk and dream often, however, of traveling internationally when we are empty nesters in a few years. On the weekends, you'll find us watching all kinds of international travel vlogs covering costs of living, what to watch out for, etc. We are starting our educational process MUCH earlier with that endeavor than we did with RVing, and that's a good thing.
And now, I need to go check out your site and see what we can learn from you! Safe travels to you!
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Wednesday 31st of July 2019
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