How to make money on the road - 10 remote jobs for van life

Nate Murphy
Make money on the road

It’s now easier than ever to get away from your 9-5 office job and make money on the road. Guess what? Dreams do come true! It's completely possible to travel the world as a digital nomad and have a job, wherever you are. In fact, flexible working is one of the reasons that van life has become so popular! If you have ever asked, “how can I make money living in a van?” then read on...We’ve listed the 10 most popular remote jobs for van dwellers to give you lots of ideas of how to live a life of complete freedom, whilst still earning a living.

Diversify your income streams

Instead of being on the payroll for one steady job, many people who live in a van make their money via multiple income streams. Having your fingers in lots of pies gives you flexibility and variety. It also means that if one of your jobs falls through, then you have other work to fall back on. There are lots of ways of making a ‘passive income’ too - it requires some hard work to start with, but then allows you to enjoy more time travelling and exploring, while the money rolls in! As you read the list below, think about pursuing 2 or 3 of these options as ways to make money on the road.

1.Take your job remote; see if you can do the same work but remotely.

If you have a regular job at the moment, you should definitely explore whether you can carry on doing it remotely while you travel. Depending on what you do, it might be easy to persuade your boss that you can deliver the same work without being in the office every day. Your boss may not realise it, but it will have perks for them too. You won’t be taking up valuable desk space, or drinking cups of coffee at the company’s expense! 

As life on the road is much cheaper, you could even negotiate keeping your job for a pay cut. You’ll probably still be left with more money at the end of the month, as you won’t have as many bills to pay. Ask your boss to give it a chance and tell them they can always fire you if it doesn’t work out! 

2. Start a blog

If you are living in a van, it’s likely that you’ll be visiting interesting places and doing things that other people will want to read about. Starting a blog could be a fun way to document your travels and also create a source of income.

But how does a blog make money? With a bit of dedication, you can build up an audience and then use affiliate marketing and advertising to profit from visitors to your site.

If you don’t fancy being a travel blogger, perhaps you're a budding chef and have recipes you want to share? Or maybe you know loads about fitness or fashion? Find something you love and write about it! 

3. Sell handmade products in an Etsy shop

If you like to get creative, think about whether there is anything (small) you could make and sell on Etsy. While storing big items might not be practical in a van, there are plenty of cute and tiny crafts that could earn you some money. You could sell drawings, embroidery, prints or jewellery, for example.

4. Teach English online

If English is your first language, then you already have a profitable tool available to you! You’ll need a simple teaching qualification (which can be done online) and then you’ll be able to share your language skills with adults or children across the world. Sites such as Palfish, Preply or VIPKid allow you to teach virtual English lessons for an hourly fee. Remote teaching from a van does require a strong internet connection, which is something to consider if you like to spend time off grid or in remote places. 

5. Become a freelancer

Do you have basic design skills? Can you write brilliant web copy, or build websites? Sites like Upwork and Fivrr are full of jobs for people who are looking to use their skills to make money. It can be competitive at first, but with a bit of perseverance you could soon be freelancing on projects as a translator, proofreader, or an SEO wizz from the comfort of your van. It’s completely flexible and there is something for everyone.

6. Use social media or YouTube

Yes, so everyone is documenting their travels on Instagram… But if you can take beautiful photos and build a loyal following, then you can eventually profit from your account. Growing your following opens up opportunities to make money on the road by getting sponsored products, paid partnerships, or promoting affiliate products to your audience.

Starting a YT channel can also be a brilliant way to make money doing something you love. Make videos to share your travels, or film yourself talking about a topic that you’re passionate about. Editing and filming regularly can be a lot of hard work, but over time it’s possible to make an income from a successful YouTube channel.

7. Write a book

Have you ever dreamt of writing a book, but thought getting a book deal would be impossible? The good news is that now anyone can be a profitable author! With self publishing services such as Amazon KDP, you can write and design your own book and publish it for free. You can create a book about a topic you know, or find an untapped niche to publish in. Plus, the books are printed on demand, so you don’t have to handle any of the admin or shipping. Once you’ve published the book, you can just kick back and enjoy the royalties!

8. Create an online course

If you’ve got some juicy tips to share on how to make money or learn a skill, why not put together a course full of your knowledge? People are always hungry to learn. You’ll also find that they will pay good money for a reliable set of lessons to learn a new skill. This is the perfect money maker for on the road, as it doesn’t require constant attention. Once you’ve made the course, all you need to do is market it to the right people and then enjoy the passive income from people buying your product.

9. Make money as a photographer

If you’re a skilled photographer, then there are plenty of money generating opportunities available to you. You might be able to pick up work on your travels by offering to take photos for hotels or by photographing events. Photography is a universal language - so even if you are abroad, you can use your talent to generate an income.

Another side hustle for photographers - or for anyone with a camera is to sell your photos and videos as stock footage online. If you sign up to sites like Blackbox, you will receive a royalty payment each time someone purchases your content!

10. Offer remote customer service

Loads of companies hire remote workers to operate their customer helplines and live chat. The beauty of this job is that it can be done from anywhere via your own laptop. Lots of live chat services operate 24hrs, so there could be a lot of flexibility in the hours that you work. If you like chatting to people and solving problems, then this might be the perfect way to make money on the road!

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