“How do I travel around in my RV and still earn an income?” is probably one of the most frequently asked questions that we see on forums and Facebook. It can be a real challenge, unless you got a kick-ass retirement fund from your company, to travel and earn an income. We have always been business-owners, so there is ZERO company-funded retirement income for us (other than what we have planned and saved for over the years! – another post for another day!) We’re still young-ish (in our early/mid-fifties) so we’re not ready to retire quite yet! So what do we do to earn money? And, since we are not full time quite yet (soon – very soon!!!) how can we plan to take our careers on the road?
Jim has run his own company, Best Prepress, since 1990. Its a company that services and sells equipment for the prepress (printing) industry. He travels around the Midwest (usually day trips, but sometimes overnight) and services client’s equipment in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa. Oh, and Kentucky. He also sells supplies (film and chemistry and printing plates) for the client’s machines.
Since we have ZERO desire to remain in the Midwest once we are able to hit the road full time (in just a few more months!), we are preparing to take this business on the road. How? We are building a website, with a shopping cart, that will enable us to still sell the supplies via the internet, and then have them drop shipped from our supplier. As far as the service end goes, Jim is hoping to be able to continue to service our best clients by scheduling preventative maintenance calls for them for when we are in the area. However, these machines don’t always break down on OUR schedule, so we know we are going to lose a lot of our service base, since much of the time we won’t be in the area when they need service and they will be forced to look elsewhere. Service is a large chunk of our income, so we are getting prepared to lose that large chunk when we hit the road.
Which brings us to what Carol does for a living! I am a professional photographer, who used to shoot mostly portrait work for private clients. Since I know that will not translate to taking off on the road very well (although I will keep a few steady, long-time clients that I will photograph when I am here for visits), I have been shifting my focus more to stock photography, as well as landscape photography. My landscape photography is for sale on Fine Art America, or you can view my gallery right here just by clicking the Image Gallery tab on the menu up above.
I sell my stock photography on four stock websites: Shutterstock, IStock, 123RF, and Dreamstime. Stock photography is definitely a slow growth field, but it is steady, and the income produced by selling stock photos can last a lifetime! It takes hard work, patience, and diligence to build up a good stock portfolio, but I’m working on it – slow but sure!!! I favor shooting food photographs, and they are very popular sellers on stock photography sites (think of all the food bloggers out there – most of them use stock photos!) I prefer to shoot with only natural light for two reasons: because I love the look of natural light so much more, and because I know I’m not going to have room to carry all of my lights and stands with me in the RV when we hit the road.
I am also working closely with my friend Teri on our site Taking Stock Images. Teri lives in the Denver area, makes her living by selling stock photography, and teaches classes and workshops on stock photography. We work together on the marketing/blogging and maintenance of the website, and I’m hoping to start teaching classes very soon here in the Chicago area too. Once we do hit the road, I can teach classes wherever we choose to be at any given time! We are also looking into writing e-books and doing online webinars. There are lots of awesome things coming down the line for us, and for anyone who wants to learn the business of stock photography, so stay tuned!!
So there you have it – our plans to make money and travel in a nutshell. With the advent of the internet, there are many many ways to translate your business to on-the-road. All it takes is a bit of forethought, planning, and hard work!