(How we make money on the road... and how a bunch of others do to.)
This is by far the question we get asked the most, and it's most people's #1 reason for not ditching "normal life" for a life that fits them and their passions better. To help navigate this tricky question, we've created some words to read, and some videos to watch. Enjoy.
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I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
- Jack London
One day about two years ago,
I was driving to work one day when a guy pulled up next to me. He wore a white button up shirt, probably khakis, and a face that screamed "only 24 more years of this $&@#%".
I decided in that moment that I was tired of working a job, just to pay for the house we lived in because it was commutable to the job I worked, the job I worked to pay for the house we lived in because it was commutable to the job I worked, the job I worked to pay for the house we lived in because it was commutable to the job I worked... You get the idea.
Even though my job was great, it was to me just that, a job. It was something I did because it let us live in our house, a nice house, in a nice area, but if we weren't living the life we truly wanted to live, we didn't care how nice the house and neighborhood was.
AN OPEN CONVERSATION ABOUT MAKING MONEY WHILE ON THE ROAD
I didn’t want to get to end of my life and think “so that was it...
... That’s what I did with my life?" I got a job, gave that job all my time until my kids got old and moved away from me, then I retired and finally had some time? I didn’t want to just exist, and I didn't want life to live me, which it was. My wife Danielle and I decided that we wanted to live a full life, a life that meant something significant, and we wanted to do it with our kids.
We wanted to live intentionally. We wanted to live in a way that showed our kids what matters most in this world to us, in a way they could touch and see and experience. We wanted them to see the our passion because of the way we lived. We wanted them to see that risks were worth taking when the risks mean something, and we wanted them to see purpose and conviction in how we lived.
That's a mouth full, but it's at least part of the reason my wife and I decided it was worth leaving a perfect job for uncertainty on the road.
Today, we're moving into a life without a consistent pay check, without a 401K and without a benefits package or vision care.
But it's a life of intention, and of purpose and of passion. For sure you can get those things in a traditional life and job, and if you are, you're a lucky jerk. You should probably keep doing that, because I think it might be somewhat rare in our culture today. We don't know for sure what may come out of all this, we may fall on our face, we may limp back to suburbia, and I may wish I had my job back. But I can promise you, we won't regret it.
Here are the two major things I currently do to make money on the road.
1. Freelance video editing.
I make videos for organizations, brands, non-profits, and start-ups for a living. Freelance has always been a big part of my work, even when I've worked full-time for a place making videos. For now, freelance video editing and motion design is our primary source of income. There are however many down sides to this.
The three major downsides are:
Lack of constancy in payment. When you do freelance, you work your tail off to get work, then work floods in. All your time is then spent doing the work. When the work is over, you realize you've been so busy doing work, you weren't working on getting more work, so then you starve for a month or two while you work your tail off again for more work... more work floods in, you get overwhelmed and the cycle begins again... It sucks.
Editing takes a lot of time. A lot. I don't want to spend my days locked in the trailer behind a computer. I want to spend it outside, with my family, climbing mountains and walking through forests or slipping on rocks in tide pools. .
Clients are always super motivated and in a big hurry to get the work done, and super chill and in slow to make payments. We've found some workarounds to this. Like getting deposits before I start working, and getting payments throughout projects, hen getting the final amount owed before sending final deliverables... but still, it always seems that the times clients are delayed the most in their payments, are the times when our need for their payments are at a high point.
2. Online selling of products (Online Marketing)
I know so little about this world, that I don't even know if what I'm doing is actually called "online marketing". I'm pretty sure it's something in that area, so we'll just go with it. This is what I do in a nutshell. I created a product that I could sale online. It's a digital product... two actually. One is a folder that video editors and motion graphic designers download. Inside that folder are video assets. Things like stock footage, overlays, sound effects etc. I created all the assets, bundled them together, and now sale them online. They other is a course I created for photographers. It teaches photographers how to create films with their cameras.
The online selling has gone pretty darn well surprisingly. While it doesn't bring us a ton of money all the time, when it's working well, and I'm selling these things, it covers pretty much all our expenses. For example, we'll wake up in the morning and find that we made a sale or two... money in the bank, awesome! We go out, buy some groceries, grab lunch, then another sale comes in, sweet, groceries and lunch have been paid for. We go get the oil changed, fill up the tank with gas, another sale comes in, gas and oil are paid for.
It's not like this every day unfortunately, but when it works, it's awesome. It also requires zero effort on my end... after I have everything automated, which does take a lot of work at to build at the start, but once it's rolling, it's amazing.
The 3 major downsides are:
It's one of the most difficult, frustrating, and defeating things I've ever done. It's taken a ton of research and learning to get to where I'm at, and I still feel like I'm so far from being truly successful at it.
It's super up and down. One week we sell a lot and we think we're living the dream, then tow months go by without a single sale... it's so frustrating.
It's a lot of work to get rolling. It's work I've found that I love, but it's not easy. It takes some real dedication to set-up. There are a lot of steps, a lot of tedious things to do, anda lot of work up front without pay in the hopes that it will work. I've now had one utter failure, it hurt, it was throw my computer against the wall frustrating. It also made me feel like such a failure, and like giving up... but I didn't, and I'm discovering that that, is the real key.
A BIT MORE ON HOMESCHOOLING, ROAD-SCHOOLING, AND UN-SCHOOLING. GET COMFY, THIS THING IS LONG.