True Stories of RV Entrepreneurs Making a Living on the Road

rv entrepreneur xscapers

Tell me if you’ve had this experience before…

You jump off the road to go home for a visit and your friends and family look at you and say: “Full-time RV’ing seems wonderful, but how do you make money?”

Outsiders are baffled by the idea that it is possible to live and work remotely from an RV. I even sometimes find that those of us wired for adventure and travel think that the barriers are too big to work from the road!

Nothing could be further from the truth.

There is an entire tribe of people who are working wherever the road takes them. 4.7 million people in the U.S. work remotely and that number is growing every year. 

To get the scoop on remote-work, I went out and interviewed some RV-preneurs who are making it happen on the road. That doesn’t mean they’re rolling in dough, but it does mean they’re working from where they want and making enough to keep the adventure alive.

My first chat was with Shanae and Mark McDevitt (SKP#135458), two road warriors that I met last year at the RVE summit. These two kids have been full-timing it for a nice spell and Mark has been a remote worker that whole time. That means he ‘clocks in’ with a normal 9-5 company, but he can work from anywhere he has an internet connection. 

I’ve included their story to show you that it’s possible, popular, and cheaper for your company to let you work remotely. Check out Mark’s story to see how he did it:

Negotiating Remote Work for Full-Time RV Life

True Stories of RV Entrepreneurs Making a Living on the Road 1
Mark and Shanae

ME: Tell us a bit about you two and how long you’ve been on the road?

MARK: We have been full-time on the road now for 3 years! We have checked off 30 states and counting. We travel ‘round in our Winnebago and share the story @trailmixandchocolate.

ME: Tell us more about what you do and how you managed to negotiate remote work?

MARK: At the heart of it, I am a Horticulturalist who has a great deal of experience working with all types of plants within their growing environments. I work in Illumitex’s Sales and Marketing department and help bridge the gap between our engineering department and our current and prospective customers.

I started this position in Austin and negotiated working remotely before leaving for our wedding in Pennsylvania. From there it wasn’t too big of a leap to begin the conversation of going from remote in a home office to working in one on the road. 

ME: What advice would you give someone who wants to talk to their boss about going remote at their current job? 

MARK: If you are like me and stepped into a position that “requests” that you be in the office from 8-5 Monday through Friday, then here is my advice: You will need to give your employer reasons why to keep you on as a remote worker. Look for areas of training that would make it difficult if you decided to leave, prove to your employer that you can be more productive in your work while working offsite, show the cost benefits to the business, and propose a trial period to start if you don’t think they’ll go for it.  

True Stories of RV Entrepreneurs Making a Living on the Road 2
Mark's Mobile Office

ME: So how did the conversation go when you told your employer you wanted to work remotely?

MARK: The conversation with my supervisor was well received and went something like, “As long you continue to complete your tasks and responsibilities as expected, and are able to continue to travel when needed, we do not see an issue with it.” I believe most resistance comes from this notion that someone who is in the office setting from 8-5 is devoting every single hour to highly productive work – which we all know isn’t true.

Starting a Creative Business on the Road

True Stories of RV Entrepreneurs Making a Living on the Road 3
Shanae hard at work

ME: We’ve talked about Mark so far, but Shanae, you also have an incredible business you do with art. Can you tell us that story? 

SHANAE: When we started to RV, I found myself immersed in my source of inspiration. Creating became a way to document the landscapes we were traveling through and the feelings they evoked. It felt natural to start sharing my process and creativity with others and eventually led to me selling my first collection of watercolor landscapes, the “Mountains Calling” collection. It represented two years of freedom found through travel and sold out! It was an experience that was extremely humbling and taught me so much about the power of sharing experiences with others, as well as the business side of creativity. 

In 2019, between the Mountains Calling collection and commissions, art was 15% of my income. 

I share more about this @shanaemcdevittart and https://www.shanaemcdevittart.com/ 

Unschooling, Passive Income, and Parenting

For my second convo, I linked up with Ashley and Nathan Logsdon. These two cats full-time it with their three kiddos who they “un-school” as they travel. I met the Logsdon crew years ago at a conference for creatives. Since then, we’ve forged a close friendship despite only seeing each other in those few moments when our RVs cross paths. 

The Logsdons are the best story I know of a family using entrepreneurship and passive income to keep the road trip alive:

RV Entrepreneurs Always Find Adventure

True Stories of RV Entrepreneurs Making a Living on the Road 4
The Logsdon Crew at Custer State Park

ME: Thanks for chatting! Why don’t you share a brief intro about you, your family, and how long you’ve been on the road?

ASHLEY: We’re the “FieldTripGypsies”, and our life has moved toward the path of “unconventional” for quite some time now! In October of 2016, Nathan left his work as a realtor in Nashville, TN, and our family of 5 embarked into RV life full time! Our three daughters (ages 12, 10 & 7) have been unschooled since the beginning, and since they’ve hit the road, they’ve explored all of the lower 48 states, switched trucks, RVs, and learned many, many valuable lessons about the nomadic lifestyle, entrepreneurship, and getting to the core of creating the life we thrive in. We boil down our growth mindset family by saying “The world is our school, and everyone is our teacher.” 

True Stories of RV Entrepreneurs Making a Living on the Road 5
Unschooling in progress

ASHLEY: When we first got serious about travel, we weren’t sure what that would look like, and we wanted to explore ways to leverage the house we owned in Nashville. We started out our RV adventures with the gameplan to rent out our house while we were gone. About a third of our income now comes from this rental, which frees Nathan up to focus on being a dad. 

After the rental, we make income from my coaching, I look at three areas in that business:

Free: These are my weekly blog posts, podcast episodes, free PDF guides, and oftentimes me simply connecting with others in the community I serve. And these, while it may not make me direct income, are critical to any income that comes in. 40% of the sales process is developing trust and rapport, and these are some of the many ways I do this. 

Passive: The foundation of all my coaching is about knowing yourself well, and then learning to understand others based on their own unique personality traits. My tagline is, “the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us”. So I have DISC Personality “Snapshots” and an eBook on understanding your children’s personality styles…and these can be purchased 24/7, all automated. 

Active: This is that critical component of trading time for money. This is where I have 1-1 coaching clients, facilitate mastermind calls, group coaching sessions, lead workshops, and speak at rallies and other events. It’s when I’m actively working with individuals on creating the life their whole family thrives in, and it’s intense! I love this time, and it takes all my energy. So in order to be able to deliver to the fullest, I guard this time and don’t overextend by providing both my free and passive resources to ensure there is plenty to get people started on their own. 

Creating Streams of Income for RV Life

True Stories of RV Entrepreneurs Making a Living on the Road 6
It turns out you can mix kids, business, and road-life

ME: I feel that many of us worry that road income is this elusive thing that is very difficult to get rolling… can you talk to us about your and Nathan’s journey to creating entrepreneurial income? 

ASHLEY: Being the daughter of Dan Miller, author of 48 Days to the Work You Love, No More Mondays, Wisdom Meets Passion and more, I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. For me, this was second nature, and I’ve had the entrepreneurial mindset my whole life. Biggies for us when dealing with a launch into something new – make sure you have in place what your support system will be. If you’re looking at rentals, who is on the ground that you can trust to handle things? Do you have a punch list of your go-to handymen, etc for any issues that may arise? Build a support team that can handle things for whatever you are doing as passive income in case you are in a place where you can’t (ie no internet, across the country, etc). 

Another thing – agree on baseline liquidity. For us, we saved up a certain amount in the bank, and we agreed that we can experiment with income coming in and our travels as long as we didn’t go lower than our baseline. 

ME: What is the first thing you think someone should do to start making an entrepreneur’s income on the road?

ASHLEY: Even if you have something great, if no one knows about it, it’s not going to sell. So even when you have something “passive”, maintenance and marketing are still required. Look at what you are already doing, and what could be repurposed, leveraged, or put on autopilot. 

Maybe you love to paint, but painting one picture takes a lot of time – so how can you do it once and get paid over and over again? Make prints, cards, t-shirts, etc. Maybe you have expensive camera equipment, a car or a house you can leverage by renting it out. Maybe you’ve taught friends how to make their own kombucha so many times you’ve decided to create a course that takes them through the process, and now your lesson can be done once and then sold repeatedly the next gazillion times you’re asked about it. 

ME: What else do you think is important to know when it comes to road-preneurship?

ASHLEY: I believe in our world of information overload, instead of “paralysis by analysis”, we can suffer from “opportunity paralysis” with too many options to choose from and not knowing where to start! I’d encourage you to simply pick one. 

We can be fearful of commitment – of going so far down one path we’ll risk failure. But you won’t know until you try it. Start by looking at the lowest hanging fruit – what is right under your nose you may be able to leverage, people are already asking for, or is such a passion you’d do it for no pay? Choose something, and commit to following through with it. There are a million ideas out there. It takes the person who is willing to take it, mold it and ACT on it that moves forward. 

Closing Thoughts on the RV Entrepreneur Lifestyle

balloon fiesta

We full-timers are often the recipients of disbelief from our land-based friends…

Disbelief that we make money without going to an office.

Disbelief that we’ll be able to keep rolling when kids come along.

And disbelief that we’ll be able to keep affording it all.

I don’t know about you, but I get a little kick out of proving the naysayers wrong 🙂 I hope the stories I’ve shared above will help you dispel the disbelief next time you hit home. 

RV Entrepreneur office
Can't beat the view from this office!
Josh Schukman

Author

Josh Schukman

Josh is half of the husband+wife duo behind OutofNorm.al – where their mantra is life, unwasted. Josh and his wife have been galivanting all over the country in an ’88 Airstream for the past 3 years…and counting. They seek out small towns, BLM lands and the next vintage camper they can renovate for their AirBNB glamping business. 

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