Vanlife: Earn Extra Money While Living on the Road

A look at a number of ways to start earning income, remotely, while traveling

The topic of money often comes up when discussing van life. The fact of the matter is there isn’t a one-size fits all solution to earn a living while living on the road. However, there are many options to bring in some cash while having the freedom to work from anywhere and on a schedule that makes you happy. The only things you need are a computer and a solid data connection.

Making money wasn’t my biggest priority at first. The goal of building Edith was to spend a defined amount of time traveling while living on our savings. However, a global pandemic has shifted priorities and made the difficulties of finding a new job quite tangible. No one likes dealing with stress, and the goal of this article is to identify multiple ways to make some money to help make ends meet.

But First, Find Your Passion

The most important thing to consider is doing what you love. This is a total cliche, but those exist for a reason, ya know? Doing odd jobs to make ends meet will be much easier if it feels less like work. I took time off from being a full-time developer. Doing so has helped shine some light on things that made me happy and unhappy. Building a van is a great way to really figure out some puzzles.

Just because the job description doesn’t immediately sound like something you would be good at doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it. Developing software felt a lot like building a van. There is some planning involved, critical thinking, trial and error, and the similarities don’t stop there.

Identify the qualities of a job that you enjoy, instead of the job title. Do you enjoy independent thinking? Collaboration? Chances are, if you’re reading this article you already place a high value on flexible work. Flexibility automatically eliminates a long-commute for work. Stuff like that can wear you down.

These are a couple of examples I’m currently exploring as extra income and a way to keep myself sharp.

Make Money by Testing Websites

This is actually a pretty cool way to make some cash. But, to be quite honest, the income level is underwhelming. The options that I’ve found for doing freelance testing have been pretty interesting, but not the most lucrative.

UserTesting is one such site that pays you $10 per test for 10-20 minutes of work. Sounds amazing from the get go. For the level of work you are doing, it is cool. However, there are some flaws that can only be discovered by signing up. First, the work isn’t as readily available as one might like. The hourly rate is great, but the actual amount of work per user is disappointing. Once you factor in the amount of time you are tied to the computer in order to obtain a paying task, the pay seems even worse.

Each day you must log on to a computer and wait for a task. Once the task is available, take a quick survey to determine if you are the market the client wants to test with. Each day I logged in, I would take 20-30 surveys and only qualify for 1 test. I’ve averaged $10 per day doing this. However, I’ve tried other sites with the same concept and was met with even less work.

With this type of work, it makes sense to couple it with some additional work. Something that isn’t on a tight deadline, that you don’t mind taking a break from in order to respond to the available tests, and you can pick back up quickly after finishing the test. It requires users be actively at a computer in order to grab the available tests when they pop up. This isn’t going to be perfect for everyone, but it’s a nice way to make a couple hundred bucks per month if you are already working on a computer and own a microphone.

Earn Additional Income With Writing

With the previous idea in mind, it makes a lot of sense to find something else to do while waiting to bring in some extra money with user tests. For me, this is where blogging has come into play.

Now, JustEdith.org does not earn any income. I never really intended for it to earn anything. However, it does help me pass the time and I get to develop some skills in writing.

I have recently discovered that there are a lot of opportunities available for creating content for other blogs, though. The pay is, again, not a great source by itself when getting started. However, BKAContent is an example of one company that hires freelancers in order to create content for a large variety of websites. The main benefit is that I get to hone my skills with a team of writers who provide valuable feedback.

The level of income depends on a couple of things. The type of content being written is the first factor. Another factor being the skill level. How quickly you can create content that doesn’t need a lot of feedback will increase your earning capability.

I haven’t had much experience doing this just yet, but I will come back and update this post once I have some more information about this. UserTesting and BKAContent both fit directly into my interest.

Of course there are more options depending on your schedule and talents. Let me know what you’ve been doing to earn some extra cash!

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