How We Started a Virtual Business to Fund Our RV Lifestyle
When we started our full-time RV lifestyle we didn't really have a plan on how we would fund it. Crazy - yes! We figured there were other people out there living and working from the road, so we thought we could figure it out. Three years later we never would have thought we would be where we are today.
By selling our house and moving into an RV we were able to pay off credit card debt and really open the door for other opportunities. We started our journey by staying in a campground that was close to our hometown, so my husband could continue to work his 9 to 5. Over the five months, we were at the campground, he started conversations and negotiations with his boss to be able to take his job remote so we could travel full time.
Craig took note that no one else at his job was doing this. He would be the first. His great work ethic, ability to work with anyone and overall positive attitude led to his boss wanting to work with him and keep him - even if it meant he would be working remotely. In the end, he was able to negotiate working three weeks from the road and then having to be back to Wisconsin (our hometown) for one week before heading out again for three weeks.
This worked out great, but we wanted more. After a few months, he went in and asked for eight weeks between each week being back. They agreed! During this time, I also started a virtual business (www.virtualpowerhouse.com), so that I could bring in some extra money. At the time that was all it was.
Fast forward a few more months and we quickly realized that we didn't like Craig having to sit at his desk (AKA the RV table) all day long while I went out exploring with the kids. This prompted us to have Craig see if he would be able to go down to part time. That is when his boss drew the line and said they couldn't do it.
It was the push we needed to decide to pursue Virtual Powerhouse full time. For the next six months, we set a goal to grow our savings (while both Craig and I were working) and to build my client base to enough income that could support us if Craig left his 9 to 5.
Figuring out how to make it work when we don't have an internet signal at the campground and both Craig and I have work to do -- Starbucks internet for the win!
It was a tough six months with lots of time and effort going into building the business while also traveling full time and raising our four kids. But we made it work!
Side note: Don't go stay in the middle of Yellowstone National Park when you are growing an online business. It is beautiful there, but the internet is almost non-existent. Unless you work from midnight to 5 a.m. when everyone else is sleeping or you head to the lodge and pay daily for access to their internet.
The view working from the lodge at Yellowstone.
All that aside, we did it! We built our virtual business so Craig could leave his 9 to 5! When we started this journey, we had no real entrepreneur background and no long-term plans to become entrepreneurs. But what this lifestyle does is show you all of the opportunities and doors out there to pursue IF you are willing to push your comfort zone and go for it!
Here are the steps we took to make this a reality:
1 - We chose a business that would allow us to be 100% remote without having a set schedule, which gave us flexibility on when we could travel and work. No more having to wait for the weekend to move somewhere or go out exploring as a family!
Our business focuses on social media, e-newsletters, blogging, and website design for small businesses.
We also put a lot of focus on making sure that our business is simplified, so we aren't working 60 hours a week and still have plenty of time to hang out as a family and go exploring!
Craig out paddleboarding with the kids in the middle of the day instead of sitting at the RV table.
2 - We took the leap and focused on getting clients before we were 100% ready. I really think this is a KEY piece to starting a business. If you wait until all the pieces are perfectly aligned or until you feel ready, you will never start. The best way to be ready and to become an expert in your field/business is to get out there and start doing it.
My number one tip for this is to offer to work for FREE for your first client for one month. This gives both you and your client the flexibility to figure out what you are doing and how it will work for both of you. Just be sure everyone is on the same page and knows the free part will only last for one month.
3 - Don't let the business blockers stop you. The business blockers I am referring to are:
Overthinking - This can kill a business before it even starts. What will my business be called? What services will I offer? How will I make it all work? The list goes on and on. Don't overthink, just get started and put one foot in front of the other.
Not Setting Deadlines -- It goes hand-in-hand with the first business blocker. Yes, you need to come up with a business name, so set a deadline of one day to figure out what the name will be. Remember you can always change it. Same thing goes for figuring out your business or finding clients. Set a timeline and stick to it. As we all know, time flies by and before you know it months can go by without moving forward in your business.
Being Afraid of Not Having All of the Answers - This is a big one. Too many times we think we have to have all the of the answers before we can move ahead. The reality is you will never have all the answers and things change all the time. Instead of waiting until you feel like you know everything there is to know, you need to move forward. I can guarantee you will learn way more from actually running a business than reading about how to run a business and trying to plan it out.
4 - We continued to network and build relationships. This is key to having a successful business. We never even officially launched our business, but instead got clients through referrals or one-on-one conversations. If we saw someone online looking for the services we could offer, we reached out to start the conversation.
Working outside the RV!
When it is your business it is up to you to tell people about it and to show them how you can help them! And referrals are key. This cuts down on you having to look for clients since referrals just show up in your inbox. We always offer a referral fee back to our clients to show them how much we appreciate them sharing what we do.
The journey to starting our virtual business has had its up and downs and continues to ebb and flow, but the freedom it has provided us makes it all worth it!