When it comes to creating an income while traveling in an RV full-time, there’s nothing better than recurring income. That’s because you make the sell once and then you get paid for as long as people stay a member of your program/service. While some people tout the sacred “passive income,” I don’t believe in it. The only truly passive income is investing, and if you’re gonna invest enough money so that you can live off the interest/returns, you have to start off with A LOT of money. Most of us can’t do that, so the next best thing is RECURRING income. You still have to work, but that work is minimized while the income continues to roll in.
Some of these ideas are specifically for people who have instructional blogs, YouTube channel, or other content creation model. Other strategies will be for the more technical-minded. But there are plenty of ideas on this list that anyone can do.
Before I tell you about these recurring income models, I just want to provide you with a couple of tips. You’re gonna have to convince people to sign up and become a paid member/ongoing customer and to pay you on a recurring basis. That may be weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually depending on your model. This isn’t always easy, so let me just share a couple of tips with you.
You can offer free gifts for signing up. You’ve seen this one before. Remember those Sports Illustrated ads a few years ago? They were offering people a free telephone. Each promotion, the phone was shaped like something different. Sometimes it was a shoe. Sometimes it was a football. Whatever it was, people were signing up for Sports Illustrated just for that damn phone!
They knew it, too. If you noticed, in the commercials they focused their marketing campaign on that free gift. They barely mentioned their magazine or the subscription, or any other service they were providing. They only mentioned the phone because that’s what people were signing up for. So, if you want to get people to sign up, offer a free gift, something that they would be willing to sign up with you just to get that free gift. Try to emphasize that free gift.
The other, slightly more obvious, method is to offer a trial. It can be a free trial, a “$7 for 7 days” trial, or whatever you choose. Then, after a week they'll get charged the full amount on a monthly basis. It’s always good to try to offer some type of trial. It could even be combined with the free gift, as mentioned above. Obviously, the type of trial you offer will be relative to the type of service you are offering. You could try to get ideas from other membership sites or other recurring income models you interact with in everyday life. You may want to keep those two tips in mind as you read through this list of business models.
Also, don’t just read the heading and dismiss the model. There is a possibility you are missing something in your perception of the method. Read through the descriptions until you have a clear understanding of the model being discussed. You may just end up with some good ideas!
A traditional membership site is one where people would sign up to receive some type of content from you on a recurring basis.
Basically, they would get charged a subscription fee on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual basis. However, you choose to set up your membership site. That’s the beauty of traditional membership sites is that you get recurring income for as long as your members stay with you.
Now of course, there are some drawbacks to having a traditional membership site. One of the main ones is that it's time consuming to have to consistently create content for your members. There are ways around this. You can outsource the creation of the basic content and just jazz it up when you get it. You can also create several months or even a year's worth of content in advance so that you don't have to worry every month to create new content.
In terms of sending the content to your members, you can send the content via email, which does take a bit of work. But then again, this is having a business. Nobody said you weren’t gonna have to work!
If you want to automate things a little bit more, what you can do is buy a membership software tool or plugin. There's many out there in the market and you could use these tools to create a private members area where you would place your content. Your members would just check in on a weekly or monthly basis, or however you prefer to provide your content.
Personally, I use Wishlist Member as a membership software and ThriveCart for checkout/billing. But Wishlist Member alone would be sufficient to get started. I will discuss all the reasons I choose to use both in conjunction in a later article.
Fixed Term Membership
A fixed term membership site is different from a traditional membership site in that it does not go on forever a fixed term membership site ends at a certain after a certain period of time. So, for example, you could have a fixed term membership site for about six months or even a year. Members would get content, let's say every month and then after a year the content ends and then they can be considered permanent members. The members would know that they're going to get content for a certain amount of time.
Now you might say, why do this? Why not just get a traditional, a membership site where you get paid as long as members stay? The problem is that a lot of members do drop out of the traditional membership sites. This is called churn rate. On average members only stay around three to six months. That's average. It obviously depends on the quality of the content and the type of content.
In my traditional membership site, I've had members that stuck around for years. I also had some that signed up for a month and left. Don't think that just because I said on average they stay for three to six months means that you know they're going to drop out after four to six months. At the same time, don’t expect a new member to stay forever.
The thing about fixer membership sites, the benefit of that is members are more likely to stay because they want to get what they signed up for. So basically, if they were promised they were going to get six months of premium content they might as well stay for the sixth and final month of getting the content.
In a situation like this, you’d offer six unique pieces of content/training on a similar topic. One piece of training would come out each month. Some examples might include:
- 6 Website Traffic Strategies
- 6 Complex Crochet Patterns
- 6 Expert Banjo Rolls
You get the picture here.
Having a fixed term membership site may not be as profitable as an indefinite membership site, but it is more profitable than selling a regular product where you just sell something once. That 12-lesson product you may have sold for $97, you can now make a 12-month membership out of it and charge $10-15/mo.
It’s great for the subscriber as well! Not only do they not have that lump sum outlay as a barrier to entry, but they also have the content dispersed to them in a more manageable manner. Like bite sized chunks they can really dig into for a month, till the next one comes out.
Perhaps the best part is that you can also automate fixed term membership sites. There is no need for you to go in once a month and upload new content. You can have all the content ready to go up front and the entire course built. Then, when a new subscriber signs up, you can use either your membership software or your autoresponder to “drip” the content out to them automatically once a month. This frees you up to recruit new members!
Another great recurring income model is software as a service, otherwise known as SaaS. This is where you provide a software, but instead of people downloading it, they would access your software through a membership site. Some big-name examples of this that you may be familiar with are Microsoft Office 365, Adobe Creative Cloud, and QuickBooks Online. All three of these were once software that you would buy once (for a premium price), and own forever. These have all transitioned into lower barrier to entry monthly pricing structures and the customer accesses the software online instead of downloading it.
The advantage of software as a service model is that it's got a very good “stick rate,” meaning a low churn. People tend to stay for a very long time. The main disadvantage is the cost of creating a software, unless you're a programmer, you’re gonna have to pay someone to create the software for you.
The software itself doesn’t have to be a crazy complex beast of a software, either. There are several examples of simpler SaaS models like Chrome extensions, WordPress plugins, and phone apps.
While I have yet to venture into this realm, I have good friends who have developed things like Nate McCallister who has developed several Chrome extensions including Storefront Stalker. Travis Renn developed AccellerList, among other online software. One of my favorite people in the biz is Caleb Roth, who developed ScoutIQ which is the best book scanning phone app out there for Amazon sellers.
You know what, though? None of those three people wrote a single line of code in the programs they have developed. You don’t have to be ultra-technical to do this. All you need is an idea and a little cash. You can pay someone else to be technical! Here is a list of 15 sites you can find a programmer to build your dream for you.
Local Business Retainers
Now this is my jam! This is what I love to do. I love helping local business clients! Local businesses usually aren’t very tech-savvy at all. They don’t understand how they can use the internet to grow their business. That’s where you come in.
Now, don’t be intimidated by the tech on this one either. If you can turn on a computer and log into Facebook, you have enough computer skill to do many of these tasks.
Some of the services you can offer to clients on a monthly retainer model include things like:
- Social media management
- Search engine optimization
- Chatbot creation and management
- Email marketing
- Website maintenance
And the list goes on. For some of these things, there are certain skills you will have to learn, but none of them are complicated. These are simply skills that business owners don’t have time or desire to learn.
It’s just not in their wheelhouse. Realistically, it’s not their job. I often tell my clients, “it’s not your job to worry about that. You run your business. You’re damn good at that. Just let me do what I do. That’s my job.”
Depending on what you offer and how many testimonials you have behind you, you could charge $100-3,500+ per month. I’m sure I don’t have to do the math for you to show you what a few clients at $300/mo could do for you!
Now, starting out you’d be doing all the work yourself, of course. But as you grow, there are many of these tasks you could outsource to others. As I said, most of these are simple tasks that the business owner simply doesn’t have time for. They are easily outsourced to people with rudimentary skills.
This could easily lead to a situation where all of your “grunt work” is outsourced and you only have two jobs: project management and getting new clients.
I’m sure you can see why this is my favorite form of income while full-time RV living. It generates money and allows me to do other things (like write this article)!
Another way to earn recurring income while traveling in your RV is through coaching, specifically group coaching. There are several different types of coaching available.
- There's a high priced, high end mastermind where people would meet four times a year or more. This type of coaching can cost anywhere from a thousand to over a $10,000.
- Then there is the medium price point where you would provide coaching one on one. This price could vary widely depending on how much attention is offered to the client.
- Then there's a low-price option, which is group coaching. It’s probably going to be the easiest for you to start out so that’s what we’ll discuss here.
Group coaching, as the name implies, is where you coach a group of people. You could just do this once a month up to once a week, through your computer or your phone.
The subject matter for your coaching could be anything, really. All of the examples I gave above when we were discussing membership options are valid here as well.
These coaching sessions could be done using free tools like Google Hangouts. However, free tools are always going to be limited in features. For instance, with Google Hangouts, you are limited to nine people when you're trying to share your screen with your students.
A better option would be something like Zoom.us. You would use this software to do a webinar once a week or once a month, however you set up your coaching program. You may want to start out with a free option and upgrade to a paid option as your group grows.
We’ve already covered SaaS (software as a service), but how about WaaS (website as a service)? It’s a novel idea whose time has come.
You can sell or give away websites to people or local businesses and then charge them a monthly hosting fee. This is possible through WordPress, and made easier through WordPress multi-site.
As with the rest of these ideas, there is nothing to be intimidated by here. If you don’t know how to build a WordPress website, I assure you ANYONE can do it. I’ve built a free step-by-step course on the topic called Build Your First Website that will turn any novice into a website building pro!
Offering a website as a service isn’t any different than building any other website as discussed in my course. You simply install WordPress multisite on your server, and then you could run as many sites as you want from that installation.
As an example, let's say you are in the health niche. You can offer free websites to your customers who are, let's say health coaches who want to share some health tips. So, which you can do is provide free blogs for them, and you could even provide free hosting, but then offer a paid membership where they get better templates and options. Just that one niche could be expanded out to also cover health spas and chiropractors. The possibilities are really limitless here.
It’s still surprising to me that people how many people don’t know what virtual assistants are. In today’s business environment, companies are looking more and more to keep people off their payroll. A virtual assistant fills that void. You can think of it as a freelance secretary.
That’s still not all-inclusive of what services you can offer as a virtual assistant, though. You could offer bookkeeping, audio and video editing, or even ghostwriting. The possibilities are truly endless.
With the rise of so many internet entrepreneurs looking to outsource tasks, this is really turning out to be a lucrative occupation. Turning it into a recurring income would work similar to the local business retainers I discussed earlier. You’d simply charge a fixed amount each month in return for a specific service you offer.
Get creative with your offerings. Hanging out in entrepreneur groups and watching discussion might help guide you in finding ideas that would fit with your skillset and entrepreneur’s needs.
Recurring income is possibly the best thing you can build to ensure the continuation of your full-time RV lifestyle. All the ideas I have mentioned here are viable options to produce recurring income. Some can even only be done once and sold continually. I hope I’ve given you some ideas on some things you can do to enable you to live your dream.
Let me know what you think in the comments!