One of the most asked questions on the UK Vanife Facebook Group is all about making money on the road. Everyone wants to know the tricks to being able to earn a living while travelling so that they can live vanlife to the fullest; the truth is that there is no trick, making money on the road is a job just like any other however there are some methods you can learn to help make your dream a reality. Below is a breakdown of the ways in which members of the Facebook Group make money on the road and how you can start doing it too.
1 – Matched Betting
Matched betting is something I have done for a number of years and is something which a lot of people living in vans have spoken about due to the relative ease of starting as well as the potential amount of money that can be made, especially early on. Matched betting is a technique where you are able to utilise promotions and offers given out by UK book makers in order to guarantee an income. I first read about matched betting in the Guardian newspaper in around 2010 and since then I have been making between £500 – £1000 a month.
Despite the name, matched betting is not actually gambling and is a fantastic risk free way to make money online once you have learnt the technique. It’s a relatively easy process that thanks to some pretty amazing websites such as Outplayed.com which do all the hard work for you, means you don’t need to be a maths genius to do it. UK Vanlifers you may have heard of such as These Rolling Hills, Kite Van Man, Liam the Terrible and Betty and the Boondockers to name a few have all used matched betting to fund their travels.
If you want to know more about what you need to get started matched betting then check out our more detailed article on the subject here.
2 – Sell your skills on Fiverr
Fiverr is an online marketplace where people can sell their skills for as little as $5. Whether you are an illustrator, artist, web designer, animator or excel wizz there’s potential for you to offer your skills to those who don’t have them. Create an account, list what you have to offer and then market yourself on the platform. Slowly but surely you will begin to get projects emailed to you which you can accept and complete. The more work you do the more work gets sent your way until you start seeing regular and consistent work coming your way.
Thankfully for me Fiverr isn’t just a place for people with a talent for the arts and I have found my niche in proof reading over the last year and am beginning to see some regular client work coming my way and providing me with a regular monthly income. What’s great about the platform is that I am able to offer the basic level of service for just $5 however I offer a better service for an increased cost and thus am able to make a reasonable wage for my work all while sitting in the back of my van.
If you’re looking to learn about setting up a business on Fiverr I recommend the podcast episode by the Side Hustle Show:
3 – Complete tasks on Clickworker
If you have looked at Fiverr and simply don’t think you have the marketable skills to sell something on there then you might want to look at the site Clickworker. Clickworker offers you cash in return for doing small fractions of larger tasks, these can be as simple as taking surveys online in exchange for a few pence or taking videos of you saying various phrases in your native language for a few pounds.
I will often sit down for an hour in the morning and work through the available jobs listed for me in Clickworker while having my morning coffee. While the money I make isn’t going to be able to sustain me solely it easily covers a chunk of my diesel for the month or pays for my Spotify and Netflix subscriptions. Doing work like this in addition to a number of the others listed here is the best way to keep a regular diversified income while on the road.
4 – Get paid to transcribe audio files
Transcription work is perhaps one of the easiest methods to make money online, all it requires is a laptop and an internet connection and you can get started right away. Over the last year I’ve averaged around £36 an hour transcribing audio files for universities, podcasts, YouTubers and businesses all with minimal effort thanks to some handy tricks and additional software that I’ve discovered over a few years of doing this kind of work.
I’ve written more in depth on the subject here so you can see exactly how I started and what I do now to make a regular income each month.
5 – Write and publish a book on Kindle
For those of you with a talent for writing, leaching or simply like to talk a lot there is potential for you to earn an income by writing an ebook and self publishing it yourself for Kindle. You may have seen a lot of other UK vanlifers doing just this and having huge successes, whether it is a fictional story you have been dying to write or simply a how to guide about converting your van.
The beauty of this method is that once you have written the book the bulk of the hard work is done, selling electronic products such as ebooks don’t require you to have to hold stock, post out orders or even maintain a shop, you can market them on social media, optimise them for search and get consistent sales from these each month. A few examples of vanlifers doing just this is Vandogtraveller with his book “How to live in a van and travel“, Nate Murphy with his “Van Conversion Guide” and A Couple of Adventurers with “Living in a Box“
For great tips on getting started with Kindle publishing I recommend the podcast Smart Passive Income – Killer Kindle Publishing Tips
6 – Build a website like this one
I love making this website, writing articles from the back of my van, getting submissions from you lot and brainstorming future ideas; but I’d be lying if I said that this website was just a resource and didn’t make some money. Currently it doesn’t make a lot of money, just enough to cover the costs of running it which is pretty great.
Making a website was way easier than I thought; I bought a wordpress domain and hosting from Siteground for as little as £2.95 per month, I used a drag and drop website creator plugin called Elementor and then just spent a few days playing around until I had this website. From there I just wrote articles, put them online and then added adverts using Google Adsense. Now every time you come to the website I make a tiny amount of money from the ads being displayed, and a little bit more when you actually click on the ads. Each month the income I’ve made from this website has increased and soon it will be making a nice little income for me.
For a quick guide about building a website from a van check out These Rolling Hills article “How to build a website” which is a good beginners guide.
7 – Start a business on Etsy
One site which has proven to be a great tool for people living in vans is Etsy; it’s a marketplace similar to Amazon except it specialises in handmade items. The variety and quality of things differs greatly across Etsy however if you are in any way creative you can begin to sell your products on Etsy in a few easy steps, vanlifer Marina from Pamthevan51 recently shared a behind the scenes video on her Etsy business:
We know of a number of vanlifers who are selling their wonderful work on Etsy so definitely check them out to get inspired by what is possible:
8 – Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing has been a fantastic method of money making over the last 3 years for me, I make around £250 a month by suggesting products and services that I actually use and endorse to people who then go on to buy them. Each time someone buys a product using my recommendation link I get a small cut of the profits; it doesn’t cost the person any more money and it’s always something I recommend myself so it’s a win-win.
There’s a tonne of ways you can utilise this method of money making, one way is giving out your affiliate link to people who are already going to buy things, I gave my Amazon link to all of my friends and asked them to get to Amazon via that link and now every time they buy anything from Amazon after clicking my link then I get a little commission.
For a more consistent income from affiliate marketing I set up a niche website (using the tips above in point 6) where I review board game apps, I included my affiliate link to the products I review and each time someone buys one of the board games I recommend I get a cut of the income. (You can check out that website here) This has proved to be a fantastically consistent and fun way to make money on the road.
9 – Deliver using Deliveroo
Thanks to the ease of companies such as Deliveroo the opportunities to work from any city in the UK on any given day has never been easier. If you have a bike with you in your van or are happy to simply drive around using your van you can roll into a city and start working the same day with relative ease.
Simply sign up to Deliveroo, switch it on and you can start working from where you are so long as Deliveroo has it’s service there. They report that drivers can make up to £120 a day delivering with them and you have the flexibility to choose when to work and from where. Definitely more of a conventional job than the other options on this list it is still a fantastic way to earn a living while living and travelling around the UK in your van.
10 – Get a temporary job
I know this is probably the least glamorous suggestion you’re going to read however it’s the one which is probably the most accessible for everyone reading this and is one that I’ve utilised a tonne until the above methods started to bring in a regular reasonable income for me.
Planning my van movements around one area for a chunk of time rather than hopping around means that I was able to take on temporary short term contracts, be it bar work, office admin, manual labour etc. Taking work like this meant I was able to stay on the road and put investment in both time and money into my other pursuits, slowly building them up to a point where I stopped needing to take the work and really freed myself up to travel and make money on the road.
Making money on the road
It’s hard to believe that people are able to survive and travel full time in their vans but it’s happening every single day, what you don’t see from their YouTube channels and Instagram accounts is that it does take work to do so, there’s no quick and easy fix for earning a living on the road. Piecing together an income from a number of streams combined with living frugally makes the dream possible and possible for everyone, the biggest hurdle is simply getting started, the first £1 you earn is the hardest, it gets easier from there.