Last Update: 12/30/2016

How to Make Money While Traveling in a Van, Part 4

Back and side of maroon van open, small oil paintings on display to be sold.

Continuing Vanholio’s 6-part series, “How to Make Money While Traveling in a Van,” I’m coverin’ how to sell goods and services for income. These principles apply to nomads, rubbertramps, boaters, and travellers of all stripes. Hell, they even work for your sticks-n-bricks types.

But I Hate Selling! I Suck at It!


Too bad, Buttercup. If you’re thinkin’ you want a job, you’re gonna be selling yourself. Only you’ll be looking for one client to sell to, a boss. All the principles are the same as being in business. It’s only the damn details that vary.

5 Steps to Selling Anything, Including Yourself


In landing any business or job, you gotta go through the following steps. It’s like selling lemonade.

  1. Find a Ready Buyer

    Maybe anyone could use what you’re selling, but it’s a waste of time trying to convince them. You want to focus your energy on folks who know they need what you got and are willing and able to spend money.

    Selling lemonade? Go where people are hot and thirsty (and have cash). Festival on a hot day? Perfect! Folks are thirsty, usually have cash, and may not be carrying around water with them.

  2. Get the Buyer's Attention

    Folks got a lot on their minds. Even when a potential buyer wants what you got, you need them to notice you. That’s a trick. It’s why companies pay fuckloads for advertising.

    Make that lemonade sign big and yellow. Make it tall enough and bright enough that it sticks out to thirsty buyers as they wander around the festival. Hawk your wares, too! “Lemonade! Cold lemonade for sale! Fresh squeezed! Lots of ice!”

  3. Convince the Buyer You Can Solve Their Problem

    OK, so you got the sucker’s attention. Now what? You gotta convince them you’ve got the solution, that you can deliver. You need to prove you're competent.

    Your lemonade stand better be clean with lots of cups. Make sure they can see the lemonade in it’s jugs/dispensers. Glass is perfect, especially if water beads condense on the outside.

  4. Convince the Buyer You Will Solve Their Problem

    What Vanholio’s talking about here is trust. Lots of folks can provide a service, but many too are lazy and disappoint their buyers. You buyer wants to know you’ll deliver.

    Make sure you and your lemonade stand staff are helpful. Whether it’s a short or long line, move your customers along quickly. Have plenty of change. Be able to take credit cards. Have plenty of lemonade, ice, and cups on hand. In other words, give the buyer confidence that they’ll get their lemonade in hand and belly quickly with no fuss. Don't waste the buyer's fucking time.

  5. Close the Deal

    If the buyer’s got question or concerns, address them. Then tell them to pay you, but ever so nicely.

    Mr. Lemonade Buyer is just looking, not quite in line. Ask if they want lemonade. Offer a sample. Hand over a cup of lemonade without being asked and say, “That’ll be $3.” The buyer might refuse, but most likely not. They wouldn't be hanging around if they didn't want that lemonade deep down.

Think about these steps. Inhale them. Make them yours. Figure out how to handle each step in any money-making venture you wanna try. Then make it happen. That’s how this shit works.

It’s doable. Trust me. Dumber assholes than you make the steps work for them every day. And for any trade, there’s tons of specific info out there on landing the deal.

But What Goods and Services Can I Sell From a Van?


Look, like I keep saying, I’m offering first principles in this series. I’m not gonna give you a huge list of possibilities. If you want those, check the articles linked in the “Van Life Income Ideas” at bottom.

5 General Ways to Earn While Traveling


  1. Remote jobs – These are telecommuter jobs, piecework, phone selling, on-the-road specific jobs, and so forth.


  2. Online businesses – Anything you can sell online, goods or services, goes great on the road with cellular internet.


  3. Seasonal businesses – Why not run a business part of the year? Tourist locations are good for this. Also, Christmas businesses. Lots of possibilities.


  4. Seasonal jobs – Lots of businesses hire people just for the busy times. Amazon.com hires lots of workkampers at Christmas, and it’s popular with vanners. That’s just one example.


  5. Portable businesses – Artists and craftspersons move around from show to show, with plenty of breaks between. Some tradespeople have mastered finding clients when they arrive in town, then move on.

What you should get from the above list is that you can do damn near anything on the road. Most jobs and businesses can be portable if you use your noodle.

Van Life Income Ideas


5 Sweet Van Life Jobs and How to Get Them
Ideas for Making Money on the Road (Cheap RV Living Forum)
Remote Jobs Links (Cheap RV Living Forum)
Make a Living on the Road (Wandrly Magazine)
45 Great Jobs You Can Do While Traveling and How to Get Them (The Barefoot Nomad)

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See …


How to Make Money While Traveling in a Van, Part 1Part 2Part 3
The Six-Step Selling Cycle (Dummies)


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