How Gnomad Home Earns Remote Income Building Websites

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gnomad home earning remote income
gnomad home earning remote income

What are your names, and what kind of van do you have?

We are Jayme and John from Gnomad Home. We travel around in our 1996 Chevy Express conversion van with our two pups Nymeria and Delilah.

How do you earn a remote income on the road?

Through a lot of hard work, we’ve been able to build a full time income doing what we love – helping and informing people. We do this through informational websites that we’ve built from the ground up. Our big passion project is our van build site Gnomad Home, which teaches people how they can build out their own vans and live on the road. The main way we make money from our sites is through Amazon’s affiliate program, but we also make advertising income from our other website.

Did you know when you first moved into your van how you were going to make money?

We hoped that we would eventually make enough money from our websites to sustain life on the road, but we definitely rolled the dice at first. We had a plan we were working towards, but everything was up in the air when we hit the road.

When John began his 9-5 job years ago, he knew it wasn’t a lifetime calling of his and immediately began researching ways to earn a living independently. He began researching the world wide web and all of the business possibilities that can stem from creating an online career. 

We started our other website with the intention of it becoming our main source of income.

We built Gnomad Home, on the other hand, entirely for fun. We just wanted to share how we built our van so that we could help others along their own journeys. We saw a gap in the information available online about vanlife and building a van, and thought it would be fun to help fill that gap.

We had no clue that Gnomad Home would take off and turn into the huge resource that it is now, but we love it. It’s become the epitome of the saying, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” We’re van geeks, and we love researching and testing all the ins and outs of building a van so we can help others get on the road and live their own dreams. All of the feedback we get from others about how our site has helped them through their builds – and meeting people on the road who have built their vans using our site – is pretty rad, and it’s what keeps us going.

But when we first hit the road our websites were only bringing in a small amount of income, and we had no idea when or if our sites would pay the bills. To set ourselves up for long term success, we made the decisions to stop doing freelance work for others, to live entirely off our savings, and to focus on growing our websites. Luckily, our income started covering our expenses right when we ran out of savings, so our gamble paid off!

Do you think it’s possible for anyone to apply a skill set they have or learn a skill that will allow them to earn a remote income?

Most definitely! There are ways to monetize just about any passion you may have, whether it’s sharing whatever you create (selling art, selling a musical album you create, selling clothes you design, etc.), or creating a website sharing your experiences and encouraging others. If you have any sort of digital skill like writing, photography, or graphic/web design (or any number of other skills), you can freelance via platforms like UpWork. Some are even able to figure out remote work positions with their jobs.

The internet has opened up so many endless possibilities that earning a remote income doing what you love is a lot easier and more manageable than it has ever been. But the key ingredient here is hustle – putting yourself out there and making things happen for yourself, not sitting back and waiting for things to fall into your lap. If you’re used to working a regular job and receiving a steady paycheck it can be a big mindset shift, but the freedom it brings is exhilarating and totally worth it.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone looking into living on the road who isn’t yet sure how they’re going to make money?

Find where your passions and your strengths intersect and start there. John has an incredible ability to read anything, retain that information indefinitely, and explain it to others through writing. I (Jayme) am a prolific writer, and I can throw down thousands of words in the span of an hour and somehow make it all understandable.

We both enjoy teaching and inspiring others (and we love vans and alternative lifestyles). So when we combine our skills and passions, building a website that teaches others how to build a van and live the life they truly desire is a natural fit for us.

So again, find what your passion is. What truly makes you come alive? What is it that you could do day after day after day and still feel excited about it? Then find what your strengths are.

Your strengths are separate from your passions. You could be really great at something but absolutely hate it. I can run a pretty long distance without stopping, but that doesn’t mean it’s something I enjoy doing.

How much on average do you think someone would need to earn monthly to simply get by? Hopefully with the ability to increase this as time goes on. But just a minimum that you think is appropriate for basic living?

There’s no real one-size-fits-all answer to this question, because how much you spend depends a lot on your priorities and your choices. For example, if you prioritize traveling then you’ll spend a lot more on gas then someone who tends to stay around one area.

For us (two humans and two dogs), the magic number is around $1,800 per month. That allows us to travel as much as we want to, buy food from local/organic sources, pay for health/auto insurance and unlimited cell service, and have some cushion in case something goes wrong. There are others out there who spend way less than we do, as well as people who spend way more. Again, it’s all about your priorities, but you can spend very little if you’re willing to make a few tradeoffs.

Here are a couple book recommendations I personally have read to help learn about making money through my blog if you also want to learn more!

Do you think it’s imperative to initially leave with money in the bank? Something to fall back on or live off of until the remote income kicks in? Or do you think it’s better to have the remote income being made before hitting the road?

We think having savings is very important. There are so many unexpected situations that can come up when traveling and living in the wild versus in a safe neighborhood environment. You could get a flat, get into a car accident, have to go to an Urgent Care, your dog might get bit by a rattlesnake, the transmission may blow. There are endless things that could go wrong and most likely will go wrong at some point – so having a savings account of some sort will be a game changer when it comes to unpredictable expenses and your general peace of mind.

Another reason why hitting the road with savings is important: it allows you to focus more on setting yourself up for the future rather than worrying about where your grocery money is coming from today. We wouldn’t have been able to fully devote ourselves to building our business if we didn’t have money in the bank when we hit the road. We would have spent a ton of time freelancing and working for others instead of growing a future income stream that’s ours completely.

If you have remote income set up beforehand, then great, you’re ahead of the game. But if not, don’t let that stop you from hitting the road. At a certain point, you need to just take the leap and trust yourself that you’ll find a way to make it work. You’ll be surprised what you’re able to do when you really put your mind to it.

Likewise, having savings is great, but we realize that not many people have a bunch of money just laying around. This shouldn’t be another hurdle to overcome before you can live the life that you want, and there are some really simple ways to get a bit of a cushion before you hit the road. Almost all of our initial savings came from selling all of our belongings. If part of moving into a van involves downsizing your stuff, then try selling it! You’d be surprised how much you can make doing this, and it’s a great way to get started on the road.

Any other advice for someone trying to figure out how to make money on the road?

Don’t listen to other people telling you that your dreams won’t make you money. If it’s something that you truly want then you will find a way to make it happen. It won’t be easy. You will work hard for it every single day. But when you’re creating your own dreams, the work is more of a reward than an exhausting effort. For most things the more you put in the more you’ll get out.

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