We knew the fun couldn’t last forever. We knew we were far enough away in age and investments to be truly retired. We knew we’d have to return to some type of income procurement at some point.
Campground Hosts, Sugar Beet Harvest and Amazon among other Working Camper opportunities have all been discussed as options. We knew we could make money doing a Renaissance Faire circuit, we just didn’t know how we could transport all the stuff involved with that, so we’d discussed getting different vehicles.
In the beginning, we planned for a phase one and a phase two. The first was to just tour the country and have fun and not worry about money (using savings we set aside for this purpose.) Phase two probably meant staying in place longer and we figured we’d want a different RV setup to allow for that. (But we’ve been perfectly happy in our current space.) We were just waiting to figure out what income producing in phase two would be.
Well, we found it. I think. Maybe.
When we were at Escapade in June, we went through all the booths offering RV solutions like insurance, braking systems, comfy pillows, and yes, even portable jobs.
While talking with the guy at the Southeast Publications booth, I figured we found a working solution. So I pulled Tom away from the suspension booth and explained the pitch: Independent Contractors (good), going anywhere in the country we decide (good), staying two weeks for free at a campground (very good) and selling ads (not so good) so that the campground can have free maps for their guests. Even though I have never and could never do sales, that’s what Tom did, so I wanted to sign him right up! Having been in small business and needing affordable advertising reaching our target market, I saw the value in offering advertising to businesses in the area that would benefit from the traveling RVers. Win, Win, Win, was how I saw it.
Tom (the person who would actually have to do the job) was a little more skeptical. But we went to a presentation, found out the buy-in was just $150, discussed all alternatives, and decided we’d give it a try.
So here we are at our first campground job. Just getting started, we had limited options of where we could go, so we are in southern Minnesota at a KOA campground between Albert Lea and Austin. It’s not a destination I would have picked to vacation in, but it’s nice enough. The idea is that you work really hard the first week, then have time the second week to enjoy the area. Well, in theory. We are on such a steep learning curve, getting the systems and back office work etc. down, that I’m not sure we’ll have time to explore at all while we’re here.
My bright idea was that Tom would be doing the majority of the work, off selling every day while I stayed home and blogged, or worked on my other businesses, or whatever. Ha! It’s a two person job. At least for us for now. We’ve been driving all over the place following our leads and trying to get more. Tom drives while I navigate and take notes. Then he goes in to give the pitch while I stay in the car working on finding the next stop.Then we go home and try to figure out what to do with the ads we got and try to line up businesses for the next day.
As Tom points out, he was in the business of selling a product (trusses for roofing) that people need. This job is not selling something people actually need. It’s been a harder “sell” than I anticipated. But Tom knew. It’s estimated you get one yes for every ten no’s. So I’m trying not to get discouraged.
Whether or not this job is a good fit for us in the long haul is still up for discussion.
Our agreement with the company is to do three jobs in the first three months and then a minimum of eight jobs a year. So it’s not like we’re locked into this one thing. So we’ll see.
The upside about this location is that it’s on a major east/west interstate (I90) and near a major north/south artery (I35) so lot’s of people pass through. Including people we know!
Our Xscapers friends Dave and Nicky were passing through and we invited them to stay at “our” campground. So we had a lovely visit with them one evening. Another couple we’ve met on the road, Mike and Deb were passing through on I35, so we met them at a truck stop and had a nice visit. Again, the best thing about full-timing is the people you encounter along the way!
Another thing on the plus side, there are always things to see while driving about, including the cute town of Austin (pictured at the top) and a couple more drive-bys:
Plus, it’s not all work when you’re calling on places you would go anyway, like the SPAM museum (Who knew?!).
And now of course, now we get to write-off working meals, like an all pork Spam-burger:
So for now, we’re back to work. We’re a week in and it’s been an exhausting change of pace for us! At least we won’t be out pounding the pavement over the weekend. And there is a lake nearby.
PS – If you’re interested in joining us with Southeast Publications, please contact us or use us a s referral when talking to the company – thanks.
Peace & Love, Joy