How We Brought Our Business on the Road
Building a Virtual Business on the Road
Pete and Jordan Jones
The story of how we built a location-independent business goes back to when Pete and I first met.
We were working cushy corporate jobs - great salaries, benefits, company car, paid travel - and we were completely unfulfilled. We learned really quickly that you couldn’t pay us enough to do what we hated, and that more money and more worldly “success” wasn’t our top priority.
We were surrounded by people who were chasing more money, more promotions, nicer cars, better apartments, and lots and lots of more stuff.
And honestly, we just didn’t feel like we fit in. We wanted more out of our life - and that “more” wasn’t anything we could buy.
So after about a year of dating, we quit our jobs, left our New York apartments, and backpacked across South and Central America. It was during that trip that our mindsets and perspective on life, fulfillment, happiness, and travel radically changed. (We wrote a whole blog post about how that first adventure changed our lives!)
At the time, we started a blog called Quarter for Your Crisis to document our travels, experience, and stories of those we met along the way. We had no monetization plan, no marketing strategy, and no income. We had simply saved up money for the previous few years to be able to go on this grand adventure.
That backpacking experience was the first time we ever met or saw people who were making money and building businesses on the road. It opened our eyes to the world of digital nomads and planted a seed to start something of our own.
Most likely, if you’re reading this blog, you may be feeling the same way about RV life. There are so many incredible people and families who are full-time RVing and making it work in a million different ways. Today, I want to share how we were able to grow our business idea into a company that now supports our full-time RV life.
Starting Our Business the Old-Fashioned Way
Once we returned to America, we had severe reverse-culture shock. We knew we didn’t want to go back to New York City, and we weren’t ready to dive into another corporate job. We figured we had already taken this huge plunge in leaving our jobs, so why not try to make this whole entrepreneur-thing work?
I still joke to Pete that our business is an experiment gone right - and here’s why.
The summer that we returned, we were living on a small 7-mile island full of mom and pop shops. These businesses made almost all of their money in the summertime from tourists, and yet very few of them had websites or any social media presence.
We decided we’d start building websites to support the small businesses in our town, and we started a Google sheet of those businesses who could potentially need our services. Once that list reached over 50 businesses, we threw up our own website, printed out some flyers at the local library, and started knocking door to door.
We simply showed up, introduced ourselves to business owners, and asked how we could get them online - and some of those folks took a chance on us two crazy kids.
Since that first summer, our business has grown almost completely by word of mouth and referrals. We’ve been blessed to serve some incredible clients - but we also learned a ton about what we didn’t want to do in our business.
Pivoting and Building Your Ideal Business
That first year in business, we said “Yes” to everything that came our way. We were hungry to grow and learn, and we pretty much taught ourselves anything we didn’t know.
We quickly learned what we loved to do - and what we didn’t.
And while all of those experiences were an important part of our journey, if I could encourage you to do anything in your entrepreneurial endeavor it’s this: NICHE.
Know exactly WHO you want to serve, HOW you want to serve them, and WHY you’re the best one to serve them.
Almost four years since we first started our business, and we’ve finally found our niche and expertise. We help wedding professionals and creative entrepreneurs build purpose-driven lives + businesses (you can learn more here!).
We still take on a limited number of web design projects, because I genuinely enjoy that piece of our business, but we mainly focus on marketing strategy, and even more specifically, Facebook and Instagram ads. It’s our jam, and we totally love helping our clients grow their businesses online!
Transitioning Our Business to the Road
When we started our business, we served mainly local business owners. Once we decided that we’d be going full-time in an RV after our wedding (aka once Pete convinced me that I would love it… he was right), we knew we needed to make some changes in our business model.
We started off boarding some of our local clients and working with clients across the country. We hosted less in-person meetings and started setting expectations that we’d talk over Skype, Zoom, etc.
Setting those expectations with our clients really helped with the transition on the road. We also started putting better systems in place in our business and narrowing down on our services even more. We found that packaging our services in specific ways helped us not only attract our ideal clients better, but it gave us the confidence to close more of our inquiry calls.
Some of our favorite resources we use to run our business more efficiently on the road are:
Drip (our email service provider)
LeadPages (landing page builder)
Bench (outsource our bookkeeping)
Showit (website builder)
Zoom (conferencing, calls, and webinars)
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Working from the Road
Living in an RV has completely transformed our lives and businesses. As scary of a move as it can feel like, it was honestly one of the best chances we’ve ever took on ourselves and our business. RV life has grown us in our marriage, our faith, our business, and in ourselves.
In our business specifically, it’s made us take a hard look at the different parts of what we do and really focus in on what serves us and our clients best.
It’s also hard not to be constantly motivated when all you have to do is look outside your window to be reminded of why you chose this lifestyle!
Plus, picnic table offices are pretty sweet too :)
Most days, we start with a slow morning routine. We’ll wake up between 6-6:30, and we’ll spend 30-60 minutes praying and doing our devotionals. We’ll make breakfast, and take Russ for a walk or to the dog park for about an hour before we get started with our work day. We’ll usually take another break mid-day to make lunch and walk with Russ, and another in the evening to take Russ to the park and workout. Most nights, we’re grilling, doing some work, and ending the night with a good book!
RV life means that we get to have a super flexible schedule with our work and lifestyle. The biggest thing we have to consider is timezone and how it will affect our client meetings. We use Calendly to schedule our calls, which integrates directly with our iCalendar and automatically updates for which time zone we are in - huge win!
The biggest obstacle of working on the road for us has definitely been internet. There are no guarantees at campgrounds, and many parks that say they have wifi do not have a strong enough connection for us to reliably work from. We carry a Verizon Jetpack and use Mifi when we need to work while driving or parked at the RV. Otherwise, bad wifi usually means we’ll seek out local coffee shops and libraries to work from! Sometimes, we even work from dog beaches :)
In Park City, we actually hosted a live webinar from the study room at the local library - and it worked perfectly!
The only other obstacles with running a business so nomadically that we’ve been working hard to prevent are managing client expectations and payments.
For expectations, we work hard to develop great relationships with our clients. We use Voxer to stay in contact for our coaching clients, and we always make sure our clients know about our lifestyle. We try not to be on the move if we have client calls, which means we try our best to block schedule out our call and coaching days.
For payments, we use Wave Apps for invoicing, and Honeybook for our CRM, both of which allow for online payments which makes it super easy for ourselves and our clients. We do have some clients pay us through PayPal as well.
There are definitely a few things that need to change about your business when you hit the road, but if you prepare a little ahead of time, set up the right expectations with your clients and coworkers, it can be a pretty seamless transition!
If you have any questions about specific business topics or how we run our business on the road, feel free to shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message over on Instagram! We’re always happy to connect with fellow RV Entrepreneurs :)