Many RV owners dream about working remotely from the road—as both full-time employees and freelancers. And why not? There are a lot of things to love about the lifestyle, especially the ability to travel freely and setting your own schedule. But like with most non-traditional career paths, there are some unique challenges to navigate. To help, we’ve compiled some essential things to consider if you want to hit the open road and work remotely while doing so.
Finding a Job
Start the job searching process by asking yourself a series of big questions: What are your unique skills? Do you have a network of contacts to tap into? Is your resume polished and edited? Do you have a portfolio of sample work? Do you have reference letters? Once you’ve answered some of these core questions, then turn to your network for help. This could include friends, fellow alumni, former coworkers, and other remote workers you might know. If you can’t find work through your own personal network, don’t give up hope. There are a growing number of resources that are specifically designed for remote workers (We Work Remotely and Working Nomads are two great places to start).
Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a remote job:
- Stay Connected: Look at online job boards that specialize in digital work. Spread your resume far and wide within your desired field. And never burn bridges. If turned down for a position, try to stay in touch—you never know when another relevant position might open up.
- Be Valuable Online: Join and participate in Facebook groups for digital nomads, but don’t just show up and ask how to get a job. Oftentimes members in these groups are digital entrepreneurs that are looking for people to hire. Establish your value by posting valuable content and offering quality advice.
- Follow the Leader: Follow other content creators that are also working remotely. Many of them—particularly ones with large, established followings—will offer valuable advice about finding and maintaining work.
Maintaining a Job
It might sound obvious, but once you’ve found a remote job or freelance project, you need to work hard at maintaining it. Take the work just as seriously as if you were showing up to an office. In fact, you should probably take it even more seriously. Sometimes you can rely on personal relationships to safeguard your job in an office environment. And while personal relationships are possible while working remotely, the quality of your work will matter even more. If you behave like you are on a never-ending vacation—being unavailable or unresponsive, late to deadlines, poor communication—then your remote work will seriously suffer.
Try to remember these two things once you’ve found a remote job:
- Always Overperform: You’ve probably heard the saying “under promise, over deliver,” but only part of that holds true. Definitely do not under promise anything when you’re building up a clientele from the road, but do go above and beyond and always share your best work.
- Have a Real Conversation: Building relationships while working remotely may seem like a challenge, but it is incredibly important. Move beyond email and make a phone call, schedule a video meeting, or create a travel schedule that allows you to meet face to face. Communication is more than just words—expression, tone, and body language are all important cues to be aware of.
Managing Your Schedule
Being disciplined with your work schedule is incredibly important, but so is maintaining an appropriate work-life balance. Many remote workers feel like they are constantly working because they don’t stick to a schedule and establish boundaries.
Here are two ways to help create, and maintain, a work schedule:
- Eliminate Distractions: If you are traveling with a partner or family members, be sure to set some clear boundaries. You or your partner may need to leave the RV for a while in order to get some work done. This might mean simply setting up your “office” at the picnic table outside or working from a cafe in a nearby town. If you have kids, try splitting up the day—you work in the morning while your partner watches the kids, and then swap in the afternoon.
- Work With Your Location: One of the benefits of a remote job is the ability to work from different places. Try to build a schedule around your current location so you can still maximize and enjoy your time there. For example, are you working from a campground in Arizona in the middle of summer? Then get up early and go for a hike before it gets too hot. Found a remote job while on the coast of Maine in the fall? Knock out some work early in the morning so you can take your kayak out when the temperatures warm up in the afternoon.
WiFi and Data Plans
Staying connected is essential when working from the road. Missing phone calls, video conferences, or deadlines are big problems when you’re remote (no one can come knock on your door and ask where that assignment is). But thankfully, with some thoughtful planning, you can make it work.
Some advice for staying connected on the road:
- Don’t Count On Campgrounds: Let’s be honest, if you’ve ever stayed at a campground, then you know the WiFi is notoriously unreliable. Even campgrounds that promise strong, reliable WiFi seldom have it. And while this may get better in the future, don’t count on it anytime soon.
- Get a Data Plan: Getting a reliable cellular data plan is a must. Before committing to a network provider, check to make sure their plans cover the parts of the country you want to travel to. If you can afford it, some digital nomads sign up for several different plans in order to increase their coverage.
- Boost Your Signal: Consider getting a cell signal booster, antenna, or WiFi booster that you can install inside your RV or on the roof. There are plenty of well-reviewed devices on the market, and most are super easy to install (weBoost and SureCall are two popular signal booster brands). There are also plenty of RV-specific resources online that help review various tech products and share different mobile internet options—the Mobile Internet Resource Center is a great place to start.
Still interested in joining the growing ranks of RVers that work from the road? Then set a goal and lean into it. Opportunities for adventure are endless, and so are the possibilities for remote work—you just need a bit of skill, creativity, and dedication. Are you up for the challenge?