We’ve been asked this question quite often as of late, and I realize we’ve never written a post addressing this topic specifically. Unfortunately, we don’t have a magic formula and I’m going to be candid here, our income is patchwork, piecemeal and luck.
As someone who’s had experience running a business, the greatest lesson I had was to embrace my strengths, and get help for areas we are challenged in. When I ran my branding agency, I had a manger who took care of my books, did our billing and collections and issued payroll. The financial matters were never something I focused on too closely as my strengths have always been vision and creativity. However, here on the road, I don’t have a team to help me, I don’t have lots of money coming in (nor do I have the many expenses going out). Our financial life has been simplified, for sure.
The biggest lesson we’ve learned from becoming self sufficient is creating multiple streams of income. Not one is consistent and our income varies from month to month, some months, close to nothing comes in. The key is to diversify. Here’s how we’ve managed up to this point and I’m sharing with you some of our future endeavors.
Advertising and Sponsorships
Today, our income comes from a variety of sources. Our primary income is from small ads you may see from time to time on our website RaisingMiro.com. I try not to make the ads too obtrusive as to not impede with your experience as a reader. Our earnings from these sorts of advertisements and sponsorships per month ranges from $200 to $700.
Additionally, we have 3 other smaller sites that we sell advertising on. The sole purpose of those other sites are to have additionally income from potential advertisers. We earn from $0 -$450 per month on those 3 other sites combined. Those sites are:
I also earn money through writing articles. I have written for several publications, and my monthly earnings from the articles I write ranges from $0 -$450 per month.
Last, I continue to do a small amount of freelance work when necessary. I seek and will take on a larger freelance web development projects when we have bad months from our advertising income. I earn about $2500 a year on these projects, but the work is not consistent. I don’t seem to get much enjoyment from these sorts of projects anymore and feel much stress when I commit to this type of work, so I really try to keep it to a minimum and hope to phase it out entirely in the future.
As most of you know, Miro and I have been developing our learning community retreats. This idea was an inspired vision we developed together and are both so passionate about. The project is called Project World School.
Most of our readers already know about it, but just incase:
Project World School, co-creates temporary learning communities around the world so that teens and families can gain a group educational experience. Project World School was founded by mother and son Lainie Liberti and Miro Siegel, who have traveled the world for over six consecutive years. Considering themselves to be “accidental unschoolers”, both have learned tremendously from their worldschooling experiences. Through their journeys, they were inspired to collaborate with other worldschoolers. From this desire, Project World School was born.
Teens and guides collaborate to achieve the learning experience, enjoying natural and academic learning. Fostering social learning, teamwork, leadership, and immersive cultural experiences, Project World School supports and fulfills the needs of participants while creating strong connections to other participants, education, and the environment. Teens who participate are inspired to continue their world travel and education.
Project World School organizes retreats around the world. PWS will host community learning events in areas such as Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, US and Thailand over the next year and a half. Participants will enjoy topics such as surfing, marine biology, conservation in the Amazon jungle, archeology and history in Cusco & the Sacred Valley, and more.
To check out the upcoming retreats, please visit our retreat page.
I hope you aren’t disappointed, but there is no magic formula for us.
Future Earnings and Projects
Every month has been uncertain. But living with uncertainty has become one of our strengths. However personally, I’d like to create a more sustainable life for both Miro and myself by creating more streams of income. Here are some of the future ideas we are developing that have not yet generated any money for us.
Miro is focusing on his writing. He’s almost finished with his first novel called Shawn, the Time Traveling Pizza Delivery Man, and wishes to help contribute to our income. I’m very proud of him and his passion for writing. We’ll keep you posted on this.
I too, am working on an ebook, which I hope will help supplement our income as well. It will be written for families who wish take on this type of lifestyle and offer advice based on our experiences. The ebook will be travel, safety and natural learning oriented… you know all the things we talk about here on our blog, but one place. I hope to have that finished and ready by the end of 2013.
Also, I am starting to play with the idea of charging for personal life-coaching sessions. I have recently offered my support to one mom who felt she was in a funk. I spent over an hour with her helping her get back in touch with her inspiration. Once we did that, we were able to gently look at the fear that surrounded many of the limiting beliefs she had that seems to guide her current decisions. Within the course of one hour, I witnessed her fear lift and she softened her relationship to her future. It was an incredible experience for me and a life altering experience for her.
When Miro and I presented at the Life Rocks Conference in New Hampshire last April, in addition to the Raising Miro on the Road of Life presentation, I did an interactive workshop for about 40 parents on how to tap into their inspiration. The workshop included a walking meditation, an inner exploration of intuition, inspiration, and fear. I gave everyone techniques to explore how to differentiate how those particular sensations feel in the body. Some folks were crying during the session, others were elated. However every single person walked out of that session having a greater toolset then they had before. I know this because of the incredible feedback I received. I know this because people were changed. I know this because I continue to get emails from folks that are using these techniques and are sharing how their lives are enriched. That is pretty powerful to me. And these are things I’ve discovered through our trial and error and living on the road trusting my inspiration. I know this can convert into a small source of income for us, but at this point, I’m not sure how. (If you have any ideas, please send me a note!) Also, I have been requested to do this session again at another conference, and announcements for that are coming soon.
Another future source of income I would like to explore is doing professional voice overs. I’ve been told over and over, that I have a very soothing voice, and at some point, I’d like to pursue this avenue further. At this moment, it is just a thought, but I think this may be a viable option to creating additional streams for us to help supplement our overall income.
Small Group Experiences
Another idea Miro and I are playing with is hosting small groups of either unschooling teens or families for a guided experience of Peru. We actually have 5 people coming (including 3 teenagers) next week to spend an entire six weeks with us! Miro and I will be sharing with them our favorite archeology sites, exposing them to the Peruvian culture, landmarks and taking them on treks. We know an immersive experience is much better than a tourist experience. We are hosting this group as friends, but we are thinking that perhaps in the future we could host small groups and do the same thing for them and generate a small income for our efforts. What do you think, is this a good idea?
Living Within our Means
We live day to day. I’ve become clear that “working” is no longer my life’s purpose as it once was. To go from earning $10,000 a month to living off of that amount per year, didn’t happen over night.
We made adjustments about what we valued. If Miro and I did not adapt an attitude to “collect memories” versus to“collecting things” we would not be able to live the way we do. So the first step of living within our means is changing our relationship to “stuff”.
As Americans, I had to relearn how to live within my means. I recognize I was privileged before, where I had the ability to buy whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I would put things on the credit card and have anything I desired in a fraction of a moment. Instant gratification in terms of purchasing and adjusting that relationship to money took some practice. My life before was completely different, that’s for sure.
Now, we have no credit, no savings, no safety net to fall back on. I don’t have a boyfriend to help. Miro’s dad doesn’t contribute at all either. My family (although I’m certain they won’t let us starve and have certainly helped us in the past) does not support us in any way. Without credit cards, both Miro and I have to always be acutely aware of what we are spending and what we have in that moment. Without a savings account we cannot plan ahead. Without a permanent source of income we become grateful for each day. And because we don’t know what is going to come in each month, so we have had to learn to be comfortable with what we have, no planning for the future and always living in the moment. For many, I suspect that’s the most difficult obstacle.
Is living on a shoe string the most difficult part? No. I think the “uncertainty” is what prevents many from taking on this lifestyle. And I’m not going to lie to you, it’s not stress-free.
Not intended to scare you, but we have had the experiences on three separate occasions over the past four years of completely running out of money. Are you surprised? We had under $10 in our bank account without any idea of how we were going to earn more money. And this happened on three separate occasions. Did I freak out? Maybe a little. But each time, we were able to find a solution.
One time, within three days, I negotiated and landed a large freelance project with a nice deposit. Suddenly there was enough money for four months in our bank account.
Another time, we found a volunteer situation at a hostel were we managed to live, and work for six weeks, which allowed us to focus on creating other streams of income while we didn’t need to expend our energy stressing over where we’d lived.
And the last time, we were able to sell two larger web advertisements which took us through the following month, then we caught up.
Every time we thought we were stuck in the world without money, we’ve magically been provided for. And living with the knowledge that we are always going to be ok was a shift out of fear that is more valuable than any stream of income.
I’ll say that again.
The most valuable asset we have is living without fear and knowing that we will always be ok.
But I know that takes time to get there.
The funny thing is, we always seem to have exactly what we need. It was possible, because we did rethink everything including the way we participate in this world. And creating a multiple streams of income seems to be solution.