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
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.
Visiting the The Museum of Science in Boston [PHOTO ESSAY]
New York - A Day in Pictures [PHOTO ESSAY]
I will totally buy Miro’s book!
Really wonderful post, and just what I needed to read right about now. We have less than a month before we head back on the road. I feel fear sometimes, but mostly elation that we are finally taking the leap and being true to ourselves. Reading this post just gave me a great boost as our income will also be small and sporadic, but it’s inspiring to see others not being afraid and following their hearts. Wishing you well on your continued journey 🙂
Lainie, you would be an excellent life coach! That idea resonates so strongly! Since I met you and Miro,(which, as I do the math, was over 10 years ago, as Kim moved into the atrium in 1999 (!) ) I have always admired you and your commitment to making your life what you wanted it to be, and your commitment to Miro and the relationship between you two. It was clear even then. I have to admit that since I became a mom six and a half years ago, and especially since I became a single mom three years ago, I have had more than one moment of “what would Lainie do?” As a person who did not grow up with self-actualized parents, I have had to seek out other role models in that realm, and you are one. I am keeping up with you and Miro on your journeys, even as Oren and I are on our own. Oren is fascinated by learning about other places in the world and I have promised him that we will travel extensively together when he is older. I hope we can see you two again some day… and just to throw it out there, we are moving to New Orleans at the end of the summer, so if you and Miro find yourselves stateside, and have a hankerin’ for a little Jazz or some jambalaya — you have an open invitation at hour house. Much love to you both… xo Elizabeth and Oren
I like your optimism, it’s quite contagious and put me in a good mood!
So Miro is writing a novel? Nice, it’s unbelievable how creative he is already at his age 🙂
Best of luck to both of you for your future projects & challenges.
Great article, Lainie. I definitely want to visit Peru sometime — it is one of my top choices.
I know you guys did a Podcast for a while. Have you considered getting a sponsor for the podcast.
Also, I know a couple of people that do types of coaching online. One is for productivity and one is for life coaching/yoga. I can send you those links if you’re interested in seeing how they charge.
Also, if you ever want to write an article for ShareYoga, I could pay a small fee for each article, perhaps on intuition.
Keep up the amazing writing and sharing!
It is amazing to me that you posted this today because just last night Erik and I were wondering how you managed to do what you do financially. We camped next to you at Burning Man almost 4 years ago now with our baby girl Juniper. We have been following you guys on facebook and here since then and we are totally inspired by you two.
Lainie, great post and by reading it, I felt so many emotions… this it the way many people live, not just because they want but because most can’t do anything else…
Using some of your words for my FB status…
A hug for you and Miro!
Great post Lainie and hoping November will wor for us on the retreat! I love how you have embraced the financial situation and live with no fear about it. It took me years to get to that point and I certainly have moments when I stress a bit but like you I have great faith it will all work outr, it always does and I think it will continue to because my mindet shapes my reality!
Really nice breakdown, thanks for sharing! I really liked the idea of giving unschooling tours to small groups of teens, I would totally love to send my kid to something like that (once he gets old enough). Also looking forward to purchasing both books when they come out.
I’d buy Miro’s book, too! As a novelist (and editor of many other people’s novels), I know just how difficult it is to finish a novel. Big kudos to him for sticking with it! If he ever needs another pair of eyes, let me know:)
I love love LOVE the idea of an unschooler retreat to Peru! The PUP website looks totally rockin’! I hope a ton of people are interested! Do you mind if I share in on the Facebook unschooling groups?
I love that you were so open about your income, and more importantly, the idea of living on less. It scares some people, and we often need to see it demonstrated by others, the real transparent stuff on what it takes, to make it seem doable.(This coming from a single mom starting to build a 180 square foot house for my daughter + I, I’m all about the less stuff!)
I help people start little businesses & shoot for feeling “less owned” and I’d say the greatest obstacle for folks is the idea of giving up stuff, to actually take a shot at doing what they really want. High five girlfriend, I love keeping up with your journey, it inspires me more than I can say (I just finally came out of lingering in the shadows to drop a hello!).
Simply needed to point out I’m delighted I stumbled on your page!
Inspiring! I’m a big transition in my life- I’ve just spent the last 2 years living in 2 different regions in Spain and was blessed to have a job that paid me decently with minimal hours. I’m headed back to SF and clearly not ready (nor really want to) go back to the 40 hr work week, commute, don’t have time for much in life world…
For first time I’m not stressed or worried about what comes next and am excited for the blank canvas that awaits me!
Congrats to being able to let go of the fear. It’s true. Things always fall into place when we need them most.
And also you can sell your travel pictures. You are great photographer!
One of the many recurring themes in life, is that everything comes when it is needed. This goes for people, places, money, the right conversations, movies, books, music etc. I needed to read this post today to remind myself money does not equate to happiness, and just being used to having a certain amount does not mean we can we can not adjust to less.
Beautiful, heartfelt, and inspiring read, as always.
Thank you! You have no idea how many people you are helping simply by being who you are. You are giving others trying to find their own way, the hope and empowerment to do so.
Great article, Lainie. I definitely want to visit Peru sometime
Thanks for this it is always a question I have when reading about anybody who manages to traverse the world without a trust fund as steady income. Air fare is indeed not getting any less expensive and this is the primary struggle a good friend of mine had when she spent almost 5 months abroad. Air fare ate up the majority of the money saved, and was inevitably what prevented her from furthering her adventures (at least the ones far away.)
Of course there’s always a mistique presented in any story, especially my own. Many folks listen to me discuss my unique upbringing and are awed and astonished.
“I wish I could live that way!” people have commented…but the truth is…no, no you don’t.
The truth is an almost even mixture of struggle and sadmess and beauty and happiness.
Living off the land in a teepee is cool. Not knowing when your next meal comes,…is not.
Many blogs are misleading in that most people want to present the best side of their lives. Who exactly wants to share anguish and pain? I certainly don’t. At least not under my real name 😉
Which is why I enjoy your honesty. You don’t know exactly what you’ll earn. People underestimate the power of improvisation in life.
Thanks for sharing.
Yes. I had so much time trying to make it with 3 kids, running out of food one time for about a week, that the uncertainty of living on the road is too real. Now I have 2 kids (different set) and have been homeless for several yrs. We have lived in 2 homes with others. Its not ideal. We have food stamps so no food issues but still not ok.
I have had several jobs outside the home since 2011 but none lasts and the last one had my kids confined to our room while I was gone as the living situation was not good. Just a couple hrs, but daily. I HAVE to have something we all can do together but thats craziness in the USA. My kids had a good gig going on this spring and it was about to take off but we moved. They were making money daily and loving it. They cant get it off the ground here. All my kids have been hardworkers but this culture prohibits it in reality.
Anyway, I totally hear you. The real life of being in poverty even with the unique experiences and the idea of freedom being worth it, are vastly different. With kids anyway. If it were just me, I d leave in an instant. I can work my butt off no problem, on a daily basis, and live in a hostel, eating eggs everyday. I would just work my way round the world. Kids though? Kids wreck that, bingboombam. They need a mom. I love being that mom. So we re poor 🙂
You got me. I’m inspired. I’ve always felt as though I have a dual core: half of me wants to fly away without a thought or a care regarding the where or how or when, and the other half wants to hunker down and SETTLE where it’s safe and secure. I admire how your lifestyle satisfies the need for both whimsy and practicality. I just found your blog today, but I already think you’d make a fantastic life-coach! You seem exactly the sort of person who could help others get over (or through) their fear-bump.
Hi Liane and Miro,
I’m sitting in sunny southend (UK) as I write, reading your blog and inspiring me with my own – there will be a link! as I write about Life on the road with our kids when they were younger.
I truly believe that the education they gained on the road has enabled them decide which careers they would like for themselves.
My son is now a Professional FreeRunner, My daughter is entering the Scuba Diving Industry – one in the UK and one away.
It will be an interesting time over the next few years as their father and I work with them and ourselves to live the life we want.
One thing I think I have been able to take today from your post is about the shift in fear where lack of money is concerned – thank you for that. it has resonated with me and reminded me why I have travelled and lived in the way I have.
I think it will even become my screen saver. I need the constant reminder!
May your travels continue and may we one day meet
Thank you for this inspiring post. The way you explained your outlook on financing was brilliant. Many times in life we let the fear of not having anything cripple us from reaching out to our dreams. I know that fear. The thing is, no matter how much stuff one has.. it doesn’t really make you happy and it’s never enough. One gets addicted to a life of posessions when there’s emptiness inside. Fill the soul and I guess money don’t matter? I don’t know. I’ve never been in your shoes although I’m planning to soon. I’m done depending on my parents and I will go figure it out on my own. I’m scared, but it’s ok.
That’s exactly how I live, freelance. I love it. I’m not working for a boss, I’m working for myself. My hours are decided by myself only. However, like you said, it’s not always consistant.
But honestly, no one could pay me to go back to my old 9-5.
Good, inspiring article! I am curious to know how you got ads placed on your sites? Do you go out and get them, or did they come to you?
thanks for the candid article! Your honestly is always appreciated. I don’t know you but I can see you being a life coach and I can totally see you being good at using your soothing voice to help others. Are you familiar with ASMR? If not, do a search for it on YouTube sometime. Please don’t judge me if it seems kind of weird at first 🙂 It’s a form of relaxation that I have used from time to time. You should wear headphones when you listen to it and it is supposed to trigger tingles to help you relax. (My favorite ASMR-YouTuber is a woman named Maria and her YouTube name is GentleWhispering.)
I miss Peru and look forward to having time (and $$) to travel again soon 🙂
Best wishes to you and Miro!
Your FB friend,
An interesting and informative article, my wife, 10 year old son and I are about to head off for a year living overseas so we are exploring ways of supplementing our savings with earning on the road.
Yes! I was looking for this article. I was traveling by my self, living without possesions, just with some money. Till I borrowed everything to my son’s (unborn) daddy. So I returned home moneyless, jobless, homeless, stuffless. And pregnant
Believing and deeply trusting that life always provides, and keep in mind that I shouldn’t take more than I need, here I am: I have a house, where my son will be born very soon (days, or max a few weeks), I have little money ( saving for holidays but maybe even doing what you do…!), because I had a job, which was shitty payed, but no responsabilities or stress! The stuff that is in my house I mostly got from generous people around me. I am blessed and grateful.
Thank you for being an inspiration for me and my unborn son! I love your way of living! This is LIFE!
Much love from The Netherlands! And if you ever planning to see Europe, you are most welcome ( if I am still around 😉 )
I really needed this today, thanks for being so open.
I think your Small Group Experiences sound perfect. I actually thought this would be an awesome thing to do: find a few different, family friendly sites and host families of unschoolers. Look us up if you ever need some guinea pigs I have four willing boys almost 5-13 who would love it 😉