Working and Living on the Road in Australia
Our solution to balancing work and life. To live on the road to travel Australia in a motorhome while earning enough money to do so is for most people a dream out of reach. So how do we manage it?
Firstly, this is NOT an article telling you how to earn money while travelling Australia – it simply explains what works for us … how we earn enough money to keep travelling (for almost 8 years at the time of writing this).
When we started our travels in Hobohome back in 2003, we really had no idea how much it would cost to travel and live in a motorhome, or how possible it would be to earn money as we travelled. We had a few ideas on how we could apply our existing skill set and hopefully pick up work as we went along.
In our first year we earned next to nothing – our plans to offer mobile PC support to remote locations did not seem to be a huge success. Thankfully, it was also a very cheap year – our total outgoings for that year were just over $20,000. Still, $20k is not nothing and if we were going to stay on the road, we needed to make at least that.
We dabbled in a few different things … selling stickers, taking and selling photos at events, Photoshop services and a few other things. All of these made a little money – but the big downside was that they dictated where we could travel (for example, if you are going to sell things at markets, you have to be where the markets are). Clearly we needed to find some sort of job that we could do from anywhere.
The purpose of our website (www.hobohome.com) was originally to keep friends and family up to date and informed about our travels. It was inspired by Mark and Belle’s Westernbelle site that we read religiously when considering life in a motorhome – this was a blog long before anyone knew what a blog was. We started to get quite a few hits from people who liked my photos and ramblings, mostly people who either lived on the road or wanted to. Many commented that they liked the site and the design and a few asked us to build a website for them. Imageworkx .com was born!
My previous experience in the computer industry allowed me to produce functional and attractive websites at a fraction of the costs quoted by office based web developers. Tracey worked hard to learn to code HTML and her Photoshop skills and eye for detail make us a good pair. With a few websites now under our development and management, we decided to branch out into hosting (this is where the websites are served from) and purchased hosting space on a Melbourne based server farm.
I then spent almost a year researching and understanding how Google and other search engines rank websites for inclusion in their index. It was very clear that search was the key to turning a website from a “nice to have” into a serious business tool. I then developed a number of software tools to analyse a website and the existing top ranking sites (for a given set of key words) and produce a mathematical model that would suggest changes to the site that would improve search rankings. With this, the SEO (search engine optimisation) part of Imageworkx completed the package and we were able to offer a full business web development solution.
At around this time we met the team from ANT (Australian Nomad Technologies). They were developing the first portable satellite internet system for travellers. We designed and produced their website for them and purchased one of their systems. Because we now have internet connectivity wherever we are, we can travel almost anywhere and still service our customers.
Imageworkx is still a tiny business – and we like it this way. We have strived to balance work and lifestyle and for this reason we are a little selective about the clients we accept – and we have never lost a client. We pride ourselves on offering a first class service at a very competitive price. Our low overheads mean lower prices for our customers and because weekends have no special meaning for us, we are happy to provide service any day of the week. We work when there is work to be done … at other times we relax or play.
Interestingly, we have not met the majority of our customers and some we have only ever communicated with by email!
New customers normally arrive by “word of mouth” advertising. Happy customers make a great sales team.
Because Imageworkx earns just a modest income, we have to keep a close eye on our outgoings – so don’t expect to see a new Hobohome any time soon. We are very happy to have found a business that allows us to work, earn and travel AND one that provides a quality service to our customers.
You can read more about our web design/hosting and SEO business at our business website www.imageworkx.com. We offer free, no obligation quotes, great pricing and of course a level of service that just can not be matched.
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