Hey there, friends! We’re Dan & Susie Kellogg and we are the parental units of the KelloggShow clan. In 2012 we had a dream to sell everything, get rid of the mortgage, get rid of the car payments and just breathe. We were drowning in debt and our daily life was becoming more and more about getting ahead financially than it was about living. After a 4 month long road trip, from which no-one wanted to return, we put our house on the market, sold everything, packed up our kids, our dogs and hit the road for an undetermined amount of time. We are now into our 7th year of full-time RVing and we feel free-er than we ever have before. We have learned how to juggle work and play and want to share with you, today How We Make Money & Travel Full-time.
The first question we are asked when people hear about our lifestyle is “How do you do it?” meaning “How can you afford to do that?” The answer is simple: we work, like everyone else. Supporting 12 kids certainly isn’t an easy feat, but Dan is a software engineer, a web designer and an app developer. If you are interested in the details that come along with his career, and the myriad of other side hustles that bring in some additional income, I encourage you to continue reading!
Most people assume we are either trust fund babies or on some sort of public assistance. Neither is remotely true. We put in the hours, like everyone else. We (Dan) works his tail off, so that I can focus on raising our kids and we can do it in the manner we have chosen. Nothing has ever been handed to us, we are just hard working entrepreneurs with a dream of escaping the rat race and being completely in control of our lives. We knew very early on that we absolutely did not want to live for weekends and two weeks of vacation. We wanted every day to feel like a weekend.
Coming from others, this could be construed as entitlement. I mean who wants to be strapped to a 9 to 5 job, right? But we knew what we wanted and we were determined to do whatever it took to live the life we wanted.
Now, I understand how easy it is to think you have to be rich to live like you are on vacation every day, but we are living proof that that mentality is a myth. Regardless of how much money you make, you have the option of prioritizing. Those who have more money, don’t have to work as hard at this, but those like us, have to sacrifice on practically everything.
Table of Contents
Before hitting the road, Dan was a software engineer and I was a mom. So naturally since Dan’s job was something we could continue to use to Make Money & Travel, we didn’t hesitate when the opportunity presented itself. In fact, funny story. Dan’s boss, at the time, wasn’t aware that we had taken off and were living in an RV until he read about us in the Denver Post! Over time, I found other ways of making a little bit of money as well. I blog on our KelloggShow.com website, I write for Traveling Mom and take freelance gigs whenever I can.
Dan is brilliant and when we first got married he couldn’t figure out what it was that he wanted to do with his life. He had 9 jobs in one year. Then he landed a job at Citicorp and they discovered he was a genius with computers. This started him on the fast track to becoming a self-taught software engineer and he’s never looked back. Today he is a contractor with a few steady clients and many random accounts. As long as he has an Internet connection he can work. Follow here for information on how we keep connected while on the road. He can work, he can attend meetings, interviews, and bid on contracts. It, surprisingly, was a seamless merger with full-time travel.
Often, he meets new contacts on the road. Individuals who have a website need, or a coding project. Dan has been blessed in that all the work has come to him, he hasn’t had to go out and pitch himself. But there are plenty of sites on which prospective clients post a contract need and developers bid on those projects. Being a software engineer can be a lucrative way to Make Money & Travel.
We started KelloggShow before we hit the road. It was a companion site to our YouTube channels. We simply promoted our videos on our website and I’m pretty confident when I say we got little to no traffic on the site. After we hit the road and were featured on The Denver Post, The Today Show, Nickelodeon and more our site really took off. I was shocked at how many people were intrigued by our lifestyle. As it turns out, there are really a lot of people who are truly burned out on the 9 to 5 life and are searching for an alternative, even if for only a short while.
This fact prompted us to put more effort into our blogs and our videos. We wanted to show this lifestyle authentically. We wanted to be helpful and give honest to goodness beta to those desperate for a change. We wanted to be inspirational, not just for those dreaming of full-time RVing, but also for everyone chasing dreams. The “If we can do it, so can you,” cheer resonated with countless people on so many different levels. I mean, here we are with 12 kids, a 36’ RV, a tight budget, and no excuses.
And then, lo and behold, our website started gaining traction and making a small income. We still don’t give it the time it deserves, but that’s the reality of our life. We are busy raising our kids, enjoying our lives and when we have a moment to share something we deem of importance to our readers, we stop and share on our website, YouTube or on Social Media. We love connecting with people and the knowledge that we make a difference in even one family’s life is so rewarding.
We have had our KelloggShow & KelloggShowKids YouTube channels where we vlog about our crazy and extreme lives, since roughly 2010. We wanted to be like the Shaytards, only way wilder and way crazier. Vlogging came naturally to us, and it is a ton of fun, but the biggest reward is the daily family movies. We have documented such a great deal of our kids’ lives that our YouTube channel is gold to us.
As we started traveling, we started vlogging with more of a purpose of documentary entertainment and information. In addition to family fun vlogs and pranks, we review products, answer questions and give a glimpse into what full-time travel with a gaggle of kids looks like!
From time to time, we also make a little income from writing an occasional article for a magazine or website. I also write regularly for TravelingMom.com. In addition to a small income, our presence is, from time to time, requested on Press Trips. Sometimes this is so much greater than any monetary gain as family travel is our niche and anything that brings us to new places is always welcomed!
I can be totally honest, this is not our favorite thing to do, but we are surprisingly good at it. We have done 3 RV shows and we enjoy meeting new people and sharing our hard won knowledge about full-time RV travel.
Dan can easily put in over 45/50 hours per week working, or less than 10. It completely depends on our schedules and what we are doing. Oftentimes, he will work ahead of schedule to ensure free time if we are going to be somewhere epic. If I had to quantify his average weekly hours, I’d say somewhere around 40, just like the rest of the world. The gold is in the flexibility. He is amazing at managing his time and you can typically find Dan up and cranking out the code around 4:30 every morning so he can be out kayaking, climbing, snowboarding or whatever with the family by 10 or so and then back to work after dinner for a few more hours.
We love documenting our lifestyle…it’s definitely a passion. Unfortunately, I just cannot do as much with it as I would like. Our lives are so action packed, that by the time I have a moment to sit down, I’m beyond exhausted and simply can’t think. That said, I truly try to eek out as much information to our fans as humanly possible because I truly do love it.
Writing is the easy part, the words flow easily for me. It’s the editing of photos, SEO and all the Yoast stuff I find extremely time consuming, especially if you muddle through these last things. I would love to hire an SEO specialist, but we don’t have the money for that, so I honestly spend a good 15 hours per week into our website, social media, emails, and comments.
It can take me 40 minutes to write an 1100 word post, but then an additional 2+ hours editing the photos for each post, SEO, and adding internal links. If there is a video to go with it, it becomes an even bigger time investment. Most of our videos take a good 2 hours from start to finish.
Then, there is the time spent answering emails/comments/social media. In the beginning this took maybe 5 minutes per day. Today, it could take 1-2 hours each and every day. We get questions about everything from keeping kids safe while traveling in an RV to financial questions to homeschooling, etc. I love this part … I love interacting with our readers and inspiring them to go after the life they desire. It’s so rewarding to answer an email about what kind of RV we recommend for a particular family and then receive pictures of their purchase. Or even better … to get to meet your readers in person!
As far as time budgeting goes, you can’t disregard the backend website maintenance. This is Dan’s area of expertise and my area of frustration. Fixing issues, updating sites to meet new requirements, etc. eats up a good amount of time. Dan probably, all told, spends about 2 hours per week on this stuff.
I alluded to the fact that our videos take approximately 2 hours to edit, render and publish and this is quick compared to others. We are more or less vloggers, with the occassional informative video, and so we just film our lives, nothing fancy. If there is something you’d like to see a video about, please don’t hesitate to tell us in the comments. We love suggestions!
We take on freelance jobs very sporadically as they come. I am extremely picky about the sites I will write for and the content I will agree too. There are months where I am writing in upwards of 4 or 5 articles and others where I will write nothing, for months at a time. I am a prolific writer, my posts always exceed 1000 words and I write fast, professionally fast. Any given post will take roughly 1 hour to complete, provided I am not required to edit photos and do the SEO myself.
Again, I’m out on this one. It’s funny because Dan and I have distinct skills and neither of us overlaps in these skills. If it’s technical or involves numbers or requires artistic talent, count me out. Hence, billing, taxes, and all these ghastly chores are left to Dan. Again, to hire an accountant a graphic designer or any specialist at all would be of great assistance, but there is just no money for this type of luxury and so, we handle everything ourselves. Overall, I’d have to guess we allocate approximately 10 hrs per month in this realm of hell.
The average yearly salary for a Software Engineer can vary widely. Suffice it to say, Dan earns a comfortable wage, but when you have 12 kids even a 6 figure salary can fall short. He works very hard to build his business and his reputation. He works crazy hours and has built some quality relationships that continue to throw contracts his way.
His career is fully location independent. The contacts he has and that he continues to seek don’t care where he is or what he is doing so long as the work is completed and exceptional.
The most difficult part is actually sitting down to work. We don’t often find ourselves in locales that are boring or lame. We travel to epic spots that are filled with adventure and fun. It’s hard to buckle down and do the work when the ocean or a river feature are literally screaming your name. I think it’s safe to say, that since we started full-time RVing Dan takes on less and less contracts because life has become more and more relevant!
I’ve always loved writing, it’s something I’m good at, it comes naturally. Hence, blogging is a good niche for me. It’s a passion I share with thousands of other would-be bloggers. You see, bloggers are so common these days. Everyone wants a piece of the pie. But, so few bloggers make any money, much less substantial money. It can be done, but you have to be willing to put in some serious time building your site, learning SEO, driving traffic and building a community. Traffic is the name of the game and travel bloggers are a dime a dozen. You have to find a way to stand out, to be different, to give real value to your readers and you absolutely must gain their trust.
I believed and still do, that we offer real value in the blogging world. We are a large family, we broke away from the mold, we are living our lives on our terms and our kids are thriving in and of their own rights. With this knowledge, I wanted very much to be of service and that’s where I started…being of service.
If you think you have some value to share with the world, here are some of the ways we’ve found to offset the costs and potentially compensate ourselves for our great efforts:
- Ads – A necessary evil. We monetize our videos on YouTube and we added a generated ad to our posts on our website.
- Collaborations / Sponsorship – Oftentimes, we will be contacted by various brands requesting we review their product. If it’s a product I’ve been interested in, I may occasionally agree, but unfortunately free product does not pay the bills. We’ve worked with a few companies over the years who will offer some funds for an informational video or post. We’ve worked with RV manufacturers to provide evergreen content, and we have worked with visitors bureaus in various cities to help promote their locales. These types of collaborations take an exorbitant amount of time in relationship building, pitching and follow-through. They also must 100% be of interest to our readers and are entered into with the knowledge that we will not sell-out our followers for product or money. Our reviews are completely truthful and honest, sometimes brutally so. But on the flip side, if we promote a product it is because we love it.
- Amazon – Shopping through Our Amazon link (along with a few other affiliate links) is a great source of passive income. If you are reading our blog and you see a link, it will most likely take you to Amazon. Once you are there, that product and/or anything you purchase at that particular time will give us a small affiliate commission, but you are not charged any extra. Win/Win. Rest assured, we would never ever recommend or link to a product we had not tried or did not like to earn a buck or two. You have our word.
- Freelance Writing: Freelance writing can bring in anywhere from $100-$500 or more depending on the publication, the number of words and the traffic of the site where the article will appear. For me, a quality article is worth at least $200 and so, I typically turn down offers for any less. I don’t write filler content, I don’t endorse click bait titles and so for the sake of transparency, I much prefer to be affiliated with legit publications and/or websites and therefore only engage in quality content sites. A quick $100 isn’t worth my reputation or the respect of our readers.
- Find a Need and fill it. If you are going at it with the right attitude of helping and being of service to others, you will find success. Providing quality in a world of quantity and doing so for a reasonable wage is always doable. Follow your passion and you will find your way to working from anywhere in the world! I am working diligently on making KelloggShow.com our main source of income by this time next year. Then we will have reached our main goal for ourselves.
The Tools Needed
Computers, cameras, cell phone, editing software and patience. And maybe not in that order. And, of course, the Internet! Here’s how we stay connected while travelling…
Dan has a few solid, long-term contracts that provide the majority of our income. Occasionally, he will be referred by one of these clients and will bid on a short-term project. There is great comfort in having a stable income and not constantly being on the prowl for your next gig.
This aint easy. Great content and tons and tons of research. Same with YouTube. We have a very loyal fanbase who generate a lot of traffic to our site, but we still have a long way to go to making KelloggShow a viable source of income for our family.
The majority of our freelance writing has been in the travel or RV category. And the majority of the publications and sites that we’ve written for have come to us. In fact, I can’t think, off the top of my head, of any pitches initiated by us. If I were to want to make freelance writing a more prominent source of income, I would research publications in my niche and contact the powers that be. Our main focus, however, is on our own site. A quick Google search should turn up contacts for writing in your niche.
We would love to hear about your location independent lifestyle. Please take a moment to tell us about it in the comments below. We will contact you to see if you’d like to become a part of our upcoming series. Remember it’s all about inspiration. It might sound simple or obvious to you, but the way in which you earn money could spark a much needed change in someone’s life today!!
If you have any questions for us feel free to ask. As you may have seen throughout our site we’re pretty much an open book and we’re here to help when we can.
If you are a traveling nomad, please, we would love to hear from you and feature you on our website on this “How To Make Money & Travel” series. Together, we can inspire more families to pursue their dreams! Let’s get motivating … click here to contact us.