The following is a blog written by Mark Hendricks appearing on CBS Interactive Network offering a Q&A with Steve Anderson, editor of Workamper News, about running a business from an RV.
Even if you don’t know a truck camper from a motorhome, you know that they’re called “recreational vehicles,” not “entrepreneurial vehicles.” But according to Steve Anderson, that doesn’t mean you can’t run a business out of one.
Anderson, editor of the 14,000-subscriber Workamper News, a publication for people who work while living as full-time on-the-road RVers, says that while many have jobs as park rangers, campground employees and other similar gigs, a sizable number are self-employed entrepreneurs who operate businesses from their mobile lodgings. According to Anderson, who is based in Heber Springs, Arkansas, there is more opportunity on the road than you might think.
BNET: Seriously, you can’t run a business out of an RV — can you?
Anderson: That’s dead wrong. You absolutely can run a business out of an RV. We have literally hundreds of members running businesses out of their RVs and living in multiple places every year. With the advent of the Internet and especially now with the tools for bandwidth to connect to the Internet, the door is open to do multiple things from an RV.
We had a webinar last night and people were participating while they were sitting in a forest in northern Montana. It doesn’t make any different any more as long as you have a satellite to get to the web or are in a campground with Wi-Fi. Now that’s become commonplace. And you also have 3G and 4G cards that have created much more connectivity for people.
BNET: But you can’t make a living doing this; this is only for people who are retired, right?
Anderson: Yes, you can make a living. We have people in their 30s and 40s who are successfully living the RV lifestyle and running businesses.
BNET: What kinds of businesses are they running?
Anderson: There are a lot of people selling products that are closely related to RVing. There are also folks that are doing everything from consulting to running dating services. There are attorneys and private nurse practitioners who are living the RV lifestyle. Some do business consulting. Another couple is doing ancestry, helping people explore their ancestors.
A real good example is the RV professor. Last May he left a college teaching job in Texas and now he and his wife are running the RV Mobile Academy. He teaches people how to repair and take care of their own RVs. He used to teach technicians on a college level how to repair RVs for dealers. Now he teaches that to people all across the country.
BNET: Is this becoming more common?
Anderson: It’s definitely picking up pace. That’s why we started a Workamper small business program. We’re connecting them with consultants to help them understand everything from the legal aspects to marketing aspects, all the things a small business needs. We’re also providing them a platform through which we’re going to be introducing their small businesses to our membership base, as well as our dreamer base. We have about 20,000 folks in dreamer mode, who are just learning about the lifestyle and contemplating it for their future.
BNET: What are some things you can’t do? Things that require large bulky heavy inventory?
Anderson: You’re right, although even that has changed because of drop shipping. You’re not going to have an auto parts store in an RV — even though there are some folks that have very large trailers they’re hauling behind RVs. They’re doing the circuit of shows where they literally roll in with a small shop and open it up for display.
Really, the sky’s the limit. From the standpoint of people wanting to experience America from an RV, they have the option to do what they want, as long as they understand the limitations and restrictions. But it’s much more open now than it was five years ago. And I predict that’s just going to get better.
Paul Gardner of Jayco Inc., Middlebury, Ind., will be the guest host at the March 24 “Dreaminar” sponsored by Workamper News.
The session is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. CST.
“Paul will be providing insight and perspective from the manufacturer side of the industry,” said Steve Anderson, editor of Heber Springs, Ark.-based Workamper News. “He will be sharing about new research and development with regards to their new equipment lines. He will also be very interested to obtain input from the attendees of this event. Plus, there will be a formal Q&A for our attendees who we call the ‘Dreamers’.
“Dreamers come together each month via a free webinar event to receive the education needed as they prepare themselves for the fulltime RV lifestyle.
Anderson adds, “We are excited that Jayco has agreed to be a part of our monthly Dreamer’s education program. They will play a significant part in allowing our group to become more knowledgeable about RV Manufacturing.”
This event will be recorded and be available on the Workamper Dreamers website: http://dreamers.workamper.com and will require a login to view. To log in will require the viewer to be a current WorkamperPlus subscriber or a Dreamer subscriber.
Any RV company or organization wishing to provide additional education to the Dreamer group is encouraged to contact Anderson for consideration by calling the main office (501) 362-2637.
Steve Anderson, editor of Workamper News, termed last week’s launch of the RV maintenance 10-month program called the Gold Star Club “a huge success.”
The program opened with an online live event on Feb. 4 called “Buying & Selling It Right,” hosted by Terry Cooper of Mobile RV Academy. Cooper’s expert guests were two guests from PPL Motor Homes in Houston, Texas, Rob Henderson, director of marketing and sales, and James “Shorty” Eleckel, sales manager. PPL Motor Homes is considered the largest RV consignment dealer in the U.S., selling between 1,200 and 1,300 consigned RVs each year, according to a news release.
“One of the many bonus features of being a member of the Gold Star Club is having the opportunity to sit in on an online ‘Live Event’ each month to obtain valuable information about certain RV related topics,” Cooper said. “What better way to start out a large program like this than by teaching people how to buy and sell an RV and do it right? We want to show people that they can sidestep the pitfalls that are out there if they just take the time to become educated about how it all works.”
During the 10-month program, members will be learning RV maintenance via online webinars that have been recorded and placed in a library for each member to access at their own pace. Cooper will be providing his “Ask the Professor” Internet show as a way to provide one-on-one interaction to provide more in-depth learning.
Anderson wants to encourage those who are interested in the program to go ahead and sign up.
“Even though we have had the ‘official opening’ of the Gold Star Club, anyone can still sign up for this outstanding program,” he said. “We have purposely designed it for anyone who wants to become educated about RV Maintenance to enter at any time and have full advantage of all that the program has to offer.”
To learn more about the Gold Star Club Program visit: www.workamper.com/rvprofessor/goldstarclub.pdf. To learn more about the Individual RV Maintenance Course, visit www.workamper.com/rvprofessor/takehometech/
Steve Anderson, editor of Workamper News/Workamper University, and Terry Cooper, “America’s RV Expert” of Mobile RV Academy, have joined forces and are now rolling out a new RV Technical Program to run over a 10-month period in 2010.
Registrations starts Jan. 7 with the program beginning Feb. 4.
This entire program is designed for those individuals who want to do preventative maintenance, installs and repairs on their own rigs, according to a news release. By enrolling in this program, the consumer will save nearly 50% off the retail value of 10 different areas of learning. All courses can be completed at one’s own pace during that 10-month span of the program.
“Cooper has been doing RV technical training courses for Workamper University over the past six months, building a substantial library,” Anderson said. “This library of courses is now being directed toward all the Workamper subscribers plus non-subscribers. Anyone choosing to enroll in this 10-month program will receive access to that library with 50% off retail value savings and receive additional bonus benefits each month throughout the program. More details will come at a later date.”
The public is invited to attend a free tele-conference titled, “5 Keys to the Rewarding RV Experience That You Love,” that is scheduled for Jan. 7 to listen and learn about all the details of the entire program plus the subscriber bonuses.
For more information, contact Workamper News at www.Workamper.com or call (800) 446-5627. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST Monday through Friday.
RV manufacturers appeared genuinely interested in the opinion survey results from RV owners made available to them last week at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
Steve Anderson, editor of Workamper News, arrived in Louisville with over 1,700 survey results in hand to share with the RV manufacturers, according to a news release. Subscribers of Workamper News were asked to share their questions and input for this survey in regards to helping to improve on the RVing lifestyle. A large part of Workamper News subscribers live full time in their RVs.
CEOs and top management of the manufacturer attendees were open to the subscribers’ survey results, saying that they appreciate any input and questions from the Workamper News organization and would act on the results immediately, said Anderson who was attending his firts national show since acquiring the Heber Springs, Ark.-based publishing firm in 2005.
For example, Jayco Inc. representative Paul Gardner said because of owners’ past feedback and suggestions, his company has made significant cosmetic changes in some of their coaches for 2010.
Anderson said he is extending an open hand to all RV manufacturers to help promote their businesses to his subscribers
Anderson said his primary goal at the show was to introduce himself and his organization to the RV manufacturers and to offer his services of working hand-in-hand with the industry leaders in promoting them to his 73,000-reader base.
Manufacturers can contact Workamper News for more information at (800) 446-5627, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday, e-mail him at email@example.com or visit the website at www.workamper.com.
Workamper News and Workamper University have partnered with Terry Cooper, the “Texas RV Professor,” and his Mobile RV Academy to provide two online courses for people interested in learning more about RVs. The courses will be entirely online using a web seminar system where attendees will be able to interact with the instructor, Cooper. The two courses begin this month.
According to a news release, the first course, titled “Your RV Electrical Systems,” will begin on July 14. Each course has three sections available to participants; each section is made up of four sessions totaling six hours of class time.The second course offered is “Becoming a Certified RV Walk Through Technician.” To participate in either or both of these classes people will need to register and submit their payment through the Workamper News Store online. There are three different packages available starting at $247 per course. Visit http://www.workamper.com/rvprofessor to find all the details about the course fees.
Cooper will present the course using PowerPoint presentations and video. Homework assignments and pre- and post-course assessments will be provided along with downloadable handouts and video link materials.
The “RV Electrical Systems” course is designed for the individual that wants to not only save money, but develop new skills that can be used while Workamping. Some of the topics covered will be electricity, DC voltage, AC voltage and electrical capstone materials. In the “Becoming a Certified RV Walk Through Technician” course, students will receive a certificate upon successful completion.
A Master Certified RV Technician and licensed insurance claims adjuster, he has developed, from concept to implementation, a training program that takes an inexperienced person and in one year, trains them to be a certified RV technician working in the RV industry. This all happens with the Mobile RV Academy.