Bus Life NZ
We are Andy, Amber, Jake (6) & Daisy (4)
We escaped the rat race by converting a bus into our home on wheels. We chose to live like this after a near death experience in which we were trapped in a seriously damaged high rise after a deadly earthquake in New Zealand.
We realized life is short and we didn’t want to have any regrets with how we lived it! We are currently based in New Zealand where we travel full time, homeschool our kids and make YouTube videos of our adventures.
We decided to create 4 or 5 different income streams rather than just depending on one. On April 2016, as part of that process, I started a YouTube channel of my bus conversion, hoping to make a couple of hundred dollars a month from it one day.
I had never used a video camera or editing software before, but I thought I knew the secret to creating a successful channel so I bought a second hand GoPro for $115 (US) and got started filming and teaching myself how to edit.
The channel grew quickly enough and by the time we moved into the bus in December 2016 we had 10K subscribers and had started to build up our Patreon pledges.
At that point we realized YouTube was way more fun than our original plan of Hospitality and Tourism business consulting work, and we went all in, committing to doing it for a year or until our savings ran out.
We looked at other income streams to compliment this. Which is where the merchandise and affiliate marketing comes in. A few months ago we started selling and marketing essential oils and non-toxic products, which Amber is really passionate about.
We are putting the profit back into this business right now so 2 months in, it’s not making us an income yet but is projected to soon and with the extra profit this business will make in the future, we are going to travel to the US or Europe and convert a van to travel in.
We have a few different income streams, when added together they create enough of an income to meet our basic needs.
These income streams include:
- YouTube Adsense revenue
- Patreon Contributions
- Essential Oil Sales & Marketing
- Merchandise & Amazon Affiliate Marketing
It took us quite a long time to be able to financially support our nomadic lifestyle. The YouTube “adpocalypse” hit us at the start of 2017 and dropped our revenue by 50-60% overnight so that was a massive blow for us right at the start of our journey.
But we persevered through it, which chewed up our savings. We were not consistently covering basic costs until around September 2017, so it took 17 months.
Andy works around 30-40 hours per week. This includes filming, editing, and engaging with our online community plus other bits and pieces to keep it all going. He works at night but we normally work an hour or two in the day as well if needed.
Amber does around 10 hours a week, mainly on the Essential Oils Business. This includes marketing, building her community and customer base and educating about healthy living and using oils.
She also helps others build businesses from the road with this essential oils model. Again, most of this is done at night so we can just enjoy the days and spend our time adventuring and being with our kids!
Our biggest challenge is the fact that we have two young kids who are with us 24/7. We have to juggle our adventures, filming, work, homeschool etc.
Recently we had a period of about 3 weeks where we had to share a computer because Amber’s broke and we couldn’t afford to replace it so we had to battle the manufacturer to get it replaced. It was a super unproductive time.
Our internet speed can slow us down too, but this only happens if we are in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by mountains. We have a good mobile internet service with 200GB of data, which we need given we have to upload videos every few days.
Our biggest piece of advice is to try and start a number of small income streams long before you even hit the road.
It took us nearly a year and a half to be able to support ourselves so the earlier you start the better. If you are still in a job, then use any spare time you have to work on your income streams.
In our opinion, life is a whole lot more fun when you can work from anywhere and don’t need to keep stopping to make money in a job.
And the best piece of advice I can give is, stop spending now!!! Get used to not buying things you don’t desperately need. Trust me, freedom feels a whole lot better than any flat screen tv ever will.