Making A Living With A Tiny House Based Business

One of the top asked questions about living a nomadic lifestyle be it in a THOW, an RV, a travel trailer, or a luxury cruise ship, is how to earn any sort of living in order to explore the world around you and focus less on the corporate stronghold and more on your passions. It seems to be a riddle for which we are all seeking the answer. It is important though to remember that our priority should not be on making money but finding passion in what we are doing. A tiny house based business should expand with us and not limit our freedom to travel, exploration, adventure, connection, etc. But what can be done as a nomad? What kind of business can be operated on wheels, on the open sea, or from a remote outpost with little interaction other than that with nature around us?

There seem to be two categories of businesses when it comes to the THOW based industry. There are those that cater to the THOW and there are those that are based OUT OF the THOW. Examples of the first category might be:

  • Tiny House Sales and Marketing
  • Solar Panel Distribution
  • Solar Power Maintenance
  • Wind Turbine Maintenance
  • Housecleaning
  • Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning
  • Meal Prep and Delivery
  • Computer Tech Services
  • Trailer Tech
  • Brake Specialist
  • Spot Welder
  • Windshied/Window Repair
  • General Handyman
  • Wooden Display Signs
  • Locksmithing
  • Exterior Painting
  • THOW/RV Detailing

Examples of the second category might be:

  • Engraving
  • Web-Based Local Marketing
  • Wood craft and Metalsmithing
  • Artist – painting, beading, photography, weaving, jewelry, etc.
  • On-site yoga, PIYO, pillates, etc.
  • Photographer/Videographer
  • Medical Transcription/Insurance Billing
  • Book publishing and sales
  • Newsletter publication
  • Musician or performer
  • Massage therapist
  • Nail Tech
  • Hair Stylist
  • Vintage and Speciality Clothing

THOW based 2In most recent years though (with the rise of the Internet, Internet-based jobs, and affordable WiFi access) two more categories have started to emerge. Those two are Internet-Related Services and Internet-Based Consulting. Examples of those opportunities would be:

  • eBay stores, Craiglist buy/sell markets, and Etsy storefronts
  • Website Design
  • Electronic Publication

and

  • Consultant
  • ePublisher or author
  • PC Tech
  • Freelance writer/photographer/videographer
  • Day Trader or stock investor
  • Tax Prep
  • Online Academic Instructor/tutor

THOW based 3

THOW based 4

The real question(s) at this point is why start a tiny house based business and how to start a tiny house based business? Here are a few quick tips.

  1. THOW based businesses are new and original. Showcasing your product or service in a tricked-out THOW or RV (or even boat) will draw attention and bring in customers out of genuine courtesy if nothing else.
  2. You can work anywhere. With a THOW based business you can work from (and to borrow from Lee Greenwood) the lakes of Minnesota to the hills of Tennessee, across the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea!
  3. Relatively low start-up costs. If you look at the cost of purchasing (or building) a THOW shell or even just restoring a used RV to that of a sticks ‘n bricks retail space the comparison is quite compelling. Couple that with upgrade and maintenance repair and it is easy to see that a small, mobile space is much less expensive overall.
  4. Cheap advertising. Unlike a billboard you don’t have to wait for someone to drive past you. Feel like doing a little grassroots marketing? Just jump in and drive. Even a commonplace trip to the grocery store becomes a PR outing!

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Marc Charles - March 25, 2015 Reply

Great article! Way to go 🙂

    Andrew M. Odom - March 25, 2015 Reply

    Thank you so much Marc. Thank you for your readership.

swabbie robbie - March 25, 2015 Reply

One thing to be aware of is some occupations such as massage therapist, nail tech., hair stylist are licensed on most states. If you are traveling you would need to get a license in each state you plan to work in. Those occupations would work best if you are staying in the State you are licensed in.

    Ann - March 25, 2015 Reply

    The licensing requirements for massage therapists varies widely by location. Many states have no licenses, some are very restrictive, and others have different requirements for each municipality. So, yes, anyone planning a traveling massage therapy business needs to do a lot of research!

      swabbie Robbie - March 28, 2015 Reply

      Right Ann. When I was on the NCTMB Law and Legislation committee and the Wisconsin Massage board there was about 25 states licensed. Now many more are, but many of the non licensed states had municipal licenses. The hours and requirements vary widely as you said.

    Andrew M. Odom - March 25, 2015 Reply

    Absolutely Swabbie. Even food services require proper inspection and licensure. I am not making an ethical or even legal statement when I say that you can make a decent wage by freelancing as a “front porch barber” type of pro.

alice h - March 25, 2015 Reply

Many years ago when I was younger and more energetic I was inspired by a book called Parnassus on Wheels about a travelling bookshop. I wanted to do that, adding a small selection of curios and tea shop that would travel the smaller back roads and visit places that didn’t have their own. The big plan was for a double decker bus with living quarters upstairs, shop downstairs. What with one thing and another it never came to be but I still dream about it.

    Carole Dufort - March 25, 2015 Reply

    Alice H: It’s never too late for a dream. You may have less energy and be older, but turn this into a plus. With your life experience, you can find a wiser way to do it and be smarter about these business decisions.
    Good luck to you!

      alice h - March 25, 2015 Reply

      Thanks, that brought a big smile!

    Bob H - March 29, 2015 Reply

    Very nice, you should go for it.

Joyce - March 25, 2015 Reply

From following Tiny House internet articles, I find more people are ‘contributing writers or bloggers’. Some are photographers or participate in some sort of magazine or documentary writing. Not all of us are gifted with these talents.

Some businesses require a bit more space or equipment than many ‘tiny homes’ can accommodate. That may pose an obstacle for folks wanting to keep a ‘small profile’.

    Andrew M. Odom - March 25, 2015 Reply

    If I may point out Joyce you are saying that you see writers are writers and photographers are photographers. You are right. When following tiny house articles you see professionals doing what they do. But the same can be said if you went to a tax prep office. You would see a tax preparer doing that job. It is all relevant to the location and the task. No, not all are good at everything. A lot of businesses require a bit more space. But that is why the article was about businesses that could be run out of a tiny house. In regards to a small profile it is like everything else. You have to analyze what is feasible and what isn’t.

Linda Odom - March 26, 2015 Reply

Regarding: “RON’S HOUSE”, I could only pull up a picture of the outside of his house….are there inside pictures…..and I would love to know about how much it cost to have a little house like this…..Ron’s house looks so fresh and neat from the outside…
wonder also where it is located…I find that most bloggers are up north…are there any from NC/SC/Ga?

I see very few …if any….Thank you. PS/wonder if we are kin in some way?

Silvana - March 26, 2015 Reply

Lovely article! Interesting for a ‘gypsy’ like me. Thank you! PS – what do you need to pull a thing like that? A large truck no doubt…

Darcel - March 26, 2015 Reply

another up and coming Business is the
VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
there are many working, and just now becoming more common on the road – like myself.

    Andrew M. Odom - March 26, 2015 Reply

    I have heard more and more people becoming VA’s Darcel. Great point. Any sites to get started in that that we could visit?

      jo - March 26, 2015 Reply

      I’d like to know, too! Guess I could google but would be nice to hear from an actual person who’s doing it.

    Elew - June 22, 2016 Reply

    Cool Darcel, I will be getting in touch with you soon!! You do exactly what I need help with…

Judi - March 26, 2015 Reply

Don’t forget Virtual Assistants!

Vicky White - March 26, 2015 Reply

I just moved from Canada to live back in NZ. I’m a Coach living and working in my bus as I travel around exploring. I just brought my coaching business with me. Most of my clients are in the States, but also Canada, NZ, Australia. The world is such a small place and we have so many choices.

EnriqueGil@Home Builders Adelaide - March 28, 2015 Reply

I cannot totally relate but I must say that it is one of the good ideas. Well, just heard that there are some people who consider this and it’s kinda cool.

Elew - June 22, 2016 Reply

I am a jeweler, leather worker, beader etc…with shops on Etsy. I have done B&M, lived in apartments, on boats, tiny cottage homes and worked for others for many years, but we just moved into a 32′ RV and we are re-vamping the back room into my work space. I still have a full time tech/data entry/assistant manager job I do for a B&M online, but am looking forward to shifting to my handcrafted work as my full time job. It is exciting! We’ve been having fun creating our perfect living and working space…

Aubree - July 14, 2017 Reply

I was really thinking about doing this for a start up salon. I love the idea but I would want a open floor plan where it not really a living space. But its a awesome idea I will look into building it myself maybe..LOL

How to Start a Business From Your Tiny House - Tiny House Blog - February 11, 2019 Reply

[…] As long as your service-based business doesn’t take up much room, you can easily run your business from your tiny house. […]

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How to Start a Business From Your Tiny House - Social Media Marketing - June 14, 2019 Reply

[…] long as your service-based business doesn’t take up much room, you can easily run your business from your tiny house. Entrepreneur.com has a list of 105 service businesses you can start from home, and most of those […]

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