How to get paid to build YOUR online business

Today I’d like to introduce you to Rachel Denning. Again. She’s written articles for my blog before. Here’s one she wrote about education.  Here’s another about the importance of getting kids out in nature. Rachel and her family are (supposedly) driving a veggie-powered truck from Alaska to Argentina, but they keep getting waylaid here and asunder. Now, I’ve heard rumors that they’ll be heading to Europe soon. Or was it Africa?

Denning-Family-In any case, I think it’s fair to say that Rachel and her husband Greg are the adventurous sort. Traveling the world with six kids tends to put people in that category.  We first met their lovely family four years ago, when we had barely returned to Idaho from our own journey, and it’s been fun to watch them fly. Or muddle along, however you want to look at it.

Rachel and Greg had a dream of traveling indefinitely, and I’ve watched them pour everything they had into creating successful online businesses. And then, I’ve watched them fail. Now, it’s incredible to watch them soar, having finally figured out how to make the location independent stuff work. Here’s Rachel herself, telling her story in her own words. I hope this helps you figure things out too.


I wanted it. Bad.

I was determined to become a professional travel blogger.

It was perfect. I would build a ‘passion business’, doing ‘work’ I loved. I could travel with my family (my dream) and get paid to do it. What could be better?

So I set out to learn.

I read Problogger. And signed up for Copyblogger. And read BoostBlogTraffic and FirepoleMarketing and… well, you get the point.

And I worked hard. I designed my own website and created my own products and did market research and sales and copywriting and studied sales and marketing and product creation and email marketing and social media marketing… on and on and on.

I learned TONS. But I earned very little.

Yes, basically I worked for (almost) free. For years.

It just seemed that there was one more learning curve, one more technique, one more skill I needed to master, one more thing I needed to learn (I had no business background. I had started from ground zero).

But then I gave up.

I just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t afford my very time-consuming, full-time hobby… cuz that’s all it was, a hobby that was not paying the bills.

We were traveling, that’s true. We had taken our growing family to 12 countries. But the ups and downs, feasts and famine of income were taking their toll. I was tired of it. I wanted something stable.

If we really wanted to make our dreams of travel a sustainable, long-term reality, then we were going to have to start working… for money. Forget the passion and doing work I loved. I needed to work for moolah.

So that’s what I did. I felt like I was selling out, giving up on my dream, but I didn’t have any other options. We were scraping the bottom of the barrel just trying to survive (and in a foreign country).

That’s when I took the skills I’d learned trying to build my online business and I put them to work. I started providing services for other business owners, who paid me for my knowledge.

Then suddenly, within a few weeks, long-term travel was no longer an ‘iffy’ thing. It was sustainable. We had income! Income we could earn from anywhere!

And I wondered what had taken me so long to get there. Why was I resisting the fastest, easiest way to start earning online– the real answer to what I really wanted to do?

As I finally ‘gave in’ to getting a ‘job’ and ‘gave up’ on my passion business, I had a big ‘Aha!’ — while it’s very popular nowadays to ‘do work you love’ online and build a business from your passion, I’ll let you in on a secret… most ‘digital nomads’ (as they’re called) are actually earning income by providing services to other business owners. They’re earning as freelancers, contracted employees, virtual assistants and online service providers.

There’s no shame in it.

And while I still believe in ‘doing work you love’, and I still believe that building your own business can be extremely profitable, I discovered that the easiest way to actually do that is to start by just ‘doing work’.

You don’t have to love it. It doesn’t have to be your ‘ideal job’. But when you’re earning money online, lots of things start to happen:

  • you have freedom to live where you want (= you can move somewhere with a lower cost of living, and maybe even hire help)
  • you have freedom to work when you want (= you can spend breakfast, lunch and dinner with your family, and work while the baby naps)
  • you can reduce your commute time, and increase your family time
  • you can increase your quality of life, and start enjoying it more
  • your spouse can quit their job, or you can tag team, or partner up
  • you can actually have more time and money to work on your passion business, and get paid to learn and apply the skills you need, instead of working for free (like I did)

Because when it comes down to it, if you really want to build that online, dream-passion business that creates a residual income (I still want to do it, I’m still working on it), the skills you need to do it are the same skills that you can get paid for right now working for someone else. Skills such as:

  • social media marketing
  • email marketing
  • creating landing pages
  • Facebook advertising
  • website and graphic design
  • knowing how to use software that businesses want, like LeadPages, InfusionSoft, MailChimp, etc.

‘Giving up’ was the best thing I ever did. It helped me to see a whole new reality, because now my online skills are:

  1. helping me to live my dream (so far I’ve traveled to 13 countries with our six kids, but this year we’ll head to Europe and Africa, now that our income is stable)
  2. making it that much easier for me to build my ‘dream business’, since we have a sustainable income that covers the bills

So how do you learn those skills that you can start getting paid for? How do you know where to find people who will pay you for them? That’s more information than I have room to share here. But I promise you, it’s simpler than you think.

I have an Aussie friend (Danielle), a mother of three, who had a very similar journey as mine. She worked and worked and worked to build an online business so they could move abroad, but it flopped. Then she put her skills to work as a ‘service provider’ and got her first paycheck in just four weeks. Four years later, she’s still providing for her family, while her hubby cares for the kids (they live nearby, here in Costa Rica).

She and I have become passionate about sharing this ‘truth’ with others. Since we’re in the industry, we can see that there’s a HUGE need out there right now — business owners are searching for YOU — people who know how to do what they need done (it’s easy to learn), and have the initiative to do the work and find the answers, without having their hand held, or needing to be trained.

“But where do I learn? Where do I get trained?” I can hear you say. YouTube,, Udemy… there’s lots of places out there. But if you want a little more direction than that, and you want to start today, then watch this free video series. My friend Danielle is ‘spilling the beans’, no strings attached (but only for a few days).


If you have a dream of earning money online, I would encourage you to jump on this one. I have no doubt that Rachel and Danielle will, at the very least, give you a few tips to get started. Click here to watch their free video series.



books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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4 Responses to How to get paid to build YOUR online business

  1. Cheryl April 13, 2015 at 9:06 am #

    Such a perfectly well timed article! For the last two weeks I have been mulling over the thought of creating bespoke websites and blogs based on my own experience of blogging the past three years. I have the desired skills and at the moment we need the money to move on. Thank you for the inspiration!

  2. Selma April 18, 2015 at 7:55 pm #

    Sometimes you just got to cover a defined need before you swing for the fences with your passion project … well said!

    • Danielle Greason May 2, 2015 at 11:41 am #

      That’s a brilliant way to articulate it Selma. I love that!

  3. Martin from June 13, 2015 at 1:50 am #

    Thanks for the insights!

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