A Matter of Sponsorship

I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty details of my financial situation and what’s been going on behind the scenes, but I have had a lot of unexpected expenses in the past months and even with expenses being low and hospitality being high, finances are dire. It’s just been a bad patch and I finally had to ask for help.

A few generous sponsors stepped in and put a finger in the dike in a number of different ways (THANK YOU), but the fact is that there is way more going out than coming in right now and that I am heading into a country where my cost of living is fully twice what it is now, no exaggeration. So it’s all a little much.

Truth be told, I had issues like this earlier on in my RVing life and I wouldn’t say anything about it. I’d just get an increase on my credit card or go hungry for a few days or whatever. But it’s getting harder and harder to be that silent on the blog because my readers (and according to Google Analytics, there are 20,000 of you a month!!!) aren’t allowing me to stay quiet for long. I also feel an increasing need to correctly and realistically display what an unstable lifestyle is like with variable income.

There was a time when I was embarrassed to accept donations in any form, feeling that my financial situation is my own responsibility. But I met someone this winter who had a very different perspective.

How many hours do I spend updating this blog and doing research for it, my ebooks, and articles? How many hours do I spend answering emails from folks with questions? RVing is literally a full-time job for me. It’s also my passion and the only thing I want to do.

How much do I earn from it? It’s at best a minimum wage part-time job.

The amount of time I spend being a public RVer and the expectations people have for me is disproportionate to the amount of money I make from it. People don’t seem to realise that every hour I spend working on the blog and doing any other RVing-related activity is an hour that I am not earning income. Just about all the other really well-known RVers out there are retired and people lose sight of the fact that I’m not.

I’d much rather be a professional RVer than do any of the other stuff I do. I love this lifestyle, I love keeping on top of the market and the technical stuff, and I love to educate other people about it. I wish I could live and breathe RVing. I know folks who succeed at doing so. And the reason they do is because they treat it like a job and expect to be compensated for it.

So I no longer accept ‘donations’ because that makes me sound like a charity case. Instead, I accept sponsorships. They can be anonymous or public, and the public ones will be highlighted/advertised on both this blog and the new site I’ll be launching shortly.

Sponsorship doesn’t have to be in the form of a PayPal payment. It can be taking me out for a meal or offering me a driveway. How about sponsorship as an exchange of services? You could notice that I’m going by your cousin’s tire place and that he could use some advertising. So why not ask him to put some new tires on the rig? Cheaper than a billboard and a much wider audience reach. Or maybe you went to a small brake repair shop last year and you let them know that they could get some publicity in exchange for doing maintenance on my truck.

One of the earliest sponsorships I ever got was from someone who used rewards points on her credit card to get me a gift card to a store I frequent. And of course, there’s always my Amazon link. These are ‘free’ ways to sponsor that really help my bottom line.

Sponsorship is a win-win for everyone. I get paid to do the job I love, sponsors get advertising, and my readers get more information.

Something in my life has to give and I’d really rather it not be this lifestyle I love so much. I really am afraid that I will have to downgrade RVing to being a hobby that is last to everything else, especially with my rig getting older and needing more maintenance and repair.

Thank you again to everyone who has sponsored Travels With Miranda, and not just in the last month or so. You all know who you are and you have all made me a firm believer in both karma and the principle of paying things forward. I am so grateful to my tribe.

Here’s the link to the sponsorship page.

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14 Comments

  • Interesting. I never thought of buying a meal as a sort of sponsorship. It’s nice to have a term other than donate. Feels friendlier to me.

  • That’s one meal I did not have to shop for, plan, prepare, clean up after, or pay for, leaving me time to do other things. Moreover, the time actually spent eating was social and fun. If that’s not the definition of sponsorship, I don’t know what is!

    This comment just goes to show how something you see as little can be major for someone else.

  • Express Professional Employment
    303 N West St, Ste 215
    Wichita, KS 67203
    316-858-1800

  • Rae, I wish you the best of luck and hope you get to keep RVing. I don’t have anything to offer right now, but just know my driveway is always available to you as long as I live. LOL Love you.

  • Thanks Mom, I love you too.

  • Chuck, wow, that is rude and completely not helpful since I am not allowed to work in this country!

  • Rae, I am going to celebrate my birthday today Hobbit-style, by giving presents to my friends. But, I am having trouble when I click on the link to Paypal on your sponsorship page. I get an error message. Could you check it out, please? I’ll try it again later.

    Hang in there–you’ve been through tough stuff before and your friends have your back!

  • All fixed, thanks Debbie.

  • Hi Rae
    I am truly sorry for your financial situation but I feel that asking for sponsors is akin to asking others to owe you a living? If you can’t make it on the road you have to ask yourself the hard questions and do what you must to earn a living not rely on others to feel sorry for you and support you. Often your blog talks about your various dining experiences maybe you need to cut back on these luxuries until you get back on your feet spending the winters down south is nice but earning a living and paying your own way should come first.
    I wish you luck in the future and hope you can overcome your obstacles and live the life you desire.

  • Phil, you can look at it that way. It’s the way I look at folks who bitch at me for not traveling every day, which makes me believe they think I owe them a blog.

    Another way to look at it is the way I explained. I can either work full-time at contracts and not have this blog, provide all the information I do, educate others, etc. or I can work part-time at contracts and be paid for my RVing services. I would never have considered asking for sponsorship in my early days of RVing when I was learning the ropes and not really offering anything. But now, I do provide a service. What is the difference between paying for a subscription to an RVing magazine or paying to read a blog? Nothing. Plus, I give advertising in exchange.

    What started this change of attitude was someone who emailed me for help in purchasing a new RV this spring. After two or three emails, she sent me money saying that I had saved her hours of research, was helping her make a good decision, and that I had no business volunteering.

    As for my budget, you have no idea what it looks like. I am extremely frugal and my food budget, which includes dining out at very inexpensive places is, very reasonable. I buy very inexpensive clothes, all my electronics were bought used and are several models out of date, etc. There is no more place for me to trim the budget and I would never have the audacity to tell someone where to stop spending without having a full picture of the budget because I was asked to evaluate it.

    I could have weathered this on my own like I always have, but I came to the realisation this spring that my blog has to become a true business or it needs to be relegated to a hobby. I’d prefer the former happen and the response I’ve gotten this week is that readers would rather I not disappear. There was a time when I would have let a comment like you be the majority vote, but not anymore.

    Finally, I am probably going to shoot myself in the foot admitting this publicly, but here goes: I have worked an average of 40 hours a week this winter, all winter, at my other paying endeavours on top of working on the blog, the new ebook, the new site, etc. So if anyone has had the impression that I was sitting on a beach for two months living the retired life, you are SORELY mistaken. I have worked my ass off this winter.

  • Hi Rae
    Good luck with your new attitude.

  • Phil, I wish I could believe that that was meant sincerely.

    It is not a new attitude. I have always intended to monetize the blog and accepting sponsorships is just the next logical step.

  • Very well said and you make a lot of sense. Some blogs make a lot of money! why not yours? I wish you the greatest success!

  • THANK YOU.

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