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One of the top questions people get when they quit their jobs to travel the world by sailboat is this: how on earth do you afford it?
This is also a question I ask myself, as someday, I would really like to be able to go sailing the world and bring in some sort of sustainable income. It’s not an easy road, but I think with determination, tenacity and creativity, it can be done.
I decided to get some answers to this question by interviewing two women who successful quit their 9-5 jobs and learned how to make money while sailing the world.
Melody DiCroce, sailing the world since 2012
I’ve been following Melody’s journey for awhile now, as her blog, Saving to Sail, goes into ways to make money while cruising. She’s been living aboard since 2012, when she and her husband sold their house and their stuff and moved onto the boat to pursue his life-long dream of cruising. At first, Melody was apprehensive about living on a boat, but now, she can’t get enough of it.
“I love the freedom,” she said. “The freedom to travel and see things we might not otherwise ever see. I love that we’ve sailed from Florida to Guatemala IN OUR HOUSE. It’s crazy. It’s like a permanent vacation that you don’t even have to pack for.”
So far, they’ve spent time in Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.
“The diversity in culture that we’ve been exposed to has been so refreshing,” she said. “There is a ton about the world that we don’t understand (or even care to) when we live in our little bubbles. But when you pop your bubble and step outside, you can really learn so much just by talking to other people. There are cultural differences, some good, some not so good, but there’s always something to learn from traveling and meeting people.”
How she makes money
Melody lived aboard while working at a full-time job for the first several years, working for Ramit Sethi, an entrepreneur and NY Times bestselling author.
“I learned a lot from him about money management from his book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich. I made a nice salary and put back as much as I could from my paychecks.”
When they finally cast off this January to sail full-time, she put a lot of irons in the fire. Her biggest source of income is from freelance work, doing writing, web design and copy editing. But she also makes money elsewhere.
“I make money from my blog, Saving to Sail, through affiliate income, ads, sponsored content, and an online course that I’ll be re-opening soon on how to make money as a freelance writer. I’m also just about to launch a new website called Soloprenista, where I’ll help teach female solopreneurs how to grow their online businesses.
I also have an online nautical jewelry shop called Maggie & Milly where I sell handmade “sailor bracelets”. I’ve had to put a temporary hold on that while we’re cruising because it’s too hard to ship individual orders from where I currently am in Guatemala, but I do still sell wholesale to brick-and-mortar stores.”
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Melody is a firm believer in not putting all your eggs in one basket, as you never know when an income stream can go away.
“I read somewhere that the average successful entrepreneur ($1 million +) has 7 income streams. I don’t know if that’s true, but it wouldn’t surprise me.”
Also, her husband is a songwriter and author, so he gets royalties, plus he is a freelance scriptwriter for a cable network series.
Her advice to other sailors
She said if you want to quit your job, you should make sure to have two to three different ways of making money in case one disappears.
“I’ve known highly successful entrepreneurs whose businesses took a nose dive when Facebook or Google changed their algorithms and suddenly they weren’t showing up on their potential clients’ newsfeeds or search engine results,” she said.
And if you’re opening an online business:
“Always tell the truth. No matter what. Run your business with integrity, because that’s when you get the customers who will bend over backward to buy from you. Trust is a huge thing, especially online these days, so I’m extremely grateful that my audience trusts me. I’d rather have their trust than their dollar. If they trust you, the dollars will come organically.”
Elin Rose, sailing in the Azores Islands
Elin Rose is a 27-year-old Icelandic woman who caught the sailing bug in 2010, when she moved to Lisbon, Portugal to work at her first interior design job. She learned to sail on a river that runs through Lisbon, and fell in love with the sea.
“After a year’s sailing experience it was time to leave Lisbon and move onto another design job,” she said. “I went to live in the UK for a bit, then in Iceland where I worked a 9-5 job as an interior designer. I really missed the sea, but didn’t want to sail in Iceland because it’s too cold! But I got fed up with putting my dreams on hold, so I decided to leave my job and become an entrepreneur-I just didn’t know how to or what to do!”
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She struggled at first, starting several businesses, none of which worked out. But, she managed to get onboard a sailboat and sailed for three months in the Azores and Madiera islands.
“I realized I had to find a way to work online and continue sailing. I made many friends and met a lot of sailors, yachtswomen, and men that inspired me to join their tribe!”
How she makes money now
Elin has now found several ways to make money while also pursuing her dream of sailing the world.
“I started out on Amazon by finding products to sell and label them under my brand. There were a few ups and downs, but eventually I cracked the code and the business grew month by month,” she said. “It quickly expanded into Ebay, and other sales channels and before I knew it I was a full-time internet marketer with a huge email list of customers all over Europe!”
She also manages properties from afar.
“I look after properties for landlords as an agent and list them on Airbnb or just rent them out long term,” she said. “It’s majorly a remote business as I have the power team of cleaners, housekeeper, handymen, plumbers in place!”
And lastly, she does internet marketing.
“On Instagram, I grow accounts for others using a software program,” she said. “I also create my own community, and many become my students (coaching). You can also get great gigs by being a social media influencer if you have a big following.”
Her advice to other sailors
Elin said she had zero online business experience when she started out pursuing her dream of sailing the world, and she learned by reading books and listening to interviews.
“My tips to starting an online business are very simple,” she said. “1) Put yourself in a very uncomfortable situation like being unemployed. 2) Make the decision to build a passive income alongside your other job if you have one. 3) Have and create tons of grit. I think if you don’t do this, you’ll just continue sitting at that pool, in your comfort zone and safe in the knowledge that your paycheck will arrive by the end of the month!”
You can follow Elin’s journey here:
I love that these women have figured out a way to pursue their passion and dreams to make money while sailing the world. It goes to show that if you really want to make something happen, you just need some will and grit and some good ideas. Good luck to them both!