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Old 26-02-2011, 11:16   #1
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List of Income-Generating Ideas While Cruising

Hi all,
I am starting this in response to another posting I made. This may be somewhere else but it occured to me it would be useful to have one post which is a brain-dump of all money-making ideas while cruising. It is something I am researching now and so far I realize there is not one thing I will do to pay my bills but a combination of income-generating activities.

So here is what I have so far:


-Selling skills as a marine engineer
-Selling jewelry & crafts produce using local items
-Internet marketing, Affliate programs, & website
-Writing articles for internet revenue-sharing websites
-Day sails/charters

Hope to see alot more ideas here. I could use the inspiration to keep me going till I am on my own boat & no longer working on someone else's boat.

Cheers,
Phil
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Old 27-02-2011, 06:19   #2
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Re: List of Income-generating Ideas while Cruising

Not a lot of responses so far.... If I had a good idea I wouldn't want to have to compete with everyone reading Cruisersforum. Kinda like asking me my favorite anchorage, I like it mostly because it's not crowded....
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Old 27-02-2011, 06:37   #3
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Re: List of Income-generating Ideas while Cruising

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Originally Posted by PCSailor View Post
... So here is what I have so far:
-Selling skills as a marine engineer ...
Unless you can get an exceptionally high price, I'd recommend just renting those skills.
You may need them, at some later time.
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Old 27-02-2011, 06:45   #4
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Re: List of Income-generating Ideas while Cruising

Drug smuggling and selling your body come to mind, but I suspect you are looking for legal activities.
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Old 27-02-2011, 06:59   #5
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Re: List of Income-generating Ideas while Cruising

One thing that comes to mind is photography - as the ocean and many islands are a virtual photographer's paradise. Stock photo agencies broker photos to magazines, companies, etc. The downside is to make money at photographs requires skill and equipment.
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Old 27-02-2011, 07:11   #6
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Re: List of Income-generating Ideas while Cruising

Probably not a lot of response as the subject has been covered in detail in a couple of previous threads. Hate to rain on your parade but making money while cruising is not so easy and you have a lot of competition trying to do the same.

To do a short recap.

1. Writing - unless you are Tom Clancy it doesn't pay much and half the cruisers out there are trying it.

2. Repairs for other cruisers - most of this is done pro bono to help fellow cruisers. After all, next time you may be the one that needs a hand.

3. Any kind of work outside your home country - work permits, competition with the locals, etc. Good way to get in trouble.

4. Online work of any kind - Internet connection is prohibitively expensive except in a port with good wireless.

5. Crafts - seems to offer one of the better options if you are good and have a good marketing channel.
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Old 27-02-2011, 07:12   #7
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Re: List of Income-generating Ideas while Cruising

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Old 27-02-2011, 07:45   #8
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Re: List of Income-generating Ideas while Cruising

I don't think you are going to make much fixing other cruisers boats.

Unless you have a Yanmar certificate, perhaps.

No cruisers I have seen or heard of have paid for another cruiser because: What goes around comes around. You may fix someones engine, but 6 months later someone else may save your boat from dragging.

I am flat out building Karma Points to keep my boat afloat.

I can't over-emphasise the cruising community's closeness in an anchorage: If anyone has a problem there would be NO cruiser who would refuse to help. Everyone has spent countless hours upside down in someone elses bilges,a nd we would refuse a cent if it was offered to us. The more remote the location the closer the mob becomes. Everyone is family and families don't charge for services.

If someone helps out on your boat then, of course you fill them with beer and fill them with a home cooked dinner.

Hair cutting is about the only thing I can see cruisers paying for... and, say, $10 a hair cut, it can't be viable in poor countries where its less than that. Very few cruisers cut hair.

Half the boats in the anchorage have their own sailrite sowing machine, all expecting people to come and get their bimini's done. But canvas work only needs doing once a decade, and when Sunbrella costs $20 per meter anyway, most folks then decide they need a pro job when they are next in a cheap country.

I nearly died after hand stitching the hems of 2 lifeline cockpit screens, would have only taken 2 minutes on a machine, but everyone with a machine was so intent on making big money with them I didn't have the heart to ask....

Writing and photography, as SkipMac suggested, are extremely difficult to get into. Highly talented people take years of head bashing to turn a dollar on that. I have got one photo of ITCZ clouds on a weather website... name credit but not even a website link!

Anything internet is great. Provided that its not like an eBay thing where you need to mail/freight stuff. If I was looking for a job now to go cruising in 5 years I would be at school learing something that can be done by internet in a remote location... graphic design, etc.

Some folks sail for 6 months then go home to work for 6 months.

In the world circumnavigation type cruising, long range cruising, extreme stuff like high latitude cruising, I really think you need to have the budget sorted out before you go fluttering off into the world. Once on a cruise you'd be flat out earning $50 per week doing jobs for other cruisers. But at home you could save $10 per hour, 8 hours per day, just be being frugal. Work 2 jobs even!-

It may well be better to work flat-out at home for an extra year or 2 and save vastly more than 5 years being the anchorage pariah.

Food for thought.
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Old 27-02-2011, 07:58   #9
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Re: List of Income-generating Ideas while Cruising

I bought a canvas sewing machine and learned how to sew. Can't say that it had made me a lot but I've covered the cost of the machine and the schooling in one year of cruising.
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Old 27-02-2011, 08:02   #10
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Re: List of Income-generating Ideas while Cruising

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Can't say that it had made me a lot but I've covered the cost of the machine and the schooling in one year of cruising.
That is good! What figures are you talking about? Have you been in one place or moving about?
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Old 27-02-2011, 10:47   #11
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Re: List of Income-generating Ideas while Cruising

Let's organize this differently.

1) Either you're going to sell goods (including intellectual property) or services.
2) Your clients are either to be here or there (home or abroad).
3) Income is going to be generated a) pre-cruise, 2) cruising, or c) post-cruise.

Sell Goods at Home Pre-Cruise - This is probably your current day job; but there may be a domestic market of pre-cruisers for novel ideas you patented or copyrighted while getting your vessel ready to cruise. If you had a novel idea and haven't yet protected it, then beware of marketing it too soon. Of course, these items will have greater value post-cruise when you can say they are field-proven.

Sell Goods Abroad Pre-Cruise - Contact all marinas, yacht clubs, chambers of commerce, etc. along your preferred route and asked them what they want you to bring. You'll need Letters of Credit, export licenses, etc., not to mention competitive pricing on useful equipment small enough to carry on your yacht (think diamonds). Note that it may be preferable to arrange shipping separately so that you don't have to carry goods the whole trip, but that turns this idea into simply another import/export business. As far as that goes, while you are talking the marinas, yacht clubs, chambers of commerce, ask them what you can sell them TODAY. Of course, if they say yes often, then it may be harder to cut the strings to go sailing.

Sell Services at Home Pre-Cruise: Again, this is probably your current day job; but if you can find domestic companies that would pay you to introduce their goods and services along your route - sort of a "company ambassador at-large" - then you may get "sponsorship." Your best bet would be to work with the marine equipment manufacturers/suppliers that you selected to outfit your yacht, and get the necessary training to intelligently and convincingly represent them at boat shows and other industry activities occurring within the time frame as your visit at various locales. They will probably require you to sign a contract that severely limits your debauchery. Another service you could pre-sell might be "Intelligence Reports" in various locales along your route - sell a select group of clients your market and trend analysis/intelligence newsletter as you travel. These would probably sell better if you already do this sort of thing.

Sell Services Abroad Pre-Cruise: Tough to do without being there.

------------
Sell Goods at Home Cruising - Photograph and write articles to publish back home. These generally fall into the "sailing adventure" or "travel guide" niches, but could potentially find their way into the international news if related to a disaster (keep the cell camera phone handy). Alternately, buy foreign goods and export them to the USA. This generally falls into the textiles and fetishes niche, but you might want to climb the ladder of getting a local medicinal herb FDA-approved. And if you do find a local medicinal herb, then you might consider trying to de-code its DNA and copyright it for sale to a pharmaco. Of course, there is always the local fisherman who wants to sell fish to your favorite restaurant back home but who needs help with the refrigeration part - or arranging airfreight for the chef's "just caught" menu.

Sell Goods Abroad Cruising - You can either sell inventory you brought with you (uncomfortable unless small - think diamonds), sell inventory to be delivered here from elsewhere (think company ambassador/sponsorship arranged pre-cruise as above, or a business representation agreement negotiated underway at one or more of your ports of call), or sell goods from there to elsewhere (this is probably too complicated to attempt without legal standing in one or the other jurisdictions - but weapons dealers do it all the time). In any case, it means actively contacting all marinas, yacht clubs, chambers of commerce, etc. along your route to build relationships, and to attempt little projects together to build confidence in each others' abilities to actually perform as advertised. Be sensitive to cultural differences - I was once told that foreign corrupt practices are common, and that they are illegal in the USA (as in most 1st world countries) and can result in jail time. I was also told that in many cultures, the definition of corruption is when the Big Man doesn't create a "trickle down" effect for all his underlings, who have underlings, ad infinitum.

Sell Services at Home Cruising: These business opportunities are all better pre-sold (see above) as it is difficult to get someone to pay you without ever having met you.

Sell Services Abroad Cruising: These can range from consulting in your field of expertise to manual labor; although medicine, law, and engineering may require licenses. Others have commented that cruisers usually barter services among themselves so that community is probably not the most primed to generate cash flow. Certainly though, there are firms abroad who already market to your home base (or attempted once and failed) and could use assistance optimizing that effort. There are local manufacturers who would be interested in how to increase their exports (this may lead to exporting goods home, see above). Teach English or your native language. Teach seamanship. Teach music, environmentalism (pollution prevention, waste management, energy conservation), computer troubleshooting and repair, water-well drilling, etc.

-----------

Sell Goods at Home Post-Cruise - If you established business relationships/agreements cruising, then they mature into this category on return - importing instead of exporting. Other ideas include: Manufacture the gizmo you invented underway. Cannibalize your boat and sell the parts. Collect into a retrospective your photographs and journal entries to publish, or write and publish a novel inspired by your travels. Open a restaurant featuring a "world food basket" cuisine.

Sell Goods Abroad Post-Cruise - Again, you can either export inventory at home (your new patented gizmo), help someone else export abroad (based on the business representation agreement you negotiated underway, right?). See above for caveats about foreign corrupt practices.

Sell Services at Home Post-Cruise: Leverage you hard won knowledge to assist others seeking the dream. Teach seamanship, open/buy/or get hired by a yacht maintenance business, sell yachts, survey yachts, deliver yachts, charter yachts, etc. There is always the foreign bride service.

Sell Services Abroad Post-Cruise: Be a manufacturers representative (based on a trusting relationship cultivated cruising) to open or widen world markets. Leverage the knowledge you gained along the way of "local" markets, fashions and trends to help foreign manufacturers better sell into those local markets. Open an internet exchange to facilitate the buying, selling, and bartering of goods and services - or work with Cruisers Forum to morph into the next generation of CF.

Whew! I'm dry on ideas - wait a minute and I'll think of some more.
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Old 27-02-2011, 18:53   #12
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Re: List of Income-generating Ideas while Cruising

We provide a service to boaters and others but I would not be inclined to do business with fellow boaters at anchor per si. Then on the other hand if we were docked I would do business with the local dock queens.

Fellow boaters are we, therefore I would assist if I could, but not on an business where the hour meter is running.
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Old 27-02-2011, 19:03   #13
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Re: List of Income-generating Ideas while Cruising

Opening stock dividend check envelopes, seems to be a good way to get spending money
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Old 27-02-2011, 19:09   #14
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Re: List of Income-generating Ideas while Cruising

I would say baby sitting or animal sitting, seems alot of cruisers have kids/animals that they cant take with them everywhere, you could offer services.
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Old 27-02-2011, 19:10   #15
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Re: List of Income-generating Ideas while Cruising

it's pretty clear that most people/boats at anchor are not inclined to spend money when it's unnecessary. Those paying for dockage may be slightly more apt to have routine maintenance 'taken care of' for them... everyone outside of the anchorage/marina is fair game

I'd summerize as...
The ideal income would be self sustaining, such as a substantial investment/dividends, or maybe real estate rentals, or simply a pension or otherwise fixed income... the next best thing is to be able to work remotely. things like transcribing, web development, writing, consulting (in any field), photography, etc...
After that comes the 'work in the field' opportunities... charters, teaching, fishing, massage therapy, dental, barber/stylist, seamstress (even if you're male ) diving/sailing instructor (could be classed under charters), ship building, local trades...

location is still everything...
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