6 min 9 sec

Minnesotan Opens Private Campground in Her Backyard

An injured puppy and a James Brown song gives this Minnesota chocolatier the inspiration to run a private campground for adventurous travelers.
Reselling Service Sharing Economy Unique Ideas

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What It's About

A chocolatier discovers a side hustle in her own backyard.

Business Model
Skills Required
Resourcefulness & Research
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Robyn’s experience can be summed up in four words—use what you have. Take stock of the things and skills that you possess, and you’ll find that there’s a lot you can do. And if utilizing your backyard as a campground is at the front of your mind, just make sure to check that you don’t run afoul of any laws or regulations!

Fun Fact

Platforms like Airbnb and Hipcamp make payment and marketing easy—all you have to do is take pictures and create a listing and everything else will be taken care for you. It’s not just for renting out traditional homes either; Airbnb allows you to host experiences created by you. As Robyn says, you don’t have to do all the heavy lifting by yourself.

Notes from Chris

Episode 668

Robyn Dochterman wasn’t expecting to come up with a new idea for a side hustle. But while listening to 70s music on a normal day, inspiration struck. James Brown sang that “You’ve got to use what you’ve got to get what you want,” and this was just the line for her situation.

At the time, Robyn needed some money. Her puppy had broken his leg keeping the world safe from an evil mop at doggie daycare. The surgery he needed was expensive and she didn't want that sitting on a credit card costing her interest.

James Brown’s words told her that the answer was sitting right in her backyard.

The chocolate shop she owned kept her exceptionally busy in Fall and Winter, but sales slowed down with the summer heat. Robyn and her partner Deidre owned 5 acres of land near the St. Croix River in Minnesota. This land was just two miles away from a state park, which was almost always full of campers. It hit her then that this was an opportunity she could take advantage of.

The campgrounds near the state park were always full and there were no inexpensive motels nearby. What was stopping her from hosting her own private campground?

This was her chance.

Robyn didn’t come up with a completely novel idea, but the manner in which she executed her plan is perhaps one of the biggest reasons she has been successful. She made use of her well-located and spacious land, turning it into a private campground. But Robyn also knew that this wasn’t enough to build a business on and she needed to build a unique selling proposition for the St. Croix Valley Sweet Spot to take off.

Of course, Robyn knows that the nature of camping meant that revenue would vary greatly by season. During the summer months, she has been able to average $800 a month in extra income. She also began selling firewood as a side, side hustle.

Moving forward, Robyn is planning to turn an unused chicken coop into a micro-tiny house that she’s calling “The Roost”. She’s pitched camp on her idea and is doubling down to ensure that she can create the best experience for adventurous travelers. Her advice—and that of the singer James Brown—is to “always use what you have.”



Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"I'd urge anyone to think through what they have already available and how they could monetize it."
—Robyn Dochterman #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau