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These are the best online jobs for setting up a location independent business that allows you to travel full-time while still making an income.
I’ve been running my own business for almost three years now, and in that time, I’ve had a great time dabbling in the ‘digital nomad’ life.
In 2017, I spent the entire year travelling through Asia, which allowed me to build my business without worrying about expensive rent and living costs. Once I returned to the UK, I’ve been more of a part-time digital nomad – travelling to destinations in Europe for a week or so at a time, and most recently spending a wonderful month in Bali.
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No matter where I go, I’m always met with the same reaction when I tell people I have a location independent business.
Can you guess what it is?
That’s so cool! How did you do that?
I’ll admit it: my job is cool. Being able to set my own hours, work where I want, and go anywhere I want in the world is super cool. I get why people want to do the same thing.
And honestly, anyone could do this.
Sure, I worked long, hard hours and put more time and effort into my business than I’ve ever put into anything else – but anyone can have that kind of discipline if you apply yourself.
Everyone – I truly beleive this – has a skill that can be turned into a job suitable for a digital nomad lifestyle.
Sure, some are more obvious than others, but if you want to people able to work and travel at the same time, you can make it happen.
Below, I’ve listed some of the most popular digital nomad jobs I’ve come across in my time as a remote worker, and how you could begin your journey in one of these careers today.
Best Jobs For Digital Nomads:
1. Freelance Writer
I’m a freelance writer, so of course I’m going to recommend this as my number one best digital nomad job!
Freelance writing is perfect for a location independent lifestyle: all you need is a laptop, and an internet connection (and, of course, impeccable writing skills – but that’s something you can learn!).
Freelance writing can be done in a number of forms, such as:
- Creating articles and blog posts for businesses
- Copywriting (aka ‘sales’ copy)
- Writing social media posts
- Creating infographics and content marketing for businesses
- Writing eBooks (fiction or non-fiction)
- Creating writing
- Technical writing
To be a successful freelance writer you need a few key skills. First, you need to know how to write. By that I don’t mean knowing how to string a few sentences together – you need to know how to use words to evoke emotion, to create an impact, to move a reader in the direction you want them to go.
Second, you need patience. Writing is different from other remote-based jobs in that most people can admit that they can’t code a website. However, everyone can write a few sentences. Sometimes, you’re going to have to patiently explain to your client why you know best – because believe me, they’re not also going to think you do.
Third, you need a strong portfolio. Freelance writing is a saturated field, and you’re often competing with people in countries that can get by with a much lower rate. You need a portfolio that will blow your clients socks off and convince them they need to hire you – and that you’re worth your rates.
- How to Land Your First Paying Clients on Upwork
- Starting a Freelance Business: What You Need to Know to Get Started
2. Teach EnglishI
I’ve met a lot of digital nomads who make their money by teaching English, often online to adults and children all over the world.
Just last month, I met a wonderful girl who makes the bulk of her income teaching English to children in China with VIPKID, giving her some stability while she focuses on her bigger passion of teaching breath-work and hosting cacao ceremonies in Thailand.
VIPKID is a fantastic service for anyone from the US or Canada looking for a reliable way to make money while travelling. You can make $25 an hour, choose your own hours, and you can work as often or as infrequently as you like.
If you’re based outside of the US or Canada, I’d recommend DaDa (open to people worldwide) or English First (UK & US citizens only).
3. Web Design
Being a web designer is another job that lends itself perfectly to a digital nomad lifestyle.
Like writing, web design can take on a number of different forms. You could create premium WordPress themes (like the couple I got mine from!) and sell them over and over again for a fantastic means of passive income, you could help other freelancers and start-ups get their website off the ground and looking great, or you could even design bespoke websites from scratch for businesses.
4. Graphic Design
Graphic design might just be the coolest job ever. I swear, every single person I meet who works as a graphic designer is just effortlessly cool.
This job obviously requires some technical skills, such as an in-depth knowledge of creative programs like Photoshop, Illustrator etc, while a basic understanding of coding at the very least is useful.
If you already have these skills, or have a keen interest in design, branding, and being creative, building a portfolio is your first step to building a location independent business as a graphic designer.
5. Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant can do a huge range of tasks, from creating Pinterest images for a blogger and scheduling them, to replying to emails and scheduling social media posts for businesses.
For a large portion of 2017, I worked as a virtual assistant for a company that actually connected freelancers with remote jobs, and my key duties would be to format and schedule blog posts, schedule these to be shared on social media over the next couple of months, creating infographics for the blog posts, and to run outreach for guest posts that linked back to the company.
Being a virtual assistant is one of the best digital nomad jobs for anyone who feels like you lack a specific skill you can turn into a remote job immediately.
It was perfect for me because I didn’t need any technical skills: I just had to be efficient, reliable, and do my job well. This gave me a stable source of income every month while I focused on building my writing portfolio, eventually allowing me to transition across to solely writing when I was ready.
If this sounds like the job for you, I would highly recommend checking out Gina Horkey’s Horkey Handbook guide to being a virtual assistant. She turned her virtual assistant side hustle into a 6-figure business, so this lady really knows what she’s talking about when it comes to getting started and scaling up.
If you had told me back in 2017 that I’d soon be making 4-figures a month from my blog, I would have laughed in your face.
Two years on though, and that’s exactly the situation I’m in. Blogging, like a lot of things in life, requires CONSISTENCY and INTENSITY.
You need to be capable of producing regular, high-quality blog articles (that are ideally written with SEO in mind), and you need to be consistent in order to really grow your blog. It took me a year before I started making a serious income with my blog – it could take you less time, maybe more.
Blogging is my biggest passion. It lets me be a writer, a designer, a marketing expert, and everything inbetween. My websites are completely mine – and once they’re earning money, the road upwards gets a whole lot smoother.
I would highly recommend every single person reading this article to start a blog alongside your digital nomad job. Even if it makes zero money and gets a few hundred view this year, you’re putting in the work for it to grow in authority later on, and you never know where you could end up.
Sign up to my free blogging course for more on starting a blog, marketing and writing, and how to monetize your websites.
7. Selling Items Online
The logistics behind selling items online seems tricky to work out – where would we put it all when we’ve just got one check-in bag?!
However, many people run online stores from the road. Check out Our Home on Wheels who run a jewellery business while travelling full-time in a van!
If you don’t like the sound of making your own goods and having to deal with shipping/packaging etc, consider the Amazon Fulfilment Scheme.
For a fee, they manage the shipping costs, leaving you to focus on marketing your online retail store to reach as many potential customers as possible.
8. User Testing
User testing is where companies pay you to test their sites. It requires no real experience, just internet access and a microphone – a guaranteed easy fall back to pick up a bit of income as you travel.
It may not be enough to let you travel full-time, but doing this and a few other odd jobs to create income could be all you need for the perfect budget trip around the world
9. Social Media Manager
Social media is big business these days. A lot of digital nomads are making their money by managing the accounts of businesses all over the world.
Being a social media manager means analyzing your client’s target audience, and creating posts (both paid and organic) that target that market.
It means being able to write in a way that connects with your client’s followers without making them feel like they’re being sold to (social media is for brand awareness and long-term relationship building, not a quick sale).
10. Proofreader & Editor
Are you a stickler for spelling and grammatical mistakes? Do you sometimes spot paragraphs that you wish you could re-shape to flow beautifully?
You could be perfect for working as a proofreader and/or editor. Much like the other jobs mentioned above, you’ll need a strong portfolio to get started, fantastic writing skills, and a real eye for detail.
11. Sell Digital Products
Maybe you don’t fancy working with clients. Maybe you’ve already got a platform where people will buy what you have to offer. Or maybe you’ve got some knowledge that you know other people really want.
Selling digital products can be a lucrative form of passive income – which is really the holy grail for digital nomads (more time for travelling!).
A digital product could be a printable game, template, or lists. For example, Millennial Boss runs a side hustle selling printables for Bachelorette parties).
It could also be something like an eBook or a course (Michelle over at Making Sense of Cents created such a successful course that she bought a sailboat and now travels the world in it with her husband and two dogs – goals!).
Other Jobs Perfect For Travelling:
12. Bar/Hostel Work
If you’re working on building your online business, but need to make some extra cash while travelling, working in a bar or at a hostel is a great option.
Head for the backpacker areas where owners will be used to giving backpackers work in exchange for bed & board, or a set hourly rate.
This is an especially great idea if you want to travel at a slower rate. Be warned though, you might end up falling in love with the place and stay!
This is a much better alternative to staying at home and waiting until the “right” time to start living the digital nomad life (FYI – there’s never a right time!).
13. Teach Workshops
If you’ve got a skill a lot of people want to learn, you could make a great income by travelling the world and teaching workshops in every destination you visit.
A few people that this type of job might work really well for include:
- Yoga teachers
- Breath work/ spiritual ceremonies
- Gymnasts/ Athletes
- Consultants (for branding, design, marketing – whatever!)
- Creative skills (painting, making crafts etc)
14. Seasonal Sport Instructors
People working as instructors for water sports and snow sports have a lot of freedom of movement. Many opt to work all high-season and then travel the rest of the time.
Plus, to be an instructor in one of these sports I’m going to assume that you love it, so even staying in the same place to work is going to be so much fun!
15. Odd Jobs
There are websites such as workaway.com that you can browse to find work all over the world. These often paying in the form of bed & meals rather than cash.
This can be a great opportunity to meet new people, learn some new skills, and really become a part of a community in a new destination
Below are a few websites I highly recommend checking out to find remote jobs.
What digital nomad jobs have you considered? Let me know, I’d love to hear your stories!