“How do digital nomads create a sustainable online income” is the number one question we get on a regular basis from our coaching clients; here’s what our peers are doing.
How 22 Digital Nomads Make Money Online
Online jobs are a big part of being a digital nomad. Unless you have a fat trust fund or an already successful business that affords you all your travel adventures, you will need to keep a job to sustain your life as a location independent individual.
Fortunately, a growing number of companies are beginning to understand that talented individuals don’t always thrive in a 9-5 environment. Some of us work best when we are alone at our desks at home or somewhere that isn’t inside a cubicle.
As long as you have an internet connection and a laptop, you can do your online job from practically anywhere around the world. If you’d like to get a good head start in living life on the road, here is an extensive list of digital nomad jobs you might consider for inspiration.
Remote Jobs For Digital Nomads
Here are 22 relatively well-known digital nomads and how they fund their travels, without a trust fund.
1. App Development
Because app development is so high in demand, companies are willing to let their most talented developers work remotely if it means keeping them. There are several job listing sites that provide opportunities on a per project basis while there are also specialized listing sites that seek to match developers with the right companies.
Lewis from ItinerantDev does freelance development for companies in the UK.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a subset of blogging which allows you to make a handsome amount of cash if you’re affiliate partners with the right products, companies and you have copy that converts. You get a commission every time a visitor clicks on your affiliate link and purchases the product. To fully benefit from affiliate marketing, you need to generate traffic first which can be done through methods like SEO and PPC ads.
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner from Making Sense of Cents who earns five-figures monthly on her finance blog through affiliate marketing.
There are many success stories out there of people who have made a very lucrative living out of blogging –we’re working on being one of them. In under half a year we’ve ramped up our blogging income enough to support our travel.
If you are good at writing and taking photos, you can start your own blog and write about your travel adventures or whatever niche interests you.
We recommend doing this on the side at the very beginning. It will be awhile before you can start making money with your blog as you need to build it up first and get traffic before you can enjoy the fruits of your labor in the form of ad revenue, sponsorships, affiliates, and more.
Matthew Karsten from Expert Vagabond has been on the road for 7 years. He runs a travel blog where he shares stories about his travel and adventures, travel tips, inspiring videos and photography.
Related: Read our review of FlexJobs –a great source for copywriting work!
4. Coaching & Consulting
Consulting is another lucrative job that can earn you top dollar by the hour. Identify that one thing you’re good at and turn it into a consultation business that answers a recurring pain point. Mike did this for years through his old ecommerce and web development consulting business called Honest Online. It was his online consulting that allowed him to afford the digital nomad lifestyle back in 2012.
There are many things that you can consult about whether it’s finance, marketing, relationships, travel, and more. After you’ve found a topic that you have experience and knowledge in, decide how you want to conduct your consultations whether it’s per hour, per session, or per week and if you want to do it by person or by group.
Diana Edelman from D Travel’s ‘Round makes money consulting for lifestyle brands to help tell their stories through marketing.
It’s very common for nomads to be selling some kind of physical product online. As long as it fills a need, you can make a lucrative income from this type of job. With the help of dropshipping or fulfillment by Amazon (Amazon FBA), you can sell as many products as you want without the hassle of keeping a physical inventory. All you need is a laptop and good internet marketing skills.
Steph Bedford from Good Vibes Global who set up her dropshipping business on Shopify before becoming a full-time digital nomad traveling around the world.
6. Translation Services
Take advantage of the few languages that you already know very well and provide translation work for companies. This is the perfect opportunity to sharpen your language skills while making money.
Leah Shoup from Gringa Journeys works as a translator for two agencies where she gets paid per word.
7. Importer & Exporter
This is similar to dropshipping except you are exporting a physical product yourself from the country where you are currently located. This is great if you have a strong community back home who have interest in foreign specialty products like art, handwork, antiques, and jewelry –and a proper visa (you can’t do this on a tourist visa). You can manufacture the product from scratch or just buy and sell.
Jill Bong of Chicken Armor became a digital nomad after they decided they want to spend more time with their children and pursue homesteading. They supply chicken armor (very niche!) to homesteaders small holders, and poultry vets all over the world including the UK, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Finland, France, and South Africa.
8. Internet Marketing
Marketing can span across many things including search engine optimization, pay-per-click ads, social media, affiliates, and more. If you have a strength in any of these areas, you can do the marketing for certain companies.
The job will require doing tasks like creating ad copy and banners, scheduling content for social media, optimizing site keywords, and more. Marketing is currently a large portion of our online income.
Pamela Wagner of Pamela Wagner Marketing was a former Google employee turned digital nomad who does marketing and paid advertising for companies in order to fund her location independent lifestyle.
9. Online Poker
If you’re a master poker player, you can make money by playing online poker. Several nomads make a good living playing online poker from anywhere in the world. Just be careful to use a VPN, it’s not a welcome practice everywhere you go!
Nick Dahloff is a digital nomad who plays professional poker to fund his travels in Latin America.
Turn your amazing shots into cash by submitting them to stock image sites like iStock, Getty Images, and ShutterStock. They pay a commission every time your photo receives a download. You could also approach hotels, resorts, and tour companies who need professional photos of their services.
Ivana Greslikova and Gianni Bianchini from Nomad is Beautiful make part of their income from taking beautiful others how to take better travel photos.
11. Proofreading or Editing
Make a profit out of your advanced English skills by doing proofreading or editing work for publishing companies. Many companies welcome editors to check their work for them before releasing it to the world.
Kate Haigh from Kateproof works as a freelance proofreader and copyeditor for magazines, journals, and websites to support her life of travel.
12. Social Media Management
Social media has become such a big part of our lives that there’s not a day where one doesn’t check at least one social profile whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat. Businesses realize the importance of having a social media presence but they often lack the time and know-how to attract their target market.
If you consider yourself an expert in any of these platforms and have the following to prove it, you can be a social media manager. This job requires that you churn our clever and concise copy to go with visually-captivating images.
Aside from maintaining her beautiful blog, Leah from The Sweetest Way consults with clients on curating a Pinterest profile that’s worthy of likes, saves, and virality.
13. Teaching & Tutoring
English-speaking nomads can make money by teaching English to students and tutees. You can do this both online and offline. Offline teaching is the best if you’d like to be more hands-on but if remaining mobile is more important to you, then online teaching is the best way to go.
There are many platforms out there that help you find schools and students in need of English teachers. Pick one that best fits your salary requirements and schedule.
Joanna Szreder from The Blond Travels works in English local schools as well as online to support her lifestyle living abroad.
14. Trading and Betting
If you’re good at assessing risks, trading and betting may be more ideal for you. You would need to invest in some capital and have a lot of patience before you can begin earning income from this type of job. It takes awhile to learn how to trade profitably so having something on the side to support your lifestyle will surely help.
Simon from Freedom Surfer does Forex trading which allows him to travel the world.
If you are a fast typer with good listening skills, you can do transcription for companies that require text to go with your video or audio. Make sure that you have the required tools to help make your transcribing tasks much easier. You often get paid by the number of minutes of the audio/video so always keep an eye out for big projects that could earn you a lot of money.
Talon Windwalker from 1Dad1Kid who makes most of his income working as a medical transcriptionist.
16. Creative Design
We live in a visual era where images are taking over written word; design skills are in high demand and this is a great opportunity to showcase your skills to companies who need a hand in the design department.
You may be asked to visually design a whole website, company banners, logos, advertising campaigns, and more. Keep a portfolio of your best work and don’t forget to advertise it on your website and social media platforms.
Jess Warren from Hey Jess funds her travels with a freelance graphic design career. Her site features some of her graphic design work including brand logos, banners, cards, and invitations.
17. Videography or Video Editing
Just like photography, videography allows you to earn income if you sell it to stock websites like Pond5 and 123RF which give you a cut every time your video is purchased. You can also offer your videography and editing services to companies who need professional videos for their business.
TJ Lee from CupofTJ who monetizes her videos through affiliate linking and Google Ads. She also does video intros, interviews, courses, and edits for companies.
18. Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants are in demand more than ever thanks to the fast-growing number of solopreneurs. Entrepreneurs can’t do it all by themselves so they hire an assistant to do some parts of their work, allowing them more time to focus on more important things.
A virtual assistant’s will vary by client. You may be asked to perform tasks like update their social media, schedule appointments, manage their content, write copy, sort documents, and other administration-related tasks.
Bryanna Royal from Crazy Family Adventure who runs a virtual assistant business called Virtual Powerhouse where she works with two other specialists (her husband included!) to provide virtual assistant services to clients.
19. Voice Talent
If you have a strong, clear speaking voice and are able to imitate certain intonations and accents, then you can turn your voice talent into a money-making skill. Back then, it would’ve been impossible to take a voice talent career on the road with you but thanks to portable high-quality microphones and co-working spaces with studios, you can practically do your job anywhere!
Jonathan Lockwood from Jonathan Lockwood Voice Talent who has made a career out of being a freelance voice talent recording anything from film narrations to radio voiceovers.
20. Web Development
Don’t let your valuable skillset leave you sitting in the same desk everyday typing code. Web development is different from web design and is a very lucrative job that could earn you enough income to support your location independent lifestyle.
Working on web development remotely is possible thanks to various tools that make it easy to communicate with your employer. The tools you use will depend on your client’s requirements.
Greg Jorgensen from Typical Programmer is a tech nomad who makes his living providing web development services to companies.
Companies are always on the lookout for talented writers to do some writing for them whether it’s sales copy, blog posts, brochures, or editorials. There are several ways to land a writing gig. You can join freelance writing sites, look at job posting sites, or contact the companies and publications directly.
You can also make money writing for yourself by authoring eBooks. Think of a topic you’re good at that you know people will be interested in. (You will need to do some extensive research for this!) Start creating your line of eBooks and soon enough, you can begin seeing passive income from the information assets you have created.
Kelly Dunning from Global Goose works as a freelance writer writing allows her the freedom to work anywhere she wishes to.
22. Specialized Remote Careers
If your line of work is specialized, say accounting, medical, or engineering, several companies out there are willing to work with remote professionals like you. We will later provide you a list of companies where you can find jobs in practically any industry you can think of, including specialized ones.
Eli David from Become Nomad works as a freelance accountant providing services such as business planning and financial analysis to his clients.
Ever wondered what it’s like to be a digital nomad?
Read our digital nomad interview series where we talk to people living their own unique lifestyles abroad, while working online. No two stories are the same; get insight and advice from our peers and shed light on the efficacy of your own plans through the experiences of others.
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