This is chapter 2 of a 15 part series about digital nomading and location independence. To see all of the other chapters, click here!
It might seem shocking, but you can travel the world on $1,500/month or less, which means you only need to make a fraction of a Western salary to live a great life abroad.
Making $2,000 per month or more online is much easier than most people realize.
Here are six ways to make money from anywhere in the world.
1. Get a Remote Job
Difficulty Level: Easy
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to start a business to make money while traveling the world. Getting a remote job is by far the easiest way to become location independent, and the remote work movement is exploding right now. A survey of 1,000 hiring managers found that managers expect 38% of their full-time workers to be working remotely in the next ten years.
Common Remote Jobs:
- Software Developer
- Product Manager
- Sales Representative
- Customer Support
The Best Remote Job Board:
My favorite job board is Jobspresso because it only offers curated, high-quality jobs.
Most Popular Remote Job Boards:
2. Teach English Online (Native Speakers Only)
Difficulty Level: Easy
There are 1.7 billion people trying to learn English right now, making English teachers one of the most in-demand (and easy to land) jobs in any country. Teachers make $16-24/hour, which means working ~24 hours per week is enough to cover a nomadic lifestyle.
Most English teaching programs require that you:
- Are a current resident of the US or Canada
- Have formal or informal teaching experience
- Have a college degree
VIPKid is the most popular English teaching platform. It’s a multi-billion dollar company that teaches English to Chinese students.
3. Go Remote With Your Current Employer
Only you know how realistic this option is. Every company is different and some may be more open to the idea than others. There are many deciding factors that will determine if you’re able to go remote, including your value to the company, the size of the company, your role, and the company’s culture.
The basic steps of switching to remote work:
- Become a top performer
- Propose a remote work trial to your boss
- Meet with your boss to discuss the experience of the remote trial for both of you
- Create a long term remote work agreement that accounts for the workload and schedule you seek while giving your company the value they need from you
Read this post for a breakdown of this process.
4. Become A Freelancer
Difficulty Level: Medium/Hard
Forty-seven percent of millennials say they freelance in some capacity. As a freelancer, you are self-employed. You set your own hours, you choose what work you want to do, and you decide who you want to work with. Freelancing is just like the digital nomad lifestyle. On one side of the coin, it’s a glamorous lifestyle. On the other, tons of people quit freelancing because they don’t want to deal with the headache of inconsistent pay, chasing down invoices, marketing themselves, and trying to close new clients.
Hubspot created a great outline of how to become a freelancer, Hubspot’s Ultimate Guide to Freelancing
Common Freelance Fields:
- Software Engineering
- Marketing / PR
- Data Entry
- Virtual Assistant
Here’s A List of 100 Other Freelance Jobs, such as data entry, transcription, writing, editing/proofreading, accounting, translation, test scoring, support, and social media monitoring.
Freelancers find work through online platforms like Upwork (the largest freelance marketplace), industry events (such as marketing conferences or film festivals), referrals, cold emails, and giving presentations to showcase their expertise and get more people to know who they are and what they do. Here’s a list from Entrepreneur Magazine of the 11 Best Website for Freelancers To Find Jobs and Make Money in 2019.
5. Start a Business
Difficulty Level: Medium/Hard
The three most popular businesses among digital nomads are affiliate businesses, Amazon FBA businesses, and drop-shipping businesses. These businesses are the most popular because:
- They have high earning potential
- They are relatively passive income streams
If you’re looking for a more robust guide on starting businesses, then let me know (CONTACT LINK) and maybe I’ll write it :).
A. Create an Affiliate Website/Blog
Affiliate websites earn commissions by sending people to other websites where they buy things. These sites usually generate traffic from Google search. Common monetization strategies include linking to Amazon products, other e-commerce stores, or digital courses.
The Best Affiliate Guides:
- How To Start a Blog (Niche Pursuits)
- How To Start a Niche Website (Niche Pursuits)
- 5 Ways To Create A Profitable Affiliate Site + 40 Examples (Niche Hacks)
- 21 Successful Affiliate Marketing Websites (Authority Hacker)
B. Start an Amazon FBA Business
A fulfillment by Amazon business entails selling products on Amazon Prime. The most common implementation is to buy bulk manufacture products (on Alibaba.com) and ship them to an Amazon warehouse.
This is a popular location independent business because Amazon handles all the offline storage and shipping work.
The Best FBA Guide:
JungleScout’s YouTube Channel – has hundreds of hours of content about every aspect of Amazon FBA plus it has real, step by step case studies.
C. Launch a Dropshipping Website
Dropshipping is selling someone else’s products on your own website, on Amazon, or on eBay. When a consumer buys from you, you purchase from the supplier who ships the product to the end customer.
The most popular version of dropshipping is selling AliExpress products via a Shopify store. Sellers tend to acquire customers using Facebook ads and mark up products 2-8x higher than the supplier’s price.
The Best Dropshipping Guides:
- Shopify Dropshipping Guide
- Oberlo’s Dropshipping Guide
- 60 Minute Video on Setting Up A Dropshipping Store
Bonus: Read this great YCombinator guide if you’re looking for general info on starting a startup.
6. Become an Instagram or YouTube Influencer
Difficulty Level: Hard
The challenge isn’t growing a following; it’s making this path financially sustainable. This path requires patience because until you reach a critical mass, you won’t make money.
If you’re a great photographer, are attractive (or both!) then growing a following is much easier than it might appear.
The formula for Instagram success is straightforward:
- Watch videos to learn how to grow a following on Instagram
- Choose a niche you want to create content for (e.g. digital nomad freelance writers, digital nomads traveling in an RV across the USA, etc.)
- Find the top five most commonly asked questions around that niche (Use Answerthepublic.com)
- Create content that consistently answers those top five questions
- Use a growth service, like FanBump (my service 🙂 ), to organically grow your account.
Once you reach 20,000-50,000 followers, you can start to get paid by brands to promote their products or services.
For more information, you can read my journey growing my Instagram following.
Become a YouTube Influencer:
I’m less familiar with this process, but here are three great guides I found:
- Lost LeBlanc’s Guide To Making Travel Videos
- Thomas Alex Norman’s Guide To Making Travel Videos
- How To Grow Your YouTube Channel
Bonus: Volunteer Abroad In Exchange For Free Housing
Difficulty Level: Easy
WorkAway is a popular site for travelers to volunteer in exchange for free housing. While this isn’t paid or location independent, it is a popular way for people to start traveling. If you’re impatient to start traveling and are willing to hustle, you can use a volunteer abroad program to pay for your housing while you build your skillset in a remote field. Once you’ve created enough income to sustain yourself and pay for your own housing, you can transition out of the work away program.