10 Flexible Work Opportunities for the Digital Nomad
Want to earn income while lounging by the beach in Bali? Wake up in a cottage on the Irish countryside? Thanks to the rise of high-speed internet, it’s easier than ever to travel the world while making a living. No cubicle required. A new breed of travelers, known as digital nomads, combine flexible work and pleasure to design their own lifestyles wherever they choose.
A recent study by Welance found that a third of digital nomads visit 5-10 countries per year, typically staying between one and three months in each location. They fund their adventures as they travel, with over half of travelers earning more than $1,000 per month, and 11% earning $5,000 or more.
So how can you make a reliable income while living abroad? Consider a mix of physical and digital jobs. Here’s our rundown of the top 10 ways to make a living when you’ve got little more than a backpack and a laptop to your name.
Be a Pet Sitter
Love spending time with cats, dogs, and all things furry? Pet sitting is an ideal way to barter your animal caregiving skills for free rent in an exotic locale. Check out a site like Pet Sitters International or TrustedHousesitters for homestay opportunities around the world. Time your travel wisely, and you may never need to book an Airbnb again.
Try Work-Trade Programs
Have skills in areas including construction, gardening, cooking, or nannying? You may enjoy trading your work in exchange for housing, food, financial compensation, or any combination of the three. Work trading platforms such as Workaway and Work Trade help skilled individuals find positions abroad, allowing them to travel with increased financial security.
Work as a Transcriptionist
Do you have a set of headphones and a wi-fi connected computer? That’s all you need to get started as a transcriptionist for our company, Rev. We allow you to choose from hundreds of transcription jobs, making it easy to create your own schedule. The faster and more accurately you type, the more you’re able to earn. We also offer free tutorials and practice jobs, allowing our team to strengthen their transcription skills and boost their earning power anytime.
Become a Virtual Tutor
If you have an area of expertise or are fluent in a foreign language, there are several online platforms through which you can work with students in need of extra help. Either on a scheduled or an as-needed basis. Such opportunities pay well — the going rate is often $20 an hour or higher. MathElf allows tutors to work from an iPhone or iPad to offer tutoring whenever they have a spare few minutes.
Be a Customer Service Representative
Large companies such as Amazon, Best Western, and Hilton often hire remote customer service representatives. Customer service is one of the most accessible fields for work from home jobs. If you enjoy helping others and have the patience to talk through problems, check out staffing companies such as Access Staffing, VIPdesk, and Convergys. To find a customer service position, you’ll need to ensure that you can make the customers’ time zones fit your schedule.
Build an E-Commerce Shop
You don’t need a bricks-and-mortar location to open a store anymore. In fact, you don’t even need inventory. Have a background in online marketing? Know how to drive an audience to your site or Amazon listing? If so, you can use drop-shipping to make money by selling products that you never even hold in your possession. Check out Shopify’s guide to Dropshipping if you’re curious about how to get started.
Work as a Virtual Assistant
If you feel that organization and communication are some of your strong points, you may find it rewarding to work as a virtual assistant. This position is essentially an office job that you perform from the comfort of your home. Typical duties include maintaining calendars, responding to emails, and managing social media. Many companies hire virtual assistants through freelancing platforms such as UpWork, FlexJobs, and Freelancer.
Be an English Teacher
If you are a fluent English speaker interested in obtaining education experience while traveling abroad, teaching English as a foreign language may be the perfect opportunity for you. In most countries, teaching requires obtaining a TEFL certificate, which can be earned in 4 to 11 weeks depending on your course preferences. TEFL courses typically include guided job searches so that you can secure a teaching position immediately upon certification. To learn more about TEFL certification and teaching abroad, check out the International TEFL Academy. While many English teaching opportunities are in-person, there are plenty of options to teach online, too: One large platform, VIPKID, gives anyone with a college degree the opportunity to teach English online to students in China.
Become a WWOOFer
Standing for “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms,” WWOOF links individuals interested in exchanging farm work for housing, food, and other tangible resources with host farms all around the world. WWOOFing is an exciting opportunity for those looking to support the organic movement while experiencing life overseas. As a WWOOFer, you can choose your destination and secure a position with a local host farm before leaving your home country.
Make Money as a Freelancer
If you have skills in writing, web development, or graphic design you can connect with clients anywhere in the world through an online freelancing platform such as UpWork or directly through your own website and outreach efforts. It’s easy to use cloud-based software like Google Docs and Adobe Creative Cloud to collaborate with your clients. Freelancing is ideal for nomads, as it can be done based on your schedule and at your own rates. Make sure to give your clients a positive experience—once you’ve built up a steady base of clients, it’s much easier to keep working with them than to constantly hustle for new prospects.
If you’re looking for opportunities to make a steady income while traveling, they are out there. Consider which type of remote work sounds most enjoyable to you and do your research. It’s typically easy to find other travelers online who have done similar or even the same kind of work.
Have a successful digital nomadding story? Tell us in the comments.