I’ve been traveling and working online for over 8 months now and I’ve been asked a lot, “how do you make money?” This question generally stems from a curiosity of how someone can travel and work also. With the limitless potential of location independent businesses these days, I thought I’d share the many different ways to make an online income while traveling abroad (or staying home if that’s what you’re into). I started looking into these options in June of last year in order to prepare for my journey around the world. The research I did definitely helped me choose a path that has altered the course of my life for the better and I’m really hoping it can help you too. The income sources listed below were discovered both from meeting people who are doing them and/or online research.
It’s important to note that some of these will fall into several categories and have some overlap. For example, you can be a freelancer and a coach/mentor if you happen to be an expert on Facebook Ads or Google Adsense. It’s also worth mentioning that some of these options will require additional sources of income. You can’t just start a podcast or blog and immediately be making money the next day. This option will require time and choosing more than one option while you build up your business would be a wise choice. Let’s take a look at our options!
- This is a rather long post at 5000+ words. You can either skip to one of the categories below to find online income opportunities related to your field or feel free to browse around and find something that interests you. I hope you find this resourceful! 🙂
- Online Business
- Tech (IT)
- 1. Branding Services
- 2. Business Plan Writing
- 3. Content Creation/Writing
- 4. Copywriting
- 5. Facebook Advertising
- 6. Ghostwriting
- 7. Google Adwords
- 8. Graphic Designer
- 9. Intro, Outro & Explainer Videos
- 10. Language Translation Services
- 11. Proofreading
- 12. PR & Press Releases
- 13. Resume Writing
- 14. SEO
- 15. Social Media Marketing
- 16. Transcriptionist
- 17. Video Animation
- 18. Video Editing
- 19. Virtual Assistant
- 20. Voiceover
- 21. Web Design
- 22. Web Traffic
- Online Business
- Tech (IT)
The freelancing category is where most people start in order to get some money rolling in while they work on a long-term sustainable business. You can usually find clients for this kind of work on Upwork.com, Fiverr.com, and similar Freelance sites. You also have the option to market and find your own clients through your own site or on social media.
1. Branding Services
Helping someone develop a brand is a good way to start as a freelancer if you’re the creative type. This includes coming up with company names, taglines, slogans, etc for entrepreneurs who are struggling to find their brand identity. Lots of companies even outsource the creative director for certain product lines or projects rather than doing it in-house. There are many people doing this on Fiverr to make an income. Check them out here.
2. Business Plan Writing
Do you know how to create an effective business plan? You can sell your services online and make a decent income from those who lack this knowledge and prefer to outsource it. Whether it’s for money or organization, EVERY business needs a plan. Learn how to write them by taking the Small Business Association’s course on how to write a business plan. Once you’re well versed you can market your services on freelance sites like Fiverr and Upwork.
3. Content Creation/Writing
Do you have a knack for creative writing? There are a lot of companies that outsource almost every single piece of writing that needs to be done. This includes newsletters, landing pages, sales letters, scripts & screenplays, blog posts, etc. If this comes easy to you, it may be a good place for you to start. Check out this post on how to make your first $100 as a freelance writer.
While copywriting is still a form of freelance writing, it focuses more on specifically using your writing (or speech) to convert prospective buyers into sales. There is a growing demand for writing effective marketing copy. This is due to the fact that most businesses who have a presence online are trying to sell some form of product or service. Even non-profit organizations require effective copywriters to help them get donations or raise funds for their cause. Reading the book Cashvertising by Drew Eric Whitman can help you hone your skills. You can also read this post on 101 ways to make money as a freelance copywriter.
5. Facebook Advertising
Many online businesses are always seeking good advertisers. Facebook Ads are currently a hot trend that can make some nice cash flow and easily be done from anywhere. Specializing in Facebook Advertising makes you more marketable since this would be your forte. This would allow you to find clients who specifically want to use this platform to market their business. Facebook provides the perfect platform for learning this skill. Go to Facebook Blueprint to see all of the courses, training, and even certifications you can get for Facebook Advertising.
If you haven’t already noticed, writing is one of the main tasks that gets outsourced nowadays. Ghostwriting is no different. This is also the most rewarding and most lucrative form of freelance writing. Ghostwriting is writing material for someone under their name where you as the author don’t get public credit for the work. Your clients may be celebrities, busy executives, or just someone that needs help translating their ideas into literature form. This is usually done in the form of a book but could be anything that you write under their name.
Ghostwriting a book can pay anywhere between $10,000-$50,000 USD depending on your level of experience. If you can do quality work and give the customer what they want, there will be plenty of entrepreneurs willing to give you their money to ghostwrite their book, screenplay, or song. Read this article about how to get started as a successful ghostwriter for more insight.
7. Google Adwords
This is another popular advertising platform that people use to market their products and/or services. You must be certified as a Google Partner to manage someone’s AdWords account. You can do this by learning all you need to know by using Google’s free AdWords learning center to study and understand how to use the platform. Once you’re ready you can get certified as a Google Partner by taking two exams. I’ve met a couple people who own marketing firms and work from anywhere because of their acquired knowledge. This is another good option for you creative types. You can learn how to get started as a Google AdWords professional here.
8. Graphic Designer
Graphic design is another freelance opportunity that requires some artistic skill. If you have this skill, you need to showcase it by building a portfolio. There are many freelance sites for designers that will allow you to do this. I would also consider specializing since the competition is very high in the design world. Check out this article by Rob Nightingale that outlines how to become a profitable online graphic designer.
9. Intro, Outro & Explainer Videos
Many YouTuber’s outsource their intro and outro videos and need someone that can help deliver the goods. Online marketers also need whiteboard or explainer videos that help promote their products, services, website, etc. There is money in those who are good with video editing and animation. If you can write your own explainer video scripts, even better! If you’re looking to go this route, you can start learning by taking a course on Udemy or Lynda. Once you’ve acquired the knowledge you can then start marketing your services on freelance sites such as a Fiverr or upwork.
10. Language Translation Services
I didn’t even know that this existed before I left the America. Apparently, you can make good money by traveling the world and offering translation services if you are good with languages. It does require getting a few certifications, but from what I understand this is a growing field and can be very lucrative. Check out this article about how to become a location independent translator for more info.
If you have an eagle eye, you can get paid to make corrections on other people’s written works. This is one of the most commonly outsourced tasks. Proofreading is needed by pretty much anyone and everyone on all the variations of writing done online. This can include larger jobs like novels and ebooks which will increase your pay. I’ve found that the best platform for proofreading gigs is found on Fiverr. Here is an article about proofreading jobs online.
12. PR & Press Releases
If you’re good with writing and have some public relations knowledge, you can be a freelance press release writer. This is the road less traveled in the freelance world but if you know what you’re doing, you certainly won’t be short of clients. There is a need for this service for product releases, new businesses, public speaking engagements, events, and pretty much anything newsworthy or requiring public attention. Usually, the point is to drive traffic to an event, company or website. If you want to learn how to write a press release using the proper format, read here.
13. Resume Writing
Know how to create a kickass resume? This is a marketable skill that can get you paid as a freelancer. The average person changes jobs every 3.5 years. This means there will always be someone in need of a service to write or update their resume. There are two ways to do this. You can either work for a company that will pay you to write resumes or find you own clients as a freelancer. Check out this short article on how to get started.
Pretty much anyone who has a website needs Search Engine Optimization (SEO) whether they know it or not. If this is your forte or something you’re interested in learning, it shouldn’t be hard to find work. There are many components of SEO. Most of them are outlined in this article on getting started as an SEO freelancer and I highly recommend it.
15. Social Media Marketing
Everyone is marketing on social media nowadays because it’s cheap and effective. This is yet another source of income to help you become location independent. Even though everyone wants to advertise on social media, not everyone has the time or the knowledge. If you have a strategy that works and can be efficient in helping others do the same, you have skills that are in demand. Read this article about using your social media skills to earn extra money if you’re interested. The author, Alexis Grant, also put all of her posts on the subject in one convenient place, check out how to make money as a social media consultant for an abundance of information.
If you’re good at grammar, punctuation, and typing you can be a transcriptionist. What is a transcriptionist? it’s taking spoken word in the form of audio and/or video and transcribing it into text. This requires good listening skills, attention to detail as well as practice and training. Entry level for this type of work pays around $15 USD per hour and you can make much more as you progress. There are some basics you need to know to get started, but this article covers it.
17. Video Animation
This is for you artistic types. I met a guy in Manila who gets paid to make video animations. This is a unique skillset, but if you have the knowledge, you can certainly find clients. Some of them can become long-term clients and some of them will just need the job done and move on. How you work your business is up to you. Here is some guidance from Rubber Onion who made a 4-part series on being a freelance animator.
18. Video Editing
Video editing can be extremely tedious. It takes time and experience to learn. So if you already know how to do this efficiently or are willing to figure it out, you can get paid to do this for others looking to outsource this task. If you know how to use video editing software and have a creative mind, then this is right up your alley. Check out this article for how to get started.
19. Virtual Assistant
VA’s are in high demand right now. Especially if you specialize in a specific skill like WordPress or e-commerce. The majority of the people I’ve met traveling with a location independent business either already has a VA or had plans to hire one (or more) in the near future, myself included. A Virtual Assistant is someone who can do a specific task or set of tasks to help streamline operations. If you specialize in a particular area, you can charge more. This article about how to become a virtual assistant may be helpful when looking into this field.
Doing freelance voiceover work is not common and does require some natural talent. However, if you do have a voice that sounds professional you can use it to do commercials, broadcasts, podcast intros, movie trailers, etc for a fee. This does require some training and some expensive equipment you’ll need to travel with, but the income you can make in this line of work can more than compensate you for that. Check out the beginner’s guide to voice acting from voices.com to see if this is for you.
21. Web Design
Web design is a very specific part of being a graphic designer. It bears more emphasis though since it will always be something that’s needed as long as the internet is still around. If you know how to build a niche site or an e-commerce site from scratch then your skillset just became more valuable. Being well versed in WordPress and have some coding skills makes you even more valuable still. If you have this set of skills or are the creative type who is willing to learn, I think this is a great place to start. Read become a freelance web designer to understand the basic concepts.
22. Web Traffic
Let’s face it, anyone and everyone marketing products or services online needs traffic. In order to make sales, you need exposure. If you are amazing at SEO and keyword research, this may work for you. You can simply sell traffic to those looking to boost their site visits. This is really just another way to make an income with SEO by using your knowledge to drive traffic to those in need. You can sell a certain number of visitors over a period of time. This is different than ranking someone’s site on the search engines. Typically there are only two places to market this service, on a freelance site or your own website. You can learn best practices for doing this by taking a course on web traffic.
If you have something you’re an expert on and others can benefit by learning it, you have a potential business. The key factor here is ensuring that there is a demand for it. Not only are you helping others learn something you’re both passionate about, but it’s very fulfilling to see them accomplish their goals.
23. Business Coach/information products
Coaching someone on something you know how to do to help them create a new income source or better themselves is always a touchy subject for me. If you can legitimately help someone, great! If not, don’t try and sell something and promise that you can. I actually learned how to blog from someone selling an information product and it definitely helped me. If you do have knowledge or expertise in a particular area or you’re willing to develop the skills, then this can be a great location independent business for you. In order to succeed you need to be a people person, an effective communicator and have great listening skills. Read this article for tips on getting started. Chris Drucker also has some helpful advice.
24. Fitness Coach
Health and personal fitness will always be a staple in society that’s always needed. This is because it’s one of 3 main areas of work-life balance that people seek out help for. If you have some sort of personal training experience and can deliver results by working with either other travelers or remotely with clients, this may be your thing. I met a woman in Chiang Mai who does a great online business with fitness products and coaching. There are some requirements to get started, but the 14 steps to becoming a great online fitness coach might be a good place to begin.
25. Life Coach
Life coaching is offering a variety of different coaching services and is used to guide someone’s career and help with personal challenges. This is done to improve the overall quality of someone’s life. There are many different niches you can specialize in, but mainly you will be a motivator and strategist while holding your clients accountable. If you enjoy helping people this can be rewarding for you, and not just financially. Helping others find their way is definitely fulfilling. You can also choose to get certified to give a level of professionalism although it’s not mandatory. Check out the 4-step process on how to become a life coach if you think this is your path to location independence.
26. Online Counseling
If you’re currently a licensed therapist, it’s become easier these days to take your practice online and work remote. With sites like Talkspace and BetterHelp, you can make upwards of $10,000 USD a month. This can be done from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection and a laptop. You can also choose to supplement your income by doing this during downtime when your practice is slow. Check the requirements and apply online for Talkspace and BetterHelp in order to get started.
27. Spiritual Healing
Believe it or not, some entrepreneurs make money as a spiritual healer. They use eastern techniques mixed with yoga, massage, karma cleansing, and other techniques. I’m a bit of skeptic when it comes to certain methods. However, I did mention in another post that I’m a firm believer in Self Hypnosis, meditation, and visualization. Either way, if you can make a living doing it, go for it! Read this article about the 7 different types of spiritual healing and how to practice them if you’re interested. Also, you can check freelance sites to see what other’s are charging for their services.
28. Traveling Yoga Instructor
I’ve met a couple of people who have been successful traveling and making an income with their yoga instruction. Just like a fitness coach you can find your clients from the masses of other travelers, expats, and locals where you are. You can also market your products and services online. Teaching yoga online allows you to be location independent, gives you flexibility, and also allows you to reach a massive global audience. Read how to create a successful online health coaching business for more information on this topic.
E-commerce is one of the best ways to make money while traveling. It’s an easy way to live a free and independent lifestyle once you gain experience. It’s simply finding products to resell on your own website or other third-party e-commerce sites that will charge a commission. There are several ways you can do this including Arbitrage, Wholesaling, and Private labeling.
29. Amazon FBA Seller
Becoming an Amazon seller has definitely become easier over the years. When I first started selling products on Amazon years ago, it was a bit frustrating. However, all of the technology and tools available in the marketplace today has made it much easier to run your business from anywhere in the world. It does require some startup capital, but deciding to travel with this business has changed my life forever. This article on How to sell on Amazon is extremely useful if you’re looking for a good place to get started.
Dropshipping is when you sell products online on behalf of the distributor or manufacturer. When the item sells, you notify the manufacturer who sends the item directly to the customer. There are typically longer lead times for this type of e-commerce business, but there are definitely people having success with it. This quick guide can give you a basic overview of how it works as well as some helpful tips. I’d also recommend reading how to start a dropshipping business if you want to get more in-depth.
31. Ebay Arbitrage/Selling on eBay
Ebay has been around well before everyone started jumping on the e-commerce bandwagon. You can make money by buying products to sell on eBay just like any other e-commerce site. In addition, you can also arbitrage items by selling high on this platform first and then buying the stock from the lowest priced supplier with available stock. There are certainly risks with this business model, but I know a few who are making a pretty decent monthly income with this. Check out this article that spells out the ins and outs of dropshipping on eBay using the arbitrage method.
32. E-Commerce Store
This is simply buying products from wholesalers and retailers and reselling them on your own website and e-commerce store. There is a benefit of saving money on all the fees by doing this, but you also have to generate enough traffic to sell your items by marketing your site. So there is definitely a trade-off for selling on the big online marketplaces like Amazon, Ebay, and Shopify. This article about starting an e-commerce site has some good information.
33. Private Labeling
Private labeling is outsourcing products to be manufactured to sell under your own brand name. This is typically done through finding an international manufacturer where you can keep the cost low to make for higher returns. This method of e-commerce requires a lot of capital and is not for beginner’s regardless of what the “guru’s” will tell you. This is typically associated with selling on Amazon, but you can private label a product to sell on your own site as well.
Although pretty much everything on this list can be considered an online business, most of these are common strategies used amongst digital nomads and traveling entrepreneurs to build an authority site and/or brand identity. Keep in mind a few of these ideas will require putting yourself in the public spotlight.
Accounting or bookkeeping is a business you can start online with little or no experience. Almost every business needs a bookkeeper. Especially with everyone moving their businesses online nowadays. You may be able to cater to this community and have a constant flow of repeat business. Read this article about how to make money at home (or anywhere) by becoming a bookkeeper.
35. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a good way to make money by marketing or promoting advertisers products to your followers on social media and get a paid a commission from the sales that convert from your network. In addition, you can also get paid by promoting through links embedded into your blog or website or to your email list. You can read this detailed explanation of how affiliate marketing works for more insight.
Blogging is a long-term strategy to consistent passive income. This takes time and so this should be paired with at least one other business or income stream. There are many ways to create an income from blogging. They include affiliate marketing, repurposing your content to write and sell ebooks, offering coaching services and/or selling courses and information products. You can also advertise and become a staff writer for other sites. I personally started blogging because I wanted to share my passion for traveling and working a location independent business with the world. I find it very rewarding. If you want to get advanced knowledge on the different income streams blogging can provide and how to do them, read this article.
37. Kindle Publisher/E-book Writer
One of the podcasters I listen too is always saying that “everybody has a book in them.” It’s very possible to write a book on your favorite subject or something you have advanced or expert knowledge on. Are you a master of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? People may want to learn from you in the form of reading your book. Maybe you’re a tour guide that knows all the ins and outs of your city. Whatever the case may be, publishing and selling ebooks is definitely profitable. Check out this guide on how to write an ebook in 30 days for more info.
While photography used to be more of a face-to-face career, that’s no longer true. We’re moving more and more into a digital world by the day. Especially when it comes to digital photography. This article about the 28 different ways you can make money from photography online outlines how to create an income from your creative works.
Similar to blogging, podcasting is providing content centered around a specific topic or central theme. The difference is instead of written content you would be providing audio content so your audience can listen to the material as opposed to read it. This is also a long-term path to consistent passive income and having at least one other source of income is recommended while you build your audience. You would create your compensation using the same methods as blogging. Check out this ultimate guide to podcasting for more information.
Another way that many successful online entrepreneurs use to make an income while traveling is by making YouTube videos or Vlogging. This is again very similar to blogging and podcasting. You build an audience providing quality video content based on a specific topic or central theme. You then market products, services, and information that may be useful to your audience. There is an additional revenue stream from the advertising networks used on YouTube if you choose to go this route. Find out more by reading this beginner’s guide to Vlogging.
The tech industry is a place where you can use your creative genius to have a sustainable income and find clients from anywhere in the world. This one differs from the rest because you either have to know what you’re doing or spend a lot of time on education. Not to worry! You can always learn from the abundance of resources that exist. I’ve run into plenty of entrepreneurs in my travels who successfully work abroad in this industry and you can too.
41. App development
A lot of developers have shifted their efforts to developing apps since smartphones came to market around 2007. There is a lot of technical know-how required and a wealth of information on the subject online as well. Google even offers free courses on the subject. If you go this route plan for plenty of time to learn. I do know one guy who quit his job and moved abroad to learn how to do this. The last time we spoke he created one app that was generating a small monthly income just months after starting his journey.
42. Computer Programming/Software Engineer
Writing code and fixing problems is another way you can earn while traveling abroad. It’s easy to find clients if you can help to make their lives easier by developing tools designed for efficiency. For example, my Amazon FBA business used to require a lot of manual work to search for and buy profitable products for resale. However, nowadays it’s so much easier because I’m using software to make that part of my business more efficient. I do this by automating what is and isn’t profitable and it also requires much less time. If being a computer programmer is of interest to you, you may want to read this article about how to start learning.
43. WordPress/Blogging/Social Media Consulting
You may have learned how to use WordPress from blogging or teaching yourself. If you do have a blog and learned how to drive traffic using social media, you may be able to market your skills to others looking to do the same. There will always be a demand for people with a lack of knowledge on WordPress who need help with their theme or site. Being a coach or consultant for them in their new endeavor may be lucrative for those with specialized knowledge. If you know how to write code, you just become even more valuable. If you want to help people improve their web-based businesses by offering solutions, check this out. Especially if you want to travel with your business.
Investing is yet another way to work and travel the world. There are several ways to do this whether through real estate, financial markets, or other areas. There are also many opportunities out there not covered in other sections. Some of them can also be found here.
44. Au Pair
Are you good with kids? You can travel the world by becoming an Au Pair and taking care of your host family’s children while you get to explore a new city and culture. Keep in mind this is not for everyone and there are definitely negatives and positives to this. This article explains some basic tips on becoming an Au pair while traveling abroad.
45. English Teacher
This isn’t necessarily a business or a self-reliant income stream, however, there are many people I’ve met in my travels teaching English as a way to make an income and travel the world. Almost every country I’ve been to has a program for hiring fluent English speakers (that’s you) to teach their first or only language to local children or business people. The best part is you don’t even have to speak another language or have any teaching experience. In some instances, they will even take care of your lodging and food in addition to your compensation. This article by Nomadic Matt on the 9 best places to teach English overseas is very informative.
46. Peer to Peer Lending
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending is a new way to do financial investing. Also referred to as social lending, P2P lending gives you the ability to fund loans or borrow money without the use of a bank or financial institution. You can even diversify your investments over many notes since the minimum investment is only $25 USD. The two major platforms that are used as intermediaries are Prosper and Lending Club. The benefits of using a P2P lending platform is higher returns and lower rates for the investors and borrowers than you would receive from a bank. I know a few people making a decent return from this, but keep in mind it does require some startup capital to get the ball rolling. Read this article by Investopedia to learn more.
47. Professional Poker Player
Obviously, this is not your typical route to travel and earn. As a poker pro myself, it’s common that people don’t see this a real job or business and we typically get stereotyped as “gamblers” or “degenerates.” However, playing poker for a living is widely becoming accepted all over the world and there is a business to it. This is a form of investing and it’s not just about throwing your money in the middle and hoping for the best. There are many skills needed to succeed including body language, intuition, emotional control, math skills, psychology, and most important of all; bankroll management (accounting). You also need to understand both the mechanics of the game and the small intricacies that make up the bigger picture.
One hand may not make sense on its own, but if you take the context of the entire session, it may give you more clarity. You can choose to be a cash game player, a tournament player, or any combination thereof. This also requires a lot of capital to fund your starting bankroll requirements. A common saying in the poker community is that “it’s a hard way to make an easy living.” So it’s a difficult road, but what business isn’t? Read this article to learn how to become a professional poker player.
48. Rental Properties/Airbnb
One of the things common amongst the successful entrepreneurs I’ve met while traveling is that they either currently or have at some point owned real estate. Many of them are doing rental properties and using the cash flow from them as a source to fund their travels. Renting out or Airbnbing a property is a business and it can definitely be lucrative. If this interests you, check out the ultimate beginner’s guide to Airbnb hosting.
49. Stock Investor/Trader
Trading stocks is something that can increase your net worth and give you a decent income if you know what you’re doing. Also, this is something you can do from anywhere in the world with most trades taking place online these days. I’ve yet to invest in stocks myself, but here is some basic advice to get started.
50. Readers Choice
Is there something that you do or are interested in that’s not currently on this list? I want to hear from you! Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to add it.