One of the most pressing questions from non-nomads is: what do these globetrotting wanderers do for work?
There are a number of digital nomad jobs out there, especially since the internet means you can work from anywhere in the world online. Essentially, digital nomads can – and will – do pretty much anything that doesn’t involve physical contact with items or other people.
Often, they’re web-savvy entrepreneurs.
They launch websites and run Facebook ads. They live and breathe to make their online business successful. You’ll also find them constantly expanding and growing their skill set to bolster their professional reputation.
But for some digital nomads, running an online business is out of the equation.
This tribe is made up of digital nomads who have remote freelancing jobs. They often Skype or email with their employers from their favorite destinations, co-working spaces, coffee shops, or even recreational vehicles.
However, it works for different people, working online has become something of a global cultural trend. Justin Raymond understands this trend, which is why he founded Flexday, a pay-as-you-go workspace company that turns restaurant downtime into a network of workspaces for remote workers.
“How and where people work is undergoing a massive shift across the world.
This sea change is fuelled by individuals choosing to play the game by their rules; defining their lifestyle first and source of income second.
As a result, freelancing and remote work will continue to grow and replace fixed employment arrangements.
When HR departments realize that more than 99% of the available talent pool doesn’t live in their city, remote work and freelancing will explode.
And, this is just around the corner.“
You can get one step closer to becoming a nomad by finding digital nomad jobs online or learning how to start an online business.
In this article, we’ll highlight the best:
- Online businesses you can operate remotely, like dropshipping, affiliate marketing, and service-based businesses
- Remote freelancing opportunities, like writing, web design, and PPC marketing
Let’s jump in, shall we?
Online Businesses You Can Operate Remotely
Having the freedom to live and work anywhere you see fit, and still run a lucrative business, is useful if you want to become a digital nomad.
Fortunately, in this modern era where the internet has changed the way we do pretty much everything, there are an infinite number of possibilities. You might be surprised at just how many amazing businesses you can launch without necessarily needing a ‘home base.’
Whether you’re looking to create an online empire or earn just enough to support your daily lifestyle, there’s probably a business model on this list that will allow you to achieve your goals.
Dropshipping is another lucrative online business that you can set up and run from anywhere. This is where you sell items through an online store. When a customer makes a purchase, your supplier or manufacturer sends the items straight to the customer from their warehouse or fulfilment center.
It’s basically an ecommerce business minus the inventory management headaches.
Actually, it’s almost too simple to start a dropshipping business.
All you need to do is create an online store on Shopify, install Oberlo, select a few products, and start selling. The success of your business, however, depends on how you promote the business, and whether the products you’re selling have good demand.
Maybe you’re lucky enough and your sales will go through the roof. But chances are you will have to experiment with different suppliers, products, and marketing strategies before you can escape your 9-to-5, or sell your dropshipping business for a profit as this digital nomad did.
Overall, dropshipping offers an incredible opportunity to work anywhere in the world. It’ll likely take some practice, but you can overcome the learning curve to launch a profitable online business.
Resources to help get you started:
- The Ultimate Shopify Dropshipping Guide
- How to Find the Perfect Dropshipping Products
- 21 Days to Your First Dropshipping Sale
The affiliate marketing business involves endorsing someone else’s products in return for a commission (usually money).
Many of us are currently practicing the tactic without even realizing it. For example, have you ever shared a discount code with a friend, where their registration or purchase gets you a discount too? That’s affiliate marketing.
When you sign up to become an affiliate, you get a special link that contains a unique tracking code.
Every time you recommend a product on the internet, you can use that link to direct a person to the affiliate company’s website. When the individual makes a purchase, the sale is attributed to you, and you get a benefit in the form of a commission.
The affiliate marketing industry has witnessed exponential growth rates, and that trend is expected to continue. Based on a study by Rakuten, U.S. spending on affiliate marketing is projected to reach $6.8 billion by 2020.
Many people get started by launching their own website and promoting affiliates on there, but you don’t necessarily have to do it this way. You can make money without a site by sharing affiliate links on social media, promoting your links through digital ads, using email marketing, and more.
Because the best affiliate programs tend to revolve around digital products, this business model lets you work anywhere. There are many websites, like ShareASale, ClickBank and Commission Junction, where you can find courses, software, and many other digital programs to sell.
When it comes to travel, insurance can have the highest affiliate payouts. You can give programs like World Nomads a go.
Resources to help get you started:
- The Definitive Guide to Affiliate Marketing
- 71+ Travel Affiliate Programs for Nomad and Travel Bloggers
- Affiliate Marketing Tips from the Experts for More Commissions
A service-based business is one of the easiest paths to becoming a digital nomad. For one thing, you won’t require as many tools as with a product-based business. Simply put, you can take the startup budget and put it all into marketing instead of inventory, promoting the business far and wide and bringing money in.
The best way to choose a service is to focus on your strengths, skills, and interests.
Are you a passionate guitarist? You can teach guitar students via Skype. Do you have experience in career counseling? Start taking personal clients. Are you obsessed with social media? Learn the marketing side and offer social media marketing for businesses.
Other examples include, but certainly aren’t limited to:
- SEO consultant
- SEM consultant
- Life coach
- Business coach
- App developer
- Nutrition coach
- Sales trainer
- Web designer
Resources to help get you started
- How to Start a Service Business
- 105 Service Businesses to Start Today
- 20 Tips for How to Make Money with a Service Business
These refer to digitally-available, education-focused products, including webinars, online courses, audio books, and more.
Many digital nomads earn a full-time income by selling information products on their blogs, social media profiles, apps, and other digital retailing channels. The business model generates income every time someone purchases an information product.
The most attractive part about information products is that they can be published (or recorded) once and sold passively. You just need to spend time on production and marketing, and the rest will take care of itself. It’s a great opportunity to create a passive income stream that makes money while you sleep.
Also, the cost to create an information product is minimal (if you build it yourself) or a one-time expense of hiring a freelancer. Because of this, the net proceeds from an information product can be sizable, even with a handful of product sales.
Katelyn Smith, founder of The Remote Nomad, is a great example of a digital nomad who has built her traveling lifestyle by selling business services and information products.
On her website, Katelyn offers an online course that teaches you step-by-step how to successfully earn income online using your existing skills so you can gain the freedom to work anywhere in the world.
Which, when you think about it, is brilliant. She makes her online income teaching others how to make online income. You nailed it, Katelyn!
Resources to help get you started
- A beginner’s guide to information product ideas
- 9 Ways To Create an Information Product With ZERO Expertise
- 33 Information Product Ideas That Can Really Make Money
Freelance Digital Nomad Jobs
While many prefer to build a self-sustainable business while traveling, this requires a lot of time and effort – and possibly a lot of false starts before the business matures and makes good money.
Fortunately, there are other options when it comes to digital nomad jobs. You may prefer remote freelance jobs so that you can have some level of certainty around how much you make each month. This is becoming easier since the recent explosion of the ‘gig economy,’ where freelancers and independent contractors work on flexible, short-term projects.
According to Statista, it’s projected that 90 million people – nearly 51% of the U.S. workforce – will be freelancers in the gig economy by 2028.
Here are some different types of remote opportunities and digital nomad jobs, as well as some resources that might help you get started.
Use this list as a guide to finding one that best fits your personality and skill level.
If you have what it takes to make a website or blog post rank well on Google, consider working as an SEO specialist. Companies worldwide are ready to pay big to get their brands and content noticed by a large audience. You can find remote SEO jobs on sites like Upwork, RemoteOK, and Working Nomads.
If you have experience in React Native, Swift/Obj-C, native iOS and/or Android, you can find high-paying remote IT jobs in the app development field. It’s common for digital nomads to work as app developers – if you take a quick look at the RemoteOK job board, you’ll find the largest category of jobs in the ‘dev’ section.
You can earn a decent income while living in a digital nomad destination of your choice by teaching English as a second language. Companies like Berlitz and VIPKID hire English tutors to deliver lessons to non-native students all over the world. You might get an online classroom software or conduct lessons over Skype.
If you’re good at communicating and keeping things organized, you may find it worthwhile to work as a virtual assistant. Common duties include answering emails, managing social accounts, and maintaining calendars. Several companies hire virtual assistants through freelancing platforms like Freelancer, PeoplePerHour, and Upwork.
The role of a PPC (pay-per-click) marketer is to promote a brand’s product or service using digital ads. These might be what you see on a website, in your social media feed, or at the top of Google’s search results. PPC marketers create, strategize, and test online ads for maximum impact. If you’re good at it, the earning potential is high. Take a look at the listings over at Working Nomads to find suitable roles.
Do you have a knack for writing and an understanding of marketing and sales psychology? If so, you might want to looking into copywriting as one of your digital nomad jobs. These jobs involve writing copy for a company’s website or other promotional assets, like brochures and emails. You can find several remote writing jobs on Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor.
Social Media Marketer
It’s one of the most popular digital nomad jobs in the marketing category. Social media marketers create and manage the social presence of different businesses. Typical duties include scheduling posts, answering comments, and running contests. You can find freelance social media marketing jobs on FlexJobs, ZipRecruiter, and Indeed.
If you’ve got skills in programs like Photoshop and Dreamweaver, you can put your talents to use with web-design related digital nomad jobs. There’s a huge requirement for web design professionals, from small companies to major corporations to digital nomads trying to launch businesses while traveling. You can find remote web design jobs on WPhired, WeWorkRemotely, and Indeed.
How to Choose the Right Job
Often the hardest step in getting started with a digital nomad job is choosing what you’ll do. Quite simply, if you don’t know your skillset or which remote freelance positions will be most fulfilling, you might end up with a classic case of job mismatch.
The best way to avoid all this is to analyze what you’re good and how closely a certain job aligns with your skillset.
This seems simple enough, but sometimes it’s a challenge for us to identify our strengths and weaknesses. That being said, there are a few ways to get a better perspective of your best job skills.
Think about the jobs you’ve worked in, full-time or otherwise, and consider instances where you got positive feedback. Are there any themes across your best performances? Those themes might be your skills.
If you’re new to the professional world and don’t have past experience to conduct an analysis, try taking a few quizzes that are specifically designed to help you find your professional skills. Don’t be afraid to learn new skills, but it’s always a good start to know which ones are your bread and butter.
You can also check out this resource on how to identify your entrepreneurial skills, or ask your friends and family what they think you’re good at. The answers might surprise you!
You can also enhance your current skills or learn new skills through dozens of free and paid online education resources, like:
Don’t hold yourself back with feelings of being unqualified or unskilled.
Hopefully by now, you have a basic idea of how to start an online business. We’ve also covered the basics of finding remote freelance jobs and discussed which digital nomad jobs would allow you to work remotely. Each one of them has its own perks and requirements that you must evaluate carefully before sending an application.
Keep Reading: How to Become a Digital Nomad: 4 Tips To Prepare →
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Is a Digital Nomad Lifestyle Right for You?
Chapter 2: Work Anywhere With These Digital Nomad Jobs
Chapter 3: How to Become a Digital Nomad: 4 Tips To Prepare
Chapter 4: How to Choose Your First Destination
Chapter 5: Travel Budget Tips for the Aspiring Digital Nomad
Chapter 6: Tapping Into the Digital Nomad Community