Whether you’re looking for a way to pad out your travel budget for your next trip or you want something that can allow you grow a business over the years and support you no matter where you decide to rest your hat, there are so many different way to make money online.
I am a huge advocate of this with friends and family who want to spend less time working and more time traveling, hanging out with their friends and family, or to simply have a little bit more freedom in their day-to-day life.
Two years ago when I decided that I was done working for other people, I attempted so many different things to try to make money. I had saved a ton of money teaching English in Korea and I was watching each month as my savings were dwindling. I felt like I was failing and feared that I’d have to go back to a full-time job working for someone else.
Why Work Online?
There are a lot of reasons to create an online or freelance business. For me, I wanted to have the freedom to work when I wanted. I wanted to be flexible, I wanted to be able to work from anywhere. My boyfriend’s job requires that he be in one place, but there are so many opportunities for him to work around the world.
I wanted to be able to build a business that I loved, that gave me purpose, while still allowing us to be together.
The trouble was, I had no real idea what the looked like. I was one of the many people who sit down at their computer every day scouring the internet for answers on how I could work for myself. I took courses, read self-help books, and scrolled through Instagram feeling jealous and defeated.
Maybe you have a different reason to create an online business. Maybe you want to travel full-time or you want to spend less time in the office and more time with your kids.
What I do know is that it is fully possible, but it’s hard work. It’s hard to motivate yourself when you’ve been working all day and you need to work on your own business at night. It’s hard to see how slowly it grows at first. It’s hard to figure out whether or not you’re doing it right. It’s hard to stay in love with your idea every single day and stand behind every single thing you create.
Working Online isn’t for Everyone
If you hate sitting in front of a computer for hours on end or if the idea of reading and learning and failing on a near daily basis, starting an online business probably isn’t for you. There is no get-rich-quick scheme that is going to turn you into an online business mogul overnight. If there is, well, good luck.
I found it really difficult at first to motivate myself. When I started freelance writing, I hated the rejection of searching for new clients and either hearing crickets or getting negative emails back. I had to figure out the best way to pitch my business that both worked for me and worked to hook new customers. I had to get better at writing and find my voice, but I wanted it to happen so fast.
When I began building my blog, I had to spend days writing for absolutely no one. I still remember the day when over 100 people came to my blog. It was like I was finally doing something right. The next day less than 50 people visited, but it was just the boost I needed to know that I could do this.
Now over 1,000 people visit my blog every day, which still isn’t a huge number, but it’s a number big enough to allow me to stop almost all of my other side hustle jobs. I’m certainly nowhere near I’d like to be in the long-term when it comes to my income, but I can see it in front of me. I can see the other side of the tunnel and after two years of trying to figure out what I want my business to look like, I finally feel like I’m going in the right direction.
Working to Travel: The Best Online Jobs for Travelers
While teaching English abroad is a great way to live in another country and save a bit of money, I’m not talking about this type of English teaching. There is another way to teach Englis that gives you a lot more freedom – teaching English online. There are several different companies and if you do a Google search you’ll be able to see them all.
I recommend VIPKid because tons of people I’ve met along my travels use this company and they seem to get the most work. The company connects you with kids and adults who are trying to learn English or want to practice conversation in English. Most of the students are from China, so you’ll need to work on their time zone, but you have a bit of freedom with what hours you choose.
If you enjoy teaching, you have a good knowledge of the English language (I believe with VIPKid you have to be a native speaker) and you want to get some more experience before you opt for an in-classroom job teaching ESL, then this is a great option.
It’s also something you can get started with right now. If you’re looking for a way to earn some extra money the side of your normal 9-5, then this is a great way to pad out your travel fund. I would definitely have done this a few years ago if I had known about it. You can get up early before work and teach a lesson or two and earn a few hundred dollars a week.
Of course, I couldn’t leave out blogging as a viable option. This, of course, takes a while to build up. If this is something you’re considering for your future, get started ASAP. Don’t wait, because it will take time to build up your following, to learn about SEO and Pinterest and to create a community.
Blogging an Vlogging have truly come into their own as an industry. I highly recommend getting to know the other blogs in your niche, whether that be travel, fashion, food, or something totally different. It’s important to understand exactly how you’re going to monetize your blog from the very beginning and seeing how other bloggers in your niche are doing it is a good place to start.
There are so many ways to make money as a blogger your Youtuber. The majority of my income comes from advertising that I have on the site. I also make a steady amount of money from my eBook, from affiliate marketing, and the occasional sponsored post.
Lots of bloggers make money by working with companies to promote them and their products. Other people sell courses or other types of products. The possibilities are truly endless, which is why I find it such an exciting industry to be in right now.
I’ve written extensively about how I make money as a blogger as well as how to start a successful blog. However, if you do have other questions about starting a travel blog, feel free to get in touch.
Social Media Manager
This is another side hustle I had when I first started out on this digital nomad journey. You can sign up with companies like Upwork or you can cold pitch clients. I reached out to bloggers via email or Twitter and built up a relationship with them before I offered my services.
I mostly worked on building up the social media accounts of small businesses and bloggers. I’ve been blogging on and off for almost 10 years now, so I’ve learned a fair bit about social media over that time. I enjoy reading up on the latest algorithm information, and I love connecting with people, so it was a good fit at first.
It was also a great way to make extra money while I worked on my blog. Be sure to check out what other people with your skill level and experience are charging before you set your rates. You don’t want to overcharge, but you definitely don’t want to undercharge. Speaking from experience, it can be very hard to raise your rates with current customers, even after a year or more, once you’ve set them.
Many bloggers, myself included, use freelance writing as a way to supplement their income. One thing that I highly recommend if you are doing this, is to work on writing content for websites that are in a similar niche to you. Your blog is your resume, it’s your sample, it’s what people will read to see what your writing is like. If you want to write for a food magazine, but you write a fashion blog, you may struggle to get some work at first.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t branch out. I’ve written articles about fitness, about fashion, about beauty products, and reviews for hotels and restaurants. My heart lies in travel writing and I know that the work on do on those topics is better.
My biggest piece of advice if you’re looking to make it as a freelance writer is just to start pitching. Put together your ideas, get in touch with editors, build relationships on Twitter, get yourself out there. It’s SO hard at first to take the rejection or the silence, but it’s so much better than doing copywriting on upwork for a penny a word.
Once you get that first piece published on the interwebs, the rest will follow.
Know how to code? Can you create apps or websites or other things that I don’t even understand about building behind the scenes technical stuff? You can definitely do this remotely. I have plenty of friends who blog for fun and code for money.
There are two options for a lot of jobs like this – you can work for a company in your home country and request to work remotely (at least for a few days a week to start so that they can see your commitment and work ethic) or you can go freelance. While the first is probably the easier option to start with, the second means you can take jobs that excite you, you can choose your hours, and there’s no cap on how much you can earn.
Sometimes I wish I’d done a degree in graphic design (I did a degree in international management). I admire people who can work their way around the entire Adobe suite of programs, that can turn a photo into something so much better or who can make cool maps and graphics. There is such a huge demand for this in my experience. I’ve hired several freelance graphic designers since starting my blog and they are always crazy busy with clients.
If you do a good job for someone, especially someone with a little bit of influence on line, your business can blow up in a matter of months. If you’re a graphic designer you no doubt already have a website which displays your best work, but why not reach out to people and get them to spread the word for you?
This is another popular job among bloggers. Being a virtual assistant is similar to social media management, except that you do a lot more. This could be anything from editing photos to creating Pinterest images. I know people who hire virtual assistants to manage their Instagram as well as to edit their blog posts. Other people have someone who manages this Pinterest account and replies to comments on their blog.
The job description depends largely on your skill set and on what the person who hires you is looking for. Starting on Upwork is a good place. You want to make sure that you create a bit of a reputation for yourself with your customers so that they feel confident in recommending you to others in their industry.
In addition to posting your resume on Upwork, I also recommend reaching out to mid-level bloggers to let them know what services you offer. Emails that always catch my eye are ones where someone has spent some time going through my website or my social media accounts and have some constructive criticisms to offer. I almost always reply to these with questions and ask for advice or at least to thank them for pointing out what I might be missing.
Speak two or more languages? This may be a great way to utilize your skills. I’ve always been told that translators should stick to only translating from their second language into their mother tongue rather than the other way around, but if you are truly fluent in several languages, you may feel comfortable translating both ways.
Translator Cafe is a website that pops up a lot. They post jobs on their website. Some people are just looking for someone to proofread their translation while others want a full translation. You then bid for the job and if accepted, will receive the amount that you bid for.
Proz.com is another website worth signing up for if you are a linguist. It’s similar to Upwork in that you set up a profile and post previous jobs so that employers can find you. You can also apply for jobs that are listed on the website. This seems to be slightly more organized than Translator Cafe.
I attempted to do a little bit of transcribing over the years. The basics are that you are sent an audio file and you need to type it up. It could be an interview, it could be a speech, it could be a lecture, the jobs vary. You are usually paid based on the length of the audio file, not on how many words it is or how long it takes you, so this is best for speedy typers.
Rev is one of the most popular transcription websites for freelancers who want to work from anywhere. This is the website I used. You have to take a grammar test first. If you pass the grammar test, you then have to listen to an audio file and transcribe it the way that they have asked you to. Be sure to read the instructions VERY carefully.
This is just about the vaguest thing on the internet. But you can truly consult or coach people on anything. I put these two together because I think in a lot of instances they can be interchangeable. I have seen freelance business consultants (ie online business coaches), life coaches, blogging consultants (helping other people build their blogs), fitness and health experts all selling their skills over the internet.
If you are skilled in a specific field, you can probably teach it to people over the internet, but you have to get creative. Think about how people take in this information. Are they looking for it on Youtube? Then that’s where you should be. Are they Googling it? Then you need a website with targeted keywords. Are they asking their friends? Then you need to work massively on your reputation and word of mouth (then have somewhere that people can find you, like a website or social media page).
I have hired video editors in the past because, um, well just look at my early Youtube videos. If you have a special talent or passion that you can nurture, you can charge people to make great videos. You can make videos not just for bad Youtubers like myself, but for big companies.
Videos are everything right now – whether it’s on Youtube, Facebook, Vimeo, or for promotional footage across several mediums, every company that has an online presence is trying to figure out how to utilize video. You can show them exactly how and you can charge a pretty penny for it.
Similar to freelance writing, I think the best way to get into this business is to create a portfolio of your work in a public space like a website or on Youtube and then begin pitching to companies that you want to work with most. Explain how you have a solution to their video problems and show them your work.
Selling a Product (or lots of products)
I know I mentioned above that you can sell products or courses as a blogger, but what if words aren’t really your thing? Are you good at making beautiful paintings or cool prints? Maybe you can make unique jewelry. You may want to consider opening an Etsy shop or selling something on Amazon.
It’s also worth mentioning a lot of people make money from dropshipping. This is basically where you create a website to sell a niche product or several products within a niche. You then build a relationship directly with the supplier and sell it no your website for a profit. You never handle the product itself, the supplier ships it directly to your customers.
You can learn more about drop shipping from perhaps one of the most successful guys out there, Anton Kraly.
I’d love to Help
I am genuinely passionate about helping people create their dream life. I’m not selling you anything (haha although based on this article, maybe I should be!). I don’t have all of the answers, but I have read a lot of blogs, books, and articles about how to create a successful online business. If you are just starting out and you are lost or confused about where to look, I’d be happy to help answer some of your questions. Feel free to get in touch via Instagram or email with your questions.