Many of my readers want to know how I’m able to make money online while traveling. It’s because I run a digital marketing and freelance writing business and work remotely for my clients! Wow, not nearly as mysterious nor glamorous as you imagined, huh? Sorry, folks, I do not “get paid to travel.” :)
Many of you would like to start making money online or freelancing remotely, but are stuck as to what you could offer. Well, here are FIFTY-THREE ideas! I tried to stick with ideas that could potentially earn you full-time income, so you won’t see anything like “take online surveys” because you could spend hours doing that and maybe make 10 bucks…
These ways are specifically
- Entrepreneurial – They focus on ways you can work for yourself, not as a remote employee.
- Profitable – They focus on ways you can make full-time income.
- Location independent friendly – They focus on ways you can make money without ever needing to be some place in person.
First, I’ll start with the things I have actually done!
Ways I Make Money Online (or Have in the Past)
1. Write press releases. My background in journalism helped me to see this from the journalist’s perspective. Many companies need help getting covered in the media and want to send out press releases through a PR service. They need someone with writing skills to help them pull it off.
2. Write product descriptions or website copy. This is one of my favorite things to do, and is also known as copywriting (a lot of people don’t understand what copywriting is and get it mixed up with copyrights–totally different!).
3. Pitch client products to influencers (influencer marketing). For a couple of clients, I emailed online influencers to see if they’d be interested in collaborations. I’ve gotten clients featured on popular YouTube and Instagram accounts, as well as blogs.
4. Write blog posts for company blogs. This is also known as “content marketing,” as the idea is to get in front of their ideal audience with helpful blog posts.
5. Sell voiceovers on Fiverr. The whole premise of Fiverr is that everything on the site is just $5. So how can this actually be profitable for sellers? The trick is in the upsell. So you price TINY services/products at $5 to the point the person needs to add more. For example, designers will often charge $5 for a simple logo, and then tack on extra fees such as $10 if you want the editable file. For my $5 offer, I limited it to a very small word count for the script. Anything higher than that, and they’d need to add on extra charges. I added extras such as script editing service. I only did this for a little while but I was able to get $45 for only 30 minutes of work, so if you can continuously land gigs in that price range, it can be profitable. Again, I only did it for a week or so for side money.
6. Manage social media accounts. I manage or have managed Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook accounts for companies. If you’re going to do this, you’ll need a social media scheduler. I use Buffer for Twitter and Grum for Instagram.
7. Edit photos in Photoshop. If you have Photoshop skills, there are people out there who need your help! This client was referred to me from a colleague who owned a web design firm. He was working on her website, and needed quality photos from her. The problem was she needed to edit the photos, but lacked the Photoshop skills. That’s where I came in.
8. Make product videos. This is a lot of fun! Many companies need tutorial videos for their support center or product videos for their upcoming launch. If you have videography skills, this is for you!
9. Sell on Amazon’s FBA program. If you do want to sell products on Amazon, I highly recommend going through their FBA program. This is because you can ship all your product ahead of time and store it in Amazon warehouses. Amazon then takes over ALL fulfillment! So you can go travel, and when an order comes in, Amazon handles all of it.
10. Start a blog and use affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you promote a service through an affiliate link and earn commissions off every sale made through your link. Michelle of Making Sense of Cents is the queen of affiliate marketing. I actually bought her Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing online course twice–once for my dad and once for me! I really look up to her and trust her expertise. If you want to go this route, PLEASE properly disclose. It’s as simple as putting “This post contains affiliate links” at the top of your blog posts. Not only is this just the right thing to do (your audience deserves to know), but it is also legally required by the FTC. (And just so you know, if I ever use affiliate links, I ALWAYS disclose it at the top of my posts. This post does not have ANY affiliate links.)
11. Sell an eBook on Amazon (or Gumroad, SendOwl, etc.). In 2015, I launched my eBook, An Expat’s Guide to Living in Cusco, and chose to sell it on Amazon. You can also sell it on sites like Gumroad and SendOwl. The advantage is they take smaller fees, but the disadvantage is you’re less likely to get in front of a lot of people like on Amazon. If you already have a large following though, you may not need Amazon to help you sell your book.
12. Record an EP and sell it on Bandcamp. On a whim, I recorded an EP from a beach house in Florida and put it up on Bandcamp. I made it free, but some people chose to “donate” anyway. :)
13. Help others start remote businesses and become digital nomads. I haven’t “officially” announced this, but I started offering digital nomad coaching this year! Since I’ve been running a remote business and traveling since 2014, I help others who want to do the same figure out how to make it work for them! It’s been fulfilling work so far.
Other Ways to Make Money Online
14. Start a blog and sell banner ad space. If you’re on desktop right now, see that sidebar over there? ->
That’s prime real estate for banner ads. Some bloggers choose to reach out to companies and sell space there.
15. Start a blog and sell sponsored posts. Another way some choose to monetize their site is through sponsored posts. A sponsored post is basically a post that a company pays for that promotes their product but is written by the blogger. This limits your “freedom” as a writer because you usually have to run the piece by the company first (they paid for it after all!), and they can add to it and tweak it as they like. As with affiliate marketing, you need to disclose when something is a sponsored post! It’s as simple as saying, “This blog post is sponsored by XYZ.”
16. Sell web development services. Do you know HTML and CSS? You could help build a website for someone!
17. Sell web design. Don’t know HTML and CSS, but love to design layouts and logos in Adobe Illustrator or InDesign? Then consider designing websites for bloggers, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, etc. It would help if you partner up with a web developer whom you could pass your designs onto for them to build.
18. Become a virtual assistant. This is sort of an entry-level position to the online business world. If you’re organized and tech savvy, this could be the job for you! VAs do things like answering emails, entering data into spreadsheets, managing travel bookings, managing social media, and proofreading blog posts. The sky’s the limit here. Any busy blogger or business owner may want to hire a VA to outsource tasks.
19. Sell tech support services. If you’re always the person your friends go to when their computer has a virus, or when they need help troubleshooting an issue with their website, then why not offer your tech support services to bloggers and businesses? I can tell you right now there are lots of bloggers and creative types who are running profitable creative businesses, but need tech help! (Ahem, me.)
20. Graphic design. You can design anything from logos to social media images.
21. Sell online courses (through Teachable or Udemy). The online course industry is hot right now. That’s because it can be very lucrative and it’s a GREAT source of “passive income,” as you can create a course once and just keep selling it over and over without having to do anything (besides the occasional update, of course). Melyssa Griffin made $162,774 in September 2016 JUST from selling e-courses!
22. Life or business coaching. If you have a knack for motivating people and a proven track record for helping people reach their goals, you could be a coach!
23. Bookkeeping/accounting. If you think you need to work with these professionals in person, think again! I’ve worked with a bookkeeper who was in New Zealand, and my accountant lives in a different state! There are all sorts of secure portals for you to upload and share documents. There’s no need for you to be sitting right there with them. You can even e-file your income tax return and pay your quarterly estimated taxes online!
24. Editor. If you have an eye for detail and know what makes a good story, you could offering editing services to bloggers or novelists.
26. Build apps. Apps are great because you can build them once and sell them over and over. If you build a popular app, it can go viral in the App Store or Google Play and you can get tens of thousands of downloads and/or be featured. A common model is a developer puts out a free app, and makes money off of ads in the app and/or upsells to their premium app.
27. Resume and cover letter writing.
28. Career counselor.
29. Podcasting (sell sponsorships). Podcasts are hot right now, and it’s free to start one! The key to making money from them is to have a large and engaged audience. Once you have that, you can approach various companies whose products your audience would love and offer to add a “This episode is sponsored by Company XYZ” in your podcast for a fee.
30. Ad specialist (Facebook, Google, etc.). Many businesses want to increase their sales through paid ads, but don’t know how to set up successful ad campaigns. You could help them by creating ads with low CPC (cost per click) and high CTR (clickthrough rates) in Facebook, Google, or other ad platforms.
31. Proofread court reporter transcripts. Court reporters record what is said at hearings, depositions, etc. They often need a proofreader to ensure their work is accurate. Caitlin Pyle made $43,000 in one year proofreading transcripts from her iPad, and now she teaches others how to break into proofreading.
32. Transcriber. Sometimes businesses need someone to type out what is said in a video or audio recording, a process known as transcription. Anyone with fast typing skills and a command for a language can do this! An example might be an online teacher who would like his video lessons transcribed so students can read the text if they prefer.
33. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. At first I was hesitant to list this here because being a mechanical turk means you complete “hits,” or small jobs for tiny amounts of money, so I didn’t think it would be possible to earn a full-time income doing these small tasks. But I found a guy who claims he made $3,805 in 45 days on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, so I guess it is possible!
34. Sell digital files on Etsy. Etsy is most known for its physical products (and you can definitely sell these too), but if you want a location-independent business, it’s better if you sell digital products. Examples could be logos, graphics, and images. You would just email the files to your customers.
35. Day trading. This is an area I know very little about, but a great example is travel blogger Wandering Trader. He travels the world while day trading in the stock market.
36. Help people develop healthier eating habits. If you have a background in nutrition, you can offer to create customized plans for your clients to eat healthier.
37. Pitch travel stories to magazines and blogs. Believe it or not, some publications will pay you for travel articles! A good place to start that I’ve actually used is MatadorU Marketplace. It has a membership fee, but you get access to PAID travel writing gigs. They also offer a free 30-day trial (with credit card info).
38. Build a popular Instagram account and sell sponsored posts. There is big money in sponsored posts on Instagram, but you’ll need tens of thousands of followers to charge the big fees.
39. Help people book their travel. Also known as a travel agent, but you need not work for a big agency! Some travel bloggers offer trip planning services right through their blog.
40. Help people become financially fit. If you’ve been saving since you were 5 years old and know how to stick to a budget, you can use your financial savvy to help others improve their financial health. Jen Turrell positions herself as a Financial Personal Trainer.
41. Start a dropshipping business. I personally have not done this nor does it really appeal to me (as I’ve stated before, I don’t like dealing with physical products), but many digital nomads love this business model. The reason it works well for the location-independent life is that YOU yourself never handle the physical inventory. Your dropshipper does. The way it works is you partner with a dropshipping supplier who has a product you want to sell. You mark up that product and do the selling on your website. ONLY when you make a sale do you purchase the product and have the supplier send it to the customer.
42. Create graphics, fonts, or WordPress themes and sell them on CreativeMarket or Envato Market. Think that’s not a viable way to make full-time income? Then read about Nicky Laatz, a graphic designer who was the first to reach $1 million in sales on CreativeMarket, selling her hand-drawn fonts! She runs her business from her home in South Africa.
42. Start a paid membership site. Basically you create premium content that is accessible only to paying members, and it’s on a monthly subscription basis. You can throw in things like videos, eBooks, and access to an online community. An example would be Nomad List, which offers free content as well as paid membership. The paid membership includes access to a chat group via Slack with fellow nomads.
44. Sell stock photos. Sites like CreativeMarket let you sell your photos (or graphics, fonts, and web design templates).
45. Start a paid newsletter. If you can get thousands of people on your list and have a high open and click rate, you could sell ad space or sponsorships for your newsletter. You could also start putting affiliate links in it.
46. Translator. Do you know more than one language really well? In this global economy, many businesses need their websites and products translated into other languages.
47. Curate pins and manage Pinterest accounts for businesses. Pinterest is the best social network for driving clicks to your site, as many bloggers have seen (including me!). This is because Pinterest acts like a search engine, and when people search on Pinterest, they’re looking to buy. If you can curate quality pins, create beautiful graphics, and know how to use BoardBooster or Tailwind, you could be a Pinterest consultant for bloggers and/or businesses.
48. Sell T-shirts on Teespring. You can use any site really, but the great thing about Teespring is you simply upload the design and Teespring takes care of the rest (printing and shipping). This guy made $100,000 in PROFIT on Teespring in 5 months.
49. Manage online communities for businesses. Businesses with large online communities often hire community managers to make sure their members are engaged, quickly responded to, and feel cared for. An example of this would be if a business has a Facebook group with 10,000 members. They would need a community manager to monitor the posts, messages, and comments; reply to posts, comments, and messages; approve new member requests; post engaging content; and do any other tasks to engage the community.
50. Professional organizer. Yep, this is a real thing! If you have a knack for keeping things neat and organized and developing systems that help others stay productive, you could be a professional organizer.
51. Online therapist. Did you know if you’re a licensed therapist you can still hold sessions online?? I had no idea. But I saw this counselor does therapy via video chat and is a digital nomad. How rad is that?
52. Sublet your apartment or buy property and rent it out on Airbnb. If you’re going to sublet on Airbnb, PLEASE make sure it is allowed in your lease. Or you can buy property and rent it out on Airbnb or elsewhere.
53. Start a subscription box service. I almost didn’t put this on the list because it involves physical products and fulfillment is a PAIN if you want to be a location-independent entrepreneur. But sites like Cratejoy simplify the process of starting a subscription box business, AND I found third party sites like ShipStation that will handle the fulfillment process for you (just realize outsourcing will eat into your profits). For inspiration, check out this guy who grossed $50,000 in 6 months with his subscription box service, while working about 10 hours a week.
So there you have it! Fifty-three concrete ways you could make money online while traveling. Did you learn anything new? Is there anything you’d add to this list? Comment below! I’ll likely keep growing it, as there are problem a million ways you can make money online–this is just the tip of the iceberg. I wanted to give you inspiration to start your remote businesses!