For many of us, ditching our 9-5 and traveling the world is the ultimate dream. But is it a realistic one?
There are all kinds of location independent jobs out there, to be sure, but a big concern for many is whether or not they actually pay.
No matter how badly you want to make a lifestyle change, it’s tough to go through with it when you’re accustomed to a stable, comfortable salary. At the end of the day, stability is pretty seductive… at least for some of us!
When I started my investigations into becoming a digital nomad, I was looking for validation that I would be able to (at minimum) replace my salary.
While blogging for a living and globetrotting was my ultimate dream, I had no interest in scraping by doing work exchanges or volunteering in hostels.
That’s a great way to facilitate travel for some, but I really wanted to build a career online. Ideally one that would enable me to transition back into a traditional job role if I ever needed to (it’s always good to have a backup plan, after all).
I’d worked hard to reach a standard of living that was comfortable for me, and I didn’t want to give it up just to get out of the office (most days).
Desperately looking to validate to my dream lifestyle, I turned to Google.
I soon learned that there are aaaaall kinds of different location independent jobs that allow you to work online, from anywhere in the world. It turns out that in this digital day and age, you can do just about anything online!
Not only did it become apparent to me that there were plenty of work opportunities in the digital space, I also realized that it wasn’t at all unrealistic to develop a career 100% remotely.
I was officially sold. I learned how to leverage my writing and social media skills to land freelancing gigs, and quit my job 6 weeks later.
Note: I had not yet replaced my income by then, but I knew the luxury of free time would enable me to grow my online business quicker than staying in my job.
If you’re looking for a way to work online and travel, or stay home with your kids, or you just want to find a way to avoid human interaction in general, following are a selection of different jobs that will allow you to do so.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are some of the more popular jobs that will allow you to be location independent. I’ve also included some resources about how to get started, or where to learn more about each of these options!
- VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
- FREELANCE WRITER
- SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
- BRANDING & WEB DESIGN
- GRAPHIC DESIGNER
- ENGLISH TEACHER
Becoming a virtual assistant is a great way to transition into online work. Business owners hire virtual assistants (or, VAs) to help with all kinds of tasks, ranging from email management and graphic design all the way to blog management and content creation. If you have limited work experience, or you’re not quite sure where to begin working online, this is likely a good place to start.
Many people seem to begin working online as a virtual assistant, offering a wide range of different services and then later transition into more specialized lines of work. This is a great way to explore your interests, particularly if they are varied. Some individuals go from VA to Online Business Managers, agency owners, or bloggers. Abbey Ashley went from VA to online course creator, and now she’s trained thousands of others on how to launch their very own Virtual assistant business. Her Facebook group, Virtual Assistant Savvies, is an amazing place to go for support with your online business, whether or not you’ve already started it!
There is no formal experience necessary to begin selling services as a VA. Of course, you should have knowledge and capability in the services that you intend to offer, it just doesn’t need to be “work” experience. If you put in the time to learn desirable online skills, such as social media management, graphic design, blog management, and more, you can begin offering these services right away.
And, as you gain more experience you can increase your rates!
Salaries in the online market can vary greatly, and the amount you’ll charge your clients will be dependent on your experience, skillset and the types of services you provide. Some VAs charge hourly while others sell fixed-rate service packages. With that said, average hourly rates seem to run anywhere from $15 – $60 per hour.
How To Get Started
No formal training is required, but investing in courses CAN speed up the process.
If you’re interested in courses, check out:
For free resources, visit:
Further Reading: Check out my detailed review of the Bucketlist Bombshells courses
If you love writing, freelance writing is an obvious choice for starting your career online. More and more companies are increasing their online marketing budgets and they need talented individuals to create compelling content that will further their business. Whatever your field of expertise or interest, there’s bound to be freelance writing work available. In fact, you might even be surprised about some of the obscure fields you can find work in!
Contrary to what you may have heard, writers actually CAN earn money. And lots of it. Many freelance writers earn 6 figures. Of course, you can’t expect to earn that much right away, unless you have tons of experience. If you’re starting as a complete newbie, it would be reasonable to earn anywhere from $20k to $60k in your first year, though, it’s entirely possible that you will earn more!
The most important skills to be a successful freelance writer are good spelling and grammar (or good editing skills), and a love for writing. If you love writing but don’t feel like you’re particularly good at it, don’t worry, you can always improve your skills! Just get started and work on getting better along the way.
How to Get Started
Holly Johnson’s course, Earn More Writing, has been the best investment I’ve made in my writing career. She explains exactly what you need to do to launch or improve your writing career. If you’re looking for a course, this is the one you should take. It also gives you access to a fantastic Facebook group full of other freelance writers of varying experience levels, AND Holly herself.
Not ready to invest? These Facebook groups are full of valuable tips and resources for aspiring freelance writers.
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
Social media management is one of the most popular location independent jobs, by far. If you’re fond of social media and enjoy creating content, perhaps working in social media management is appealing to you! You can specialize in one platform, or offer service packages that cover multiple platforms.
It’s up to you to design service packages that appeal to your skill sets and the needs of your prospective clients. These days, businesses in nearly every industry are looking to create a social media presence to attract and engage with their customers.
Another great thing about freelance social media work is that there plenty of room for business growth. You can start out managing a couple of platforms and eventually build your business into an agency with dozens of clients and employees of your own!
The average salary for social media managers really varies depending on their experience levels and the types of packages offered. Salaries range from $30,000 for entry level SMMs to well over 6 figures for experienced (and specialized) social media managers.
Pro tip: You can boost your income significantly by becoming a Facebook ads specialist.
All you need to get started as a social media manager is a basic knowledge of at least ONE social media platform. You can easily build your skills from there.
How to Get Started
Getting started with freelance social media work is pretty straightforward. If you have a solid understanding of one or two platforms all you need to do is create a couple of packages and start marketing your services. If you feel like you need a little extra guidance, check out Rachel Pedersen’s Facebook group, Become A Social Media Manager, or one of the following courses.
- Rachel Pedersen’s Social Media University is a monthly subscription plan that will teach you everything you need to know about social media management. She built a 6 Figure business in record time and she’s teaching others how to do the same in her program.
- Hootsuite offers a free online course all about how to manage social media accounts. You can pay to take the certification exam after working through the material, or you can just get started with your newfound knowledge!
BRANDING & WEB DESIGN
I’m sure you already know that it’s possible to be a web designer from anywhere with a WiFi connection. But, did you know that you can become a web designer without learning code?
It was news to me too.
There are many small business owners and bloggers who want professional-looking sites that they will be able to manage on their own with minimal tech skills. This is where designing sites with the help of a theme can be a real asset — they’re much more user-friendly for your clients.
The average salary really varies depending on skills and experience, but I’ve seen website and branding packages priced anywhere from $500 – $5000 USD. I’d say you could expect to earn anywhere from $20k – $50k in your first year if you start with minimal experience.
You will need to first master using a website theme — the Divi Theme is a popular option, but many designers also build sites using the SquareSpace platform. Having some creativity when it comes to visuals and design is ideal as well, but this can be developed along the way. A great way to start building your skills is by designing your own site (say, to market your services). As long as you commit to continuing to improve your knowledge, you’ll do well!
How to Get Started
There are tons of free resources out there that will help you develop branding and web design skills. YouTube is a great place to start; look for videos about how to create a brand design, or a logo. Also, pick a web theme you’re interested in working with. There are endless SquareSpace and Divi Theme design tutorials to be found.
The Bucketlist Bombshells offer a Tech Skills and a Design Skills course. When you combine the two you’ll have all the foundational knowledge you need to start offering branding and web design services to clients. It might sound hard to believe, but it’s true. Learn more here.
Offering graphic design services is a wonderful way to work while you travel. You can work on projects ranging from branding packages, logos, social media graphics, and more. You can even sell digital products, like fonts or logos, in an Etsy or Creative Market shop!
Clearly, a career in graphic design requires some design skills, but these can be learned over time. If you’re someone who is drawn to visual work or design already, this might be the perfect online job for you!
The average salary for graphic designers within the US is about $45k per year. For freelancers there are tons of factors, including the breadth of different projects you take on, as well as your skills and experience that will contribute to the amount you can expect to earn, but one of the best things about this profession is that there is tons of room for growth!
To be a graphic designer you obviously need design skills, but they don’t need to come from formal training. If you’re new to graphic design will need to take the time to learn programs like PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign, among others.
How to Get Started
Once again, YouTube is a great place to start, but if you want to learn quickly, consider investing in a course.
- Bucketlist Bombshells Design Skills Course
- Search for courses on sites like Udemy, Skillshare, or Lynda
There are tons of different ways you can teach English while traveling the world. You can get a job at a language school and teach English on the ground in a foreign country of your choice, or, you can work for an online language school and teach from the comfort of your home or AirBnB. If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you can even offer language classes of your own, privately!
There are certain perks to each of these options and you’ll have to decide which works best for your lifestyle. Many of the foreign language schools will offer you a housing and meal stipend while you work for them, which can make up for the fact that they don’t necessarily pay a fortune.
Alternatively, online language schools often offer bonuses if you refer other English teachers to start working for them. This can be a great way to pad your income. And of course, if you offer your own independent classes you get to call all the shots, which is an obvious perk.
The salary for English teachers in foreign countries varies from location to location. Sometimes it’s as little as $1000 USD per month, but sometimes much more. There are usually extra perks, like having living expenses or flights covered. Plus, the salary is generally enough to live comfortably in whichever country you are based.
When teaching online, the salary usually starts around $18-$20 USD per hour, and performance and referral bonuses are often available.
The requirements for teaching English vary depending on the school or company you work for. Many companies require you to have a Bachelor’s degree to be eligible for employment. Usually they prefer to hire native English speakers, and will sometimes specify that they require a Canadian/American accent, but it really depends on the school. Usually no formal teaching experience is required, though, some schools may offer higher salaries or preference to individuals with teaching degrees or certificates for teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL).
How to Get Started
- Check out the TEFL website for job opportunities and certifications
- Oxford Seminars offers a TEFL certificate that is well respected
- VIP Kid is one of many companies that hires online English teachers.
Ah, blogging. For many of us this is the ultimate dream job. After all, getting paid to write exactly what you want for your OWN site and earning a living at the same time is pretty much the ultimate creative dream. But is it realistic?
I can’t tell you from personal experience, as I haven’t achieved it (yet), but I’ve read enough income reports to convince me that blogging is an attainable goal. It just doesn’t amount to a livable income as quickly as selling services does.
Blogging is a long game. It requires a lot of work upfront, long before you ever earn any money, which is why it’s best pursued by those who are passionate about the process rather than just the end goal.
The beauty of blogging is that your earning potential is basically uncapped. You can earn anywhere from a few hundred dollars per month to hundreds of thousand dollars per month, it just depends on your monetization strategy.
There are no skills required to get started with blogging, however, it helps if you have writing skills, and a mind for content marketing. However, there are plenty of resources, free and paid, that will help you get where you need to go. Throughout the process of growing your blog you’ll be learning all kinds of new skills, including, but not limited to, photography, SEO, email marketing, web design, social media management, copywriting, content marketing, and more.
How To Get Started
You can learn to build a profitable blog on your own, but you’ll likely accelerate the process by investing in courses. If you’re a fan of bootstrapping it, check out the ProBlogger site, Smart Passive Income, the Female Travel Bloggers Facebook group, and the Profitable Travel Blogger Podcast.
If you want to build a profitable blog as fast as possible, courses are a great way to make sure you’re focusing your efforts in the right areas. There are endless blogging courses out there on everything from starting a blog, to affiliate marketing, to driving traffic to your blog from various sources. While general courses can be helpful in the beginning, as your blog grows you’ll likely do best by investing in targeted courses that focus on the areas you most need to improve.
Travel Blog Prosperity is a blogging membership program that I participate in and it’s been incredibly valuable as I continue to build my blog. There are new course collections released every week, and a close-knit community of fellow bloggers to bounce ideas off of. The program also includes bi-monthly Zoom calls where you can ask questions, share wins, and learn new business strategies from fellow bloggers. Investing in this program has been the best thing I’ve done for my blog, so if you’re serious about building a blog business, definitely check out Travel Blog Prosperity.
There are tons of other jobs out there that will enable you to work remotely, but these are some of the most popular options, and some of the easiest to get started with, even if you have limited experience.
Are you considering working online? If you have any questions about it I’m happy to help as best I can!