By now, you have a good idea of what it means to work remotely, how doing so differs from working at home, and why you should be passionate about more than just the freedom to travel from our first installment in HighYa’s series of articles detailing how to work remotely.
Next up? Considering if any of your current skills or interests apply to remote working opportunities.
There are a surprising variety of ways to make money online. However, the more complicated the skill, the easier it will be to earn an income that can support your travels. So, while a highly skilled front-end developer will easily be able to finance his or her travels through South East Asia with only a few hours of work per week, a copywriter will have to work a lot harder. While not exhaustive, here is a list of jobs that allow you to make money from working online.
If you have a way with words that makes writing creative, compelling articles come easily, then copywriting might be for you. All you need is a computer, the internet, and an expert grasp of the English language.
Copywriting isn’t the best-paid job in the world, but beginners can expect to start out averaging about $15 an hour—enough to finance working remotely while living in lower-cost countries.
An additional bonus to writing copy? You’ll have the opportunity to gain lots of experience by writing articles for others (and getting paid to do it!), allowing you valuable insight as to how other entrepreneurs make their money. To learn more about copywriting, check out the wealth of info available at Copyblogger.com.
Virtual Assistants offer services much like a secretary but are located in another part of the world. This industry is growing—and very quickly due to the booming number of entrepreneurs who need an extra helping hand.
The tasks expected of a virtual assistant are pretty broad, and are best likened to being a jack of all trades: e-mail correspondence, answering phone calls, data entry, and updating websites are just a few of the responsibilities.
While working as a virtual assistant might not provide an income that allows for complete location independence, doing so remotely can allow you to move to an area with a lower cost of living, while studying skills that will support your long-term goals.
If you are not only a skilled copywriter but are also the master of two or more languages, translating can be a great source of income to finance your travels.
The good thing about translation jobs is that living abroad can even be an extra advantage. For instance, if you are U.S. citizen and spend your time in Spanish-speaking countries, you are more likely to be offered work than in stateside locations, as your clients will feel more confident in your skill level with both languages.
Social Media Marketing
If you spend a lot of your day on Facebook, why not use it to make money? Constantly coming up with fresh content for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest is actually a pain for most businesses. To relieve the headache, many look to outsource social media updates to freelancers.
Becoming great at social media marketing goes beyond posting quips, however, and aims to increase a brand’s number of followers on each platform. To do so effectively, you’ll need to read up on different strategies, such as how to best connect with audiences or optimal times of day to post updates.
Because timing is an important aspect of social media management, traveling through different time zones can impact your effectiveness. Those who aspire to work in social media marketing should learn to use a scheduling platform, such as Hootsuite, that can keep things running smoothly at all hours.
Learning the basics of web design is easier than you think. If you study hard, you can learn to build a simple website for clients in WordPress within a few months. The good news is that you don’t even need to be a great designer to start since you can simply use templates from sites like Woothemes Themeforest that will look great right out of the box.
But the learning doesn’t stop there! Before you can earn clients, you’ll need to learn about a range of systems, platforms, and plugins, as well as the basics of website design. All that learning pays off, however, and front-end developers can bring in 3-5k per project once they know their stuff.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the art of getting your own or your clients’ websites ranked up top in search results, so that those searching for your product or service on Google will find it first. SEO is a perfect business to run from anywhere as long as you deliver the results.
Both web design and copywriting are very important skills to know in order to learn the basics of SEO, as you’ll have to understand where to embed important key phrases and how to do so in a way that’s still nice for your visitors to read. You’ll also need to be analytical to get the best out of the tools available to you.
For everything else you simply need to gain experience, network with people who do the same and follow some blogs about the topic. Google changes its algorithms all the time but if you are able to keep up with the game and help companies to make money with SEO, you will ultimately do so as well.
Businesses always need graphic designers to help them convey information visually, through logos, advertisements, posters, websites, and the like. While it is possible to be an entirely self-taught graphic designer, most have either a certification or a degree.
Other than the cost of design software, this business has very little overhead and can be done anywhere with a dedicated computer. While rates are at your discretion, the median salary of graphic designers is $45,000 per year.
Are you a math whiz or have hours under your belt helping kids with homework? Working as an online tutor is a great way to earn cash on a flexible schedule. Many online tutors get their start as an independent contractor for an online tutoring company, though each have their own experience requirements from “strong knowledge” up to a Ph.D. All that’s required for sure is a strong internet connection to start earning from $9-30 per hour.
This is a perfect business idea for trained accountants who would like to work from home, although it is not necessary to be a Certified Public Accountant in order to become a freelance bookkeeper—it is necessary, however, to have the background knowledge that bookkeeping courses at any community college can offer.
This kind of freelance work is especially helpful for small businesses that do not need or cannot afford a full-time bookkeeper, making it possible for you to have full time work through several smaller clients. The average salary is $34,000 per year. Check out The Freelance Bookkeeper for additional information.
With just a few thousand dollars, you can get started day trading from home. The pursuit offers unlimited thrills and opportunities. But, it also requires a high tolerance for risk.
Before biting the bullet, consider investing in simulation software that allows you to make pretend trades and learn the ropes. Your overhead projections should also factor in a daily subscription to the Wall Street Journal and the effort to develop a solid business strategy. For those who are successful, day trading can net you several hundred thousand per year. Learn more at Investopedia.
Besides all the jobs mentioned above, many other opportunities exist for making a living online and traveling the world that I would categorize under ‘online entrepreneurship,’ as it would be impossible to summarize them fully in a single post.
However, the basics are the same: What you need is a great idea and the right execution. Building apps, selling digital products, creating passive income websites or a new startup—for many people this is the ultimate dream, but most fail in making it happen.
Remember that becoming profitable will take time and hard work. It can also be extremely helpful first to understand the basics of many other skills, especially SEO, marketing, web design, and copywriting.
How Much Does the Average Remote Worker Make?
Often, information online will state a median income that you may know is way off base for a professional with years of experience, much less for someone entering the field. Those considering taking their skills on the road also have to consider a potential cut in pay, from either a lower hourly rate or finding that they’re not efficiently earning for each of those forty hours a week.
So, what’s an average remote worker make? We searched through this /r/digitalnomad post to find out and realized that there’s no simple answer. While there isn’t a marked path of incremental hikes in what you can earn depending on how long you’ve been working in a field, one thing is consistently advised: continue to raise your rates as your cumulative experience adds value to your work.
Bottom line? As long as you back up your rates with bonafide skills, what you can earn from (almost) any field is uncapped. Just remember that even rates that sound enticingly high still have to cover your own self-employment taxes, health insurance, retirement benefits, and vacation—combined, they really chip down what you take home.
Starting Up Soon vs. Security
Each of the above opportunities have two things in common: They can be performed without ties to a specific physical location and each requires that you have the driving passion for developing the skills that will set you apart.
So, how do they differ? Each opportunity has a varying barrier to entry, i.e. how much you need to learn before you get started, that’s complicated by what skills and experience you already bring to the table. Additionally, each field offers varying degrees of security.
In many traditional fields, the higher the bar or entry, the more security (and income) you enjoy. For example, becoming an attorney requires difficult schooling, tests, and long hours. However, you’ll enjoy a high salary and job security.
Some remote opportunities, such as programming, are similar: you have to invest a lot of time to learn, but you enjoy higher rates and job security as a result.
However, becoming an entrepreneur is an exception. Starting up your own business can be as simple as filling out an Upwork or Elance profile! However, being successful is a different story—not to mention, your work is never done.
Not sure which is right for you? For an in-depth look at the pros and cons of each path, check out “Working from Home Isn’t What You Think: 3 Steps to Finding Success.”
Next up in this series, we’ll share an abundance of free resources for learning almost every skill in the book, as well as where to start looking for work when you feel ready.
Other articles in this series:
- Part 1: An Introduction to Working Remotely
- Part 3: Your A–Z Resource Guide For Learning and Working Remotely
- Part 4: How To Choose a Destination, Estimate Cost of Living, & Find Accommodations When Working Remotely
- Part 5: 13 Steps To Prepare For Working Remotely
- Part 6: How To Stave Off Stress & Enjoy Working Remotely Long-Term