The digital nomad lifestyle is a dream for many. After all, who wouldn’t want to travel to off-beat destinations while still earning a living?
No matter how happy you may be in your current job, the idea of being location-independent has probably crossed your mind at least once. Plus, in the light of recent events, becoming a digital nomad seems to be much less of a whim. Rather, it is an informed and intelligent decision. In fact, according to the State of Independence Research Brief, over 17 million people aspire to one day become nomadic.
Naturally, joining the community of working nomads is not all piña coladas on the beach. In order to maintain financial stability, you will need to ensure you have consistent and reliable income sources. So, how do you find them? Below, we will look into some of the most popular digital nomad occupations in 2021.
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When we think of “internet nomads,” a lot of us will instinctively picture programmers writing code under the cool shade of a palm tree. While this may be an exaggeration, programmers actually make up a sizable portion of the digital nomad community.
So, what does a programmer do?
Programmers write code for a variety of projects: from software and websites to apps. In order to be a programmer, you need to “speak” one or several of the many computing languages, including Python, Java, and SQL. As mastering any of these languages takes quite a bit of time and effort, the job of a programmer is generally associated with a rather steep learning curve.
However, as the digital world keeps expanding, the need for professionals in this field is sure to keep growing. This means that there is definitely still time to invest your resources into learning what it takes to be a programmer. A great thing about it is that there is a wide range of online courses available where you can learn different programming languages.
What makes programming a great option for digital nomads is that it doesn’t require a constant internet connection. Programmers can do a lot of their work offline with regular check-ins. This is a huge perk for those who love traveling to or living in remote areas with a poor internet connection.
If you are not at a point in your life when you can invest in a long-term training course, consider the position of a virtual assistant.
To be a good assistant you need to be organized, comfortable with administrative tasks, and ready to be online 24/7.
What will you do as a virtual assistant? The thing about this job is that there is no defined list of responsibilities. A lot of your tasks will depend on who you work for and what your client needs. You may be required to work with documents, respond to emails, answer phone calls, update social media, write content, book tickets, or organize events.
Salaries in this field vary and mostly depend on your experience and references.
Ecommerce and Digital Products
When people started isolating themselves at their homes, online sales grew exponentially. While the market may have become quite saturated in recent years, there is and always will be space for good products and talented sellers. What’s more, there is no income limit in this job and. If things go well, you could be making quite a lot.
There are several popular scenarios in organizing your e-commerce business. One of them is dropshipping – a form of online sales where you don’t keep any goods in stock. Instead, you find a manufacturer or middleman who sells products at a lower price. You then promote these products on your chosen market and when an order is made, ship them to your customers directly from the manufacturer. The obvious benefit of this business model is that you need a small starter capital since you don’t need to keep any inventory.
Another model to consider is Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon). Here’s how it works: you purchase items in bulk and then sell them on Amazon with a markup. Naturally, this scenario involves more risk. After all, you do end up purchasing a stock of products that you might not be able to sell at a profit. However, you also get to avoid a lot of issues that you might face when dropshipping like delayed delivery.
Finally, you don’t have to limit yourself to only selling physical products. If you have a skill that allows you to create a course, write a book or produce some other digital product, this can be your way into the e-commerce niche.
YouTube may be already full of aspiring digital nomads looking to make a name for themselves. However, the need for quality content is constantly growing. Plus, the range of what you can talk about on the platform has also expanded significantly.
If YouTubing is not for you, you can create videos for others. Lots of vloggers don’t want to bother with editing and this is where you can come in.
Of course, video creation and editing are not limited to YouTube. Eventually, you could work with brands, small businesses, media agencies, and more. Finding a niche can be quite helpful: you could specialize in making product videos, ads, promotions for the hospitality sector, and so on.
If you decide to work with videos, you will need to make sure that you always have a very good Internet connection. A big part of the job is uploading massive files online.
There is more in the world of social media than just YouTube. From Instagram and TikTok to good-old blogging, there are lots of platforms where you can monetize content.
Naturally, you won’t become an influencer booking lucrative media campaigns right away. Making it in the social media world takes time, commitment, hard work, and a good portion of charisma. With that, if you are able to consistently create high-quality content, you will be able to gain loyal following over time and monetize your work. What’s more, these days, advertisers are starting to work more and more with micro-influencers (accounts with 1,000 to 100,000 followers). This means that you don’t have to be a household name to start making money from your social media account.
If being in the spotlight is not really your thing but you can still see yourself working with social media, you may want to consider a career in social media marketing. Almost all companies these days have a social media presence. This means that they need someone who will be in charge of building, analyzing, and refining this presence. This is the job of a social media marketer. A social media marketer is responsible for creating and maintaining a brand’s public face.
Your job description will include creating and scheduling social media posts, running social media events, responding to comments, analyzing account performance, and more. In many ways, you will be responsible for building a community for the brand you are working for. The goal here is to keep this community happy and growing.
You don’t have to be a published author to make money from your writing. Content is king and there are lots of companies that need it on a regular basis. Modern writers come in many forms. You could be a copywriter focusing on powerful and attractive descriptions that will sell products. You could be a technical writer breaking down complex topics into easy-to-understand pieces. You could work in a narrow niche like medical writing or you could be a travel writer who shares your experiences from different places. There are also online magazines, media agencies, and even bloggers that often outsource content on a freelance basis.
A great thing about writing is that you can do it from anywhere and you don’t need to be online all the time. You can do your writing offline and simply email your assignments when needed.
Like with most remote jobs, experience is a definite plus when getting started in writing. Thus, it’s a good idea to work on creating a portfolio that can illustrate your writing skills before applying for jobs.
If what you love about business is promotion, then you might enjoy a career in affiliate marketing. Working as an affiliate marketing takes out a lot of the risky elements of running a business: like designing and manufacturing a product. Instead, what you will be doing is marketing other people’s products. For every product that is sold with your help, you will be getting a commission. This doesn’t mean that you will need to sell products door to door.
Affiliate marketing generally involves writing blog posts, creating landing pages, promoting products and services on social media and so on. If you manage to build an active audience who trust your judgment or like your presentation, you could be making a very decent living. All it takes is for your follower or reader to click the link you’ve shared and make a purchase.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is one of the most in-demand services of today. An SEO specialist helps a website rank high in a search engine — like Google. If a website is not optimized for search, it would be very difficult to find online. As a result, a company the website belongs to won’t get customers or a blog won’t get readers. So, how can an SEO specialist change that? There are several important aspects to this job. You will need to work with code, adjust a website’s architecture, make sure the text on the page contains the right number of keywords, and more.
While it may be relatively easy to learn the basics of SEO, mastering search engine optimization is a long-term process. It’s complicated by the fact that the competition to rank highly in a search is getting tougher and tougher. A good SEO professional needs to know all the tricks of the trade to help a website stay afloat. With that, skilled SEO professionals are always in high demand. Thus, investing in educating yourself in this area is definitely worth it. What’s more, knowledge of SEO principles is a good addition to lots of other remote professions: writer, affiliate marketer, and more.
Thanks to the digital tools we have today, teaching no longer requires a physical classroom. Language teachers in particular have taken advantage of this. Now, you can learn almost any language online via an app, online course, or live chats with a teacher. English is by far the most in-demand language among students. With that, there are also a lot of English teachers looking for job opportunities online.
In order to stand out from the competition and apply for more high-end positions, you will need a teaching certificate or a diploma in languages, education, psychology, etc. When it comes to teaching certificates, you can start with a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). A TEFL certificate will allow you to not only teach English online but also apply for on-site teaching positions abroad. Eventually, you could make your way to a DELTA (Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults), which will allow you to apply for management positions in schools across the world.
How to Find Work as a Digital Nomad?
There are several routes you can take when job hunting as a digital nomad. If you are not looking for a big transition, you could ask your current employer about the possibility of working from home. Whether this is an option or not will depend on the specifics of your job and your company’s policies.
You could also look for companies with remote job opportunities and send out your resume and cover letter inquiring about potential openings.
There are also freelance options. If you don’t mind working on several projects at the same time and are comfortable with working with different people, freelancing may be the perfect option. There are lots of online platforms that bring freelancers together and those who need their services. Some of the most popular of them are Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, We Work Remotely, and others.
You will need some experience. You will need a laptop and a sense of adventure. You will likely have to take care of your own benefits if you find work as a freelancer but there expatriate health insurance policies you can get that will be handy on the road.
Finally, the digital job market is always expanding. The list of professions that can be moved online is in no way limited to the list of occupations we’ve mentioned today. All you need to do is define what value you can bring to an employer remotely and then work on gaining expertise in this field.