How To Make Money As A Digital Nomad

You want to travel the world, work from anywhere, and make money as a digital nomad. The only problem is you don’t know what “job” you can do to make it happen. There are a ton of different “jobs” that digital nomads have. The truth is, however, most don’t consider them “jobs”. They usually consider it their business. What’s the difference? A job is where someone else gives you money. Your business is where you create money for yourself by offering a service or product. I’m going to be focusing on the second one considering this entire blog is targeted at entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs not people who are looking for a job.

Before we get started though, what is a digital nomad? Well, Wikipedia says, “Digital nomads are people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. Such workers typically work remotely — generally from foreign countries, coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces and even recreational vehicles — to accomplish tasks and goals that traditionally took place in a single, stationary workplace.”

By this definition, the only thing you need to make money as a digital nomad is a business that can be done from anywhere in the world. These businesses are broken down into two types: Service/Skill Based Businesses and Product Based Businesses. Both are equally viable and doable as a digital nomad, so we will discuss both.

How To Make Money As A Digital Nomad

Service/Skill Based Businesses

There are TONS of skills that you can sell. Below is a list of some. It is by no means all of the services you can sell as a digital nomad — there are literally thousands, but it will give you an idea as to all of the different options you have to make money as a digital nomad. I do want to mention that I’m surprised everyday at what people will pay for, so don’t underestimate the skills you have. Even if you think no one would ever pay you for the skill that you’re good at, you’re probably wrong. Someone is willing to fork up the money.

1. Freelancing Writing

I’ve met so many digital nomads that are freelance writers. It’s one of the easier gigs to get into by posting yourself on places like Fiverr or Upwork, and building a client base in that manor. Another perk is that it doesn’t require any sort of a team to run the business. It can just be you and only you allowing you to focus on making money as a digital nomad, and enjoying your travels instead of managing a team. It is possible to fall into a trap of working too much while traveling, but this is true for any digital nomad enabled business.

2. Blogging

This is a longer game strategy, and can be paired with another service or product based digital nomad capable business. Blogging is a great way to generate passive income, and can be very flexible as far as work hours go. It’s not uncommon for popular bloggers to post 1 article/week which takes about 12 hours to write. This means in two days of work, you can finish everything you need to do for the week. Blogging is one of the more passive skill based business that will allow you to make money as a digital nomad.

3. Web & App Development/Design

The amount of web and app designers/developers who have adopted a digital nomad lifestyle is increasing every single day, and the reason for this is because gone are the days of needing to work in an office to build awesome products. Now, you can build apps and websites from anywhere in the world and publish them yourself.

4. Graphic Design

Aside from freelance writing, graphic design is probably the most popular business we see people do to make money as a digital nomad. Many of the graphic nomads have established clients that keep them on retainer in order to create stable income. They then, keep creative and working by doing random freelance work on Upwork, Fiverr, or 99 Designs. If you have any graphic skills, start monetizing them. It’s a great way to start traveling the world, and getting paid as you do it.

5. Video Editing

Video editing much like graphic design allows you to have clients on retainer who pay you a set amount each month, and you can do random gigs to get some extra cash if needed. The one problem that video editing can spawn for a someone living as a digital nomad is the different speeds of internet that you encounter. Usually, videos are bigger files, and they will require faster internet which can be a problem in the middle of Cambodia.

6. Search Engine Optimization

SEO is something that can take a long time learn effectively, but once you’ve got it down it’s a skill people will pay A LOT of money for. This is because SEO, search engine optimization, can generate millions upon millions of dollars for a business. When you can provide a service worth that much, you can charge hundreds/hour for it, and people won’t blink an eye because they know they’ll make that money back and then some. Because of this, making money as a digital nomad is extremely easy for an SEO consultant.

7. Social Media Management

Many of the businesses mentioned here didn’t exist 10 years ago, and social media management is definitely one of them. As a “social media manager”, you will handle social media for a business owner. This could be for anyone from a small business to a well funded, profitable startup to an established multi-millionaire dollar company. Your role would include responding to customers, curating content, and growing the clients social networks.

8. Forex/Stock Trading

While this will take a long time to get started and learn, it can have huge results. Trading stocks, futures, currencies, etc. is a way that many digital nomads now make their living. This is done using online brokerage platforms, and from my experience, most digital nomads who are traders of some kind are more technical. This is because they don’t want to spend all day everyday following financial news. They focus on technical analysis over fundamentals.

Check out our awesome trading journal by clicking here!

9. Bookkeeping/Accountant

While there are some accountants that travel all year around, many just work during the months before taxes are filed. In the US, this is usually January through April. Mine, for example, does just this, and he travels the rest of the year having visited everywhere in the world he has ever wanted to visit. Being an accountant is quickly becoming a lot less boring! xD

10. Ads Manager (PPC, Social Media Ads, etc.)

In the same realm as SEO, an ads manager handles advertising for a business. At one point in time, this meant placing ads in newspapers and billboards, but no one wants that stuff anymore. Now, it’s all online. You’re going to want to know how to run effective ads on social media, Google search, and even individual blogs. The more results you provide, the higher you can charge clients. Just as with SEO, you should pay for yourself many times over with the results you provide.

Product Based Businesses

I know a lot of people who consider running a product based business as an impossible way to make money as a digital nomad. Of course, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Now, I will admit that running a physical product based business as a digital nomad is extremely difficult. You’ve got to have A LOT of trust in those who are working for you, and you have to give them the power to take control when they need to.

For this reason, I recommend not selling a physical product if you want a digital nomad lifestyle. It just doesn’t make any sense, and it will require a lot more of your time at first as after you’ve reached the level that will allow you to become a nomad, you’ll have to then outsource yourself in the business. This is a long and difficult process.

If you don’t sell a physical product, then what can you sell? The obvious answer is a digital one. There are more options for different digital products to sell than there are for services that you can offer as a digital nomad. I’m going to list a few below, but please look outside of them because there are a TON of different options for products to sell and make money as a digital nomad.

1. eBooks

eBooks are becoming more and more popular every single day, and luckily, there are tons of different places to sell them. From Amazon to Gumroad to your own website, there are hundreds of different places to sell eBooks online, and start making money. The key here is to write about something that you are interested in. Otherwise, you’ll get burnt out really quick.

2. Digital Courses/Udemy Courses

Digital courses are a great product to sell online especially if you have something that love teaching and telling to others. A course could be about anything from fixing a car to starting a business to running ads on a website. All that matters is that you know about the topic, and are confident enough to teach it. Luckily, thanks to places like Udemy, marketing and getting students for your courses is easier than ever.

3. Music

Selling music online has became extremely popular specifically if that music has a fair/free use license. What this means that if someone purchases your music, they can reuse it in their own videos, livestreams, webinars, etc. We’ve seen tons of musicians go from weekend musicians that just make music for fun to full-time musicians selling music in this fashion online.

4. Domain Reselling

Domains are one of the hardest products to sell on this list, and truthfully, while I have dabbled in this area, I’ve had no success. Thus, I’m not the best teacher here, so click here to check out an awesome article on GoDaddy from Joe Styler!

5. Stock Content

Stock content is photos, videos, or graphics that you sell online to businesses or people who need to use them in their own works. For example, this blog post has stock images in it. There are tons of different places to sell stock content online, and if done correctly, it can allow you make money as a digital nomad and live the lifestyle you want.

6. Software

This could also be title SaaS or software as a service. What that means is that you create a piece of software that solves a problem for someone. This could be literally anything, but usually, it is for a very specific niche such as personal trainers or eye doctors. With it being so specific, it allows you to perfectly solve their problem and charge $100+/month for your service.

7. Paid Facebook Groups, Slack Groups, etc.

For some of you, you may be asking yourself “do people really pay to join Facebook groups?!?”, and the answer is YES! There are a ton of paid Facebook and Slack groups, and they provide a lot of passive income for their creators. The key to this is creating a community. That is really what you are doing. Many start out as free, but invite only to build their user base. They then go paid once the community is built.

8. Wordpress Plugins & Themes

Now, you will need some development skill to pull this one off, but if you’ve got it, why not make some Wordpress themes and plugins and list them on some of Envato’s marketplace sites. I personally know a few developers who generate 5 figures/month selling Wordpress themes on ThemeForest. This is a great way for a developer to make money as a digital nomad.

9. Apps

Everyone wants to be an app developer. That is what it felt like when people start showing up making six figures/month off their apps. The app fever seems to have died down a little bit, but apps for iPhone and Android can provide very passive income if they catch on and are marketed correctly. Just look for problems you could solve with an app, and then, build the app!

10. Tutorial/Teaching Videos

Lastly on our list, you could make and sell tutorial/teaching videos. These videos can teach a variety of things, and are great because many can be spun into Udemy courses to increase your potential income. If you have something that can be taught in a video format, grab a camera and start teaching! You’ll be surprised as to how far it can go.

And there you have it. 20 different business that you can start to make money as a digital nomad. The digital nomad lifestyle is one of constant adventure and excitement, but learning how to make money as a digital nomad can be extremely difficult. The truth is, however, with the right motivation, intent, and skills, you or anyone can achieve a digital nomad lifestyle. The goal behind this article was to help you find a product or service that peaks your interest that you can offer. Now, it’s time to go out, and learn how to do it and sell it. Get. Started.

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