I have been getting a lot of questions about how digital nomads actually make money nowadays. There is a lot of confusion about passive income streams and a digital nomad lifestyle. Yes you can have a digital nomad lifestyle just from passive income streams if they are high enough but this is not the only way to be a digital nomad.
I want to address the most common ways of earning money that will enable you to become a digital nomad.
Being a digital nomad is basically just a fact that you can work remotely and that you take full advantage of this location independent lifestyle. There are a lot of people who are telecommuting but they still work from their house probably just 10 miles away from their main office. It is nothing wrong with this, especially if you have family and your children have to go to school, so there is no way you could go to Bali for 3 months.
The main difference is that you take full advantage of being location independent and you move from city to city with just your minimum possessions, which means you travel lightly and you still generate enough income to sustain this lifestyle.
You are not a digital nomad if you work 6 months and save enough money to travel next 6 months. There is nothing wrong with this type of lifestyle it is just a different way of doing it. Digital nomads actually work where ever they go and earn enough money to do this indefinitely so to say.
So what are the most common ways of earning money for digital nomads?
There are so many ways out there, and I probably don’t even know many of them because they are from a different field where I don’t have much exposure but I will give you a short list from what I see people do.
So this is not a comprehensive list, there are definitely other ways of earning money as a digital nomad, but this are the most common from my personal experience.
I would say that writers were one of the first professions where people could have a digital nomad type of lifestyle even before the word digital existed and that is the reason why I am putting it on the first place. There were many book authors that travelled around and wrote books doing it hundred of years ago. Today this is even easier as you can write on you computer and send your article or book instantly to your client. You could write for a newspaper or a blog. You can write diplomas, books, tutorials, product descriptions you name it. There are so many different fields where you can provide writing services. I see a lot of people writing e-books and have huge success with it.
VA or virtual assistant
Being a virtual assistant means that you do all the errands that can be done without being physically present for someone else. There are no actual rules what VA’s do as this can vary significantly. Some VA’s are doing online research, others online marketing activities some will do some sort of customer support, you name it. The main thing with VA’s is that people usually give them boring repetitive tasks and unless you are specialised or have some special know how VA’s are not payed so good.
A lot of companies are allowing their developers to work remotely. This is actually a really god way of earning money while being able to travel as software developers are one of the highest paying professions today. So you can be making a ton of money and still enjoy the benefits of travelling to different parts of the world.
Everything is online today and every website is running on some sort of server and this servers need to be maintained by someone. System engineers take care that server are running smoothly and make regular security checks and run updates on the maintained systems. This is not an easy to learn profession and you will not master it in one month with an online course, so you should have proper experience if you want to go into this profession.
Now this is a tricky one as doing any kind of design for clients requires you to communicate with you client a lot. It can certainly be done online but it is more difficult than in person. The good thing is that today there are many marketplaces such as Graphicriver, where designers upload their designs and sell it online. This eliminates direct client interaction and of they do a great design they can make even more money per one completed design.
Digital marketing is a broad term. This can mean a lot of different things like Search engine marketing (SEM, PPC), Search engine optimisation (SEO), Content marketing, Influencer marketing and so on. The main thing here is that this is digital marketing, so you do everything on your computer, which means that it doesn’t matter if you are doing it from the office in a crowded city or from a sunny beach in Mexico. Some people can make a lot of money providing digital marketing services, but you have to have proper experience and you need to deliver results. The other thing is that it is not easy to get clients and it is even more difficult to do it if your prospect is on the other side of the world. Some companies also need people who can take manage their marketing automation tools.
Social media manager/consultant
A lot of companies need someone to manage their online presence, and managing social media can be done from anywhere on the planet. There is some know how involved especially if they want you to run active campaigns and grow their social media profiles.
So this are the most common ways of earning money that can be location independent. I din’t go into passive ways of making money intentionally as I have a separate article just about that where I go in depth on what are the most common ways of creating passive income streams.