One of the biggest obstacles to becoming a nomad for most people, particularly families, is how to make enough money to live off of and to travel at the same time. For us, this was a major obstacle. We didn't know how we would fund traveling and working at the same time. It was even harder for us because we want to sail and the internet can be a bit difficult to find when you're offshore.
For the last three years, we were convinced if we wanted to go sailing full time we would need to retire early. It wasn't until I quit my job this year that the idea occurred to us that we could make enough money remotely to fund our lifestyle.
Where you live is a mindset and if you want to live nomadically you have to change your mindset. Many people live where they do because of their job - if living a settled life isn't for you, more than likely, the first change you need to make is your job. Finding work to do remotely and on the move should be a priority.
These are seven ideas we're doing or considering doing when we started our search for a remote income source. Some of these ideas will not cover all your expenses but a lot of them you can do at the same time. No one ever told you (except for maybe your boss) that you had to get your income from one source.
Investing in real estate was probably not what you were expecting when you started reading this post. It's not a job in the traditional sense but it is a way to make money - and a decent amount of it. The great thing about real estate is you can be as involved or uninvolved with it as you want to be and this is a requirement for nomads who value their time.
You're probably thinking to yourself right now, "yeah but you need a lot of money to invest in real estate so this isn't going to work for me." While having a lot of money to invest in real estate will help you start you don't need that much. You can start flipping homes for a small down payment and sometimes you can even find an investor who will cover most of it.
If you're looking for a steady income off rents you can invest in single-family homes or multifamily buildings to generate a passive monthly income. There are several strategies you can use to invest in property rentals and you can start investing in real estate now. You don't have to wait until you start traveling to generate income through real estate - in fact, it is better if you start sooner than later.
In the future, we will write more on how to use real estate to generate income while you travel.
Blogging is a great way to generate income while traveling - it's also a great way to document your travels. You can keep grandma in the loop while making money, sounds like a win-win to me!
Blogging takes a lot of time and effort though, and it can take a long time to see your work pay off. If you're blogging just to document your travels, you're probably not going to make that much money. People are more interested in how to do things than what you did.
Blogging is also a very flooded market, it seems everyone and their mother is blogging these days. If you start blogging you need to find a niche you're passionate about that you won't get tired of writing about. You need to stand out from the crowd and attract readers otherwise there's a good chance you'll just be drowned out by all the other blogs out there.
If you're not a writer there are other growing opportunities out there like vlogging or Instagram. How people consume information online is always changing but the topics generally stay the same. Use that to your advantage.
We'll be writing more on blogging in the future.
We considered being a remote web designer as a way to fund our lifestyle. Small businesses overwhelmingly need and want websites but don't have the budget for them. By contacting businesses that either had no web presence or had websites that needed updating and offering to build simple, but well designed, websites we would be able to generate a decent income.
You don't need to have any coding skills to do this. Webflow is a web design platform with this type of business model in mind and it is a drag and drop web design system. It's easy to learn (they have video tutorials for most things) and once you know how it works you're golden.
You just need to create a few basic template designs and reuse them on different clients by just changing the content for each client. It would be a little bit of work on the front in developing your template designs but once they are made you could turn out a basic website in a day.
If you charged $800 per website and you were able to get two clients a week, you could make $83,200 a year! That's working four days a week (two days to find clients and two days of web designing). Granted, it will take a little bit of work to get to that point, but if you stick to it and create a client base, it could work.
If you don't think you have the skills to be a web designer chances are you have skills you've already perfected that are in demand by someone else. Just because you've only used those skills when you've worked for someone else doesn't mean that's the only place you can use them. If you don't have a skill you think you can use remotely, start brainstorming and find a new skill to develop. Fiverr or Upwork is a good place to start researching skills that are in demand.
See Also: Is Upwork Worth it? [2021 Edition]
Another idea is to become a content creator. Every website online needs content of some sort, often that content is generated by the person behind the website, but often it isn't. Companies are always looking for good content that promotes their brand and expands their business. Leverage that and start creating content remotely for a fee.
Content can be anything that goes on a website or even in print materials. From photos and videos (more on that later) to the text required to go along with that media, there are many ways you can generate an income creating content. Ghostwriting is a thriving market and good ghostwriters are in high demand.
Writers Work is a good starting point if you're looking for ghostwriting opportunities.
With Covid-19, e-commerce is booming. There probably isn't a better time to start an e-commerce business than in 2020. In the second quarter of 2020, more than $1 in every $5 spent in the U.S. was spent online and not just on Amazon.
It's also reasonably affordable to start an e-commerce business. Dropshipping is an easy way to enter the market. The problem is the market is flooded with drop-shippers, much like the blogging market, and you need to be unique to stand out. I am no expert in dropshipping but success stories of people who are doing it abound.
You could also create your own store with your own inventory, but that is more expensive and would take a bit more investment than dropshipping would. However, if you can start small it might work, especially if you could find products and sell on Amazon through their Fulfillment by Amazon service.
Starting an e-commerce business is probably one of the more complicated ways to create revenue but it could be one of the more profitable if done correctly.
You can recommend products online for a commission and make decent money. With the right product and the right audience, affiliate sales can give you a decent chunk of income.
The great thing about affiliate marketing is most the products you use regularly can be marketed through affiliates. You can recommend those products you already use and are familiar with and receive a commission off those sales. Often, its a product the buyer was already going to buy in the first place but when they use your affiliate referral you end up getting paid for it at no extra cost to them. Neat!
There are several affiliate programs out there. If you want to start in affiliate sales I would suggest only marketing products you are familiar with and believe in. People will see through you when you start marketing things just because you might get a decent commission. You'll make a lot more off of affiliate marketing if you are genuine about it.
Alternatively, you could consider direct sales. One product we've had success selling is Usborne Books. Some consider it an MLM program, I do not, I consider it more of direct sales because the focus is on selling books not recruiting new sellers (in fact, the benefits of recruiting people are pretty small and it isn't our focus). We only started selling their books after buying them for the past 5-6 years and decided we might as well sell them since we like them so much. We've made real money from selling Usborne Books.
The starting fee was small (only $25 one time) and we more than made it back the first week. The concept is simple: spend an hour and a half on Facebook hosting a "party" by answering questions and selling books. It's some of the easiest money we've made. Granted, it won't support your lifestyle on its own but it's a nice additional source of income for little effort. If you're interested in making money with Usborne Books, contact us on how you can get started. It works best when you sell them as a team (you get free marketing materials and organization from a team), if that is something you want to explore we can get you in contact with a good team.
This is similar to the content creator income idea above. As a traveler, you'll have plenty of opportunities to generate photographic or video travel content that can be difficult to get. This is actually a popular way to generate income while traveling. It seems there is never a lack of demand for this skill set.
Some people actually become traveling photographers. Their entire business model is based on the client requiring a photographer in a remote location or somewhere they don't know any photographers. Think destination weddings. The downside to this model is you would have to travel where you want to in your downtime as your client is dictating your itinerary, but it works for some people.
This list hardly scratches the surface of the opportunities out there to generate an income remotely. There are many ways to create an income remotely. It just takes a little thought and brainstorming to find the best way for you to do it.
If you want to learn how you can start living a nomadic lifestyle and traveling the world subscribe to our email list. We periodically send the tips and lessons we learned along the way as we start traveling the world full time.
Until next time, Happy Coddiwompling!