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How Can Traveling Women Make Money Online?
(and how I do it myself!)

One of the beauties of today's world is that the internet has freed us from 'place'. No longer are we bound to a physical location to earn a living. Yes, most jobs are still 'in person' but - you have a choice. You can work from home, from the park or from anywhere in the world if you so choose.

But travel costs money so to earn it, you can either work before you leave and save up, or find work when you're already traveling. If you're looking for the kind of job where you actually have to show up, have a look at these overseas jobs for women - they'll give you an idea of what's out there.

But if you're seriously thinking about earning an online income, keep reading for some ideas. The interesting thing about online work is that you can earn quite a bit, although there are no guarantees. It's not easy, it's not for everyone, but if you're keen to try, the sky's the limit and it can be an awful lot of fun.

Here's how I did it. I started Women on the Road in 2007 with a company called Solo Build It! (SBI). It's not like Wordpress, although if you have a Wordpress blog or site, you can of course get the SBI plug-in, which will make your life a lot easier. What SBI did for me was teach me how to run a business online. You can get all this information elsewhere but by the time you've paid for individual courses and spent the time collating everything, you won't be any further ahead.

The one exception, in my opinion, is if you want to run a travel blog. In that case, I highly recommend Travel Blog Success, which is the perfect solution for travel bloggers. But if you're thinking of promoting your existing work, or selling your coaching services or promoting a product or a destination as a business, then I'd opt for SBI. I've been with them since 2007 and I've never been tempted to switch.

The bottom line is this: a regular salary is predictable, while online work is unpredictable, unstable BUT potentially highly lucrative. Note the word 'potentially'. Some women make very little - they might make a hundred dollars, become disillusioned and move on. Others make a decent living wage (myself included) and a few, very rare others make the kind of money you'd expect from a trader or a top-10 lawyer. It can be done. (And that's what I'm aiming for!)

But first - is online work right for you?

Making money online is a good fit for you if you agree with any one of the following statements:

  • you don't have the health or skills for a physical job
  • you are self-disciplined self-motivated and can work on your own
  • you're good at grabbing opportunities
  • computers don't scare you (you don't have to be a technical whiz these days - a lot of it is automated and the rest is easy)
  • you're willing to try new things
  • you want to earn more than a normal day job will pay you
  • you don't want to be tied down to a physical location
  • you aren't afraid of hard work

So what kinds of jobs can women travelers find online?

The beauty of the web is that it allows you to telecommute, full-time while you're home and part-time when you're on the road. There are literally hundreds of web-based jobs you can take on - all from the cozyness of your laptop.

Here's a sampling, by no means exhaustive:

  • Editing
  • Proofreading
  • Photo editing
  • Web research
  • Web design
  • Virtual assistance
  • Software and IT
  • Graphics
  • Advertising
  • Public relations
  • Translation
  • Writing resumes
  • Coaching and consulting
  • Project management

You'll find jobs like these and many more at freelancer.com, my favorite source for freelance work and for freelancers.

Becoming a virtual assistant

This is now all the rage. People hire other people (usually women) to do work online for them. I have a wonderful VA who works for me a few hours a week doing research, but the work can be far more broad and include accounting, writing, correspondence, making appointments, handling social media and pretty much any task you might need online.

Editing and proofreading

I do some of this as well and if you have any background in writing or editing, it's an ideal online job because it's all done on your computer. Many jobs never require you to show up in person and everything takes place online, from initial contact to final product. I've found quite a few contacts through LinkedIn.

Freelance writing

For me - and this is a personal thing - travel writing is one of the best jobs in the world. It's also probably the most competitive, the least lucrative, and the hardest to find. Still, the joys of seeing your name in print and your first paycheck are hard to beat. I actually framed my first newspaper byline...

If your goal is to make enough to stay on the road, becoming a travel writer is definitely an option. To compete, you've got to be not only good, but you have to know what editors are looking for. I would take a course. I've taken most of the better-known courses on the market and although I've been writing for several decades, I always learn something new and get my investment back. I recently finished test-driving Nomadic Matt's travel writing course and I loved it - it's taught by David Farley, whose travel stories have been published in the kinds of major publications we all dream of writing for. (He gives personal feedback in the course and that's invaluable.) I wrote about this course here.

In case you're not 100% clear on the difference between freelance writing and blogging, here is a simple explanation. Freelance writing means you write for someone - a magazine or someone's blog - and you get paid for it. Blogging means you write for your own blog. You can earn money in a variety of indirect ways, for example by putting ads on your blog, but you don't get paid directly for your writing.

Becoming a travel blogger

If you'd rather blog for yourself than write freelance, there are two ways to launch a travel blog. You can start from scratch and learn from your mistakes (as I did), or speed up the process by learning from others.

If you're serious about becoming a travel blogger, the best path I can recommend, as I mentioned above, is Travel Blog Success, a blogging community whose Facebook page is hugely active - all the 'big names' hang out there - and which provides a basic blogging course for those of you who are just starting out (I visit their Facebook page at least once a day). The course helps you set up your Wordpress blog, fill it with great content and promote that content on social media. Bottom line, it gives you a jumpstart and networks you in to hundreds of other travel bloggers. Travel blogging won't make you rich (at least not easily) so an edge is good to have.

If you're already a blogger... are you making any money at it?

It's one thing to launch a blog for fun or to keep family and friends informed of travels but if you actually want to make a living online, there are few ways of doing so.

For the first nine years of this website - Women on the Road - I barely made any money at all. I wasn't really trying. I sold a few things on Amazon when it made sense, shared information about some courses I'd taken and loved, but that's about it. Then I 'retired' from my full-time job and found out the hard way that the mortgage doesn't stop just because the salary does, and I needed to continue working. My choices were: find a job, or find a way to make money from my passion, travel blogging. You can guess which I chose.

One of the things that jumpstarted it all was this fabulous book by Sharon Gourlay, How To Make Money from Your Blog. I've probably read most of what there is online that doesn't cost an arm and a leg - but it took Sharon to show me how much money I was actually leaving on the ground by not doing a few simple things. So if you have a blog and you want to use it to earn, this is the first place you should start, bar none. I can't begin to tell you how much she has helped me! 

The basis of my income is now something called affiliate marketing, which is, in simple terms, selling things and getting a commission. If I have an Amazon link on my site and you click it, you pay the Amazon price and I get a few pennies. Those pennies pile up and can provide a handsome income - and there's a lot out there beyond Amazon. Anyone can do this - but you already have to be online and you need an audience. It's hard work and long hours and a decent income is slow to come by - but when the money rains, it pours. Find out more by clicking through to my page on affiliate marketing.

Teach something you know

The beauty of the world is that there is always someone wanting to learn something. If you have a specific skill you can teach, you could earn a decent income by developing a course around that skill. Both Skillshare and Udemy will help you develop your course and provide a platform to attract students. They take a (large) cut but the more students take your course, the more you make. I haven't done this myself but I'm quite keen to try.

Become a coach

These days, most coaches do their work online. If you've ever dreamed of setting up a coaching practice, this might be the right time for you. As long as you have a Skype connection somewhere along the way, there's no reason you can't practice your coaching profession online. I have a friend who runs her hypnotherapy practice via the web!

Online job resources

  • Good places to look for online jobs are general sites like Upwork. Just sign up and bid for jobs you're qualified for. I know this works: I've found jobs and hired people this way. 
  • I also came across Jobspresso, which looks very legit and user-friendly. 
  • The Writer's Job Board has a great list of boards that list freelance jobs. Browse to your heart's content.
  • There are a zillion books around but the one that marked me most about becoming location independent was Tim Ferriss's Four-Hour Work Week.

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