One of the benefits of living in 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. You still have to show up, but not necessarily 'in person'. You can work from home, from the beach or from anywhere in the world if you so choose. (Or the pool... )
The obvious first step if you already have a job is to see if there’s any way you can work from home - but that’s not the focus of this page (and if you’re looking for an ‘in person’ job, check out these overseas jobs for women to get an idea of what's out there). What we’ll be looking at here is how to make extra money through a variety of jobs or Internet business opportunities specifically designed to be done from anywhere in the world.
This type of ‘location independent’ work is perfect for travelers: you can work before you leave and save money for your trip, or you can take your work with you and continue working while you travel - and of course stay away longer.
Or you can do both: you can start an assignment from home on Tuesday and finish it in Paris on Wednesday.
If you're thinking seriously about earning an online income, keep reading, because there are some significant advantages to working from your computer: you can earn quite a bit (although, as with everything in life, there are no guarantees) and it can be great fun! Granted, it’s not for everyone, but if you're keen to try, the sky's the limit.
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 lawyer. It can be done.
Here's how I did it. I started Women on the Road in 2006 with a company called Solo Build It! (SBI) in the days before Wordpress (these days there's an SBI plug-in). 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’ll probably pay as much and spend more time. But you have to be serious about wanting to run a business.
What really works for me now is taking training courses: I probably spend more on courses and workshops than on anything else. It’s called investing in myself, and it’s probably the most important thing I’ve done for Women on the Road.
I earn money through writing, advertising and affiliate sales but there are many more work from home jobs out there.
Online work from home or anywhere which isn't the office is a good fit for you if you agree with any one of the following statements:
The first thing to ask yourself is if your current job can become a remote position. If your boss isn’t willing to let you telecommute, is there a way to branch out on your own and freelance in your current field? This works well for people like graphic and web designers, coaches and consultants. Obviously you’ll need clients you can help online, but it can certainly be done. You can work full-time while you’re home and part-time when you’re on the road.
For those jobs that don’t translate well to online work (chefs, massage therapists, gardeners), this might be your chance for change. Have a look at these online jobs: is there anything here you might be qualified for? Or perhaps you're interested in retraining and starting a new career? (I was 55 when I launched this website...)
Here are some of the more accessible work from home ideas:
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 broader and include accounting, writing, correspondence, making appointments, handling social media and pretty much any task you might need online. This is outstanding work for stay at home moms, retired women who are looking for ways to make extra money, or for travelers who need to earn extra income.
The Horkey Handbookers have an excellent 18-page workbook to help you determine if a VA career is right for you and then walk you through the process of choosing a niche, setting your rates, and finding clients.
Transcribing takes excellent typing skills, a lot of patience, an ear for detail and blocks of distraction-free time, but if you can find a quiet place to work while on the road and know your way around a keyboard, you can likely become an efficient transcriptionist. Then you can do your work from anywhere that has a stable wifi connection – a legitimate way to earn money working from home (or the beach).
There are all kinds of transcriptionists: from those who write up board meeting notes to those who work in the legal or medical niche. Some require more technical knowledge than others, but TranscribeAnywhere has a free mini-course to help you decide if transcribing is right for you and which niche might work best.
I do some of this as well and if you have any background in writing or editing, it's an ideal Internet business 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.
If you’re someone with a knack for grammar, consider taking a course to learn the technicalities of proofreading so you can turn your obsession into a career. This free course in particular will explain what proofreading is (and if it’s a good fit for you), how you can take your passion and make money from it, and the most important thing: how to find and attract clients who need your expertise.
For me - and this is a personal thing - 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 (or screen) 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 freelance 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. It helps if you have a specialty, and most people do concentrate on a group of topics - travel (see below), tech, health or fashion, just to give you a few examples.
If I were starting my career, I'd probably do two things: buy a copy of the Writers' Market and join the Freelance Writers' Den. The Den would answer all my questions and provide me with guidance on jumpstarting and managing my career, while the Writers' Market would tell me where to pitch and who might be likely to buy my stories. This may not be one of the top money making opportunities but it is a legitimate career with long-term prospects if you stick it through.
This is one example of focusing on a specific industry as a freelance writer, and it's something I do.
If this is where your passion lies, I would consider taking a course. Travel writing has its own special secrets and taking a reputable course is by far the easiest way to break in, in my opinion (or, if you happen to live in a city, you could attend some courses in person - fantastic!)
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. One that stands out is the course taught by David Farley, whose travel stories have been published in the kinds of major publications we all dream of writing for. I wrote about this course here.
This is perfect if you have an interest in something - a hobby, a passion, a skill: you can turn it into a money-making machine by launching a blog designed specifically to make money online.
Through trial and error, I believe the best way to do this is by learning from people who have ‘made it’ as bloggers and whose income is in the seven figures. My own mentor is Jon Morrow and although he shares his expertise with advanced bloggers, he recently launched a revolutionary course for beginners who want to start a blog from scratch and turn it into a proper income. The course takes you through the basics and beyond, applying money-making strategies from the very beginning.
(If travel is your passion and you're willing to build it yourself and learn from your mistakes, this in-depth resource on starting a travel blog will show you the way.)
It's one thing to launch a blog for fun or to keep family and friends informed of your life 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 table 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!
I now make money from affiliate programs 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.
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’ve been thinking of developing course myself.
Another option is to tutor students online. You can try and branch out on your own, using Facebook to connect with families who have children who need help in a subject, or you can join one of the many tutoring sites like Skooli. They connect you with students who need tutoring (and of course, take a cut of your pay as payment).
This is a little more specific, as it deals with teaching English only. Of course you can teach English in person anywhere, but you can also do it online. VIPKid pays you US$14-$22 an hour teaching Chinese students, grades 4-12. VIPKid has the curriculum, you just teach! (Oh, and their Beijing staff takes care of communication with parents so win-win).
You will have to be available for set times each day (which can be tricky during travels), but you set your own availability, so you can work around particularly full days. You can work as many hours as you want, piling the hours when you’re at home and opting for a lighter load when you travel.
These days, most coaches do their work online and this is a highly popular and lucrative way to make extra money from home. 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! This professional training and certification program might be just the thing if you've always dreamed of becoming a coach and weren't quite sure where to start.
Are you creative? Do you craft? Consider selling your handmade goods online. Soaps, wooden signs, hand sewn clothing, knitted hats and gloves: all of those are incredibly popular and make wonderful gifts and you might as well put your hobby to work.
While there are many ways to do this, Etsy is one of the most popular and accessible. You can set up a shop and sell your wares through the Etsy database. Here's an overview and guide to launching your Etsy shop and how to do it with success. To drill down, here are Etsy's own set-up instructions in detail. Remember, Etsy is also one of the first places people to go to find something handmade or customizable, so you’ll be where your audience is.
Unlike other online jobs, this requires shipping out a physical product (unless you’re selling printables or some other downloadable graphic), so you need to consider how to ship when you’re 3,000 miles from home.
This really isn’t a way to make money online, but a way to save money while doing the online shopping you already do, if you live in the US (sorry, everyone else! It’s US-based only).
Sign up here for an account and before you buy anything online, go to Ebates.com, type in the name of the shop (Amazon, Macy’s, Best Buy) and then resume shopping. Ebates will transfer you to the site you want, track what you purchase and refund a percentage of your purchase price back to you in a “Big Fat Check.” You DO have to wait a few months for the payback, but it can be as much as 20% cash back!
The even easier way to make money? Share your special Ebates code with friends and family, and depending on the deal that month, Ebates will send you between $5 and $25 when they sign up and make their first purchase. (I was unable to join because I live in the EU…)
I just threw a ton of information at you, so it's no wonder if your head is whirling. Let's do something fun: here's a quiz to help you figure out which online job best fits with your interests, skills and personality. Take it by clicking the image below!