I think many people have a desire to be their own boss, remain location independent, or to escape the 9-5 grind.
After all, people are trying to do this every day by turning to things like the gig economy or remote jobs to pay the bills, and companies are increasingly welcoming to the concept of a global workforce.
I’m becoming location independent this September to spend more time with family and to travel, but whatever reason you have for wanting to ditch the office and to work remotely, this lifestyle has never been easier to accomplish thanks to the power of the internet and ongoing changes in corporate culture.
So, if you’re looking for some of the best location independent jobs that you can use to supplement your income while living a lifestyle that brings you happiness, this is the post for you!
I always recommend freelance writing as a side hustle for students, but freelance writing is also an excellent location independent job that can also lead to steady employment.
Many writing gigs can pay $10-$20/hour at starting wages, and experienced writers with extensive knowledge of a particular niche can charge higher rates per article.
It doesn’t matter if you start freelance writing on the weekend, after work, or turn freelance writing into your entire source of income while you travel the world: there are so many marketplaces to find work as a writer.
Some of the best websites for writers include:
- Indeed.com – great for finding longer term contracts.
- Upwork.com – great for finding short-long term contracts.
- Reddit r/ForHire – a personal favorite of mine where you can find a lot of content writing work for smaller businesses or individuals.
- Textbroker.com – great for finding a stable stream of projects to write for.
Teaching English Online:
Online tutoring jobs are an incredibly popular location independent job, and it’s no surprise many digital nomads turn to them to pay the bills. After all, native English speakers have immediate value they can profit from in many foreign countries as English is one of the more popular languages to learn in the world.
ESL tutoring jobs generally pay between $15-$24/hour depending on the platform, experience levels, and bonuses, and there are plenty of websites or apps where you can become a teacher.
Many tutoring websites also don’t require their tutors to have a degree, so the barrier to entry is low. Additionally, most platforms cater to the Asian marketplace, so working hours would be ideal for any digital nomads living in the region.
Some of the best ESL tutoring websites include:
Web & Graphic Design:
Website design and graphic design skills are always going to be in demand. There is simply too much technological growth in this world for there not to be.
Web development or graphic design work often go hand in hand as well. When building websites for clients, you usually have to consider both back end and front end aspects to provide a complete service.
You can still get away with specializing in a specific side of this remote job to position yourself as an expert, or you can offer more general services to attract a wider range of clients.
Now, here’s the thing about website design: everyone and their grandmother is doing it. Just take a quick look at the Fiverr marketplace:
If you get into web design or graphic design, you really need to deliver a high quality service because referrals are immensely important in this field (as well as freelancing in general).
SEO work is also a great distant job opportunity because there is almost no barrier to entry and you can truly work from anywhere in the world.
I’ve done SEO work throughout college, and I have never gone into anyone’s office to get work done. Skype/phone calls and frequent email correspondence are generally all you need to keep a line of communication with clients.
Consulting work was a great remote job to have in college because all the contracts I ever secured involved monthly payments. Generally, a client would require significant upfront work for the first few weeks or month, but the proceeding months were mostly filled with maintenance, minor bits of work, or reevaluating strategy but still paid out the same amount.
The best consultants in the world make millions, but there is nothing wrong with eating some humble pie, taking some small contracts, and making a few hundred dollars a month.
Just make sure you actually know your shit. Digital marketing is notorious for promoting ‘get rich quick’ schemes, and SEO consulting is one of the most heavily promoted methods for this. Trust me, it doesn’t work out that way.
Virtual Assistant Work:
If you’re looking for a job that offers freedom and flexibility, becoming a virtual assistant might be a good path to take.
Virtual assistants can help businesses or bloggers with a variety of tasks. Social media management, email/customer service support, and general administrative tasks are a common part of a VA’s day.
If you can successfully network with online business owners in your niche, you might be able to find clients that are willing to outsource these sorts of tasks to you. A few clients is realistically all you need to start bringing in a decent income every month while working from home.
Pro tip: I recommend joining Facebook groups related to your niche or blogging Facebook groups; VA requests are posted here all the time!
Editing & Proofreading:
While content writing is a common job for many digital nomads, proofreading and editing work is also high in demand.
Many content writers often tack on these services as an additional business line they offer, and this isn’t a bad way for full-time writers to expand their income streams.
Proofreaders generally charge anywhere from $10-$45/hour, and editors can easily charge upwards of $50+ per hour if they are experienced.
Having a portfolio is incredibly helpful for securing editing jobs, and you will probably want to stick within the same niche to increase your authority on the subject.
These days, many businesses turn to outsourcing to meet their custom support needs, and this presents an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to make money from home.
You also don’t have to work in a call center to be a customer support agent. Plenty of companies are willing to let their customer services agents be fully location independent if they have some experience and referrals.
Customer service agents have an average hourly wage of $17.40 according to Study.com, although you could probably earn more if you worked in a specific role like tech support.
If you enjoy problem solving and have a bit of a perfectionist streak, testing websites and games for bugs is a great way to make money from anywhere in the world.
QA work is always in demand, and companies are willing to outsource testing gigs to ensure the apps or websites they release to consumers are flawless.
Website testing jobs don’t always provide steady hours, but websites like User Testing are an effective way to earn $15+ per hour if you can land some QA tasks. If you cycle through the myriad of QA testing websites out there, you can probably rely on QA work to sustain yourself as a digital nomad.
While this isn’t exactly my ideal idea for a location independent job, transcription work can provide steady and reliable work if you are willing to put in the time.
There is a constant need for audio transcription across a variety of industries, and there are plenty of companies that have full-time workers sustaining themselves through transcription.
Transcription tasks are generally paid ‘per audio hour’, meaning your total hourly rate is dependent on your efficiency.
Just note, transcription requires a significant amount of practice to become proficient, so your hourly rate will be horrendous for a while. Additionally, transcription work can be frustrating since audio quality isn’t always stellar.
Search Engine Evaluation:
Google might have a monopoly on search engine share, but that doesn’t mean they have a perfect product.
Companies like Google and Bing are always working to improve their search engine algorithms, and they consistently hire search engine evaluators to manually review SERP results and ad quality.
Additionally, search engine evaluator jobs can pay upwards of $15/hour, so this is a decent way to make ends meet while working abroad.
Social Media Management:
A friend and I ran paid advertising campaigns for businesses to make money in college, but ads aren’t the only online service business owners are willing to pay for.
Social media management can be a critical component of growing both local and global businesses, but many business owners don’t have the time or ability to run a high quality account and engage with customers.
If you have experience with social media management and customer service, you can probably find local businesses in your community or network that need assistance. You might not be able to charge a high amount before you gain experience or larger clients, but a few clients could still result in a steady stream of work and income.
One of my friends currently lives in downtown Toronto (very expensive) and makes his living through social media management and gig jobs like Uber Eats, so anything is possible!
Copywriting & Sales Funnel Design:
Copywriting is the process of designing copy to promote a product/service while encouraging consumers to purchase. Web page design and content writing, ad copy creation, and promotional banners or materials all constitute as copywriting.
Copywriting is immensely valuable for businesses because anything that increases conversion rates can increase profit. The development of an effective sales funnel is something that many companies are willing to pay considerable money for.
Plus, after reading this pretty neat story on Reddit about how someone started their own copywriting business through trial and error, I truly think copywriting could be a great option for anyone with a background in sales or marketing.
Transition From Your Current Job:
Location independent work is becoming more common and accepted by employers, so if your current job doesn’t deal directly with clients or require you to be 100% in the office, you might be able to start working from home or abroad.
I work in paid advertising, and I’m going to transition to working from home (and then abroad) this September. This isn’t uncommon for tech/marketing roles, but there are plenty of other industries with the same opportunity.
Talk to your employer, make a case for why you can leave the office, and show results. If your productivity increases with you being location independent, it’s a no-brainer to keep things that way.
Final Thoughts on Location Independent Jobs:
At the end of the day, I understand why there is a growing body of followers for the digital nomad movement.
People like choices. The freedom to escape working the traditional 9-5 office job is certainly an easy idea to fall in love with.
I’ll admit, when I was halfway through college, I romanticized the idea of being my own boss, working as a digital nomad while I backpacked across Europe without having to sit in an office for most of the day.
As I’m making the transition to leaving the office behind for a time, I’ve learned that as long as you approach this sort of work in a smart and calculated way, you can be successful.
Don’t just quit your day job and buy a plane ticket to Thailand for next Monday.
Learn in-demand skills, grow an online income in conjunction with your day job, and start to network with other entrepreneurs that are making a living online. When you’re ready to make the jump, you’ll already have a support system in place to sustain yourself.
The internet is amazing, and it’s never been easy to land a location independent job and to live a flexible lifestyle. Just take the time to prepare yourself for the change, and never stop hustling!
Tom is a 22 year old recent college graduate from Canada with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and marketing. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!