Three pathways to working online – whether you want to work from home or travel the world. PLUS: free training videos and 25+ genuine online job boards/groups so you can start applying right away.
Working online has never been more accessible – and for many, it may be the only way they can make income right now. So, whether you’re looking for a side hustle, a new remote job, or to start an online business you’re passionate about, this article will show you how to get started today.
These won’t be some sleazy “work-from-home and get rich” schemes. You’ll be given different options to choose from. And I promise I know what I’m talking about! I have a Master in Business Administration (Entrepreneurial Management) which I completed by distance while traveling. Plus, I’ve been making money while working online in over 20 countries across four continents.
Don’t worry that you need a master’s degree (or even a bachelor’s) to be able to work and travel. Anyone with any education-level can find work online OR easily upskill and be able to join the online workforce in no time.
Let’s jump in! This article will cover:
- What type of work can be done online
- The three pathways to start working online
- What kind of online work usually includes benefits
- Where you can find online work and clients.
What type of work can be done online
Despite the digital nomad movement and a huge increase in online work opportunities around the world, there has been a misconception that only a few jobs can be done remotely. Most people believed that you needed to work in tech or as a blogger/influencer. Following recent events, this perception has changed and we now realize that many traditional roles can be remote.
If you haven’t already worked remotely or want to change industries, a great way to start is by looking at your existing skillset. Make a list of your abilities and experience, then identify what you could potentially use to make money.
The three pathways to start working online
The three main pathways to working online are:
- Working remotely as an employee or contractor
- Freelancing on projects or on a month-to-month basis
- Building an online business and a unique brand.
In each section, I’ve included links to free training and resources to help you get started. If you’re looking to make money as soon as possible without less upfront preparation, then working remotely or freelancing may be the most suitable option.
1. Work remotely from home or while traveling
Firstly, if you already have a full-time job you could ask to work remotely from home or while abroad. In 2013, I had a steady job at a university in Australia and wanted to visit friends in Brazil and the USA for a few months. So, I approached my boss about the possibility of working remotely overseas.
Although it took a bit of convincing and paperwork, I was finally approved to work remotely from the US using a virtual private network (VPN) so I could log in securely into their network. I wasn’t able to work from Brazil for insurance reasons but could take those weeks as leave.
If this isn’t possible with the current job you have (or if you don’t have one), then you can search for a new job you can do online. Applying for a remote job is similar to applying for a location-based job, except that there might be more competition because you’re essentially competing applicants from all over the world (depending on the industry and type of work).
An important distinction between being an employee and a contractor is not only the length of employment (e.g. permanent or for a fixed period) but also whether you are entitled to certain benefits such as health insurance or 401K/superannuation (or whatever the government retirement fund is called in your country). For both permanent employee or contract positions, there are part-time and full-time hours.
2. Freelance from home or while traveling
Secondly, freelancing has more flexibility than having a remote job as you can set your own rules about when, where, and how you work – as well as how much you charge per hour or project. Realistically, you could use the professional skills you already have and start searching for freelance work today. As long as you can show examples of your previous work.
In 2017, I got started as a freelancer using this travel blog and social media as my portfolio. Up until that point, I had been running my previous blog, Adoration 4 Adventure, for almost two years and worked with many travel-related brands but always for exchanges (hotel stays, tours, and products).
My friend, Sally from Passport & Plates, referred a potential client to me who needed help with social media management. At the time, I was based in Spain and the client lived in the USA. After a few emails and a phone call, I signed the client on a month-to-month basis and she continued to work with me up until the end of 2019.
If you’re new to freelancing, it can take a little time to figure out how much to charge so that you remain competitive without ripping yourself off. Also, how to market yourself, spot good clients, set clear boundaries, retain clients for longer, upsell your services, and much more.
As a freelancer, you’re considered self-employed for tax purposes. Therefore, you’ll need to take care of any government requirements around registering, tracking expenses, and filing taxes as well as your own retirement fund (this may also be the case if you are working as a contractor). However, that also means you can set your rate much higher than traditional and remote employees to cover your administrative costs and time.
3. Build an online business you can run from anywhere
Lastly, an online business has a higher earning potential than a remote job or freelance setup. That’s because business owners sell a solution to clients rather than selling their time e.g. charging by the hour. Also, many freelancers struggle with acquiring regular clients and end up constantly searching for work.
After starting out as a freelancer in 2017, I expanded into offering various marketing services, working with up to 10 clients at a time, and even hiring team members. One of the key influences for my success was my client, Kate Bagoy. Kate is a strategist and business coach who teaches professionals how to create their own work-from-anywhere business and get to six figures.
I’d already created a business plan while completing my MBA, yet found that most of the teachings weren’t focused on smaller entrepreneurs like me who just wanted to make enough to fund their travel lifestyles.
While taking Kate’s online coaching program, I was able to get really clear on my business and lifestyle goals which informed every decision I made after that. I created my online B2B marketing website, Chantell Collins Consulting, and packages using Kate’s training.
Where you can find online work and clients
Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of remote job boards, freelancing platforms, and Facebook groups to find online work. And in fact – nearly all my clients have come from Facebook groups! This a great way if you are searching for remote jobs or freelance clients.
Do you have any tips for finding work online? Tell us about it below!
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