Three pathways to working online – whether you want to work from home or travel the world. PLUS: free training videos and 56+ 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, 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 the 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 (or even a bachelor) 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
- The easiest way to get started
- Where you can find online work and clients.
What type of work can be done online
Despite the popular digital nomad movement and a huge increase in online work opportunities around the world, there has been a misconception that only a few jobs that 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. See my 5 proven tips for turning your talent into a lucrative business on Entra, which is a free, online community that provides a place for entrepreneurs to get answers to their business questions.
Passport and Plates also has a list of the best travel jobs for travel lovers for extra inspiration.
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 job boards and free training 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.
For those who need benefits, such as 401K and health insurance, you’ll want to specifically look at remote jobs in your own country (check the job ad to make sure this is included before applying). If you decide to freelance or start your own business, you can learn how to set these up for your country of residence.
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) without being paid cash.
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.
Digital Nomad Girls has a list of the 30+ best freelancing platforms to find work online.
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 set up. 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 (other freelancers). One of the key influences for my success was one of my clients, 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.
Kate Bagoy has a free training video on how you can get over your fear and start making sustainable income faster with your own online business. Or you can take her fun quiz to find out if you’re ready to start your own business (no email opt-in required).
How to work online if you don’t think you have skills
Now that I’ve gone over the three main pathways to working online, if you’re still unsure where to start or don’t think you have the right skills – don’t stress! Remember how I said that you could start working online doing administration? This is actually a booming market with heaps of opportunities – I see posts form online business owners looking for admin assistance every single day.
I’ve got another free training video for you about Virtual Assistants (VAs) to learn what kind of work you could expect to do and how much you could potentially earn. This class is presented by my friend Esther, a former military wife and Mom. She’s been teaching travel-lovers the most requested virtual skills and helping them get their first online jobs.
I’ve taken other online business classes with her and they were super helpful and easy-to-follow. Plus, by signing up for the training, you’ll receive weekly emails with a list of available remote jobs.
Join the next free online class on how to work anywhere as a virtual assistant with Esther from Virtual Assistant Internship.
Where you can find online work and clients
In addition to the 20+ remote job boards and 30+ best freelancing platforms by Digital Nomad Girls, below is a list of Facebook groups where you can search for online work. Facebook groups are usually suited to those looking for remote jobs or freelance clients. If you’re building an online business, then you will create your own marketing strategy to attract clients to you (rather then spending time searching for them).
Best Facebook groups to find online work
Over the years, I’ve tried out a lot of Facebook groups for online work. There are plenty more beyond this list but I’ve found these to have the highest quality and quantity in terms of opportunities.
- Digital Nomad Girls – join Jenny’s mailing list for a weekly round-up of jobs
- Bucketlist Bombshells Tribe – search for #gethired
- Dreamers // Doers: Jobs & Gigs – search for #remote
- Freelancing Fems – search for #opportunity
- Female Digital Nomads
Esther from Virtual Assistant Internship also has a Facebook group, Work From Home (without selling anything!) with legit online job opportunities. Plus, by taking Esther’s free online class on how to work anywhere as a virtual assistant, you’ll receive weekly emails with a round-up of remote jobs.in it for the next adventure!
Do you have any tips for finding work online? Tell us about it below!
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