With tons of cash in the bank, travel insurance paid up, itinerary booked for the entire trip, and an honorable goodbye to my employer, I left on a perfectly planned 6 month journey throughout Asia!
…except for one tiny problem.
None of that is actually true.
I barely had enough cash for 3 months, much less 6 months.
I had no insurance. I couldn’t even afford vaccines for things like MALARIA
I only booked a one-way ticket to Taiwan with no clue where I’d end up after I arrived.
And my only excuse for quitting my job was that I booked a one way ticket to Taiwan and wasn’t sure when I was coming back.
Thankfully I spent the years leading up to this moment immersing myself in the world of internet marketing.
I learned just enough to survive during my trip.
What I’m going to share with you is a combination of things I’ve personally done to make money when I was just about broke. I’m also include methods I’ve learned from other digital nomads who are KILLING IT online!
And by “killing it”, I mean making heap of coin.
There are infinite ways to earn an income online honestly, but these 9 ways are by far my favorite and take very little if any initial investment to start.
But first, a little history:
The Whacky World Of The Traveling Nomad
Earning an income while traveling abroad used to be all about finding side-jobs at local businesses.
If you needed some cash, you would pick up a job like a bartending, waiting tables, or English teaching.
The world has changed since those primitive days of manual labor.
Now when you think of earning an income traveling, you might think of terms like “digital nomad,” “remote worker,” or “lifestyle designer.”
The internet has not only connected us to the world, but has enabled us to freely travel the world while still earning a decent living.
But in order for you to gain traction and find success, you’ll need to follow some basic principles that I’ve boiled down from my experience.
The principles of earning while traveling
Alright, some of these might make you think, DUH!
But I really had to drill these principles into my head before I could start seeing some cash flowing into my bank account.
Whenever I forgot one of these principles, I found myself in a scramble; stressing out and wasting time.
Keep these 4 principles to keep in mind.
1. Focus only on earning income online
Seek and you will find.
The more time you spend looking for ways to earn, the more you’ll learn and find out.
I encourage you to keep learning about online business and what others are doing.
Listen to podcasts, read blogs, join meetups and communities of online business builders so you can learn what others are doing.
“Success leaves clues” – Tony Robbins
2. Build up a reputation (focus on a niche)
Just like any career, when you become known for a particular skill or subject, people will value your work a hell-of-a-lot more.
It is much better to focus on one topic or skill than dabble in a variety of fields or jobs.
For example, if you’re a software engineer, stick to programming in one language only or one particular style of coding.
If you want to break into social media, only do jobs that have to do with social media, or better yet, focus on one platform like Facebook or Instagram.
Talk about your subject or niche on a Facebook page. Join groups and forums about that topic and participate.
The more you put yourself out there as an “expert” or at least an “enthusiast” of your niche, the more job opportunities will be thrown at you.
3. Manage time wisely
You travel to have fun right?
Meet people, see sights, eat foods, and just lay on the beach!
If you want to sustain a lifestyle of travel and earning income, you have to make time to do some work!
When I began my trip in March this year (2015), I spent nearly 2 months doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to earn an income.
Needless to say, my savings dwindled fast!
When I ran low funds, I began to panic and worry. I hurried to find ways to make money and I couldn’t really enjoy myself nearly as much.
Please don’t do what I did.
Set a side time every week to focus on earning and building up a reputation for your niche.
I eventually learned my lesson and began carving out time every day not only to work online, but to exercise, read, and AFTER THAT to enjoy some down time.
It might not always be possible when going from town to town, but its crucial if you want to keep this lifestyle going!
4. Seek passive income
Keep this in the back of your mind when you’re working online.
At first you might have to work on a contract to contract basis picking up gigs however you can.
You’ll be trading time for money at first.
But the goal is to earn money while you’re sipping on some coconut juice at the beach!
How will you do that?
You’ll need to have product to sell online.
Whether its your own product or someone else’s.
I cover only some of the ways of generating passive income in this list.
As you find work online, ask yourself the question:
“How can I take what I’m doing and turn it into a product people can buy again and again?”
“Is there something out there that I can sell to my target audience?”
Don’t worry too much about this, but definitely keep it in mind as you learn more about the ways of earning income online.
9 Ways To Earn Income While Traveling
I’ll start this list with the quickest and easiest ways to earn money.
Because if you’re reading this article, you might be in the same position I was in and needed cash FAST.
As I go further down the list, I go more into the idea of brand building which takes more time and effort, but the rewards are FAR GREATER.
DISCLAIMER: The following income ideas are not for everyone. Depending on what country you live in or your current skill level, you may not be able to do everything mentioned here. Please do further research into each methods you’re most interested in to find the income method that’s right for you. Please note that you NEED A LAPTOP AND SMARTPHONE to do many of these. Also know that some links are affiliate links in which I get paid a small commission at no expense to you.
Earn $10 per test you take on usertesting.
This is a website intended for businesses to get user feedback on products, websites, and mobile apps.
For you, that means you can get paid to provide your personal feedback.
Things you’ll need to be a UserTester are:
- A working microphone
UserTesting isn’t available to all countries, so go to their website to find out if you qualify. Click HERE to find out more!
Are you a Native English Speaker?
You can make $10 usd an hour tutoring students in China!
This has to be the easiest money I’ve ever made.
No certificates or teaching experience required.
BUT THIS IS NOT FOR EVERYONE!
Please read the full article I wrote HERE to find out if you’d make a good NiceTalk Tutor.
Fiverr is a website where you can buy or sell a variety of services for $5.
I use Fiverr often to design logos, get songs made for my podcast, and tons of other tasks I’d rather someone else do.
So when I needed some cash, I figured I’d give Fiverr a try.
Do you know a second language? -> Translate text from one language to another.
Do you know how to edit videos? -> Do professional video edits and designs.
Are you a really skinny white dude with an excess amount of aluminum foil? -> Sing happy birthday songs as the tin foil man
Don’t be fooled by the $5 offers though.
The real money is made in the UPSELLS!
The idea is to offer a simple item that would take you no time to do for $5, but then charge extra for things like 24-hour delivery of the service, or PDF files for client to download.
I suggest reviewing some of the most popular offers in the category you’re most interested in and emulate what they do.
Remember the principles I mentioned earlier. Try to focus on one thing you’re good at or one thing you’d like to be known for and focus on building up a reputation.
To be successful on Fiverr, you’ll need many reviews and a fast response time to questions people send to you. So respond quickly, do good work, and continually improve your offers.
Formerly oDesk and Elance, Upwork is another place to do freelance work.
Find work in things like copywriting, customer service, accounting, web development, and more!
It can be tough to get work at first, but remember the principles I mentioned.
Start by creating a very thorough profile. Take all the relevant tests UpWork gives you on your specific industry or niche.
At first you’ll need to take some low paying quicky jobs, but you’ll need them to get those reviews.
Don’t forget to WOW every client of yours no matter how little the pay is.
As you build up more reputation and get high reviews, you’ll be able to take on much higher paying jobs!
Now we step into the semi-passive income part of earning money while traveling.
Udemy let’s you create online courses for whatever price you’d like.
I’m including this in the list because it doesn’t take any money to start. Just think of something you know something about, and use your laptop to record a video about it. Then chop it up into “modules” and BAM, you’re a Udemy Teacher!
With a student base of over 9 million students, it’s the easiest way to create a product to sell and have an instant audience of potential buyers.
To create a course, start by thinking of a topic you know a lot about.
Think back to all those friends who’ve asked you for advice or had you do something for them. That’ll give you some ideas as to what you can teach.
I highly recommend taking Udemy’s FREE COURSE on how to create a course.
The key here (again) is to find a niche and be unique.
With thousands of courses available in every subject, the ONLY WAY to stand out is to be different.
Take a look at these examples:
Fitness is a HUGE topic. And this is a perfect example how being just slightly different than the rest can pay off HUGE!
This course here is essentially just a 15 minute full body workout, but because its “CLOSE COMBAT FITNESS” and not another regular “15 minute full body workout”, it was able to differentiate itself from the hundreds of other fitness courses.
With over 2000 students who’ve signed up at about $99 each, that’s not a bad profit for only 1 hour’s worth of video content.
One of my favs!
Copywriting is such a valuable skill to have. If you enjoy writing, then I definitely suggest you leverage that passion for writing to earn an income.
The fact is businesses NEED CONTENT.
Good writers are always in HIGH demand.
You can use Fiverr and Upwork to find work, but I recommend using one of these more specialized and reputable websites for writers instead:
iWriter pays up to $15 per article.
There are three tiers of writers. Standard, Premium, Elite.
At first you’ll get paid about $2 for a 500 word article as a standard writer. Elite writers can work on articles that pay well over $15 for 500 words.
One thing I DON’T like about iWriter is that if your article gets rejected by the requester, you get no money 🙁
I spent 3 hours on an article that some dude didn’t like, so I didn’t get paid.
***insert sad trumpet tune***
Just make sure you thoroughly understand what the requester wants before taking the job.
Check out iWriter’s FAQ page HERE
This is a copywriting service that I have not used, but I’ve heard good things about.
The same principle applies here as with iWriter. When you start, your “quality” of writing is low.
Your quality score goes up as the more you write and get good reviews.
Take a look at how much you can make from TextBroker HERE
Scripted seems to be the most reputable service for writers.
Writers here can get paid more than $1000 usd a month by writing through Scripted.com.
Although Scripted has a much longer application process and they don’t accept nearly as many writers as iWriter or TextBroker.
Here’s an article explaining how one guy makes $1000 a month using Scripted.
You may already have a blog or know of friends and family who blog, but might not be making any money from it.
That’s not the kind of blogging I’m talking about.
If you can FOCUS on a niche topic and WRITE CONSISTENTLY, this can be a very powerful method for earning income while traveling.
This takes hardly any money to set up.
The trick is to get traffic then find a way to monetize that traffic.
Let me share with you 2 methods for bringing in cash with a blog:
1. Google AdSense
Probably the easiest way to cash in on those eyeballs looking at your website.
When you sign up for AdSense, Google will choose the best ads to run for your particular niche. This is also why it’s so important to have a narrowly defined niche.
With ads on your website, you’ll get paid every time someone clicks through.
Here’s a very thorough tutorial on how to set up AdSense on your WordPress website.
Let’s take a look at an example from a good friend’s website:
As you can see, there are two banners at the top of this article and one at the bottom (not pictured).
Both are ads placed by Google AdSense.
The key is to drive as much traffic to your article as possible to get people to click on the ads.
Ads vary depending on the niche you’re in and the interests of the person visiting the page.
If you can run some Facebook Ads to drive even more traffic, you can build a system that will fund itself and make you a good amount of cash. (More articles on that to come)
Another way to monetize your blog is to create an eBook.
This might take you a bit longer to do, but isn’t as tough as you might think.
Think of a book that your readers would enjoy and something that is uniquely YOU.
This is Mark Wien’s website EatingThaiFood.com. He grew an audience who loved ThaiFood, so naturally he thought of this guide. He charges $17 for this eBook now that probably costed him about 1 days to write. ( I don’t know that for sure 😛 )
Here’s an ebook by my man Martin Dasko of Studenomics.com. Since his blog is mostly about finance, he created a book he sells on Amazon called “Next Round’s On Me” (I highly recommend his book and his blog!)
What can you provide to your audience or soon to be audience?
8. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the selling of other people’s products.
As an affiliate marketer, its your job to get people to visit a sales page to buy a product.
Sounds simple. NOT
But if you stick to the principles I’ve mentioned and focus on a specific topic or niche, it’ll be far easier than you think.
There are 3 steps to getting started in the affiliate marketing space:
Step 1: Choose a niche
Pick an industry that you’re either interested in OR one that already has a lot of demand.
DO NOT TRY TO PIONEER A NEW NICHE.
The goal should be to earn enough money to travel and I’m guessing you don’t have a lot to spend.
To pioneer something new might end up costing you more than you’ll earn not to mention the stress you’ll experience from failing (which is unavoidable really).
Stick with a niche or industry that is big enough for you to take a small piece of the money pie!
Do some research.
Look up good keywords that don’t get too little traffic, but also don’t get too much!
Read this article HERE to learn how you can do keyword research.
Once you’ve decided on an industry and niche, then you move onto the next step.
Step 2: Choose a product
To choose a product, you’ll need to join an affiliate network.
Through an affiliate network, you can search through thousands of products and offers that pay you for each sale you bring to them.
You’ll have to apply for approval for each product or service to sell, but once approved, you can then focus on getting traffic over to their sales page which is already made for you by the advertiser.
I recommend joining these networks:
Choosing a product that already has a good amount of sales. Ideally a product that people know already. This will make it much easier to sell.
Step 3: Drive traffic
Now that you have your niche, and you’ve selected your product, you’ll have to get people to look at the offer and buy it.
This is a massive subject that, but let me give you the gist.
Pay for traffic.
Use Facebook Ads, Google Ads, or even YouTube Ads.
You can’t normally drive traffic directly from Facebook or Google directly to a sales page, nor should you.
What you should do is create a simple website on a niche that is closely related to your product.
Then run Ads to the articles on your website. There you can set up banner ads or embed the link to the sales page WITHIN the article itself.
This is probably one of the best ways to earn a substantial income while traveling, but it’ll take a lot of time to research and set up.
There are essentially 4 ways to earn money with YouTube Videos:
- Ads served via the AdSense auction
- Ads sold on a reservation basis via DoubleClick and other YouTube-sold sources
- Selling your own products
- Having a sponsor approach you to advertise their product
The more views you get to your video, the more likely people will click on your ads or purchase your products.
There are two trick to getting massive views on YouTube. You can use one or both:
- Talk about a very specific niche or topic
- HAVE A HUGE PERSONALITY!
Look at these 2 examples of some awesome YouTubers that apply both of these methods:
One of my favorite fitness personalities, Chris Jones records videos damn near every day!
He not only runs AdSense to get paid for clicks, but he also has pre-made workout plans that he sells on a separate website.
THAT’S THE WAY TO DO IT!
Casey is a man I look up to. He posts to his channel DAILY and gets paid BIG by advertisers who want him to promote products for them.
Casey is a great example of how you can build an audience with SHEER PERSONALITY!
You can’t really say he has a niche besides just being himself.
Which is ENTERTAINING TO WATCH.
And in case you’re wondering how long he takes to make his videos…
So the trick to YouTube is to BE ENTERTAINING but probably more importantly…
“If you’re not consistent, you’re non-existent” – Gary Vaynerchuk
I learned a lot from my mistakes and I hope by sharing this with you, you can be better prepared for your next vacation or travel adventure.
When I decided to write about my journey and to share how I made money, I didn’t think about how BIG OF A TOPIC until I started writing it.
I apologize if I left wanting to know more, but I promise you I will write more about this subject.
I at least hope it has opened your eyes to what is possible and sparked enough interest for you to go out and get something started online, even if you’re not traveling at the moment.
Have you ever been in a situation where you were traveling and were running low on cash?
What did you do to make money?