Ever since I am traveling long term, every other week I receive a specific message on my Facebook chat. Every time it’s a friend or a friend of a friend, asking me how I am able to make money while traveling. Well, I decided to reveal my secrets in this blog post!
Make money online while traveling
Our main source of income is the freelance work that I do online. I work as a content writer and social media manager for the website Moveria.nl. I will explain you how I came to find this job. 2 years ago I quit my fulltime job in customer service to finally start traveling. After 6 months of travel my money started to run out. And I did not want to stop my journey! I had to find a solution to earn some money on the go. I was sure there had to be a way to do this online. I started Googling and found the platform Upwork.
Upwork is a website that connects freelancers and clients for all sorts of online work. Jobs you find on Upwork include translation, copy writing, web design, data entry, customer service and much much more. The competition of other freelancers on Upwork is large, so I have to admit that it’s not easy to find well paying jobs on there. But, if you are very serious about your online work, you have some skills and you know how to present yourself online, then I am sure you can make some money there.
So I made my profile on Upwork and offered myself as a customer service professional and translator (English/German/Dutch). I applied for dozens and dozens of jobs, until after a few weeks I finally got hired for one. It was a very lastminute job to create Dutch subtitles for a documentary. I accepted immediately and did not sleep for 2 nights to finish the job on time. As shitty as that first job was, it got me my first review on my profile. After that first review it got easier to get other little jobs. New jobs gave me new reviews and after about 6 months I had built a very good reputation. I no longer had to apply for jobs, but instead clients started asking me to work for them! I found two long term clients who both offered me ongoing work. At that point I realized that I could live from this. Which is what I am doing until today.
If you decide to try out Upwork, remember that you have to take it serious! Put a lot of time in creating a perfect profile. Upload examples of your work, take the skill tests, promote yourself, send a lot of applications. Know that in the first months you will have to do many low paid jobs to build your reputation. It takes a lot of time and patience. But if you want to do it, it’s possible!
One important thing to note is that in online work your competition is global. There are tons of talented people in other parts of the world, who have the same skills as you but are willing to work for a much lower rate. I solved this problem by specifically looking for jobs in my native language Dutch. Of course there are less jobs offered in Dutch than in English, but the competition is far less and my competitors are working for similar rates as I am. So if you are fluent in another language besides English, take advantage of it!
Work remote for your current or former boss
Sometimes opportunities to make money while traveling are closer than you think. What about asking your boss if you can work from ‘home’? It may sound impossible, but this is exactly what I did! In the early days of my online career, I decided to tell my ex-boss about my travel experiences. I had quit my job in his customer service center a few months earlier and I knew he had been sad to see me leave the company. I told him that I was currently in Brazil and totally into this new thing of online work. I asked him if there were any tasks in the company that I could do from a distance. To my surprise he liked the idea. He knew online work was the future and he was happy to try it out with me. After a short trial period where I did a few little jobs for him as a freelancer, he even offered me a part time contract again. This allowed me to enjoy all the securities of a steady job, while being able to travel. Not bad huh!
The bottom line is: just ask! You never know what comes out of it!
Here you can read more tips to ask your boss if you can work from ‘home’.
Earn money by doing jobs on the spot
While I am the digital girl, Crom is the practical guy. He always finds ways to make money while traveling by helping local people or businesses. When he sees a store front full of ugly graffiti tags, he offers the store owner to cover it with a nice 3D painting. When we are staying on a campsite, he helps the owners with construction work. These things do not always bring in money, but they always bring us free food and free places to stay. But again, the clue here is to just ask! Ask business owners if they need help with something, your help will always give you something back in return! If it’s not money or food, it will at least be a good experience and new friends
We also have regularly been using the website Workaway for this. On Workaway you can find places to volunteer in exchange for free food and housing. We always work out a deal where Crom works double hours as a volunteer (6-8 daily hours), so he earns food and free stays for the both of us. This way I can continue my online work and we can spend the money I earn on improving the van, diesel and fun stuff.
Another digital nomad couple that is very good at trading skills for freebies are the Dutch Digital Nomadz. On their blog they explain exactly how they find jobs during their travels. We can still learn a lot from them as well!
Do you have questions about making money while traveling, or do you have other tips to earn money during a trip? Then please leave a comment. We would love to hear from you!