Digital Nomad Jobs for Beginners: How to Earn While Exploring the Globe

So, how do I make money while traveling?

This is one of the most common questions we receive from newbie nomads or friends from home. Everyone is so curious… “Is it really possible to make money while on the road? And if so, how?”

After nearly a decade of experience, I can say with 100% certainty, the answer is yes and I’m here to show you how. 

While a few of you may already have some epic online skills, this article is for those of us that haven’t much experience in working while on the road.

Below, we’ve explored some of what we think are the best (and easiest) digital nomad jobs for beginners. 

But first, what makes a job ideal for digital nomad beginner?

While there are many lucrative ways to make money online, we’re not going to encourage a new digital nomad to pitch themselves as an expert in coding websites or a drone videographer. Unless of course, you can do those things!

Beginners need a way to get a foot in the door, to start making money while they level up their skills (and rates) to fully sustain a life on the road.

Here are some factors that make a job ideal for a digital nomad beginner:

Jump to a Job

1. Freelance Writing

One of our favorite digital nomad jobs for beginners is freelance writing.

Theoretically, anyone can write, but it requires a more specific skillset to write content that engages, inspires, informs, and entertains.

As a freelance writer, you’ll produce content for various intents and on different platforms. From blog posts, interviews and social media captions to ebooks and marketing copy. This job typically requires nothing more than a laptop, an internet connection, and a passion for creating compelling copy.

Remember, it is not one-size-fits-all in the freelance writing world. Identify your areas of expertise and preferred content formats, then start to network.

Your unique writing style and tone of voice might be exactly what somebody is looking for!

Digital Nomad Jobs for Beginners - Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is an excellent side gig or full time job.

Image credit: Unsplash

Suitability for Beginners

Why is freelance writing a great choice for digital nomad newbies?

It’s simple. Everyone has a story to tell or knowledge to share. You don’t need a journalism degree or years of experience to be able to write. What matters most is your unique voice, dedication to honing your craft, and an understanding of who you’re writing for.

Required Skills

  • Proficiency in Grammar and Spelling: While tools like Grammarly can assist, a solid grasp of language fundamentals is essential.
  • Research Skills: To create authoritative and factual content, you’ll need to be excellent at fact-finding and fact-checking. 
  • Time Management: Juggling multiple assignments will require effective time management and planning. 

Desirable Skills

  • SEO Knowledge: Knowing how to craft SEO-friendly content can make you so much more valuable. Master this skill, and you’ll know how to get content ranking highly in search engines like Google. 
  • Niche Expertise: While not mandatory, expertise in a specific niche can open doors to higher-paying gigs.
  • Client Communication: Build a rapport and lead with clear communication to create long-lasting, healthy client relationships.

How to Get Started​

Some of the best ways to land a gig is to simply reach out and ask!

If you want to write for a particular website, find their ‘contact’ or ‘contribute’ page, and let them know you’re interested. Whether it’s paid work or just an opportunity to build your writing portfolio, any experience helps to secure more work in the future.

If your goal is to land a paid gig, we recommend writing a few sample articles that you can submit with your application. That way, the publisher can gain an understanding of your writing style, tone of voice, and skillset. These articles don’t need to be published anywhere, they are just to showcase your ability to write. 

Another option is to take a look at platforms like Upwork to get a better sense of what the world of freelancing is like. Here, you can easily search for jobs or add your CV, to get noticed by employers. 

Finally, it’s worth joining writing groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. At the very least, it’s a place to get support, job leads, and feedback from fellow writers.

p.s. We’re looking for writers to join the #DNGCollective. Get in touch here!

Real Life: In 2013, I created a few websites and landed a freelance writing gig from a huge magazine in Florida with a monthly readership of 50,000 subscribers. They found me via my social media and fitness blog, and reached out! 

Don't be scared to put yourself out there. As you can see, it can really pay off!

2. Online Teaching & Tutoring

Online teaching or tutoring revolves around holding virtual classes or providing other educational assistance in some way. This is usually through a scheduled video call, but not always.

Whether it’s helping a high school student with calculus, teaching a non-native speaker English, or providing guidance to somebody to learn a new musical instrument – there are plenty of students who want to learn, and plenty of methods for teaching.

Digital Nomad Jobs - Teaching English
Online tutoring, especially teaching English can be so rewarding (and fun!).

Suitability for Beginners

Getting into online teaching is usually pretty easy and straightforward, especially if you have proficiency in a particular subject or skill.

Past teaching experience is often a plus, but not a requirement.

There are plenty of platforms that offers jobs as well as websites to pitch your services. We’ve covered that in the ‘How to Get Started’ section below.

Required Skills

  • Subject Mastery: It’s essential to be well-versed in the subject you’re teaching, but remember that there are a variety of topics to assist with from calculus, to coding, to teaching English as a foreign language.
  • Communication: Being able to explain concepts effectively over a video call is key.
  • Patience: Every student learns at their own pace, so patience can certainly go a long way, particularly when teaching younger children!

Desirable Skills

  • Interactive Tools Proficiency: Use digital whiteboards or interactive quizzes to elevate the learning experience.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Understand the backgrounds of your students to foster a more inclusive teaching environment.
  • Feedback Collection: Actively seek feedback to help refine your teaching methods.

How to Get Started​

You can certainly find work as a freelance teacher, but you’ll most likely have the best success starting with a dedicated platform such as VIPKid, Tutor.com, or iTalki.

Alternatively, search Upwork for tutoring opportunities or build your own website and market yourself. 

Private tutoring is significantly more lucrative, however working for a company such as VIPKid does take all the headache out of it by handling all the admin, finding clients, scheduling, and payment. They also provide an interactive online classroom and curriculum.

Real Life: I taught English for VIPKid from 2017 until 2021, while also using a variety of other platforms, and offering private tutoring services via Zoom.

Teaching English used to be a well-paying job (around $22+ per hour), but these days, it appears most companies pay around $14 per hour.

Still good though, especially if you're just starting out!

3. Social Media Management

If you don’t know what social media management is, can I assume that you live under a rock?!

Social media management is one of the fastest growing online jobs, and for good reason. Everyone (and every brand) has a social media account these days. Social media mangers are tasked to represent brands across various social media platforms through content creation, scheduling, posting, engaging with followers, and analyzing performance metrics to enhance a brand’s online presence.

Digital Nomad Jobs for Beginners - Social media management
Love scrolling? Social media management may be the perfect job for you!

Image credit: Unsplash

Suitability for Beginners

If you grew up using social media, then this might be the perfect job for you!

While growing a brand is slightly different than growing a personal account, some similar concepts still apply.

The key to getting started in social media management is understanding the different platforms and how they function. If you’ve ever maintained a personal brand or even a content-rich personal profile, you’re already one step ahead.

For beginners, it’s more about intuition, staying updated, and understanding brand voices.

Required Skills

  • Platform Proficiency: Know-how of the intricacies of various social media sites.
  • Content Curation: Ability to select or create fitting content for a brand.
  • Analytical Mindset: Interpreting metrics to optimize future posts.

Desirable Skills

  • Copywriting: Crafting compelling captions that align with the brand voice.
  • Trend Forecasting: Staying ahead of digital trends to keep content fresh and engaging.
  • Customer Engagement: Responding to comments, messages, and handling potential crises with grace.

How to Get Started​

Starting on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork can give beginners a feel for market demands, by either directly applying for suitable jobs, or listing their CV (and portfolio) for companies to reach out.

A top tip for newbies is to build up a portfolio of work as soon as possible. This will show potential clients how many jobs you’ve worked, the type of work you’ve done and the success rate.

New nomads may also consider posting in Facebook groups to offer social media services to small businesses.

Real Life: While it wasn't a digital nomad job, in 2015 I worked as a digital marketing specialist for big brands such as the City of Fort Lauderdale, FLL Airport, and Nickelodeon Resorts.

My best advice?

Get organized and fall in love with the numbers. Analytics, reporting, and understanding algorithms will help your clients see success.

4. Sell Digital Products

Have you ever purchased an online course? Even something as simple as a $7.99 eBook or download?

If so, then you’re the proud owner of a digital product.

Digital product sellers create valuable content or tools and sell them online. This includes e-books, online courses, stock photos, digital art, software, or even templates for various purposes.

Digital Nomad Jobs for Beginners - Selling digital products
Selling digital products is the ultimate scalable moneymaker online.

Image credit: Unsplash

Suitability for Beginners

There is very little barrier to entry here.

If you know how to create something online, then you can certainly sell it. The trick is to get your product in front of the right market. 

We’ve many nomad friends who have great success in using Canva to create templates or ebooks and sell them as products on Etsy, Shopify, their social media accounts, or branded website. 

If you’re proficient in a specific skill, creating an online course or eBook to help others learn could be a great fit for you.

Just remember, the trick here is learning how to market yourself.

Required Skills

  • Proficiency in Your Niche: Be it writing, designing, programming, or teaching – your product’s quality is paramount.
  • Digital Marketing Basics: Know how to get your product in front of potential buyers.
  • Customer Orientation: Ensure satisfaction for repeat business and referrals.

Desirable Skills

  • SEO Understanding: To ensure your product page ranks well on search engines.
  • Feedback Receptivity: Use reviews to improve and refine your products.
  • Networking: Build relationships with other digital sellers or platforms for promotions.

How to Get Started​

There are so many ways to get started depending on the product you want to create.

Brainstorm ideas of what you’d like to create and find a way to start. Canva is an excellent free tool to create templates, ebooks, social media campaigns, and more. 

Also, platforms like Gumroad and Teachable, are beginner-friendly and provide extensive resources to create and sell digital products.

Engaging in online communities related to your niche can also be invaluable, offering both exposure and feedback.

Real Life: While I haven't made passive income from digital products (yet), it used to be a vital part of my coaching and consulting company, allowing me to provide additional resources to my clients. 

Also, Jonny is a *whiz* at creating and leveraging digital assets for the companies he partners with. We really should start selling them...

5. Virtual Assistance

Have you ever thought, “I really wish I had someone to help me with this?”

Well, that’s exactly what virtual assistants (VAs) do!

They take on a variety of roles and tasks to help businesses or business owners stay focused and productive.

Virtual assistants usually support businesses or individuals by remotely handling administrative tasks. These may include managing emails, scheduling meetings, and data entry, as wel as more specialized tasks such as social media management or customer service.

If you’ve got a knack for organization and a keen eye for detail, then a role as a VA might be a great fit for you.

Jack of all trades? Virtual assistance may be the perfect fit for you.

Image credit: Unsplash

Suitability for Beginners

If you can keep track of your life, you can most likely keep track of someone else’s, too.

There are very few skills to learn to get started, as most of the tasks are contextual and learn on the job/as you go.

Picking a VA role is a logical choice for beginners keen on exploring the digital nomad lifestyle. It’s versatile, doesn’t demand any specific qualifications, and often, your current skills can be leveraged.

Essentially, if you’re organized, proactive, and have solid communication skills, then becoming a VA is a great choice.

Required Skills

  • Organizational Ability: Managing multiple tasks seamlessly.
  • Communication Prowess: Being articulate and clear in both written and verbal forms.
  • Basic Tech Savviness: Proficiency in tools like Microsoft Office, Google Suite, and scheduling software.

Desirable Skills

  • Multitasking: Be able to handle different tasks concurrently without compromising on quality.
  • Quick Learning: Pick up new tools or software as per client needs.
  • Problem-solving: Address issues autonomously whenever possible.

How to Get Started​

Starting on platforms dedicated to freelancing, such as Upwork or Virtual Assistant Forums, can be an advantageous step.

As with many roles, networking is a significant part. Engage in VA communities, attend webinars, and always be open to learning more.

Also, if there is a business owner you think you can be of service to, consider sending your CV and pitching them with your VA services. Be sure to outline the scope of your work, your rate, and how you can add value (i.e., save them time and increase their revenue) by hiring you!

Real Life: I've accidentally fallen into the role of VA in several businesses. What started out as helping a friend with a project, turned into much more responsibility and project scope. Since organization, systems management, customer service, and accounting come easy to me, they quickly became my role in several businesses. 

The key to acquiring more work... ask for it

6. Microtasks & Online Surveys

This is a simple side gig that can add to your income, but I wouldn’t consider it a full-time job.

Microtasks are small, simple tasks that computers can’t yet perform, such as image recognition or data verification. Online surveys, on the other hand, involve sharing your opinions on various topics, brands, or products in exchange for monetary rewards or vouchers.

There are tons of websites to complete these tasks. We’ll get into these more in the sections below. 

Digital Nomad Jobs for Beginners - microtasks and online surveys
Online surveys are an easy way to fill a few hours.

Image credit: Unsplash

Suitability for Beginners

This job is a dream for beginners, as there are no prerequisites or skills needed – usually just a computer and some spare time.

With the freedom to work as much or as little as desired, this can be an excellent addition to a digital nomad’s income stream, however I would not consider this a full-time gig. 

Required Skills

  • Attention to Detail: Especially important for tasks that require accuracy.
  • Basic Computer Proficiency: Navigating platforms and filling out surveys smoothly.
  • Honesty: Giving genuine feedback in surveys.

Desirable Skills

  • Speed: Completing tasks quickly can maximize earnings.
  • Adaptability: Switching between different types of tasks efficiently.

How to Get Started​

For a promising start, consider platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk for microtasks and sites like Survey Junkie or Swagbucks for surveys.

A quick Google search can help you find surveys, quick tasks, review sites, and more. There are tons out there! But as always, be cautious and conduct due diligence to avoid potential scams.

Real Life: I've got nothing here, sorry guys!

7. Affiliate Marketing

The ultimate set it and forget it!

Affiliate marketing is the art of promoting products or services from other companies through strategically placed links on your website, social accounts or other marketing channels.

For example: If I’m talking to you about backpacks, and I suggest a backpack that I use, the link provided may be an affiliate link, which means if you click the link and buy the product, then I get a small commission.

It often benefits both parties, as the affiliate seller makes a small commission and the purchasers often get a discount.

The trick here is knowing when (and how) to promote a product.

Some websites and brands do an excellent job promoting products they love, providing fair reviews and honest information, whereas other sites are filled with spammy links and unsupported reviews.

If you’re looking to get into affiliate marketing, become a trusted source through honesty and integrity.

The beauty of affiliate marketing is that once you have things set up, much of the income can be passive.

Digital Nomad Jobs for Beginners - affiliate marketing
If you can hustle to get traffic, this is an excellent long term source of income.

Image credit: Unsplash

Suitability for Beginners

For the digital nomad just setting out, affiliate marketing can be a bit more difficult. However, it’s ideal if you already have a blog, social media presence, or platform where you can share recommendations.

Even if you’re starting from scratch, with dedication, it’s wholly attainable. Just remember to clearly disclose any partnerships, sponsorships, or affiliate relationships you make.

Required Skills

  • Persuasiveness: Ability to genuinely promote and recommend products.
  • Basic SEO Knowledge: To optimize content for search engines and drive traffic.
  • Content Creation: Craft engaging content that entices readers to click on your affiliate links.

Desirable Skills

  • Networking: Build relationships with brands and other affiliate marketers.
  • Analytical Skills: Understand which products resonate with your audience and optimize your strategy accordingly.

How to Get Started​

The easiest way to get started is with Amazon Associates, as they accept nearly every application to promote their products.

If there is anything on Amazon that catches your eye, you simply click the floating toolbar to get your customized affiliate link and add it to your website, blog, or social channels. 

If you want to branch out beyond Amazon, consider applying to affiliate platforms such as CJ or ShareASale, or directly with companies by looking for an ‘affiliate’ application on their website. 

Remember, the key is to recommend products you truly believe in, ensuring trustworthiness with your audience.

Real Life: I created a Health and Fitness blogging website in 2014 and while the site no longer exists, I still earn affiliate commissions from some of the subscription-based products purchased nearly 10 years ago!

How crazy is that?

In 2023, I earned $800 USD from a website that has been shut off since 2016

8. Graphic Design

Are you an artist?

Graphic design could be your calling! Graphic designers use typography, images, color, and layout to create compelling visuals. These can range from logos and branding materials to website designs, advertisements, and digital assets for social media.

There is so much variety on the internet.

Don’t get stuck thinking you need to be good at drawing to excel in graphic design. If you’ve got an eye for design, layout, or color schemes, you could excel in graphic design. 

Digital Nomad Jobs for Beginners - graphic design
Who said you can't make money doodling?!

Image credit: Unsplash

Suitability for Beginners

Newbies, fear not! There are tons of resources and tools tailored for those just starting out in graphic design.

Canva hosts an overwhelming amount of free tutorials to understand branding, color palettes, and more. While a keen eye for aesthetics helps, even those without formal training can carve out a space in graphic design by leveraging these tools and continuous learning. 

Required Skills

  • Creativity: A natural flair for design and a good sense of aesthetics.
  • Proficiency with Design Software: Tools like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign are industry staples.
  • Attention to Detail: Ensure designs are polished and free of errors.

Desirable Skills

  • Time Management: Manage multiple projects and meeting deadlines.
  • Communication: Interact with clients and understand their requirements.

How to Get Started​

New graphic designers can benefit immensely from platforms like Canva or Figma, which offer user-friendly interfaces and practically no barrier to entry.

If you’re looking to get started, I’d suggest a quick Google search to identify different types of graphic design and niches such as branding, web design, and more. Once you’ve determined the niche you’re interested in, consider taking a course (free or paid) to hone your skills.

Building a portfolio will definitely help when first starting out.

Remember, this can be free work you’ve done for clients (or for fun), to showcase what you’re capable of. 

Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr can allow you to search for jobs as well as post your CV. While we personally haven’t used Behance or Dribbble, these come highly recommended by creatives in the field. 

So, are you ready to get started in one of these digital nomad jobs for beginners?

If you’ve made it to the end of the article, then I’d assume you’re fully committed to making this digital nomad lifestyle work for you… and we’re here to help!

This site is all about helping others gain the information and skills to work online and travel the world, hopefully making their dreams come true. 

If you’re contemplating whether or not to start your own gig as a freelancer or apply for a remote position, we’re got two resources that can help you out!

Starting your own company? Our business tools resources has everything we use to run our website and businesses online. There’s tons of information (maybe too much), but you’ll certainly be able to get started. 

Looking for work? Check out our job resources page for job boards, learning and skill development resources, and side gigs. 

Got a question? Leave us a comment and we’d be happy to help! 

Want to work for/with us? Get in touch on our contact page to join the #DNGCollective.

Max quit her corporate job in 2013 to take a chance building businesses online while traveling the world. Armed with an adventurous spirit and a can-do attitude, Max has traveled to more than 50 countries, embracing slow travel as a digital nomad and long-term living in places such as Thailand, India, Nepal, and Indonesia. Max currently resides in Bali where she oversees content creation for DNG as our resident travel aficionado.
Picture of Max Pankow
Max Pankow
Max quit her corporate job in 2013 to take a chance building businesses online while traveling the world. Armed with an adventurous spirit and a can-do attitude, Max has traveled to more than 50 countries, embracing slow travel as a digital nomad and long-term living in places such as Thailand, India, Nepal, and Indonesia. Max currently resides in Bali where she oversees content creation for DNG as our resident travel aficionado.

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