The Expat Experiment’s primary goal is to research and share ways to make travel more accessible for everyone. One thing we are particularly passionate about is teaching others different ways to make money online. We know how freeing online work can be as doing so facilitates our nomadic lifestyle.
We are delighted to share this guest post by David Hutchison. He has a lot of experience with making money from a laptop! This great article outlines various ways David uses to create location independent income.
A common scene when you travel is seeing other tourists flooding to an area where there is free WiFi. Some are checking their emails, some are checking their social media accounts, and some have the luxury of working remotely from that very location.
The internet is full of ways to make money. Many of these ways require little skill, meaning anyone with an internet connection can do them. Many businesses are also seeing the benefit of hiring workers remotely. I am now part of this movement, although some of the methods I use to make money online are well known but discussed little.
The problem with articles like this is that far too many sites specify very general ways to make money that aren’t applicable for everyone. Examples include creating a blog, creating a YouTube channel, sell photos, get Instagram famous… Yes, these things can work. But half the time, luck does play a role and unless you’re a professional photographer, you’re probably not going to find a lot of success.
In this article, I’ll discuss some real ways that you can use to start money online now. You’ll quickly learn that anyone can make money online while traveling (and have fun while doing it).
The best ways make money online while traveling
If you want to start making money online, freelancing is a great way to get started. This is basically like working as an online contractor on a project where you complete work for pay.
The work can vary and can be anything from writing an article, creating a graphic logo or something more technical if you have other skills. This is why freelancing is so great – there is literally a job to suit everyone. No matter what your skill base is, you’ll find something to freelance about.
I’ve had a lot of success with freelance writing. Initially, I would charge $25 per hour per hour it took me to write an article, but these days I can charge much more. Remember – people understand that they get what they pay for. I would provide researched, in-depth articles on whatever topic was specified, so people were willing to pay for this information.
The only problem with freelancing is that ongoing work is difficult to find. However, if you provide high-quality work, you can find well-paying roles. Doing so will help you to spend less time working and more time enjoying traveling.
After you’ve created your profile, and specified your interests and skill base, begin applying for a few paid jobs that guarantee 5-star feedback upon completion. This way, you’ll be able to build a really great profile for yourself.
Once you have a few quality reviews, you can start applying for higher paying roles and see where freelancing can take you.
One of the methods I’ve had the most success with had been paid online surveys. This is one of the more unconventional ways I use to make money while traveling, but it works.
There are thousands of companies looking to survey members of the general public. The information they need is valuable – they know their consumer base is essential for the success of a new product. This is why companies are willing to pay you for online surveys. Big decisions can potentially be made with this data.
These paid surveys are hosted on survey sites (I write about these here) where literally anyone can apply and start making money, and if you can differentiate yourself from the rest by providing quality data, you can do really well.
What do I mean? A lot of people give up after a bit of a slow start. Others don’t take it seriously and simply select answers to the questions at random. While this gets the survey done quicker, these surveys have methods of fishing out inconsistencies – there goes your credibility.
How much can you earn? You can earn anywhere from $10-$50 per hour just doing online surveys. While this may not sound like a lot, how much money do you really need while enjoying a massage on a beach in Thailand? Probably a lot less than while you’re at home. There are also loads of opportunities for more work – I get emailed surveys daily.
Complete any survey you are offered to take part in, even if it doesn’t pay a lot. Be as honest and open as you possibly can and read every question carefully. This way you’ll quickly spark their algorithm as a reliable source of information, and the offers will come rolling in.
If you have never heard of a niche site, they are basically a website that is designed for the specific purpose to earn money.
If the idea of building your own website sounds daunting, don’t let it overwhelm you. It’s actually a very simple process and if you do get stuck, Google is always there to help. I built my first site without any knowledge of the process.
Niche sites have a limited amount of content which makes them super easy to build and maintain, and they take a limited amount of time to start earning money.
How do you make money with niche sites? Usually via Amazon affiliates or Google Adsense sites. If you’re not aware, Amazon will pay you for referring people to pages on their site. If that person makes a purchase, you’ll earn a commission. Amazon affiliate sites tend to make a lot more but do depend on the niche you choose.
The reason I love making money with niche sites is that there is a formula to follow. Everything is well researched eliminating any doubt that what you’re working on won’t work.
Of course, this is fiddlier than other ways of making money online, but if you do it successfully, you can potentially make a lot of money – at least $1000 per month, per site.
How to get started now
Building a niche site is a long process and it would be difficult for me to summarize everything here. There are some great case studies at Digital Nomad Wannabe that go through the entire process of building a niche site.
Did you know that you can get paid to test software? The user experience is often the most important part of developing any application or software, and the only way to know if it works for users is to test it.
Once an app is built, it takes time to work out the quirks and to see what works and what doesn’t. You can help in this process. Once you apply to become a tester, you’ll be able to give your feedback in return for pay.
I usually get paid about $5-6 per review. They usually take no longer than 15 minutes which is the be the equivalent to $20 per hour. Not bad!
How to get started now
First, sign up to a user testing site such as usertesting.com. Once your application is approved you can start giving your feedback whenever you have the chance.
Try and be detailed in your approach so that you are seen as a quality tester.
Short attention span? Want to earn money in 15 minutes or less? Microworking is could be the thing for you. I think the digital age has given rise to a growing number of us only wanting to work small amounts at a time. And luckily now we can!
Microwork involves doing a very small, quick task that basically saves someone else from having to do it. As you can imagine, there are a lot of things like this that can be seen microwork. For me, it usually involves transcribing some data into word.
You can find many other opportunities to complete tasks that take a small portion of time (generally around 15 minutes) which means you can spend less time working and more time traveling. However, the pay is usually small – but it reflects the difficulty of the overall work!
How to get started now
You can sign up to MicroWorkers now and get a feel for the type of work offered. If you see a job that interests you, apply for it. Note that you need to get in quick – jobs don’t last long!
Find a company willing to hire you online
I’m now lucky enough to work completely from the comfort of my laptop. I don’t have an office I have to sit in and I don’t have a daily commute along with it. I work as an assistant to a blogger, and the benefits this has for me are more than I can list.
Granted, these positions are harder to secure because a lot of people want them, and it can be difficult to differentiate yourself from others looking for them online. Having the freedom to work when you want and where you want are seen as luxuries desirable to many. But with a good approach, you can make almost any job location independent.
Many of the sites that list these jobs simply list transcribing positions, which can be good but they also require little skill, and because of this, pay little. You can take a more direct approach by looking for positions that offer this from the get go.
How to get started now
Look for positions on sites that hire people online. You can sign up to CrowdSource and studioD to find these. You can also find positions to work abroad at Jobbatical – although these positions aren’t always location independent.
One of the best things about being location independent is the lack of clutter it brings to your life. You’ll quickly realize you have more time to live and less time to work. Time isn’t taken up by a daily commute and consequently, you need less money.
You’ll also learn that learn if you can work from anywhere, your money will stretch a lot further than it ever could at home.
Don’t let anything stop you from getting started. I recommend trying every method above and seeing which one works best for you. It could very well be the best thing you’ve ever done!
David writes about his experiences making money online at Paid Surveys Fanatic. He has been able to give up his 9 to 5 job by working creatively to make money online. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.