People often ask me “How do you make money as a while you travel?”
It’s the question all aspiring digital nomads want the answer to, and I’m here to share my secrets with you. I started out as a journalist, then moved to communications and public relations, then started blogging when I decided to travel. Being a freelance writer isn’t new, but many people are finding creative ways to take their jobs on the road.
It does take some work, but it is true what they say: it doesn’t feel like work when you love what you do. Here is my unfiltered advice on how to make money while travelling the world.
1. Start a travel blog
Travel blogging has taught me a lot of valuable skills and has enabled me to work while I travel on my own schedule. You can make money by placing Google advertisements on your blog, through affiliate sales or sponsored articles.
You can read my guide on how to start a travel blog here.
2. Book accommodation and tours for your friends
Do your friends always ask you for travel advice? Do you give it to them for free? If you answered yes to both of these questions, you are essentially a travel agent working for free.
You can sign up to affiliate programs with websites such as Booking.com or Agoda where you will earn commission if your friend books via a link you sent them. This comes at no extra cost to them- the affiliate basically pays you a percentage as a way of saying thank you for referring business to their website.
3. Run social media accounts for businesses
Business owners want to focus on running their business rather than spending time on social media promoting it. This is where you come in. Identify businesses that lack a social media presence and offer to set this up for them at a nominal fee. This could lead to ongoing work for you if you offer to manage their channels for them. It’s a win-win; they get more business and you get more work too!
4. Figure out what you want to do, and how you can take it on the road
Blogging has given me me a variety of skills- it taught me social media marketing, SEO, and how to design websites to name a few. I realised as long as I had a Wi-Fi connection I could do all of these things and I could work with clients all over the world. Figure out exactly what it is you want to do, and then brainstorm to see how you can do this job from anywhere.
5. Build your portfolio
Your prospective clients are going to want to see examples of your work to ensure you are the right for them.
- Start a travel blog
- Set up a profile on LinkedIn.
- Volunteer. A good place to start is by asking your friends if they, or anyone they know require your services. When I started writing I wrote one article a month for a student magazine. This experience led to landing a job as a Campus Reporter, which then snowballed into a variety of jobs that gave me many valuable skills.
- Give extreme value for money. If you do not want to volunteer your services, offer a price they cannot refuse. When I started building websites I started with an introductory offer of $499. I booked in three clients that week, and once I had some solid examples of my work, I started attracting even more clients!
6. Work with a company that shares remote work
TravTribe is a business that was created with digital nomads in mind. They recruit travel bloggers, freelance writers, influencers, marketing specialists, graphic designers and creative workers to work on projects for their clients.
The coolest part about TravTribe is that they communicate via Facebook Messenger using a chatbot called TTbot.
TTbot will send you a Facebook message whenever any work that matches your experience becomes available, and you can then bid for the project. I like it because it’s a simple, quick means of communication and there is no back and forth emailing.
The way I see it is the work comes to me, and I can pick whichever projects I would like to work on.
7. Pitch your ideas to publications
I first started my freelancing career by approaching publications I was familiar with and pitching an article idea to them. Most publications will have an email address for the editor or a section on their website where you can submit your story ideas.
The secret to pitching to a publication is to do your research about the publication first. Are they lacking content in a specific area? Perhaps you are pitching to an online travel magazine and they are lacking content on Idaho which you are an expert on. Let’s say Idaho was also named ‘Destination of the Year’ by a huge travel company. That makes your pitch topical.
Make your pitch short and sweet- editors are often very busy. Include your story angle, and why this would be interesting to their readers. If they like your content this may lead to more work in the future.
8. Sponsored articles
Businesses will pay you a commission in exchange for writing about their product or they will provide you with an article to post on your blog. TravTribe also offers affiliate opportunities based on your content and interests.
Businesses tend to seek out individuals for this, but Instagram is a great place to find businesses with interesting products. I have contacted many businesses via Instagram to see if I could review a tour or product they offer in exchange for a review. In my message I will include my follower count and website hits and links to examples of any previous successful partnerships. I will always explain how working with me is beneficial to both parties (e.g. they are paying for marketing in product not dollars which is cost-effective for any business).
If a business contacts me and wants to publish an article on my website, I am very picky and I usually ask for them to send an example first. You don’t want to scare away your audience by publishing something that has no relation to your blog!
Example of a sponsored post:
An example of a sponsored post I did for Jasper Wellness: Last weekend I had an amazing time visiting Jasper. I needed to get away for a wellness weekend, and my first port of call was stretching everything out at @jasperwellness I arrived in Jasper feeling hurried and unsettled, and by the time I walked out of my yoga class I felt rejuvenated, clear headed and inspired. For me, yoga gives me strength both physically and mentally. If you’re ever in Jasper make sure you take a class at Jasper Wellness- they run a variety of yoga classes every day. They also offer massage, and sell gemstones and jewelery made by local Canadian artists. Plus the centre smells amazing! Check out their classes by visiting jasperwellness.ca
9. Back yourself
As a digital nomad you are working without the company of others, which can often lead to procrastination; you don’t have people to show your work to, bounce ideas off or seek validation.
If you master your mind, you will have no problems becoming a successful digital nomad.
I hope this gave you some ideas on how to land gigs as a digital nomad. Did you land any work from the advice given in this article? Comment below!