I always dreamed about traveling around the world and being able to earn money while doing so. It’s a goal I’ve had for years as I was working in various full-time jobs. I don’t know about you, but having to go every day to the same office, months and years at a time, was a soul-crushing activity for me.
What made it even worse for me, was not the fact that I wasn’t living my dream. But the fact that I wasn’t living it AND that it was possible to do it. If it were impossible, I would have just brushed it away and go on working a 9 to 5. But knowing that it was within my reach was truly eating me on the inside.
How did I know it was possible? Because countless other people have proved it to be. Thousands, no, hundreds of thousands of people were already doing it! So why couldn’t I?
After a low point in life, in my early 30s I realized that time is quickly passing by and if I were ever to do this, this should be the moment. I had no obligations, I was free of debt so I just dove in. The easiest way for me at that time to earn on the go was freelancing. It turned out to be my springboard, and after I started with, I never looked back.
How to start earning with freelancing
There are numerous ways to make money online while traveling, but from my point of view, freelancing is the easiest for people new to this. When it comes to freelancing there are basically two different categories:
- people with prior experience in something that has a market demand
- people with absolutely no working experience
I was fortunate enough to start freelancing from the first category. I had a quite a strong experience with digital marketing prior to that, so I knew what I wanted to do.
BUT even in the case that you don’t really have any type of experience, freelancing is still a good way to start earning while traveling long term. There are a bunch of skills that can be learned very quickly. Enough to start getting some consistent work (although maybe not highly paid at first).
An example of a skill that’s quick to learn is copywriting. Here’s an article from Danny Margulies, a self-made copywriter in which he explains the exact steps you need to take in order to start on this path.
However, there are numerous other jobs you can do as a freelancer with little or no previous experience:
- Proofreading – where you need to check documents, web pages or apps in order to make sure there are no mistakes in their texts
- Data entry – definitely a repetitive job and not very well paid, but it can still be a solution for starting as a freelancer
- Customer support – a lot of companies outsource their support. This means you could be in charge of answering client emails or calls
- Teach English online – if you’re a native speaker, you can teach English to foreign students. Here’s a list of online platforms where you can apply.
If you’re looking to develop a skill that’s better paid and you can invest some time in practicing it, you can always find online courses that can help you get proficient at it. Platforms such as Skillshare or Udemy, are great resources for learning new skills.
Some of the better-paid freelancing gigs which you can learn using the above-mentioned platforms, but which take longer to master are:
- Web Developer – there will always be a demand for developers. You might want to start with front-end development, as it has a lower learning curve
- Designer (graphic/UX/web) – designers are another very sought after type of freelancer. They also have more flexibility in terms of places to find clients. If you have artistic inclinations, this skill might be for you
- Digital Marketer – this is a vast domain and you might want to choose a single direction at first. SEO, social media management and paid media (PPC) are some of the most popular for beginners
But having a marketable skill is just the first step in making money while traveling the world. Which leads us to:
How to find paying clients
Obviously, the easiest way to find clients is to reach out to your existing network of people: friends, family, ex-colleagues etc. Since they already know you, they could recommend you to any job opportunity they might know of.
But the staple of finding client work, especially if you’re just starting out are freelancing sites such as Upwork. This is where I found some of my first freelance clients. And to this day I still have business coming via Upwork.
Though lately, this platform has been quite restrictive to new accounts. So you might have problems getting your account accepted to start with. If this is the case, then just create profiles on similar sites such as PeoplePerHour or Freelancer.
I know what you’re thinking at this point:
How will I be able to compete with no experience against other freelancers that charge less than I’m willing to work for?
This is a common question/concern of new freelancers. The key lies in the 2 Ps: Profile and Proposal. If you know how to create a compelling profile, then you can easily stand out among other freelancers. And if you know how to send a convincing proposal, then you’re among the top 10% applicants.
You see, a LOT of people on these sites don’t really bother to work on their profile and proposals. So this is your chance to shine.
The place where I learned how to best sell my skills online is 3M1K by Niall Doherty. I can’t recommend this course enough, especially for beginners. But I found a LOT of value in it as well, even if I had previous experience of a marketable skill.
A few months after starting this course, I began earning a steady income from my freelancing gigs. And after a while, I managed to quit my 9-to-5 job and started my travels by going to Chiang Mai for 3 months.
This wraps it up. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.