I often find myself stumbling upon nomads and travelers websites, basically on a weekly basis. I always ask myself the same question when my brain is too tired to read anymore and I’m already at the breaking point of jealousy haha. That question is “How did you find a job like yours?” I’ve asked so many people how they found their job or what does their job mean and most of them never really give me a good response. It seems most people are just advertising themselves on their blog or website like they are trying to help people, but in reality they have no starting point or guidelines. You don’t seem that way at all and your posts and online aura are so positive and personal. You write professionally but you have such a down to earth side in every post and it’s awesome. So back to my question. Coming from someone who’s traveled four continents, me, I really am interested in your lifestyle because of your positivity. You say that you work remotely as a social media manager. What does that entail? How did you get that job and what exactly do you do? How do you get such a job like this or any job remotely? Do you have a degree or any certificates or is it more about who you know?
I am so interested in this because I’ve seen a lot of countries and I, just like you, LOVE culture. I stayed in Japan for four months (two trips in total) because I wanted to really stay there and see the culture and meet people in the neighborhood I was staying in. I understand your love for staying long lengths of time so you can fall in love the country you’re in.
How do you do it? How can I do it?
Trisha: Derek, I didn’t have any life plans when I left home to travel the world but I made things happen for me. I met a lot of travelers on the road who are called Digital Nomads. At first, I didn’t understand how this really works. Can I really work from anywhere in the world? I asked. Then I started researching about jobs online. I have a degree in Fashion and there was no way I can use that because I only stay in one country for three months max. I’d like to keep moving so when I found my Social Media Management job on onlinejobs.ph, I made sure I studied about social media marketing. I took online courses and read a lot to master the craft.
From then on, I told myself: this job keeps me on the road so I will try my best to keep it. And I did. I am still working for the same company ever since I left home to travel the world.
My job includes handling/maintaining Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus accounts of over 40 clients. I decide what to post plus weekly social media marketing strategies like giveaways, hashtags and other things that catch the eye of the audience. I also set goals such as targeted number of followers in a month and audience interaction level. It’s not an easy job however, I found that I am really interested in this field regardless of not having a degree related to it. The will and drive will always be important. It will make you do anything!
I think the best way to find an online job is to think of your skills: What am I really good at? Writing, Marketing, Webmaster, Graphics, Programming, Finance & Management, Admin Support and Real Estate are the main fields of remote working. To lessen overhead expenses, most US-based companies prefer their employees to work from home and there are tons of companies who are hiring all year round.
When you are on the road and want to travel forever, you will always find a way on how to keep yourself from coming home. Aside from working online, I also teach English and volunteer. I do a lot of things but I am happy about it so I guess that’s all that matters. My blog also earns a little money from advertising and affiliate marketing so you might want to try blogging as well. I also do some freelance stuff aka contractual projects which lasts up to 6-mos. Some of my freelance jobs include translating, writing a video script and/or campaign commercials. These short-term projects earns up to $800/month and can go higher if you want to apply as a regular. I am not sure what are your skills but you should take it from there. What are you good at? Can you work with computers? Arts? Anything is possible as long as you’re willing to adjust.
Good luck and may the force be with you!
Margherita: I’ve been asking myself the same question for years. How do these people manage to travel the world non-stop? And actually get PAID to travel? After ‘taking the leap’ just over a year ago, I came to the conclusion that most location-independent jobs are not jobs you find – they’re jobs you create for yourself.
I think the first step is trying to find what you’re good at. I don’t think degrees or certificates are necessary at this stage. For example, degrees in social media management have been around only a few years, and social media geniuses have very diverse backgrounds – in marketing, advertising, communication… I even know of a Twitter genius with a degree in primatology!
I can tell you what worked for me. I believe I’m a good storyteller. I love exploring, writing and finding unusual angles for my stories. My husband is a professional photographer. I’ve wanted to write for travel mags for years, but I’ve never had much luck. The rare times I got an assignment, I was over the moon. So, I decided to open by own blog, so that I could give myself my own assignments. Our blog grew slowly at first. As our strengths were in the quality of the material and not in social media or SEO skills, it was hard to be noticed. Now we’re growing steadily, month after month, and I couldn’t be happier that we took this leap.
So, what can you do? Find what you’re good at. Are you a great people person? Perhaps you could work as a tour guide. Are you good at languages? Working as a translator is a good way to be location independent. Would you like to have your own blog? If so, how can you make it special? Great design, writing, videos or podcasts maybe?
Once you answer these questions, half of the work is done. Try to connect with people in your industry, networking at conferences and groups on facebook and google plus are great for that. You’ll find that most people are happy to share tips, after all we’ve all started somewhere.
The other half – perhaps the harder half – is getting yourself used to freelance life. You see, when you work 9-5, your concern is just getting the work done. Freelancing, you have more worries – actually finding work, making sure you get paid, as well as doing your job. Some disgruntled bloggers and digital nomads complain that it’s more stressful than before, that they left the corporate world to be ‘free’ but now they find themselves working even more. It’s true. You won’t have your toes in the sand every day – or you might, but you’ll be tapping away at your laptop trying to make deadlines. You’ll become slave to a reliable internet connection.
Finally, just remember that you may find that the location-independent life is not for you. I’m not on the road 100% of the time, for example. I like being semi-nomadic, having a home to go back to once the road gets too much. Other yearn for the comforts of home after a couple of months on the road and get back to their previous jobs. After all, your happiness is what matters most.
Yara: Hey Derek, I think your question is mostly directed to Trisha, since she’s the social media manager. But let me share my tips with you….
Well, working online is a long shot, not that easy and very unreliable, for very little money. With this I’m not being negative, only being realistic. Both Trisha and I live a simple life, with as little expenses as possible.
The good thing is that it is possible, the bad thing is that the smashing majority of travel bloggers don’t manage to make any money and end up quitting.
I have paid my travels by working here and there, as well as being an Au-pair. That gave me freedom of movement, a weekly pocket money and no expenses. Then when my father died, I was left with a small apartment, which i decided to rent, but unfortunately, because I’m from a very poor country, the money from the rent barely covered my basic expenses and the brutal financial crisis in southern Europe, just pushed me into a serious financial struggle.
It’s funny that you mention that many people talk a lot about being location independent while making money online, but never really share what they actually do. I wrote a very comprehensive guide to how I managed to travel and finance my location independence, but I was not working online. You can check the financially sustainable guide and take some tips from it.
At the moment, I’m making a little bit of money online, but it took me 1 year and 7 months to finally start making some money with my blog and it’s still not enough to live. So, the trick, is to actually combine a few different tactics and be very flexible,
If you speak many languages, try to make translations online, you can try transcript jobs too. If you’re good with photos, you can try to sell them. If you love writing and you’re good at it, make a google search for websites who accept freelance writers (most don’t pay much, unfortunately).
Be perseverant, patient and positive. You won’t make much and you might have to invest a lot of work before you finally see some profit, but at the end, it’s well worth it!