When you think about digital nomad jobs, the first thing you might think of is a software developer or super tech geek with special “nomad skills”.
In reality, you don’t need specialized skills to make money on the road. There are TONS of digital nomad careers that allow anyone to live a location independent lifestyle and support themselves around the world.
In this guide, we’ll cover 10 digital nomad jobs for beginners. But if you want the full list of over 100 ideas, check out this ultimate travel jobs guide.
Before we jump into your different options, let’s quickly review what a digital nomad job actually is.
What are digital nomad jobs?
Digital nomad jobs are jobs that can be done completely online. They allow you to make money from anywhere in the world with a digital nomad laptop and an internet connection (i.e., you are completely location independent).
The 3 types of digital nomad jobs
Digital nomad jobs generally fall into one of three categories— freelancing, remote work, or online entrepreneur. Each category has advantages and disadvantages, and it’s not uncommon for digital nomads to have multiple sources of income spanning different categories.
Freelancing and remote work allow you to start earning money faster, but becoming an online entrepreneur and building your own project can lead to the greatest flexibility.
Many digital nomads (including myself) use freelancing and remote work to launch their digital nomad lifestyle and pay the bills. From there, they gradually build up their own business on the side until they can fully support themselves.
Alright, let’s jump into the list!
What are the best digital nomad jobs for beginners?
Many jobs for digital nomads require training and expertise to get started. That’s not what we’re talking about today.
In this list, we’ll cover the most common digital nomad jobs for beginners that you can start with minimal experience. Some require absolutely zero experience, while others may involve a tiny bit of research and practice.
When you’re first starting, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with digital nomad information overload. But if you ever have doubts, just remember that a simple search on Google can teach you just about anything.
In addition to beginner digital nomad jobs, I’ve also listed some opportunities that—while not necessarily location independent—offer benefits for digital nomads trying to get off the ground.
Let’s get started.
The first job on the list doesn’t pay you in the traditional sense, but it’s perfect for digital nomads who want free places to base themselves while they work on growing their digital nomad projects.
As a housesitter, you basically go around the world staying in people’s houses for free in exchange for taking care of their pets while they’re away.
The downside to housesitting is the competition. It can be a bit tricky getting started, and your first house sit is usually the hardest.
Here’s a video showing how we landed our first housesitting gig:
For the full list of tips, check out our housesitting jobs guide.
Long story short—You sign up for a housesitting platform, make a trustworthy-looking profile, and start applying for jobs using our template below.
It’s that easy.
Housesitting works best when you’re traveling through expensive countries like the U.S., Europe, and Australia because you save a lot of money on accommodation costs. These are all popular road trip destinations, and housesitting can be a great strategy to combine with van life jobs.
In third-world countries throughout Southeast Asia and Central and South America, there are way fewer opportunities (and accommodation is cheap to begin with), but it’s still worth checking out.
#2.) Freelance writing
You might think you may need to be some kind of expert to earn money writing, but that’s not true.
As long as you’re a decent writer, can string together some logical thoughts, and are willing to practice, pretty much anyone can make money in this way.
If I can do it, you can do it.
In fact, this is how I make the majority of my money as we’re traveling around the world.
Now, there are two main paths to take as a freelance writer—content writing and copywriting.
You can either choose one or do a mix of both (like me).
Content writing included writing informational content (like articles and blog posts) for different companies online. This is the easier of the two paths to get started with. And if you find the right clients, you can get paid pretty well.
I actually put together a free five-day email course showing how to land entry-level writing jobs to earn your first $1,000 freelance writing. Make sure to grab that if content writing sounds interesting to you:
If you’re serious about becoming a highly paid content writer and taking things to the next level, I can’t recommend this course enough. It really helped me jack up my rates, which allows me to work less and travel more.
The second type of freelance writing is called copywriting. Copywriting is writing material that provokes the reader (or watcher) to buy or take an action.
This type of writing is more directly connected to sales. It’s easier to charge higher prices as a copywriter because if your content is bringing in more sales for a company, they’re making more money. And if they’re making more money, they’ll be happy to pay you more money.
There’s a lot of persuasion and psychology that goes into effective copywriting, and it can be trickier to master. I’ve taken many different courses, but this one was hands down the most effective (I even took it three times and wrote up a detailed review of it).
The downside to freelance writing is that it isn’t scalable. Your income is limited by how many client projects you can jam into your schedule. If you want to scale, you’ll have to transition into a drop servicing business model.
Is blogging a good digital nomad job for beginners?
Many people recommend blogging as one of the best digital nomad jobs, but I don’t think it belongs on this list.
While blogging has opened up many doors for me, it’s not the best money-making strategy for new digital nomads who want to start earning fast. Blogging is a long-term play. Yes, it can be a great location independent career, but it’s not as quick or easy as it looks (no matter what other blogging gurus out there say).
That said, if you’re interested in blogging, by all means—start a blog. Just don’t plan on earning money from it within the first year (or longer). To start earning a location independent income faster, I recommend choosing another job from this list and growing your blog on the side.
Also, to avoid wasting loads of time (like I did), you’ll want to invest in some blogging training. I’ve taken many courses, here are my favorites:
–Freedom Machine – to get from zero to $1K/month with any type of blog
–Superstar Blogging – for travel blogging specifically (and awesome tech support)
–Fat Stacks – for niche sites (and invaluable forums)
#3.) Social media manager
If you’re going to spend all day scrolling through Instagram anyway, you mind as well get paid.
A social media manager is responsible for the social media accounts of different companies. You have to grow their accounts, answer comments, interact with followers, make graphics, write posts, design marketing campaigns, etc.
The more specialized your skills, the more you can charge. To get hired, you have to prove your chops as a social media marketer.
The best way to do that is to grow your own social media accounts to show off your skills.
To be honest, I’m not a huge social media guy, and I don’t want to steer you in the wrong direction. Luckily, there’s tons of free information online on how to grow your accounts. Just make sure you’re following current information, because social media strategies change fast.
#4.) Virtual assistant (VA)
As a VA, you’re basically a virtual receptionist who takes care of administrative tasks that your client wants to outsource.
When it comes to VAs, there are different levels of specialization. But if you don’t have any experience, you can start out at a more basic level doing simple Google research online, filling in spreadsheets, making phone calls, that sort of stuff.
If you want to get paid the big bucks, you’ll eventually want to specialize in more valuable skills—skills that require some sort of expertise that will make you harder to replace.
⬆ specialized skills = ⬆ valuable to clients = ⬆ job security = ⬆ $$$ for you
For example, if you become an expert in Pinterest, keyword research, PPC, etc, you’ll be able to charge way more.
#5.) Remote worker
This digital nomad job may sound super obvious, but it’s often overlooked.
If you take your current job on the road, you won’t need to earn any new skills.
Thanks to all the quarantines of 2020, companies are now realizing that most jobs can be done at home. And if they can be done at home, they can probably be done from a beach in Thailand.
If your boss feels a little bit nervous about the idea, you could do a trial run first. Ask if you can work from home just one day per week, then prove that you’re more productive and valuable when working remotely.
That said, sometimes it’s just not possible to take your in-person job on the road. If that’s the case, you can search online job sites for remote jobs related to your field.
Set up a filter and alerts on all the big job sites like Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, etc.
Whether you’re looking for a full-time digital nomad job or just want a part-time gig, a remote job can offer an extra layer of security compared to other options on this list.
One way to earn money online while traveling is to offer a service on Fiverr.
You’d be shocked at some of the ways people are making money on there.
This person creates original memes for your social media and has 107 5-star reviews.
This lady will teach you to telepathically communicate with your pets. Nice.
And here we have a guy making money doing Kermit the Frog impressions.
Seriously, guys. If these people are making money, you can make money too.
Your best bet is to choose a service that you know a lot of companies need. You can find these services by browsing through the most popular jobs on Fiverr. From there, create a high-quality listing and start building up your reputation.
Now, I’ll be honest—you’re probably not going to get rich on Fiverr. But it can be an easy way to get your freelancing business off the ground.
You can always build your portfolio on Fiverr, and then slowly transition off the platform to work directly with clients (and charge more).
Also, keep in mind that—depending on what countries you’re traveling in—you may not even need to make a lot of money. Living in a cheap country is one of the easiest ways to build an online business from scratch.
Volunteering is an awesome way to get off the beaten path and connect with local cultures.
You’ll be able to get unique and unforgettable experiences that normal tourists miss.
One popular way of volunteering is called WWOOFing. WWOOFing stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
It’s super popular in Australia, but you can find it in other parts of the world as well.
Basically, you help out on a farm and in exchange for free food and accommodation. A lot of times it only involves working for a few hours per day, so you still have plenty of time to explore the area.
Another great site to find volunteer opportunities is called WorkAway.
I’ve seen tons of cool volunteering opportunities on the site.
Sometimes it’s farming
Sometimes it’s taking care of a bed and breakfast up in the mountains.
Sometimes it’s just living with a family and speaking English with the kids for a couple hours a day.
There’s lots of cool stuff there, so I recommend checking it out.
#8.) English teacher
This is one of the most popular ways to earn money as a traveler (for native English speakers).
English teaching can be done in-person around the world. But if you’re looking for a digital nomad lifestyle, you can become an online English teacher and work while you’re traveling.
Some of the most popular places to teach English in-person are China and South Korea because they pay well and oftentimes even include free rent. Many travelers do this to save money quickly.
While it is possible to find jobs that don’t require a degree or certification, these jobs are few and far between.
In most cases, you’ll need a TEFL certification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). A TEFL certification will not only make it easier to get a job, but it’ll enhance your teaching experience. You’ll feel confident in what you’re doing, and your students will learn better. The truth is that knowing how to speak a language is much different from knowing how to teach a language.
There are a ton of TEFL courses online, but not all are created equal. Some of the cheaper courses aren’t the best quality, and some are even a bit scammy.
I took an in-person TEFL certification course in Peru through this company. It was an amazing experience. They also have online course options, so if you’re interested in teaching English, I highly recommend checking them out.
#9.) Teach your skills
There’s no need to go out and learn a bunch of new things to earn money while you’re traveling. Just stick with what you already know. I’m willing to bet you know how to do something that other people would pay to learn.
This could be language lessons, cooking lessons, personal training sessions, dance classes, art lessons, photography tips, music lessons…the options are endless.
When we were stuck [quarantined on a remote island in Cambodia], Day and I exercised on the beach every day. One day, the owner of one of the resorts saw us and offered free accommodation in exchange for personal training.
In the end, we didn’t take him up on his offer because we were too busy having fun making overly-dramatic island quarantine videos 😂
#10.) Au pair
An au pair is basically a live-in babysitter.
As an au pair, you travel to a different country, live with a family, look after their kids, and maybe do some chores. In exchange, you get free food, accommodation, and sometimes even a small stipend.
This can be a perfect setup for digital nomads who are starting with a limited budget. You’ll kill three birds with one stone:
- Immerse yourself in a different culture
- Learn a new language
- Have your accommodation, food, and possibly even transportation taken care of. When you’re done with your part-time au pair responsibilities, you have the perfect base for growing your digital nomad business.
To work as an au pair, you’ll need to meet certain requirements and work with an agency to find a placement.
BONUS: Rent your stuff
This is a great way to supplement your income while traveling the world.
You honestly can rent out anything. If you have a house, an apartment, or even just a room—you can rent it out while traveling.
During my first backpacking trip through South America, I rented out my room to a friend and earned a steady $350/month. This covered a huge portion of my travel expenses in some cheaper countries. Now that I’m married, we have an apartment in Colombia that we rent on Airbnb.
If you don’t have a house or don’t feel comfortable renting out your space, you have other options as well. You can rent out:
You can really rent out any type of equipment that someone else might need to use, but they don’t want to buy forever.
For example, when I first moved to Columbia, I found a great deal on an unfurnished apartment, but I didn’t want to buy a bed, a desk, a fridge, etc. because I didn’t know how long I was going to stay there. I would have been happy to rent out those things from someone else. Odds are there are people in your city in a similar situation.
How to get digital nomad jobs with no experience?
The strategy for landing digital nomad jobs with no experience depends on the type of job you’re gunning for. Many remote and freelance jobs can be found on job boards online (see the list in Remote Worker section above). Other digital nomad jobs may require you to network and outreach with potential clients.
Where to look for digital nomad jobs?
Apart from online job boards, one of the easiest ways to get started is to tap into your current network. Many of my digital nomad gigs came from simply chatting with friends and colleagues about what I am doing. Whenever they see job opportunities around the web (or meet someone who they think I could help), they send them my way.
Most of these have come from blogging and freelance writing friends I’ve made online. It pays (literally) to connect with others in your space and build relationships. Don’t be a lone wolf.
This uncertainty can seem intimidating at first, but if you always do A+ work, people will notice. The majority of freelancers out there are flaky and unreliable, so by consistently showing up and giving your best, you’ll stand out.
For me, finding work has never been an issue. The secret to stable digital nomad income (at least as a freelancer) is impressing your clients so much that they’d be crazy to let you go. That way, instead of searching for new clients every month, you’ll have long-term clients who send you a steady load of work.
How much can you earn as a digital nomad?
When it comes to digital nomad income, the sky’s the limit. Will you be making it rain from Day 1?
Just like anything in life that is worthwhile, it takes time and effort. We all start at the bottom (unless you land a swanky remote job) and work our way up.
The good news is, as a digital nomad, you can choose a location based on your income.
So if you’re just getting things off the ground, you can live in a cheap country—this is what I did living in Cali, Colombia.
As time passes and you level up your income, you can unlock new destinations (or just stay where you’re at and live like a king).
That’s the beauty of the digital nomad lifestyle. Whether you earn $20K per year or $200K, there are places where you can live and travel comfortably.
(Note: No matter how much you earn, you absolutely 100% NEED to budget for digital nomad health insurance. Seriously, guys. Accidents can happen at any time. And without insurance, they can F up your finances real quick. So far, nomad insurance has saved me in nearly $20K in medical bills. Don’t leave home without it—especially since it’s so cheap!)
What skills do you need to be a digital nomad?
Today we’ve covered a bunch of jobs for digital nomads that don’t require any specialized skills.
That said, the more digital nomad skills you learn, the more income opportunities you’ll have.
One of the reasons why I recommend blogging (even if it’s not your main income plan) is because it forces you to learn TONS of skills that make you more marketable as a digital nomad.
In fact, one of my best clients hired me (over other more-qualified applicants) simply because he saw my blog. He knew that if I had a blog, I must know other important tech skills as well.
Some of the most useful skills for digital nomads to learn are:
- Graphic design, photo, and video editing
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- How to use WordPress
- How affiliate marketing works
- The basics of eCommerce (e.g., Amazon, Shopify, dropshipping, etc.)
- Basic coding (HTML and CSS)
If you’re brand new to the online business world, learning all these skills may seem like a tall order. But just take it one step at a time.
Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, use your free time to learn. Whether that’s watching Youtube videos, listening to podcasts, reading books, or taking courses—try to learn something new every day.
That said, just remember—you don’t need to know it ALL before you can get started. The faster you can go from information “consumer” to information “producer”, the better.
The realities of being a digital nomad
It’s hard to find accurate information about the digital nomad lifestyle online. People like to publish content about the extremes.
Digital nomad life is either painted as a dreamy fairytale where you sip pina coladas on the beach all day and barely have to work…
…or it’s depicted as some big “lie” with complaints about how hard and miserable it is.
The reality is, digital nomad life is what you make it. YOU are in control.
You control what country you live in, how fast you travel, how much you work, where you stay, how much you spend, etc.
If you’re not happy, you have the power to change it.
That said, you do have to set realistic expectations.
Things won’t always be easy. Things won’t always be comfortable. And things won’t always go according to plan.
As a digital nomad, you have to be okay with that.
This lifestyle isn’t for everyone – that’s for dang sure. But if you want to live a life of adventure—a life full of amazing (and not-so-amazing) experiences that 99% of the world will never experience—becoming a digital nomad is one of the best ways to do it.
This lifestyle isn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Easy jobs for digital nomads cheatsheet
How to start: Sign up for a housesitting platform and start applying for sits.
#2.) Freelance writer
How to start: Take a copywriting or content writing course to learn how to write the type of content that businesses pay big bucks for.
#3.) Social media manager
How to start: Grow your own channels to use as proof when applying for jobs.
#4.) Virtual assistant
How to start: Search for basic VA jobs on job boards and build your skills from there.
#5.) Remote worker
How to start: Negotiate a remote work arrangement at your current job, or find a new remote job in your field using online job boards (just filter for “remote only”).
#6.) Fiverr freelancer
How to start: Choose a service with high demand, create an attractive profile, and start building good reviews.
How to start: Check out WWOOFING and WorkAway to find different opportunities around the world.
#8.) English teacher
How to start: Download this free brochure to learn everything you need to know to get started.
#9.) Teach your skills
How to start: Make a list of special skills you have that others might want to learn. Then, decide if you want to teach them online or in person.
#10.) Au pair
How to start: Sign up with an au pair placement service to get matched with a family in the country you want to travel to.
Bonus: Rent your stuff!
How to start: Check out the links in the section above to platforms for renting different types of things.
Mitch is your typical nomadic backpacker. Or at least, he was. But after stopping in Colombia to take “one week” of salsa lessons, his life took a sharp left turn. He met a cute Colombian girl in dance class, fell in love, and got married. Over half a decade has passed since he left his career to travel the world as a digital nomad, and he’s never looked back.
Nowadays, he’s the blogger behind Project Untethered—where he runs an awesome email newsletter and Youtube channel teaching adventure-craved wanderlusters how to escape the rat race, earn money from anywhere, and build an “untethered life”.