The concept of working abroad has always existed for those seeking to infuse their lives with travel and adventure. It wasn’t until the pandemic of 2020, that large populations really began to embrace the idea of remote work and a digital nomad lifestyle.
I began my digital nomad journey when my husband and I were converting a Sprinter Van into an RV. After making the decision to work remotely, our search began. We went through the entire process of searching, interviewing, and finally securing remote jobs that would allow us to work from anywhere we wanted.
I’m here to share my process, the resources, and tips that helped me to land a remote job. This article highlights the best digital nomad jobs and how to find them.
What is a Digital Nomad?
We have all seen them…the Van Life photos of car tailgates decorated with twinkle lights opening up to epic views of the Colorado Rockies; videos of tanned legs lounging in a hammock by the beach while jotting down profound words into a leather notebook; images of a laptop perfectly placed next to a colorful cocktail inside of a tiki bar. These images are all consistent with the digital nomad lifestyle, but what is it and how do I become one?
A digital nomad is essentially an individual who is able to earn a living wage while traveling to different locations. In contrast to a traditional “9 – 5” desk job, digital nomad jobs are typically online and have flexible work hours. This means that a digital nomad is free to travel around the world and work in any “office” they choose from coffee shops and museums to fancy treehouse resorts or RVs. The only constraint is a steady and reliable internet connection.
What are some typical Digital Nomad jobs?
Luckily, you can find digital nomad jobs and remote work-from-home jobs in almost every industry. For example, most companies regardless of industry require administrative assistants, social media managers, and data analysts. It really comes down to, what jobs can be completed with a computer and with minimal in-person interaction.
Here are some of the best jobs for digital nomads:
Virtual Assistant – A virtual assistant is the best remote job for those who are just beginning their digital nomad journey. Virtual assistants are expected to perform various small tasks for a person or company such as drafting emails, scheduling appointments, making phone calls, formatting presentations, and booking travel.
Social Media Manager – Most any brand nowadays has a social media presence. They need individuals who are creative, articulate, and who can expand their company’s reach. Social Media managers should be skilled in working on a wide range of platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, and YouTube. They may be expected to design a social media strategy, create new posts, track analytics, and engage with an audience.
Content Creator – One of the most popular jobs for digital nomads is becoming a content creator. You might specialize in photography creating unique travel and lifestyle content for your own Instagram or perhaps other brands. Many popular Youtube creators specialize in recording videos for their own channels or in collaboration with other brands. Podcasting is also a popular remote job option for those on the go.
Writer – There are many remote job opportunities that fall under the category of writer. For example, you may choose to become a travel blogger recording your travels and monetizing through ads, affiliate sales, and brand partnerships. A freelance writer creates content for newspapers, media outlets or even other bloggers. For those with a heart for service, almost all nonprofit organizations require a grant writer who is gifted in storytelling and persuasion.
Web Developer – A web developer essentially designs and builds websites for clients. Many bloggers are also web developers
Online Teacher – You can teach pretty much any subject online including leadership, marketing, and public speaking. The easiest remote teaching job to find however is in language learning. While not mandatory in every country, having a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification will qualify you for more digital nomad teaching opportunities. It will likely help you to earn more too. Some of the more popular platforms for teaching online are VIPKid and Preply.
Programmer – Securing a remote role as a programmer a more specific set of technical skills. Programmers write code that allow software and digital applications to operate. This might be for a website, game, mobile app, or a variety of other things.
Recruiter – A recruiter helps to attract, identify, and screen applicants for open positions at a company.
Data Analyst – The role of a data analyst is typically to gather, sort, and interpret data. The work of a data analyst isn’t necessarily all quantitative (involving numbers). Many times a company might need a researcher to pull together qualitative information from disparate sources in order to identify common themes, trends, and learnings.
How to Find Remote Jobs?
There are two paths that you can take when it comes to finding a digital nomad job:
- Secure a stable remote job with a company – Are you looking for a part-time to a full-time career where you can grow within the organization? Do you need benefits? If so, a full-time remote job might be right for you.
- Become a Freelancer – Do you want just a few paid gigs here and there so that you will have more control of your time and schedule? Are you ok with handling your own taxes as a contractor? If the answer is yes, then freelancing is the better option for you.
I have outlined job search resources for each option below.
Resources for finding a Stable Remote Job with a company
Job Listing Sites:
Job listing sites are useful in finding full-time remote employment with a company. This route allows you to work directly with the employer and receive benefits (in most cases).
Idealist – Idealist is one of the best free remote job boards. It connects people who want to do good with opportunities to do good at organizations like charities, non-profits, and foundations. Go to their job search sections and enter the search keyword remote”. The site will default to using your geographical location, so be sure to leave this section blank.
Wellfound (formerly AngelList Talent) – This job board features over 130,000 remote and local jobs from startups around the world. After creating a free profile users can search for jobs by a “remote” filter. Creating an account also allows recruiters to find you.
Flexjobs.com – This job listing portal screens every position to ensure they meet two requirements 1.) They are a real and professional job, not a scam which you often see on public classified listings, and 2.) They offer flexible options whether it be part-time work, partial telework, or full-time remote. In addition to listing remote job opportunities for other companies, employment with Flexjobs is 100% virtual. Most of the opportunities on their careers page are jobs that allow you to be a digital nomad.
Rat Race Rebellion – This site provides resources for those looking for full-time home-based work, as well as those looking for quick side-earning gigs like clinical trials or paid surveys. Their Newest Jobs and Gigs page is updated every day with new listings in a variety of fields. They also offer free email updates for new positions.
Working Nomads – This website is one of the best digital nomad job sites, featuring a variety of tele-commuting opportunites.
In most cases, it is both easier and faster to find a remote job through a placement agency. The downside is that you would be a contractor, therefore you are in charge of your own taxes, unable to receive benefits and often paid much less than when employed directly by the client company. However, most placement agencies do allow for a “temp to hire” contract whereby clients are able to “buy out” the contract and employ the contractor full-time.
Belay Solutions – Virtual contractors for Belay fall under four categories: virtual assistants, bookkeepers, content writers, and webmasters The values-driven organization provides a strong network of mentors and seasoned virtual assistants so that you can rely on one another for support and continued learning.
(I have personally worked for Belay in order to achieve the digital nomad lifestyle. Please reach out to me in the comments or via email and I’d be happy to provide my thoughts and feedback.)
Zirtual – Zirtual hires virtual contractors to work in a variety of areas including but not limited to: administrative assistance, social media, email management, travel planning, and research.
Boldly – Boldly is a premium business support company helping drive the success of growing small and medium-sized businesses around the world. As a virtual contractor, you may assume one of many roles ranging from bookkeeping to social media marketing, administration, and project management. Pays between $18 and $20 an hour.
Gabbyville – Gabbyville staffs client companies with friendly, peppy and efficient virtual receptionists. As a contractor, you may serve a client employer with live call answering, call routing, and outbound calling.
Vicky Virtual – Similar to Gabbyville, Vicky Virtual hires contractors to work with client companies to answer their phone calls, provide helpful service, and turn those callers into loyal customers.
Resources for becoming a freelancer
Freelancing is the ideal opportunity for someone seeking increased flexibility and freedom in their schedule. Rather than being hired on a yearly contract, freelancers are hired to perform ad hoc specific tasks. This allows you, the digital nomad, to create your own schedule and select your own workload.
Upwork – Upwork is a freelancing website that connects digital nomads with opportunities to work in on a variety of tasks from SEO and social media management to mobile app development, content writing, graphic design, admin help, and much more. The site is incredibly popular among digital nomads and has very positive reviews.
Fiverr – Rather than placing contractors with steady long-term employment, Fiverr focuses on individual tasks or micro-jobs. With jobs starting at $5 each, contractors have the flexibility of choosing one-off tasks such as editing an image in Photoshop or designing a Facebook ad.
Gurus – Employers post jobs, and Freelancers create profiles and submit quotes to open jobs. Employers review the quotes, communicate with the freelancers, and choose who they want to hire. Jobs range from full-time, to part-time and one-off tasks.
Other Resources for finding Digital Nomad jobs: Blogs
Finding a remote job and achieving the digital nomad lifestyle isn’t always easy. Blogs can offer insight into the different opportunities and challenges of remote work, and they are also a great source of inspiration as you continue your search.
Dreamhomebasedwork.com– Rather than a typical job listing database, this blog identifies reputable companies that offer genuine work-at-home positions.
Work from Home Happiness – This blog, she shares tips, company reviews, and helpful resources for landing a home-based job.
NomadStack – NomadStack is a site geared more specifically to aspiring digital nomads who seek to explore the world while working remotely. Therefore the contents of this site, extends beyond just finding a remote job, to also include adventures, destinations, accommodation, and travel.
Digital Nomad Soul – Similar to NomadStack, Digital Nomad Soul is a resource for aspiring digital nomads. This blog shares tips, tools, and insight into what life as a digital nomad is like. It also highlights some of the best digital nomad blogs to follow for inspiration.
Workingnomads – This site is one of the best resources for finding digital nomad careers. Workingnomads provides a curated list of opportunities
Tips for Finding a Digital Nomad Job
1. Create job alerts for job listing sites, and create a bookmark folder for companies you want to frequently check their job listing page.
An easy way to stay on top of new job postings is to create a job alert with one of the job boards mentioned above. New opportunities will be emailed to you daily or weekly. However, several companies do not actually post their openings on these job listing sites.
It may be helpful for you to identify the companies you are interested in, visit their careers pages, then create your own spreadsheet with hyperlinks. This makes it much easier to quickly track and reference companies you are interested in while keeping a lookout for potential openings.
2. Learn to play up your soft skills.
Communication and compatibility are always important skills when applying for a job, however, virtual companies view them as vital to the success of telework. Be prepared to discuss your communication style, how you manage conflict, and how you handle feedback.
Also be prepared to talk a bit about yourself including your work ethic, motivations, interests, goals, pet peeves, etc. These questions are meant to provide a glimpse into your personality type and to make sure you are a compatible fit.
3. Be willing to learn new skills.
Depending on the role for which you are applying, familiarity with multiple platforms and technologies may be desirable or even required. For example, virtual assistants may be asked to use task management tools (e.g. Asana, Trello, or Evernote); if you are working in sales you may need to learn CRM platforms (e.g. Hubspot or Salesforce); social media managers may need scheduler and analytic tools (e.g. Hootsuite), and so on.
4. Ask if the job can be performed remotely.
The mandatory work-from-home mandates during the 2020 pandemic gave employees a taste of what full-time remote work is like. According to a survey by FlexJobs, around 65% of respondents want to remain full-time remote. Many companies are taking note and allowing more employees to transition to remote work.
If you are already employed with a company you enjoy and find that your work is performed mainly through technology (for example research, analysis, writing, bookkeeping, etc), ask if you can transition to a work-from-home basis. If you have developed a high level of trust with your employer where they are confident in your work ethic and quality of output, it is possible they would rather make accommodations for you rather than lose you.
Some of the best companies to work remotely (according to the number of remote jobs available) include Broadpath, Liveops, SYKS, Working Solutions, and SAP.
5. If you can, do not quit your desk job before you have secured an offer for working remotely.
Last but not least, don’t be in a rush to quit your current job. You never know how long it will take to find the remote opportunity you are looking for, so if possible, try to avoid a crisis of long-term unemployment. Take your time, and make smart decisions. Start your remote job search on weeknights. When you have your offer for the remote job you want, THAT is the time to flip over the table and throw up the “peace out” sign.
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