In 2017, I made the decision to walk away from my office job and pursue the life of a digital nomad. If you are interested in why I made this dramatic lifestyle change, feel free to read my article on “From Beverly Hills to Living Out of a Van.” The purpose of this post, however, is to share my experience searching for a remote job, while also providing resources which I have found to be particularly helpful during my search.
The search begins
The decision to quit my desk job had been made and, yes, it was very scary walking away from security and familiarity. I have always believed, however, that you don’t grow unless you put yourself in uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations…and boy was this about to get uncomfortable. Thus started the 9 months of unemployment while searching for a remote job.
“It was never easy at first. Being new to the scene, I fell for many online scams that seemed promising at the time. The one that keeps coming back to me is the “Posting Ads for Cash” scam. I put all my energy and hard work to the job only to realize it was too good to be true. All I did was lose valuable countless hours and a lot of cash. In my search, I also found businesses without genuine names who asked for your personal information and others requested money to get a job.” – Lashay Hudson, creator of DreamhomeBasedWork.com
Lashay’s experience with finding home-based work is not an isolated case. In fact, it is pretty representative of what many digital nomads go through on their path to working remotely. I came across plenty of quick-money schemes boasting “Make money posting ads!”, “Get paid just to browse the internet!” and of course “Lots of cash for surveys!” I avoided them all like the plague. It was difficult to identify job opportunities that were actually legitimate, and furthermore, it was near impossible to find a job in my industry (International Development). I was disheartened but kept pushing forward.
I did manage to identify a few honest and effective websites which were helpful in my search for a remote job. Eventually, persistence and the power of positive thinking paid off. I eventually found a remote working position in my field through a staffing agency.
Below I will share with you some of the best resources I have found for finding a remote job. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the resources out there, however, it is a good starting point to jump-start your search into finding the perfect remote job for you.
It is a good idea to check out a few blogs dedicated to home-based work so that you know what kind of opportunities are out there. Remote work may mean full-time remote employment with a company, part-time contracts through a placement agency, or even one-off tasks as a freelancer. These blogs provide helpful insight into the different opportunities and their associated challenges.
Dream Home Based Work – This is a blog started by Lashay Hudson for the purpose of directing people in the right direction in their search for work from home jobs. Rather than a typical job listing database, this blog identifies reputable companies that offer genuine work at home positions. She also breaks down the employers by “non-phone jobs”, “full-time jobs”, “part-time jobs”, and “flexible jobs”. The Pro: You can go straight to the source and find a position on their website that may not otherwise be advertised on job listing boards. Con: They might not necessarily be hiring. She also offers valuable advice on where to search for jobs and how to avoid scams. Check out her article on the Best Paying Jobs (home-based), it will renew your confidence that there are indeed good paying telecommuting careers.
Work from Home Happiness – Ashlee Anderson is a former office job employer turned freelance writer. In her 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. Author Denise shares tips, tools, and insight into what life as a digital nomad is like.
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 thus receive benefits (in most cases).
Idealist – Idealist is my favorite resource for finding job and volunteer opportunities. The organization was founded to solve one basic problem: “too many good ideas for making the world a better place go unheard or unrealized.” This site helps to connect idealist job seekers with – people who want to do good – with opportunities to do good. You can go to their job search sections and on the left-hand side, filter by “remote”. The site will default to using your geographical location, so be sure to leave check the location constraints and leave it blank. There are a large number of home-based opportunities with charities, non-profits, and foundations. Cost: Free.
AngelList – This job listing site is geared toward start-ups. After creating a profile, you get an interview by clicking “yes, I’m interested”. If the company likes you back, a meeting is set up to discuss further. No resume or cover letter is needed, making it a simpler process than many other job listing sites. Cost: Free.
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. I personally found my current remote job through Flexjobs, and highly recommend membership with their service. While you are at it, check out their informative listing of the 100 Top Companies with Remote jobs in 2018. Cost: $14.95 a month.
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. I find their website a bit cluttered, nonetheless, it is another resource. Cost: Free.
Home Office Careers – Home Office Careers promises to help job searchers find the best possible teleworking opportunities. This service has had its share of mixed reviews with former members claiming that the opportunities were largely call center jobs. It has also been noted that the premium account does not provide enough benefits above that of the Basic account to justify the price of membership. Cost: A basic membership is free which allows you to view the opportunities. To apply you must upgrade to the premium account for $19.95 a month
Workingnomads – This site curates lists of remote job offers and sends a daily/weekly update to subscribers. Cost: free.
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. Pay is between $15.00 and $18.00.
I have personally worked for Belay in order to achieve the digital nomad lifestyle. I am more than happy to provide my thoughts and feedback. If you do happen to apply please include “CECILIA KERN” as the referral source.
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. Pays between $13.00 and $18.00 an hour.
Time etc. – This staffing company hires virtual assistants to assist clients with both business and personal tasks. This may include anything from data entry and travel arrangements to blogging and marketing. Starting pay is $11.
Worldwide 101 – Worldwide101 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.
Virtual Office VA Staffing – This staffing company is geared specifically toward the Real Estate Investing industry, however, they do serve small business clients as well.
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. Pays around $10 an hour.
Vicky – 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. Pays $10 an hour.
Freelancing for Microjobs
Freelancing for micro jobs is the perfect opportunity for someone who wants complete flexibility and freedom with their schedule. Rather than being hired on a yearly contract, freelancers are hired to perform one or more specific tasks. Once the task is completed, the freelancer can apply for a new task(s). This allows you, the digital nomad, to create your own schedule and select your own workload. Warning: not all freelancing gigs are paid well. Do your research and know your worth.
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. Cost: Upwork charges freelancers a 20%, 10%, or 5% service fee depending on the total amount they’ve billed with a client.
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. Cost: “Each order you sell and successfully complete, accredits your account with a net revenue of 80% of the purchase amount.” In other words, Fiverr takes 20%
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. Cost: There is no cost to register an account or to post jobs. The only fee you are responsible for is a 2.5% handling fee when paying an invoice
I hope you found this article helpful. These are just some resources which I came across on my own personal journey to finding a remote job. Read on to gain some insight I have learned throughout this 9-month job search.