What does it mean by a “location independent life” and what is it like in reality? The concept of location independence is to work from anywhere and not be bound by a particular geographic location. If you still haven't chosen your career path, are you interested in earning a living while experiencing different cultures abroad? Then now is the best time to consider it seriously, if not the only time, and I’ll tell you why.
You Can Settle Down Later
We all once had dreams about what we’d like to do in the future - become a musician, doctor, whatever. Then life turned out in an ordinary way. Many of us - perhaps the majority of us - accepted it as it was, learned to compromise and left our dreams behind.
Maybe it’s in our genes, we are meant to settle down sooner or later. We start to build up things to protect - loving relationships, the mortgage to pay, health insurance… Once you are tied down by things like that, it’ll be very hard to escape. You know this, right?
And you may also hear about people who are fed up with the daily grind, desperate to change their lives for the better but are no longer flexible enough to make a move.
They say “it’s never too late to start again blah blah”. But the harsh reality is that it gets a lot more difficult than you can imagine when you get older. So if you have the slightest interest, I think you should consider choosing a location independent lifestyle and start building your career around it right now. I’m not suggesting a nomadic life forever. I’m saying don’t get settled just yet. Experiment with different parts of the world at least for the next 5-10 years, or even a couple of years.
Because it's better to regret the things you've done than regret the things you never got to do.
Make a Career Plan
My life was close to nomadic in my early 20s. I’m not going to bore you by telling a story of my life, but I did enjoy the freedom to full. But I still had to work for money - sacrifice my time for jobs that I didn’t particularly love. Worked in bars, bookkeeping… The times were different, and so was the concept of living. But I have absolutely no regrets.
(I’m only talking about the 1990s, not the wartime, in case you’re wondering.)
As far as the “make a living by doing what you want to do” concept is concerned, it’s definitely more accessible now than ever, you know. You’ve probably heard the phrases such as “digital nomad” or “laptop lifestyle” many times already. Essentially, you establish your own business online to support your location independent life.
With that said, everyone else is already thinking what you’re thinking. It takes hard work to improve the skill that you already have so that it’ll become sellable, and equally takes an effort to learn marketing skills to make yourself known online.
What about your college study? Do you think you can develop your learning subject further and turn it into your location independent career? Higher education will cost you more, but there are ways for students to make money while studying, and receiving a scholarship is also an option. If you live in the US, Going Merry college scholarships will pull up a variety of options to consider.
16 Location Independent Careers: True or False?
Okay, I’ve been through some sites that suggest some of the “most common location independent jobs” and got a little confused. Well, that’s my polite way of saying - I think they’re just listing up all the jobs that they can think of but don’t know what they’re talking about. How can list a “freelancer” as a job title, along with other freelancing jobs such as a graphic designer, proofreader, etc? So here are my thoughts on some of the location independent career ideas.
The idea of selling stock photos is over-glorified. It may have worked until several years ago, but the market is extremely competitive now, no doubt. You see thousands of professional photographers thrive to promote themselves on royalty-free image sites as well as on Instagram. So obviously, you’re expected to do more than that to make a decent regular income.
If you search on Google by asking e.g. “How easy is it to sell photographs online?”, they all say “it’s easy”, then they recommend you stock photo marketplace sites that they’re affiliated with. Check Quora, and you’ll find some negative opinions.
Photographer - true or false? False.
2. Virtual Assistant
A VA job is a classic one. You can either work for someone or sell your skills to business owners on a temporary basis. The role includes;
- Making appointments/updating diaries
- Making cold calls
- Taking customer calls
- Writing business letters
- Powerpoint presentations
- Data entry
- Social media management
- Market research
- Blog updates
- Personal assistance
If you have office assistant experience, you can always promote yourself as a virtual assistant, which means the job market is extremely competitive. You’re expected to understand, write, and speak good English.
If you work for someone, living on the other side of the world may become a problem, especially if you’re travelling around. I personally experienced a nightmare hiring a VA from Asia who also had a local part-time job. I was unable to reach her via chat when I needed her help urgently. I suggest you discuss it with your employer in advance, if they don’t ask you about it.
Virtual Assistant - true or false? True.
No, accountants cannot work remotely from “anywhere in the world”.
I have given an accountancy service online in the past. My former boss is still doing it. He’s moved a few times across England, so I could say he’s a real digital nomad qualified accountant.
But it doesn’t work abroad because finance regulations vary from country to country, and so do the accounting procedures (how you transact in the book). The qualification you have might be invalid in another country, though it may not be seen as totally useless. I mean, if you are an accountant, you know this.
Accountants make important financial decisions for businesses and as a client, I wouldn’t trust advice from someone permanently lounging in a tropical lodge, you see what I mean? Likewise, I wouldn’t, couldn’t give tax advice to anyone outside the UK. It is possible to work as an assistant accountant though.
Accountant - true or false? False.
Whereas bookkeeping qualifications can be universal, and web-based basic accounting software for sole traders are generally easy to use.
If someone hires you full-time and the money’s good enough for you, then that’s great. But if you work for two or more businesses, managing multiple deadlines (month/quarter/year ends) can become tricky. Because generally, individual business owners who hire a bookkeeper tend to leave money matters until the last minute then suddenly panic.
Of course, not every boss is like that, but I'm talking from my own experiences. Imagine you don't have much to do for weeks, so you ask your boss for some updates but hear nothing back from them. Then just before the deadline, they dump you a pile of messy work. Manageable with one job, but it’ll become tough if several deadlines crash each other.
Bookkeeper - true or false? True.
I’m not a lawyer myself (obviously!) but I guess the logic for accountants may also apply to lawyers. If you are qualified, you know whether you can work from anywhere or not. If you are not…you wouldn’t decide to become a lawyer today just for the sake of location independence, would you?
Lawyer - true or false? Depends on the job, it seems.
Supercharge Your AWeber Account
Take Your Email Marketing To The Next Level With These Powerful Tools
6. Data Entry Clerk
I have provided a data entry service myself in the past, but I found the gigs hit or miss. I often found it too time-consuming for not enough money, or great money just for a few hours of work.
Some clients have no idea how long the job takes, and I don’t blame them. Also sometimes it’s hard for me to judge the time in advance just by looking at the raw data.
Data entry is not a progressive job, but by all means, if you’re confident in providing a fast and accurate data entry service, it’s a decent location independent job for a short term.
Data Entry Clerk - true or false? True.
When they say “make money by blogging”, they usually promote products on their website and earn commissions on sales. You’re expected to learn SEO (search engine optimization) techniques, and regularly - constantly! - post new blog posts as well as update old posts.
Blogging is a way to monetize your website through organic traffic (means without paying extra to drive visitors to your site.) So the number of visitors should increase over time, hence more chances of making money. Not easy though, especially since the number of websites is ever increasing worldwide (Check the live stats here.)
Having said that, it’s one of the most economical ways to make money online and I would strongly recommend you to do that if you;
- Have a passion for writing
- Particular niche to keep writing about, and
- Are committed to writing in years to come.
Blogger - true or false? True.
Learning SEO Is Not Hard!
Build a website for free, learn everything about driving organic traffic and make your affiliate marketing business successful!
8. Content Writer
As opposed to a blogger, a content writer does not necessarily has their own website. They get paid for writing articles for other websites, either in their own name or ghostwriting.
I think the content writing job market has been overrated for some time now - it’s my opinion after seeing so many ghostwriters selling zero-quality, rubbish 500-800 word articles for $5-$10 on Fiverr. This certainly implies that there’s a good demand. So if you are good at writing, you could keep selling articles with better content for higher rates.
I suggest that you ask the publisher (website owners) to display your name and photo whenever allowed. This way, you can keep building your portfolio and increase your reputation. That portfolio won’t be wasted - it’ll allow you to sell more gigs or become useful as a writer over time.
Content Writer - true or false? True.
9. Email Marketer
You don’t normally call somebody an email marketer unless that person is hired by a company to manage email subscriptions. Email marketing is an essential marketing method for any kind of business owner. A lot of affiliate marketers solely promote their products through email marketing.
You need an autoresponder and a basic website with a lead capture (signup) page and a “thank you (for signing up)” page. There isn’t a tremendous amount of techniques to learn - copywriting, specific words to use on email (i.e. avoid spam-trigger words), and subscribers’ behaviours analysis. Learning email marketing is fairly easy, in my opinion.
You’ll be forever spending money on traffic, so managing the cost versus revenue is crucial.
What you do is;
- Pay traffic providers (typically solo ad sellers) to acquire leads.
- Regularly send promotional emails to your leads.
- Some of your leads buy your (affiliate) products - hopefully!
- Use some of your income to pay for more traffic.
The trickiest part is finding good traffic providers. Bad providers only send poor quality leads, meaning leads that have no intention of spending any money on your products or any products in the first place. Buying traffic is always hit or miss, which can be stressful. This is continual as long as you carry on email marketing as your sole location independent career.
If you use paid advertisements (e.g. Facebook ads), that’s another whole skill to learn.
Email marketer - true or false? True.
“You don’t need expensive equipment to start your own videography”, they say. You travel all around the world from country to country, show beautiful sceneries and tantalizing food to your viewers, give some secret travelling tips and recommend discount deals…
On what? YouTube?
Videographers work in a variety of fields, and they go to college to learn skills. To say that you don't need expensive equipment sound to me like an insult. Videographers film events, create documentaries or create short movies, and people pay for their work. Therefore professional - sellable - quality is expected in all aspects.
Videographer - true or false? False, with respect to real videographers.
11. YouTube Creator
According to EarthWeb, there were 37 million YouTube channels at the beginning of 2022. We find a lot of “beautiful sceneries and tantalizing food“ on YouTube indeed. YouTube creators and marketers make money from;
- selling products by diverting viewers to sales pages, and/or
- publishing premium content.
It takes originality and patience to be able to monetize your YouTube channel, along with video editing skills and SEO knowledge.
YouTube creator - true or false? True.
If you are bilingual or multilingual, you already know what kind of translation jobs are available and how much they pay. You would have checked it as you grew up, wouldn’t you?
I know I couldn’t do it because my brain’s not good at switching two languages to find the closest expressions to the other.
Translators are expected to have broad knowledge in a variety of areas, so they should be able to understand technical jargon, medical and political terminology, etc. The transcripts presented to them are not always well-written, and interpreting them is often difficult.
Translation jobs are only optional possibilities for some. To say “if you can speak two or more languages, you can work as a translator anywhere in the world!” is like saying, anyone who understands English can become an author. Millions of multilingual are in this world, you know how competitive the job market is.
Translator - true or false? False
13. English (or Foreign Language) Teacher
As I grew up in Japan, I made a lot of American friends who were all teaching English there. Some of them merely stayed for a few months, made some money to supplement their travelling then left the country. Whenever I asked questions on grammar, e.g. past tense or present perfect tense, they had no idea. Just being an American was good enough.
That was a long time ago, and now it seems that you need to have a degree to apply for a teaching job in Japan, and I guess of course, in most other countries. Well, you will need a qualification for your sake, won’t you? Grammar questions for foreign students are very different from grammar questions that often come up among native English speakers. So you want to learn that to be able to teach the language logically.
My best friend who lives in London also teaches English online from home. She works as one of the tutors of a course institution. So the advantage is she just needs to follow the curriculum, no need to create lessons. The disadvantage is that she gets told off if she teaches students things that are not written on paper. Not allowed to be creative. She tells me that what she finds most stressful is having to spend hours answering comments from students on the forum after each lesson.
English Teacher - true or false? True.
14. App (and Any Other) Developer!
App development job has been repeatedly suggested by bloggers over & over again, almost always included in “ways to make money online” lists. I mean, this is stupid, isn’t it? I’ve no idea what SQL and PHP are. I don’t even know how to begin to develop an app. Me saying “if you are a developer, you can work from anywhere in the world” is like saying “if you can run as fast as Usain Bolt, you can try the next Olympic games.”
Do ALL the developers/programmers make good money remotely? I guess the markets are extremely competitive. You tell me!
Developer/programmer - They don’t need to be told true or false!
15. Financial Market Trader
Traders speculate on the rise and fall of the financial market and buy and sell specific assets to make profits. The assets include company shares and indices, forex (foreign exchange), commodities (e.g. gold), interest rates, etc. Also cryptocurrencies.
I suggest that you google “how long does it take to become a profitable trader” - some say 9 months and some say 6 years. You’ll also learn what level of skills and willpower it takes to keep going. Sounds like a pretty stressful job to me, but you may be interested.
Financial Market Trader - If you have enough capital to start with, true, I guess.
As opposed to financial trading, investment is a long term strategy. I have indeed invested some of my savings in FTSE 100 company shares in the past. As a shareholder, you are entitled to receive dividends each year, which is good, though no more than just some extra bonuses.
You manage it all online, but investments are not a “location independent job” that can be recommended to anyone, because;
- You need a lot of money to invest, which means a high barrier to entry.
- There’s always the risk of a loss if the share prices dramatically fall and never rise back up again.
- You need to diversify your portfolio (means investing in different types of assets) to hedge the risk. It means a lot of looking after to do.
Investor - False, unless you have a lot of savings you can risk. There's too much to lose if you're less than extremely serious.
Your Location Independent Business Marketplaces
Search to see what kind of jobs are available on Fiverr. Free to sign up.
A variety of platforms are available where you can sell your skills, such as;
- Freelancer.com, etc.
You can charge whatever price you think your service is worth. There’ll always be a dilemma at the beginning; if your charge is too high, you won’t sell, but if it’s too low, you’ll be seen as a discount (=inferior) seller. Most freelancers on these sites charge less than anyone else when they’re brand new, then gradually put their price up as their reputation grows. They may lose their old clients as the price increases, but that may be the risk well-taken.
I hope you’ll find a location independent career that allows you to make a living in years to come. Even if the job doesn’t turn out to give you total financial freedom, the main thing is to enjoy what you do. The experience you gain as a nomadic entrepreneur will never be wasted, no matter which way things turn out.
I hope you are keeping well. My name is Clara from Jezebel Stationery is online marketing agency. Recently I have been visiting your website to find your content, and I enjoy reading your article [True or False?] 16 Location Independent Career Ideas. I am interested in collaborating with your website with a fresh and innovative idea that you and your readers will surely love to appreciate.
We provide everything to do with location independent. I would appreciate hearing from you if you are interested in including my content on this page.
Hi Clara, I’m not sure what you’re looking to do. This article is written by me and I’m not adding your content to this page. But I’m open to your suggestion – Contact me directly via the form. Thanks!
Hi, thank you for such useful information, I have been a fan of your website for a while now, and the information like being location independent is vital for people like me who want to get out of 9 to 5 job. I truly appreciate your advice. I recently started surveys and within a few months I started to make a full time income. I recommend it to anyone because it requires no previous experience or skills. Just take a look, this can be the best way to become location independence for you. Thank you.
Hi Angela, thanks for your comment. Unfortunately I had to remove your affiliate link, as per our legal disclosure. Also I’ve checked the particular site but I don’t believe the site is genuine. There are no terms of service or any page to provide vital information to the users. Survey-for-cash sites barely allow you to make a decent income – they’re never designed to, anyway. I wish you all the best!
This is great information that anybody can make use of. I have been a fan of your site for a while now, actually.
Now the pandemic is over but monkey pox is spreading in a frightening speed, we need to isolate ourselves to work on our own. More people are willing to spend laptop lifestyle. Your post like this is Please check this site , it has everything you need for all continents of the world.
Thank you for the list of location independent jobs, it’s truly informative for me since I can agree with everything that you say. Especially for women of color like me it’s difficult to get a location independent job but because of wonderful sites like yours I can follow all the steps you advice and make myself work anywhere as I want. Can you also check my site.
Hi Henry David, are you are a woman of colour? What difficulties are you experiencing? What’s it to do with your site, and what steps are you referring to?
All of them are true. It’s just a matter of whether you can do it or not. I make money translating several foreign languages. How can it be false when it’s true to me. Photographers can also make money online. Your logic miss some points.
Hi Marc, thanks for your comment. My point is that some online career advice sites give false hopes to users. You can take some decent photos does not mean you can monetise that skill so easily when so many professional photographers thrive to promote their business online. If you speak two or more languages, you don’t have to be told by someone who doesn’t speak more than one language that you can be a translator, because you already know if it’s a possibility for you or not. It’s like someone who cannot drive thinks that anyone who drives can be a taxi driver. That’s my logic. Any questions don’t hesitate to get back to me.
Good points. Topics like these have been suggested by newbie bloggers for so many years but more people are aware of the ways to make money online. More people are tellin the same things to each other over and over again. You are also right that ‘X ways of writing articles’ are becoming so monotonous. Low numbers of points will not attract readers, but high numbers of points indicate a lack of depth in the article. I think most of your career ideas are true. However, I do not think they are feasible for ordinary people.
Hi Ed, thanks for your comment. I see what you mean, when it comes to list articles, we rarely find them useful, do we?
Dear Ray, thank you for sharing your useful article as usual! I completely agree with your points! Many articles have been written about how to make extra money online, but most of them seem so unrealistic. What makes them think that anyone can take photographs and sell them? I find it hilarious. I also agree with you on the specialities like lawyers and accountants, Ray. Social networks are causing problems because people assume they can say anything, but unlike social networks, nobody challenges them! More bloggers and content writers should realize that they can’t just say anything they want without real experiences, otherwise, their reputation will suffer. I really appreciate your honesty in this blog post.
Thanks Clair, I’m glad you agree! Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate your input. Have a great day! ?