So you want a fulfilling career that allows you to travel, but you’re not looking to start your own business? Search no further! We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 jobs for remote workers in 2018.
Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs, says, “Work-from-anywhere remote jobs are ideal options for people who really enjoy traveling, are full-on digital nomads, or who have to move frequently but don’t want to sacrifice satisfying and well-paying careers.” As technology improves and global internet access becomes more and more reliable, companies are beginning to realize the potential of remote employees. Additionally, this also means that a variety of industries are hiring, for every skill level and career stage. Now is a great time to take the leap, live out your dreams of travel, and have a successful career while doing it.
Being a “developer” is a blanket term for a huge variety of tech-friendly jobs. This category can include anything from software engineering, to app development, to website design, systems administration, testing, and ops infrastructure.
It’s one of the most popular categories for a reason—there’s demand, and it pays. The tech industry is the future of how we work, so it’s no surprise that many location-free jobs fall within this category. It’s a great option for those who love to travel, too, because it’s often self-paced work that is low-client facing.
If you don’t have experience with web development, don’t worry. There are many resources out there to help you get started at any skill level. It may go without saying, but this career is best suited for the tech-savvy. For a spot of extra reading, why not look at our "How To" article on being a software developer?
2. Online Marketing
Online marketing is another popular and varied career option for digital nomads. Within this category are jobs related to SEO and PPC, traffic generation, affiliated marketing, and inbound marketing.
With a low barrier to entry and high demand, these jobs are great for generalist nomads. Almost every company has a website that needs marketing, every successful blog has well-planned SEO strategies, and inbound marketing, which is increasing in popularity, requires thoughtful content creation. These jobs aren’t hard to come by, and it doesn’t take too long to master the skills.
There are many resources out there to help you learn the basics of any of these types of marketing, many of which are free. It’s also important to start a blog and ramp up your social media presence to show employers your skills.
For the more creative digital nomads, web-based design may be a viable option. Graphic design, WordPress theme design, UX and UI design all fall within this category and all require different skill sets.
With tons of free and paid resources out there, it’s not impossible to break into the web-design field. Though many stable jobs require experience, freelance is a reliable place to start. Additionally, this is another job with high demand and a bright future—everybody with a product to sell, business to maintain, or presence to grow needs design help. Plus, travel can be a WAY better inspiration than an office cubicle!
Blog writing is a popular way to start, especially for those who love to travel and write about their experiences. Beyond blogging, though, is a whole world of writing and editing opportunities.
Technical writing is a well-paid niche for those who have knowledge in a specific field—manuals, online help articles, training, and reports all fall within this category.
Copywriting is a type of persuasive writing, great for those with a marketing mindset.
For those who love to write, eBook self-publishing is a good way to earn passive income once the work is put in. With sites like Amazon and E-junkie, it’s never been easier to get your writing out there.
Flexibility and buildable skills define this job. Once you’ve got a portfolio built, it’s easy to score well-paid freelance jobs on any one of the many, many freelance sites out there. Additionally, it’s not impossible to get contract writing work, or location-free direct hire work, that can sustain you for long periods of time. For extra reading, please see our "How To" article on becoming a Remote Copywriter.
5. Customer Support
Location independent customer support careers are another expanding field. All it takes to be successful in this career is a computer with wifi, call or chat software, and great customer services skills. Even more opportunities are available to those with specialized skills.
Customer support jobs require little contact with the rest of the team, and many companies know this and are willing to hire distance-based employees. Usually companies look for impeccable English skills, the ability to work autonomously, and mastery of simple admin tasks like tracking data on Excel.
This job is great for remote workers because of the flexibility. There are a huge number of industries that need customer support, and sometimes being in a different timezone from the customers is a benefit (hello would-be night shift turned day shift!). Plus, the pay is surprisingly reasonable with Glassdoor quoting most earning somewhere around $30,000 annually.
Teaching English is a pretty common way to satisfy your travel bug while making cash. But with the ever-increasing presence of the internet, a whole new world of teaching has opened up. No longer are you confined to the classroom, or even one location! Online tutoring, teaching, curriculum building, and course building are all options for digital nomads.
Nikki J. is a long-time digital nomad currently living in Japan, although she has also lived in Vietnam, Argentina, and France, to name a few. Nikki earns a living by teaching and tutoring languages online-- she speaks English, French, and Spanish, and hosts her lessons on Skype and says, “It’s actually very easy to build a customer base. There are so many platforms out there for language teachers. And a plethora of teaching resources out there. So, it’s not even that difficult to make lesson plans!” Nikki also commented that she loves her job and how it allows her to connect with people from all around the world wherever she’s at.
This is another job with great flexibility and numerous opportunities. Teaching and tutoring are not just confined to English. Chemistry, music, math, literature… if you had a favorite subject in school, odds are you can teach or tutor it online! Many teachers and tutors find work through agencies that match them and it just takes a quick Google search to find hundreds.
Another viable career path is in curriculum or course creation. The type of work can range anywhere from freelance writing a college curriculum, to learning how to and building your own courses online. For example, many people build courses on, essentially, how to do whatever it is you do! And once all the work is done and you’ve hosted your course on a site like Wyzant or Skooli, it’s a way to earn passive income.
Accounting jobs may seem like pretty boring desk jobs to some, but in reality much of the work of an accountant can be done from just about anywhere on a computer in the right industries. This is especially true for niche areas, like international tax preparation, small business accounting, and so on.
This career is great for nomads who want to stick with more traditional jobs while still living out their travel dreams. More and more opportunities are likely to open up as businesses continue to adapt to new technologies. Additionally, it’s also possible to market yourself to fellow digital nomads who are looking to get their own businesses, or personal, finances in order!
Please note that to be an accountant, usually a bachelor’s degree and certification is required.
8. Data Entry
Why it’s great: Data entry is in high-demand and can pretty much be done anywhere, anytime, which is great news for nomads! Data is integral to business-- it’s used to help the tracking of inventory and shipments, used to aid in business plan creation, and can assist businesses in measuring performance and output.
Although it’s beneficial to have some previous experience, this is reflected in the relatively stable compensation. There are freelance, one-time gig, opportunities out there, too, though, so if you need to brush up on your data entry skills, it’s not impossible to get started while already on the road. This is an especially great job for the tech and business savvy nomads out there.
9. Virtual Assistant
These days many small businesses outsource tedious tasks to virtual assistants. There’s a lot that goes into running a business, much of which can be done from anywhere with internet access! The type of work ranges anywhere from secretarial duties, like handling appointments, to more technical work, like updating websites.
Kelsey D., a digital nomad who travels the backroads of the United States every chance she gets, works as a virtual assistant for a small shoe design company based in Chicago. Kelsey manages appointment calendars, conference call note taking, inventory and shipment databases, and answering client emails. When asked how she came across this job, she said, “It was really the perfect fit for me. I love fashion and design, but needed something flexible to fit my lifestyle and allowed me to work while on the road. I actually found this company while looking for jobs on Craigslist, bought a pocket wifi, and have never looked back.”
If you’re an especially organized nomad, this job might be for you! Depending on your skill set or niche, there’s a huge market for virtual assistants. These jobs can range anywhere from short-term contracts, one-time gigs, to long-term partnerships or permanent employment.
10. Social Media Manager
This is a newer job that has been seeing huge growth within the last couple of years, and is great for those who love social media. Being a Social Media Manager means looking after the various social media accounts that most companies seem to have today. Duties could include making posts, answering inquiries, planning out strategies for user involvement, and so on. These days a great number of companies have this position, or one like it, or even hire freelance managers to help them out.
Although it’s a relatively new job, there are thousands of listings on sites like careerbuilder.com, simplyhired.com, and upwork.com. Often some experience is required, but this experience can be gained by building your own social media presence, or helping out those in your network. Often times Social Media Managers are paid by the hour, or with a monthly or retainer fee.
Check out some of the following resources for more information, job listings, or course listings! With a new year, comes new and better technology. The future of location-independent careers is bright, so these are just a few of the options out there. Take some time to research if you’re thinking of making the transition into the digital nomad life, but be assured that it’s very possible to do what you love while also living how you want.
List of current job openings-- frequently updated!
Courses for just about any subject imaginable.
The following are remote work sites:
Additionally, searching traditional job listing sites like www.indeed.com and adding the word “remote” to any job search is another effective method to find work.
So that's it! As technology continues to expand across the world, so do your options in terms of work, so let's make 2018 the year you make the switchover to location independence and a different sort of freedom!
I’m Alex! I’m originally from a quaint midwestern river town, but I picked up my life and moved to bustling Tokyo as a dime-a-dozen high school English teacher in 2015. I’m a bit of a cynic, if you can’t tell, but don’t be fooled by the gruff exterior: I’m also a big softy and cry every graduation ceremony.
Writing has been a passion of mine for a long time-- I can remember back in elementary school getting caught writing narratives during class. These days travel writing is a perfect combination of my interests. Working while living my dreams of travel has given me a lot to write about, and I enjoy sharing these experiences with others.
When I’m not working, writing, or out chasing nu-disco gigs with a (probably warm) Asahi beer in hand, I’m off on another outdoor adventure, learning something new (see: learning to cook with multiple cooking disasters including trying to fit a 15-pound turkey in a toy-sized oven by sawing off the legs), or centering myself at my favorite yoga studio.