One of the top challenges that prevents people from attempting to live the digital nomad lifestyle is the sense that they have ‘nothing to sell.’ There are actually dozens of different skills that you can sell over the Internet, interacting with clients via email and Skype from anywhere in the world.
The remote work phenomenon is growing rapidly – companies like Automattic have completely remote teams of professionals. The traditional office paradigm is dying.
If you’re looking to join the movement but aren’t sure what kind of skills you can potentially sell online, here is a list of 58 to help give you some ideas. Even if you don’t have one of these skills, many of them can be learned to a “sellable” level with a month of study at the local library.
You can find real examples online of people making a living selling each of these skills – none of these are made up. Some are freelancing skills, some are remote jobs with companies, some are entrepreneurial enterprises and some follow a coaching/consulting model.
1 – Article writing – there are millions of websites out there, and they all need content to attract visitors from the searches engines. If you can write compelling content and learn to optimize it for the web, you can make a living writing articles.
2 – Sales copywriting – there is a gentle art to persuading people to buy through the written word. This can be a very lucrative skill that can land you both freelancing work and long term remote job contracts.
3 – Ebook ghostwriting – it’s common knowledge that publishing a book is a great way to establish credibility and expertise, but not everyone has the writing talent or time to do it. Find someone who wants a book with their name on it but doesn’t have the time or skill to actually do the writing – and offer to do it for them as a ghostwriter.
4 – Technical writing – different from sales copywriting, technical writing requires a scientific, matter-of-fact way of looking at things. You can make a very comfortable living writing instruction manuals and other similar materials for businesses.
5 – Script writing – this skill is not only applicable to TV and movies. Companies need professional scripts for video and audio materials like ads and explainer videos – if you can write catchy scripts, you can make a good living between this and other freelancing gigs.
6 – Travel writing – the holy grail of online income sources for many aspiring digital nomads, getting paid to travel sounds like a dream come true. As with all online income generation, the reality is a lot tougher than the fantasy – but it is definitely possible to make a full time living as a travel writer, writing pieces for magazines and online publications as well as creating your own blog to add extra income streams and sell your own books. Be prepared for a lot of work and self promotion.
7 – Translation – as with writing, there is a large demand for remote translation services. You can get into this field fairly easily as a freelancer as long as you have some good samples of work to show potential clients. Once you get established, set up your own branded website and focus on building authority and inbound leads to create a long term, sustainable business.
8 – Proofreading and editing – if you’re not big on writing but you have a keen eye for errors in copy, you can do this as a freelancer, a remote worker or as an enterprise with multiple proofreaders working under you. It can also be a good supplement to freelance writing.
9 – Transcription – the medical and legal professions are particularly in need of transcription – converting audio into a written format. The pay is not great, but it’s a relatively easy way to get started with online income if you don’t already have a high demand skill.
10 – Language teaching – speak more than one language? You already have a digital nomad income skillset right there. You can find roles as a freelancer, remote contracts or set up a formal service business. This option also lends itself well to creating information products like ebooks and video courses, so you can build recurring revenue over time.
11 – Resume writing – if a jobseeker needs a resume that pops, they’ll pay to have a professional put one together for them. Like many other writing skills, there is a large global marketplace for remote work in the resume writing field – customers aren’t picky about where you are as long as you’re good at what you do.
12 – Search engine optimization – ranking businesses on Google and developing content that will drive more free traffic to their websites. You don’t need a college degree for this and it can be very lucrative, lending itself to a recurring monthly payment model. $500-$1000/month contracts are typical.
13 – Social media marketing – more companies large and small are beginning to understand the importance of engaging their customers and building relationships on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. If you’re good at getting people to engage and respond to you on social media, this is a skill you can parlay into monthly contracts doing social media marketing for businesses.
14 – Google Adwords optimization – Google ads are an important source of targeted traffic for many business websites. If you can learn to write great ads and structure campaigns to produce streams of paying customers, you can not only use it to promote your own services, you can also sell it to clients.
15 – Sales – great sales skills are always in demand, and there are plenty of companies that will hire remotely for over-the-phone sales roles as well as sales team management gigs.
16 – Project management – if you’re a pro at organizing people and making sure complex projects stay on budget and within deadlines, you can sell these skills as a freelancer or contractor.
17 – Email marketing – the art of nurturing leads on an email list and ensuring they remain engaged and responsive – this skillset relies heavily on strong copywriting abilities.
18 – Public relations – if you can write press releases and form relationships with journalists in order to help companies get news coverage, you have a potential business.
19 – Marketing management – some companies now hire for remote managers to run their entire marketing operation. If you have extensive knowledge of marketing and can manage people, this could suit you (the skills you need can be learned at the local library – you don’t need a degree in the field, especially if you set up your own company rather than looking for remote jobs).
20 – Affiliate marketing – this is where you earn commissions by promoting other people’s products online. If you’re able to get in front of people through Google, Facebook and other avenues but you don’t have your own products or services, this can be a good option to get started. Just make sure you only promote quality stuff that you would actually use yourself.
21 – Recruitment – have a knack for teaming up talented people with employers who need their skills? If you have an existing skillset as a career matchmaker, you can take that skill on the road and pair up jobseekers with emplyees remotely.
23 – User experience design – many websites are not intuitive or friendly to the customer experience, and this has a big impact on their performance. If you can make websites more user friendly, you have a potential career as a UX designer.
25 – PHP – a programming language, mostly used for developing web pages that require interaction from the user.
26 – Drupal – a content management system built on PHP. If you learn PHP you can become a specialist in Drupal and charge more for your services one you’re established as an expert.
27 – iOS development – creating apps for Apple products running on iOS.
28 – Android development – creating apps for mobile devices running Google’s Android operating system.
29 – Game development – if you love video games, getting into game development has probably already crossed your mind. To make it even more appealing, it’s now possible to find remote work contracts that let you build games from anywhere in the world.
30 – MySQL – a database management software used for many web applications. As a web developer, knowing your way around multiple coding languages and softwares gives you a lot of options for jobs and freelancing gigs, but specializing and becoming an expert in one can allow you to charge more.
31 – Python – a programming language used for creating a wide range of applications as well as website programming.
32 – IT consulting – if you have experience in the IT industry, you can parlay this into a consulting business, charging clients an hourly rate or a monthly retainer for access to your expertise. This can be done remotely over the phone or via Skype sessions.
33 – Web design – the market for web design globally is huge and still growing as commerce for businesses of all sizes moves online. If you have a flair for design and know how to use Photoshop, you can easily turn this into a comfortable online living as a freelancer or doing a remote job.
34 – Logo design – every company wants to stand out. If you have graphic design skills and a good understanding of how to capture the essence of a brand in simple images, logo design and branding could be a good fit for you.
35 – Animation – there’s a huge commercial demand for 2D and 3D animation as companies come to understand the power of online video.
36 – Voiceover talent – got a voice for radio? Lots of companies need voice talent for their online video and audio materials – promote yourself as a freelancer.
37 – Acting – just like with voice talent, many companies hire remote actors to make presentation videos. If you can act and present, you can sell yourself as a presentation actor.
38 – Infographic design – infographics are a powerful way to get attention, especially on social media. If you have a flair for design and can arrange information in a visually compelling way, this can be a lucrative business.
39 – Video editing and production – all those animated and live videos need to be put together by editors who know their way around video production software. If you have, or can learn, video editing skills then you can use this to launch a viable freelance career.
40 – Photography – there are two big ways to make money from photography remotely – either by doing custom work for clients, or selling your photos are stock photography that people can buy and download. You can also teach others your skills.
41 – Branding – helping companies to develop a distinct ‘personality’ that will be consistent across all their marketing, advertising and communications materials.
42 – Art direction – if you have creative flair and an eye for what looks good on a screen or print publication, becoming an art director may be your best road to remote working. This skillset is applicable to a wide variety of industries, from marketing and advertising, to magazine publishing to fashion.
43 – Data entry – a nice straightforward entry point to freelancing or remote work which doesn’t require an advanced skillset.
44 – Customer support – many companies are now quite used to hiring support staff who work from home, even in other countries. If you have related experience this can be a relatively easy way to get into remote work.
45 – Virtual assistant – one of the online jobs with the lowest barriers to entry – you can sell you services doing odd jobs for busy people like research tasks, answering emails, organizing schedules and virtually anything else that can be done over the Internet.
46 – Research – if you’re skilled at finding and collating information quickly, you can sell your skills as a researchers to writers, entrepreneurs and other business professionals.
47 – Tutoring – even if you haven’t developed any particularly special skills yet, you may have a very solid understanding of a certain subject at the school/college level. If so, you can offer to tutor students over the web for a fee. What do you know a lot about that others would be willing to pay to understand better? Remember, understanding is valuable. Spread your understanding to others and they will gladly pay for that value.
48 – Financial advice – good at helping people manage their money? There’s no reason you need to do this face to face. Try online consulting calls and creating information products from your knowledge.
49 – Business coaching – got business experience? Help others learn and grow through online educational materials and coaching calls.
50 – Social skills/dating coaching – millions of people around the world struggle every day with poor social skills and the resulting lack of good relationships. Help them solve this problem and you can get paid for it.
51 – Product development consultant – if you have previous experience through your own business or through a job role and you know the ins and outs of creating a successful product, you can sell that knowledge through info products and/or as a high priced consultant.
52 – Selling your knowledge – a broad category, this can cover virtually anything that others may pay to learn. If you know how to do something well and it’s a skill that others want to learn, chances are you can make a buck by packaging your knowledge as an ebook, audio course or video course and selling it online.
53 – Parenting coaching – people all over the planet are struggling with the challenges of raising kids – if you have expertise in this area, offer online coaching and package your knowledge into resources people will buy.
54 – Relationship counselling – if you’re experienced as a relationship counsellor, why not take your practice online? There’s no longer any need to do face to face meetings – if you have clients who love you’re work, they’ll pay for sessions over Skype.
55 – Career counselling – do you have a knack for helping others find their dream jobs? You can sell this as a service via Skype calls or package it into information products.
56 – Fashion consulting – if you can demonstrate your fashion expertise online via a blog and social media, many of your followers will be happy to pay for online consults and your best tips.
57 – Clothing designer – if you have a flair for design, there’s no reason this has to be done in an office scenario anymore. There are a handful of remote fashion jobs advertised online, but your best path is to start your own service and sell your custom designs through a website.
58 – Nutrition consultant – again, there’s no reason nutritionists need to see their clients face to face anymore. If you can develop a following by posting your best nutrition tips on a blog, you can advertise your services, doing Skype consulting sessions and creating custom nutrition plans for your customers.
Remember – even if you have a skill that doesn’t seem like an obvious choice for selling online, you can always turn it into an information product that teaches others how to do the same thing.
Mechanic? Make a video series on how to maintain your favourite make and model of car.
Builder? Create an ebook around do-it-yourself building. Or perhaps you can hire someone to develop a software that serves people who share a hobby you’re passionate about. There are very few skills that can’t be adapted into a product or service that can be sold on the web. Take the above list as inspiration and begin looking at your own skillset to see where the opportunities are – becoming a digital nomad may be a lot easier than you initially thought.
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Fantastic list. I’ve tried the writing and social media. Next on my list would be to get more involved in the consulting and selling (perhaps my own product).
Thanks for sharing and looking forward to more great posts!
Great list!! You guys should add an image to the post so people are able to pin it to Pinterest. I tried but was unable due to no images
Hey Laura, thanks for the suggestion – I will go ahead and add one. 🙂
I have a query about the article, where can i e-mail the writer?
Hi Zoe – you can reach me at email@example.com
Excellent piece, i did read it twice so sorry for
this, i have passed it on to my associates,
so with any luck they’ll get pleasure from it as well.
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