Ever grab a coffee on your daily commute and wish that you could stay in that warm and cosy coffee shop for a little longer before making your way to the office? Well what about if that coffee shop WAS your office? Or what if you could even earn money directly from the bunkbed of an East-Asian travellers hostel??
Easily accessible internet, affordable laptops, and efficient tools of communication such as Skype and instant messaging have made working remotely a viable option for those wanting to move away from working the 9-5 grind. This phenomenon is called ‘telecommuting’ and has become a much sought after career move for many people especially as, according to basically every article written about it on the internet, it is creating happier and more stress-free employees.
What are some of the positives of working remotely?
- You have the ultimate flexibility to work when you want without time or geographical restrictions, which is why it is such a popular option with travellers – as long as there’s a decent internet connection, you can get to work.
- There’s no stressful commute, no sitting in traffic or being squished, nose first, into someone’s armpit on the tube. You can work all day in your pyjamas if you like.
- There’s no putting up with Barbara and her annoying rants about people stealing her stapler or Johnny in accounts cracking the same tired joke every time you’re unfortunate enough to meet in line for the coffee machine. Basically, you surround yourself with the people that you WANT to spend time with e.g. your friends or fellow remote workers, rather than people you HAVE to spend all day with.
- You are your own boss, you choose how much or how little you want to work depending on your financial situation at the time.
It’s not all rainbows and smiles when working remotely however, what are some of the draw backs?
- As mentioned above, you are your own boss. This means no work = no pay. No sick days, no annual leave, no more skulking into work the morning after that mid-week, post-work drink that ‘got out of hand’ pretending to answer emails when you’re really scrolling through Twitter and googling hangover cures.
- You have to be extremely self-motivated. You need to be on the hunt for new work constantly or otherwise you ain’t getting paid, my friend.
- Which leads me nicely onto my final point; a steady income is definitely not guaranteed which can be risky for some people. Learning to budget, as well as to be cautious with the money that you do have, is essential.
What are some of the jobs you can do remotely whilst travelling?
Simple right? You create interesting content either in written or visual form which people want to read/watch, you get yourself a bit of a following so that you get regular traffic to your chosen platform and then monetise this interest with a google ‘Adsense’ account on your YouTube channel or ‘Pay Per Click’ advertising on your website. Every time somebody watches or clicks on the advert, you get some cheeky pennies.
When having amassed a decent size following online you may also get non- monetary perks such as invites to events & conferences which often include free travel and accommodation.
Developer/ Programming/ Web Developer/ Software Engineer
For those that are on the ‘techie’ end of the skills spectrum, there are IT jobs in abundance for remote workers and they are usually paid rather well, too.
This type of work tends to be geared toward somewhat longer-term projects rather than one off pieces of work, meaning slightly more commitment is needed to complete work on time. The fact that the work can be completed on a beach sipping on a cocktail should be motivation enough, though.
If you’ve got the necessary skills to be a translator/interpreter then you will be laughing your way to the bank. You can get sent anything from instruction manuals to magazine articles to translate into another language. A quick search online will show you that there is a huge calling for this type of work so you’ll never be short of opportunities to earn money.
This can be as formal or informal as you like. One day you could be translating a person’s CV and the next you could be working for a national newspaper, in a travel agents or at a fancy hotel – it can be whatever you make of it.
Media work: Graphic Design/ Copywrting/ Content Writing/ Photographer
You will most likely need a number of years experience to be considered for this kind of work when travelling in a foreign country, but if you can make the right contacts and showcase your portfolio to the necessary people then you can definitely earn some good money working freelance.
Have you got a DSLR camera? Photoshop on your laptop? Microsoft Word? If so, get a job taking photos in a night club and you’ll get free drinks. Be the guy taking photos when travellers go white water rafting; get your PADI and be the videographer for scuba trips; write for a travel mag; design infographics for websites; write press releases…the possibilities are endless.
Admin based work- Data Input/ Auditing/ Accounts/ HR duties/ Telemarketing
Not everyone’s cup of tea and is most likely the type of job that you’re trying to move away from when wanting to work remotely, but when you’re typing away at a laptop on a balcony overlooking a new city rather than a stuffy office it may not seem so bad.
Some jobs can be as basic as inputting numbers into a system or can be as advanced as organising and paying invoices, making sales calls/ emails or auditing files. There are options for every body no matter what your experience is.
Now for the most important bit – How will you get paid?
If you set up an AdSense account on your youtube channel you will get paid your share of advertising revenue at the start of every month directly into your bank account (the general rule is $20-25 USD per every 1000 views of a pre-roll advert). Similarly ‘pay per click’ advertising on a blog will pay out once a month either directly into your bank account or into a Paypal account.
Freelance work will mostly get paid via BACs payment but sometimes they will pay per cheque (if they’re stuck in 1992) and you will usually have to write up an invoice for the pre-agreed cost of your work, sending it either electronically or as a paper copy (there’s heaps of information and tips on writing up invoices for freelancers on the web so definitely do your research first).
The boring bit. How does it work with paying taxes and working visas etc?
It would be fantastic if there was a black and white answer to this very important question as, ideally, I’m guessing that you probably wouldn’t want to be breaking any laws…however, despite lengthy searches online and after trawling through endless forums, it seems that there simply aren’t any concrete rules for working remotely and the loose rules that are in place differ from country to country.
My advice would be to check with each embassy/inland revenue before you head to the country on a case by case basis to avoid breaking any rules.
Making some spare pocket money…
If you want to earn a few pennies on the side then filling out surveys online is a great option. Large companies will often conduct surveys to the masses to get invaluable market research and as an incentive for you to participate they’ll throw in a small cash sum or some shopping vouchers (payments are usually done via Paypal).
Cash back websites
These websites are great for earning some cash back on your online purchases, you simply create an account with them, use the links on their website to make your purchases whether it’s online shopping, travel insurance, plane tickets etc, and you’ll get a percentage of that purchase back into your account.
Therefore with a bit of initiative and *excuse the management spiel* thinking outside the box, there’s no reason why you can’t make every coffee shop, hotel room or airport your temporary office and enjoy the ultimate freedom of working remotely.