3 sensible ways of earning a location independent income for digital nomads with kids

If you want to live the digital nomad lifestyle with your family, you have to earn your money location independent. Or win the lottery… However, I assume you’re not that lucky, so you’re probably interested in how to set up a remote career. There are lots and lots of possibilities. You might have seen the popular blog posts with titles like ‘88 best remote jobs’ or ‘101 jobs that allow you to travel the world’. Well, there might be some truth in these posts, but they can also be a bit risky.

With kids in the equation, you want more certainty when it comes to your location independent income. At least, I know I want to!

Thankfully there are a few feasible options for making a decent living while traveling the world. It is still hard work, of course, but if you’re serious about working remote, please check this list of realistic digital nomad jobs.

1. Remote job with your employer

Traveling the world while having a job with a contract? It is possible. My husband had it, and there are plenty others who have it. Do know that the competition is fierce, though. If you don’t have a job now, or if it is absolutely impossible to do this job remotely, then applying for one is hard. It will take lots of time to find one. Keep that in mind when you make your plans.

You can find remote jobs at websites like We Work Remotely, Flexjobs and RemoteOK.

Make your current job remote

If your current job is completely digital, you might have more chances asking your current employer about the possibilities of working remote. Don’t ask your boss straight ‘can I work from everywhere while we travel the world full time?’. Take it slow!

For example, first, ask if you could work from home one day per week. Deliver your best work. No seriously, get things done and make it visible. Track your time and results; summarize it in a PowerPoint, hand it to your boss. Just make sure he knows you’re super productive when working from home.

Then ask for an extra work from home day, or make a flexible agreement in which you can choose the days you work from home yourself. But do take time for this next step. Especially when your boss is very traditional, he probably needs a lot of time to actually see the benefits of having a remote employee.

When he’s comfortable with you working from home regularly, say that you planned some traveling for a few weeks and that you want to continue working. If you suspect he won’t agree, just go and when you come back, show him how extra productive, creative and motivated you were while combining work and travel. Of course, back up your story with visible results!

After this, suggest you want to travel for a month, or maybe two. He doesn’t need to know yet that you have plans to travel long term 😉

Pros and cons of working remotely for an employer

Pros: You have the (relative) security of a contract, including the benefits of a pension and disability insurance.
Cons: Less flexible, you still have to ‘answer’ to a boss.

Bonus tip: if you still work full time, do know that working 40+ hours per week while traveling full time is exhausting. Preferable is around 24, max 30. But it depends on your financial situation if this is a feasible option.

2. Freelancing

Freelancing is a very flexible way of earning a location independent income. You need a laptop, a decent WiFi-connection and a set of digital skills. Easy right 😉

It might seem difficult, especially if you don’t have a career in a digital job, but know this: there is so much more possible than you can imagine!

If you want to know more about becoming a location independent freelancer, read my extensive step by step guide:

How to become a location independent freelancer - and support your digital nomad family

Non- or semi-digital jobs

If you don’t have digital skills, or, if you don’t want to work completely digital, you can also focus on online coaching, mentoring or teaching. More and more people discover the opportunities of the world wide web. Travelers and other digital nomads, of course, but also regular people see the benefits of online help.

In this way, you can combine your people craft with working online. Of course, it does entail working online a lot. You have to set up and maintain your website (including blogging and a bit social media), and when working with clients (or patients), this will all be digital through Skype or teaching platforms.

Pros and cons of remote freelancing

Pros: You can be very flexible since you make your own schedule. If set up correctly, it can offer a stable income stream.
Cons: It takes some time to set up your freelancing career. Take into account that it will take around 6 to 12 months before you earn decently. You can become successful faster, depending on the amount of time you have available.

Bonus tip: Not sure if your skills can be transformed into a remote and digital freelancing job? Google it! If there are others doing it, you can do it too. And, if no one is doing it yet, even better, you can be the first!

3. Work on location

No so much into the whole working on a laptop thing? I get it. At times I want to throw my laptop out of the RV window as well. Work is work, even for digital nomads.

If you want to practice a craft or work face to face with people, you might think that the digital nomad lifestyle is not a fit. On the contrary! Although others might disagree, working on location can result in a feasible income stream. However, you do have to accept that it requires slow travel.

With kids, slow travel is best anyway. But in this case, I mean really slow slow travel.

Think off: a teaching job for one school year. Being a scuba dive instructor for the high season. Having a job at a local restaurant. It may not pay much, but if you choose your destinations wisely, you probably don’t need much.

Pros and cons of working on location

Pros: You can settle for a bit in a new place, truly immerse yourself in a new culture. Your kids can even attend school or day care (if you want!).
Cons: It’s inflexible. You need to stay in one spot for a few months or a year. And when deciding where to travel next, the place where you can get your next job determines your destination.

Bonus tip: You can also apply for jobs when you’ve arrived at your new destinations You might even find a job much quicker, as traditionally, employers like to see applicants in real life before they hire someone.

Blogging and niche sites

You might wonder why I haven’t included blogging and building niche sites in my list. Although these seem like the most romantic digital nomad jobs, they are also the hardest to set up. I don’t say it’s impossible, but I’m a big fan of diversifying your income to get some financial stability:

Financial stability for digital nomad family

But, if you’re into writing, blogging, and social media, and you know a bit about WordPress, online monetization, and SEO (or at least, you are interested in these topics), then I recommend you start exploring the options.

Especially as a side job, having a blog or (multiple?) niche sites, can be a great add to your income. But it takes a lot of time and energy to monetize them, so I do not recommend you putting all your money on it (figuratively).

Do you want to know more about setting up a niche site, or about monetizing your blog? I highly suggest you follow Sharon’s website Digital Nomad Wannabe. It’s packed with useful information, and she explains it all step by step.

I hope these 3 location independent income ideas help you on your way to become a digital nomad family. I would love to hear about your experience with setting it up! If you have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments!


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