10 Flexible Side Hustles for Digital Nomads

Flexible Side Hustles for Digital Nomads - Goldilocks Effect


Making money online has never been more popular, and there’s never been a better time to work remotely. Ever wanted to make money while laying on the beach in Tahiti? Wake up in a cottage in the English countryside? Quit your job and really achieve a work/life balance?  These flexible side hustles for digital nomads my be perfect for you!

A new breed of travelers, known as digital nomads, combine flexible work and pleasure to design their own lifestyles wherever they choose. Thanks to the internet, it’s now easier than ever to travel the world while making a living. No boss or office required.

If you’re looking to spend more time adventuring and less time commuting to work, a digital nomad lifestyle may be for you. My husband and I left behind the corporate world in April 2019, and it’s been the best experience for us!

The number of jobs that can be done remotely is growing every year, which is a definite advantage for those pursuing the digital nomad lifestyle. This is our list of Top Ten Side Hustles for Digital Nomads.

This post contains affiliate links, for which we may earn a small commission. We only ever promote companies and products that we personally use and believe in.
Goldilocks Effect
Digital Nomad Side Hustles - Goldilocks Effect

Remote Work for Digital Nomads

A recent study found that a third of digital nomads visit 5-10 countries per year, typically staying between one and three months in each location. They fund their adventures as they travel, with over half of travelers earning more than $1,000 per month, and 11% earning $5,000 or more. 

When we got serious about quitting our jobs and travelling full time, we knew we’d need to earn about $1000/mo. each. We started scouring the internet for remote jobs within our wheel house and were truly amazed at how many different ways there were to earn money online.

So how can you make a reliable income while living abroad? Consider a mix of digital jobs. Having multiple streams of income is the best way to ensure your financial freedom. Here’s our list of the top 10 ways to make a living when you’ve got little more than a backpack and a laptop to your name.

Top 10 Side Hustles for Digital Nomads

Test Websites from Home

Usability Testing is an excellent side hustle for digital nomads, or anyone already working on a computer during the day. This would include most digital nomads. While the work is intermittent, the pay is good for simple work. If you’re already working online and able to take testing opportunities as they come up, you can make a regular income of a few hundred dollars a week. Pay is usually $10 for 10-20 minutes of your time, which is $60 an hour! I can easily make $1000 a month for only a few hours of work per week. The more companies you sign up with, the more you earn. 

For a full list of usability testing companies hiring now (2020) please click here.

Work as a Transcriptionist

Do you have a set of headphones, a computer and wifi? That’s all you need to get started as a transcriptionist with Rev.com. Rev allows you to choose from hundreds of transcription jobs, making it easy to create your own schedule. The faster and more accurately you type, the more you’re able to earn. Rev also offer free tutorials and practice jobs, allowing you to strengthen your transcription skills and boost your earning power anytime. 

I loved getting started with Rev because it felt like I was getting paid to learn transcribing. As a Revver I make about $200 a week consistently, and I’m very near to becoming a Revver+, which has even more earning potential. As a digital nomad, Rev is the perfect side hustle for me.

Side Hustles for Digital Nomads - Goldilocks Effect

Blogging & Affiliate Marketing

While blogging and affiliate marketing are obviously two different things, we use them in conjunction with each other to really boost our income. A blog is still a viable way to make good money in 2020, and the biggest perk is that you can do it from anywhere. 

Affiliate marketing makes it simple to start earning income with your site before you have a ton of page views (that most advertisers require.) Our biggest affiliate sales come from the Amazon Affiliate Program and MagicLinks. We love working with MagicLinks because they make it so simple to get started. Once you are signed up you have access to TONS of retailers, and don’t have to individually sign up to each company’s affiliate program like you do with other sites. 

The Amazon Affiliate Program does require you to make 3 separate sales within 90 days to keep your account open, so we recommend signing up once you have your blog in place to give you the most time to grab those sales. We wrote a post on White Elephant Gifts that  got over 500 clicks and we sold over 100 Amazon items in 30 days during Christmas 2019. This was right after launching, and felt AMAZING!  That just goes to show you don’t have have a big following to make sales. Blogging and affiliate marketing take some time and patience, but the long term pay out is worth it.

As a digital nomad, your travels could make an excellent topic for your blog. Blogs about traveling families, solo travelers, traveling couples, eco-traveling, and the like are all hugely popular and monetizable. Also, you’d have no shortage of topics to blog about! By incorporating affiliate links in your blog, you can start earning a commission on items they purchase through your suggestions. 

We started our blog and e-commerce site in 2019, using Bluehost for our domain and hosting. We received a FREE domain and SSL certificate, and pay under $4 a month. As a new blogger they make it super simple and affordable, and we couldn’t be happier. 

Bluehost Offers:

        • FREE Domain Name for 1st Year
        • FREE SSL Certificate Included 
        • 1-Click WordPress Install
        • 24/7 Support

Become a Virtual Tutor

If you have an area of expertise or are fluent in a foreign language, there are several online platforms through which you can work with students in need of extra help. Tutoring is flexible as you can either work on a scheduled or an as-needed basis. Such opportunities pay well — the going rate is often $20 an hour or higher. MathElf allows tutors to work from an iPhone or iPad to offer to tutor whenever they have a spare few minutes. Superprof is the #1 tutoring hub in Europe and boasts that you can earn over £50 an hour.

Become a Customer Service Representative

Large companies such as Amazon, Best Western, and Hilton often hire remote customer service representatives. Customer service is one of the most accessible fields for work from home jobs. If you enjoy helping others and have the patience to talk through problems, check out staffing companies such as Access Staffing & VIPdesk. To find a customer service position, you’ll need to ensure that you can make the customers’ time zones fit your schedule. While this is less flexible than some jobs, if you have experience in customer service, this may be a great remote job for you.

Side Hustles for Digital Nomads - Goldilocks Effect

Build an E-Commerce Shop

You don’t need a brick-and-mortar location to open a store anymore. In fact, the best part about drop-shipping is that you don’t even need inventory. Have a knack for online marketing? Know how to drive an audience to your site or Amazon listing? If so, you can use drop-shipping to make money by selling products that you never even hold in your possession. This makes e-commerce and drop-shipping the perfect side hustle for digital nomads. Check out Shopify’s guide to drop-shipping if you’re curious about how to get started.

You can also create your own affiliate marketing e-commerce store using Amazon, WordPress and WooZone like we have. 

Work as a Virtual Assistant

If you feel that organization and communication are some of your strong points, you may find it rewarding to work as a virtual assistant. This position is essentially an office job that you perform from the comfort of your home (or travels.) Typical duties include responding to emails,  maintaining calendars, editing content and managing social media. Many companies hire virtual assistants through freelancing platforms such as UpWorkFlexJobs, and Freelancer.

Teach English Online

If you are a fluent English speaker interested in obtaining education experience while traveling abroad, teaching English as a foreign language may be the perfect opportunity for you. In most countries, teaching requires obtaining a TEFL certificate, which can be earned in 4 to 11 weeks depending on your course preferences. TEFL courses typically include guided job searches so that you can secure a teaching position immediately upon certification. 

To learn more about TEFL certification and teaching abroad, check out the International TEFL Academy. For Americans who want to stay in Europe more than the allotted 90 days, getting a teaching certificate can help you secure a visa in many countries. While many English teaching opportunities are in-person, there are plenty of options to teach online too, such as:   VerblingVIPKIDVerbalplanet & Connections Academy.

Sell Your Designs

Have a great idea for a t-shirt? The ability to create digital art? Sell your designs on Redbubble. They handle the sales, shipping, printing, customer service and returns. Simply upload your designs to products and when someone buys one, you make a portion of the sale! Do the work once and be paid for it unlimited times, even earn money in your sleep. On average I make $15 per sweatshirt and $10 per t-shirt that sell, but you can set your own commission rates. There is no cost to set up a digital storefront, simply design and make money. 

Not an artist? That’s okay. One of the top-selling designs simply said, “Ok, but first coffee”.  This is my Redbubble Shop (still a work in progress!) Over Christmas my best performing designs were quotes from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, such as “Merry Christmas, Shitter’s Full!” I try to use phrases that I would find amusing or are trending. I actually have a huge list of slogans and ideas to upload, just need to make the time to get them designed (in Canva) and uploaded. 

To create your own Redbubble shop and start selling your designs, click here.

Make Money as a Freelancer

If you have skills in writing, editing, web development, or graphic design you can connect with clients anywhere in the world. Online freelancing platform such as UpWork make it simple to find work, or you can market directly through your own website and outreach efforts. It’s easy to use cloud-based software like Google Docs and Adobe Creative Cloud to collaborate with your clients. Freelancing is ideal for nomads, as it can be done based on your schedule and at your own rates. Make sure to give your clients a positive experience—once you’ve built up a steady base of clients. You really want to retain those clients, as it’s much easier to keep working with them than to constantly be hustling for new prospects. That positive experience can also gain you additional clients through word of mouth. 

Upwork is one of the most well-known websites of its kind. It connects business to freelancers that do all sorts of work for them.

Ready to Pack Your Bags?

If you’re looking for opportunities to make a steady income while traveling, they are out there. Consider which type of remote work sounds most enjoyable to you and do your research. It’s typically easy to find other travelers online who have done similar or even the same kind of work.

Have a successful digital nomad side hustle story? Tell us in the comments, we’d love to add it to our list!

Make sure you check out our full list of the top usability testing sites we use to make over $1000 month. Even if you aren’t ready to take the plunge and start traveling yet, it’s a great way to start saving for your goals and dreams. Sign up today so you can start earning an extra $10 for 10-15 minutes of your free time.