International Living—a website dedicated to helping people live and travel abroad—has issued an insightful report on 50 ways to make money in retirement. The report is aimed at retirees who want to fund their lives overseas, but here’s the secret gem: Hidden between the advice on opening a gallery, becoming a tour guide or joining the craft beer revolution, you’ll find smart advice that anyone can use to make money online. “No matter your skill set, no matter what you do now or did in the past, there is an option that will align with your own skills and passions,” the InternationalLiving.com editors explain.
According to Jennifer Stevens, executive editor at International Living, the list is vast, but it isn’t comprehensive. “We created it to give people a sense for the scope of opportunity out there,” says Stevens. “We’ve written lots about the different ways expats abroad fund their lives. Sometimes it’s with online work—like writing or drop-shipping. Sometimes it’s in-person services they provide, from running a consignment store to wedding planning. Certainly, the online opportunities provide great flexibility and portability. But it’s worth pointing out that business owners in many places tell us that it’s much easier to start a business abroad because it’s often less expensive and less bureaucratic than it is at home.”
Though it might seem like an unusual time to start a new career, Jeff Opdyke—the Prague-based editor of The Savvy Retiree and contributor to International Living—says that “it’s up to us to learn how to take back control of our own lives, of our lifestyles and our personal happiness.”
Opdyke also points out that for all the damage coronavirus has wrought and all the damage still to come, it might have some positive outcomes when it comes to the work world. “What this crisis is demonstrating is the capacity for so many workers to untether themselves from cubicles and work from home—or wherever,” he says. “In the cold, corporate calculus of a post-corona world, I think we’re going to see an increasing number of visionary companies realize that there are vast cost savings to be had in letting workers work from wherever. There’s no need to pay the costs of running a cubicle farm when workers already have places they can work—their home, a coffee shop, wherever. And I think we will see increased productivity from this because workers will be motivated.”
So the lesson here is that while you might be working from home now, this might eventually translate into living and working abroad—and living the dream. Opdyke’s advice? “Be as productive as you possibly can. Be over-productive. Step up your game so that when all of this over, you have some potential leverage to talk to your bosses about trying a work-at-home life. That’s assuming, of course, you like your work-at-home life. Not everyone will. But if you feel the freedom those of us working remotely feel, then now, amid this crisis, is a great opportunity for you to shine so that bosses take note.”
So whether you’re looking to live in a foreign country some day, just want to work from home in the current coronavirus environment or want to restructure your career to be able to work remotely forever, read on for 17 ways you can make money online. It’s valuable information to have during this current economic crisis—and beyond.
After that, we’ve got three creative money-making ideas from the International Living list that we dream about doing when the world gets back to normal.
1. Sell Your Photos
Do you have photo skills or live in an area where images are in demand? “Stock photography websites are huge repositories of photographs, covering almost every possible subject you could imagine,” advises International Living. So how does it work? Photographers can upload their images to any one of a number of huge databases, allowing magazine editors, designers or any organization with a website to buy them. And the beauty of stock websites: Photos can be sold any number of times—so you can continue to make money without any effort. Photography sites to check out include Shutterstock and Getty Images.
2. Create How-To Videos
“In recent years, YouTube has grown into the go-to source for all manner of video courses and guides,” says International Living. “Instructors can monetize their videos by charging a subscription fee or password protecting content for paying customers only.” This article shares some tips from one real estate agent who made $100,000 in one month on YouTube. Another piece of advice from International Living: Get to know the phrases that people search for. To find potential search phrases, start typing “how to [your topic]” into YouTube’s search bar and notice what phrases are generated in the auto-fill dropdown. Make sure to use the same keywords when you write your video title, description, and tags.
3. Become a Copywriter
Want to earn a great income no matter where you live—a house by the sea in Latin America, an historic European city or even on a Greek island? Copywriting could be ideal for you. According to International Living, “copywriting is a mega-industry, ripe with opportunity. And yearning for people who can fuel it with fresh marketing messages and one of the best benefits of the freelance copywriter’s lifestyle is that you can get paid in U.S. dollars…yet live virtually anywhere in the world.” Express Writers has tips on how to become a copywriter and is also a resource for jobs.
4. Teach English
“If you’re a native English speaker, you may not realize it, but you already have the number one qualification you need for a fun, portable income that can hand you a steady paycheck from anywhere in the world,” says International Living. Some resources include GoOverseas.com, TeachAway (teach English online to Chinese students), iTutorGroup (teach English online to Taiwanese children and adults) and English Hunt (teach English on the phone to adult students in Korea)
5. Turn Your Interests Into a Podcast That Pays
“Podcasting doesn’t have to be complicated,” says International Living. With a microphone, laptop and free recording software, you’ll be up and running. Plus, podcasts don’t need to run every day (once a week is best) and are better when they’re short. There are a number of ways to make money from a podcast. The most obvious is commercial sponsorship, but you can also use it as a platform to advertise your own products or services. NPR has a great guide to launching a podcast here.
6. Set up a Content and Web Development Business
Do you know how to do web and content development? You can offer these services to anyone via online tools that make developing beautiful websites a snap. Some resources include WordPress, Weebly and Joomla.
7. Become a Translator and Interpreter
Do you speak another language? Anywhere you find expat communities—and where English is not the first language—you’ll find a need for interpreting and translation services. You can also do translation and interpretation online. You’ll find a number of resources for being a translator or an interpreter here; one of the best is Welocalize, which ranked at the top of this list of the top 20 companies for remote jobs in 2020.
8. Try Drop-shipping
Have you heard of drop-shipping? It’s a method of retail where the seller doesn’t actually have a physical inventory. Instead, when a customer makes an order, you purchase the item from a third party, and they ship it directly to the customer. “This means you’ll never have to fork over a single dime to store your products or maintain your inventory,” advises International Living. “And you’ll never have to buy products in bulk, hoping to sell enough to recoup your investment.” This method can be done with online selling platforms like eBay or Amazon. You can find out more about drop-shipping in this helpful article from Shopify.
“Establishing your own tutoring service can be a lucrative business that provides you with a comfortable and flexible lifestyle,” advises International Living. “The best part of all, you can set up a tutoring business in almost any country in the world.” A tip: Offer discounts to clients who promote your business. “Word-of-mouth marketing is still one of the most valuable marketing tools you can have when starting out,” advises International Living. The site Tutors.com has a list of the best online tutoring jobs, and you can also apply to be a tutor at Tutorme.com.
10. Become a Freelance Proofreader
Proofreading is another lucrative online career. “Most agencies will pay around 25% of the price of a translated document to a proofreader,” advises International Living. “Agencies charge about $75 for the translation of a five-page standard business document. So proofing the same document—which takes about an hour—pays out about $18 to $20.” You can work full time, part-time or around-the-clock. Mediabistro—a site that offers resources for media professionals—has tips on how to become a proofreader.
11. Type for Cash
Are you a fast typist? Transcribing is simple: Listen to an audio file through headphones and type it out. “As a transcriber, your pay is directly related to how fast you type,” advises International Living. “Transcription jobs are paid by the audio hour (the length of the audio file), rather than by the hour worked. The time spent on a transcript is influenced by the audio quality, background noise, the accent of the speaker and the speed at which people speak.” The average transcriber—typing between 75 and 100 words per minute—will complete one audio hour in four hours worked. Consider the company Rev.com, which hires freelance transcribers.
12. Create a Money-Making Blog
Do you have an area of expertise? Share your advice on a blog. If travel is your area of expertise, think about what you have to offer: Are you an expert in luxury travel or budget travel? Can you share advice about certain activities like hiking or shopping? “The more specific you get, the easier it’ll be to attract an engaged audience and to earn money with your site,” advises International Living. The sites Squarespace and Wix have tips on how to create blogs and can also host them.
13. Tap Into the E-Book Business
The e-book business is a great way to earn money. You can create your own (Kindle has a guide for how to do it). Or find a book that’s already been published in print and license it to publish online. You can pay the author 8-15% royalties based on net sales or a one-time payment for the online publishing rights.
14. Set up an Online Course
Or go beyond writing an e-book and create a whole online course with tutorials, PDF downloads and videos. It’s a great way to create passive income because people will pay for the info and can go at their own pace or post questions related to the course in a dedicated group. Here’s one resource for creating and selling online courses: LearnWorlds, which makes it possible for anyone to profit from their knowledge and experience by creating an online program.
15. Become a Life Coach (or Even a Travel Coach)
“Life coaching is a thought-provoking and creative process that helps people focus on both personal and professional goals,” advises International Living. “People use life coaching to overcome fears, boost their self-confidence, create goals and instill success-oriented habits.” You can find thousands of online training programs on how to be a life coach, and many certification programs offer an entire website setup once training is completed. If travel is your area of expertise, you can even become a travel coach. Read this story about a travel writer who became a travel coach.
16. Become an Audiobook Narrator
“Audiobooks are an increasingly popular form of entertainment. The convenience factor of smartphones has led to an industry boom,” advises International Living. “That’s creating a demand for freelance narrators.” This site has advice on learning how to become an audiobook narrator.
17. Internet Research and Surveys
Another way to make good money is by surfing the Internet in your spare time or filling out online surveys. “If you’re looking for a way to make an extra $1,000, $2,000 a month part-time—then Internet research is for you,” advises International Living. Add the site Qmee to your browser, and if you click on a search result, you’ll earn money. You can also earn cash for taking Qmee surveys and sharing your opinions on brands. Other survey sites include SurveyBods, Survey Junkie and Valued Opinions. Another way to make a series of small cash rewards while on the go? With the new app Current, travelers can make up to an extra $600 a year by simply listening to music and performing various tasks.
Plus: 3 Travel Jobs that We Dream About
1. Farming and Living Off the Land
“Farming can be one of the most fulfilling lifestyles you can embark on,” advises International Living. “But many might dismiss it as too much hard work, or too expensive to get started.” That may be true in the US, but overseas there are opportunities that will make it easier than you think to live off the land—and you can make money while you’re at it. It could be as simple as creating a veggie patch to feed the family and bring in a little extra cash at the local farmers’ market. Or you could oversee a large acreage of land that turns out big profits.
2. Run an Ecolodge
“In countries all around the world, expats have discovered the joys—and profit—of running an ecolodge,” advises International Living. “They’re taking advantage of a growing trend in ecotourism to fund their peaceful, nature-filled lives overseas—and they’ve discovered some of the most affordable, breathtaking destinations to do it.
Ecolodges are usually located in destinations that cater to tourists looking for nature-focused vacations and can be set up anywhere that is reachable by transport.
3. Try Cheesemaking
Who doesn’t love cheese? “Cheesemaking can be a satisfying and fun hobby, but beyond that, it can provide an income as well,” advises International Living. “In certain expat havens in Latin America, good cheese is in high demand.”