7 Best Ideas For Digital Nomad Jobs In 2021 (+ First Steps!)

The 7 best jobs for digital nomads

Thinking about becoming a digital nomad? In 2021, the ideas of “work + life” balance are changing. It’s now possible to work from anywhere, and that’s exciting.

Whether it’s face-to-face or via social media, there are many benefits of working remotely as a digital nomad. You can work on your own schedule, live anywhere in the world, and have access to an endless supply of interesting opportunities and ways to earn money.

However sometimes, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, it can be intimidating to package all of your skills and transfer them online. Sometimes, you just need a few ideas to ‘jumpstart’ the ‘ol brain.

What We’ll Cover In This Guide

In this guide, we’ll cover a fresh list of the best digital nomad jobs so you can start thinking about your personal journey, whether you are:

  • An introvert
  • An extrovert
  • A “right brain” thinker — someone who thinks more creatively
  • A “left-brain” thinker — someone who thinks more logically
  • Are younger, with little to no experience
  • Are older, with a broad amount of experience
  • Or are a family with or without kids

We will also cover your first steps to making each of them happen.

Let’s dive into the list for 2021.

What Are The Best Ideas For Digital Nomad Jobs?

Here’s a list of the 7 best ideas for digital nomad jobs in 2021 (and the first steps for how to start each one of them)


Best Ideas For Digital Nomad Jobs

1. Creative Writing

The opportunities are out there for written content, just like this blog! The best part is, you don’t have to be a people person, and you can keep it fresh by writing about diverse issues. If you’re a rolling stone, writing is a dream job for a digital nomad.

A lot of people think that creative writing is just for writers and journalists, but it’s so much more than meets the eye. Digital nomads are able to work from anywhere and get paid for providing written content. Digital nomads are typically introverted, but introverts can be very talented writers.

They also have a variety of backgrounds and skillsets that they can put to use in their writing, which is beneficial because different types of people prefer working on different projects. Nomads have the flexibility to work around family schedules, which is important as a location independent person wanting to maintain their relationships.

Creative writing can be one of the greatest jobs for digital nomads!

Best digital nomad job for: Introverts, creatives, families with kids, older nomads with lots of experience.

Potential income: Anywhere from $5 for short blurbs/content to $1000’s for larger projects. The average salary is about $49,500 per year.

What I LOVE about it:

  • Ultimately, writing comes with freedom. You can have the flexibility to write about subjects that interest you.
  • It’s a learned skill, and you can constantly improve. There are many courses out there (both free and paid) that cover writing.
  • Even though a lot of the writing ends up on social media, it doesn’t require a consistent internet connection. You can do the bulk of the work the old-fashioned way (pen and paper) if you wanted!

What you will have to deal with:

  • At first, your choices may be limited to what you write about. Until you build a repertoire.
  • Competition can be high in certain areas like travel writing or food blogging.
  • Digital nomads often feel pressured to write too fast and read too much — meaning that it’s easy for them to burn out on any project if they don’t take a break regularly.

WHERE I would live (while working this job):

The great thing about writing is that you don’t need a consistent internet connection all the time. As a digital nomad, you can write on your own machine and upload when the time is right. But when you DO need the internet, it needs to be reliable. So I would choose a little ‘off-the-beaten-path’ place, like a southwestern Mexico surf town like Puerto Escondido, or a remote beach in India like Goa.

A bonus is the cost of living is low, making it a great remote job!

Think a creative writing job might be for you? Here’s your first step —

Check out Laura Belgray’s site “Talking Shrimp.” Even if you’re not writing emails, the stuff she teaches about the English language is pure gold.


2. Product Photographer

With the increase in e-commerce, more businesses are moving their operations online. And because every business that sells products needs good product photography, this is where you — the digital nomad — comes in.

Why is product photography important? It is important because it drives sales! Digital nomads who specialize in product photography are the ones who have a lot of opportunities for success — they can sell their photographs to any business that needs them. And just like writers, digital nomads with this skill set can be introverted at first, but usually grow into the job.

A product photographer (working as a digital nomad) needs to stay up to date on any and all industry trends so that they can provide photos of those trends. Those who rise through the ranks eventually start working on bigger projects for big clients, all from different parts of the world.

Photography is one of the best jobs for digital nomads

Best digital nomad job for: Introverts, creatives, families with kids, younger nomads knowledgeable of new trends.

Potential income: Depending on what you shoot, the average product photographer makes close to $40,000 per year. Entry-level photographers can make around $30k, while more experience grants you higher earning potentials.

What I LOVE about it:

  • Flexible hours and you get to use your creativity to the max, while not dealing with so many people.
  • You can potentially get free merchandise from the businesses you are shooting for, or at least develop great relationships for future discounts.
  • The overhead cost to begin is minimal. You can literally start with a smartphone!
  • There is a certain level of fulfillment, working with your hands to create something tangible and beautiful.

What you will have to deal with:

  • Sometimes it can be difficult with particular products to ‘shoot on the go.’
  • Camera equipment, lighting, etc can be heavy and/or bulky at times.
  • Sometimes it is not an easy skill to start with, and there can be a lot of competition in the space.

WHERE I would live (while working this digital nomad job):

Depending on what you’re shooting, the environment can work for or against you. For instance, if you’re shooting products related to swimwear, perhaps a location near the beach is preferred. Or if you’re shooting mountaineering products, being out in nature would be more appropriate.

I personally would love to shoot boat-related products, so living on my sailboat makes sense!

Think a product photography job might be for you? Here’s your first step —

Check out this article from Hub Spot on “The Beginners Guide to Product Photography” for some practical, DIY tips.

In true digital nomad fashion, you can start shooting products around your house and see how they turn out. You’ll learn more from those initial impromptu photoshoots than you think, regardless of where you are around the world!


3. Facebook/Google Ad Creator For Local Businesses

As far as jobs for digital nomads go, this is a great way to make money.

First, local businesses ALWAYS need help with digital marketing. Creating Facebook ads for local businesses is a great way to start out and allows you to leverage relationships you may already have.

Digital nomads who create Facebook ads for local businesses should have some experience with social media, as well as the skills like creativity, social media expertise, and graphic design skills.

As an alternative, you could become a Facebook Ads Manager for a business that advertises on Facebook.

One of the best jobs for digital nomads is creating and maintaining Facebook Ads

Best digital nomad job for: Extroverts, creatives, logic-based thinkers, folks good with tech, older nomads with communications experience, younger nomads knowledgeable of new trends.

Potential income: As someone who creates Facebook ads for local businesses, expect to make anywhere between $500 and $3000 per month, depending on how much money your client spends on advertising. This range can extend higher with more expertise.

If you become a Facebook Ad Manager, the median base salary is between $50,000 and $80,000 per year.

What I LOVE about it:

  • If you understand people, you’ll do really well as an advertiser. This job comes down to creating connections and being empathetic to how people behave.
  • You don’t need to worry about customer service or creating your own product.
  • There is EXTENSIVE documentation about the art and science of Facebook advertising, so there is plenty to learn.

What you will have to deal with:

  • As of 2021, iOS 14 threw a wrench into Facebook’s ability to track people’s behavior. I’m sure there will be workarounds, but so far creating effective ad campaigns has gotten harder.
  • There is no really good way of contacting Facebook in the event of a problem or misunderstanding. You have to play FB’s game.

WHERE I would live (while working this digital nomad job):

When comparing digital nomad jobs, this one can be a bit more stressful considering it can be difficult to get issues resolved with Facebook. So if it were me, I would pick a place that parties just as hard as I work. Also considering you’ll be on the occasional video call with clients, being in a timezone around the US is key. I’d pick someplace around the world like Buenos Aires or Medellin.

Think a Facebook/Google Ads job might be for you? Here’s your first step —

Hootsuite has a pretty good article on getting started with Facebook Ads. And if you’re considering creating your own ad agency, you can start with this article from Laptop Empires.


4. Digital Stock Trading/ Day Trading

A bit more of a risk-taker? Most stock trading nowadays prioritizes short-term gains over long-term investments, so it can be a lucrative activity. However, because the prices aren’t set the way product prices are set, it’s important to understand exactly how it works.

A “Day Trader” is someone who trades stocks and securities in a variety of different companies, markets, and time frames. If you’re seeking a digital nomad lifestyle, this can be a lucrative option as a location-independent side hustle.

Today’s digital nomad may also consider day trading as a legitimate career option. Digital Nomads use day trading software to monitor stock prices and can also take on the role of being a professional trader. Those who are interested in becoming professional traders will find it much easier to start out with an online broker than they would with major futures exchanges.

Day trading can be a great job for digital nomads

Best digital nomad job for: Introverts, logic-based thinkers, older nomads with more capital to play with, younger nomads familiar with cryptocurrencies.

Potential income: It varies tremendously, but according to this article potential income could be around $5,500 per month, or $66k per year.

What I LOVE about it:

  • There are various ways to look at predicting market trends, depending on your own personal values.
  • You can practice in real-time before you ever risk a dime.
  • There is no shortage of people teaching their trading methods. You have a wide variety of people to learn from.
  • Your trading budget tends to be more personal, as opposed to being tied to other people’s abilities and salaries.

What you have to deal with:

  • It requires a lot of up-front capital — and you have to be willing to lose it.
  • If you are day-trading, it requires a blazing fast internet connection to stay up-to-date with real-time market behavior

WHERE I would live (while working this digital nomad job):

Since the internet is important, but I would also want to do this at the beach (or equivalent), I’d shoot for someplace like Key West that’s on East Coast time but still has that laid-back, island feel.

Think digital stock trading might be a good remote job for you? Here’s your first step —

Give this NerdWallet article a read. It will teach you the basics of starting to trade stocks online.


5. Business Tracking & Metrics Analyst

Being a digital nomad isn’t just a selfish endeavor. You actually solve problems that people have, and this is a BIG one.

Businesses need data to understand where their customers are coming from, what is working with their efforts, what is not, and where to direct their marketing dollars. The most important part of a marketing strategy is tracking, and people are rarely good at it.

Consider the metrics of your own digital nomad career.

Just like a business, the first step in becoming a successful digital nomad is understanding your business metrics. If you don’t know the metrics, you won’t know what’s working and what’s not.

Once you have an idea of the numbers, then you can decide if it would be worth it for you to travel for a few weeks or months to make more money.

Businesses are no different, they need the same attention.

Analyzing metrics can be one of the greatest jobs for digital nomads because you can do it from anywhere!

Best digital nomad job for: Logic-based thinkers, folks good with numbers and tech, introverts and extroverts

Potential income: The average median salary for a metrics analyst is over $56k per year. However, your knowledge of how to interpret the data and make decisions from the data can make a huge difference in your value.

What I LOVE about it:

  • Smart businesses make decisions based on numbers, and someone who is good with both numbers and communication can really thrive here.
  • You start to see how people actually behave in business markets, instead of simply theory.
  • Once you create a system, this doesn’t have to be a very time-consuming job. You could analyze a business’s performance in just a few hours per week.

What you will have to deal with:

  • Tracking can be hard because sometimes the numbers aren’t clear-cut.
  • There are many businesses that operate on their own metrics and they may (or may not) make sense

WHERE I would live (while working this digital nomad job):

Setting up the tracking systems is the most time-consuming part of this position, so have some patience! I would want a reliable internet connection, but someplace with charm and personality (to balance out any potential monotony of spreadsheets!). I would choose someplace like Lisbon or Chiang Mai, due to the fact being on US time isn’t very necessary.

Think becoming a metrics analyst might be a good remote job for you? Here is your first step —

Learn about data science and how it applies to businesses and startups. Here’s a great article to get you going.


6. Video Production/Editor

Ever thought about producing videos for businesses? It’s one of the best digital nomad jobs out there.

Video is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools available. It can help a business connect with its customers, drive sales and increase its brand awareness. And there are many kinds of videos to create — such as tutorials, explainer videos, or emotional advertising pieces you want to go viral on social media.

One of the great digital nomad jobs is becoming a videographer

Best digital nomad job for: Creative thinkers (and people who can think quickly on their feet), younger digital nomads, older digital nomads, and both introverts and extroverts.

Potential income: This varies, but as a freelance video producer (and editor) you can expect to make from $25 – $55 per hour. This also is dependant on expertise. As you begin to build your expertise, I would advise against charging per hour for larger projects as that tends to work against your ability to get things done faster due to experience!

What I LOVE about it:

  • You get to work directly with pretty cool customers and help determine their needs.
  • Digital nomad jobs in video production can be very well compensated, as a single video can produce massive results.
  • You don’t have to be where the client is, you can do this one from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • This type of work will provide you with marketing skills that are invaluable to many businesses.

What you’ll have to deal with:

  • While it’s not the most time-consuming of digital nomad jobs, it does require some time management skills.
  • Digital nomads with more experience in this field might struggle with people who have little film production experience.

WHERE I would live (while working this digital nomad job):

I like to shoot video in places that are both visually interesting and that can tell a story. The world is filled with beautiful shots of beaches and sunsets…but it’s the story that will make the difference.

Therefore, I think these types of digital nomad jobs are best done in very dynamic places. Cities like Johannesburg, Ho Chi Minh, and New Delhi would be where I would look first (though it depends on what kind of videos you are planning on shooting)

Think becoming a videographer might be a good remote job for you? Here is your first step —

Here’s a great article that goes over some practical tips for making a travel video. While it’s not necessarily about ‘marketing videos’, it really IS in a way. Creating a great travel video is an exciting way to get your mind around how to tell a story…and that’s the most important part of any digital marketing video!


7. Social Media Manager

When it comes to digital nomad jobs, one in particular gets brought up almost immediately. The social media manager.

A social media manager is someone who is in charge of maintaining the various social media accounts of a company. Digital nomads who choose this kind of work will be responsible for creating new content, responding to comments, and engaging with followers on these various platforms.

Those looking to become a social media manager should be willing to take the time to learn about different platforms, how to post on them and what attracts followers. There is a lot more to being a social media manager than just posting; you have to be able to keep up with your posts while also engaging with people who are interacting with you.

If you like interacting with people, being a social media manager is one of the best jobs for digital nomads

Great digital nomad job for: Folks who love people and interacting, extroverts, younger nomads familiar with various platforms, older nomads with life experiences, families with kids

Potential income: The average income for a salaried social media manager is just over $52,000. However, if you are freelancing, the income could be a bit lower.

What I LOVE about it:

  • You will get to meet and collaborate with interesting people, which combats the loneliness you can feel on the road.
  • You will be involved in the business from the ground up and see first-hand how customers interact with brands.
  • It will allow you to really maximize your creativity in a way that can be measurable and profitable!

What you will have to deal with:

  • It can be very time-consuming and require a lot of attention, particularly with creating and engaging a large community
  • Sometimes you may miss out on YOUR OWN life because you are busy developing the company’s digital presence.

WHERE I would live (while working this digital nomad job):

This is one of those digital nomad jobs that require a very stable internet connection almost daily. Because you will be living ‘online’ most of the time, having a location where you can get out into nature is key. I would personally check out places like Thailand or Vancouver.

Think becoming a social media manager might be for you? Here is your first step —

Go read this article that outlines the specifics of becoming a social media manager. It can most certainly be more responsibility than just posting a few Facebook posts or Instagram stories!


What Is A Digital Nomad?

Here is what a digital nomad is:

A “Digital Nomad” is simply someone who can work online and contribute positively to society, solve a problem, etc…all with an internet connection.

They can be either freelance or part of a larger, more structured organization.

Digital nomads are typically more minimalist, and value experiences over material things.

What Is The Difference Between A Freelancer And A Remote Worker?

Here is what a freelancer is:

A freelancer can be thought of as a ‘free agent’ in the sports world, available to work anywhere for any period of time. This is typically the way people start their digital nomad journeys.

A good place to see examples of freelancers from all over the world include sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and Onlinejobs.ph.

Also, here’s a great interview between myself and John Jonas, the Founder of Onlinejobs.ph regarding the value of virtual employees and freelancers from the Philippines.

Here is what a remote worker is:

A ‘Remote Worker’ is a more general term. Someone who is a remote worker can be a freelancer but also be compensated as a salaried employee at a company.


Digital Nomad FAQ

What kind of jobs can you do as a digital nomad?

Aside from the jobs listed above, the digital nomad has a wide variety of jobs that they can do from wherever they are located in the world. Digital nomads may work as a freelance or part of a larger, more structured organization, and may work with different companies in any number of industries such as marketing, design, finance, art.

How much money do digital nomads make?

Digital nomads can make anywhere from a few thousand dollars per year to millions per year.

Though digital nomads can make a good amount of money, it is important to note that their income will vary depending on their location and what kind of work they do. For instance, freelancers typically will have lower incomes than those who are salaried workers.

What skills do you need to be a digital nomad?

Generally, to become a Digital Nomad, you’ll need to have some kind of skillset that can be used remotely. While there are Digital Nomads in every industry from marketing to design to finance (and more), here are a few important skillsets:

  • Communication skills
  • Technical ability to work online
  • Creative skills for graphic design
  • Marketing-related skills and empathy
  • Self-discipline and responsibility

Working from anywhere, that’s one of the perks of nomad jobs and the digital nomad lifestyle!

Digital Nomad Jobs: A Final Thought (and a Next Step)

There is something absolutely magical about the times we live in.

In our digital age, we are presented with a multitude of opportunities to make money while also not sacrificing our curiosity of the world around us, nor our ability to satisfy that curiosity.

Becoming a digital nomad is more than simply getting one of the best digital nomad jobs. It is more about understanding who you are and what you can live with (and live without).

Yes, it’s true. People often enjoy being their own boss, because they can follow their own schedules and choose when they want to work. Digital nomad jobs also come with a lot of benefits like frequent new challenges, meeting new people, earning significant amounts of money, and being part of an international community of digital nomads.

If you’re someone who can take the occasional inconveniences of travel with a grain of salt, live comfortably with minimal things, and has a desire to solve real-world problems from strange and exotic locations…I encourage you to look further into these jobs for digital nomads!

So here’s to finding YOUR best digital nomad job.

To life, amigos.

Josh

PS. If you’re considering a digital nomad job and/or lifestyle, I applaud you. There are a few life lessons I’d suggest you keep in mind here.


Last updated August 16, 2021 by Josh Koerpel

Josh Koerpel

Josh has spent the last 15 years working from the road as a ship captain, wilderness guide, mechanical engineer, marketing director and software developer.

He currently lives aboard his 32′ sailboat “Albatross” in Key West, Florida.

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