Skip to content

How to Make Active Income Online While Traveling

“How to Make Money Online” series table of contents:

  1. How to Make Money Online While Traveling: The Fundamentals
  2. How to Make Active Income Online While Traveling
  3. How to Make Passive Income Online While Traveling


I am always asked how to work online while traveling.  As discussed previously, I categorize income as active or passive. In this post I will dive into the active income side of things and provide you with the best resources for landing your first remote job. But first, please read part 1 of this series if you haven’t! This is very important in understanding the fundamentals of how to make money online.

In my previous post I created an infographic describing different active income skills and how they compare with each other in terms of difficulty, startup costs, and time and effort.

Disclaimer: This is a subjective map of how each skill ranks in terms of barrier of entry. This is mostly for ENTRY of channel – but each channel requires a lot of time and effort to actually get good at.

digital nomad active income

Feel free to share the above infographic and credit to 😉

With this post I will show you how you can find positions with each of these skills, starting with the lowest barrier of entry to the highest barrier of entry. With so many available resources in the palm of your hand, I feel most everyone can find remote, active income with the right amount of hustle. However even though there are many routes to making an income, make sure you focus on ONE channel and build from there, as mentioned from my previous post.

Filling Out Paid Surveys

To be honest, I have never tried filling out paid surveys online. I only learned about the method from reading this post on the pros and cons of living in Chiang Mai. He mentioned that Chiang Mai could be a bad place for nomads because it can be “too easy”. You could lose the power of broke fear as it doesn’t require much to get by in a place with extremely low costs of living. The author knew of a girl who would merely fill out paid surveys, $1 a go, in order to survive.

paid survey

I haven’t pursued this route because you’re not exactly BUILDING anything (e.g. a portfolio, expertise, or brand), and the returns seem a bit low. But at the same time, I think it is good to diversify your income streams and understand what methods are out there. If you don’t currently have skills you can monetize, filling out surveys may be a good starting point to get your feet wet.

From some quick research on Quora, here is a list of paid survey sites if you are interested in pursuing this channel.

Disclaimer: I’ve never tried this method and cannot attest to the legitimacy of each of the above sites. Please comment if any links are no good.

Below are paid survey sites and data taken from (article written in 2015). Some of these links are only available for the United States.

From the looks of it, the author signed up with a site called Wealthy Affiliate which sends her e-mail notifications of potential paid survey invitations. Below is a list of sites that she uses to make $50/day.

  • Global Test Market – $1.50-$2.00 each, with occasional $4-6 surveys. Earning potential: $50/wk.
  • Pinecone Research – $3 each. Earning potential: $12/wk.
  • FusionCash –  $4-5 surveys. Earning potential: $10-30 / day.
  • MintVine – Earning potential: $3-8 / day.
  • Vindale Research – $3-5 each. Earning potential: $5-20 / day.
  • ClixSense – $4-5 each. Earning potential: $5-20 / day.

Again, the above list is a recap from this article. I thought it was useful, so please check out the article if you want to learn more.

Freelancing (Copywriting, Customer Support, Virtual Assistant, Digital Marketing, Graphic Designing, Web Design, Computer Programming, and more)


If you have specific online skills like the ones mentioned in the title, you have more opportunities to earn money online! I’d definitely recommend mastering at least one of these abilities.

Here are different methods on how to grab your first remote work/freelancing position:

1. Use Your Existing Full-Time Job

This is what I did, even though I didn’t directly ask for a part-time, remote position. I told my manager that I wanted to live abroad for at least a year and that if he needed it, I could work remotely, part-time (as I would be hustling online month-to-month in different countries). My manager granted me this position, which ultimately could be transitional until they hire a new manager. That’s why I’m not banking on it to last, but I am still happy to have it, regardless.

4-Hour Workweek gives step-by-step methods on how to request part-time, remote work from your full-time employer. I recommend getting this book as it motivated me a lot on starting my journey.

2. Craigslist

Craigslist is a platform for users to put up their own classified listings. Employers can list their positions under “jobs” for a fee of around $50-75, or they can post under “gigs” for free.

craigslist remote jobs

This was my second means of securing online jobs. I realized the potential of this channel after reading this book about how to make money online. The author teaches you how to make websites while using Craigslist to secure clients. This sparked the idea to look for positions through the site.

I spent one day searching keywords like “remote”, “work from home”, + “marketing” under “gigs” and “jobs”. I even browsed on Craigslists of different states. The great thing about remote work is you can look on job boards from any location.  I sent out dozens of resumes, and a few of them contacted me back. Through these means, I ended up being able to secure two positions.

3. Remote Work Websites

These websites are especially for digital nomads who want to secure jobs location independently. Because employers are listing on these sites with the direct knowledge that they are for digital nomads, I believe it gives you a better chance of getting hired.

Here are some good sites for remote jobs:

4. Freelancing Websites

Along the same lines, there are many websites you can use to search for freelancing positions. These 4 are among the most popular:


And these are some other sites I have stumbled upon:

Teaching Sites (Teach a Particular Skill)

teach online

If you have a particular skill you know how to teach, you can easily hook up a webcam and start finding your students. And no worries if you don’t have an expertise – I assume you’re an English speaker if you’re reading this blog. English is a well sought after language that you can teach online as well!

Here is a list of popular online tutoring websites:

If you’re not happy with these sites, it is possible to set up your own online tutoring business if you have trusted clients you can work with. Just work out an agreement with your clients, host your online sessions on Skype or Google Hangouts, and work out payments via PayPal!

Retail Arbitrage

Retail arbitrage means buying items at a lower price and selling them higher. This method of making money online requires more of an in-person effort; therefore, this is only possible if you’ve created some sort of team effort. For example, your partners could handle 1. searching for clearance items at brick and mortar stores and 2. shipping the items, while you handle online rummaging as well as online item listing.

Once you buy mass amounts of lower-priced product valued at higher prices, list your items on platforms like Amazon FBA or eBay to start raking in sales.

Fiverr: For Freelancing and Unique Skillsets ( e.g. Photo Editing, Audio Production, Audio Engineering, Voiceovers, etc.)

Fiverr is a platform that allows you to sell services for $5 (or more if you add “extras”). These services are determined by you, and can span from blog features, SEO assistance, to random things like videos of people singing. The possibilities are endless because YOU specify what service you want to sell, regardless of how silly your product/service made sound.

To use Fiverr effectively:

1. Calculate how much time $5 is worth to you.

If you feel your time is worth $10/hour, this means $5 is worth 30 minutes of work. If you feel your time is worth $60/hour, this means $5 is worth 1 minute of work.

Try to create gigs that match your dollar amount per hour worth.

2. Add extra gigs:

Some people actually make a living with Fiverr, and a lot of it is because you can upsell “extras” on top of your basic gig. For example, if you’re doing some basic audio mixing for $5, you could throw in “effects” for another $15 and mastering for another $15. If someone adds all your extra gigs you’re making $35 a pop instead of $5!

fiverr gigs


1. Friends, Family, & Connections (For All Skills)

Do you have any friends who are already working remotely? Or do you have connections who are looking to hire remote workers? Your network can be huge for seizing new opportunities. One thing you can try is speaking with digital nomads and company founders and hearing more about their current work. Learn more about what they do and perhaps indicate that you’re looking for work. Your friends and family may steer you in the right direction!


2. Networking Events (Build a Brand and Find Clients)

Networking can be scary. Rather than self promote and come off as annoying or spammy, attend meet-ups and events with the intention of meeting new people and having a good time. Exchange business cards without selling anything. The more and more you participate in events in your space the more likely you’ll meet the RIGHT people. Just get to know others and have them remember your name and face. Chances are they may come back to you with some work they need.

Social Media (Build a Brand and Find Clients)

If you’re trying to find clients, you can utilize social media platforms to even get them coming to you:

1. Pick a platform and build content

Get your expertise across by building a social media profile and churning out useful knowledge consistently. Pick one or two channels out of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. Then schedule out extremely useful content that people will be interested in. Strong content is key. For example, try sharing articles, participating in Twitter chats, and creating advice videos. You want to build value so that the customer COMES TO YOU instead of the other way around. The more you deliver, the more you build trust.

2. Join Facebook groups

Search for “Facebook group + your niche/target audience”, or go on Facebook and just search under “Groups” for your specific niche. For example, if you’re a marketing professional looking for clients like small business owners, try joining a group like Savvy Business Owners.

In Facebook groups, do not spam or constantly self promote. The best way, again, is to provide value and help people in your community. If you become someone people turn to for advice, they may want to seek your services. Only after GIVING, you can say something like “I actually run a marketing business, so feel free to e-mail me and I’ll be happy to help you out with any services you require.”

3. Paid Facebook ads

What works for a lot of agencies/marketing professionals/coaches is to create Facebook ads to a free lead magnet offering like a webinar course. With these landing pages, potential clients will be inclined to provide information like their name and e-mail address in exchange for the free offering. This is EXTREMELY useful for marketing – always build an e-mail list!

In the webinar case, many people provide a free webinar teaching something specific in their space, then add an offer at the end of the video to get clients coming to them. Remember, the key is to create value before requesting anything back.

Stocks Day Trading & Real Estate Investing (Flipping Houses)

I am currently doing some “longer term” stocks trading, though sometimes I do a bit of day trading when I can. I use Merill Edge, but Robinhood is a popular app to use for zero commission stocks trading as well.

Real estate investing is also a popular route but may require more in-person meetups unless you have a team. The idea is to purchase homes of lower value and sell them at a higher price. You can do this by spotting great deals online, seeking out fixer uppers, purchasing foreclosed homes or short sales, and more. What many investors do is they’ll purchase a low priced home and renovate it, bringing up its value so they can sell at a higher price.

real estate investing

Both day trading and flipping homes require a great deal of research, and I honestly don’t know enough to provide advice in these arenas. These two paths also include a great deal of risk, so tread cautiously!

If you would like to learn more about these methods, follow and reach out to FiFighter. He’s a financial freedom fighter who quit the rat race at 31 using real estate investment and stocks as a means to achieve this independence. He’s also been able to help me increase my portfolio worth by around 30-40%!

active income

It took me a few weeks to create this list so I hope these methods help. Make sure you read the fundamentals of making money online FIRST before diving into this post. If you liked this post, please check out my third post on how to make passive income online while traveling!


  1. Thanks for the shout out! This is an awesome, very detailed post that is going to benefit a lot of people (like me). I haven’t even heard of most of those, so I will need to bookmark this page for future reference.

    Time is everything, and a few bucks can sure go a long ways… Having various streams to supply incomes can definitely help ease the transition into early FI… And even if you are in early FI, some additional pocket change for the bus or a meal can’t hurt! 🙂

    • digitalnomadquest digitalnomadquest

      Yay glad it helped! I think the passive income post will be more interesting to you though ;). Yes definitely feel like various streams make for less worry!

      • Excellent information with unique content and it is very useful to know about the information based on blogs.

  2. You can also include personal 1X1 consulting over Skype in addition to teaching. I do that and do the occassional post for a corporate client. All this stuff starts adding up over time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *