One thing that annoys me about travel sites that talk about jobs you can do remotely or while traveling is the feeling I get that the people who wrote the article have never actually done any of these jobs. For example, they always include “freelance writer,” as if it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. “Oh, you just, like, write an article about the coolest cafes in Mexico City and people will pay you hundreds of dollars to put it on their site.”
So that’s why I’ve made this list, five jobs that are feasible because I’VE ACTUALLY DONE THEM. They might not pay a lot. In fact, that’s probably their defining feature. But remote jobs rarely pay a lot. They compensate for their subpar pay with the fact that they’re remote, and you can do them from your phone while sitting in the bathroom waiting for the hot water to heat up (i.e. this morning).
1) Search Engine Evaluator
This is the holy grail (ceramic cup) of internet jobs. Or at least it used to be. When I first did this it paid $15.00, they paid weekly, and things were great. In the US this might not be a lot, but if you’re in Mexico or Nicaragua or the Ukraine it’s a veritable fortune. And it’s not difficult work; you’re given a search term like “Best restaurants in Chicago” and you have to decide what ads are good for it.
I did this for two different companies, ZeroChaos and Leapforce, and over the years saw a steady decline in employer quality. Nowadays they still pay hourly but the wage is less and each task has a time THEY THINK it should take you to complete it. This is the only time you’re allowed to report. If they think it should take you seven minutes but it takes you 10, you’re only allowed to put seven minutes on your time sheet. Which is crooked.
Bottom line: If you’re living a country where the cost of living is low this is still a great option. To find out more google “ads rater jobs.” Look for companies like Leapforce, Appen, Butler Hill, and ZeroChaos.
2) Social Media Evaluator
This is my current job that I’m working remotely even though I’m not supposed to be. I expect to get fired within the next couple weeks. The job consists of rating Instagram ads. It pays $13.00 an hour. Since I’m not supposed to do it from outside the US, I’m using a program called Tunnel Bear to tunnel into a server from the US (Side note: If you need a VPN and don’t know shit about technology, Tunnel Bear is a great option. Whenever I connect it shows a little bear digging a hole in the ground in Mexico and surfacing somewhere in the US). So while I’m actually in a dingy room somewhere in Jalisco, they THINK I’m somewhere in New York. My cunning knows no bounds.
Bottom line: Don’t fire me, Appen!
3) Captioner for Rev.com
I have a love hate relationship with this job that leans heavily toward hate. This job has some pluses, i.e. you can do it from anywhere and there’s no one breathing down your neck or your ear or wherever people sometimes breathe, and the work is fairly easy, just adding captions to videos using the company’s well-designed software.
But man, if you calculate the hourly wage, you’ll want to cry.
Bottom line: If you can type 16,000 words a minute and have ears like a wombat (sometimes the audio is hard to understand) this may be the job for you. For everyone else it’s something to do from time to time but make an extra buck or two for cafe/beer money.
4) Hostel Worker
Here’s how you do it: Show up at a hostel, say: “Can I work for room and board or just room or just board or just a place in a closet where I can curl up and not get mugged?”
They say, “Yes.”
Why do they say yes? Because they don’t have to pay you. And they get someone who speaks English.
Bottom line: Hostels are good places to meet people and also observe packs of traveling Israelis.
5) Freelance writer
“Hey, bro, what do you do for a living?”
“I’m a writer.”
“Cool! What kind of stuff do you do?”
“Oh, you know, mostly freelance.”
Um, actually I don’t know. Because until you’re really, really established, you’re not a freelance writer. I’ve gotten paid for a few articles, but I would never call myself a freelance writer. It’s hard to get good money for articles. It can be done, but your prose needs to be dashing, and you need to be tenacious and well-connected. One day, Mark. One day.
Bottom line: There is no bottom line.
Bonus 6) Travel blogger
It might seems like it’s all mai thais on the beach and glamour, but it’s not. It’s also a lot of being away from your family and the ones you love, and sometimes getting bedbugs. But if you have a deep-seated need to know what’s out there, to know what life is like in Japan and New Zealand and South Dakota, and you also want to share your impressions of those places with the world, then go for it.
Bottom line: It’s a tough row to hoe, but deep down you were born to farm.
Know of any other jobs that can be done remotely? Let me know in the comments, because I need a new job. Like, now.
A special thanks to Jennifer Gregerson for her contribution to this blog.
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