Why Working Online Is the Best Option When Living Overseas

There aren't many limitations for a digital nomad from a developed country who wants to hop around the globe on tourist visas, staying as long as possible before moving on

Why Working Online Is the Best Option When Living Overseas

Anywhere in the world, the answers to these two questions will be crucial if you plan to stay overseas for an extended period of time.



  • How will I'm going to pay my bills?


  • Exactly how do I go about making a home for myself here as a lawful permanent resident?


These two options are usually intertwined when one decides to make a permanent move abroad. Which passport or residency status you are eligible for depends on your occupation and source of income.


There aren't many limitations for a digital nomad from a developed country who wants to hop around the globe on tourist visas, staying as long as possible before moving on. The United Kingdom, Finland, and Sweden have visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel agreements with 173 nations. It's set at 172 for the US, DK, DE, and LU. Total of 171 for Belgium, Italy, and the Netherlands. The sum total from countries like Canada, France, Ireland, Japan, and others is 170. New Zealand passport holders have access to 168 countries, while Australian passport holders have access to 167.

However, things get complicated if you plan to remain for more than a few months. The ability to provide for oneself is a primary consideration in almost every society around the globe. For example, a minimum wage job in Country A might require $700 in monthly income or the equal of that many months' worth of funds in a bank account. It could be $2000 a month in Country B, and even more if you have kids.


For those who fall short of this requirement, the only option is a tourist visa that limits their stay to no more than 3 or 6 months at a period; that depends on the prevailing laws in such countries. On the other hand, if your income is high enough, you probably won't run into any legal trouble with this setup. If you can avoid having issues with the locals and the authorities, everything will work out fine.


However, most countries prohibit working without a valid work visa, so being a waiter in a restaurant, for example, a massage practitioner, or English instructor is illegal in all but a small handful of places, such as Cambodia. The risk of being deported or punished unexpectedly keeps many people from doing it, though many others do it anyway.

However, they would be thrilled to have you move there permanently with your laptop if all of your funds are coming from the United States or Europe. For the most part, rather than being a drain on resources, you put money into the local community rather than taking from it.

Other tried and true choices, such as instructor in English as a second language (ESL), can be just as rewarding and profitable. In both Turkey (with a tourist passport) and South Korea I have done ESL (on a work visa). Alternatively, if you find a job you like and are able to transfer within it, your new employer will likely handle all of the necessary paperwork and provide a higher standard of living than you were accustomed to back in your home country. Some visitors are successful in landing high-paying jobs in the area, such as those of real estate agents, hotel chefs, or scuba teachers.


Reading books on international work travel or contracting professional travel consultants such as EF Global Travel can also help you discover the many entry-level positions available around the globe. You should know that your earning potential may decrease as you get closer to the level of expertise already present in the local population. An employment visa or business visa will be much more difficult to obtain at that level.


If you're looking for manual labor work and don't have any specialized training, you'll have to compete with locals who are prepared to pay much less. If people from that country are moving to your country to do the same job for more money, it would be foolish to attempt to move in the opposite direction. Fruit pickers and hotel cleaners are not needed in Mexico or Bulgaria. There is no need for coffee pickers in Nicaragua and Vietnam. T-shirt seamstresses are not in high demand in Colombia and India. Occasionally, an exception will be the rule. Unless you're applying to an expat pub specifically seeking a native English speaker, you can probably stop practicing your fundamental bartending abilities. Or, if a high-end recruiting firm, such as Marriot and you have significant years of experience working in a high-end cocktail bar, you're a better fit for the position than any native.

Reasons Why Working From Home Is Better

Finding a position that allows you to work from home is preferable if your professional background doesn't lend itself to mobility. Or you could improvise. One option is to find work that you can do remotely, either as a freelancer or in a more formal setting, or as the owner of a business you can operate online. There are several compelling arguments for why this is superior to other options:


  • Earning in a first-world currency allows you to save money while traveling.


  • Without a local job, you can still provide immigration authorities with evidence of income.


  • You'll have more freedom to decide when you work, allowing you to save time.


  • Instead of spending months building up local wages, you can get right to work.


  • The vagaries and wage rates of the regional market have no bearing on you at all.

If your work needs the use of bandwidth-intensive applications, such as real-time stock trading software, video chats, or constant uploads of large files, then you may need to eliminate certain locations from consideration. There are plenty of places where people would love to reside but where Internet connectivity is inadequate.

It is likely that you will need to work a very atypical workday if you need to speak to or meet with customers online. It's not a huge deal if you're located in the Americas and your customers are, too. However, I know that many self-employed people and small company owners who relied heavily on sales calls were forced to leave Southeast Asia. Money and connections were suffering because of the inconvenient timing of working on the opposite timetable of customers.


However, in the modern era, emails, and file transfers are more important than face-to-face contact or telephone conferences for most employment. While researching my book in one organization, I spoke with several digital nomads, one of whom mentioned that she dedicates two days each month to phone conversations. In her spare time, she avoids human interaction entirely. You don't have to do that. More than a dozen individuals who specialize in areas ranging from graphics design to WordPress specialists have been hired by me for specific projects. So far, I've only had a phone conversation with one of them. We wanted to avoid getting bogged down in correspondence back-and-forths and instead hash out the punch list in one fell swoop.

Different types of Itinerant Work

What exactly do these digital travelers and entrepreneurs who work from anywhere do all day? It covers a much broader spectrum than you might imagine. I've spoken with everyone from accountants to online marketers, software developers to business consultants. What follows is a rundown of the various methods expats I've met or read about online employment in order to earn a living in other countries. The options are expanding all the time, particularly as new technologies emerge all over the world that makes communication possible in nearly any location.


Teacher of English as a Second Language


Creative Writer, Blogger, 



Novelist, Screenwriter, Novelist, Author


Article Writers




Head of Marketing and Social Media Executive


Internet Designer


Coding for the Online


Frontend/Backend Web Developer


Computer Programmer


Professional in the Analysis of Computer Networks


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Expert


Professional Artist Who Creates Visuals


Virtual Assistant




An Internet-Based Business Owner Who Markets Their wares


Internet-based business owner who sells services or data


Executive Manager, Business Growth


Professional Author of Specialized Documents


The Head of the Team in Cyberspace




Accomplished Vocalists


Specialist in Internet Promotion and Management


Dealer in stocks or foreign exchange


Responsible for managing wealth


Advisor in financial and tax matters


Communicator in Charge of Clientele


Representative in Sales (when few face-to-face meetings are required)


Finding and working as a remote worker is much simpler now than it was even a decade ago. Even if you have no customers to begin with, you can find them through sites like Upwork, Digital Nomad World, Flexjobs, RemoteOK, Contena, and others. To make things simpler, you can start your own business while still in your home nation and keep serving the same clients even after you move. If you're excellent at what you do and consistently deliver above and beyond for your customers, they'll tell others about you and your business, leading to more referrals and more business.

Recommended: Obtaining a Work Permit and a Work Visa in Canada, and Instructions for Doing So

Shannon O'Donnell, the author of the widely read travel blog A Little Adrift, was recently named National Geographic Traveler of the Year for her efforts to address local needs through volunteer work in different parts of the globe. In reality, she helps companies improve their website's content and search engine rankings as a consultant for online marketing. Before leaving the United States, I asked my largest customer, 'If I keep up the same standard of work, you won't fire me, right?' This was while I was still a resident of the United States. That customer was one of several that she kept and nurtured into long-term relationships. She says, "Right now I have more work than I can manage." All of my business comes from word of mouth and I've never even proposed.

If you have no idea how to transition from your present role to any of the ones mentioned above, it's a good idea to consider what relevant skills and experiences you already possess. You should also think about methods to leverage your knowledge to build a virtual community and generate revenue through product sales and advertising.


You can get a job soon that will allow you to work from home and give you a decent salary if you're willing to take on the role of sales representative. If you aren't on the other side of the globe, you can continue contacting and selling in your home country via email and phone just as you would if you were physically present. You can easily get a job in any field simply by showing up and offering to work on compensation. You won't get paid unless you actually produce something, but if it's something you're interested in and it's of high quality, it shouldn't take long to get up to speed.


Put some thought into it and money into the beginning stages, and you can do anything.

Online, you can make money in a variety of ways if you are willing to put in a little amount of time and effort into trial and error. If you're looking for motivation, I recommend The $100 Start-up. Members of StackThatMoney.com, a community dedicated to discussing the success of affiliate marketing, pay a monthly fee of $99. The ClickMillionaires.com forum and other respected blogs/podcasts, such as The Suitcase Entrepreneur (suitcaseentrepreneur.com) and Smart Passive Income, are good places to look for additional inspiration (smartpassiveincome.com).


One alternative is to invest a smaller sum in order to purchase an already-established online company. Opportunities can be found on websites like Flippa.com and Empire Flippers (empireflippers.com). In spite of the initial outlay, cash flow can be positive almost instantly, and payback time is typically less than a year. See if you can locate a better deal than that on Wall Street or at the real estate broker down the street!


The only thing that will guarantee success is action. Several e-books and internet-based classes to keep you reading and imagining for an entire year. People who actually go out and do something are the ones who make an online company successful.


Joseph Okechukwu

128 Blog posts