If you’re planning to pursue a life as a digital nomad, you’ve probably thought about what kind of work you’ll need to do. Unless you were fortunate enough to win the lottery or inherit a lot of money from your folks (in which case, more power to you) you’re going to need some income to keep this whole adventure going.
Many people who pursue the remote lifestyle tend to be creative professionals who desire more freedom to follow their artistic visions. It makes sense: remote and off-grid lifestyles tend to be less expensive than traditional paths, allowing more financial freedom and time to devote to creative jobs.
If that sounds like you, and you’re in the planning stages of your nomad adventure, now is the perfect time to start thinking about what creative remote jobs might be right for you. Let’s take a look at some: what they entail, and what goes in to making them successful.
What is a Creative Remote Job?
Creative remote jobs are jobs that creative professionals can do outside the office or on the move. These days, a remote job typically involves heavy use of the computer and internet – either to stay updated and connected to a marketing team, project managers, or other cross functional partners, or to produce content that can be consumed by an audience and eventually monetized.
Before we dive in, let me make one thing clear: remote creative jobs are by no means easy. They usually take some previous experience, a deep understanding of a particular topic or subject matter, or at the very least, some hard grift and a willingness to hustle and learn.
A remote job that leverages your creativity will only truly be fulfilling if you truly love creating and working hard for your craft. If you’re looking for an easy get-rich-quick scheme, look elsewhere!
Freelance Content Writer
This is a great option for someone who showed excellence at English and writing in school or at previous jobs. It’s also the remote job with the lowest bar to entry as far as expertise and experience go.
There are many, many opportunities out there to work as a freelance content writer for articles and blog sites. Sites like Upwork, Fiverr, ProBloggerJobs, and LinkedIn post hundreds of job listings a day for this kind of work. Most of these positions require no experience and provide on the job training and feedback to help you improve and succeed.
The catch? The pay is extremely low, and a lot of what you will be writing will be unfulfilling content that could have easily been put together by an AI. However, these can be a starting point if you’re looking to get into freelance writing, hone your craft, and build a bit of a portfolio.
If you can write well and have specialized knowledge or a strong background in a particular area, the opportunities are significantly better paid – especially if you have experience in tech and can write about code, data science, cyber security, AI, or other niche tech topics.
This is a long con. It takes significant time and energy up front to become a successful indie author, and it’s certainly not a career for everyone. You need to be extremely savvy about key marketing concepts and good at social media. You may not see any income at all for a while (or ever.)
However, if you do your research, write to a market that is hungry and not too saturated (dig into sub-genres on Amazon to learn more about what these might be), write well, and put out lots of good, high quality content that hooks readers and keeps them wanting more, you can do very well.
As an example: Liz Shipton is an indie author who has been publishing for about a year. She also works as a freelance content writer, but her fiction books now bring in about a third of her total income. She now spends the majority of her time writing fiction, and has published six books (yes, in one year!) with three more on the way.
Software development is complex and highly technical, however, breaking into it has become much more accessible in the last decade. The prevalence of online courses and bootcamps (both in-person and remote) has made it easier for all types of people to learn how to code and find jobs where they can apply those skills.
There is no shortage of companies hiring front end and back end engineers, and you may be surprised to learn that many organizations are willing to take on self-taught coders and bootcamp grads – as long as they are self-motivated, driven, and eager to learn and grow.
Since COVID, finding a remote job as a coder has become easier, however, don’t expect to necessarily be hired as a junior developer at a major company and be given remote work right away. Depending on the company, you may need to put in some time up front and slowly transition into a remote position once you’ve proven your worth to the team.
There are, however, lots of fully remote startups and cross functional teams, and freelance opportunities available through job sites like LinkedIn and Upwork.
Graphic design is another of those creative jobs that requires a specific set of skills, both technical and artistic. You’ll need facility with editing software like Adobe Creative Suite, and you may also need video editing expertise.
As with software development, graphic design is best approached as a remote job if you’re already working in the field or a related field and are looking to make a transition to remote work. Talk to your manager and see if there’s an opportunity for you to develop some remote projects and spend more time away from the office.
Social Media Management
Good social media management entails more than knowing how to use an Instagram filter and post a nice update to Facebook. You need an intimate understanding of social media trends and tools, and that kind of deep knowledge only truly comes by spending a lot of time on social media platforms.
If that sounds like you, awesome! Social media management is a growing field and there are plenty of companies and individuals out there who need savvy marketers to help them get their products seen. You’ll need to use analytics and know how to develop a solid marketing strategy, when to use paid media to boost your views, and how to create an account with consistent branding and a recognizable image.
Many Nomads Need a Creative Outlet–Could It Be Your Job?
If you’re considering one of these remote creative jobs, don’t forget that the technical expertise and creativity are only one part of the equation. You’ll also need to learn how to manage clients and market yourself, how to handle your own taxes, and you’ll need to make sure that your communications skills are top-notch as you may need to work in tandem with project managers, a design team, or other production teams.
Remote creative jobs are hard work, but they can be extremely fulfilling for creative professionals who are willing to invest in themselves, hustle, and stay focused. Remember: the ultimate goal of remote creative jobs is not to stop working: it’s to work hard at work you love doing.