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Hi.

We’re David and Nadia, a couple of digital nomads traveling the world and saying yes to life. Explore our blog and figure out how easy it is to say yes to a life full of adventure!

The Ultimate Vanlifer Remote Work Guide + Top 27 Job Picks

The Ultimate Vanlifer Remote Work Guide + Top 27 Job Picks

The most common question for full-time travelers and one that we get from everyone we meet is “How do you make money while traveling.”

While it may seem as though we have the impossible dream lifestyle that's reserved for the few, I’m here to shed some light on how easy it can be to make the switch from 9-5 office jobs to remote freedom!

What is Remote Work

Simply put, remote working is the ability to get your work done from a location of your choosing, be it on the beach in Hawaii, or in a snow-covered cabin in Norway!

More and more companies are switching to a distributed workforce and reaping huge rewards in employee productivity and happiness, and ultimately that helps their bottom line. Yay, it’s a win for everybody!

What it Takes to Go Remote

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Working on the road, or from home isn’t for everybody, some people need the structure and comradery of an office environment. But for others, they may feel their creativity soar once they make the leap to remote worker.

The most important skill that you’ve gotta have to make it in the remote world, is the ability to get shit done. It sounds obvious, but out here in the big wide world of freedom, there are constant distractions, and a little devil sat on your shoulder trying to convince you to procrastinate.

Don’t give in to that cheeky devil, many fail at remote work because they act as though they’re on holiday, they don’t stick to their deadlines, and they make excuses for why their work wasn’t done.

From the beginning, it’s important to set yourself goals, and deadlines - and consistently stick to them, if you do - you’ll get to keep living this lifestyle for as long you want!

Discovering Your Talents

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But what remote job can you do? Well, the first task is figuring out what you’re great at, and translating those skills into specific roles.

For me, I’m pretty snazzy when it comes to communication, and by that, I mean presenting information in a way that goes down well, and hopefully - is reasonably interesting (I guess you, dear reader, will be the true judge of that).

Top Tip - Bake a cake and invite some friends over to help you figure out your strengths, it’s so much fun having your loved ones over purely to compliment you!

Redirecting Your Skills

Figuring out what you’re great at won’t necessarily leave you with a specific job to search for, it’s up to you to figure out which jobs require the skills that you have.

Let’s say that you’re currently working as an Office Manager; you’re in charge of making sure that everything in the office runs smoothly, you have excellent organizational skills, and phenomenal interpersonal skills.

So where can you utilize those skills on the road? How about working as a project manager, or virtual assistant? Both require you to be easy to communicate with, great at fixing problems, and most of all - you have to make sure that everything runs smoothly!

If ideas aren’t immediately popping into your head, you can get some inspiration by looking through our handy-dandy guide of twenty-seven remote job ideas.

 

Freelance, Contract or Employed

Now that you’ve decided that you want to leave the office cubicle behind, you’ve got to figure out whether your future dream lifestyle is going to fit better with one of these three types of remote work. After all - you don’t want to break free from office life, only to feel stuck in a different way.

1. Freelance

If you choose to work as a freelancer, you have a ton of freedom to take on projects as and when you want. Ordinarily, you get to manage yourself and work entirely to your schedule. However, one of the hardest parts of being a freelancer is getting projects in the first place, so be prepared to spend a lot of time, especially in the beginning - finding projects.

Inside Info - I work as a freelance Specialist Writer, and for the first year it was a lot of work, but now, I get offered more jobs than I have time to take on. This is absolutely the perfect work style for me, as sometimes I’m just not in the mood to write and have to take a day off.

2. Contract

Working on a contract basis remotely gives you the stability of a “real job” for the duration of your contract, while still providing you with flexibility. Typically, a contracted role will require you to work specific hours, and don’t forget - a lot of your time can be spent in between projects working to find a new contract.

Inside Info - David works on a contract basis, only taking on two or three design projects per year. He prefers to make a real impact on a project, and that’s why he prefers to take on contracts.

3. Employed

Having a full-time job and working remotely can offer the best of both worlds, with financial stability, and almost complete freedom to explore the world.

Do bear in mind that the role of remote and employed is very variable, and for some companies - it means you’re online 9-5, whereas, for others, you can work when you want and check in once a week.

Finding The Right Job

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Not all jobs can be done remotely, but almost everyone I’ve ever chatted to on the subject has had skills that they can transfer into a job that they can take on the road.

If you already have a specific role in mind, great! If not, check out some of my best remote job ideas below!


Technical

1. Front End Developer

Avg Salary: $69,000 USD, £33,000 GBP, €35,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • HTML.

  • CSS.

  • JavaScript.

What They Do:

The title front-end developer gives a clue as to what this job involves, you will be responsible for creating all of the visible (front end!) elements of a web application.

 

2. Backend Developer

Avg Salary: $70,000 USD, £41,000 GBP, €45,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • A clear understanding of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

  • Fluency in PHP, Java, Python, Ruby, C#, Swift, or one of the many other languages.

What They Do:

As a backend developer, you will be responsible for coding the inner workings of a web or mobile application, an example of this would be to create a booking system.

A clear understanding of front-end is required to best work with the front end developers on your team.

 

3. Full-Stack Developer

Avg Salary: $80,000 USD, £45,000 GBP, €49,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • HTML.

  • CSS.

  • JavaScript.

  • MySQL.

  • PHP, Java, Python, Ruby, C#, Swift, or, one of the many other languages.

What They Do:

A full stack developer should be fluent in front-end and backend programming languages so that they can build all aspects of a web or mobile application.

Most full stack developers work within teams of front end and back end developers, but as experts in both areas, they add exceptional value and are usually the go to if there is a disagreement on how best to move forward.


Admin

4. Virtual Assistant

Avg Salary: $22,000 USD, £25,000 GBP, €28,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Great communication.

  • Organization skills.

  • Time Management.

  • Able to Prioritize.               

What They Do:

Very similar to a personal assistant, a virtual assistant works remotely with their client on basic administrative tasks, usually because their client doesn’t have the time themselves.

Some examples of tasks that virtual assistants take care of include, responding to emails, managing the diary, and filtering calls.

 

5. Data Entry

Avg Salary: $31,000 USD, £17,000 GBP, €22,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Speedy typing.

  • Proficient in common computer software.

  • Research skills.

What They Do:

The job of data entry is what it says on the tin, often you will be provided with information that you must input into the correct systems, and other times you will need to research to gather the data as well.


Marketing

6. Email Marketing

Avg Salary: $60,000 USD, £38,000 GBP, €48,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Strong email software skills - Mailchimp or similar.

  • Creativity to come up with campaign ideas.

  • Organization skills to turn ideas into live campaigns.

  • Analyze, track and improve conversion and open rates.

What They Do:

Email marketing professionals work to create email campaigns that bring in new customers and retain current customers.

This could be through newsletter content, new product showcases, or weekly videos for example.

 

7. Social Media Assistant

Avg Salary: $49,000 USD, £20,000 GBP, €28,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Understanding of social media and a passion for it!    

  • Ability to create engaging content.

  • Design visual assets for social media.

  • Creating and scheduling social posts.

  • Responding to comments and messages.    

  • Track record of creating campaigns with great engagement.

What They Do:

As a social media assistant, you’ll be responsible for helping to come up with new ideas and implement existing plans.

Depending on the size of the company you’re working with, this could include writing content, and designing assets, or liaising with the relevant experts on the team!

 

8. Growth Hacker

Avg Salary: $75,000 USD, £35,000 GBP, €40,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Analytical mind.

  • A/B Split testing skills.

  • Basic coding skills.

  • Creativity to spare.

  • Prioritizing growth channel.

  • AARRR.

What They Do

Growth hackers aren’t like a traditional marketer, the job of a growth hacker is far more analytical, you will be tasked with not only coming up with creative marketing initiatives, but also testing, tracking, and adapting campaigns based on the data.


Writing

9. Copywriter

Avg Salary: $61,000 USD, £26,000 GBP, €44,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Exceptional grammar.

  • Great communication skills.

  • Ability to write about any subject.

What They Do:

Your job would be to create any and all copy for the company you’re working with, this could include website content, blog posts, product descriptions, and email newsletters.

The most important skill that a copywriter needs is the creativity to come up with multiple ways to present information compellingly.
 

10. Technical Writer

Avg Salary: $70,000 USD, £34,000 GBP, €45,000 EUR.

Skills Required:      

  • Exceptional grammar.

  • Great communication skills.

  • Ability to write about technical subjects.

  • Crafting user documentation and manuals.

What They Do:

Technical writers specialize in writing about technical subjects and making them easy to understand for the layman.

Predominantly this will consist of user manuals, documentation, and technical specifications.

 

11. Specialist Writer

Avg Salary: $65,000 USD, £35,000 GBP, €39,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Exceptional grammar.

  • Great communication skills.

  • Expert knowledge of a specialist subject.

What They Do:

A specialist writer is one who creates content relating to one, or several specific subjects, ordinarily working with publications and companies that focus on that topic.

Inside Info - This is what I do! I specialize in Equine and Canine Writing; in fact, I wrote my first article for a horse magazine when I was a teeny tiny ten-year-old.


Photography

12. Travel photography

Avg Salary: $32,000 USD, £20,000 GBP, €24,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Patience.

  • Editing skills.

  • Adventurous nature.

  • Perfect planning.

  • Your own equipment.

What They Do:

As a travel photographer, you will get to document unique locations around the globe. Many travel photographers tend to focus on one specific type of photography, with the most popular being cityscapes, mountainous regions, and rolling countryside.
 

13. Wedding Photography

Avg Salary: $35,000 USD, £20,000 GBP, €26,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Incredible customer service.

  • Ability to deal with Bridezillas when needed!

  • Patience.

  • Stamina for long days.

  • Creativity.

  • Editing skills.

  • Your own equipment.

What They Do:

A wedding photographer’s job is to capture the greatest day of a couple's lives, there’s a lot of stress that comes along with this, but if you have the skills to do it well - you’ll also get a heck of a reward from seeing the happiness you can bring to people!

 

14. Instagrammer

Avg Salary: $100-$20,000 USD, £100 - £15,000 GBP, €100 - €15,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Your own equipment.

  • Masses of patience.

  • Ability to spot the shot.

  • Community skills.

  • Sociable and friendly personality.

  • Editing skills.

What They Do:

An Instagrammers job may seem glamorous and easy, but in fact, it’s one of the hardest jobs out there. You’ll need to put in a lot of work, be prepared to spend hours waiting for the perfect light, and enjoy spending time communicating with your tribe of followers!

Inside Info - Most of you already know that David is an Instagrammer, but did you know - it was all by accident! David has the worst memory of all time and started our Instagram account so that he could remember all of the adventures that we go on.


Videography

15. Event/Sport Videographer

Avg Salary: $47,000 USD, £30,000 GBP, €33,000 EUR.

Skills Required:     

  • Your own equipment.

  • An eye for the right shot.

  • Editing skills.

  • Not afraid to get in on the action.

What They Do:

As an event or sports videographer, you will attend events and capture footage; you’ll then edit the footage to fit the desired use, this could be anything from promo videos to television programming.

 

16. YouTuber

Avg Salary: $£€Variable

Skills Required:

  • Your own equipment.

  • Masses of patience.

  • Ability to spot the shot.

  • Community skills.

  • Sociable and friendly personality.

  • Editing skills.

What They Do:

YouTubers create video content, generally focusing on a specific topic, this could be anything from video games to fashion. If you're thinking of starting your own YouTube channel, remember, you need to not only shoot the footage but edit as well.


Design

17. UX/UI Designer

Avg Salary: $82,000 USD, £45,000 GBP, €48,000 EUR.

Skills Required:    

  • Prototyping.

  • Exceptional skills in Sketch or Photoshop.

  • Wireframing.

  • Understanding of HTML and CSS.

What They Do:

The job of a User Experience or User Interface designer is to work with the development team to ensure that the design of a product, app, or website is visually appealing, user-friendly and guides the user to the desired outcome, i.e., buying a product.

Inside Info - David used to own his own design agency, in fact, it was one of the best out there. He’s almost entirely retired from design now, but he does take on a few projects a year to keep his inner creative happy!

 

18. Graphic Designer

Avg Salary: $50,000 USD, £26,000 GBP, €36,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Exceptional skills in Sketch or Photoshop.

  • Creativity to spare.

  • Ability to take ideas and turn them into finished products.

What They Do:

Varies depending on whether the designer is working within an agency, or for a specific client.

But in general - as a graphic designer, you will be tasked with creating ideas to fit a brand personality and target market, and then taking that from idea to finished design.

 

19. Illustrator

Avg Salary: $54,000 USD, £35,000 GBP, €39,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Drawing ninja skills.

  • Exceptional skills in Sketch or Photoshop.

What They Do:

As an illustrator, you will be tasked with creating illustrations, and logos for companies that you work with.

One of the most competitive industries, it’s important to make sure that you stand out from the crowd, generally by focusing on one specific style of illustration.


Creative

20. Art Director

Avg Salary: $70,000 USD, £48,000 GBP, €37,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Creative mind.

  • Photography skills.

  • Be a typeface nerd.

  • Understand print techniques.

  • Ability to delegate to team members.

What They Do:

An art director is most often found working with advertising agencies; their role is to brainstorm concepts and have clients sign off on that idea.

They then work with their team of designers, developers, and copywriters to turn that idea into an advertising campaign, or product launch to perfectly fit their client.

 

21. Animator

Avg Salary: $76,000 USD, £34,000 GBP, €35,000 EUR.

Skills Required  :      

  • Incredibly creative mind.

  • Patience to work on the same project long-term.

  • Mega drawing skills.

  • Graphics software whiz kid.

What They Do:

If you’re dreaming of working as an animator, you need to have the best skills out there. A highly competitive industry, you might start off by working on animations for adverts, or educational videos, and the few that have the skills and work ethic could ultimately work with a company such as Disney or Pixar.

 

22. Recruiter

Avg Salary: $50,000 USD, £33,000 GBP, €37,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Fantastic interpersonal skills.

  • Sales skills.

  • Incredible at negotiations.

  • Being a problem solver.

What They Do:

As a Recruiter, you’ll be working to fill roles with the perfect applicant within the companies you’re working with.

This could be anything from finding a back-end developer for a large tech company or finding a chef for your local vegan restaurant.

Recruiters almost always focus on their field of expertise, and this usually means they achieve far greater success than the recruiter who is more generalized.


Management

23. Project Manager

Avg Salary: $80,000 USD, £41,000 GBP, €55,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Time management.

  • Incredible organization skills.

  • Risk management.

  • Negotiation skills.

  • Expectation management.

What They Do:

When you become a project manager, you will be tasked with managing a team to work on a project; commonly this will be the build of a web or mobile application.

You will need to initially spec out the project with your team of designers and developers, create a timeline and tasks for each stage of the build, then keep on top of every stage of this - including dealing with any delays, unexpected problems, and changes in project scope.

 

24. Product Manager

Avg Salary: $108,000 USD, £50,000 GBP, €50,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Incredible communication.

  • Leadership skills.

  • Time and project management.

  • Risk management.

  • Expectation management.               

What They Do:

Similar to a project manager, the difference between becoming a product manager is that you will be working on one specific project.

Your role will be far more than ensuring that the design and development of the product run smoothly, you will also need to work with marketing teams, finance teams, and the leadership team to ensure that the product is performing as planned.

 

25. Account Manager

Avg Salary: $58,000 USD, £22,000 GBP, €50,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Sales acumen.

  • Interpersonal skills.

  • Excellent communication.

  • Time management.

What They Do:

As an account manager, you will be selling a product or service to new clients, as well as managing current clients and ensuring their ongoing happiness with your offerings.

As well as ensuring that clients expectations are managed, they are receiving what they asked for, and deliveries arrive on time. You will also play a role in the development of future products/services by passing on client feedback to your business development colleagues.


Money Stuff

26. Accountant

Avg Salary: $55,000 USD, £25,000 GBP, €57,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • License to practice accounting and all of the skills that go along with that!

What They Do:

The primary responsibility of an accountant is to maintain, and correctly submit financial records to the relevant authorities.

You will make sure that you accurately submit this information so that the company can pay their taxes on time!


Customer Relations

27. Customer Support

Avg Salary: $35,000 USD, £21,000 GBP, €45,000 EUR.

Skills Required:

  • Patience.

  • Problem-solving ability.

  • Able to stay calm under pressure.

  • Processing customer feedback.

What They Do:

One of the most important jobs in a company, and also difficult, as a customer support specialist you’ll be tasked with answering customer questions and also dealing with customer complaints.


Setting Up Your Van Office

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When we were first thinking about van life, our foremost consideration was how we'd work on the road, and after several months of working from the bus, we've realized that there are only a few things you need to have a super comfy work environment.

Internet

We have a SIM card from EE that gives us 30gb of data which we can use throughout Europe that costs us £30 per month, and this goes into our TP-Link MIFI for incredible internet coverage.

Power

We have USB power points in the bus for our phones, but for our computers, we use our Goal Zero Yeti 400.

It takes 5-7 hrs to charge fully and gives us up to five charges for our computers, so it's perfect for charging at a coffee shop and keeping it in the bus for those off-grid days!

Workspace

Our table doubles as a great workspace and is the perfect height for working, as well as comfortably fitting both of us side by side!

One of the most important ways to keep yourself in a jolly mindset for work is to keep your van clean and tidy; luckily this isn’t too hard when we have such a small house to clean!

Courses For Going Remote

When I switched careers from Project Manager to Writer, I was toying with the idea of becoming a Technical Writer, and subsequent Googling made me realize that no matter what remote job you choose to do - there will be an online course to teach you how to go from zero to hero!

Some of my favorite resources for online courses that will help your remote working are:

 

Nomadic Matt

Especially good for:

 

Coursera

Especially good for:

 

Codecademy

Especially good for:

 

Skillshare

Especially good for:

 

Udacity

Especially good for:

 

Udemy

Especially good for:


Top Three Books That Will Help You Go Remote

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Remote - Office Not Required

Written by the two founders of Basecamp, these project management whiz kids have jotted down lessons learned, and triumphs enjoyed while working as an entirely distributed team.

Zapier - Ultimate Guide to Remote Work

This is perhaps the most comprehensive guide to remote working, although it does initially seem to focus on the running and management of remote teams, delve a little deeper, and you’ll learn best practices of being a remote worker, and how to avoid the common pitfalls.

The Year Without Pants

Scott Berkun is the author of this gem, and while working for Automattic, the well-known company behind WordPress, he documented his journey with this book of learning how great remote work can be, especially when the company you’re working for really gets it right.


Finding Work

There are masses of resources, and websites for finding remote work, here are some of my favorites which I’ll separate into the three categories that I mentioned above!

It’s worth noting that not all of them are remote specific, but they do have search filter to narrow down the jobs that you can do remotely!

Freelance

 

Contact

 

Employed


Applying For Remote Jobs

I’m not going to lie to you, remote working jobs are like gold, everyone wants them, and there is currently higher demand than supply. I’m not saying that to put you off; I’m saying that so that you get ready to work for it.

You have to want it, you have to put the work in, and you have to make sure that you stand out; showing that you’ve taken the time to research the company you’re applying to can make the world of difference.

One trick that I’ve found works incredibly well is to look into recent activities or events that the company has attended and make a reference to that in the first few lines of the email you send them.

I have a bunch of tips for landing your dream remote job that have all worked for me, but I’ll save that for another post, or this one will go on forever!

 

Companies Best For Remote Workers

Some forward-thinking companies are open to remote work, and not only will their openness to lifestyle flexibility be a massive bonus. But as a newbie remote worker don’t underestimate the benefit of working for a company that already know how to work remote, they’ll teach you pretty much everything you need to know; you just have to put the work in!

  • Automattic

  • Buffer

  • InVision

  • I Will Teach You To Be Rich

  • Wifi Tribe

  • Roadtrippers

  • Zapier

  • Basecamp

  • PowerToFly

  • DoYouYoga

  • ProductHunt

  • Creative Market

 

Creating Your Own Remote Job

Working for yourself is an almost guaranteed way to be able to go remote, and if you have some savings to allow you the time to work your butt off to make your business a success, that will make things so much easier.

You absolutely can start from scratch with no money, but that does tend to put a lot of pressure on your business to start making money. Personally, I feel as though this is super stressful, so when we were starting up, I took on freelance work as well.

Check back soon for a post on vanlifers who have made their own success, and the journey they took to get there!

 

Taking Your Current Job Remote

Just because you want more flexibility or freedom than your current job offers, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go out and find a new job.

Speaking with your boss about taking your current job on the road can go incredibly well, as long as you’re organized.

Some of the main points to mention are:

  1. The hours that you’ll be available for immediate communication.

  2. Discuss your plans for how you will guarantee that you always have internet access.

  3. Offer a trial period during which you can prove to your boss that you’ll be just as, if not more productive!


Tools That Make Remote Work Easier

There are countless tools available to the remote worker to make your life away from the office as easy, and productive as possible.

Finding the tools that specifically work for you takes time, and experimentations, but these four picks are so useful that I’m pretty sure every remote worker will benefit from using them!

Slack

The ultimate way to keep in touch with your team, this communication app allows you to brainstorm in group chats, share docs, search over previous communications, and create private discussions with specific team members.

Trello

For creating tasks, and general project management, this app makes it easy for you to keep yourself on track while also letting your boss see just how productive you’re being!

Google Hangouts

If you’re working remotely, or from an office, meetings are still a handy way to communicate and with Google Hangouts video calls it doesn’t feel any different from when you were in the office - well, it does, but in a good way!

Google Drive

Emailing docs back and forth, and trying to sort through feedback is annoying, but with Google Drive, you can just send a link to the doc and have teammates comment and make changes directly on the original doc.


Goodbye For Now

Phew, well that’s as much handy information I can think of for now, so I guess I’ll leave you to ponder whether remote work is the right fit for you.

If there’s anything that I didn’t cover in enough detail, leave a comment, and I’ll get back to you with more info!

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