25 Ways Of Earning Money While Traveling in 2018
Traveling has never been more accessible. With proper research, you can find flights around the world for less than a week’s wages and, despite the headlines, the world is safer than ever.
However, if you’re looking to hit the road long-term, you still need a substantial sum of money to finance your globetrotting. If your family isn’t planning on bankrolling your adventures, yet you’re still set on traveling, you’re left with a tough decision: do you work long enough every year to pay for a few months of travel (which could set you back in the job market), do you travel on credit and then work it off afterwards, or do you get a solid career going and then use your vacation days (3 weeks per year! Woohoo!) to see the world one little piece at a time?
Why waste all that time and effort in such an inefficient manner?
Learning how to make money while traveling is the clear solution. This whole website is based around finding work methods that will give you more freedom in your life; what greater freedom is there than packing up your bags, hopping on an airplane and flying off to paradise for as long as you wish?
Through my time on the road, I’ve met countless travelers with amazing stories, and even more amazing methods of financing their travels. With their advice, I’ve compiled an all-encompassing list of work that you can perform while you’re thousands of miles away from home.
In the interest of organization, I’ve separated the jobs into two smaller categories: online work, and physical-world work.
Online work is incredibly flexible as it allows you to move from place to place on a whim, as long as your destinations have some semblance of wi-fi available.
The most desirable kind of income is included in online work: a passive income. Some online income-generating methods require only a few (<10) hours of upkeep per week and can finance your traveling habit for years.
Are there cons to working online? Absolutely. Most online work requires a lot of time to either set up your business or to develop a strong reputation. And working online can be lonely; you don’t have colleagues in the next cubicle over to chat to. There is no water cooler. It’s just you and a computer screen.
Physical work is less flexible; having a stationary employer means you’re also locked down in one spot for a set period of time, but don’t despair! Many of these positions offer free food and board, keeping your expenses to a minimum. I don’t know about you, but breakfast tastes a hell of a lot better when you don’t have to shell out a penny for it (do pennies exist anymore?).
Not only that but working in one location for a decent amount of time is what traveling is all about! You get to experience the real culture that most tourists miss out on. The friends you make and some of your fellow employees that are locals can get you involved in incredible pieces of local culture that you’ve never even heard of.
For ease of use, below I’ve listed the titles of each job as links, feel free to skip ahead to one that piques your interest.
25 Ways to Make Money While You Travel
- Affiliate Marketing
- Online Poker
- Virtual Assistant
- Teaching English Online
- Web Development
- Graphic Design
- Internet Marketing
- Drop Shipping
Physical World Jobs
- Tour Guide
- Flight Attendant
- Scuba Diving Instructor
- Farm Work
- Work on Cruise Ships
- Teaching English Abroad
- Service Industry
- Au Pair
I used to work at a sports store where I made a small salary plus commission on the goods I sold. Sales has never been my strong suit, but on the rare occasion when I would close a deal, the process was to write my staff ID number on the price tag and the clerk would enter my number into the system upon the completed sale. The idea was that the store gained a sale that they may not have made without me, and I walked away with a few extra bucks in my pocket.
Affiliate marketing works in much the same way; you create a sales-pitch with links to certain products and earn a commission based on the overall sales. Instead of writing your ID number on a tag, the link that the visitors click on to move to the store page installs a cookie (tracker) in their browsers. When they finalize their purchases, the store recognizes the cookie and sends money to your affiliate account.
The problem lies in getting people to your pages so that some of them wind up making purchases through your affiliate links. Common strategies are writing in-depth reviews of single products, comparison articles of two or more products, or Top 10 articles with ten products of your choosing to write short blurbs about. In each case, you would pepper some affiliate links to the reviewed products throughout the article.
You need to provide lots of content before Google begins to trust your site, so that means you’re going to be shelling out either a lot of your time or your money to create the site. On top of that, you’ll need to spend significant time networking with other businesses to get them to link to your site, as Google considers sites with links pointing towards them as more trustworthy. In a best-case scenario, your website will have such sublime content that other businesses may stumble upon it and link to it without you having to lift a finger.
Altogether, there’s a hefty amount of initial work to put into starting an affiliate website, and if you don’t do the proper keyword and niche research, it could all be for naught. Imagine writing 100,000 words worth of content, only to find out that the niche you chose was:
A) Too big – our site didn’t stand a chance against the huge authority sites clogging Google’s search pages
B) Too small – there wasn’t any demand for your niche so there was no profit to be made in the first place.
It’s a case of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You need to create content around a niche that’s just big enough to be able to get a foothold in, without being so large that you’re competing against giant authority sites that will blow you out of the water.
On the upside, once your site is up and running you can outsource the everyday workload (writing, site maintenance, emails) for a meager price and coast on your passive income! However, if you don’t continue to innovate and acquiesce to Google’s ever-shifting standards, your site may fall off the map.
Creating a website that search engines love isn’t the end-all and be-all of affiliate marketing. There are a fair number of well-known Youtubers (ie. Peter Mckinnon and MKBHD) and just plain old review channels that use their audiences to create sales, and the same techniques can be found throughout social media. On top of Youtube, affiliate marketing can be found throughout social media.
Things you may need:
- Keyword research tools (Ahrefs, SEMrush, Keywordshitter)
- Web development
- Quality writing
- Affiliate accounts with retailers
- SEO knowledge
Can you fashion a career out of affiliate advertising?
With e-commerce booming, businesses are looking to increase their online presence with affiliate programs. As long as they have products to sell, the number of affiliate marketers will only continue to rise. SEO, writing, marketing, and web development are all skills that will benefit your business, and they’re all very marketable if you plan on continuing onto a profitable career path in another industry.
*If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a good summary of the basics of affiliate marketing.
The days of high-quality photography being limited to those that own expensive cameras are over. Cameras in phones are getting better every year and they’re now capable of producing images that can be tough to distinguish from top-end DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.
How can you monetize a skill that’s become so saturated in today’s market?
The first way is through using your photo skills to build up a social media following. However, even with amazing photos, building up that following can be time-consuming without leveraging other areas (like creating a blog/vlog) and constantly pushing out great content. Once you’ve developed your skills to a point where you could be considered an expert photographer, you can create a personal website to sell prints, calendars, or other merch. If you’re confident in your skills, you can think about charging for photography boot camps.
Some enterprising photographers have created their own Adobe Lightroom presets (essentially filters that let users skip through the editing process) to sell to their fan base. Personally, I don’t like presets because they severely limit your creativity, and they can negatively impact many photos. Youtube has some terrific videos that will show you just how professional photographers work through their editing process like this one.
Stock photography is another area where snapping pictures can make you some money. Successful stock photographers are good at following market trends (think of the push to “go green”, gluten-free, electric cars, etc.), and they publish high-quality photos onto stock photo sites (ie. Shutterstock). This is one area where owning a DSLR or mirrorless camera is a necessity as stock photo sites have a minimum on the quality of images that they accept.
To start out, building up a solid foundation of photos in stock photo sites can seem unrewarding as many of your images will get rejected, and only having a few accepted images on each site will mean very little revenue. But the longer you push forward and the larger your portfolio grows, the larger your monthly income will become. Depending on the longevity of your photos, this is also another way to create a passive income.
Things you may need
- Camera body
- Shutter release
- Storage devices
Can you fashion a career out of photography?
Skills in photography can get you hired for events like weddings or concerts, and many companies employ staff photographers for product shoots. National tourism boards are also known to pay photographers to travel through their respective countries to take new images for advertising. Even if you don’t wind up taking it full-time, photography is a terrific side gig as you can charge anywhere from $2,500-$10,000 for just one wedding.
$50 – $5,000/month
*If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a list I created of the best ways to make money as a travel photographer.
To create an income stream from Instagram, you’re going to need to establish a following first. Buffer App created a solid list of 10 things you should look at doing to organically increase your following.
Once you’ve managed to wrangle up a few followers, here’s a small list of some of the ways you can make money through Instagram:
- Sponsorship: depending on the number of organic followers on your account, you can have brands sponsor your posts. In some cases, that just means tagging them in your photo, but you make more through putting their name in the caption and using their product in the photo. Common examples are models wearing clothes from tagged stores, athletes using brand name apparel, etc.
- Shout-outs: some users pay larger accounts to give them shout-outs in their captions. If you’ve ever followed any meme pages, they’re always posting photos with captions like “Check out @thisguyispayingmetosaythis, his account is hilarious!”. The more followers you have, the more you get paid.
- Sales funnels: Who needs to put all the effort into optimizing your e-commerce store for Google’s search engine, when you can just drive people there through Instagram? If you’ve got a huge fanbase of devoted followers, you’ve got a gold mine waiting to shower you with riches. Prominent Instagram accounts like @humansofny, @thefatjewish, and @barstoolsports utilize this strategy to promote and sell their merchandise on separate sites.
- Free Stuff: Maybe your follower count isn’t located up in the stratosphere, and instead you’re just a regular old human being like the rest of us. If you can build your account following up to only a few thousand, you can reach out to some businesses and leverage that number for big discounts or even free products. Many insta-travelers you see these days aren’t getting paid anything, but they’re covering the basics by just asking for free stuff.
Depends on follower count. Here are a couple of examples for you to check out though. Jack Morriss (@doyoutravel) and Lauren Bullen (@gypsealust) each make well into the 6-figure range with around ~4.6 million followers combined.
@wheresmyofficenow has just over 174,000 followers and they’re making up to $1,500 per sponsored post, although Forbes has stated that accounts with 100,000 followers can command up to $5,000 for a sponsored post.
With that in mind, the amount of money being sunk into Instagram influencer accounts is projected to multiply in the next few years meaning there’s still time to get your piece of the pie.
To start off on the right foot, yes, the blogging market is saturated. The problem is that the things you want to write about are the things that everybody else wants to write about. It all comes down to only a few questions:
- Are you a great writer?
- Do you have a unique point of view or a unique voice that sets you apart from other writers?
- Would you consider yourself an expert in your blogging niche?
It’s imperative that your answers to the above three questions are all yes if you intend on making yourself a success in the blogging world. If you want to make any money, you should be looking for areas that haven’t been covered repeatedly by other bloggers.
Things you may need
- Web development
- Quality writing
- Graphic design
One survey found that up to 81% of bloggers never make more than $100 from their blogs, while another 17% are making between $1,000-$10,000 per month.
*I do not condone gambling to make a living. I firmly believe that poker is a good way to make a living if you’re a talented player. Just as stockbrokers do, poker players need to be able to read the table (market) and play hands (make trades) according to the instincts that they’ve honed through practice.
When facing off against a single opponent with an identical skill level to yourself, the odds of coming out of a hand with more money than you started is less than 50% due to the house taking a cut of the profits.
Why would you play a game where the odds are stacked against you?
Because if you invest enough time into learning the game, you will most often come across players with less skill than yourself which can both cover the house’s share as well as earning yourself a healthy profit. Studying poker involves a deep dive into statistics and psychology which can give you a huge advantage over the other players at the online table.
One problem with playing a game that involves hot and cold streaks in the way that poker does is that there is little to no consistency in earnings. You may come out of a year up $50,000, but you were actually at over $100,000 in winnings in September and you’d lost half of it by the end of the year after some bad beats.
If you’re adept at mind games and you have a solid grip on analyzing statistics, poker can be an incredibly profitable path to follow, but it’s also the riskiest out of any on this list. Personally, I’ve tried and failed a couple times, and now I just enjoy the odd poker game with friends.
For the most part, online poker players aren’t taking down huge pots in high stakes games. Instead, they’re grinding in up to a dozen cash games simultaneously. By increasing their sample size, luck plays less of a factor and talented players will most likely win more than they lose.
Here’s a great article posted by Michael Shinzaki, a former professional poker player, on what it’s like to make a living through online poker.
Things you may need
- Books/videos/podcasts/footage. Anything and everything you can learn from.
- Mathematical background
Can you fashion a career out of poker?
There’s no such thing as job safety in poker. The best players tend to be those that aren’t afraid of taking big risks and even with all the skill in the world, those risks don’t always turn out in their favor. Although I don’t consider it pure gambling, there is often a lot of luck involved. If nothing else, you’re in for a rollercoaster ride of a career.
Depending on the size of your initial bankroll (and depending on how much groundwork you’ve put into learning the game), you can make from as little as $10,000 up to $200,000 per year and more. Or you could lose all of your money. Once again, it’s a risk and I wouldn’t recommend playing with money that you can’t afford to lose.
When running an online business (or even a regular brick and mortar business), many people find themselves in need of outsourcing some of the grunt work. There’s only so much time in the day and when they’re chasing down leads, building presentations, replying to emails, managing their social media, etc., they find themselves moving at a snail’s pace.
That’s where virtual assistants come in. If you’re a strong communicator with good organizational skills, there is a demand for you in the online job market.
As technology improves, outsourcing has become incredibly popular amongst entrepreneurs and established businesses alike. Instead of paying an assistant a full-time salary, even in times when they aren’t required, they’ve found online helpers that are willing to work on an hourly or per project basis. They may pay a higher hourly rate, but since they’re only hiring for the necessary part-time work, their overall costs are drastically reduced.
Due to the nature of online work, working as a virtual assistant allows you to work with multiple clients at once, meaning you not only benefit from having that higher hourly rate, but you can also make more money than if you were working in a traditional assistant role.
As with any career, once you accumulate more experience in a niche, you will become a much more valuable asset to employers, and you can boost your rates as a result.
There’s a vast list of tasks that you may find yourself completing as a virtual assistant, but here are some that are more common:
- Data Entry
- Booking appointments
- Updating calendars
- Email management
- Social media management
- Blog management
- Promotional work
Things you may need
- Typing & writing
Due to being paid on an hourly or per project basis, and as it’s a field with a low barrier to entry, the maximum salary for a virtual assistant is lower than many fields. One estimate puts the average salary for virtual assistants as somewhere between $20,000-$60,000 per year.
I’m going to go out on a limb here to say that you have at least some writing experience under your belt. To call writing a category in itself is ambiguous and a disservice to the trade, as there are many sub-categories in which freelance writers make a living.
As a reflection of that diversity, I’ll be splitting this into sub-categories as well.
Copywriters create content with a specific goal in mind in terms of reader reaction. For instance, many businesses utilize email marketing where they send messages out to their subscriber list with the goal to induce their customers into fulfilling some action (clicking a link, purchasing a product, etc.).
One problem that they have to address is that selling through emails is a tough gig. Most people will glance at the first lines in their inbox before realizing it’s an advertisement for something they’re not necessarily interested in, and they’ll move scroll past it.
A good copywriter is capable of grabbing a reader’s attention right off the bat, then using that attention to lead them to the email’s desired action. Despite our best attempts to convince ourselves otherwise, our psychological tendencies are a predictable beast and a good piece of copywriting is capable of leading us by the nose to a desired purpose.
Copywriters are employed by businesses looking to:
- reduce bounce rates on their websites.
- optimize sales funnels
- create a higher click-through rate from email campaigns
- sell more products or courses
Thousands of small businesses have great ideas for content that they’d like to add to their web pages to boost traffic, but they don’t have what it takes to create the actual content, whether that be time, resources, or just old desire. If you’re capable of stringing coherent sentences together in a pleasing format, and you’re willing to do it for money, you may just be able to find some work writing for other businesses!
Although Google is getting better at finding quality content, many clients want their articles to be written with search engine optimization in mind meaning you need to insert a certain number of keywords, long tail key phrases, alt tags for images, etc.
Even if you don’t start your own blog, there are many websites that pay for good writers to create guest posts. As with any other field, you may need to start by submitting articles for free to build up a portfolio, but as larger sites publish your work, you can leverage that modicum of fame to raise your rates as well as raise the standard for which publications you submit to.
Picking the right niche is particularly important in this category as rates fluctuate wildly depending on the supply of adequate writers available in comparison with the demand. Travel, for instance, is a very saturated writing market where you’ll find trouble making any money. More technical fields tend to pay a premium, especially to writers that have established themselves as experts within their niche.
If you decide to go the route of technical writing, you will be producing (or at least attempting to produce) content with the aim of taking complex information and making it easy to follow. Your job will involve working closely with experts in a given field so as to better grasp the information yourself, and then convey that information to others through a suitable medium, whether it be creating an instruction manual, brochure, video script, or any other documents.
The best technical writers are those that are detail-oriented and that are capable of boiling down highly specialized information into a comprehensible string of content meant for both peers and other observers.
Things you may need:
- Proficient English
- Typing skill
- Bachelors degree in a writing field
Can you fashion a career out of writing?
There’s no limit to the number of opportunities that writing will afford you if you progress into the upper echelons of the field.
Expert copywriters can command salaries well into the six-figure range because they’ve consistently proven to be capable of boosting businesses’ revenue.
The same can be said of content creators that have been able to write articles that find themselves climbing to the top of Google’s search rankings on a regular basis.
For blog writers, many have found permanent positions for businesses in which their articles drove business through not only through achieving high search rankings, but also in readership and social shareability.
According to payrate.com, salaries for freelance writers range between $20,000 and $105,000 per year.
Here’s a topic that needs no introduction. With big Youtube stars rolling in stacks of cash by creating videos based on their daily activities, wannabe vloggers have hit the market by the thousands. With such staggering increases, how is anybody supposed to make it big with vlogs these days?
I reviewed a recent case of a no-name vlogger rising to Youtube success: Peter Mckinnon, who has over 1.27 million subscribers after only regularly uploading for 11 months.
What does he do that you can take note of?
- Quality of the highest order: Peter benefits from being an experienced video producer, so each of his videos is filmed with high quality cameras, lighting, and sound equipment. If you’re filming with nothing but a phone in your living room, you aren’t going to find a following anytime soon. Quality is by far the most important factor in building up a subscriber base. Having videos with a perfect resolutioneos doesn’t inherently bring in viewers, but video of poor quality sure as hell turns them away.
- Personality: after investing in some decent equipment to bring the quality of your filming up to snuff, now you’re in need of investigating the subject of filming; you. Having that outgoing personality is a massive part of creating a connection with your audience which keeps them coming back for every post. If you’re able to convey your excitement through a monitor, people are going to be subscribing to your channel en masse. To give an example of what I mean, here’s a random selection of one of Peter’s videos. Personality can be magnetic.
- Prior to his meteoric rise to over a million subscribers, how did Peter get any traction with audiences that weren’t aware of him? He created videos with the intent of fulfilling the demands of the market. Here’s his first video that went viral
- Notice a couple of things; firstly, the viral-style title, “(X) Hacks to make your life BETTER!!!” which immediately catches your attention, and secondly, the thumbnail photo which clearly shows an interesting camera hack the common photographer hadn’t thought of before. With everybody owning a smartphone these days, his targeting towards a photography audience had a massive reach because they’re hacks that anybody can use.
Having such a large reach, combined with the great quality of his videos and his enigmatic personality took him from earning a living as a creative director for a larger business, to making a very healthy living as full-time videographer and Youtuber.
If you’re looking for any hints as to how to carve out your own little holding in the world of Youtube, Peter Mckinnon makes a great case study for you to glean notes from.
Things you might need:
- Editing skills
Can you fashion a career out of vlogging?
There are a select few Youtubers that have created careers, and often they’ve risen due to random viral successes. Along with being a difficult market to break into, Youtube has recently acquiesced to advertisers’ demands and now de-monetizes videos according to new policies they’ve put in place. This has pushed some Youtubers to rely on other sources of income outside of ad income, such as Patreon or product sales, to support themselves.
If you’re hoping to make it big as a Youtuber, you may want to look at creating some videos with the intent of going viral to increase your initial reach before transitioning into a vlog format.
On average, Youtubers make around $1,000/million views before tax if their videos are monetized (have ads). Youtube ads are only one of the ways to make money on the site though, as many content creators have sponsored videos, affiliate links, Patreon contributors, and links to buy branded products.
With a subscriber base of 240,000, this Youtuber makes $3,000 per month purely from ad revenue and another $9,000 from selling a course on his website, while the most prominent Youtubers make millions.
Teaching English Online
Can you speak English? Yes? Great! You’ve got a job.
Okay, maybe it’s not quite that simple, but luckily for you, English has established itself as the lingua franca, or the international trade language, meaning there are billions of potential students looking to learn it.
China is a massive marketplace, and a not-inconsiderable number of Chinese parents believe that teaching their children English will open a great number of doors for them in the future. The demand for online English tutoring has increased to the point where the online language industry in China brought in over $4.5 billion in 2016, and that number is expected to almost double by 2020.
Speaking Mandarin, or any other Chinese dialect will allow you to charge a premium, but being bilingual is by no means a requirement. Students in the upper levels are more comfortable with English and are mostly in need of practice practicing their conversational skills and some work with accents, cultural meanings, and word usage. Many companies are desperate to fulfill the demand for English speakers and will hire with more leniency towards those with fewer language skills.
Here’s an idea of what your general lesson plan would include:
What you might need:
- Proficiency in English
- Availability to work during Beijing hours
- Skill in Chinese or other foreign languages (not required)
Can you fashion a career out of teaching English online?
Online education is the way of the future, and establishing yourself now as an online teacher will help to solidify yourself in the years to come. We can already see the move to online teaching with college costs hitting there highest levels ever, college graduates rarely working in the fields they received their degrees in, and with big colleges like MIT and Harvard releasing some of their lectures online.
Those facts, alongside with the increasingly globalized marketplace, mean that online language teachers will be in high demand for the foreseeable future.
VIPKIDS is a market leader in teaching English online and they pay between $18-$22 per hour, but the real money is in establishing yourself as a teacher with a program before striking out on your own. Average hourly rates for established online teaching entrepreneurs can reach $50 per hour and higher depending on their market.
*If you’re interested in learning more, here’s how you can teach English online and get paid.
As with writing, web development is an overarching term for a host of different forms of creating online content, but it can be summed up as using programming or some form of software to create online products or services. This can include building web pages, apps, security software, WordPress plugins and themes, and many more.
Due to the global population becoming more reliant on technology and the internet year in and year out, the demand for web developers has skyrocketed. New apps like Snapchat and Instagram are raking in billions of dollars per year, Facebook is sapping away everybody’s life force, and Google is slowly becoming our overlord. All of those companies are being commandeered by the skill and knowledge of their developers, and those employees are being paid a premium.
As new world-conquering products are developed every other day, many of those businesses are looking to the freelance web development community to ask for their assistance.
The beautiful thing about programmers is that they’ve created software that takes all that complicated learning of coding languages out of the equation. Right now, you can go to a site like wix.com and get yourself a working, professional-looking website within an hour without an ounce of previous experience.
Thank you, programmers.
I personally don’t advocate for the Wix route, but I am an avid user of WordPress, a content management system that’s behind 25% of all web pages available today. You don’t technically need any coding knowledge to create WordPress sites, but some knowledge can come in handy if you want full control over functionality. Codecademy offers some terrific (free) courses that teach you everything you would need to know.
When you do find yourself learning some of the programming languages, you open yourself up to taking on more complex tasks like building your own personalized content management systems similar to WordPress or creating games to sell in the app store. Once you’ve become proficient, you could find yourself working in remote development teams to bring projects to life.
What you might need:
Can you fashion a career out of web development?
Out of any of the options on this list, web development is by far my most recommended pick. Freelance web developers can command a high price after establishing themselves, and often developers wind up creating their own companies complete with graphic designers and other content creators so as to offer a well-rounded product.
Even if you don’t wind up forging your own company, there is always demand for qualified developers in software companies around the world.
From a range of personal posts, I’ve found that the lowest hourly rate for web developers tends to fall at ~$50 while the higher rates easily surpass $150. There are WordPress developers that are creating sites that cost between $5,000-$12,500 on average. Proficient developers are capable of producing better quality products in a shorter time period than others, meaning their skill would be detrimental to their income if they charged by the hour, so most charge on a per-project basis.
*If you’re interested in learning more, here’s how you can create your first WordPress website with no experience.
If you’re more into the creative aspect of online work, you may find yourself looking into becoming a graphic designer.
What is it that graphic designers do?
Upon entering the field of graphic design, you may find yourself starting off small by creating single pieces for companies like logos, banners, infographics, or you may just be hired to alter photos in Photoshop. As you find yourself becoming more comfortable in the world of online business, you’ll become accustomed to not just the function of professional websites, but to their aesthetic and feel.
Instead of just creating the odd .jpeg for sites, you will eventually find yourself designing entire concepts, or even building up entire brand identities from scratch. This would include work on the websites, but the design of the sites you create would have to conform with the overarching theme that extends to other aspects of the business such as uniforms, letterhead, email footers, apparel, and merchandise.
With enough experience and results, businesses will be entrusting you with creating the artistic direction for their company for the foreseeable future.
Things you might need:
- Skill in using Adobe Products (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.)
- Storage space
Can you fashion a career out of graphic design?
Graphic design can be difficult to break into due to the sheer numbers of design students graduating compared to the design jobs available. If you have a desire to become a graphic designer, and you have the talent to create some work to prove your worth, you can set out into the world of freelancing.
Many content creators don’t have the skill or patience to create accompanying graphics for their work, so they set out into online hiring markets to find capable help. By boosting your web presence, either through having your own website or through creating a stellar profile on freelancing websites, you’ll find yourself creating a stable of steady clients to work for.
A smart decision would be to learn some web development to combine with your design skills.
Freelance graphic design salaries are difficult to find online as many freelance graphic designers double as developers and dabble in other services. For traditional graphic design, the starting salary bottoms out at $27,000 per year and the high end of the range is $81,000 according to sokanu.com.
Have you ever seen one of those travel videos with the drone shots of amazing beaches, close-up sweeping shots of local children playing soccer, and overdone transitions between shots, and thought to yourself, “I can do that”. Maybe you should look at becoming a globetrotting videographer.
The decrease in the prices of DSLR cameras in recent years, combined with the popularization of affordable drones means that just about anybody with the willpower to learn the basics of videography and editing can produce high-quality travel videos for a relatively low price. If you have a bit of a savings built up, investing in equipment can be a safe place to put your money as many of the expensive camera components, like the lenses and camera bodies, hold their value well if you decide to resell them.
Tourism boards the world over are ready and willing to hire capable videographers to produce top-tier videos on their respective countries, as they’ve come to realize that tourism videos that go viral on social are a cost-effective means of boosting their image in the international travel marketplace. A key to landing gigs working for tourism boards is building up a following on your social media channels and then reaching out to boards that may be interested in seeing your work.
Thankfully, tourism boards aren’t your only market. Working as an international tour guide, I’ve met and worked alongside a few videographers that get paid to create videos for tour companies. From what they’ve told me, they kept their eyes peeled for positions listed on job boards and made sure to apply by showing off the best work in their portfolio.
As a videographer working for travel tour companies, your work will have more of a focus on capturing the adventures that the company offers rather than being solely focused on the geography and culture of the country that you’re working in. The best part of working for a travel company is that if they hire you, often its to create separate videos for multiple countries so you will find yourself seeing a huge portion of the globe in the process.
If you have some incredible content but you haven’t been active on social media, try to get your work in front of potential clients anyways. They’ll be in the market for eye-grabbing videos, and if you manage to snare their interest you could be in luck. Don’t forget to send follow up correspondence. At the very worst, they’ll delete your emails and you can move on to the next suitor.
Things you might need:
- Video stabilizer
- Editing software
Can you fashion a career out of videography
Video is a medium that isn’t losing steam anytime soon. TV and film industries are constantly in search of new talent to bolster their ranks. Whether you decide to move on to working a camera for a network or editing big budget films, there are jobs out there for freelance videographers looking to settle down.
Payscale pegs the median annual salary of videographers at $43,000 with a lower boundary of $27,000/year and an upper boundary of $65,000. Videographers working with tourism boards and travel tour companies don’t receive the highest of salaries, but they have their travel expenses covered, and the remainder of their base pay tends to rely on their experience in the field.
Have you ever tried using either Facebook ads or Google Adwords to promote a product? Believe me when I tell you there’s magic involved in using either platform to come out with a profit. Both Facebook and Google know a startling amount of information about their users, and their advertising software is fully capable of taking advantage of all that information to increase sales.
The problem with handling so much information is that businesses then have to put it together in a way that actually produces sales. Huge corporations like Coca-Cola and Red Bull have teams of experts that have turned advertising into an artform, but smaller businesses don’t have the capability of wielding anywhere near the efficiency.
Rather than taking on the task of learning the intricacies of online advertising, businesses often outsource their advertising jobs to agencies or freelancers with a proven track record.
If you’re handy with analyzing data from advertising campaigns, A/B testing, guessing user intent, and determining demographics and metrics for different niches, then setting yourself up as a freelance advertising expert may be your future!
Things you may need:
- Keyword software
- Google Adwords certification
- Google Analytics Individual Qualification
- Facebook Blueprint certification
Can you fashion a career out of advertising?
It goes without saying that advertising can be a very lucrative career if you find yourself working for businesses with a large advertising budget. Even if you’re not the creative type, there are a great many tasks involved in creating a successful advertising campaign and often positions will open for researchers, coordinators, accountants and more.
Although difficult to determine due to the smaller number of reported salaries, individual reports are $40/hour on the low end of the scale and range up to $190/hour for larger projects, although that larger sum may be split between small teams rather than individuals.
With internet shopping being as popular as it is today, chances are that you’ve actually purchased products from a drop shipping business without even realizing it. Up until Amazon became the giant that we know, drop shipping was near non-existent.
What is drop shipping?
As a drop shipper, you’re in charge of fulfilling orders for customer purchases without ever handling the product. In fact, you never see the physical product in the first place. Instead, you act as an intermediary shop front between the customer and wholesaler, but unlike regular shops, you’ll never have to pre-purchase inventory to ensure that you don’t run out of stock.
This is a huge benefit if you’re on a tight budget and you want to start up a store. Rather than loading up on inventory that will take time to sell, you just need to create eCommerce website and fulfill orders as they roll in. As the intermediary, you’re also in charge of communicating with customers and distributors in the case of returns, questions, or disputes.
As more people have entered the drop shipping industry creating more competition, margins have dropped to almost nothing in many of the larger niches, but if you spend some time on market research, you may be able to find other niches where there’s still profit to be made.
Shopify has a great program that can walk you through the steps to getting started as a drop shipper if the idea has piqued your interest.
The first steps that you’d need to take if you follow this path are:
- Find a niche
- Get yourself a supplier
- Build your web store
- Launch the store
- Build up organic traffic (SEO, comparison articles on other sites, social sharing, etc.)
Things you might need
- Web store
- Retail experience
Can you fashion a career out of drop shipping?
As a drop shipper, you’ll become accustomed to many areas of retail and customer service that may help to bolster your CV, but the industry has become too saturated to make much of a profit without working long hours each week. You may offer better customer service with your sales, but most customers looking for the cheapest deal will find it elsewhere.
Banker In The Sun created a good piece on just how much he makes from drop shipping (which is well above the average), and how he recommends going about becoming successful as a drop shipper. Another good blog piece on building a drop shipping business that’s fairly recent is this one.
$1,000-$10,000 per month
Physical World Jobs
Do you want to get paid to show people the world? You’re in luck because that’s one of the things that I do! I’ve created a comprehensive version of this little snippet, but here is a little information in the meantime on how to become a tour guide.
Looking to apply from the comforts of your own couch? Contiki offers an online application process that opens once per year in August. However, if you do make it further into the process, know that you’ll be expected to appear for personal interviews in either London, England or Sydney, Australia (which may require briefly leaving your couch). Their interviewing process is long and arduous, but if you make it through, you’ll find yourself literally riding camels for a living. Here’s a great story of a successful candidate, Damien, who went through the entire Contiki application process to become a trip manager.
My one gripe with the Contiki process is that they groom their guides to be so similar. They’ve built a machine that churns out guides by the dozens, mainly due to their their staff only lasting an average of 2 years on the job. I have my differences with Contiki’s policies (like requiring tips from guests at the end of the tour, and tour managers receiving kickbacks for bringing tours to specific restaurants and stores), but the jobs they offer are next-to-none in terms of life experience.
With the sheer numbers of people wanting to work as tour guides, smaller tour companies tend to only hire people that have been on their tours. Why? Spending weeks with a guide offers them a good look at you as a person, and it can be seen as a bit of a job interview in itself. Do you drink to the point where you’re throwing up? Can you get along with other tour-goers? Are you capable of having fun when things get too stale?
I’ve already surpassed where I meant to go with this category, but just know that by working on tours, you’ll get to experience many things that you could only dream of. Riding camels, bathing elephants, touring through ancient ruins, and forging new relationships with some great people. It’s the best job in the world.
Can you fashion a career out of tour guiding?
For the most part, guides see their position as a short-term endeavor and plan on returning home after only a couple short years of seeing the world, especially in large companies like Contiki that have lost the family atmosphere.
However, if you stick to guiding for 5+ years and you’ve shown yourself to be competent in the field, tour companies always prefer to shift a current employee with knowledge of their infrastructure into open office positions rather than hiring from the outside and investing in training. Upon finding yourself working in a company with a strong future, you’ll be climbing the business ladder as you would in any other career field.
I’m going to say this from the outset: if you’re going into tour guiding with the goal of making money, you’re going to have a bad time. Upon starting out, your wages will maybe top out at around the $15,000/year mark, and you could potentially bump that figure up to $40,000 per year by the 5-year mark. I would say that only around 5% of guides make it to 5 years.
Having said that, tour companies will cover many of your expenses while on tour so most of that money goes into your savings, and you can take a few months off per year to fulfill your global bucket list.
Becoming a flight attendant involves leaving family and friends behind for the lonely confines of a hotel room for many nights of the year, but if you’re a fan of adventure it also means that you can fly to destinations the globe over – depending on your airline – for next to nothing.
Flight attendants have to be comfortable dealing with customers, but they’re also trained in controlling fires, dealing with unruly customers, handling medical issues, evacuation protocols, and many more areas. Aside from the difficulties associated with the job itself, the lifestyle of a flight attendant can be strenuous due to jet lag, homesickness, and the general wear-and-tear that constant traveling can enact upon the body. However, as you move up in seniority, airlines allow you more power over your own schedule and work life.
Can you fashion a career as a flight attendant?
Upon applying to a larger airline, you’ll find yourself against some stiff competition for the position. In 2016, over 150,000 people applied to become flight attendants with only around 1% securing positions with the company. To bolster your chances of earning the job, you should try to learn another language (primarily Spanish if you live in the United States, or French if you live in Canada), gain some experience in customer service, and work to get certified in a variety of safety courses. Professionalism is of the utmost importance in interviews so showing up to interviews in business attire is imperative to a successful application.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics places the average salary of flight attendants at $48,500 per year. Keep in mind that many flight attendants don’t work full-time hours, and are actually allowed to work as little as 45-hours per month after gaining some tenure within their respective companies.
Scuba Diving Instructor
Can you imagine yourself setting up shop in a beach town and swimming with dolphins, whales, sharks, and other marine life on a daily basis? As a certified scuba instructor, you’re entrusted with teaching classes on teaching students about scuba equipment, safety measures, and basic diving techniques.
The job itself isn’t incredibly high paying, but you’ll have the opportunity to live that beach life that so many people dream about.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though. Getting certified is no easy feat, and it can be expensive! However, once you finally get that certification in the world, you’ll be able to work anywhere in the world where scuba shops can be found. As with other jobs, you’ll be required to stay in one place for months, if not years at a time, but most dive schools that you’ll find are located in tropical paradises; chances are that you won’t want to be leaving soon anyway.
Can you fashion a career out of becoming a scuba diving instructor?
Diving instructors must face the tall task of attaining their Dive Master certification before beginning their careers. To get your Dive Master you need to have:
- Open water certification
- Advanced certification
- Rescue Certification
- Medical courses
- 40-60 dives under your belt
All of these courses cost money, and the average total for the certifications alone (without medical courses or the 40-60 dives) will run you around $2,000-$3,000 in the United States. To give an idea of the cost, an average dive trip will cost at least $50 per dive, meaning you’re looking at an additional $2,000-$3,000 for the minimum 40-60 dives necessary to attain the status of Dive Master. Realistically, the total cost of attaining your dive master certificate will run you between $6,000 and $8,000.
However, if you’re in need of a two month vacation and you want to get it all done in one fell swing, you can find comprehensive courses in Koh Tao, Thailand (the cheapest place in the world for scuba diving) that cost around $4,000 in total, but that includes two months accommodation (and some free beers every now and again).
I got my advanced certification from Big Blue Divers in Koh Tao and found it to be a great experience. I’m in no way associated with their shop, and I’m not receiving any reimbursement for this little advertisement. Although I could be. Send me a message, @bigbluedivers.
Here is the course they offer and their website.
Farm Work in Australia
This category is more directed towards those of you that are hoping to head to Australia on a work visa in the near future, as 3 consecutive months or 88 non-consecutive days of farm work is required if you want to stay in the country for longer than one year. The jobs that you may have to take to extend your visa can often be less than appealing, but the payoff of another year in the country is worth it.
As farms vary from one to another, there are a wealth of different positions that you can find yourself working, whether it be picking berries, felling trees, fishing or other tasks. If you want to make sure that the job you’ve applied for is in accordance with helping you to receive your second year-long work visa, address this document just to be safe.
One key piece of advice that I can offer you is to travel with a friend and find a job working alongside them. This coming from a guy stuck on a farm for two months with no friends and two older gentlemen that aren’t necessarily the most riveting companions.
Can you fashion a career out of farming?
Well, the point is that you only have to do it for three months for visa reasons, but hey, if you’re into it, go grab yourself a pitchfork and get out into the fields.
The salary for farming as a backpacker in Australia can either be based on your output (a certain amount of money per weight of berries picked for example), which can be great once you become efficient at your job, or on your hours worked, which means you’ll be working for close to minimum wage, which at ~$18, isn’t too bad. Of course, there are other costs involved, such as food and staying in a hostel, which can run you around $400-$600 per month, but most farm workers find themselves saving enough to travel for a long time after their necessary farm exile is completed.
Here are 11 tips if you want to become a farm worker in Australia.
Work on Cruise Ships
According to this writer, working on a cruise ship contains, “lots of eating, sleeping and partying with awesome people from around the world with some work in between.” Sounds like heaven to me.
The life of a cruise ship worker is a series of ups and downs, with a lot of drinking in between. You’ll be taken around the world while living in a mobile vacation hot spot. Cruise ship companies try to keep their employees happy because their industry sees a massive turnover rate. Rookies will sign up, not knowing what it is they’re signing up for and many of them won’t see their way to the end of their first contract. It’s not entirely uncommon for employees to just walk off the ship mid-contract and just never return.
Why do so many people quit?
Working on a cruise ship is radically different than working a regular job. There’s no such thing as privacy. You’re placed into small cabins and surrounded by people all times of the day. You need to wear company clothing at all times if you’re in non-staff locations. Being able to party and function the next day is a necessity for any crew member. The hours can be longer than in other regular positions
To put it frankly, the turnover is high because staff sign up without really putting the research into what kind of lifestyle the position entails.
Can you fashion a career out of working on cruise ships?
There’s a small sect of the population that are referred to as “career cruisers”. These are staff that signed onto cruise ships at a younger age and have found themselves as staples on cruise ships for decades. It isn’t common for staff to last that long, but with larger cruise lines, there’s often room to move up the ladder into office positions such as accounting, managing, and coordination.
This is another of those positions where the pay is relatively low, but the savings are substantial thanks to board and meals being covered by the company. It’s a relatively known practice for cruise lines to pay less to workers from developing nations, but workers from Western countries tend to make between $3,000-$4,500 per month.
*If you’re interested in learning more about working on cruise ships, here’s an article that details how to get a job on a cruise ship.
Teaching English Abroad
If you really want to immerse yourself in a foreign culture, your best bet will be getting yourself a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate and finding a job in a country of your choosing. The consensus is that China, with its insatiable desire to enter the English markets, is the best place to work as they have very low living costs while paying a decent wage. You may also find yourself looking into working in other Asian countries, but you some countries require that you hold a degree in teaching so make sure to do your homework before setting off.
There are a large number of North American companies that help to supply English language speakers to different districts in Asia, so if you’d like to streamline the process of acquiring a visa and landing a job, look around for agencies that will help you get things done.
When you find yourself teaching overseas, make sure to get yourself out of the expat cocoon that many wrap themselves in, and instead venture out into the local culture to get the most out of your experience.
Can you fashion a career out of teaching English abroad?
China caters heavily to English teachers and has constructed compounds where expats live closely amongst each other to give them a feeling of home. If you find out that teaching English is something that you’d like to pursue as a career and you’ve established some experience, you should have no trouble finding jobs.
There is a high variability in incomes depending on where it is that you plan on teaching, and what type of institution that you work in. Using China as an example again, teachers can earn as little as $1,000 per month in rural public schools or up to $5,000 per month in private English schools that cater towards the children of expats and influential members of Chinese society.
Do you like people? No? Can you pretend to like people for a few hours at a time? Yes? Okay, well we might just be able to find you a job as a server overseas. I actually attribute my love for travel to a story that a friend told me over dinner years ago. He spoke of his time working behind a bar in Laos, and how it was the best thing he’d ever done in terms of life experience. I looked into the possibility of bartending abroad, discovered that there was a whole world outside my little bubble in the city and I started applying for restaurant jobs immediately.
Over a period of 6 years, I’ve worked as a busser, server, barback and bartender. To this date, I haven’t bartended anywhere other than my home country (I became a tour guide instead), but I’m that I can get a job in basically any country in the world – aside from non-alcoholic Islamic nations.
Working in a restaurant or bar is a great way to meet new people with similar interests, plus you can make some pretty solid wages if you find yourself in a good establishment. It goes without saying that you’ll be dealing with customers for hours on end, but if you’re capable of handling the stress that the job entails, you’ll be working few hours and having some very good times.
Can you fashion a career out of working in the service industry?
There are numerous pathways that you can take if you decide that the service industry is going to be your future. The most obvious is moving your way up to assistant manager before managing your own restaurants, and (hopefully) eventually opening up your own businesses. Aside from that classical route, you can also move horizontally into working for your supplying companies like Budweiser, Carlsberg, Smirnoff, etc. as a local representative and then climb the business ladder that way.
Are you working in a bar on the beach in the Philippines, or are you serving up Cosmos in downtown Melbourne? If the former is true, you may just be working for room and board plus a small stipend (I know bars in Ios, Greece pay less than $1000 per month with no days off and they don’t include room and board), while Australia with all their labor laws pays straight rates ranging from the minimum wage of ~$18/hr up to $30/hr in better establishments.
Tipping may come into play when making your decision. In North America, tips account for the vast majority of workers’ incomes and, although the common sentiment is that tipping only exists in North America if you’ve traveled the world for any period of time you’ll know that to be untrue. Aside from a select few countries (Australia and the UK spring to mind), tipping has become a worldwide phenomenon, although to various extents in different countries.
If you’re a male, you may as well skip this category. Unfortunately, most families wanting to hire an au pair to look over their children are uncomfortable with the concept of hiring men. I’ve met a great many women in my travels that have worked as au pairs, and I have yet to meet a single man with the same job experience.
Having said that, if you’re a female, read on. This is one of the most popular travel jobs as it has very few requirements aside from some basic first aid courses.
Au pairs differ from nannies in the sense that they’re traditionally in the 18-30 age range, and part of the exchange for their services is gaining the opportunity to live with a local family and learn a foreign language, whereas nurses are considered employees and get paid a salary.
I won’t pretend I’m an expert in the business of becoming an au pair, but Ashley Abroad offers a strong take on how to become an au pair and what to expect from your time in the field.
Can you fashion a career out of working as an au pair?
Although most families that don’t have the time to care for their children on a full-time basis prefer to either leave them in daycares or in the hands of a low-cost au pair, some wealthier families are more comfortable with hiring full-time nannies to give their children a proper upbringing. By becoming an au pair, you’ll be perfectly suited to transitioning into a nanny role or continuing to work with children in other areas.
Due to being housed and fed for free, you’ll make little money as an au pair. In Europe, weekly salaries can range up as high as $300 per week, but most report that they earn half of that wage at most. If you’re not finding jobs through an agency, it’s important to negotiate your wages beforehand to get the best deal.
My favorite part about traveling is the food, which is definitely a larger contributor to the girth of my beer belly than the beer is. Are you looking to become a better cook? Have you never cooked but want to pick up the trade? You may wind up starting as a dishwasher, but cooks are difficult to come across in this day and age, so finding a position in a kitchen shouldn’t be a problem.
Working internationally is also a great way to increase your range in the kitchen. You’ll find yourself cooking with vegetables you’ve never heard of, spices you’ve never tasted, and somehow they all come together to create amazing local dishes. From working in restaurants for a few years, I’ve found that the most successful executive chefs I’ve met have all spent a considerable amount of their time working overseas perfecting their trade.
And hey, if you ever want to track me down to cook me a meal, just send me a message and I’ll be there.
Can you fashion a career out of cooking?
Gordon Ramsay seems to be doing alright.
But in all seriousness, you need to be a special breed to succeed in kitchen work; it’s a job that requires a lot of passion. As you’re in the back of the house, you won’t receive compliments on your cooking nearly as often as you should but the servers are perfectly happy to take praise in your place. In many kitchens, the hours can be grueling as you spend entire days slaving over a hot stove making the same menu items over and over again.
It’s absolutely a tough job, but with enough years and enough grinding, you may find yourself in a position as an executive chef where you can take yourself off the line for the most part to start creating exciting menus that bring in the 5-star reviews.
Another rough aspect of kitchen work is that you often get the raw end of the stick when it comes to wages and tip sharing. This is another position where you aren’t entering it for the money. According to usnews.com, the median salary for cooks in the United States in 2015 was only $23,100 dollars, and the top ten percent of cooks only earned $33,450 in that year.
The ultimate backpacker job! I’ve met thousands of travelers in my time on the road, and it always surprises me just how many of them spent a few months working in hostels.
Now to start this section off, I’m going to put a big disclaimer: you will not make much money if any at all by working at hostels. I haven’t written the Income Range segment yet but I can promise you that it won’t be pretty.
Working in a hostel is one of those, “we let you stay as long as you work a few hours per day behind the desk” jobs. It’s good for backpackers because outside of those volunteer hours, you can find another job to rebuild your traveling bankroll to get back on the road as fast – and for as long – as possible.
Your duties as a hostel worker will range based on what you sign up for, but the basic tasks usually include:
- basic maintenance
- reception duties
- serving alcohol
- providing local information
At most you’ll be required to work 6 hours per day, but most places will be less than that.
*Pro tip: try to find a place where you won’t be working the night shift. Thank me later.
Can you fashion a career out of working in hostels?
The answer is an unequivocal no. You may be able to use the experience to get a job in hotels or other areas of customer service, but making a career out of hostel work is outside the bounds of reality.
Unless you’re full-time staff, there are few situations where you will make money from working in hostels as a backpacker. In most areas of the world, hostels operate on a volunteer-for-board basis. The only reasons to volunteer in a hostel is so that you can extend your time abroad and meet new people.
Working on yachts not only exposes you to different countries around our world, it exposes you to a different world altogether; the world of the wealthy. “Yachties” is the common moniker bestowed upon those lucky souls that work on yachts and they have some insane stories to tell of the wealth that get’s thrown around willy-nilly in the world of yachting.
- Can you order breakfast from other continents and have it brought to you by private plane? Sure.
- $12,000 on scarves? Why not?
- Cloudy day? Just use the helicopter to scout out some sunny spots.
To bring you back to Earth, remember that by working for billionaires, you’re subjecting yourself to working for some people that may have unrealistic expectations. The standards for completing your tasks with the utmost professionalism and finesse becomes the norm rather than the exception. There’s no room for error as there’s no lack of candidates to take your job.
Can you fashion a career out of working on yachts?
This article gives a comprehensive look at careers you can follow off the deck after finishing your career as a yachtie, but in brief; yes, you can certainly find yourself a career in yachting. There are a great many jobs involved in keeping the yachting industry afloat (zing), which means that you won’t be limited in choices. You could work as a yacht agent, goods supplier, crew trainer, broker, or you could take your new-found knowledge of the luxury world to strike out into your own luxury business.
Travel jobs all seem to have that one main downfall in that, yes you’re getting all sorts of worldly experience, but none of them pay that well. If you want to get paid what you think you’re worth, the best route is to work your way up the corporate ladder from home.
That rule doesn’t hold true for yachting.
Yachties get the best of both worlds. They live and eat for free aboard multi-million dollar vessels (although rooms tend to be cramped, even on the most expensive yachts), and they get paid a very decent sum of money in the process. Starting pay is only around $3,000 per month, but its common for workers to make enough in tips each month to equal their pay.
The cherry on top?
Due to living overseas full-time, you can become a non-resident of your country, meaning that you have to pay nothing in taxes.
To sum it all up: your base pay should break $30,000 in your first year, combined with another $30,000 on average in tips. Right there is a $60,000+ income in your first year! And since you’re not being taxed on that salary, it’s equivalent to working in a job that pays $80,000+ before tax, and aside from the odd night out on shore, you have no expenses! I don’t know if I’m using enough exclamation points, but that’s a pretty stellar job!
Making the right choice for you.
You won’t be compatible with each of the jobs on this list. I know I’m not. But I hope that by reading through this, you’ve learned of a few interesting positions that you’d never considered before. In researching this article, I found tons of useful information and I put my best foot forward in creating a guide that isn’t full of the fluff content that you’ll find out there when you search “best ways to work as you travel”.
If this article helped you in some way, I’d really appreciate a share on social media! I’m just beginning to navigate the world of blogging and things like sharing my content are a big indicator that I’m steering in the right direction (and I guess they help my site as well).