The Information Age has made us all digital nomads, constantly searching for the next best thing to monetize. But what if you’re not a tech guru or a marketing genius? What if you’re just looking for a way to earn a little extra money on the side?
Luckily, there are multiple ways to make money online without any special training. In fact, there are so many online work-at-home jobs that you could potentially take advantage of. If you’re looking to make some extra cash, why not try out one of these jobs?
You could become a transcriptionist, taking dictation for businesses and agencies around the world and getting paid per piece. Or you could use a website builder to create and sell online stores or blogs. Or why not become the best Instagrammers in the world and earn money off your great photos? Or, if you’re a real estate expert, you could advertise and sell properties for entrepreneurs and busy professionals who want to earn a little extra cash on the side.
No matter what your skillset, you can find a way to monetize it. But before you start earning, there are a few things you need to consider.
In most countries, online work requires a digital nomad’s lifestyle to be viable. This means that you’ll need to register for a tax identity, get a tax account, and file your taxes as regularly as possible. Depending on your personal circumstances and the type of work you’re carrying out, this could mean filing several individual or business tax returns each year. While this may not seem like a big deal, it can add up.
In some countries, such as the U.S., you don’t need to worry about taxes so much because there’s no income tax. However, as a foreign worker, you may be liable for an estate tax. The IRS also requires digital nomads to file a return regarding their passive activities (i.e. investments and trade or business activities) even if they don’t have any income from those activities.
If you’re traveling or relocating for work, you’ll need medical insurance. The type of insurance you need will depend on where you are going and what plans your company provides. It’s a good idea to get the best coverage you can, whether you’re covered by your company or not. Remember that healthcare in some countries, such as India, can be extremely expensive. So it’s a good idea to get health insurance even if you’re not yet qualified for healthcare provision. The ability to file a medical insurance claim (in case you get sick or injured while working abroad) will also give you a tangible sense of financial security.
In some countries, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, the cost of healthcare is already built into the costs of living. So a lot of digital nomads work in Asia because they can afford to; plus, they can get treated by any reputable doctor or hospital for free. The downside is that, as a digital nomad, you may not always feel secure about taking time off work to get healthcare. You never know if you’ll be able to return to your normal schedule once you’ve recovered. That kind of uncertainty can take its toll on your mental health.
Home is where the heart is, and for a lot of digital nomads, that literally means their work space. So where do you want to live? Where do you want to work? When it comes to choosing a place to live, you need to make sure that you’re comfortable and that the physical environment is suitable for your work. It is also important to find a place that’s convenient for you to get to as often as possible. Remember: your home is your second most important asset (after your health). If you want to make sure you’ll always have a place to call home, invest in a residential property.
The above two points may seem obvious, yet a surprising number of digital nomads still don’t have a bank account. Why not? Because a lot of the jobs they’re doing don’t require them to have one. However, as a digital nomad, you’ll be required to periodically receive payments, often in the form of a cheque or a direct deposit. These payments will come with a processing fee, regardless of whether you have an account or not. That’s why it’s important to establish a bank account as soon as you can, even if you don’t have any money in it yet.
To counter the risk of identity theft and fraud, a lot of banks and credit card companies don’t allow merchants to be associated with online transactions that exceed a certain amount. That’s why it’s essential to take extra care around the house when it comes to security. Make sure that all the doors and windows are locked, and don’t let any strangers in without seeing your valid ID. Ensure that your devices are protected with a reliable password and that your emails aren’t being intercepted by spam filters. If you follow these simple precautions, you’ll be able to enjoy your digital nomad life without any worries or fears.
Even if you’re going on a short trip, it’s still essential to have travel insurance. The cost of surgery, if you get sick or injured while traveling, may be more than your health insurance coverage. And what if you lose your luggage or have to delay your travel plans? Without travel insurance, you could find yourself in a very awkward situation. You could end up in hospital overnight, and the cost of the treatment might be more than your wallet can handle. Travel insurance coverage also makes it easier to get treatment if you don’t have one of the accepted forms of ID. The documentation centers sometimes ask for additional documents to verify your identity. Without comprehensive travel insurance coverage, you may not be able to provide the necessary documentation and could find yourself stranded abroad. Without a passport, you’d be unable to leave the country legally, making it very difficult to get back on your feet financially.
Depending on where you are traveling to and what kind of work you’re doing, there are several travel insurance policies that you may want to consider. To find out what kind of coverage you need, ask your insurance company or go with the cheapest option available. Keep in mind, however, that the more expensive the policy, the greater the coverage.
As we’ve established above, fraud is a major issue for banks and credit card companies. To prevent credit card fraud, most merchants require an authorized card holder to provide a valid ID and to match the billing information exactly. If somebody uses your credit card but they don’t have your permission to do so, the bank may ask you to verify their identity through a third party. While this may not seem like a big deal, it can really mess up your credit score if you’re not prepared for it. So make sure you notify your bank immediately if someone uses your credit card but claims they did not make the purchase. The key thing to remember is: don’t let strangers touch your wallet or purse, and be sure to shred any documents that contain sensitive information before you throw them away.
The Department of Homeland Security defines a domestic as ‘someone born in the United States, including those born in other countries who declare allegiance to the United States’. For purposes of immigration law, a person’s domicile is the place where they intend to establish their permanent home and living. For tax purposes, the IRS defines a person’s domicile as the address at which they maintain their most significant physical presence. While you may want to establish a physical presence in multiple places, only one of those places needs to be your domicile. In most cases, filing tax returns and paying taxes in your home state is sufficient. However, if you’re carrying out certain transactions (e.g. trading securities or real estate) that are considered ‘passive activities’, you may need to file a tax return in the state in which you are physically present (for IRS purposes). In most cases, the place you keep your most significant belongings and physical presence is where you establish your domicile.