Travel tips

Tips for freelancing around the world

So where do you get all the money from? This is probably one of the questions I get asked all the time. What many people don’t know is that people who travel long term work a lot. Luckily, we were just able to find something we like, make a career out of it, and travel the world at the same time. I work all the time, and it’s sometimes a struggle not to work on the weekend. In a period of one year, I was able to travel to multiple destinations like Morocco, South Korea, Japan, Germany, France, and a lot more.

And no, I don’t have thousands of dollars in my bank account, and I didn’t become rich overnight when I was working in my banking career. I’ve done it all and still doing it by being a travel writer. Here are some steps that I did to have a successful freelancing career:

Step 1) Find something that you’re good at

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If you want to be a successful freelancer, then it helps to love what you’re doing and be good at it. There are many freelancers out there, who are going to do any work they can get whether it is article writing, web development, logo design, etc. It’s great if you can make money doing different things, but this won’t keep you on the road for long. Most hiring companies are also looking for people who are experts in a certain skill. When you think about it, would you hire someone if you’re looking for a writer who has 600 reviews of writing projects alone or someone who has reviews of every skill you can think of?  If you think your skills aren’t that great yet, begin learning and improving yourself. Many excellent online tutorials available online can help out. The only barrier would be your lack of effort.

Step 2) Begin building your portfolio

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When I first started writing and didn’t have that much experience, I did some free, and low paid work just to start building my portfolio and profile. People and hiring companies won’t be able to assess the quality of your expertise and services if you don’t have anything to show them. You’re not going to be the most famous writer, web developer, overnight. Remember that we all need to start from somewhere. When you start getting more jobs done, and your portfolio starts piling up with reviews and samples, this is when you can start asking for the payment rate you deserve.

Step 3) Master Marketing

Freelancing and outsourcing sites are great, but one of their drawbacks is that they can put against cheaper competition from around the world. They are great to have profiles and reviews in but one thing I do is that I always reach out to magazines, bloggers, online newspapers, and ask them if I can write for them.  Of course, this is only for people who have been freelancing for a while and already have a thing going for them on outsourcing sites. You’ll be surprised that they will get back to you. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that they’ll come running for you but out of let’s say, 100 e-mails I sent out, at least 3 got back to me. With all the freelancers and competition around the world, this is a good amount.

Step 4) Begin the transition slowly

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Finishing two jobs and having some money doesn’t mean you need to quit your job, pack your stuff, and move across the world. I didn’t leave my job until I was making a regular income from freelancing writing for about eight months. I also didn’t travel to an expensive country and spend all my money there.

Remember that the primary key to make your freelancing career work is building a strong foundation for your profile, brand, and client base. This won’t happen overnight and will need time to grow. Start with countries with low living costs or places that are close to where you’re living right now.

Step 5) Keep up the good work and communication

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Always putting out excellent work and staying in touch with your clients is key when you’re travelling. Having an excellent portfolio or becoming well-known isn’t an excuse for you to give them crappy work or not reply to their e-mail or messages. When you’re travelling, things do happen, and there are times where you don’t have proper internet access. You need to update clients with the progress and inform them if you’re not going to be available for a couple of days. Trust me, many clients don’t mind as long as they stay informed.

Step 6) Balance is key

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Working and travelling the world requires balance. When I first started travelling and freelancing at the same time, there were moments where I was so absorbed in my work that I wondered why I was even travelling in the first place. Find what works for you. If you prefer waking up early in the morning, finishing some work, and then going sightseeing, then this is what you should do. If you prefer going on with your day and exploring the city you’re in and then coming back and working, then that’s up to you as well. There isn’t a right or wrong way; it’s about what works for you. Also, make sure you take a break. I always make sure that I give myself a day of per week.

Here are some websites that can help you get started. Please note that I have only personally used freelancer, elance, guru, and upwork. Take the time to read each website and how they work. 

  • 99 designs
  • Dribble
  • Crew
  • Hire my friend
  • Freelancer (my personal favourite)
  • Toptal
  • Ifreelance
  • Simplyhired
  • demand media
  • guru
  • elance
  • Upwork

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62 Comments

  • Reply
    Ahmed
    August 25, 2016 at 8:36 am

    It’s a great job , and I like it very much , I wish travel over the world .

    • Reply
      Omniya
      August 25, 2016 at 11:22 am

      thank you ahmed 🙂

  • Reply
    Menna tolba
    August 28, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    You are so inspiring 😊 chapeau

    • Reply
      Omniya
      September 1, 2016 at 9:53 am

      thank you so much 🙂

  • Reply
    Hesham Elbaz
    September 20, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Omniya, I really don’t know where to start! Such a gold mine of info this is, and for aspiring freelance writers, such as me, it’s truly precious, and it’s even more overwhelming knowingly how valuable every piece of info is, that truly goes beyond adding value. This is love!

    I would love to know more though; are you depending solely on your income as a freelancer? And is it somehow sustainable to depend the above freelance websites only for that?

    P.s. Are you an I/ENFJ ?

    Warmest regards,
    Hesham Elbaz

    • Reply
      Omniya
      September 20, 2016 at 6:31 pm

      Hi Hesham 🙂

      thank you so much for your kind words 🙂 Yes, I’m depending only on freelancing and yes it is sustainable using these sites. It takes time but you get there eventually. Just keep up the hard work and dedication.

  • Reply
    ROBERT LEE
    October 9, 2016 at 11:22 am

    I have been exploring freelance jobs having an idea that a stable income from freelancing would allow me the freedom to move to different places. Rather than going out of the country, I was thinking more of going to different provinces in the Philippines. But after reading your incredibly insightful post, I thought that limiting myself to provinces is like small mind thinking… too self-limiting. There is a whole world out there to explore.

    I am glad you are having fun and I hope to connect with you. I am pretty sure there is so much I can learn from you.

  • Reply
    Mimi
    October 10, 2016 at 9:25 am

    I’m a freelancer for almost two years now, and it has sustained quite a lot for me from school tuition fees to blogging “investments” (aka camera, laptop, and other upgrades from the necessities). What I haven’t tried yet is traveling, because my parents are still strict about me going out of town. What I do instead is that I keep a partial of my salary every month for future travels! And my ultimate dream job is just to travel far and wide while working on things I’m passionate about — writing and eating (haha). I hope I get to experience the same thing as you. I wish you more travels in the future, then! 🙂

  • Reply
    Christina
    October 10, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Some useful tips for freelancers there Omniya. Good to see you’re travelling the world and freelancing. Are you mainly a writer or do you do other freelance work, like web design. Where are you heading to next?

  • Reply
    Carmy
    October 10, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Great tips! It just signed up for Upwork a few days ago but I’m definitely going to check out Freelancer! Not looking forward to tax season though haha

  • Reply
    Sanne - Spend Life Traveling
    October 10, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    I have been working as a freelancer and living as a digital nomad since 2008 and I love the tips you are sharing here! I especially agree with what you are saying about beginning the transition slowly: it takes time to be able to make a fulltime income as a freelancer and combining it with a job (as I did as well) for a while first is definitely the safest way to go about it. I hope your post inspires others who are thinking about freelancing around the world!

  • Reply
    Sam Coronado (@followyouroad)
    October 10, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Nice to meet you Omniya! It’s so great that you’re succeeding in freelancing. Personally, I tried it but it didn’t work for me. It wasn’t sustainable, although that itself is part of the challenge. Hope to see more of your posts about travels around the world! Plus, your home country is my dream place to go to since I was young.

  • Reply
    Iris
    October 11, 2016 at 7:09 am

    That’s so useful. I’d love to make writing my career. I’d love to be a journalist or blogger, I only care about writing and travelling cause they’re such empowering experiences and they do widen your points of view. How long had you been blogging before getting a consistent amount of followers and be defined as “professional?” Did you start with your own domain?

  • Reply
    Indrani
    October 11, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    Practical tips here.
    Marketing is my biggest flaw… need to learn how to market my blogs. 🙂
    You seem to have learned fast! Great pictures.

  • Reply
    Martine
    October 11, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    This is my long term goal, to travel while freelancing. I’ve decided that while my kids are small, I will work hard to set up our finances properly, get residual income streams in place, so that we can maximize travel X work freedom. I love your tips! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Louisa
    October 11, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    It seems the ultimate dream to freelance while traveling. I’ve been a work at home mom for 5 years now and literally I work from home. I’m lucky to get to travel once a year but having 3 kids that’s no surprise. It does inspire me though to aim for more travel for me and my children and the fact that I freelance should make it all the more possible. Thanks for the suggestions on those sites. Can always use more work!

  • Reply
    Miera Nadhirah Tan Abdullah
    October 18, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    Oh gosh, you are so inspirational… I want to be like you… only thing holding me back is because I am older and have more commitments.. but I am trying to do what you are doing as well…And yes, I am always learning new things… and I agree the only barrier would be our lack of effort…. Thanks for this awesome post…

  • Reply
    Meg Cale
    October 20, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    The list at the end was a great addition with some concrete tips! Thanks for the advice!

  • Reply
    Lisa
    October 23, 2016 at 3:37 am

    Great tips! This is something I’ve been looking into for kind of vaguely but never really knew where to start. I’m sure these tips and that awesome list will definitely come in handy. Cheers!

  • Reply
    Lauren West
    October 23, 2016 at 5:44 am

    These are all great tips for independent people who want to support their trips around the world! After we’re finished teaching abroad, these tips will come in handy for us. Thank you so much for sharing them, and keep up the great work!

  • Reply
    Clare
    October 23, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Great tips. I am hoping that I can start freelancing as I have been travelling for 4 years and the money is going to run out soon. Would be good to have a plan set up for when this happens. I have been working on my blog and trying to get that up and running but now might be a good time to start looking into whether I can start doing some freelancing 🙂

  • Reply
    Vyjay
    October 23, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    These are some really practical and useful tips for anyone who is starting out on freelancing. I am totally in sync with you on the view that one needs to focus on one skill rather than try to do everything. Better to be perceived as a master in a particular area rather than a Jack of all trades.

  • Reply
    Jan Michael De Guzman
    October 23, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Freelancing is very risky but i am glad that so many people became successful by doing it. Thanks for sharing your thoughtful insights and that will come in handy in the future.

  • Reply
    Janine Good
    October 23, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    This is such a helpful article as many who travel and wish to work cannot due to visa restrictions. I do agree that balance is so important as if you take on too many gigs you will be overwhelmed and burn out. (No more 15-hour days for me!) The list of resources was quite helpful. I had a terrible experience with Upwork, but the other sites do show promise for my type of work.

  • Reply
    IVy
    October 23, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    These are amazing pointers! So many people ask travel bloggers how they afford it- I wonder myself too because I only travel using my vacation days and I’m not wiling to leave my fulltime job because my organization provides great benefits and pension. Now I know how those full-time travelers do it! I think I’ll look into some of these sites that you listed- it sounds like it’d be a great source of secondary income. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Kriswanders
    October 23, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    These are great feelancing tips. Spot on when you said not to just quit job because you have freelance work. Always make sure that you’re stable and have built a greay portfolio before quitting the first job.

  • Reply
    Khansa
    October 23, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    I wish it was this easy getting hired and paid for freelance works. Hearing about it from people sounds motivating but then again it would be great if it clicked

  • Reply
    Brittany Hemming
    October 24, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    This blog post is so useful. Great tips and resources. I’ve only used upwork and haven’t had much success but I will absolutely be checking out the other resources you mentioned in your post. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Nadine Smith (Scenes From Nadine)
    October 25, 2016 at 10:37 am

    I just bookmarked this post because I feel like I’m going to need this one day! 🙂 Thank you for the useful tips. It made me feel that nothing is impossible, especially when you have talent, patience, and technology!

  • Reply
    Kristine Aarsheim
    October 26, 2016 at 11:31 am

    I’m trying to freelance for a living, but I know I need a little guidance and some advice. In other words, I needed this post! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Dora
    October 26, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Wow. Truly amazed by your article and activities. This is daring! Good Luck

  • Reply
    jessica
    October 26, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Thanks for the websites. Will check them out. I am trying to find a way I can support my family while doing this!

  • Reply
    Tina and Jimmy
    October 26, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Great Tips on free lancing. I had never thought of doing freelance writing and I might have to look into that in the future! Also, I agree no matter how popular or how big, it’s not good manners to not answer emails or respond and follow up with customers. I have always strive throughout my career to keep in good contact with customers and maintain relationships because you never know when you could lean on them or help each other!

  • Reply
    La Blonde Vita
    October 26, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Really good tips! Thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    Emma
    October 26, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    That’s the ultimate goal – to be able to quit the day job and be paid for doing something you love – congrats to you and here’s hoping that I get there too!!

  • Reply
    Juliette | Snorkels to Snow
    October 26, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Excellent tips – bookmarking it! I’ve worked in the news media for about ten years but starting off as a freelancer is quite a change. I thought with my experience as a journalist it would be reasonably straight forward to get into freelancing but it’s been a huge challenge. Once you’re in somewhere – that’s great, but getting noticed in the first place and getting those first clients is often the hardest part. I’ve lost count of the number of shitty-paying content marketing jobs I’ve taken just to make a few dollars or get more experience! Great post.

  • Reply
    janki
    October 26, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Great tips!
    I am trying to build my travel blog and very new to blogging itself. Your this post helped me a lot to understand what it needs.
    Thanks for sharing it

  • Reply
    La Dee
    October 26, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    This is such an informative post. A lot of freelancers I have come across are not as open to discussing their journey to ‘freedom from the secular world’. I tried going on elance once upon a time, it was not a good experience. I enjoyed reading this , you have a refreshing take on things!

  • Reply
    Taís
    October 26, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Great post, so informative. I really enjoyed rr reading it, and it also gave me motivation to keep going. I have been writing for a while now, but never thought to take it to a next level. Thanks for all the tips 🙂

  • Reply
    Kristina
    October 27, 2016 at 4:35 am

    I’m just starting to do this slowly, and these are really great tips. I despise Upwork as you basically have to lowball yourself to get anything, but I’ll check out some of these others, as I’m not familiar with everyone on the list!

  • Reply
    Anita
    October 27, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Such a useful, practical tips and information. Bookmarked for future reference. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Reply
    yadavbharath
    November 7, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Thanks for sharing this valuable information to our vision. You have posted a trust worthy blog keep sharing.Nice article i was really impressed by seeing this article, it was very interesting and it is very useful for me.

  • Reply
    Katie
    January 8, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    I am looking to do some freelancing so this post is really helpful! I have used upward before but will definitely look into the other websites too!

  • Reply
    Harsh Gupta
    January 8, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    I have been freelancing for 5 years now and i can say from my experience that it is way better than 9-5 job! I would never go back to that lifestyle for the world. And your tips are truly valuable.

  • Reply
    Carla
    January 8, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Amazing tips for the truly traveler at heart that cannot stay in the same place for long! 🙂

  • Reply
    Amy
    January 8, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Very useful tips, especially for those who have recently started blogging or looking into freelance work! Thanks for providing a list of helpful sites!

  • Reply
    Sushmita
    January 8, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience! It was helpful in making a clear vision in my mind of how I am going to take my journey. Sharing ahead so others can too 🙂

  • Reply
    Gypsy soul
    January 8, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Great tips! I wish to travel the world.

  • Reply
    Mommy Scene - Katie
    January 8, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Lovely photos and thanks for sharing some great freelancing tips! Someday I would love to travel with my kiddos and write about it, or at least post pictures!

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    EG III
    January 25, 2017 at 5:12 am

    You have truly forged your own path. Great tips and I wish you continued success! 🙂

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