For you who want to live differently – “To change your life, you must change your habits.”

“How can I financially support myself overseas?”

It’s the number one question from those who want to live and work in remote locations.  

It’s a BIG issue, and there’s a lot to it. No single answer is right for everyone, but there are solutions. We’ll start to uncover some of them in this post. It’s a little long at over 4,300 words, but the riches are here so dig on.

Your first challenge is to know who you are now, who you want to become, and what you really want from your life and work abroad. 

Ask yourself some questions…. Do I want to work online or off? What current skills do I have that can be applied to working? Which skills do I want or need to develop? Do I want to be a gazillionaire, or is making a modest living doing what I want more important to me? What jazzes me up?

Once you identify your goals, with at least 80% clarity, then you can chart a personal roadmap, get moving, and stick to it.

Below is a list of solid starting points for ways to make money. A sort of launchpad for developing your own ideas to suit your own dreams. You’ll be coaxed to think ahead, and think ahead you must.

The dark clouds of uncertainty about money hold people back from getting out there in the first place. Or worse, sends them home after a few short months because they lacked a plan and had to scupper the whole endeavor. Don’t let that happen to you.

A well prepared strategic plan are the map, mast and keel that keep you sailing toward prosperity – out of the deep blue abyss.

It’s nice to dream about living on a faraway seacoast, making great money while working a few hours a week from your laptop. I know people who really do this! But…


…. if you’re not properly prepared and truly committed to putting in the hard work to earn that lifestyle, as sure as the sun rises, a tsunami will soon sweep you away.

This section gives you an overview of traditional ways to make money as well as some creative up and coming strategies that are working well for others. 

Your 3-Pronged Money Goal:

1. Consistently cover your monthly nut;

2. Steadily grow your earnings and,

3. Set aside funds each month for your future needs.

That’s the money goal, and here are some ways to make it real.

Take Your Current Job With You.  $$$

This is the fastest and easiest way to start earning money on the road. Unless your current job requires pinning you to a specific location every day, it might be possible to take it with you. 

Example:  Let’s say you’re a tax accountant with itchy feet and a sense of adventure (don’t laugh, not all accountants are fuddy-duddies with tinted eyeshades bent under a green lampshade). You don’t want to wait until your 65 to live in Peru and pursue your fascination with Incan culture and herbal medicines –  you want to go while you’re alive and energetic.

Hmmm…. with technology the way it is these days couldn’t you do this almost as easily from Lima or Cuzco, and possibly pick up some local expat business to boot? 

Don’t wait until you retire, just sharpen your desire. 

Other professions that can be taken with you on the road include; nurses, medical technicians of all sorts, teachers of any discipline, mechanics, artist’s, writers, musicians, day-traders….look, this list goes on and on, so if you think you can’t change your current job and make a success of living abroad…. put on a yellow thinking cap, and think again.

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Think. Believe. Dream. Dare.


ON-line Affiliate Marketing.  $$$

Billions of dollars are paid to blog and website affiliate marketers every year. Start-up cost’s are relatively low and the income that can be generated is sometimes mind-boggling. 

Digital nomads stampede into this arena.

Online affiliate marketing involves having your own highly informative website that attracts people to a fairly specific topic.  You build an audience by conveying ongoing value to help them learn the right skills and knowledge they’re seeking.

Over time they trust and follow your recommendations if they have real value and not just hyped-up information that fizzles out without really delivering on your promise.

When your recommendation does send them to another website and they buy something, anything from one-off sales to monthly subscriptions, viola! you earn a fee, sometimes a big one.

CASE IN POINT:  Some of the links you’ll find below will send you places that may pay me a small commission if you buy from them. You won’t be charged a higher price, I guarantee it. It’s just how affiliate marketing works.

6 Step Snapshot

1.   Carefully Choose Your Product/Service Niche

Don’t go randomly after anything just to make a buck. That has failure written all over it.

Choose topics you have a real interest in so you’ll be more likely to put in the time and won’t get bored before the money starts rolling in.

If you’re head-over-heels-in-love with fly fishing, zero in on that to start. If hand-made products from primitive locations floats your boat, then go there.

“The riches are in the niches.”  This is a motto of Pat Flynn’s, an online superstar marketer who offers amazing ideas and instruction on how to start, and succeed. His story is inspiring to his tens of thousands of followers.

In the top right hand corne of his website you’ll see how much revenue he’s generated for the month. It’ll blow you away. Have a look. SmartPassiveIncome

2.   Create a Website/Blog

It’s easy enough to get a beautiful website up and running without having to learn code or be a fancy-pants techie. There are two primary choices:

  • Pay someone a few hundred dollars, maybe even thousands.  Professional help can be found quite easily on sites like Fiverr, or Elance.    Or,
  • Do it yourself with today’s pretty darn simple online platforms. The undisputed leader for beginners and experts alike is WordPress 
  • You’ll need a domain name and a hosting company. For that, BlueHost  is the top choice for it’s low price, ease of use, customer support and convenience.

The best guidance I know of on the subject of building your own website comes from James Stafford at WebsitesMadeEasy. He’ll meticulously guide you through all the steps required to get your site up and running. His presentations are clear and easy to follow.

3.   Find Products and Services to Promote and Profit From   

Within your niche are dozens if not hundreds of closely or tangentially related products and services you can recommend to your audience.

Many of the companies who provide them will have an affiliate program that pays you when one of your readers buys from them.

These are the companies you want to find – and connect with. 

If your market is the fly fishing gig mentioned earlier, you could recommend clothing and equipment manufacturers, fishing lodges, boat makers, you might even provide fishing licenses, book & maps, or drone videos of waters you report on. 

4.   Creating Valuable Website Content

Your mission is to create a valuable source of relevant information that your readers want to return to time and again.  

It’s not enough to present a few good articles and kick back. You have to keep your site fresh and current on your subject matter.

The Tuna are Running! – East Cape Baja, or Green Drake Hatch is About to Go Wild! – Frying Pan River –  Aspen, or The $10,000 Prize Everglades Fishcapade Now Open for Enrollment.

You see? This type of content, if written and presented well, brings your readers back on a regular basis. You’ll build trust and authority so they’ll purchase the products and services you recommend.

You’ll fail if you just set up a website with a bunch of links. If you act like a store directory at the mall people will take one look, and walk away. Don’t let this happen.

For help on how to write killer content and extraordinary headlines that cause clicks to happen, Copyblogger is one of my favorite resources.

5.   Attracting Targeted Traffic to Your Website

Not everyone who visits your site will click affiliate links. That’s why it’s important to have a mixture of marketing tactics to attract highly targeted traffic to your site.

There’s no value in a reader who fishes worms from the banks of the Mississippi river if your focus is high end fly fishing. You need to target the feedline – not randomly throw bait in the water.

There is no shortage of “strategies” being offered up on how to attract new customers to your website. The basic truth is, sales techniques have changed very little over the years and the fundamentals will always work better than a temporary flash-in-the-pan idea.

It’s easy to get confused and frustrated listening to all the noise. When you aren’t focused on the real nuggets and morsels that are proven drivers behind effective sales and marketing, you will flounder, and probably give up.

Follow the fundamentals and keep your attention on them. This is your yellow-brick road to success, one deliberate step at a time.

So how do you go about it? There’s lots more than these I’m about to give you, the bedrock foundations that will ultimately build a selling machine on the web. 

  • Free Offers. One tried and true pricipal in business is that a customer who receives something for free is always more willing to buy something from you than someone who has not. How many times have you walked away from an ice cream shoppe that offers you a free taste of whatever you like? This is called the reciprocity principal, and it has worked for ages. It’s no different online.
  • Social Media Marketing. Despite the constant changes in algorithms to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, social media is still one of the fastest ways to expand exposure for any type of business. Don’t expect overnight miracles – it takes time – which you should dedicate some to every day.
  • Video Marketing. Another very powerful way that you can attract customers to your website is through video marketing. Develop a series of online video tutorials that will help someone in some area of life that’s in harmony with whatever business that you’re in. Leverage platforms like YouTube and Vimeo to create useful videos that will help establish you as an authority in your field. This also takes time, and courage, but this will absolutely help launch you into a different, and more profitable atmosphere.
  • Paid Advertising. It used to be if you wanted to buy advertising you placed an ad in the newspaper, radio, or television to reach as wide an audience as possible. The problem with that is it wasn’t at all targeted to your specific audience. You had to hope and pray in fell on the right eyes and ears. With AdWords and selective banner placements you can zero in the the precise people you can help and steer them instantly to your offering.

6.   Educate Yourself, and Keep Learning

Warren Buffet famously spends about 80% of his day reading. It’s how he learns about what’s happened in the past, what’s going on today, and what’s likely to take place tomorrow.

I’m not suggesting you spend 80% of your working day reading, that’s a luxury for billionaires and retirees. It’s an unequivocal truth however, those who dedicate a good deal of time reading, researching and digging into what their competition is doing, watching videos and listening to podcast’s on issues relating to their business are much more likely to succeed than those who don’t.

Buffet is also well known for advising people to take some appropriate courses from Dale Carnegie, or something equivalent. He says learning how to get along with people and exercise inspiring leadership will improve your lifetime earnings by at least 50%!

Now that’s worth taking a course or two, wouldn’t you agree? 

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When I was getting ready to pull the trigger on my first investment in Costa Rica, a lawyer warned me by saying this, “Do you know the best way to leave Costa Rica with a million dollars? … Invest two million to start!”  Despite the odds, with good planning, hard work, an eye on the ball, and a little bit of luck, I was able to double my investment. 


OFF-line Affiliate Marketing.  $$$ 

If you’re outgoing and enterprising enough, you can earn money in an old fashioned way, with a high tech twist –  like Annette, who approached me on the Embarcadero in Puerto Vallarta.


Annette spent several hours a day at high traffic tourist locations promoting discounted tours, off-road rentals, dining discounts, 2 for 1’s, fishing excursions and a number of other things visitors might be happy to know about. She did it with a friendly personality and a nice presentation on her iPad.

She’d made arrangements with local establishments to promote their businesses to English speaking tourist’s – a difficult task for may locals who lack fluency in English.

The discounts were sent electronically to interested parties with a special  Code to present to the vendor. No money exchanged hands. She got a ping alert when the code was redeemed, which always put a smile on her face because she’d just earned a commission. 

A very clever form of face to face affiliate marketing with simple use of technology that was working well.

She’d been traveling to different cities throughout Mexico for over two years doing this, and it funded her every step of the way, plus some!

She looked prosperous. 

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Blogging for Profits – Passive Income.  $$$

Reliable, steady passive income is your pathway to the beach umbrella. There’s much more to life than a beach umbrella of course, and frankly that’s not my thing, but the imagery paints the idea. Snap open your own umbrella – with passive income.


Blogging isn’t complicated, it just takes regular attention to providing meaningful value to a specific target audience.

(Blog Tyrant. James Stafford, and Pat Flynn at SmartPassiveIncome are my favorite instructors. I’ve mentioned them before and will keep doing so as long as they stay at the top of my list. Will pay you for referring customers.)  $$$

Fill this section richly

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Share Your Passion – Write an eBook.  $$$ 

This is where to find your own personal secret sauce of success – by sharing your gift of knowledge with others.

Quick story:  I met a mountaineering guide, Carter, who was helping my son and I climb a technical summit in Wyoming. He was well educated in books and life experiences, was about 40 years old, and came from a wealthy & prominant family in Philadelphia. For 14 years he’d been a mountain guide in summer, an ace ski patrolman in winter.

His father for years had harped on him to “…come home and follow in my footsteps – a financial guy can make some real money.” He replied “Dad, what you don’t realize is that I’m one of the richest people on Earth, it just so happens that I don’t have a lot of money”.

At the time, I was a financial guy too, from Denver, but the message really resonated with me, contributing to my drive of living a lifestyle abroad, immersing in foreign cultures with lower societal pressures, and less stuff to weigh me down. 

Without money though, you get weighed down in another way. Your movements and freedoms of choice are restricted. Money is necessary, we all need it, in a measured way, to fill our purposes.

Carter wanted to earn more money, but didn’t want to sacrifice what he loved doing. We met before the digital age took serious root, but I’m sure he could have made some excellent ongoing passive income by publishing an eBook about his expertise and deep knowledge of the Grand Teton Mountains. 

Think about that. What are you an expert in?

Open it up, expand it, build on it – then share it with others for a profit.

If you’re not an expert in something yet, don’t sweat it. Who ever started out as an expert in anything? Expertise is developed over time through hard work, repetitiveness, and perseverance.

Writing an eBook can sound daunting. But actually, if you organize yourself and do some study on the best techniques, it can be really fun. Especially if you love the topic.

How do you get started? It sounds rather simple – and perhaps a bit smug – but, the truthful answer to how do I get started is – just start. Stumble your way forward. If you keep after it, soon you’ll be running.

Amazing sources of help are here:

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To learn more about real life stories – how others are earning a living and prospering abroad, read Profiles Abroad. 


Teaching.  $$$

One way a lot of people hang their hat in locations around the world is by teaching, even if they’re not a teacher by trade. 

 If you have a college degree, in any field, it’s pretty simple to find a teaching post with a decent wage for a 25-40 hour work week. Even if you don’t have a degree you can enroll in a 120 hour TEFL course, earn a certificate, and get qualified for any number of openings throughout the world.

If you’re new to living abroad this is a pretty good way to get started. Housing is usually provided, you’re in a structured environment, you’ll meet locals with ease, and it can open doors to other ops.

Quick true story: I know of a young American guy who started teaching English in Shanghai, China at the age of 24. His real passion was Americana pop culture art. Elvis, 1960’s album covers, Andy Warhol, etc.  During weekends when he wasn’t teaching he’d print these images on t-shirts and sell them out of a 80 square foot cubby hole in a crowded street market. They were so wildly popular he couldn’t keep them stocked! He soon gave up his teaching gig and went on to grow the business into a clever and profitable apparel line. Remember: The riches are in the niches. 

CAUTION: There are scammers out there. Sending money to a company on the promise they’ll find you work is very sketchy. Do your homework about them, ask for references, meet them on Skype, whatever, but do check them out before making any committment.

Most placement companies are legit, just be careful. If you’re a rookie, stick with the brands that have been around a while. Here are a few good starting points:

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Create a Library of Video or Audio Tours.  $$$

Videos are powerful, and there are ample opportunities to earn money creating informative video tours of all the great, and quirky, places tourists want to visit.  

Personally, I’d stay away from the most popular places that have been covered pretty well already and focus on niche locations. Publish a few freebies on YouTube, then ask for donations to keep up the good work, or, once you’ve built a decent following charge a few bucks for instant downloads. 

Video tours have to be well scripted, extremely relevant, and presented in an informative entertaining way – not goofy – but vibrant, interesting, and educational.

One way to get your script started is to hire a professional tour guide to take you around. Record it, modify it to your needs, and there you have your script.

Nowadays with the advancement of camera phones and editing programs you don’t even need a video camera to speak to your audience in a way that gets noticed, and applauded.

Specialty Audio Walking Tours can also be a good means for income by charging a fee for the download. Sponsors will also be interested to pay for an ethical plug or banner. For audio walking tours you’ll need a good map and a clear authoritative voice. Both of which can be outsourced cheaply.

Want more help? Make Videos – Make Money is a step-by-step instruction guide that walks you through choosing topics and locations, filming equipment and techniques, adding music, voice-overs, editing, scripting, publishing, marketing and selling your final product. It’s well worth the measly $49. 


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Create Promotional Videos for Businesses.  $$$

A while back I made promotional videos for resorts in Phuket, Thailand and Realtors in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It was fun, pretty simple, and I made money doing it. 

For a few hundred bucks I’d create a video promoting their services and upload it to YouTube, Vimeo, and embed it into their websites. I had all the work i wanted.

It’s almost a no-brainer if you have some rudimentary skills in filming and editing. You don’t need to be a pro either, you just write a good script, have a decent camera phone, and a desire to learn the basic techniques of filming and editing. 

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Want more help? Make Videos – Make Money is a step-by-step instruction guide that walks you through choosing topics and locations, filming equipment and techniques, adding music, voice-overs, editing, scripting, publishing, marketing and selling your final product. The measly $49 it costs will be recovered from your first gig.  


Arbitrage.  $$$

This money making strategy is older than the tales of Marco Polo on the Silk Road. In a nutshell: Buy good stuff inexpensively in one country and sell, or better, pre-sell it for a fat profit in another. 

Quick Story: In a small woodworking village just south of Chiang Mai, Thailand I spotted a couple closely examining a decorative armoir in a furniture shop. It turns out they were Canadians who owned a furniture store of their own in a tourist town in Nova Scotia and were hunting for bargains they could profit from back home.

They’d just purchased the ornate piece for the equivalent of $150 and were certain it would bring $1,200 to $1,400 at their summer shop. After shipping they’d net $1,000.

This was their gig! During frigid Canadian winters they traveled through Asia scouring for high margin exotic pieces they could sell for fat profits during the pleasant Nova Scotian summers.


Don’t have a store back home? Why not take some photos, send them to a potential buyer, and see if you can make a pre-sale? 

One more Quick Story: In the summer of late 2015 the currency in Venezuala tanked hard against the US Dollar. I happened to be in Ecuador at the time (the currency there is US Dollars) and knew of a retired expat living in Quito who saw an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

He hired a big truck and driver, drove across the border into Venezuela and bought up tires, appliances, and electronics at bargain basement prices. Upon his return he placed classified ads in the local paper and in no time his inventory turned into mounds of cash.

He’d done 7 or 8 runs before the Ecuadorian government caught on to what was happening and clamped down hard with impossible tarifs at the border.

Arbitrage. When it’s good, it can be very good.  

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Medical Technicians and Nurses.  $$$

Hospitals in nearly every country seek qualified health practicioners. If that’s you, your path is golden.

Writer/Journalist.  $$$

It’s not hard to image the possibilities here. If you’re already a writer or journalist, pick a niche, dig into it, and expose your findings.

Freelancing – Contract work.  $$$

If you have specific technical skills, you can leverage your opportunities by creating an offering on freelancing sites. Fiverr, Upload, Elance are good places to find work.


Travel Writing.  $$$

This is a crowded field to be sure, but there are distinct niches with high demand that are poorly covered. Motorcycling the World’s Back Country comes to mind. 

Corporate World.  $$$ 

World Bank, Peace Corp., DeVere Financial, Grameen Bank, are just a few of the opportunities available to highly qualified individuals, particularly if you speak a foreign language. Some are volunteer positions, some are admin or sales roles, but the challenges and structure offered appeals to many as a potential way to live and work abroad.

Sail Away on Cruise Ships.  $$$ 

Traveling the high seas on a cruise ship can offer a good way to save money, meet a lot of diverse people, and see some parts of the world from a different perspective. If you’re interested in something like this, check out Wandering Earl and his post on getting a job with a cruise line.

Teach your Trade or Hobby.  $$$ 

Any trade or hobby you have skills in might give you a chance to freelance as an instructor; musical instruments, swimming, dance, yoga, cooking, etc. Place an ad in the local papers, online classifieds, or simply drop some pamphlets at appropriate locations and see what happens. It works!

Real Estate Sales.  $$$ 

The old standby. Many parts of the world have a thriving real estate industry, and many companies will hire those with a sales background and some knowledge of real estate.

Look, when you get serious about becoming a prospering traveler, get your hands on  The Ultimate Planbook for Total Success Abroad  It’s the complete guide to get you focused and pumped.  It’s written to calibrate your mindset, design a specific roadmap to success, and create your own actionable steps that will lead to a prospering lifestyle abroad.

If you need help finding your perfect niche, contact us, we’ll find it together.

If you need a cheat sheet to help you set your personal goals, go to Goalfile.

How do you Make Money? Post your wickedly good thoughts in the Comments section below. Thanks!