Struggling to come up with business ideas for your digital nomad lifestyle? Here is what some experienced digital nomads have shared.
Creating a Lifestyle Business for Digital Nomads
Digital nomad Miles Beckler talks about creating a “lifestyle business”: the aim is to build a business that allows you to be financially independent, gives you flexibility and that is location-independent.
He lists these types of lifestyle businesses:
- selling information products
- becoming an author
- affiliate marketing
- print on demand merchandise
- selling services
- selling advertising
- software as a service
Selling Information Products
Selling information products: how to products filling a specific need in the market. High margins, it could be video series for example.
Writing books, especially series on Kindle, are very popular. You can even outsource some of the writing to a ghost writer. Each book is an asset that generates cash flow over the years.
In affiliate marketing you get a commission when you recommend someone else’s products. Physical goods tend to have a lower commission than information products. It may take several years to receive income as there are minimum payment thresholds and not every visitor to your website will make a purchase.
Merchandise with Print on Demand
With print of demand, you have a low cost virtual store where all the handling of stock and payments is done by a third party. You receive a commission on each sale. Products can be, for example, t-shirts, hats, mugs or corporate gifts.
Selling services can include building websites and graphic design. Each time you complete a project successfully you ask for a referral. Other services can be consulting and coaching. This works well if you have been employed in a consultancy for 10 years and have accrued a high level of expertise.
Drop-Shipping and Amazon FBA
Drop-shipping is selling products through a company that holds the inventory of physical products. The company fulfils the shipment while you have to acquire clients and handle the sales. This can also be done through Amazon, but bear in mind the costs will be higher. More on Amazon FBA later.
If you are a content creator, selling advertising is a good business model. Advertisers may pay per click or for a sponsored post on your website.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a service means that you create software to solve a client’s problem, there’s a high lifetime value for the software.
To find out more about selling Amazon via Fulfilment By Amazon (Amazon FBA), there is an in-depth interview that Chris the Freelancer did with Riley Bennett.
In summary, you source the products through websites such as Alibaba.com and you deliver them to Amazon.com. This requires doing product research on Amazon and finding what to sell on Amazon can be very time-consuming, as this process can take several weeks. You start by Amazon’s Best Sellers and you go through the various categories, making a list of things that you are likely to buy or that you know about, so you can sell them confidently. You need to find a market and a product the market needs. You buy in bulk and pay the shipping cost to Amazon.
You can also find some free resources if you want to learn more about Amazon FBA on JungleScout.
More Business Ideas to Generate Revenue
The channel Digital Nomad Girl offers more ideas, including:
- selling stock photos and stock videos
- making online video courses (for example, through Udemi)
- rent one or more properties (you can outsource the maintenance to an agency)
Selling Stock Images
Selling stock images and videos is a low-risk strategy as there is usually no cost involved. The worst case scenario is not selling any digital content you uploaded.
Making Online Video Courses
Making online video courses may generate revenue over time, depending on demand. However, bear in mind that platforms like Udemi are reducing the margins for course creators.
Renting property requires an upfront capital outlay and comes with running costs, especially if you are using an agency. You need to factor in periods of time when the property is unoccupied.
She warns that you have to be realistic when building a passive income business because it will probably take years to make money and it requires building and maintaining it.
Most digital nomads build a portfolio career over time, combining offering freelance services with selling products (digital or physical). Building a business takes years and you need to plan for the long term.