Most international students love to travel. And many identify as global citizens. So it’s hardly surprising that many international students are pretty open minded when it comes to where they end up living in the longer term.
So what options are there for travel-loving international students, who are looking to get international experience but not sure they want to a) go home or b) stay in the country where they attend university?
Well, what if we told you, you could earn a good living and live anywhere you wanted?
Thanks to improved internet connectivity around the world, it’s increasingly easy for recent graduates to access new kinds of opportunities that allow them to work anywhere they can get online.
You can start your own business that enables you to travel, or you can take a remote job. And you don’t have to trade your ambition to enjoy this kind of freedom.
How do I know? Well I run a program that matches undergraduates and recent graduates with 1-2 month internships at remote startups. This means that a student from Latvia can intern with an Australian fintech startup while working in Bali. Or a British student can intern with a Silicon Valley company while stationed many thousands of miles away in Asia.
Here are some of the options available for people who want to create a new style of career they can travel with:
The Remote Employee
A growing number of companies are letting their employees work remotely, owing to improved communications infrastructure and tools that enable teams to work more effectively across different locations. When it comes to the kind of job and employer, your options are surprisingly varied and can range from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to IBM.
According to FlexJobs, a site that advertises remote jobs, these kinds of listings increased 11 percent from 2015 to 2016 and remain on the rise. Other good sites for remote employees and freelancers include Remote OK.
Flexible variety of roles: e.g. customer support, copywriting, programming, marketing. [In fact, pretty much any role that a company with a distributed team might need]
You’re part of an existing team.
None of the worries about being an entrepreneur.
Career progression can be hard – difficult to schmooze your managers when you never see them.
The chances are you don’t have as much freedom as your entrepreneur friends.
The lack of watercooler moments.
I used to present a podcast about people living unconventionally and one of the people I interviewed was a rising YouTube star called Gabby Wallace who ran a YouTube channel for english learners called “Go Natural English”. She now has nearly half a million subscribers and has clients who buy her services dotted all over the world. Gabby and successful entrepreneurs like her, use YouTube to find customers and often sell services such as online courses or classes, meaning they can live anywhere with an internet connection.
You get to be really creative.
You can live anywhere.
You are your own boss.
Low cost to get off the ground.
You have to be okay with talking to your computer all day and having your face broadcast across the internet.
May be hard to find a profitable niche quickly.
“Freelance” was originally two words, “free” and “lance”, which references independent workers and the weapons they used. Now we describe freelancers as those who can work from anywhere and work flexibly on different projects, selling work or services by the hour, day, job, etc., rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employee. It can be very lucrative but it requires a range of skills that aren’t taught at university. When it comes to what to freelance, the sky’s the limit. But generally, the most successful freelancers are those that have mastered an in-demand skill in a given niche. The more adept you are at your skill, the more you can charge and the more bargaining power you have about where you live.
It’s hard at the beginning.
Have to keep prices low on sites like Freelancer.com and Fiverr.
The market is wide open – easy to get clients around the world.
The option to upsell.
Low barriers to entry.
Need to be very good/niche at what you do to make a good living.
Certain skills can quickly become redundant.
Hard to scale.
The E-Commerce Entrepreneur
Selling products through an online store might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you imagine having a way of working that allows you lots of freedom. But in my experience, it can be. Of course, it depends on what you’re selling but if you are selling in large enough quantities, you can outsource lots of the tasks and you don’t have to stay in one place – as long as you have reliable access to the internet, you’re okay.
Can live absolutely anywhere
Can scale relatively easily.
Can have work done by a distributed team around the world.
Ninja marketing skills absolutely essential.
Picking the right product can be a time-consuming process.
You might need an initial investment for stock and marketing spend
The cost of acquiring customers via Facebook advertising can become quite high.
Tech Startup Founder
One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that you have to be in a major center in order to build and run a successful startup. Some startups have a fully distributed model where they rarely meet with colleagues. Some startups have their development team in one place and their managers and sales in another. The point is that paying web developers to live in expensive cities massively increases a startup’s burn rate. Allowing staff the chance to live and work somewhere with cheaper rent makes your money go further and so gives the startup a better chance of success.
It helps a startup save money on developers
Avoid nasty winters
Attract high-quality people to work with you
Far away from your customers
You may be far away from colleagues.