DNG presents Online Job of the Month: Graphic Designer

DNG presents Online Job of the Month: Graphic Designer

In our current blog series ‘Online Job of the Month,’ we share the most interesting online jobs with you. There is actually a huge number of interesting (and profitable) jobs out there for aspiring Digital Nomad Girls, and we really hope this blog post inspires you a little bit!

If you’re curious about other online jobs, check out our features on Social Media Managers, Virtual Assistants, Online English Teachers and Online Editors

This month, we are talking all about being a graphic designer! We talked to Morgan Reid, Meredith Norwood, and Jianna Caronan who are successfully working as Graphic Designers while travelling the world. Let’s get straight into it!

 

What exactly is a Graphic Designer? What do Graphic Designers do?

Design is a vague and big word, so let’s break down what it actually means to be a graphic designer!

Morgan says that as a designer, she is “responsible for creating attractive and fully functional assets such as websites, product packaging, marketing materials, etc. 

I organize information to design assets that will provide viewers a unique experience while still communicating a message and accomplishing the overall goal – such as conversions, exposure, or impact. It’s a lot more than just ‘making things pretty’ – but it’s still a lot of fun.”

 

Similarly, Jianna loves her work and says that she does anything from “branding (logos, favicon, etc.) to social media graphics and animation. I also design the occasional website because I have some coding experience!”

On the other hand, Meredith, as a Product Graphic Designer, designs “surface patterns for physical products in the home fashions, apparel, and gift industries. I also design the physical form of objects in some cases, but the majority of what I do is graphic work for products. 

Some examples of my major categories include stationery, picture frames, mugs, socks, decorative storage pieces, piggy banks, & travel products. Another major part of my freelance work is logo design for brands.”

 

What kind of skills do I need to become a Graphic Designer?

Jianna and Morgan both say the most important skill is creativity! 

design creativity graphic

Jianna adds: “Having the ability to think outside of the box is key. This role requires you to come up with unique and compelling ideas, which normally means figuring out how to execute a certain effect or element!”

Other skills that all three girls agree important:

  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Ability/willingness to learn
  • Eye for detail

Jianna says it is essentially your job to “take a client’s ideas and bring it to life.”

But don’t forget about the relevant softwares, technical skills and tools you’ll also need! Meredith personally really likes her digital devices and predominantly works in Illustrator and draws vectors all day.

The skills you need will, of course, vary greatly depending on what type of graphic design work you’d like to get into! 

 

Do I need any qualifications or certificates?

The unanimous answer? 

No! 

Morgan says the proof is in the pudding – clients just want to see your samples and know that you can create something that they love! “They want to quickly be able to see what you’re capable of and how you’ll be able to elevate their business,” she adds.

Meredith also agrees that design is a skill that can be entirely self taught. Meredith writes, “As they say, artistic talent is given, but I think there are a lot more variables and skills that are learned. 

To work as a designer though I don’t think you’d need any certifications at all.”

Jianna makes a final recommendation to set up “a portfolio of previous work and know how to use industry-wide software. Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are the most common but I personally use another software and my clients don’t mind at all!”

woman web design digital nomad girl

Where do you find jobs as a Graphic Designer?

The top suggestions from the girls are:

  • Referrals and using your current network

Morgan recommends this method since “your current clients clearly love what you do – and guaranteed they know someone else that could benefit from having you on their team!” 

  • Online freelancing sites like Upwork

Meredith has used sites like Upwork to find and land roles, though she has also started moving more to using channels outside of the platforms.

Online freelancing platforms can be a great way to get your foot in the door and begin growing your online network of businesses! 

  • Facebook Groups! 

Finally, Jianna recommends our very own Digital Nomad Girls facebook group as a great place to land clients. Jianna highlights the importance of networking online and a great deal of that happens in Facebook groups!

 

How much can I earn as a Graphic Designer? How do people in your field price their services? Hourly, per project etc?

Morgan, Meredith and Jianna all say that this depends on a few factors.

But they all agree that the most common pricing structures are hourly, per project, or value-based!

Specifically, Morgan says that “when you’re just starting off – you can easily earn $15 – 25/hr. Once you’ve established yourself in the industry, it’s less about pricing per hour or per project – you need to price your services based on the value you are providing.”

Jianna says that high-end designers can easily make 6 figures salaries, and hourly rates range from $25 – $100/hr once you’re a little more established. 

There is also the option of pricing per package for things “like website design, a set number of social media graphics, or one-off projects like flyers/banners/business cards,” Jianna suggests.

Meredith prefers project-based pricing herself as there is less of the time pressure. “If I know I need to design something, I like to have the freedom to take my time on it and think it over as much as I please.” 

Jianna’s recommendation? “I have clients on retainer that can buy a set number of hours per month. I recommend these for on-going client relationships or when subcontracting for a larger agency.

Is it easy to work as a Graphic Designer while travelling?

Morgan says, “Absolutely! I love travelling as a designer – a lot of what I do doesn’t need internet so I can really cram in a bunch of internet (distraction)-free work while I’m flying or otherwise. 

I’m picky and I like to use a mouse for extra precision, but that’s pretty easy to bring with me whenever I’m moving around.

Jianna similarly writes, “Absolutely! I love this job because all I need is my laptop. I don’t even need WiFi really unless I need to send files over to clients or need to go online for design inspo. As long as you have the software, you can create graphics anytime or anywhere. 

Jianna also has a few tips for taking the show on the road and still staying organized: “It helps to have project management tools like Asana and Toggl. As well as payment/invoicing tools like PayPal. These 3 things plus my website are essentially the bulk of my business.”

 

What would you recommend to other nomad girls who’d like to get started working as Product Graphic Designer?

The resounding advice from the 3 girls is to practice, practice, practice and GO FOR IT.

Morgan explains, “Practice is what got me to where I am today. Apply for every gig you can get your hands on, even if you don’t fit their requirements 100%. It shows initiative and willingness to learn. Don’t give up! Keep upskilling and learning so you’re always up-to-date with the latest trends and programs.” 

Meredith says product graphic design is a lot about touch and feel, and that often times, “the best way to get started is by working for a larger company. Take a year to see how it works in an internship or starting level.”

Jianna advises: “Just go for it! I am 21 years old, and have nearly a decade of design experience. I’ve never been formally trained yet I have worked with a variety of brands and businesses. 

If you love what you do, there’s no such thing as too hard/difficult. I’m self-taught and credit a lot of my skills to practice, practice, practice (and a bit to Google and Youtube). There are so many tutorials and courses out there! 

And if you’re ever stuck with a project just start with what inspires you! I’ve spent a lot of time over the years doing things just for fun.”

 

If you’re curious about even more jobs that you can do online, check out our series on the 50+ digital nomad girl jobs to inspire you!

 

Are you an interested in becoming a Graphic Designer? Please share below!

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others who might like it, too, and to find out more about the girls you can find their author bios below:

Morgan Reid

Originally from Victoria, BC Canada, Morgan Reid is a full-time freelance web and graphic designer currently based in Bali. You can get in touch with her via her Website or her Facebook.

Meredith Norwood

Meredith is a product graphic designer who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and lived in Mississippi and NYC for a while. She started traveling nomadically at the beginning of 2018 and is currently in Tuscany. You can find her via her Website or her Instagram.

Jianna Caronan

Jianna is a graphic designer originally from the Philippines but has lived in NJ for the last 10 years. You can find her through her Website or her Instagram.

DNG presents Online Job of the Month: Translator

DNG presents Online Job of the Month: Translator

 

In our blog series ‘Online Job of the Month,’ we share the most interesting online jobs with you. You might think only web developers and graphic designers can be digital nomads. But there are actually a wide variety of interesting (and profitable) jobs out there for aspiring Digital Nomad Girls. This month we will tell you all about working as a Translator. 

If you’re curious about other online jobs, check out our features on Social Media Managers, Virtual Assistants, Online English Teachers and Online Editors!

We talked to Federica Bruniera, Martina Russo and Maria Sokolova who are successfully working as Translators while travelling the world. So let’s get straight into it!

 

What exactly is a Translator? What do they do?

Maria says that as a Translator, “I translate websites, newsletters, documents for fashion and travel brands from English (sometimes Spanish) into my native language (Russian).” Alongside that, Maria says that she also edits (proofreads) other translations.

Federica clears up an important misconception. “There’s always a bit of confusion out there between the roles of translators and interpreters. Translators work with written texts, whereas the interpreters’ job is mainly spoken.”

Federica gets specific about the types of awesome hobbies that would not be possible without translators: “We are basically the ones that make possible for you to browse websites, watch your favourite Netflix show and read the Harry Potter books in your native language.”

digital nomad girls translator online jobs month

How awesome is that!

So how does translation work? Which languages do you translate from? Federica says, “we normally work from the foreign language(s) we know into our native one. So, as an Italian native speaker, I could know 10 foreign languages but I can only translate from those ten into Italian.

Translators usually work also as reviewers/proofreaders (revising someone else’s translations) and sometimes as transcribers, subtitlers, game testers, copywriters, depending on their specializations.”

 

What kind of skills do I need to become a Translator?

Both Federica and Maria agree that the most important skills are:

  • excellent command of at least two languages (your native and a second language)
  • good writing skills
  • Learner & researcher skills
  • knowledge of cultural backgrounds

Federica also adds that, “Specializing is also of paramount importance. Knowing another language doesn’t mean you can translate everything (I don’t understand legal jargon in my own language, imagine in a foreign one!).

digital nomad girls translator online jobs

It’s important to pick fields you are passionate about, that you know well or that you are willing to study. In my case, for example, I do:

  • (obviously) Travel related stuff because I love it and it’s something I have a good experience in,
  • Football/soccer for the same reason,
  • Mangas and Japanese fiction because it’s challenging and fun, and
  • the Medical sector because it seemed interesting, and I started taking online courses on the subject.”

That’s awesome! Specialization is one of those tips that carries across many different types of online jobs, for sure. Specialization allows you to become an expert in a topic and become well known for that specific field!

 

Do you need any qualifications or certificates?

Maria has a diploma in translation which comes in handy, but says that actually, “I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary if you have good command of both languages.”

Federica also has a translation degree but agrees with Maria that it’s not absolutely essential. She notes in particular though that “Some countries require certification to do official translations (for example, in Canada you need to be certified if you want to translate official documents for immigration purposes), but overall what you really need is expertise in a certain field and excellent linguistic skills.”

 

Where do you find jobs as a Translator?

Great question!

Martina has a few suggestions up her sleeve! Firstly, “You can go to industry specific conferences (another reason why it’s important to pick a niche), contact companies directly etc. but when starting out it’s probably easiest to get in touch with translation agencies.”

Maria says that she has been working with an agency for a few years, but that she also finds jobs through her personal network. Federica similarly suggests that when you are just getting started,  “it’s easier to work with agencies than with direct clients.”

digital nomad girls translator online job

Federica has more tips for you for finding jobs! “Translation portals have good visibility and a lot of jobs get posted on there every day. I would recommend using those portals to look up agencies that have good ratings and then check their websites and apply directly there.” Martina, Maria and Federica suggest the following websites for getting started:

Martina specifically says: “Use the directory at https://www.proz.com/business to filter agencies according to specific criteria, e.g. score (on a scale o 1 to 5, I wouldn’t touch an agency with less than 4.5 with a barge pole – double check every agency’s score here: https://www.proz.com/blueboard), location, language pairs, and once again niche.”

Okay… what about applying? How should you apply?

Martina says: “

Once you have a list of agencies (or companies), you want to reach out to them. You’re better off sending up to 10-15 highly personalised emails rather than blasting off 100s per day that all starts with DEAR SIR / MADAM.

An agency gets dozens of emails and CVs a day – even I do, and I’m not an agency – and most of them look like spam, and I promise no one is going to bother and open your email or read your CV if it’s not to the point and attention grabbing.

As with everything marketing related, make sure you speak to them and about them, how you can solve their issues etc rather dwelling on your skills and qualifications.”

Federica agrees with Martina and adds that, “CV spamming at the beginning is normal, but do your research first and make your CV and emails relevant and personalized to improve the chances to get the attention of the project managers. Then, of course, networking is a gold mine. I got my best jobs from colleagues, people I met at conferences and events, friends of friends. Never underestimate the power of networking!”

digital nomad girls translator online jobs pin

So key tips are: attend events, use translation portals, find agencies to work with and don’t forget to network!

 

How much can I earn as a Translator?

As with any job, it really depends!

Martina says: “The money you can charge will depend on your experience, your confidence, the market segment you’ve positioned yourself in, your client’s budget and willingness to pay / invest in translation and how efficient you are at communicating your value.

 Obviously, you can’t command 10K from a company that makes 30K gross per year. Hence the important of positioning and market segments.”

digital nomad girls translator online job

Federica says, “I would recommend asking at least 0.06 – 0.07 euros per word when starting out and then working your way up. The higher-end translators charge up to 0.50 euros per word in their fields, there’s really no rule. It’s totally up to you to study your market, decide where to position yourself, your value and charge whatever you’re comfortable charging.”

Martina specifies: “Specifically, To start out with agencies, I would recommend NOT going below 0.07- 0.08 € per source word, but would aim at 0.10 €. Always best to start higher to allow room for negotiation. From there, depending on your niche, you can go as high as you want to and your market allows.



What you charge is up to you and do not let anyone dictate what you should do or tell you you’re ruining the market, there is not such a thing as ONE market.

 To convert these amounts into hourly fees, you should know your productivity and output. Generally, unless you use MT and other technologies, you’ll translate around 300-350 words per hour.”

“Money is a big taboo among translators and I don’t know why, I feel that if we were all more open on the subject it’d be easier to help others navigate through what’s possible and out there.


” – Martina Russo

Maria says, you can make around $2,000-$2,500 on average, up to $5,000, and Federica knows translators who make 6-figures doing translation work!

So overall, Martina, Maria and Federica all agree that you can make great money doing translation!

 

How do Translators price their services? Hourly, per project, per word?

Long story short: “It’s usually hourly for proofreading, and per word or per page for translations” says Maria.

Federica says it really varies, but agrees that “most translation projects are priced per word (or per line like in Germany). Asian languages are often priced by character, since there’s no space between words and getting an actual word count would be extremely time-consuming.

digital nomad girls translator online jobs pin

There are many exceptions though and ultimately it’s up to the translator to choose the best format depending on the project. For example, in manga translation we define a price per page, in video game testing it’s mostly by the hour, subtitling is charged by minute of video.

When you are starting out and have less negotiation power, try to have a price per word and an hourly price ready. Then, as projects get more complicated, you can start considering other solutions. For multi-services or multilingual projects, a price per project is totally acceptable as well.”

 

Is it easy to work as a Translator while travelling?

So… what’s it actually like to work as a traveling Translator? Are you able to balance traveling and working set times?

Federica says absolutely! She says as long as you have your laptop and Wifi, you’re good to go. Additional things that might come in handy may be “two monitors, external keyboard and other equipment, but I’m extremely minimalist, so my laptop and electronic dictionary are enough.”

Do you need any specific tools or softwares?

Federica suggests: “In terms of tools and apps, the so-called CAT tools (translation software) can make the translation process faster and your texts more consistent, so investing in one can be a good idea (most agencies require one anyway).”

digital nomad girls translator online job

Federica suggests the following:

Maria gives one word of warning – be mindful of time zones! As with any nomad job, always be mindful of your clients’ time zones and delivering your work on time – aka. on the client’s time!

Woo! Looks like overall, being a Translator is officially a nomad approved job. 

 

What would you recommend to other nomad girls who’d like to get started working as a Translator?

Martina has tons of amazing advice for girls who are thinking about working as a translator.

Here is the step-by-step process that Martina recommends!

1. Pick a Niche

Martina says, “When you start out, it’s easy and normal to just go for general translations. However, the more you’re specialized, the less of a commodity you become and the higher of a rate you can command.

It’s not necessarily an easy step but it’s one you need to take at some point, so try to focus on one area or more you’d like to work with in the future and start from there. (legal, medical, marketing and so on).”

2. Think Carefully about Market Segment & Positioning

“Make sure you determine which market segment(s) you’re comfortable working with from the start, that will save you lots of frustration in the long-term. How do you position yourself? By putting yourself out there as the authority in your niche and by using specific language.

For starters, if you want to position yourself in a higher paying segment, I’d avoid using the word “freelancer”, which is widely associated with sites like Fiverr, and replace it with “professional” wherever possible. Which one sounds more authoritative to you – freelancer translator or translation professional / professional translator?

3. Don’t forget mindset!

Martina writes, “You do not work FOR anyone. You work WITH someone, as a partner, you add value and work with them to make them successful.

That’s crucial and it took me a few months to figure that out, coming from an employer when I started out. It might seem trivial now, but you’ll see these little details creeping up when you write your first 100s cover letters writing stuff like “I’d be honoured to work for your company…”

digital nomad girls translator online jobs

4. Build up your online presence

Martina says on this: “If you don’t want to be just anther translator, build up your online presence. Googling you is the first thing everyone does to make sure you’re legit these days, so you want to have social proof up and running…

  • CV / RESUME: use a template from a platform like Canva.com to make it visually appealing.
    • Generally, you want to include details such as the obvious ones (contact details, name, nationality etc), your language pairs, your experience and education, and so on. Refrain from mentioning anything that doesn’t have to do with translation, unless you have worked e.g. as a sommelier and now you translate about wines.
    • You’ll probably also want 1 CV for your agency clients and 1 for your direct clients, or 1 for each different niche.
  • PORTFOLIO:
    • If you’re starting out and have nothing to put in your portfolio, think of creative ways to assemble one. E.g. provide some free work (make sure you have clear conditions in place) or translate publicly available copy under CC (look it up on Google) to get samples for your ideal portfolio.
    • Creating a portfolio based on copy isn’t easy, look up the web for some inspo.
    • Martina’s look like this: www.movingwordstranslations.com/portfolio & www.theactionsportstranslator.com/portfolio.
  • WEBSITE
    • This doesn’t have to be fancy, you can put up a one page site from WP or Squarespace or the like. In fact, Martina built up www.theactionsportstranslator.com herself (with a few tweaks from a WP dev). Also, register a domain for your email address, @gmail domains and the like look fishy and end up in spam most of the time.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA:
    • You probably don’t need to be on EVERY platform out there, just pick the ones you think would work for you best (AKA where your clients would hang out) and stick with them.

Do not do the mistake most translators do: don’t talk exclusively about translation from a translator’s perspective for other translators, because the only ones who’ll be interested in you content will be – you guessed it – translators.

digital nomad girls translator online jobs

Federica adds to this and says, “Getting the first clients could take a bit of time, but that should not discourage you. Keep studying, hone your skills, build up experience in the fields you’re interested in and don’t give up.

Consider doing volunteer work at first for organizations like Translators without Borders or the TED Project (subtitling TED Talks can be pretty interesting). The most fascinating part of the translation world is that you learn something new every day. It’s hard to get bored!”

On a side note – subtitling Ted Talks sounds SO fun!

Maria gives you some extra advice as well, “I would recommend choosing a niche and building your portfolio around it, don’t take just any translation job.

If you never worked as a translator, check out other translators’ portfolios for your language pair to see what a good translation looks like — it’s not about translating the words, it’s about getting the message across. And don’t forget to read a lot in your native language.”

Martina leaves us with some amazing resources for getting started. Here they are:

Resources not specific to translation:

 

And… there you go! If you’re a persistent person who is fluent in at least 2 languages, translating might just be the perfect digital nomad job for you. I hope we answered all your questions, if you have any more, please leave them in the comments and our girls and I will try our best to answer them all.

If you’re curious about even more jobs that you can do online, check out our series on the 50+ digital nomad girl jobs to inspire you!

 

Are you an interested in becoming a Translator? Please share below!

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others who might like it, too, and to find out more about the girls you can find their author bios below:

Maria Sokolova

Maria Sokolova is a Translator and Proofreader. Originally from Krasnodar, Russia, she has been travelling almost non-stop for the past 5 years. You can get in touch with her via her Facebook or her Instagram.

Federica Bruniera

Federica Bruniera is a Translator originally from Italy, and is currently in Colombia. You can connect with her on Instagram or her Website.

Martina Russo

Martina is an Italian professional translator, business owner, outdoor enthusiast, and true world citizen. She’s been making premium products and brands accessible to the Italian, Swiss Italian, and European markets for over 8 years. Her work can be found online on Linkedin, Website and theactionsportstranslator.com.

DNG presents Online Job of the Month: Online English Teacher

DNG presents Online Job of the Month: Online English Teacher

 

In our new blog series ‘Online Job of the Month’ we share the most interesting online jobs with you. You might think only web developers and graphic designers can be digital nomads. But there are actually a wide variety of interesting (and profitable) jobs out there for aspiring Digital Nomad Girls. This month we will tell you all about working as an Online English Teacher. 

If you’re curious about other online jobs, check out our features on Social Media Managers, Virtual Assistants and Online Editors

We talked to Emma Wolno, Laura Lee and Gery Ciftcioglu who are successfully working as Online English Teachers while travelling the world. So without further ado, let’s dive in!

 

What exactly is an Online English Teacher? What do they do?

Emma says that as an Online English Teacher, essentially”I teach children in China English lessons over a video conferencing platform. Because of the huge demand in China, there are lots of Online English Teaching companies.”

So what does Emma do? “My duties are teaching 25 minute lessons to 5-12 year olds. I teach them vocabulary, help them practice their speaking skills, and a little bit of grammar as well.”

online english teacher digital nomad girls job of the month

Gery does similar things in her job in that, “I conduct one on one lessons over the phone or Skype. There is little lesson preparation where I have to get familiar with student’s goals and previous lessons, and after the lesson, I have to write a short report of what we’ve done and what the homework is as well as what the student is supposed to do in the next lesson.”

Laura says that DaDa (the English teaching company she works for) makes things easy for her, in that “All the lessons are prepared so I can roll out of bed twenty minutes before classes start, put on my blue t-shirt and I’m ready to go! When I first started I’d spend a little time flicking through the lessons but after a while they become so familiar even that isn’t necessary anymore…

I spend a few hours teaching then head to a cafe to write my after class assessments. This usually takes around twenty to thirty minutes (longer if I get sucked into Facebook!)”

Laura also adds that, “With DaDa you get assigned regular students, most of mine I’ve been teaching for an entire year now. I love that I get to see them progress and you really do start to feel like part of the family! I’ve been introduced to my students’ families, friends, pets and I’ve even been taken on a holiday or two (via the webcam of course).”

That sounds so lovely!

 

What kind of skills do I need to become an Online English Teacher?

The most important skills are:

  • good command of the English language
  • being able to conceptualize a lesson, break things down, and explain ideas well
  • understanding what students need and want from you as a teacher
  • being friendly and enthusiastic!

Laura mentions that, “Don’t worry if you don’t have any teaching experience, it obviously doesn’t hurt, but it isn’t a requirement!”

All agree that you have to be warm, enthusiastic and have high energy. “The kids are often young and maybe haven’t interacted with foreigners that much, so they expect you to be very friendly and animated for the younger children. ” Emma added.

Laura believes that, “If you enjoy working with kids, have lots of energy and are able to adapt to different situations, you can teach online.”

In terms of working online, Gery adds that “you need to be skilled in planning your time and in working well independently.”

That is a job requirement for most online or remote-based jobs! I speak from experience. 🙂 If you need help with productivity while working online, check out our blog post on that here.

 

Do you need any qualifications or certificates?

Laura shares that mostly it depends on the company; some have requirements that others don’t. “Most companies, including DaDa, require a Bachelor’s degree in any subject, it doesn’t have to be in teaching. DaDa also usually accepts a TEFL certificate and teaching experience as an alternative,” she adds.

Gery agrees that “Most companies require you to have a CELTA or TEFL certificate in addition to a Bachelors degree, which could be in anything.” Emma adds that, “A TEFL or TESOL course will definitely help you get hired, but wasn’t required for my VIPKID.”

All three of the interviewed mention that your Bachelor’s degree does not have to in teaching or English language – you just need to have a degree in something!

online english teacher digital nomad girls job of the month

What about being a native English speaker? Gery mentions, “It also helps if you are a native speaker, but for many employers, that isn’t a necessity. Some companies are interested in hiring bilingual teachers as well.”

Laura suggests to those interested in becoming an Online English Teacher: “If you’re new to teaching it might be worth getting an online TEFL to improve your chance of being offered higher pay. You can get one on Groupon for a few dollars and they don’t usually take long to complete!”

Emma also recommends, “You could use mentoring, tutoring or even babysitting experience to show you can work with young kids. I had done a few months of teaching English in Cambodia, but I also used my two years as a Snowboarding instructor when I applied!”

 

Where do you find jobs as an Online English Teacher?

This is probably one of the first question you’d like answered before getting into any field, as a nomad or not. And the answers might surprise you.

The demand is apparently huge, which is great news for you!

Emma says, “You can find them online by researching the various companies and applying. The demand is so huge as more and more kids in China are learning English, so there are tons of companies that are almost always hiring. Some are better than others, so be sure to review them carefully and read a few blogs. There is also a lot of great information of YouTube!”

Laura recommends that “Social media and word of mouth are the way to go! There are plenty of Facebook groups, YouTube channels and blogs for online teachers. I recommend joining a few and seeing what people have to say about the different companies. You can find out a lot from speaking to current teachers.”

Gery echos the statements of the other two that doing your research is key, “I began by reading in the facebook group ‘Online ESL Reviews‘. Its members shared very valuable information about schools, conditions and personal experiences from the jobs. Then I went to the remote jobs websites. TEFL.com also publishes online job offers. Another one is teachaway.com but the best source of information are the people in the Facebook group.”

So in summary: do your research! Google for reviews, ask in Facebook groups, and make sure you apply to a company that you really love.

 

How much can I earn as an Online English Teacher?

It depends.

“If you are a native speaker willing to teach kids, you may be able to earn as much as 25-30 USD an hour. If you are experienced and have a good, clear accent but you aren’t native and you don’t want to work with young children or their parents, you may be able to make up to 16 USD or euros an hour” says Gery.

online english teacher digital nomad girls job of the month

Laura works with DaDa and says that there, “the maximum pay advertised is $25 per hour. Realistically though, starting rates are more likely to be between $15 and $20 depending on your qualifications, experience and performance in your demo class.”

Emma says, “If you do this job part-time or as a side-hustle such as I do, you can expect to take home an extra $400-$1000 per month. The hourly wage can be anywhere from $14-26 to USD an hour.”

So in general, the hourly rate for being an Online English Teacher seems to be around the range of $14 – $20, with the highs being at $25 – $30.

What about bonuses? Laura says, “A lot of companies also offer bonuses for various things! With DaDa, we get bonuses for converting trial students, retaining regular students and we can even collect points to exchange for Amazon vouchers.”

 

How do Online English Teachers price their services? Hourly, per project, per word?

“Most companies will give you a base rate determined on your experience and education. From there you can get small bonuses to increase your wage. It might be possible to charge higher rates if you worked directly with individuals to teach/tutor them English, but of course it’s harder to find clients and with a company it’s all sorted for you” Emma says.

Laura says that, “Generally companies pay by class. Some companies only pay for the classes you have scheduled, others such as DaDa, pay standby time. This means that if at any point during your contract hours a class is cancelled or a space isn’t filled you are still guaranteed to get half pay for that time.”

Gery says that for her it’s “usually per hour. This may vary from employer to employer but some companies let you negotiate your price and others are very rigid.”

 

Is it easy to work as an Online English Teacher while travelling?

So… what’s it actually like to work as a traveling Online English Teacher? Are you able to balance traveling and working set times?

“Absolutely! All you need is a laptop with a webcam, a headset, a decent wifi connection and maybe a puppet or two. A quiet space is definitely preferable but I know teachers who have taught in hostels, airports and even on a train through India, so anything is possible!

 

I’m currently travelling around Eastern Europe and this is my only job. I left the UK with zero savings and I have been able to support myself and even save a little money too! I travel slowly and stay in AirBnBs so working full time suits me.

If you want more flexibility, I’d recommend choosing just a few contract hours (four hours a week is the minimum) and adding extra hours to your schedule when you find places with great wifi” Laura suggests.

Gery agrees and says, “I’d say it is relatively easy. You need to have a good internet connection, a quiet environment, and a good set of headphones with a microphone.

Emma also agrees with the other two, saying “Definitely! The great thing about VIPKID is that they don’t mind if you take time off, and no one will really notice. It’s not like a traditional job where you ask for time off, you either open your schedule for classes or you don’t. So sometimes I’ll work a lot one week and then take some time off.

If I want to do the job while on the road, that’s possible, too. My only recommendation is to make sure you stay in an Airbnb or get a private room, hostels would not be ideal. VIPKID likes you to have props in the classroom, so I recommend buying a mini whiteboard and a few lightweight supplies to bring along. I’ve also started using a software called Manycam, which allows you to display graphics and rewards on your screen, which is perfect for traveling as you don’t need to bring anything really!”
So the consensus is yes! Being an Online English Teacher is a nomad approved job. 

 

What would you recommend to other nomad girls who’d like to get started working as an Online English Teacher?

Laura says: “Do your research.” There are hundreds of companies out there and some will suit you better than others. Decide what is important to you and go from there.

She suggests asking yourself:

  • Do you want to teach adults or children?
  • Would you prefer to teach one to one or groups?
  • Do you want to teach on a laptop or from your phone?
  • Do you want to use pre-prepared lessons or make your own?

Laura says, “Answering these questions will help you figure out what you’re looking for in a company and help you narrow down your search! Once you’ve found a company that suits you, find a recruiter or referrer who will help you through the process. Having someone to answer all your questions and give you advice can help take a lot of stress out of the process.

If you’re interested in working with DaDa and would like me to help you through the application process, feel free to send me an email or a message on Facebook! Working online can be lonely so I recommend finding a support network. Most companies have their own Facebook groups and these can be a place to meet other teachers, share student stories and ask questions.” If you’re thinking about working with DaDa, you can find Laura’s information below! 

online english teacher digital nomad girls job of the month

Emma also agrees that the first step should be to research. She says, “I would recommend doing some research about the different companies and seeing what would be a good fit for you. If you are concerned about your lack of teaching experience, you could start taking an online TEFL course to boost your confidence and get yourself classroom ready.

The application for VIPKID is the hardest part (it’s quite lengthly) so I would highly recommend reaching out to an experienced teacher for tips on the interview process. If you’d like to chat with me I would be happy to refer you and give you some tips on how to get hired,” so make sure to reach out to Emma if you need tips! Her info is below as well.

 

There you go future Online English Teacher. If you’re a friendly, enthusiastic person who likes teaching and has great English, teaching English online might just be the perfect digital nomad job for you. I hope we answered all your questions, if you have any more, please leave them in the comments and our girls and I will try our best to answer them all.

If you’re curious about even more jobs that you can do online, check out our series on the 50+ digital nomad girl jobs to inspire you!

 

Are you an interested in becoming an Online English Teacher? Please share below!

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others who might like it too!

To find out more about the girls you can find their author bios below:

Emma Wolno

Emma Wolno is an Online English Teacher. Originally from Ottawa, Canada, she is currently based in Berlin! You can get in touch with her via her Website or her Instagram.

Laura Lee

Laura Lee is an online English teacher who runs a blog that share tips for teaching online and how to get started teaching with DaDa! She’s from Nottingham in the UK and is now travelling around Eastern Europe. You can connect with her on Facebook or her Website.

Gery Ciftcioglu

Gery is originally from Bulgaria, but currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey. You can find her on Facebook or her Website.

DNG Presents Online Job of the Month: Social Media Manager

DNG Presents Online Job of the Month: Social Media Manager

In our new blog series we want to share with you all the different and interesting jobs that you can do online. Many people think that only web developers and bloggers can work remotely, when actually there is a growing number of jobs that allow you to go remote.

This month we are going to be sharing with you how to work as a Social Media Manager from anywhere in the world.

We interviewed 3 girls that are currently rocking the digital nomad world as Social Media Managers, and here’s what they have to tell you…

What exactly does a social media manager do?

As a Social Media Manager, you can handle a lot of different tasks for your clients, and the job can vary depending on what different clients want and need. However, some of the tasks that you can expect to do include:

– Creating a social media strategy
– Community management & customer service
– Content creation & curation
– Content scheduling
– Research
– You might be responsible for influencer outreach, and forming strategic alliances
– Running campaigns
– Managing ads

 

What kind of skills do you need to become a Social Media Manager?

Lisa told us, “Knowledge of online marketing channels – there are so many platforms now people tend to specialize and become experts in a couple. Excellent copywriting skills and solid grammar. Ability to deliver creative content (text, image, and video). Solid knowledge of SEO, keyword research, and Google Analytics. A lot of places want familiarity with web design and at least basic HTML knowledge. Great communication skills are very important.”

Vicky added to that by telling us, “Of course, familiarity with each social media platform including targeting capabilities, ad types, and delivery options are important too!”

Jen also let us know what the most important skills for her are, “communication, multitasking, writing, project management, strategic thinking, and customer service skills.”

 

Do you need any qualifications or certificates?

All the girls agreed that no, you don’t need any qualifications or certificates to work as a Social Media Manager. However, they also agreed that it can be very helpful for you to have experience, and if it’s something you are really passionate about your, educate yourself using one of the many online courses out there.

 

Where do you find jobs as a social media manager?

Jen shared her secrets for where she finds jobs as a social media manager: “There are so many opportunities to find clients and jobs. There are websites like Upwork, Facebook groups, networking events, and just good ol’ conversation with a stranger. I’ve found most of my clients from Facebook groups, networking events, and referrals from these relationships. I’ve even gotten a client from a housesit!”

Lisa agreed that word of mouth is one of the best ways for you to find a job working as a Social Media Manager.

Vicky shared a slightly different opinion: “There are many ways to go about building a career in social media. I personally feel starting at an agency is the most effective way to learn both the soft and hard skills necessary for success, though this typically means working in-house. Ad agencies are often centered in tech hubs/larger cities. I found my first agency job on Craigslist. If I were looking for an entry-level agency today, aside from Craigslist/LinkedIn/Indeed, I would find out what agencies exist in cities I wanted to live in and keep tabs on their posted job opportunities. Once you have the foundation of your skill set and want to move to a remote position, you can find relevant positions on job boards dedicated to remote work (typically under the tag ‘marketing’). Conversely, you can work for yourself building your own clientele via your networks like DNG and LinkedIn.”

 

How much can I earn as a social media manager?

All the girls we talked to had differing opinions on how much you can make as a social media manager, but they all agreed that it can vary wildly based on the worker and employer. Much of it comes down to how much you are going to charge. Overcharge and you might get fewer clients; undercharge and you might find yourself working nonstop and making no money.

Vicky hit the nail on the head when she said, ‘Like most jobs, this varies on how many years of experience you have. It’s also highly dependent on whether you work for a larger organization/agency or for yourself. I feel the salary range for a strategist with at least three years experience working on larger accounts can earn $50k – $70k USD/year, excluding commission or bonuses at an agency.

Working for yourself is even more variable, but a consultant with the same level of experience as the above can earn $30-$60/hour or more depending on your negotiation skills!”

 

How do you price your services as a social media manager?

Both Jen and Lisa agreed that they found charging a flat monthly rate to be the best way to go. This way they felt like they didn’t have to write down everything everytime they hopped on Instagram just to do some engagement for a client. They just knew that everything they did for the whole month was already covered.

Vicky however, told us that she charges hourly for her work.

 

Is it easy to work as a social media manager while travelling?

Lisa said “For the most part it’s a very easy job to do while traveling. All you need is a great data plan and decent internet. I have clients all over the world, so one of my favorite apps is WorldTimeBuddy which helps me manage timezones. You will also need a system to help you manage content like Buffer, HootSuite, MeetEdgar, or Sprout Social to name a few.  A VPN can be important to keep client data safe. I work for a news organization that has a special tweet delivery system that is important I keep secure.”

Jen also shared with us her favorite things about being able to do this job while traveling, “You can structure your work hours around all your adventures. You can even create fun graphics on word swag by the pool or at the beach if you really want – I checked that one off my list for fun ;)”

 

What would you recommend to other nomad girls who’d like to get started working as a social media manager?

Jen wanted to share with everyone interested in becoming a social media manager that you shouldn’t wait to make your dreams come true! A true inspiration, she was able to start working while traveling before her own social profiles and website were ever set up. She encourages you to start right away if you think this is something that you want to do! She even says, “Whatever level you are at, there is someone who is a few steps behind you and is looking for some help, once you identify where that is you are in business!”

Vicky shared some great advice as well, she said that the best thing you can do is just start now, even if you are just doing some small things for yourself and your friends.

Lisa’s advice for all of you wanting to get started was to pick a niche! That way you can get specialized in your niche, which will make you able to charge more and get more people from that niche seeking you out to work with. She also suggested that you choose a few of the apps to become an expert in. She shared with us that she had to realize that Pinterest wasn’t really going to work for her niche, so she doesn’t bother with it, while, on the other hand, some entire businesses can be marketed just through Pinterest. It’s all about becoming an expert in your area!  

 

We really hope that this post has opened your eyes to all the possibilities out there for working online. There are so many things that you can do in the field of social media management alone. Take these girls advice and get started right away. The best thing for you is to get experience, which will enable you to gain momentum and grow in your field!

Don’t forget to share this post with other Digital Nomad Girls who might be looking to make the leap into the growing world of Social Media Management.

To learn more about the girls, check out their author bios below!

Jen Casano

 

Jen is originally from Vancouver BC Canada. She got started by just working off referrals and her side hobby has now turned into a full-time business. Because of this snowball effect, she is just now creating her own social channels and website. She’s a great reminder that you really can start from nothing!

Vicky Walker

Vicky Walker, a social media manager wearing a pretty outfit. Vicky Walker, a social media manager snaps a selfie in another colorful city.

Vicky is from Encinitas, CA, USA. She is currently located in London. She loves working as a Social Media Strategist as she chases her dreams around the world! You can connect with Vicky on LinkedIn.

Lisa Collard

Lisa Collard, a social media manager snaps a selfie in front of some really colorful buildings in Denmark! Lisa Collard, a social media manager sitting in a field of sunflowers. Lisa Collard, a social media manager takes this photo sitting on a camels back in the dessert.

Lisa is an American temporarily in Charlottesville, VA. She just returned from 2 years abroad (Thailand, Malaysia, Portugal, Morocco, Italy and more) and is spending time with family before making a permanent move abroad. Check out Lisa’s website and follow her on Instagram here.

DNG presents Online Job of the Month: Online Editor

DNG presents Online Job of the Month: Online Editor

 

In our new blog series ‘Online Job of the Month’ we share the most interesting online jobs with you. You might think only web developers and graphic designers can be digital nomads. But there are actually a huge number of interesting (and profitable) jobs out there for aspiring Digital Nomad Girls. This month we will tell you all about working as an online editor. 

We talked to Izzy Pulido, Amy Scott and Renee Picard who are successfully working as editors while travelling the world.

What exactly is an editor? What do editors do?

 

Amy says “at the most basic level, what I do is help improve people’s writing. Depending on the project’s needs, I do this through developmental editing (big-picture organization and structure), copy editing (clarity, tone, syntax, typos, punctuation), and/or proofreading (focused just on mechanical errors like typos and punctuation).”

“An editor is an individual charged with finalizing content for a publication, particularly for newspapers and magazines. However, nowadays, with the entrance of digital consortiums and blogs, the world of editorial has broadened a bit.” Izzy added.

Renee notes that “a lot of people think that editors just “fix” errors, but it can be so much more than that! You might be in charge of author outreach, choosing submissions, coordinating writers, leading projects, curating content, writing regular columns, choosing images, creating titles, creating taglines, etc. You would likely be directly involved in copy development to a lesser or greater degree – it may just be something as simple as a light copyedit or proofread, or you may get into more developmental editing.

If the latter, you may spend hours or even months (depending on the type of publication) working with authors, other editors and publicists on a given piece. Once a given piece is at the point where it’s publication-ready, you might also work through the final stages of publishing and be involved in post-publication marketing.  

What kind of skills do I need to become an editor?

The most important skills are:

  • attention to detail
  • a natural knack for spelling and catching errors
  • knowledge of grammar rules, publishing standards, style guides, etc.
  • being reliable and able to stick to deadlines.

Renee adds that “you have to be able to dissect your native language – you need to have a good sense of how to not only use it but also manipulate it to enhance meaning. Obviously, having a solid understanding of structural rules (grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.) is essential, but beyond that you need to be able to read something and feel it in order to find your direction with regards to working with it.”

 

All agree that you have to be diplomatic. “You have to be able to be sensitive in your conversations with authors and address their concerns as well. So, beyond the hard skills (language, reading, writing) you need to exercise diplomacy and gentleness when working with authors, but still carry a hard line with regards to publication standards. Writers (yes, even me, and maybe even you,) can be pretty precious about their work, so you have to be ready to…work with this!”  Renee added.

Izzy adds that “as a managing editor, you also have to be:

  • good with time management
  • have strong critical thinking skills
  • be a good decision maker in order to assess the quality of content in relation to its performance with your audience (i.e. is this content being well-received? What are people interested in reading?)
  • Being technologically versed as a digital professional is of the utmost importance.“

 

Izzy working in her hotel room in Vietnam

Izzy working in her hotel room in Vietnam

Do you need any qualifications or certificates?

 

Editing “is not a regulated industry and there are no requirements in terms of education or certifications, though there are programs out there that will train you and give you a certificate in publishing, for example. This may be a good way to go if you are starting from scratch, but I have found that my on-the-job editorial experience at several publishing companies has served me well” says Amy Scott.

 

Renee shared that she “didn’t have any formal education in writing or journalism. But I’ve always been interested in writing and had strong skills in the area. I had a blog for a while and then submitted a couple of pieces to Elephant Journal, then took their Apprentice Program, then volunteered, and then was ecstatic that they hired me! All that to say, if you don’t have formal experience, don’t worry—if you are interested in finding experience, you will find a way. I would recommend finding an author/business/publication you love and see if there are any volunteer/training opportunities with them.”  

 

“Those with journalism backgrounds are the preferred candidates for the task. English majors, especially those with creative writing degrees, are also the ideal applicants” says Izzy. “However, in Vietnam, where the demand for native English writers heavily outweighs the supply, the prerequisite for editorial jobs is solely a strong command of the English language. A college degree is also required, but even without experience in the field, if you demonstrate your linguistic abilities well enough, that alone will help you to secure a job.”

 

Where do you find jobs as an editor?

 

This is probably the first question you’d like answered before getting into any field, as a nomad or not. And the answers might surprise you.

“Funnily enough, all the editorial jobs I’ve encountered are mostly listed on Facebook, as Facebook is the best recruitment tool here in Vietnam. Everyone in Vietnam, from businesses to schools, are active Facebook users and you’ll see that professionals have turned to Facebook to reach a larger audience. I actually got my first editorial job through Facebook and this new position as the Managing Editor for Vietnam Tourism stemmed from a blind Facebook message from my now-supervisor” says Izzy.

Other, more traditional paths include agencies and freelancing platforms. Amy says “you can get started as a freelancer on sites like Upwork and Fiverr or specific publishing sites like Reedsy. There are also job boards, such as the one provided by the Editorial Freelancers Association; (you have to be a member to access it). Many publishing companies put out calls for freelancers through their own websites. I haven’t heard of many full-time remote jobs for editors, but they may be out there, especially for blogs or tech companies. In my experience, there’s really nothing better than word of mouth.”

If you have specialised in a specific field like scientific or medical editing, doing a Google search for agencies in your industry should be the first step when looking for work.

 

How much can I earn as an editor?

 

“This is a great question! I think that an entry or mid- level wage at an online publication might be in the range of $20 +/hour. If you are freelancing, rates can vary but the standard rate is about $40/hour. If you are highly educated and working for a major publication, I’d expect that one could be making a typical management-level salary, but I’m not in a position to comment on this number”, says Renee.

Amy agrees “there’s a huge range depending on the type of client, the type of content, and the type of editing. The Editorial Freelancers Association has a chart of typical ratesas a beginner you could make less than those rates, and someone with a lot of experience can make substantially more. In the past 11 years of working for myself, and based on the above factors, I’ve made anywhere from $20/hour (or less, if I didn’t estimate a project well!) to $200/hour.”

 

How do editors price their services? Hourly, per project, per word?

 

One of the trickiest things to figure out when you’re starting as a freelancer is how much to charge your clients. Each of the girls had a slightly different approach.

“Depending on the editor and the type of editing (and sometimes the client), pricing may be per hour, per word, or per project, and there are varying approaches to how much is included in those fees. I typically charge by the word for copy editing and proofreading, calculating based on how much I want to make per hour and how long I think the project will take. I charge by the hour for developmental editing because it’s harder to predict how long it will take and often requires more back and forth” says Amy Scott.

“The position I currently hold is a full-time job and pays a monthly fixed salary” Izzy shared with us. “The workload varies depending on deadlines that need to be met, so typically I work a crazy number of hours for a few weeks and then can relax in the following weeks when there aren’t any assignments. It all balances out.”

Rene says “most people I know who are freelancers encourage charging per project, but some charge by the hour. The going hourly rate is generally $40–60.

I refer to this link often, it’s a great reference point for readers (this is for Canada but can be a good pointer for others too).”

 

Is it easy to work as an editor while travelling?

 

Now that’s the question we’re all most interested in. Does editing lend itself to a nomadic lifestyle?

The short answer: yes! The advantage of editing work is that you can do a lot of it offline, so having constant and reliable Internet access isn’t as much of a factor as it is for some other types of work. Also, because the work is asynchronous, it often doesn’t matter if you’re halfway across the world from your clients. But you still need to be responsible and reliable and make sure you can stick to deadlines, which for some people is a challenge while travelling. The downside is that the work is very hands-on, so if you’re not at your computer editing, you’re not making any money” says Amy Scott.

Renee adds “I think with any type of work, it would likely be easiest to travel if you were entirely freelancing and setting your own schedule. There are plenty of remote options for editorial work as well, but it may mean that you have less flexibility.”

 

What would you recommend to other nomad girls who’d like to get started working as an editor?

 

“I’d say that it’s a good idea to clarify your current strengths, skills and interests and work from there” says Renee. “Maybe you have the type of job that already involves a lot of documents so you can ask to take on more editing tasks, for instance. There are a gazillion Facebook groups for writers and editors with all types of backgrounds which can be great places to ask questions and network. Find someone that you trust and admire that is willing to be a mentor for you, either formally or informally.

Do research, ask questions, and try out a few different avenues to figure out what you want your focus to be, then start to build up your portfolio and references (Note: It’s possible to be a great writer and poor editor, and vice versa, so be sure to get some honest feedback and do some honest reflecting about your strengths along the way).”

Izzy added “the biggest asset to me without having a journalism background was being able to present a writing portfolio with at least ten published pieces, all in long-form. The portfolio helped me to prove my expertise and handle of English language, both in the technical and stylistic sphere. I’ve only worked the editorial market in Vietnam and so this advice is technically a bit location-specific, but I think for nomad girls who are interested in pursuing an editorial-related job, you need to demonstrate your writing abilities first and foremost.”

And don’t forget about marketing and learning. Amy encourages you to “tell everyone you know that you are available for this kind of work. Talk to people doing the kind of work you want to do. Read grammar and language books, familiarize yourself with the common style guides (such as the Chicago Manual of Style for American book publishing).”

 

There you go future editor. If you’re a bookworm and have a love for language and grammar, editing might just be the perfect digital nomad job for you. I hope we answered all your questions, if you have any more, please leave them in the comments and our girls and I will try our best to answer them all.

 

Are you an interested in becoming a freelance editor? Please share below!

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others who might like it too!

To find out more about the girls you can find their author bios below:

Izzy Pulido

Izzy Pulido is a globetrotting editor and travel writer who shares her stories on her blog The Next Somewhere. Originally from Beverly, MA she currently lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. You can get in touch with Izzy via her Facebook Page.

Amy Scott 

Amy Scott is an online editor at Nomad Editorial and also runs her travel website Nomadtopia. She is originally from New Jersey and currently lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Renee Picard

Renée Picard is an online editor from Vancouver, Canada. She is passionate about her job and loves teaching others how to become a better editor. Check out her guest post about best practices for bloggers.

DNG presents Online Job of the Month: VA (Virtual Assistant)

DNG presents Online Job of the Month: VA (Virtual Assistant)

In our new blog series ‘Online Job of the Month’ we share the most interesting online jobs with you. You might think only web developers and graphic designers can be digital nomads. But there are actually a huge number of interesting (and profitable) jobs out there for aspiring Digital Nomad Girls.

This month we will tell you all about working as a Virtual Assistant. Digital Nomad Girls spoke to three girls who are successfully working as Virtual Assistants while travelling the world.

What exactly is a Virtual Assistant? What do Virtual Assistants do?

A virtual assistant is a professional who provides assistance to business owners on a virtual basis. They help to free up valuable time for their clients, for instance by supporting them with admin or online marketing tasks.

The scope of what a VA can help with is much more varied than the traditional office worker, which is perhaps one of the most beneficial and exciting aspects of this career. You can be flexible in the hours you work, the services you provide, where you work from and the clients you choose to work with. VAs can work for individuals, agencies, or other VAs (as associates), but are always self-employed or business owners. They can work from anywhere in the world, so long as there’s a stable Internet connection.

What kind of skills do I need to become a Virtual Assistant?

“There’s a huge misconception that VAs need to have extensive experience to get started. It’s true that training and tech skills would be beneficial in getting the higher paying jobs – but to start, I bet you that pretty much anyone reading this already has a skill that could be transferrable” says Hannah Dixon. “If you have some skills in any of these key areas, there are people who would pay you for those services online:”

General Administration…you could be doing: Email correspondence, producing reports, taking minutes, organizing digital assets (dropbox/google drive), data entry, invoicing, bookkeeping, diary management, travel booking

Writing…you could be doing: Blog posts, social media posts, correspondence, copywriting for sales pages, crafting recruitment ads, proofreading, ghostwriting, preparing presentations in Powerpoint, transcription, translation, copy for email marketing campaigns, press releases, SEO copywriting

Graphic Design…you could be doing: Social media graphics, logo design, web design, banners, marketing materials for print, flyers, business cards, signage for events, ebook & pdf design, preparing presentations, creating infographics

Social Media Management…you could be: Scheduling posts, running ads, community (group) engagement, strategy, creating Facebook groups/pages, managing scheduling platforms, curating and creating content, monitoring insights and stats

“Speaking a foreign language is definitely a bonus. Most of my work involves graphic design, translation, proofreading and social media management” adds Julia Neubauer from Austria, who is working as a nomadic VA in Tenerife.

To support a client’s online and cloud activity, a VA needs to have knowledge of “at least one application or platform for working with email, documents, file storage, calendar, and communications. A VA does not need to know everything, but rather know the areas they wish to work in, are good at, and enjoy” Elaine Rogers adds.

Do you need any qualifications or certificates to become a VA?

The VA industry is not regulated, so the short answer is no. However, some VAs feel more confident with a certification. Certifications in specific online tools can attract higher rates, but that is down to the individual.
“A good education, excellent language and written skills, attention to detail, and a responsive nature will go a long way” Elaine shared with us.

Julia thinks “It’s essential that you’re someone who loves to learn and can be self-sufficient in learning new skills if they are needed.”

Hannah added that “the online world is ever changing. Technology, tools and programs are always being tweaked to suit the times and needs of their users. It’s pretty much your duty to stay ahead of the game to be able to set yourself apart as a VA – you can learn the basics and get by, or you can be a pioneer in the cutting edge and offer your clients the newest, coolest strategies and tools for success. You want to be pretty passionate about learning as this career will require just that.”

Where do you find jobs as a Virtual Assistant?

All three VAs we spoke to agreed on this topic. While online freelancing platforms can be a way to get a foot in the door, they warn that “there is lots of competition and hourly rates tend to be low.” They can be great for building up a portfolio of work and a small client base. After you’re comfortable, it’s definitely best to source clients yourself” said Julia. Hannah emphasised that “sites like these will not provide you the clients you really want to work for, the ones that value you and want to build a lasting relationship.“

They all agreed that using your network is key to a successful career as a VA. Elaine said “Personally, I use my own professional networks both offline (business communities from a previous profession) and online (LinkedIn and FB groups are key for me).”

Hannah says she focuses on building her network organically. “I cannot stress enough how important building true relationships with your online community is. I spent hours, weeks, months…okaaaayyy…maybe 3 years building my network and I still am. I rarely look for clients anymore, I am so well connected that I get tagged on Facebook by people I don’t even know for VA opportunities and wake up with people requesting to work with me in my messages every morning. How would that feel? To not have to even market yourself anymore?”

“It can seem impossible to find your first client” Julia adds – “but once you have a couple under your belt, you start to trust in yourself and realise that it’s actually not as hard as you first thought.”

How much can you earn as a Virtual Assistant?

As usual, when it comes to rates, it depends on the specific skills you can offer and whether they are in demand.

“A general VA can earn up to $30/hour, more if they package certain services. A specialist VA (copywriter, SM strategist, graphic designer, backend expert) can charge $50-120/hour, because of their specialty” says Elaine.

Julia agrees and adds that “an average rate for new VA’s is around £20 per hour and professional clients are more than happy to pay for quality work. It’s important not to undersell yourself! Clients will value your work much more if they pay £25 for it than £5 per hour.

Elaine points out that “pricing your skills is very important, in order to ensure you can survive on the road, or wherever you are stationed. As a gal who’s been around the block a few times, I also put certain things in place for my future, so I take that into consideration when pricing my services. You also need to be very aware to include hidden costs (taxes, social charges if applicable, overheads) as well as putting 20-30% aside for when you do stop travelling, or stop working.

If you charge $8 as a nomad, you will need to work 250 hours a month to create a turnover of $2000.”

“There are three main ways VAs price things: hourly, retainers and value-based pricing – the latter being the kind of mecca of pricing models that you can achieve only over time with experience and a deep understanding of the value and ROI you bring your clients” adds Hannah.

Is it easy to work as a VA while travelling?

Absolutely! So long as you have good internet access, a good work horse (aka laptop), and good systems in place, you’re good to go. A general rule is: The less correspondence a specific task requires, the easier it is to complete while travelling

Hannah, who is currently in Hoi An, Vietnam, adds that “providing you don’t work with clients who require you to work on their time, it can be super easy. You get to make your schedule based on the deadlines you have. So long as you meet them and are meeting your client’s expectations, you can do whatever the hell you like in your spare time.

“If you’re managing social media accounts, the time changes can be difficult – luckily there’s so much you can schedule in advance” says Julia.
“It’s worth investing in a good laptop that can take the heat (in every sense!) and spare chargers, dongles, headphones and mic, and any other equipment that will make your life easier” Elaine shares.

What part of the job do you like most and which one least, and why?

All agree that they enjoy the freedom and flexibility this job offers them. “Becoming a VA has allowed me to travel and achieve what I call work-life integration. My work and play are happily intermingled, and I love it” says Elaine “I enjoy freedom of choice by being a VA – I choose my clients, how much I charge, and when I get paid. I don’t subscribe to industry standards or what is normal. I am not lucky, I have designed my work that way, and my clients respect me because I attracted them by marketing to the right types of clients.”

Of course, every job has some downsides. Ironically, Hannah dislikes the admin side of her career “doing my own paperwork sucks…I totally need a VA haha.”

This seems to be a common thread among freelancers and entrepreneurs. Elaine adds that she “does not enjoy the bureaucracy that comes with being self-employed.”
Julia warns that “clients can sometimes forget that you’re not just working for them, but also for others. Each client would like their own project to be finished as soon as possible”

Hannah, who now trains others to become Virtual Assistants, shared the top soft skills she thinks clients are looking for when hiring a VA

The soft skills are really where your success lies. Here are the three most important soft skills:

Adaptability: Able to change and adapt to clients’ needs, new software and tools, time zones and a multitude of tasks that you’ll often need to figure out on the go.

Confidence: Being a VA does NOT mean you are an employee. You are a fully-fledged business owner in your own right and that means you need the gusto and confidence to ensure your clients treat you as such.

Patience: for sooo many reasons. Working with clients who don’t know their copy from their paste can be frustrating, patience and understanding goes a long way. Tech issues: they will happen! You must be prepared to deal with issues calmly and efficiently.

 

We hope you now have a better understanding of what a career as a VA could look like and how you can get started yourself. A HUGE thanks to our three interviewees for sharing their experience, tips and tricks with us.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others who might like it too!

To find out more about the girls you can find their author bios below:

Elaine Rogers

Elaine Rogers is originally from Ireland and was a business coach and trainer in her previous profession. Due to her background in IT, a love of social media and WordPress, and a genuine interest in all things tech and internet, she re-invented herself as The Smart VA

Hannah Dixon

Hannah Dixon from London is an adventurer extraordinaire with 8 consecutive years of travel experience. She funds her lifestyle through her ninja VA and OBM skills, serving those in the mind, body & soul industries. Her goal is to also empower other travel hungry folk, giving them the necessary skills to create their own thriving, location independent VA business.

If you feel that becoming a VA could be for you, why not join her VA Starter Kit Course where Hannah teaches you all the skills necessary to become a high-end VA! Hannah also runs her hugely popular 5-Day VA challenge, so make sure you sign up to that!

Julia Neubauer

Julia Neubauer is a virtual assistant and visual artist exploring the world. You can find out more about her virtual assistance on her website Merakiva and follow her art on Instagram.
Thank you so much to all three girls who shared their experience and knowledge with us! What do you think, is a VA career the next step for you?

p.s. this post contains affiliate links which means I get a small commission if you purchase a service through my links at no extra cost to you. I only recommend services I’ve tested myself and I know will be helpful for my readers.

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