Our 7 Income Streams: How To Make Money Online For Beginners

So, it’s been 6 years since we embarked on this journey of a lifetime and still the most common question we’re asked is “How do you afford it?”  We decided not to get work from home jobs. This lifestyle definitely isn’t free and we’re not mega-rich (yet).  We’re just two regular degular people with a bit of drive and ambition who learned how to make money online for beginners and just about anyone. So I thought I’d create this blog post to break down each of our current income streams that allow us to be fully self-employed and travel the world as we do.  These are all income streams that you could do too if you wanted to. 

With everything I am about to share there is no magic bullet.  We’ve just compiled a small portfolio of income streams that allow us the flexibility and freedom to explore the world. A bit of background on us.  I (Chinique) worked in education as a Mentor and Careers Advisor for 10 years (trust me when I say the irony is not lost on me that I worked supporting teenagers to follow a typical life path – school, university, career, etc and I’ve since completely ditched the system.  It always burned me inside that I ended up trying to convince these kids to “stay on track” when my heart was bursting inside to do the complete opposite.  So here we are! I have a degree in Sport and Exercise Science (random I know) and a Masters in Youth & Community Work.  The only time I use my degrees now is from my Statistics modules that gave me the knowledge to create the complex spreadsheets I sell but that’s about it.  Everything else can be done by any and everyone with or without a degree. 

AJ has a degree in Computing Science so he generally focuses on the tech-related side of things but he’ll also tell you that he could have done it without the degree and anyone can learn what he does.  He’s taught me two skills that I now get paid for so I know that’s true for sure. 

Why Multiple Income Streams? 

Because you need it. You only have to look around you and it’s clear to see that life is becoming more expensive and unless you live completely off-grid with 0 expenses then I’m fairly certain that you’ve been wondering how you can make extra money or make your current income stretch further.  It’s probably one of the main reasons you want to move abroad right?  Nothing is promised and I always say that one income is too close to none.  People are being made redundant left right and centre.  I personally know 3 people close to me who have been made redundant in the last year or so.  So to mitigate against that, AJ and I wanted to always make sure that even if one of our income streams slowed down or no longer worked then there were always other ways we had money coming in.  

Also, we’re self-employed so our income can be extremely irregular.  No lie, I’ve had months where my spreadsheets made £150 a month and I’ve had months where they’ve made £2000.  It’s very unpredictable so having multiple income streams helps to make sure that we’re not solely reliant on any one income source.  Okay, I think you get the picture now, so let’s get to it and deep dive into the seven income streams that currently fuel our adventure, and we’ll also give you a sneak peek at some exciting new ventures that we’re currently exploring to increase at least 10 income streams and making them more passive. 

Our 7 Current Income Streams

1. Teaching English Online

This was one of AJ’s first online income streams.  AJ completed an in-person TEFL course while we lived in Malaga, Spain and then was able to secure opportunities working with two different companies. The beauty of online teaching is that it requires minimal upfront investment and allows for a lot of flexibility. I also started teaching with one company in 2020 once Taji was a little older.  I didn’t do a TEFL course, I just didn’t have the patience for it and I managed to find a company that didn’t require any qualifications.  Just being a Native English speaker was enough to get paid with this income stream. It’s an easy and popular route into working online, you’ll come across many people who live abroad do it too.  

You’ll spend your sessions having free conversation about world news or teaching grammar focus.  Often you can choose which direction you go in.  It’s not the best-paying opportunity (usually $10-18 per hour) but if your cost of living is low then you could easily make £1500-2000 a month which stretches pretty far and you can live quite comfortably in many countries on. It’s also been a fantastic way to connect with people from all over the globe.  

You can significantly increase your TEFL income by securing your own clients as you can charge whatever you like. 

Insider Tip: There are plenty of platforms offering online English teaching jobs. Do your research, learn the basics, compare rates and teaching styles, and don’t be afraid to try working with more than one! In fact, I highly recommend it.  

2. Selling Digital Products

I used to sell jewellery and hair accessories online and AJ being an IT whiz, learned all the ins and outs of SEO  (Search Engine Optimisation) which allowed my jewellery business to fully replace my employment income after I took maternity leave with Taji. It meant that my sales became automated and I no longer had to promote my shop.  The orders were just flooding in.  He taught me how to utilise this skillset and I decided to apply this knowledge of SEO to sell printables (worksheets) and Excel spreadsheets (budgeting & life organisation) on Etsy.  

The beautiful thing about selling printables and spreadsheets is that you create the item once, upload it to your shop and then as long as you have good SEO the income remains completely passive.  There are no orders to fulfil as they are automatically sent to the customer.  I mostly sell my digital products on Etsy but also on our website.  I love it because most of my items were created 3-6 years ago and they are still selling with no real effort on my part.  The only thing I usually do is check on my keywords and update them to keep them relevant and ensuring they are still bringing customers to my shop but I still make sales every single day without lifting a finger.  It’s the best income stream. 

How much you can make really varies and depends on how good your SEO is.  I said earlier that I’ve had months of only making £150 and months of making £2000 and everything inbetween but it’s been a guaranteed payout every month for the last 6 years, so I have 0 complaints because it means that even when we’re busy exploring a new town I know that I will always here the ‘cha-ching’ of the sell on Etsy app letting me know another order has come in.  Everybody NEEDS a passive income stream.  

Insider Tip: Find a niche you’re passionate about and create high-quality resources that solve a specific problem for your target audience.

3. Web Design Services 

Websites are a crucial online presence for any business. As I said before, AJ studied Computer Science at university which gave him web design skills, so he offers freelance web design services to many clients. This provides a more project-based income stream, allowing him to control his workload and take on work as and when he’s able to.  Though AJ has the skill set to fully code a website, he chooses not to as he says it’s more complicated than is necessary.  Thankfully, web design has come a long way over the years and there are many platforms that allow you to create beautiful and professional websites with a simple drag-and-drop feature.  So yes, you can do it too!!! Even still, many people around the world still feel overwhelmed at the thought of creating a website and so it means that web design is still a very much in demand service that means he rarely has to advertise.  Most of his clients approach him through referrals. He often charges anything from £250 for a landing page up to £6000 for a complete website.  No two websites are the same as it depends on what type of features are needed.  

Insider Tip:  Reach out to people in your current network! You might be surprised how many have business needs you can fulfil by creating a simple website. Most of AJ’s clients come through people he knows or has worked with.

4. Web Hosting

So AJ wears a number of hats in the world of web design! He not only designs beautiful and functional websites for his clients but also offers them reliable website hosting through a reputable provider. This bundled service provides a convenient one-stop shop for his clients, and creates a recurring income stream for us. Once the website is created it needs to “live” on the internet (think of it like paying rent to your landlord).  So his clients HAVE to pay for hosting, he arranges this with a hosting provider and he takes a cut of this as his income. His clients pay him hosting monthly or yearly.  Quite a number of his clients have been with him for 5-6 years and hosting can cost £150-400 a year depending on the type of website.  Its another nice little passive income earner. 

Insider Tip: Partner with a reputable hosting company that offers reseller programs. This allows you to manage and brand your own hosting plans, giving you control over pricing and ensuring a quality service for your clients.

5. Outsourced Services

So AJ is skilled in web design and hosting and his clients often ask for services that he doesn’t have experience in like branding and logo design.  Instead of turning away this work, AJ keeps a roster of freelancers who offer the services that he cannot personally deliver on.  He offers these services as part of his entire package.  So when a client asks for branding, web design and SEO services, he will only physically work on the web design aspect of the project and will outsource the branding and SEO services to a skilled partner.   He’ll add a finders fee percentage on top of their day rate and pass the work on to them to complete.  He essentially becomes a project manager and oversees the entire project without actually doing a lot of the work himself.  It’s yet another semi-passive income source that he earns each month.

Insider Tip: You can use friends or family or try websites like Fiverr for outsourcing. His best friend is his go-to UX designer. Be honest, open and clear about your needs and expectations to ensure a smooth working relationship.

6. Affiliate Marketing

We all love finding helpful resources, and I especially love sharing different ways to make money online and the fantastic tools and websites that help us to live our lifestyle. You see on this very website. This is where affiliate marketing comes in!

By sharing some of the products and money-making platforms that have helped us on our journey, we can earn a commission if someone uses or makes a purchase through our unique affiliate link. It’s a win-win situation: you discover valuable resources to fuel your lifestyle, and we get a little bonus to keep our funds topped up! Almost every single website you think of has an affiliate or refer-a-friend scheme of some kind.  You’ll usually find it in the footer (bottom) of the website. Amazon is probably the easiest affiliate to scheme to earn from because most people use it. 

The key that I have found works well for me is that I only ever promote products and services that I have personally used or benefited from.  And no, you don’t need a huge following to start earning from this.  We are literal walking affiliates. You share about the things you love all day everyday with your family and friends but are you getting paid for it? You should be!  Word of mouth is still the best form of marketing because we buy from people we know love and trust.  And no you don’t need 100,000 followers to start making money.  In fact, micro-influencers (people with 1000 to 10,000 followers) have higher conversion rates because their audience believe that they are more likely to be genuinely sharing while mega-influencers appear to be more about the money.  I know this to be true because I started making £300 to £400 a month with less than 400 followers.  

Insider tip: Focus on promoting resources you genuinely love and believe in. Authenticity is key! Your audience will appreciate your recommendations more if they see you’re not just pushing products for a quick buck.

7. Email Marketing

In today’s digital world, a strong email marketing strategy is essential for businesses of all sizes. Through my personal network,  a small business asked me to manage their email campaigns, crafting engaging content and scheduling automated newsletters for their subscribers.  Each month I will usually create a couple of emails for them to promote upcoming events and it always helps them boost their sales, I’ve been doing this for about 4 years now.  It’s probably my lowest-paying income stream but it’s definitely is nice to have as and when it comes in.  

Insider Tip: Consider offering email management and social media management services to small businesses. Start with who you know.  It’s a valuable skill set in high demand and allows you to work from anywhere in the world.

Income Streams For The Future 

So there you have it, the above seven income streams have been the backbone of our location-independent lifestyle for the past few years. But we’re always looking for ways to expand our income sources and create a more sustainable (passive) financial future. Here are some exciting things we’re currently exploring:

  • Blogging: You’re reading it right now! We’re passionate about sharing our experiences and inspiring others to chase their travel dreams. We hope this blog becomes a valuable resource for families considering a location-independent lifestyle.  While most people are focused on going viral on social media they’re missing out on the fact that most people still use Google as their main way to search for information so we’re designing this blog to serve those interested in moving abroad and plan to monetise it with affiliate links, Ad-Sense, Sponsorship and Digital Products. 
  • Webinars & Online Subscriptions: We’re often asked about our different income streams and asked to teach what we know so we’re doing it more and we’re also keen to share what others we’re connected to are up to as well because our way is definitely not the only way.  We want to dive deeper into specific topics to help with your move abroad.  We’ve already delivered several webinars on topics including Being A Virtual Assistant, Being An Adult Chat Operator, Mastering LinkedIn and more just to name a few.
  • Retreats: We’ve always thought about hosting our community through offerings in beautiful locations around the world helping you in person to navigate moving to these new countries. I’m a believer that we can be most impactful when we offer complete immersion experiences.  We have our first homesteading experience in this December so you can learn all about living off-grid with our friends Decentralised Life in Belize. 
  • Stocks & Shares: We’ve dabbled a little in this before. Investing in long-term stocks and shars is not a get-rich quick scheme but we see it as a valuable tool for building long-term wealth and ensuring an even more secure future for our family.
  • AI Companions: So this one is totally random but there has been a rise in virtual companions, otherwise known as “virtual girlfriends”.  I’m still playing with what this will look like so it’s in its very early stages.  

I hope this has been helpful in giving you an insight into our current income.  If you have no idea where to start with your online income streams then I genuinely believe any of revenue streams I’ve mentioned above are possible for you if you’re interested.  We also from time to time dig into some side hustles like matched betting and online surveys.  There is so much out there for you to try.  

Self-employment is Not Easy, But the Rewards are Worth It

We want to be clear – living a location-independent life with a family isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. There’s a lot of juggling involved, from managing different time zones to finding reliable wifi in remote locations. There are also days when you miss the comfort and familiarity of a traditional life.

But the rewards far outweigh the challenges. We get to experience the world as a classroom for our children, exposing them to different cultures, languages, and ways of life. We get to create lasting memories together, forging a bond that transcends the four walls of a physical home. And most importantly, we get to live a life that aligns with our values – one that prioritises freedom, adventure, and quality family time.

So, is this lifestyle for you?

Only you can answer that. But if the idea of ditching the rat race and exploring the world with your family sparks a fire in your soul, then we say go for it! There will be challenges, but the resources and support are out there. Use this post as a jumping-off point, do your research, and most importantly, believe in yourself and your ability to create the life of your dreams.

We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and tell us about your own travel dreams or location-independent aspirations. We’re here to support and encourage you on your journey!

FAQs On How To Make Money Online For Beginners

What are the qualifications needed to teach English online?

The qualifications for teaching English online vary depending on the platform. Generally, you’ll need a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. However, some companies offer programs specifically geared towards conversation practice which might not require a TEFL qualification.

What platforms do you recommend for selling digital products?

There are several options! Etsy is a great platform for selling digital products alongside handmade crafts. You can also choose to sell directly through your own website, using platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce.

How can I find a remote job that will allow me to live abroad.

There are several online job boards that cater to remote work opportunities. We also offer a true work from home jobs list service. We also utilized our existing network, Don’t underestimate the power of networking – you never know where your next opportunity might come from!

How much time does it take to create and sell digital product resources like ebooks and spreadsheets?

The upfront time investment can vary depending on the complexity of your resources. However, once created, they offer a passive income stream that requires minimal ongoing maintenance. The key is to choose a topic you’re knowledgeable about and ensure your resources are high-quality and solve a specific problem for your target audience.

What skills are necessary to offer freelance web design services?

While advanced coding knowledge is always a plus, strong skills in website design principles, user experience (UX), and familiarity with content management systems (CMS) like WordPress are a great starting point as they use drag and drop features.

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