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How To Make Money Living Abroad

How to Make Money Living Abroad

How to Make Money Living Abroad (Start BEFORE You Leave Home) – Hola Unconventionals, I’m Amelia. – And I’m JP. – And we are both ex-pats who work online from Cuenca, Ecuador. – Yes we are and because of that, we get a lot of questions about how to make money living abroad. And we’re gonna talk about that in this episode. It might be easier than you think, but it might not be what you think. (upbeat music) Before we jump into the video, we want to give a big shout out to our Unconventional producers, Michael and Melissa from Longmont, Colorado. Hola guys, thank you so much for your support.

How to Make Money Living Abroad (Start BEFORE You Leave Home) – Yes thank you so much. We are truly appreciative and we’re appreciative to all of our patrons. – If you’re thinking about becoming an ex-pat or you just want to follow our crazy ex-pat adventure here in South America, hit the subscribe button and ring that bell. – Ring the bell. – So you get notified about our upcoming videos and in today’s video, we’re gonna talk about how to make money living abroad. That’s a question we get a lot. – We do. – And one of the first things people ask is, can I get a job there? – Well, you can maybe. – Maybe. – It’s not that easy. – Yeah, there are several things you gotta think about. The first is local language fluency. You gotta be able to speak Spanish if you want a job at a business. – [Amelia] Exactly. – Yeah because most people, even though in Cuenca there are a lot of English speaking locals, the majority of people still don’t speak English, so the majority of customers only speak Spanish. So you’re gonna have to be able to interact with customers, clients, vendors, managers, your fellow employees and they’ll all be speaking in Spanish.

How to Make Money Living Abroad (Start BEFORE You Leave Home) – So there are options also to teach English or your native language in schools here. – Right. – But the pay is like four to five bucks an hour, which is like 800 bucks a month before taxes. – Yeah, they don’t pay, the bottom line is the wages are just gonna be lower here because the cost of living is so much lower. So you have to realize that if you want to get a job in Ecuador, you’re going to be paid at Ecuador rates.

– Yes. The next thing to think about is the type of visa that you get. Now there are some visas that allow you to work here, some that require you to work here, and some that prevent you from working here and this is just Ecuador. Other countries have different laws around their visa types. So we’re here on a visa that allows us to work here if we wanted to, but we don’t. We choose to work online for companies back in the States. – Right. The other thing to think about is that if you earn income locally, you also have to pay local taxes. So that means you’re gonna be filing tax returns in Spanish. (JP laughs) Which might be a little challenging. – It could be. – You know, you have to have an accountant probably help you with that. – I would recommend that. – So, you know, it’s gonna cost you more money and then it’s more hassle too. – Right. – The last thing under the job category is the low pay. We kind of mentioned this before. The minimum wage in Ecuador, and this is kind of the same throughout Latin America, minimum wage here is $394 per month that comes out to $2 and 46 cents an hour.

– That’s a big difference. – That’s not a lot of money. – No, it’s not a lot of money for anybody, it’s not a lot here. – No, it’s not here. You definitely could not live on 400 bucks a month before taxes. – No it’d be, I don’t… – No, ’cause you have to have insurance. You know– – Yeah, I don’t know how you would do it. – Employer might provide that but it would be tough to live here on that. – Unless you already have it arranged with your visa, I would not come here thinking you’re gonna find a high-paying job. – No, nope. Part of that’s because of the stiff competition too. – Yeah, there’s a lot of people coming here from Venezuela and they need work. – And they speak Spanish fluently. – They do speak Spanish, they’re Venezuelan. – So they’re gonna edge out somebody who doesn’t speak Spanish fluently. So if your dream of becoming an ex-pat hinges on you finding a job abroad, you might want to think about plan B, just to be safe.

– Yes. It’s always a good idea to have a plan B. – Yeah, so if finding a job isn’t really realistic, what is? So now we’re gonna talk about how to make money living abroad. And the very first thing and the easiest thing to do and what Amelia has done is work remotely for your current employer if it’s an option. It’s not an option for everyone, but it is an option for a lot more people that realize if you’re an office worker and you do all of your work online, there’s a good chance that your boss might go for, you know, the reduced expenses of you not being in the office.

– Yeah, it doesn’t hurt to ask. – It, doesn’t. Amelia worked about 20% of the time in the office before we left Denver and about 80% at home so it was kind of easy for her to just say, “Yeah I need to be a hundred percent virtual.” And then they said okay. Thankfully. – Yes. – We’re thankful for that. – Yes, we are very thankful. – Yeah and everybody asks what Amelia does. So she manages the CRM systems and what– – I manage to schedule and I manage incentives and things like that. – Sales staff. – But it’s all on more of the operational side. So I was able to do all of that remotely. I don’t need to have the face to face interaction. – Yep. And I also work online, I do web design, although I’m not really taking on new clients now, as our vlog is taking off, it’s taking so much of my time,

They pay me to manage their websites. They all have WordPress websites and I manage those, keep them updated, and make updates for them each month. And that’s how I earn my income. If the job that you have now doesn’t lend itself to being remote work, you can search for other jobs on a website called and they have all kinds of remote working and alternative working arrangement type jobs. So you can do things for somebody else that is fine with you being a hundred percent virtual. The next way to make money living abroad is with online gigs. – What do you mean by a gig? I feel like a gig is like a band performance at the bar. – It’s the gig economy dear. So a gig is basically you’re doing a freelance job, it’s a finite period or project, you do it and you get paid for it and it’s over.

The key to gigs is really to convert that into recurring revenue though ’cause a lot of times the gigs don’t pay very well in and of themselves. – I see. – So like web design is a gig like building a website might be a gig and that’s what I do. I’ve been building websites for almost 25 years and we used to make a lot of money doing it, but not so much anymore because of all the low cost labor from countries like India and Pakistan and Russia, it’s really hard to compete with them. – Yeah. And the fact that you can build your own website if you wanted to. – Yeah, there are a lot of build your own sites too. So it’s a tough business now and the websites you can’t charge nearly what we used to so the key in web design is to really get people on board for managed web hosting or social media management, you know, recurring revenue stream.

– I see. – So web design’s a loss leader. – But you certainly can do the online gigs to make extra money. – Well, yeah. I’m gonna get to the ones that are better options. Web design is not a great option for making money online these days. What a really good option is, is content writing. If you’re a good writer, you can write content for websites.

There’s a website called and a few years ago I wanted to test that out. I submitted a couple of business articles to them and somebody bought them for 80 bucks and it took me about four hours to write them so that was about $20 an hour that I earned on that. – Yeah, that’s good. – I’d forgotten you’d done that. – Yeah, so there are other websites like that where you can submit content and people will buy it and you can also find writing gigs on and I’ll put links to all of these websites in the blog post to go check that out. Also international living, if you move abroad, international living pays $350 up to that amount for articles if they print your articles.

So a lot of people submit articles to them and other websites like those about their experiences living abroad and they make money that way and social media manager is another type of job that you can do and that’s nice because it’s usually a recurring revenue stream and what you do basically is you manage business social media accounts and if you’re good on social media and you know how to get eyeballs on posts, this is probably a good option for you. – [Amelia] There’s a lot of companies out there that are looking for help.

– Because it’s time consuming and tedious work and so they don’t often have the time or the resources for it, or it might not be in their business, you know, their strike zone. – Right. – So they outsource that to other people to manage for them and basically, you just post stuff to their social media feeds throughout the day. You find articles, memes, et cetera. And you can find jobs like that on, Upwork, I didn’t say that very clearly. is another one and also has jobs for that. A growing need is for video and podcast transcription and translation services. We get a lot of requests for transcriptions on our videos, both in English and in Spanish. Unfortunately, it’s too expensive. You guys charge too much. (Amelia and JP laugh) It would cost us about $500 a month to do transcriptions for both English and Spanish and we just can’t afford that. – [Amelia] No, that’s not in our budget right now, – But there are a lot of large channels and podcasts out there that do have enough money to cover that cost and they really want to make sure they hit the market for hearing impaired and foreign-language speakers and it’s also really helpful for SEO.

It gets your videos discovered more and your podcasts if there’s a transcription file associated with it ’cause it makes it easier to index for the search engines. – Cool. That sounds like that might be a fun job. – Yeah, so if you know how to type fast and accurately, that’s a really good option, there’s a lot of need for that. And there’s a website called R-E-V .com where you can get gigs for doing transcriptions. And also has a transcription and translation jobs. – [Amelia] Wow, Fiverr’s got lots.

– They have everything. The next one is telemarketing and customer service because we have reliable internet, you can use voice over IP like on Magic Jack or Skype, and you can make telemarketing calls or customer service calls from pretty much anywhere in the world as long as you have a good internet connection and a thick skin. (Amelia and JP laugh) Not something that I would want to do but we actually employed a telemarketer who lived in the Dominican Republic a few years ago to make cold calls for us to get web design leads and they had lived in Costa Rica for six months, but they said it was too rainy for them. So they left. But they lived in Southern California couldn’t afford it, so he and his wife moved to the Dominican Republic and they do telemarketing from there and they make a decent living at it there.

– Yeah and you would have never known that they were in another country. – No, you wouldn’t. – Never. – Nope, I found him on Craigslist and he just advertised in all the major metro’s saying that he does telemarketing and I called him up, he’s a good guy and he was good on the phone. So, you know, that’s an option. You can also teach English online. This is what a lot of our friends here in Cuenca do. – Yeah, we know several people that teach online. – They teach English to Chinese kids in the middle of the night. Actually, it’s really early in the morning or late at night, – Yeah, the hours are a little cooky, but that makes sense because of course, they’re halfway around the world. – Yeah, but that’s a really good way and there’s a website called and we’ll link that in the blog post and that’s what we’ve heard the best things about. There are several websites that do this though. And you can make quite a bit between 14 and $22 per hour doing this.

– Yeah, the salaries are definitely higher for that. You just have to be flexible with your time. – Yeah. You have to be willing to get up early or stay up late. So there are lots of other online gig type things that you can do. Just go check some of these websites like, Freelancer, Upwork, et cetera and you can peruse the types of jobs and there might be something on there that you can do already and you didn’t even think about charging for.

– That’s a really good point. I mean, there’s no way we could list everything and well, there’s so much that we don’t know. So we definitely want to hear from you all and let us know what your ideas are. – Yeah. If you do something different or have a different idea, but that in the comments and we’ll add that to the blog post so that other people can think about it for themselves. All right, so once you get to your ex-pat destination, you might want to consider starting a business. So we know a lot of ex-pats in Cuenca who own their own business. – Yeah, it’s really cool. There’s such a strong entrepreneurial spirit here. – There really is. It is an entrepreneurial spirit among the Ecuadorians and the ex-pats. So here are just a few of the businesses that we know that are owned by ex-pats.

So we’ve got Cuenca ex-pats magazine and we interviewed Ed for that. – Ed Lindquist. – Ed Lindquist in one of our previous videos, I’ll link that up there so you can go watch that if you want to. There’s also Cuenca High Life, The Cuenca Dispatch, these are online, or these are magazines slash newspapers, online blogs about Cuenca. There’s San Sebas Café and Namaste India. You don’t have to be from America to be an ex-pat, that’s owned by Indian ex-pats. Double D’s Delights, that’s a catering business. They do a lot of desserts and stuff.

Bodhi Burgers, Daisy’s Pet Food, Altissimo Chocolate, Artesana Panaderia, that’s owned by some Venezuelan ex-pats who moved here several years ago and started their bakery and we love their bread. VIP home healthcare of Cuenca and I’m gonna link that up there too so you can go watch the video that we did interview them about their home healthcare business that they started. Vino and Van Gogh are like a canvas and cocktails business that’s here in Ecuador in Cuenca and that’s very popular with the ex-pats.

– It is. – [JP] And then Madre Tierra and Villa De Los Suenos are resorts that are owned by ex-pats. – Yeah, there’s a wide variety of ex-pat businesses out here. Like the Tribal Fusion House where I take my belly dancing– – Tribal Fusion House, Julio is a Chilean ex-pat. – [Amelia] That’s right. It’s really cool, I love it. – It is, yeah. We also know massage therapists, people that do Reiki, yoga, I mean, you name it, there are people here doing it. – Yep. – Yep and that’s how they earn their money. Also blogging and vlogging, we know other bloggers and vloggers who make money doing this. – Yes we do. It’s not just us. – It’s not just us, I know. So there are lots and lots of things that you can do to start a business living abroad.

A lot of the things we take for granted back in the States or like in Europe, sometimes some of those things just aren’t available here and there’s a market for it, they just haven’t made it here yet. – Exactly. – So there’s a lot of businesses already started by ex-pats, but there’s a lot more opportunity for that. Oh, I forgot the Jungle Gym. – [Amelia] Oh yeah. – [JP] There’s so many. – [Amelia] There’s a lot. – [JP] I have to keep this list updated. I’ve got this whole list on our blog so if you wanna go research these companies, you can. Once you have all of this stuff in your head, you gotta decide what you want to do. – That is, that can be the hardest part but that is the most important thing. Don’t get analysis paralysis. – No, you gotta just try stuff. – You do.

– The best piece of advice I can give you on this is to do what you already know. – Yeah, unless you have a lot of time and you want to learn something new and you’re not really worried about making money, agreed. – Yeah but the whole point of this is making money living abroad. – Stick within your skillset. The whole point of this though is making money living abroad.

– Right. – So if you’re not interested in making money, why are you watching this video? (Amelia laughs) Do what you already know, because if you want to make money at it tomorrow, you needed to start several years ago. So it could be a hobby or your career. It doesn’t have to be, you know, the job you’ve always done. It could be a hobby that you enjoy doing, photography. If you’re good at it, if people ask you for advice about it, you can probably start a business or find gigs doing that.

But you need to know what you’re doing already. Don’t come here expecting to learn a new skill or something. Like if you can’t type, don’t worry about applying for transcription jobs. – That’s a good point. – If you’re a hunting pecker like this. (Amelia and JP laugh) – That would be very painful for you. – Yeah, transcription’s probably not the ideal thing, neither is web design. There’s lots of typing in web design. Do what you already know how to do. And then you need to identify if there’s a demand for what you wanna do. Not a need, there’s a difference between a need and a demand. The demand is people are willing to part with their money for the service or the product. A need is, there might be a need for something like there’s a need for more neutering services here in Ecuador but there’s a cultural bias against removing the manhood from the male dogs.

So there’s not much of a need for it, you know? – There’s a big need for it. – But there’s no demand for it, nobody wants to pay for it. So there are neutering services, but almost all of them are volunteer ’cause nobody wants– – [Amelia] Yeah, they’re very low cost. – Yeah, they’re usually free or very low cost. So that’s the difference between a need and a demand. There’s a need for that, but no demand for it. So pick something that people are willing to pay for and then determine if you have what it takes to do, especially your own business. It’s not for everyone. – Working remotely is not for everyone. – It’s not. – I’ve been doing this for a long time. When I was in regional sales, I had a home office, but I know a lot of people that are not comfortable unless they have more of a structured work environment. – You also need to consider multiple streams of income as an option.

– Yeah, we think about this a lot because there’s always uncertainty and it’s a little scary to have all your eggs in one basket. Having lost my job before I know what that’s like. When suddenly your only stream of income is gone. – Yeah. So we have Amelia’s job, we have my web design clients and we also have our Patreon that’s helping us survive and earn a living here and we also know people who teach English online and they do yoga instruction or fitness training, they write articles. I mean, a lot of people do multiple things here. – Yeah, there’s all sorts of things you can do to, you know, make a little bit here a little bit there. But when you add it all up, you’re making a really nice living. – Yeah, yeah, and if one of them goes away, you’re not destitute. – Right, and you can try a couple of different things and figure out what’s the best fit. Like it’s funny how things work out.

How to Make Money Living Abroad (Start BEFORE You Leave Home) – You may realize, well I need to go in this direction when I was thinking I wanted to go in that direction. So it certainly cannot hurt to start things off with multiple streams of income. – And the final thing we want to talk about is that we want to encourage you to start before you leave home. – Most definitely. You’re gonna have so many other things to consider moving to another country. There’s gonna be the language, getting your visas, getting all settled in, learning the culture, just learning your way around a new city, a new country, everything. So don’t make it even more difficult for yourself by deciding to start a new business right then and there on top of it, you want some stability or you’re gonna go crazy.

– Or to start getting online work. I mean, it’s great if you start now, you can also supplement your current income if you still have a job or start earning some income if you don’t, and then when you come here, you hit the ground running with your income stream already intact. Now if you want to start a business when you get here, you can do a lot of legwork and research before you get here. And a lot of the businesses like for the links that we have in our blog, you can contact these people. A lot of them will be really forthcoming with information about what they went through to start their business and what it took, how much it costs, how to market.

How to Make Money Living Abroad (Start BEFORE You Leave Home) – I mean, a lot of entrepreneurs really enjoy helping other aspiring entrepreneurs. Like Amelia said earlier, if you have any other ideas for online work or working remotely that we haven’t talked about here or that you do, leave those in the comments and we’ll add those into our blog post. – Yeah, that’d be awesome. We’d like to hear more from you all about what you guys see out there in the world, your viewpoint compared to ours. – Yeah and if you liked our video, leave us a thumbs up– – Yes please. – And please share it with your friends if they’re looking for ways to make more money online or if they want to work remotely. – Sounds good. – Yeah, I think we’re done for today. It was a long video. – Yes, we like to talk. – We are talkers. – But you talked more in this one. – Yeah, I did. – But that’s okay. – This is kind of my field. – It is.  – Amelia’s been an employee, I’ve been an entrepreneur most of my whole life. All right guys, thanks for watching. Let us know if you have any questions and we’ll see you in the next video. – Chao. – Chao…

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How To Make Money Living Abroad

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