15 Top Online Business Ideas for Digital Nomads

Five years ago, I made a decision that drastically changed my life: I became a digital nomad.

Transitioning from a conventional career in London to remote work in Mauritius wasn't just a change of scenery—it was a leap into a vast pool of entrepreneurial possibilities. Inspired by a connection made on LinkedIn, I took a 10-day trip to Mauritius, immersing myself in the local culture and the nomadic lifestyle. This profound experience made it clear I could no longer conform to a normal life. Within a year, amidst the uncertainty of a global pandemic, I sold everything, packed a suitcase, and moved permanently to Mauritius. This bold move marked the beginning of my ongoing adventure as a digital nomad.

If you're drawn to the digital nomad lifestyle and curious about how you can make it work for you, you're in the right place. Whether you're looking to leverage existing skills or dive into entirely new fields, the online business ideas listed below offer various pathways to a life of travel and remote work. Keep reading to explore which options might pave the way for you to become a digital nomad like I did.

Best online business ideas for digital nomads

  1. Launch a Web Design Business
  2. Create an Online Course
  3. Start a Coaching Business
  4. Build an eCommerce
  5. Open a Social Media Agency
  6. Get Into Affiliate Marketing
  7. Create Digital Products
  8. Launch a SaaS
  9. Launch a Podcast
  10. Launch a Content Writing Business
  11. Become a Virtual Assistant
  12. Launch a Graphic Design Business
  13. Launch an SEO Agency
  14. Launch a UI/UX Agency
  15. Get Into Remote Customer Service

1. Launch a Web Design Business

Digital nomad working as a web designer

Website building might seem like rocket science for one without experience, but the technology evolved rapidly in the last few years. With website builders like the Hostinger AI Builder, the process of designing a website is resumed to dragging and dropping elements to your page, and it’s super low-cost!

How to get started: We suggest allocating between 10 and 30 hours of research to get yourself familiar with the field. A course could speed up the process, but if you an on a budget, watching YouTube tutorials will get you a long way.

The second step is to create a few nice websites using templates and add them to your portfolio. That will help you build confidence and also have something to present when you are having conversations with potential clients.

Income: You can charge anywhere between $300 to $2000 per project (depending on the complexity of it). After creating a few websites, the time will decrease considerably which means that your price will surpass $100/hour with enough experience.

Pro tip: Ask your friends to create a website for them for lower rates to get started in the field.

2. Create an Online Course

Digital nomad recording a video for his online course

Whether it’s a digital or a practical skill, you could create a course to teach people how to gain that skill. This is a wonderful way to secure a passive income as once you’ve created the course, you will have a fully automated way to get people onboarded so your work is pretty much done.

How to get started: Try to get comfortable filming and being in front of the camera. Even though this might sound like the easiest part, many people are struggling to record themselves as there is a degree of anxiety and self-awareness that could appear. A good start is to record yourself every day for 10 minutes, explaining some little things to get comfortable.

Income: This depends on the niche, how much interest is in the market for the course, and its quality. That being said, if you have a course that you charge $99 for it and onboard 1000 people over a year, that could generate you a whopping 100k!

Pro tip: Don’t overthink the first course you create. Try to do the best you can and understand the process, structure, and formatting. After the first course is published, you will have a lot more knowledge on how to approach the following ones.

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3. Start a Coaching Business

Digital nomad working as an online coach

Similar to launching an online course, everyone has skills that they can teach other people. If you play an instrument, speak another language, or do anything that people seem to be eager to learn from you, you can also get paid for it.

How to get started: Purchasing a course is always a good start. You can invest around 100 hours to strengthen your skills in a specific field which you believe is high in demand and after that, you can get businesses to pay for your consulting services.

Income: It depends on what kind of skills you have and how good your coaching skills are. Generally, you can hope for payment starting from $10-15 moving up with time and experience.

Pro tip: Learn a skill that is scalable. The more people and businesses can use your expertise to generate more revenue, the more likely it is to pay you more for that.

4. Build an eCommerce

Digital noamd creating an e-commerce website

Since 2020, the eCommerce industry has experienced a lot of growth as people started to order more and more online. You can start by using a dropshipping platform to reduce the cost and trouble of storing and shipping the products.

How to get started: Identify a niche of products which you think could sell well. After that, you have 2 options. You can either create a store on an existing marketplace (Amazon, eBay, Etsy, etc) or you could create a store of your own using tools like Shopify and BigCommerce.

Income: This is a tricky one. Until you get traffic into your store, your income will be very low, but once you get some tracking, this could be your perfect source of (relatively) passive income.

Pro tip: Research the market well before you get started. There is a lot of info online about eCommerce, and the more you know about it, the more likely is for you to become successful.

5. Open a Social Media Agency

Digital nomad managing a client's social media

Contrary to what you might think, there is a huge market for this. There are tons of startups that just don’t have time to handle their social media presence. You can start by creating your own page, adding engaging content, and practicing on your own. After that, get in touch with startups that don’t have a great social media presence and pitch your services.

How to get started: Learn the basis and understand how to create engaging content for each platform. Look into video editing and basic photography and you can add a lot of value to a business.

Income: You can create a pricing plan for 300-400$ per client which will include around 3 posts per week. If you get 10 clients on that plan, you will be able to generate a decent income.

Pro tip: Research the competition of each new client you onboard. It’s not advisable to copy everything they are doing, but understanding the way they are communicating with their audience will get you a long way.

6. Get Into Affiliate Marketing

Digital nomad applying to affiliate programs

Affiliate marketing means that you generate sales for a brand and you get a percentage from the revenue. If you have a pre-existing online presence on either social media platform, this is where you need to focus. Almost every big brand has an affiliate program, or if they don’t have one, they will be open to creating one.

How to get started: Understand your audience and what kind of products or services they are using. Don’t push out products you don’t believe in as your audience will lose interest in what you have to say.

Income: You can easily generate $1000-2000 per month and in the long run it will be mostly passive income.

Pro tip: Start with products or services you are already using and add an affiliate link to your communication. For example, if you are a filmmaker, you can add a link to the camera used for recording, or the software you’ve edited your video into.

7. Create Digital Products

Digital nomad reading her ebook

A digital product can be anything that you can buy online and it’s also delivered online, from a course to an eBook or a photo. If you are into photography, look into Adobe Stock. You can submit your photos there and get a kickback every time someone purchases that photo. If you are into writing books, look into self-publishing platforms or even Amazon.

How to get started: Assess your skills and what you can produce and look for a way to sell it. Don’t overthink the first few products that you will create. It’s very important to understand the process, format, requirements etc. for that niche before you put a lot of time and effort into the creation process. 

Income: The income will be delayed until you understand the process, but once you get good at it and build an audience, there is no upper limit to what you can generate. I personally know people who make millions out of selling digital products. 

Pro tip: Before you get into the creation stage, understand precisely the requirements of the end products and that will save you a lot of time in the submission stage. 

8. Launch a SaaS

Digital nomad creating a SaaS

Software as a Service (SaaS) is becoming more and more popular nowadays, and it’s an industry that will only go up as time passes. That being said, to get into this field, you will need some decent coding skills and a good understanding of the software market. The possibilities are endless. 

How to get started: Identify the holes in the market and design software that takes away the difficulties people are facing while doing a task. I would advise you to create a mockup of your software first and propose it to a few businesses before you get into the development side. Many SaaS businesses make the mistake of investing millions into the software just to realize later on that the market isn’t interested in what they have to offer.

Income: This is a scalable business model. Once you have a very useful piece of software, there is no limit to the income you can generate and it can be endlessly replicated.

Pro tip: Invest in customer service. As Saas is fully automated, your clients need to feel that they have 100% support from your end to get connected to the brand.

9. Launch a Podcast

Digital nomad recording a podcast

Creating a podcast might seem way out of reach if you don’t have any experience, but it’s actually quite straightforward. If you feel like there is nothing you can say that would be of interest to an audience - that’s ok. You can play the role of the host and invite interesting people into your podcast.

How to get started: Get a decent noise-canceling microphone and practice for a bit of speaking and recording. Once you get familiar with it and how it works, reach out to communities and see if you can find interesting people you can interview. Facebook communities are a great source for that. You will also need to prepare a number of open ended, interesting questions which will allow your guest to talk openly.

Income: This is also a scalable business model. It could be a bit difficult to build an audience at the beginning, but once you get some awareness, there are endless ways you can monetise it.

Pro tip: Invite some of your friends to participate. If you feel like your casual “pub talks” could be of interest to an audience, you can organise a recorded version of it.

10. Launch a Content Writing Business

Digital nomad blogging

You don’t have to be a talented writer to monetize this skill. Writing is all about communicating a specific message to an audience in a manner that they will understand. Think about something you are passionate about… if you can get your friends excited about it, you will be great at writing.

How to get started: Allocate some time to research written communication. Learn about Social Media, Blogs and other forms of content which you consume online anyway. SEO in particular could generate the highest amount of income as it has a direct impact on the website ranking which will generate more prospects for your clients.

Income: This varies from the type of content you can write. For blogs, you can get up to $600 per blog. As a social media manager, with a bit of graphic design/photography experience, you can get over $1000/month per client.

Pro tip: Use AI tools to help you assist with the content. We advise not relying too heavily on AI, but having a good structure to start with will save you a lot of time.

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11. Become a Virtual Assistant

Digital nomad working as a virtual assistant

A virtual assistant is the modern version of a secretary. You will be assisting businesses with admin work remotely. From email management to customer support, many businesses are in need of an extra hand to manage their daily work and make their time more efficient. 

How to get started: Get proficient in project management tools like Notion or Monday.com and get in touch with businesses or entrepreneurs who might be in need of management services.

Income: The income could differ based on your skills and what kind of needs each business has, but you could easily get something around $55k a year.

Pro tip: Learn a few additional skills that you can leverage while negotiating your role. Having some basic Excel or graphic design skills could help you a long way.

12. Launch a Graphic Design Business

Digital noamd working as a Graphic Designer

Graphic design isn’t as difficult as it might sound at first glance. It means, in a nutshell, to create assets that are visually appealing and easily digestible for the intended audience.

How to get started: Pick a design tool like Photoshop, Figma or Canva and get really good at it. Knowing the tool is not everything, but certainly, it will unlock your creativity and also speed up the creation process. Also, create a few mock projects to add some work to your portfolio. That would make a huge difference when you are looking for clients. 

Income: Although a beginner graphic designer can’t hope for more than $20K a year, the more you develop your skills the more you will be able to charge for your services.

Pro tip: As presented in the website designer section, you can do pro-bono work for your friends first to get a better understanding of the working precedes. That would give you some working experience and also something to add to your portfolio. 

13. Launch an SEO Agency

Digital nomad working as a SEO specialist

We’ve tapped briefly into this subject when talking about launching a writing business, but SEO is a field of its own. As the name says (Search Engine Optimisation) this field is all about optimising online content and making them “findable”. The basic premise is that you need to increase the organic reach of a website, blog, video, etc. 

How to get started: As we discussed in a few points before, doing your research in the field is the only way to make you an expert. If you don’t have any preexisting knowledge, allocate some time to deeply understand this field. Also, have a look at the trends. Free tools like Google Trends are very useful and you can optimise the content based on what’s trending at the moment.

Income: As opposed to content creation, it is a much more lucrative field. The reason for that is that a good SEO strategy will have a direct impact on the revenue of an organization, so they will be willing to pay a lot for it. 

Pro tip: Use SEO tools to research the websites which are highly ranked on Google and you will get a good understanding of how a good SEO strategy looks like.

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14. Launch a UI/UX Agency

Digital noamd working as a UX/UI designer

We’ve tapped into this before in point no.12, but UI/UX design is a bit more complex than web design. It will require you to work on more complex flows and really understand the customer journey. More than making good-looking flows, it is really important to create screens that have all the information and action showcased in an intuitive manner.

How to get started: It will require Graphic Design and Web Design skills. If you don’t have them, I suggest doing some research and deepening your knowledge in the field. Also, learn design tools like Adobe XD or Figma. Once you master one of them, your life will become much easier.

Income: You can expect an income of around $20,000 - $50,000 a year based on the experience you’ve accumulated so far.

Pro tip: Study the competition. If you want to work in SaaS, create a portfolio of beautiful websites which you can use as inspiration every time you feel stuck.

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15. Get Into Remote Customer Service

Digital nomad working in remote customer service

Customer service is not only about guiding people through a process or answering questions but also about ensuring the customers have a good interaction with the brand. You probably experienced an instance where you were very upset with a product and service, but the customer support was so good that you forgot all about it and stayed a paying customer.

How to get started: Work on your communication and people management skills. You will experience a decent number of upset customers so it is important to make sure you can manage that. After that, aim for services you know very well and get in touch with the brand with a proposal to work for them as a part of the customer service team.

Income: Since this is not a scalable job, you will probably be paid by the hour, but the ratings are quite good. You can get up to 40-50$/hour.

Pro tip: Try to find jobs or clients within your time zone. If you work for a client who is in a timezone very different from yours, you will encounter difficulties in keeping up with the schedule.

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We'll see you there, Freaking Nomads!

About the Author: Octavian Ungueranu

Octavian is a digital nomad and business strategist, guiding individuals and enterprises toward growth as a partner at digitalnomad.coach. He embraced the nomadic lifestyle five years ago, making a pivotal move from London to Mauritius amid the pandemic—an adventure that marked the start of an extraordinary journey. Together with his partner Dina, he created the "Become A Full-time Remote Worker In 90 Days" program, aimed at empowering aspiring digital nomads to launch successful online businesses.

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