A long time ago, I began my online career as a freelance writer (aka: in my case, “I’ll write anything for money!”).
My first jobs came from awful content mills. Later, I got my own clients – some of whom paid a pittance. Others were more generous. Eventually, I learned to ask for what I was worth.
During this time, every project and assignment had one thing in common: I could do my work from anywhere. Admittedly, my take-home pay wasn’t huge. It didn’t matter. In those days, I was happy to cover my rent and my bar tab. Oh, and food. I also had to pay for food.
Everything I did was via email or Skype (Slack didn’t exist in those days – well, not to me anyway). Communication, corrections, outreach and client acquisition were all handled over the Internet. Okay, so you can bet that I also placed my Internet bill as equally high in importance!
Fast forward several years later and I see countless blogs and news articles talking about the benefits of working remotely. There are studies proving its effectiveness and even big companies like Stripe have openly talked about implementing a remote work policy.
There’s also a lot of press around digital nomads, those devil-may-care go-getters who live wherever they want and maintain a career. Well, okay, digital nomadism takes a lot of planning so “devil-may-care” probably isn’t the right description for these individuals.
But what’s the state of location independence these days? If you want to live and work anywhere, do you have to resign yourself to freelancing and financial insecurity? It simply begs the question…
Can you really have a location independent career that commands a high salary?
Way back when, many employers used “remote” as a reason to pay their employees less. It is still a phenomenon that sadly occurs today when talking about remote work and salary.
With more and more highly skilled and specialized work from home jobs appearing, this should no longer be the case. Anyone with a unique set of skills and years of experience can command a better pay packet and still work from wherever they please.
After doing a bit of research, I uncovered quite a few pretty surprising, high-paid (and often senior) roles that don’t require you to be in the office.
Let’s Dive in: Location Independent Careers That Pay a Bomb
Wait… That’s not a tech job. Nope, but not every remote job has to be in tech (despite what telecommute boards will have you believe). Even so, this job may seem like an odd choice to slap the label “telecommute” onto, but let’s hold up for a minute…
Have you ever been approached by a recruiter? If so, where did they approach you? It probably wasn’t on your way to work, or when you were at home feeding the cats/children. Most recruiters contact candidates via phone, email or (more commonly these days), social media (LinkedIn being the favorite).
So, you can bet your ass most recruiters spend a lot of their time behind a desk. They can recruit from literally anywhere… Making this a very viable remote job. Of course, it also depends on the specifics. Some recruiters work within specific areas. Others are more international in their scope (I was approached by a recruiter from Malaysia).
How much do recruiters earn? According to Workable, the average salary is US$ 45,360 per year. That’s average – it can go up to $70,000. Depending on your success level, it can be even more.
Project Managers work in a wealth of different industries. Yes many are in tech, but this is a job that quite literally pays people to make sure shit gets done. So, when it comes to being remote-friendly, it may not immediately seem that most suited. After all, shouldn’t a Project Manager be checking up on their colleagues, ensuring that targets and deadlines are met?
Well, think about it. How many Project Managers do you know who actually go out into the field to check if things are being done? I’m sure it happens in some industries, but for many others… It’s just not necessary. Even if the project isn’t specifically technical, Project Management is simply a title for those who run projects and coordinate workflows. They are in charge of workflows, task management, prioritization, cost proposals and ensuring execution. They should also be highly organized.
The bottom line is that most of a Project Manager’s job is based on organization and communication. There is also a lot of PM software house there which was created specifically for this role – which lends itself very well to remote work.
How much do Project Managers earn? According to FlexJobs, US$65,000-US$105,000 a year. I wouldn’t sniff at that.
Senior Business Analyst
Now we’re diving into more technical jobs. Probably one of the more droll-sounding yet highly-paid careers out there. I’m willing to bet a lot of people in this profession often have the right (or the need) to work remotely. Basically, a Senior Business Analyst makes sure that processes run smoothly: they test for bugs in software, troubleshoot technical issues and ensure that things are maintained to a specific standard.
So, as you can see, it involves a high level of technical knowledge. At the same time, you don’t need to be a full-on developer. Technical skills aside, a healthy dose of business acumen is also necessary.
Well, what about the money? FlexJobs states that the average salary for a Senior Business Analyst is $57,000 – $90,000.
UX (User Experience) Researcher
One of the “newer” tech jobs. UX Design and Research are EXPLODING at the moment. What’s handy about this profession is that it requires a lot of skills that are transferrable from other professions (such as aspects of digital and performance marketing). Specifically, UX Research analyse websites and sales processes before recommending solutions to increase customer satisfaction and increase revenue. Actually, it even goes beyond revenue – UX isn’t just for websites, it’s for just about every piece of technology handled by humans.
This job can be “fully digital”, but plenty of researchers also get together in person. Since that’s not always possible, it’s also a very viable “remote” career.
What’s the compensation? Payscale.com says EUR 46,000 per year (if you’re American, convert it yourself – I’m too lazy).
Basically, a radiologist who works remotely. Traditionally, the majority of health care jobs could only be done in a specific location. Doctors, nurses, medical specialists etc… Teleradiology is that little bit different. Their input is needed on X-rays which are normally sent to them, making it a very viable remote career.
Of course, this particular role is quite rare at the moment.
What’s the compensation? US$100,000 – $400,000 per year, apparently (thanks, FlexJobs).
Probably the least surprising job when it comes to telecommute-friendliness. It’s an IT job. As a highly skilled profession, they work closely with software developers and other tech staff to oversee code releases. This is a role where you have to break the barriers between development, testing and operations. Basically, you hold the digital presence of a company together.
And of course, since it’s all on a computer there’s really very little need to work in an actual office.
How much $$? According to FlexJobs, the average salary is US$80,000-US$100,000.