The biggest concern most people have about long-term travel or living abroad is how they’re going to earn a living if they quit the job they’ve got now. Many don’t relish the thought of having to start their own business from scratch just to be able to work remotely. Today’s post is a guest one from Caitlin Pyle that gives a couple possible answers. She is a freelance proofreader, author, and online entrepreneur. She and her husband lived in South America for an entire year—and worked the whole time. Take it away Caitlin!
If you’re like me, the idea of interacting with strangers can bring on a whole host of anxieties. I love being around people I know; it’s just being in a crowd that makes me uncomfortable… even though I love to travel.
Working in an office environment is especially draining for me. Talking on the phone, going to meetings, dealing with bosses—all of it. So I just don’t do any of it! I work for myself instead, and I’ve been doing so since 2011.
Many people are attracted to the “work-anywhere” lifestyle because of their introverted nature. I sure was.
It seemed like a pipe dream at first. I thought, You mean I can make money at home—or abroad —without anyone breathing down my neck? Yeah, right.
When I took the leap, though, I found it took a lot of learning and actual work, so it’s not “too good to be true,” as some people make it out to be. Building a work-anywhere life wasn’t easy, but it turned out to be more rewarding than I’d ever imagined, precisely because I’d worked so hard to create it.
It’s Not “One Size Fits All”
Not all “work-anywhere” jobs are a good fit for introverts like me. Many so-called opportunities involve cold calling, multi-level marketing, person-to-person sales, and the like. Those are definitely not for me, for two reasons. First, most of these require a large time investment that may not result in any income. Second, there is almost always someone else above you who needs you to do well so they can make a lot of money and not you.
I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to spend time building something, I’d like to be the one to reap most of the benefits! Building something for yourself that you can do anywhere is the biggest benefit.
So what are some options for introverts? Well, I’ve got experience with two in particular: proofreading and transcription. Let’s take a look at both.
Introvert-friendly Option #1: Legal Transcript Proofreading
Transcript proofreading is a small but wide-open niche for individuals (extroverts and introverts alike) looking to make a remote income. This career can be done entirely from anywhere with an internet connection, using just an iPad.
A transcript proofreader works as an independent contractor for court reporters by proofreading their transcripts. Sounds simple, right? Don’t be fooled. This career takes thorough training and an excellent command of the English language. However, don’t be scared, either. If you’re willing to put in the work, it’s very rewarding.
I’ve got quite a few friends who’ve given proofreading the “introvert seal of approval.” Here’s what proofreader Helena had to say about it:
I’m okay face-to-face with people or on a one-to-one basis with someone I know. But I simply can’t deal with talking on the phone to strangers. With the exception of one phone call, I’ve managed to conduct all my marketing and business electronically. [It’s] absolutely perfect for me!
Proofreading can also be quite lucrative, especially if you’re living in one of the world’s cheapest destinations. Before I branched out into other work, I had built my proofreading income to more than $40,000 in a year. That may not seem like much, but it’s a king’s ransom in many parts of the world. Having spent a year in South America myself, where average wages hover between $400 to $600 per month, I know it’s very possible to work remotely and earn enough money to live comfortably.
Here are some real-world numbers from other proofreaders:
My very first month as a proofreader, I invoiced $11.95. The next two months, I invoiced over $1,000—and I’m counting the invoices that are going out on the first of next month.– Julie J.
I average $1,300 a month, no longer work full-time, and make enough to pay the utilities, etc., which is all I really wanted. I’m fortunate enough to have my husband working, so all I need to do is bring in enough to supplement. Marketing was intimidating at first, but once I got out there and did the work, I got referrals and also the confidence to put myself out there as a professional to really sell my abilities. – Rhonda
Introvert-friendly Option #2: General and Legal Transcription
(Note: General and legal transcription are NOT the same as medical transcription. Medical transcription is a dying profession with very low wages, and I don’t recommend pursuing it as a remote career.)
General transcriptionists are highly sought-after professionals in the digital world. Bloggers, podcasters, television companies, corporations, and entrepreneurs of all kinds hire general transcriptionists to transcribe audio/video files into text. Everything’s going the way of video these days and as such, there’s a major demand for qualified transcriptionists. Google can’t index words on a video, so in order for video content to be found by search engines (and potential customers!), text is critical.
Legal transcriptionists work for attorneys, law firms, and even digital court reporters to transcribe legal proceedings and correspondence. This is a niche in transcription that not many people know about, but it’s a booming market, and qualified people can make quite a bit of money doing it.
My assistant, Katie, is a self-proclaimed introvert and professional transcriptionist. She said, “I have had the privilege to train and work both as a transcript proofreader and a transcriptionist. Wanting to only work part time, my first transcription job brought me $135. It felt SO good to make that money from home; my first proofreading job brought me $60. In April 2016, I made $1,031 from transcription alone working part-time (and that was from a single client!).”
“I have a lot of social anxiety when it comes to chatting with strangers face-to-face,” Katie says. “I’m not a fan of phone interaction either, but I’ve always managed. Transcript proofreading and transcription have proven to be this introvert’s secret weapon to making money from home. I absolutely love it.”
Me too, Katie… me too.
Interested in exploring these two remote working career paths further? Visit ProofreadAnywhere and TranscribeAnywhere for more information on how to become a qualified professional proofreader for court reporters and/or a professional transcriptionist.
This was a guest post from Caitlin Pyle, who is founder of the two sites profiled above. I did not receive any compensation for posting this information, but am a member of their affiliate programs. As always, do your homework and spend time on a through self-assessment to see if this path is a good match before committing your resources. Then see A Better Life for Half the Price to figure out your ideal place to live.