You’ve heard the siren song of that soft Caribbean breeze, or the bustling Asian street scene with the bright colors and temple bells. Or maybe your overseas dream runs more toward soaking up the culture of the City of Lights. The only problem is, the US economy has eaten your retirement nest egg and you don’t know how you can afford to make any changes.
The solution? Create a portable career for yourself. Ideally it will be something you can develop in your spare time that will generate enough of a passive income to cover your expenses in your chosen country.
Not sure what skills you have that can translate to a profitable online venture? Read on. . .
When discussing portable careers, I write often about developing a website or blog to support you overseas. In the past couple of years, the distinction between website and blog has become blurred. So what’s the difference, really?
What’s a Website?
Basically, a website is a piece of online real estate that you can do anything you want with. It’s what pops up when you type a URL into your browser. It can be a blog, a forum, a discussion group, or a corporate information site.
YouTube is a website. So is Future Expats Forum.
Merriam-Website defines a website as
“a group of World Wide Web pages usually containing hyperlinks to each other and made available online by an individual, company, educational institution, government, or organization.”
What’s a Blog?
A blog is simply one type of website. Originally, blog was short for weblog. A blog was a type of website that was updated regularly. Articles or posts appear chronologically with the most recent first. Special blogging software was developed to make the process easier for those not technically inclined.
Blogs were often used as public journals, places where their authors could express their personal views, experiences and thoughts.
Businesses gradually entered the “blogosphere,” and blog software became more robust.
When I talk about blogs, I’m referring to websites that are built using the WordPress platform.
Today you can use WordPress, the most popular blog software platform in the world, to create sites that don’t look anything like yesterday’s blogs. It’s become a robust CMS (content management system) that allows you to create online magazines, portfolios, newspapers, corporate sites, freelance sites, virtually any kind of website you can think of.
WordPress is available in two flavors: self-hosted (the type I recommend) and hosted by WordPress itself. Google also offers a blog platform which they host for you, called Blogger.
If you’re just starting out and feel as though you need some technical hand-holding, Blogger or WordPress hosting is a good way to ease in. But if you want to develop an online business where you make money, both these options are too limiting. (They also don’t give you the same professional aura that a self-hosted WordPress site does.)
If you’re comfortable with technology, you can jump right in with a self-hosted WordPress site. (And I walk you through it with the Blogging for Expats tutorial series.)
It’s not all technology, though — there’s another part of the equation which is even more important.
How the Heck Do You Make Money with a Website or Blog?
If you already provide a service or a product (especially a digital product), your site becomes your marketing and sales platform. Writers, consultants, photographers, life coaches and programmers, we have it pretty easy.
But what if you’re creating a business from scratch and you don’t already have a skill that’s easy to transport, or an ability that lends itself to online delivery?
There are thousands of books, hundreds of videos, dozens of online courses you can buy to help you create an e-business. (“E-business” just means that you generate your income online.)
Or, you can look at another online option altogether.
SiteSell combines the best of two worlds: it provides you with the technical help and tools to make your site creation easier, and it also walks you step by step through the entire process of developing a workable business idea and executing it through a website.
You get the technical hand-holding for putting your information online. You also get tools for attracting traffic, and even more importantly for making money from that traffic.
Their system works. I know people who are earning pretty well ($60,000/year and up) using SiteSell. They tell me it provides a full-time income with part-time effort. I personally have no experience with it, but I’m impressed enough with the results I’ve seen that I’ll be starting a new site with them in the new year, once I’m settled in Panama.
Once I do, I’ll share that process and my progress with you as well.
Now, I have to admit, I’m biased. I like WordPress and I’ve not yet used SiteSell. (In other words, expect to hear lots more about WordPress from me.) For their take on the “blog vs. SiteSell” issue, here is SiteSell’s slightly biased viewpoint.
If you’d like to earn your overseas income online, check out SiteSell. And if you choose that route, let me know how you’re doing with it!