Making Money Abroad

How expats and long-term travellers make their money is always a hot topic of conversation. I wanted to share with you some of the best methods I’ve explored trying to make money online whilst living in Vietnam and the rest of Asia. Feel free to discuss any further ideas you may have below.

Teaching English Online

Teaching English as a Foreign Language is a popular choice for Westerners to earn money aboard and rightly so.

Compared to a locals wage you will earn substantially more. Upwards of $20 per hour for classroom teaching in Vietnam in the major cities is not unusual; more is possible with good experience and qualifications. I hear it’s a little lower however in places such as Thailand, probably due to the larger number of Expats living there and so therefore greater competition for jobs.

As technology is rapidly advancing many smaller companies have sprung up with online English teaching apps and programs. The two major ones out there right now that I have used are the NiceTalk App and Topica Native.

making money abroad

NiceTalk App Review

Nicetalk or Nice talk is a phone based app that you can get from Google Play or the app store for Apple products. It works by connecting you to students in China via your cellphone and you are paid by the minute for having conversations with them. There is no structure to the lesson generally and the students just want to talk with you and practice their conversation skills. The pay is $10 per hour, not too bad for talking on the phone and the flexibility is great. You don’t have to assign any schedule; just log in when you want to work and the students will call you if they like your profile. The students then review you based on your performance and the higher your reviews the more calls you are likely to get.

If you do decide to register for NiceTalk App remember you get $10 just for signing up. Please use my referral code 90M7HR69 if i’ve helped you, it would be much appreciated 🙂

Topica Native Review

Topica Native has been around for a while now-I’ve done it on and off for over a year and I know many expats who make their living from just teaching Topica classes online. It’s a bit more formal than Nicetalk as you have to go through a short training program and the lessons are done via webcam on your laptop.

The lessons are all provided though and it’s just a matter of logging in and teaching your assigned schedule, no real prep is needed. The lessons last around 45 minutes and expect to start on at least $10 per lesson. I know people who get $14 per lesson which makes this a really good option for people wanting to travel but work from their computer.

Doing both these options you of course avoid all the traffic which is a nightmare in Vietnam plus you don’t have to get suited and booted and get your sweat on rushing to a hot classroom on the other side of town. Definitely worth looking into.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a huge area and chances are that if you already have a successful blog or website then it’s something you know about. If not it’s worth looking into affiliate marketing as it’s a great way to earn passive money online if you have a high traffic site. It works by you offering reviews or recommendations to products on your website with a built in link to the shop selling that product. People click through from your website and are automatically directed to the product they are interested in. If they go ahead and buy this then you will receive a small commission for your referral.

You’ve probably heard of Amazon Affiliates which is one of the biggest, but most companies and online services offer an affiliate program and why not-it’s a great way for them to get free advertising and get their products sold. It helps if you genuinely believe the product or service is good, as you don’t want to be associated with promoting all sorts of random crap on your site.

Drop Shipping

Drop shipping is another popular online money making system; i know one or two people who do quite well from this but it does take a lot of effort to set up and maintain. It’s a huge area and i’ll just touch upon the basics here. It’s a popular muse though as the cost of entry and start up is typically fairly low.

The basics involve acting as a middleman and shipping products to customers via your website. You find a niche that has low competition, contact suppliers who are able to ship your products to your customers and build a website selling your wares. The tricky thing is getting traffic and ranking well on Google, otherwise you won’t get any customers.

Good knowledge of SEO is needed as well as a bit of luck.

Some Ways to Make Money that are not Based Online

If you actually want to venture out into the world and interact with other people, then the below suggestions on making money may be useful.

Classroom English Teaching (TEFL)

Expect to be paid around double what you might make teaching online, but also expect to have to deal with lesson plans, crazy kids and hot and sweaty commutes to work.

If you can get a corporate gig these are usually fairly decent, better paid and it’s usually a lot easier teaching adults as opposed to kids. Teaching English in Vietnam normally means having a job at a few different schools and splitting your time up between these over the week. This is done so that schools can avoid giving you a work permit, and you will be employed on a casual basis.

It is possible to get a gig working full-time in various schools such as ILA and AMA but they will require good credentials such as a CELTA, Degree and decent experience.

Acting, Modelling & Extras Work

You’d be surprised at the number of hotels, bars & restaurants that require models or actors for promotional work or filming for advertisements. I’ve picked up a number of filming gigs for international hotel chains that pay fairly decent for a days work and often provide free food and drink for the day on top.

Vietnamese also love to use foreigners for acting work. Maybe it’s promoting a new business or just to provide a foreign face for their new business venture there’s always gigs around. 🙂



  1. Nice tips, I’d add writing ebooks. I was surprised at how well they sell, I’m now selling 1-2 ebooks a day just a few months in. I link to them on my blog, but many seem to find the books through Amazon itself first and then come over to the blog – you can be an Amazon affiliate for your own books, and I noticed the number of sales is higher than the no. of referrals, so they seem to be finding the ebooks organically. So it’s a good way to get more traffic to a blog.

    • Thanks man excellent advice-i’m working on an ebook as we speak and hope to have it completed in the next few weeks and ready to go. Nice blog btw, i haven’t been over to the Philippines yet but will check it out this year for sure.

    • This is interesting any tips on this.Ok I have completed my book 3 full novels in fact, so just how do I approach publishing them on line and how do you earn money from them and protect copyright ,who says accept or reject they cant just publish anything surely?
      Fed up with trying agents..sending endless requirements getting reection slips when I may not be Balzac but my stories are a good read ad at least one agent took the trouble to tell me my work was well written.
      Thanks any feedback

      • Amazon is the answer Lily. It’s very easy to sign up and self publish your work on there. They obviously take a cut of your sales, but it’s one of the best ways to self publish i think.

      • I’m currently self-publishing through Amazon – which is You actually make a much higher percentage than through a publisher. They offer services to help you through the way, or you can do it all yourself.

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