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Practical Techie: Movable income, the web allows for portable careers

With adequate initiative and creativity, internet users can set up portable careers to work from practically any place with a connection. That is, create an enterprise on-the-go from anywhere in the planet with just a laptop and some WiFi. 

The fact that the world is evermore interconnected makes transportable business a reality, providing cybernauts with stable, income-earning streams.

It can become a full-time endeavor or a part-time income-earner. To set up, it just requires a little formal training and only small investment. Let’s examine for now two interrelated options.

TRAVELOGUES — This one requires one basic skill: learning the tricks of subsidized travel and then writing colorfully about your experiences. In Puerto Rico, this type of work does not even require travel at all because people from all over the world are interested in the Caribbean and about our island as a leisure destination.

The trick is to find interesting venues in Puerto Rico and write, photograph or video them under a different light, as a new type of travel adventure. This will catch the attention of editors around the world, making your copy marketable. Thus, creativity is a key factor.

Travel bloggers, for example, can specialize in out-of-the-way nautical venues, historical voyaging, religious trips, business globe-trotting, vineyards tours, coffee plantation sightseeing, strawberry fields, even paranormal spots, etc. All kinds of special themes and locations.

Perhaps specialize in attraction parks or on volcano islands. Or all of the above. Top web travel writers earn as much as $50,000 a year and get some free lodging and food. But it’s a very competitive field on the internet so newcomers must arrive with very creative writing and visuals.

Savvy chroniclers connect with a major news outlet and then contact the local tourist offices of a country or convention bureaus and set up a gig. But, if attaching to an established media stream is difficult, then there is the longer road: set up you own blog and fill it up with interesting copy, cultivate enough readers to attract ads and you’re set. This, though, takes a while to build a following. Yet, with magic narratives and visuals, it becomes a less lengthy enterprise because word spreads quickly through the vast corridors of social media.

GUIDES Publishing guidebooks is another portable venture. Nowadays, digital publishing makes it all so easy. No hassle in dealing with printers, book distribution or collecting unsold copies. Sales can be done directly through the web in PDF formats or parceled out to electronic books publishers.

Again, the guides should focus on the off-beat, unbeaten paths or extraordinary sites. It does require research and at least one-time travel to the venues depicted in the guides. Food travel guides sell very well as also low-cost hostels travel options, such a manual for student travelers. Golfing venue guides are also top sellers. Maybe a cruise ship guide, cave explorations or a sports venue title. In any guidebook, keep your interests and opinions out of the equation but replete with observation and description.

PHOTOGRAPHY — This roving enterprise is also very competitive, but the world market is huge. Although there are armies of lose photographers everywhere, never before have images been so much in demand as during the digital age. Photos are used everywhere. By online and print newspapers, magazines, billboards, websites, technical manuals, and almost any published material, print or digital. 

A cute photo put on sale through the dozens of visual marketing sites on the web might bring $25…$50…even $150 if it’s a wonder shot. Entertainment event pics bring in more cash and extraordinary ones can make the author of a lucky photo snap, quite rich. The thing about a photo is that the same one can be selling for the next hundred years, or at least, it’s use license.

Best sellers are candid shots — nothing posed — preferably of one or two people instead of large groups. Quality portrait and family photography or bridal is always in demand and becomes a niche for stable revenue. Families grow and change over the years and the service is constant.

The famous, sports and architecture visuals are the most profitable.

The top photo selling sites are Alamy, Alamy Sports, 500px, SmugMug Pro, Shutterstock, iStock Photo, Etsy, Getty Images or Stocksy, among many others. Remember, with a keen eye there is a photo opportunity at every spot in the world and at any moment.

BASICS In these two options for lucrative “work” as a portable entrepreneur, the venture person must have ingenuity, discipline, good wording skills, learn to use a digital camera, some video techs and the basics about photographic composition. Also, one must identify the target market and audience for each chronicle, guide or picture produced and marketed. Also, if the author must travel alone, develop enough personal security options.

A good camera or the right cell phone photo taking skills are a must and also a storage device. A 128GB memory card can hold approximately 35,556 images. Before embarking on any venture, research the available digital publishing options and royalty payment arrangements.

There are many more portable enterprises available online. Let’s describe them in another article, coming soon.

Author Details
Author Rafael Matos is a veteran journalist, a professor of digital narratives and university mentor. He may be contacted at cccrafael@gmail.com.
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