Why Working Online Is Fabulous When You Live Off-Grid

by | Off-Grid Spain

This one’s for all of you who want to live off-grid… but are not sure how to make it work financially.

While the “traditional” way of making money would be to get an office job in the closest town, or a seasonal job picking grapes or harvesting olives, there are other options too.

I strongly believe that if you have enough self-discipline (or a partner who keeps you on your toes), most people who can move and start a new life off-grid, can also start their own off-grid business. Part-time or full time, outdoors or from your computer, finding a way to get a reliable income and not just depending on “spending less” is your way to ensure you’re not totally reliant on an outside job.

Why do you Need Money if you Want to be Self-Sufficient?

The elephant in the room of course, is this – if you aim to be self-sufficient, shouldn’t you renounce all money and live off love and fresh water? We do know several people with rather radical views on these things – from ranting about people who want to make money by renting out yurts to claiming that people shouldn’t make money from permaculture (because when you’ve spent years of your life and all your savings gathering skills and knowledge, you should be sharing that knowledge with others for free and finding some other way to survive).

You can certainly spend (a lot) less money when you live off-grid. You spend less because you’re not getting harassed by ads and shopping prompts all the time. If you’ve got some like-minded people near you, there’s a lot you can do with bartering and just helping each other out for free; but at the end of the day, you still need money for certain things.

There are taxes to be paid, parts and materials to be bought, and things that will break down and need replacing. The nearest shop might be an hour away (and gas money isn’t cheap), and you need dog food, or maybe new working shoes now and then. And what happens if your car breaks down?

I did a video on this as well (click here for more about the myth of living without money).

We do know them, the people who choose to not make (much) money and live “on the fringe” (as I call it). They’ll have a good and happy life, grow their own food, help out others where they can and get even more in return. Until things go wrong – relationship trouble, a problem with the house they live in, car breakdown… Sure, the community will pitch in and help them out. For a few days, a few weeks, even a few months.

So… how can you Make Money when Living Off-Grid?

To get you started, I’ve written a post with 6 ways to make a living when you’re living off-grid, but to summarise, these are:

  • Working online
  • Market gardening (growing crops)
  • Farming with animals
  • Creating home-made products
  • Tourism
  • Workshops
  • Working away from home – for somebody else

For more details on each of these, do check out this article!

We’ve tried a bit of everything – on a small scale, just because we could.

Growing fruits & veggies to barter (check), selling eggs (check), baking bread and cakes (check), a bed & breakfast (check), and even helping other farmers with their olive harvest (check). And now I work as an online business strategist, helping other online business owners grow a business that fits and supports their dream lifestyle.

All of these are pretty viable options (especially on a larger scale) if you plan them out well. Not everything worked out for us or fit in with our current lifestyle, but you need to try things out before you know if they’ll work in your individual situation.

We’ve also seen things go wrong: vegetable gardeners whose crops were decimated by a freak hail storm in summer, B&B owners who had to go and get another job in fall, as they didn’t have enough winter bookings to make it until spring; a fox eating all the chickens (bye bye income from selling fresh eggs) or a disease decimating all meat rabbits…etc.

To me, the big winner is the virtual work. Working online gave us the freedom to make the move to our off-grid olive farm in the first place, working online is what gave me grounding when things got crazy, and now working online is what pays off the loans. Our B&B could be a great help towards paying for our daily life (when it’s open), but it would never make enough for us to get our investment back.

why-working-online-is-fabulous-when-you-live-off-grid-01Working Online Offers Flexibility

What I love most about working online is the flexibility it offers me. When we go on a trip, I just have to make sure I’ve got no meetings planned while we travel through the mountains with no 4G available – apart from that, I can work from anywhere.

I was even able to continue working when we lived in our Maset for a few months, with no internet connection. I’d work offline most of the day, reply to e-mails through my mobile internet connection once or twice a day, and visit a bar with good internet (or a good friend) a few times a week to upload everything that needed uploading – and check on my social media, of course.

To this day, I’m able to drop everything if necessary. When a friend needs help, when I’m not feeling well or when the alpacas have escaped to find greener grass on the other side.

Unless I’ve got an important meeting planned (which I can usually work around) or an important deadline (which I have learned to meet ahead of time), I can decide to just not do any work on that day or part of the day.

That doesn’t mean I do it often – every time I skip a working day, that just means I have to catch up later!

Different Types of Online Jobs

The beauty of working online is that there are so many options. I started out as a virtual assistant: helping people with their admin, simple translations, setting up presentations and writing content, booking their travel and scheduling their meetings. Then I decided to specialise as a certified Facebook strategist and coach before finally transitioning to supporting other online entrepreneurs with all aspects of their business strategy, helping my clients set up systems and strategies so they can stop wasting time – and start making an impact.

I have many friends who work online (probably not a coincidence). Their occupations vary – from web or graphic design, to web development and SEO, to doing translations and admin work, to coaching (1:1) or teaching (with courses or memberships), to writing, blogging, selling physical products… and I’m sure I’m forgetting quite a few here.

If you have an online business or are considering starting your own virtual company – what is it you do? Let us know in the comments!

Can you Have a Guaranteed Income when Working Online?

The life of a self-employed entrepreneur is never easy, especially at first.

However, there are ways to ensure a regular income, like

  • Working on a monthly retainer basis – where clients pay you a certain amount per month, to secure a certain amount of hours or a particular job
  • A maintenance contract (e.g. for web development)
  • Setting up a subscription or membership, where you provide certain services or products in exchange for monthly or yearly payment

The Art of Not Putting All Eggs in One Basket

That is the most important part: working online allows me to do other things as well. Managing our “farm stay” guest accommodations, baking bread, cakes and pies on demand, working in the garden or with the alpacas or chickens, olive and almond harvest or processing quinces…

Not only does an online job allow you to work around all that needs to happen on the farm, it also means you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket – or business. When things are slow in your B&B in winter, that’s when you can take on a few more clients (or get a bit more work done) – and make sure you can still make enough to pay the bills.

So What Kind Of Jobs Could I Do Online?

At this point, the opportunities for earning a living online are almost endless, and I’ve already mentioned a few of the more popular ones up above. However, if you need a little more inspiration, here’s an interesting article on 17 types of online work you can do from home.

What If The Internet Collapses?

Yes, that is a question we get all of the time.

We don’t believe the internet will be going anywhere any time soon, but just in case some catastrophe happens and there is no longer an internet to make money from… then I’m pretty sure we could go back to working offline.

Back to the local community, to our own garden – and to making sure our bare necessities are met, before we go looking for more. No more big travel plans – but then again, there’d be no internet to buy the tickets on!

If you have an online business or are considering starting your own virtual company – what is it you do? Let us know in the comments!

Want To Brainstorm Off-Grid Business Ideas? Let’s Connect!

“In real life”, I work as an online business strategist. That means I help people with a (usually online) business set up or optimise and structure their business in a way that it makes money – and it’s fun at the same time. As I love meeting new people and brainstorming business ideas, schedule a call with me if you’d like to do that!

Click here to book a (video) call with me! 

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  1. How We Have Super-Fast Internet While We Live Off-Grid - Sunny Simple Living - […] a good internet connection is essential for us and for others who are making a living online. We don’t…
  2. How Expensive is it to Live Off-Grid? Saving Money with an Alternative Lifestyle - Sunny Simple Living - […] of our local friends combine a remote/online business or a part-time job elsewhere in Europe with living in Spain……
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Hi, I'm Sandrine!

I live off-grid on an olive and almond farm in Spain, with alpacas and chickens and dogs and all the things. We've got solar panels and water from a borehole, we aim to grow our own food and be more self-sufficient, and we also try to make more time for what's really important in life... Come and join the sunny simple living movement!

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