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Without a doubt, living in a small town has many perks. The sense of community and friendliness, lower crime rates, lower cost of living, and you’re never too far from a familiar face. However, it can also feel like your options for earning a living are limited.
It’s easy to get caught up in the mindset that your surroundings are holding you back. There might not be as many job opportunities, and you might feel that you’re destined to work a minimum wage job that doesn’t really interest you as long as you stay there. Thankfully, this could not be further from the truth!
Remote work is on the rise and there is a huge range of jobs that offer complete freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere in the world and earn an excellent income.
If remote working is not for you, small towns also come with their own opportunities and benefits. Working within a small community in a sector that interests you and fulfills your passion is not only extremely rewarding and engaging, but it also means contributing and giving back to your local community and economy.
Jobs That Can Be Done Anywhere
Here you will find a list of jobs that can be undertaken regardless of where in the world you choose to live.
Working in a freelance capacity enables you to work and earn money from anywhere in the world. Most freelancing jobs are submitted or carried out online, meaning all you need is a computer or laptop and a stable internet connection.
You might work as a freelance writer, graphic designer, web developer, or any other job which lends itself to freelance work. Not only do you have the freedom to work from home or anywhere you choose, but freelancing jobs often come with the added flexibility of choosing your own working hours and setting your own rates of pay.
Freelancing can be a great choice for those who live in small towns. You may be working with clients from all over the world and that rates you can charge aren’t really impacted by where you live, unless you’re only working with local clients. As a freelancer, you’ll essentially be getting a pay raise to live in a lower cost of living area.
Generally, those with the most proven experience and expertise will be able to charge the highest rates, but it is also possible to find work as a freelancer in the early stages of your career. Sites like UpWork and Freelancer make it extremely easy to connect with potential clients and find work in your chosen field.
Freelancing can be competitive and you might need to start out with some lower-paid jobs to gain experience, but the flexibility and freedom it affords you make it well worth-while.
2. Virtual Assistant
Virtual Assistants are in high demand and there are many VA jobs available. As a virtual assistant, you can offer a wide range of services to your employer or client. If you’re skilled in administration, management, HR, finance, or any other business-related roles, you might be able to capitalize on these by becoming a virtual assistant.
Like freelancing, working as a virtual assistant means you can work from wherever you choose and earn good money.
As the world becomes increasingly digitized, more and more companies are looking to outsource elements of their business to remote workers. For the company, it means fewer costs on office space and insurance, and for the virtual assistant, it means freedom, flexibility, and the opportunity to earn an excellent income.
Again, there are many sites designed to enable contractors to network with prospective clients and negotiate on contracts. If you have administrative experience of some sort and like the idea of working from home on a long-term basis, this could be an excellent opportunity. If you’re not sure how to get started, excellent virtual assistant training is available.
Transcriptionists are skilled workers who reproduce audio files into a written format. The job lends itself particularly well to remote work as it requires a high level of focus and concentration. Most transcriptionists find working with a good quality headset and foot pedal makes the process increasingly efficient and easy, although these are not necessarily essential.
Even those without previous transcription experience can find work in this field, as there are many transcription jobs available. There is a range of websites offering free transcription guides and training courses, as well as job opportunities and vacancies.
This definitely takes practice and you will need to invest time in the training process if you are not experienced in transcription. The pay rates can be low for entry-level jobs, but once you have gained experience and skills the rates increase dramatically.
Blogging is a fairly new industry that offers an opportunity to make significant income.
Starting your own blog is free and easy and can be done from anywhere in the world. For many bloggers, the best part about this industry is that you are able to monetize your own interests and hobbies.
You can start a blog about anything you choose: sports, lifestyle, health & wellness, fashion, or any other subject that interests you! While this is a fun hobby, it can take some time to capitalize on this pastime.
Generally, bloggers generate income through advertising revenue, affiliate links, and website traffic. Building an audience and engaging with them regularly is the key to earning money from your blog. If you have a good knowledge of SEO, this can help to enhance your blog’s traffic and audience engagement.
What better way to make money than by writing about things that you are passionate about?
According to recent statistics, in 2020 32% of Americans listen to podcasts at least once per month. This is an industry that is currently experiencing exponential growth and there couldn’t be a better time to cash in on it.
Podcasts are very similar to blog posts, only there are consumed in audio format. It’s thought that there are around two million podcasts currently, so there is a lot of competition, but much less than blogging. There is still plenty of room for newcomers and more money to be made.
Again, building an engaged audience is the key to successfully earning money through a podcast. Podcasters earn money through audience engagement and advertising, so you need to have an interested and consistent target audience.
Once you’ve established your audience, the sky is the limit. Your podcast can cover any topic you choose and you’re free to record from anywhere in the world.
6. Self-Published Author
In recent years, more and more talented authors are choosing to self publish their work. There are multiple reasons for this: more artistic control, no splitting of profits, and much quicker publishing times.
Traditionally, self-publishing required more upfront costs because you have to pay for the books to be printed before you can sell them. However, modern self-publishing through platforms like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) allows anyone to self publish with no investment. Through KDP, you can sell e-books and paperbacks that are printed on-demand, as they are sold.
Amazon makes it extremely easy to sell books and e-books on their site, so almost anyone can have a go at writing and self-publishing.
If you’ve been sitting on the idea for a novel, self-help book, or personal memoir, why not give it a shot. At worst, you have produced your own creative legacy, and at best you could have a future bestseller on your hands.
This course from bestselling author Jonathan LaPoma will show you the exact steps to follow to have success as a self-published author and sell your books and eBooks through Amazon's Kindle Direct Program. Get free access for two months!
7. Social Media Manager
Unsurprisingly, the majority of social media management work is carried out online. Because of this, the job is very well suited to remote working.
Social media is an invaluable tool used by many businesses to increase brand awareness, audience engagement, and to carry out relevant market research.
If you have experience in digital marketing, the chances are you have worked with social media platforms in some capacity. Offering this service to companies is a great way to earn money while working from the comfort of your own home.
As a social media manager, you are likely to take on responsibilities of producing and editing content, scheduling posts, replying to messages and engaging with audiences, updating information, and maintaining an active presence across the platforms.
Other Jobs and Side Hustles for Small Towns
If remote or online working isn’t for you, there are plenty of other cash-earning opportunities for you to capitalize on. Some of us prefer the in-person social interactions that come along with working as part of a team or providing a face-to-face service.
Here are some examples of jobs that are accessible and in-demand, no matter where you live or the scale of your local area:
1. Flea Market Flipping
Anyone who has attended a flea market in the past knows that these can be treasure-troves of low-priced items that can be flipped for significant profits. Granted, you often have to trifle through some less desirable items to get to the good stuff, but when you know what you’re looking for and what is likely to sell for a profit, flea markets are great places to get started.
Some of the easiest items to flip are vintage clothes, power tools, handmade crafts, antiques, and collectibles. If you’re able to find these items in higher quantities to sell in bulk, the profits are likely to be even higher. It’s all about knowing what you’re looking for and being willing to take the time to work through all of the other items in order to get to the ones of potential value.
2. Flipping Furniture
Similarly, yard sales are excellent places to find hidden gems and unidentified treasures. Often the prices are extremely low because the owner is looking for a quick and easy sale, and if not they’re almost always open to negotiations.
One thing to look out for in particular is any cheap wood furniture. Wooden furniture is easy to upcycle, whether it’s with a simple coat of paint, some basic repair work, or refinishing, you’re almost guaranteed to be able to make a profit with these items.
Of course, this kind of work takes time, effort, but the skills can be learned relatively easily (see Flipping Furniture for Profit to learn more). Many people have found that it has enabled them to quit their regular nine to five jobs and earn their living solely from buying and reselling furniture. If you have a creative eye and the skill to paint or refinish furniture, this is a great hobby which can also earn a good amount of cash.
3. Dog Walker / Pet Sitter
Offering dog walking or pet sitting services in your local area is a great way of earning some extra money. For many people, the prospect of being paid to spend time with animals is a dream come true!
You might have your own dog and are able to take other dogs along on your daily walks, or you might be unable to own your own dog but like the idea of getting out in nature while walking someone else’s and earning money. Either way, this is a great money-making opportunity.
Offering additional services such as pet day-care or overnight stays could mean you’re able to earn even more money and provides you with complete flexibility to choose your own rates of pay and working hours.
Apps like Rover make this an even easier endeavor, connecting pet-sitters and dog-walkers with animal-owners in their local area. If you love animals and have the facility and the time to care for them, why not give it a go?
Childcare is a significant cost for many parents, so they often look to people within their local area who may be offering childcare or babysitting services.
This type of work is likely to require some basic background checks and you might need to invest in some insurance before you get started. Your initial costs will depend on whether you choose to work for an employer, an agency, or independently.
Working within childcare means taking on a high level of responsibility, so it is helpful to have some previous childcare experience or training. That way parents and guardians can rest assured that their children are being left in capable and responsible hands.
5. Cleaning Houses
Another service you can offer to local people in your area, cleaning houses is a great way of earning some extra cash. Lots of people find that they are either too busy with work, childcare, or simply don’t have the ability or desire to spend time each week meticulously cleaning their home. Often this means that these people are willing to outsource this chore by employing a professional cleaner.
This is an excellent way of earning money while helping out local people. You might find yourself working for a local family occupied with childcare and work commitments, an elderly couple who need a little extra help around the house, or a myriad of other people from all walks of life.
For those that enjoy the satisfaction that comes along with cleaning a space and leaving it clutter-free and ready to be lived in, this is a great job with freedom, flexibility, and good rates of pay.
In a similar vein, if your skills and expertise lend themselves to it, you could offer your services as a handyman/woman. Daily household jobs such as hanging photo frames, fixing garden fences, or building furniture might be part of your repertoire and are all things that many local people are likely to require assistance with.
Word of mouth is an excellent marketing tool in this line of work, so building good client relationships is the best way of gaining more work and establishing yourself as a trusted handyman or woman in your area.
Those without formal qualifications or people with skills that cover a variety of trade areas often find that by marketing themselves as a local handyman/woman, they’re able to utilize all of their skills while earning money and helping local people.
To learn more, see How to Become a Handyman.
7. Lawncare / Landscaping
Both lawn care and landscaping are skilled professions that are valued highly in most areas. You could specialize in domestic landscaping, or landscaping on a larger scale, tending to sports grounds or public parks. Either way, those with the highest levels of experience and skill are well paid and their work is in high demand.
The work is very physical, so it requires a good level of fitness and strength. It’s also highly detailed, creative work, and excellent knowledge of plant care and gardening is necessary. Clearly, this line of work calls on a multitude of skills, so it makes sense that people are willing to pay generously for top-quality service.
Most localities require some form of landscaping or lawn care, and again, proof of your work and word of mouth are some of your most valuable advertising tools. You might start by advertising your services on local forums or Facebook groups in order to build your reputation and client group.
8. Sell Produce
Growing and selling your own produce is a rewarding way of contributing to your local community and earning some extra money.
Many people enjoy gardening and growing their own fruit, vegetables, and herbs, so why not capitalize on this? People are willing to pay for local produce that they know has been organically sourced, free from pesticides and other harmful substances, so if you’re able to offer this service it’s a great way to monetize your hobby and skills.
Local farmer’s markets are the best place to sell your produce. Not only do you get to earn money for your hard work, but it also means more time spent outdoors in nature, the rewarding satisfaction of providing high-quality, healthy produce, and the added benefits of socializing with local customers.
9. Auto Detailing
Auto detailing covers all maintenance procedures that keep your car looking its best. Detailing tends to focus on the cosmetic elements of the cars maintenance, rather than the mechanical upkeep.
The process offers a professional, meticulous clean of the car both inside and out. It’s thought to be a step beyond your standard cleaning or valet service.
This is a skilled job and requires some materials and tools, so detailing specialists can charge high rates for their services. It’s a long process, so even the most inundated specialists will usually complete a maximum of three cars per day, depending on their condition and size. It can also be taxing work and requires impeccable attention to detail.
For those with an interest in cars and a passion for restoring them to their prime, auto detailing is an interesting and rewarding career choice.
10. Start a Rental Business
The rental of goods or property is a highly profitable market. Whether you specialize in car rentals, property or space rentals, equipment rentals, or leisure rentals, there is the potential within these markets to earn a significant amount of money.
The easiest way to get started is by renting whatever you already have, as opposed to going out and buying things for the sake of renting them out. If you happen to have a garage or basement you’re noting using, you could rent it out for storage space. If you have a truck or RV, rent it out when you’re not using it. You can even rent your car when you don’t need it. There are lots of possibilities and you can learn more in our article about making money with rentals.
The great thing about this line of work is that beyond the initial costs and any maintenance or upkeep, your profits are unrestricted. Outsourcing some of the maintenance to an external agency or workforce also means that the income has the potential to be completely passive, leaving you free to spend your time earning elsewhere or enjoying your profits.
Small towns are great places to live; they offer security, community, and opportunity. It’s easy to be convinced that in order to prosper financially you need to move to the big city and embark on a corporate career, but this isn’t the case.
By looking into some of these employment opportunities, hopefully, you realize that prosperity is possible wherever you are, and lies within your own determination, skills, and work ethic.