🐧 15 expat side hustles to boost your income

Earn $1000's by selling products, self-storage, speaking, writing, and more!
March 26, 2023

Hey expats. After talking to dozens of you, I curated an insane list of side hustles. 🤯

You’re such go-getters, I love it!

Today in 10 minutes or less, you’ll learn:

  • 💪 15 real expat side hustles
  • ⚡️ 13 stories of how expats got started

💪 15 expat side hustles

Say it with me: diversify, diversify, diversify.

⚡️Recent tech layoffs and Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse are grim reminders why we cannot afford to put our eggs in 1 basket:

  • You are the CEO of your personal finances. Just like you wouldn’t want your business to be a one-trick pony, why risk being 100% dependent on only 1 income source in your personal finances?
  • The world is not a fair place. This may be harsh, but you can’t depend on someone to bail you out like the US Fed did for Silicon Valley Bank.
  • Create optionality for yourself. A side hustle won’t solve everything, but it’s a first step to taking control of your own cashflow.

😨 “But Dexter I can’t do it! I don’t have any monetizable skills!”

  • No. Everyone can do a side hustle.
  • Leveraging your strengths is key. Read the rest of this post to get inspiration from real side hustles built by expats with similar strengths.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. Personally, my partner and I have tested lots of income sources (50%+ failed): selling loose leaf teas, selling art, teaching online courses, tutoring, rental property, career coaching, public speaking, consulting, and advising.

😨 “But Dexter, I’m on a work visa that doesn’t permit me to earn additional income!”

  • Fair - Don’t violate any laws. Or get yourself deported.
  • Consider opening an overseas business entity. Again look closely at your employer’s and immigration policies to make sure you’re not doing anything illegal.

💡 Be creative, have fun, leverage your strengths, tap into your network, and most importantly — stop waiting around; take action.

I’m thrilled to share this incredible list of REAL side hustles from the Money Abroad community (DM me to add yours, I want to hear!):

All numbers below are self-reported income in USD.

👕 1. Sell a product ($8k+ / month)

What is it: Starting an online business selling a physical or digital product.

How they got started:

“I was a customer of the product for many years and had trouble getting that particular contact lens brand to ship to me. It took a month to receive so I thought I’d contact them and ask to be a distributor for them and initially they weren’t interested but because of my beauty community and marketing background they agreed to do a partnership. It was a very sought after brand, they just had terrible logistics.

A lot of beauty bloggers
were talking about it and always complained about how long shipping took. So I knew there was demand for it. I also knew that it would worked great on Instagram because [aesthetically] it was such a dramatic change from no lenses to with lenses so the marketing material was easy to create for that wow factor. First customers was from Instagram with my makeup social community.”

Australian entrepreneur & e-commerce store owner

🎤 2. Public speaking / referrals ($750-$6k / month)

What is it: Help others by speaking at events and referring potential leads/customers to businesses.

How they got started:

“When I launched my company, visibility was one of my main focuses on building brand awareness. I was speaking publicly on the stage for different groups and networking settings, and in the process people noticed and invited me to speak on their platforms for free.

After a few speaking projects, I
felt confident to charge and wanted a return in investment for the time I spend preparing for these tasks and the skills I acquire to be good in speaking. I got my first few speaking projects from Upwork and referrals.

Filipino entrepreneur & public speaker

📦️ 3. Self storage service ($1.2k-3k / month)

What is it: Renting storage units to a niche customer segment. E.g. students, young professionals, etc.

How they got started:

“My friend and I target two types of people - international students in university and young professionals living in condos downtown. International students - they need help storing their things, like furniture and clothes, when they go back home during the summer. Young professionals - these folks live in shoeboxes with very little storage space, so they need a place to store low-frequency items like ski gear.

So we
rented a giant storage unit in the middle of nowhere for a few hundred bucks per month. We then divided it up into smaller sections. We charge people based on the quantity and size of their items. We can pretty much cover the cost of the entire unit with a few people, and the rest is pure profit.

Canadian tech employee & self-storage business owner

👔 4. Case interview prep ($2k-$3k / month)

What is it: Case interview consulting for students / young professionals wanting to get into strategy consulting

How they got started:

“There are various platforms like PrepLounge.com and IGotAnOffer.com that connect you with candidates so it’s pretty easy [to find clients]. Some of them allow to create your own courses / materials that you can sell on their platform. You write your own intro etc but to be honest, there isn’t much work involved.”

Swedish tech employee & ex-consultant

🇪🇸 5. Language tutoring ($2k-$3k / month)

What is it: Tutoring clients in foreign languages (Spanish)

How they got started:

“I found my first customers on locanto, and gumtree. Then I also got some through tutoring agencies (which is ok but they take 50% of your income on the first month only).”

Juan T.,
Spanish Director of Marketing Agency

✍️ 6. Writing on Medium.com ($1k-$1.5k / month)

What is it: Write on topics that you’re curious about.

How they got started:

“You don’t need to be talented or ask for permission. What you do need to have is consistency and mindset. I actually came from alternative education when I was in year 10. I got below average in English in year 12. I don’t have any degree for writing in university. Your first 50 to 100 articles, video, or whatever you produce are probably going to be really bad. I look back on my first 50 articles and they were terrible, but you need the first 50 fails and missteps to learn from them.”

Michael L.
, Australian entrepreneur and Medium Top Writer

🫶 7. Coaching / mentoring ($100’s to $1k+ / month)

What is it: Coaching and mentoring clients to help them job search and grow in their careers.

How they got started:

“I'd say establishing an online presence (and using it to provide value to people first) is KEY — keep giving people 'free' value via Linkedin posts, email newsletters, etc. and only after you have a solid base of followers you can add on a freemium model to charge people who need extra services.”

American tech founder & ex-FANG employee

🎨 8. Graphic design ($500 to $1k / month)

What is it: Freelance graphic design for clients.

How they got started:

My biggest clients discovered me via Behance and LinkedIn (I don't even update it regularly), not so much on my personal website, Fiverr or Instagram, so I would say having an online presence on those platform is key.”

Adrienne S.
, Hongkonger data strategist and freelance illustrator

🚀 9. Startup advising & investing (Equity to $$$)

What is it:

  • Advising: Helping startup founders and leaders with solving their business, technical, and operational problems.
  • Angel investing: Investing in startups with your own money. For those with a high-risk appetite.

How they got started:

“One way to be an angel is to look within your network who is working on interesting stuff and what value you can add—it could be product, GTM, hiring, fundraising. Two years back, I met Rishabh who’s my senior from college. He was thinking of his new startup and he agreed for a coffee chat. We discussed SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity) in our first meeting. Then, he got busy building. Over the next few months we had white boarding sessions about GTM. Now I feel vicariously proud seeing him in the latest YC batch for this startup, ‘Defog.ai: ChatGPT for data, embedded in your app’. He’s one of the friends I got to invest in.

One superpower is to
be shameless and reach out to people. Many founders are active on Twitter, that’d be the top most channel I’d prioritise to interact with some incredible founders, it’s underrated in this part of the world.

Lastly, if I were just starting, I’d definitely
join communities so I make only new mistakes. Two communities which I am part of and would highly recommend are Angel Squad from Hustle fund and vertical specifics ones like Fintech Angel Operators.”

Piyush V.,
Indian angel investor & growth at Stripe

🧑‍🏫 10. Teaching ($750 / month)

What is it: Teaching for schools, universities, online grad school/MBA programs, and other online courses (Maven, Udemy, etc.)

How they got started:

“I invested in an [education] company, so that’s how I started teaching there. It’s very related to my profession, being a leader in the tech ecosystem. I marketed my experience of building a company, how to build teams, and how to manage managers and they said why don’t you teach.”

Indian tech executive & online MBA instructor

🎒 11. College / grad school advising ($300 to $500 / student)

What is it: Helping students with their college / grad school applications.

How they got started:

“I've been working in education in the past as a test tutor so the connection came naturally for me. I'd say go register a Fivver account or just befriend your local international schools and they will probably point you to the right direction.

Chinese finance employee & admissions advisor

🔬 12. Research participant ($100’s / month)

What is it: Participate in research studies for Expert Networks (GLG, Capvision, AlphaSights) or testing platforms (Wynter, Usertesting). Get paid for your feedback and comments.

💃 13. Dance instructor ($100’s / month)

What is it: Teach dance classes and offer performances for venues.

🃏 14. Poker ($100’s / month)

What is it: Playing live and online poker as a hobby.

How they got started:

“Poker is an incredibly fun, challenging and dynamic pastime - I would say to be very cautious about choosing the right stakes, and never play with more than what you're willing to lose. There is a lot of variance involved in poker - times where you might be making the right decisions, but lose money anyways because of luck - so you need to make sure you're effectively managing your bank roll. Start at smaller stakes, and if you see yourself continuing to win and build your bankroll, then move up in the stakes.”

Sherry J.,
American web3 founder & avid poker player

🪙 15. DeFi ($100’s / month)

What is it: Passive investing in DeFi, eg investing in stablecoins for yields.

How they got started:

“Please make sure you do your due diligence and research before investing your money! DeFi is definitely a lot riskier compared to traditional investing, but on the flip side, does offer more opportunities for asymmetric returns if you could bear the risk and volatility.”

Sherry J.,
American web3 founder

🎙️ 16. Podcasting / Youtube (Network)

What is it: Starting a podcast or youtube channel about a topic you’re curious about.

How they got started:

“Podcast idea you can start today: 1/ Conversation with people you went to school/university with about what they have been up to since you all graduated. This is exactly what I did and it’s been such a great experience. Re-connecting with people after years is wonderful and people love to hear what their batchmates have been up to over the years. 2/ A narrative podcast about you, your experiences, beliefs, ambitions, interests, etc. 3/ conversations with people in a niche community.”

Indian tech employee & podcast host

🌐 Beyond your borders

🇵🇹 More digital nomads leaving Portugal after Golden Visa program ended (Schengenvisa)

🇬🇧 UK is planning to launch a new visa route for entrepreneurs to move to the country to start a business (Sifted)

🇧🇷 Brazil is bringing back visa requirements for US, Australia, Japan, and Canada (Quartz)

🇨🇳 China reopens borders to foreign tourists for first time since 2022 (CNA)

🇮🇩 Bali deports 47 foreigners misusing their visas to work (ST)

🇺🇲 Surprising effects of remote work: more marriages & babies (Atlantic)

🙌 Friends around the world

Start your creator business part-time. We love entrepreneurship here at Money Abroad. Solo Creator Hub helps you grow a part-time solo creator business to $100K and equips you with the right tools to do it.

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Pay your bills with your podcast. Our friend Joe is publishing a daily newsletter The Profitable Podcaster which shows you the exact tools, strategies, and tactics that Joe uses to bring in $50k+ a year from his podcast.

The Profitable Podcast shows you how to save time and establish authority as a podcaster. Subscribe today!

Join my Free 5-Day Side Hustle Crash Course

In this free course, I'll help you step-by-step to setup your side hustle for success.

Get the lessons that helped me quit my 9-to-5, travel the world for one year, and diversify my income streams.

Dexter Zhuang

Dexter is the founder of Money Abroad, a website and newsletter on building wealth for global professionals. Over the last 10 years, he's been a product leader, product manager, consultant and coach at companies like Dropbox, Xendit, and growth-stage startups across the US, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. His work has been featured in global publications like Business Insider, CBS, US News & World Report, and Tech in Asia. He graduated from Dartmouth College.

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