Back when I was starting college, I had very different ideas of what my life would become. For years, I planned on being a child psychologist and was pretty content with that. Then something happened; I studied abroad, landed a job in the fashion industry and everything changed. I started to realize that I wanted to work in more of a creative field. I also wanted the option to live abroad again.
About every week, I receive emails from people who want to “do what I do” and to be honest, this blog is only a fraction of my day-to-day work. That said, I have carved out a career that is completely location independent and I believe that you can make it happen, too!
Scroll below for my suggestions on majors to choose in college. Of course, don’t fret if you’ve studied something else. I’m proof that you can still use your skills and strengths to land your dream remote job.
Let’s start with what I know. Back in 2009 I graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology (I double majored in English/Communications). At the time, I was a little frustrated that I had chosen this major, especially since I no longer wanted to be a traditional psychologist or social worker. Instead, I was set to move to New York City to try to break into the fashion industry. Talk about a career change, right?!
Less than six-months into my life in New York, I realized how valuable a degree in Psychology really is. Sure, you might not be professionally counseling anyone but you use your knowledge in every single situation with another human. In the seven years I lived in New York—plus the three years divided between San Francisco and Hong Kong—I encountered some very difficult personalities. This isn’t to say that I wasn’t difficult myself at times, but it made interpersonal interactions and conflict resolution a whole lot easier.
Having a background in Psychology has given me a tremendous amount of understanding, empathy, awareness and emotional intelligence. As both a remote contractor and female entrepreneur who travels for a living, empathy is the key to everything.
Writing (of any sort)
I know, I know, print magazines are essentially a thing of the past and everyone is reaching for their Kindle over a good old paperback these days. That said, I truly believe that good writing is always going to be a ‘need.’ Yes, there’s been a significant shift from print to digital—even bloggers are seeing a shift from writing on their websites to writing copy for an Integral post—good writing is still good writing.
It’s also important to remember that travel writing and blogging are only two ways to make money professionally. Over the past ten years, I’ve dabbled in all sorts of writing: creative, branded content, conversion copy for websites, customer service templates, social media copy, Facebook ad copy, you name it. Today, writing is an integral element of everything that we do and I can’t tell you how many companies there are out there that need good storytellers.
Before traveling regularly (remember, my first international trip wasn’t until I was 21), I’ll admit that I mostly stayed out of politics. While I’m still not a fan about talking about US politics, especially in this climate, I realize how important it is to be informed at the very least.
International studies, as its name suggests, is the study of politics, economics and cultural issues around the world. You learn a lot about how other countries operate and as a traveler, this understanding is emphasized. You become a citizen of the world and are able to better assimilate into different cultures…because you have a better awareness of how the people in those countries live their lives.
International Studies is a pretty common major, and many universities offer programs. You can even gain your degree online, which makes it even better suited to busy schedules. Maryville University offers a course-load that will earn you a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies.
Back in college, I wasn’t interested in Business Management because my definition of that involved me working in a huge corporation barely making a different. Wow, was I wrong! Once I started my own company, I realized how clueless I was about business. Naturally, I come from more of a creative standpoint and as an empath, the prospect of pushing people to buy something is a major turn off.
So, with that being said, I’ve had to learn business management the hard way…in the real world! In the first few years of Bohemian Trails going live, I definitely made some poor business decisions. I also didn’t negotiate pricing and assumed I was ‘lucky’ to be getting anything. Oh, no, no, no! As time went on, I slowly began turning offers down and, instead, focusing on bigger and more long-term goals I wanted to achieve.
While I’d say that I’ve come a long way in terms of negotiation and knowing my worth in the workplace, having a background in business management would have made the transition from full-time employee to full-time business owner a lot smoother.
The three D’s: Designer, Developer, Data Analyst
Where do I even start with these three! Yes, there are three because I couldn’t just pick one. Having worked a couple years in San Francisco, I can tell you that is you have one (or all three) of these skills, you are in a really good place.
Pay-wise, developers make the most money and if you’re hoping for remote work, it is possible. Many companies based in SF actually outsource their development team to another country where they can pay you less because there is a lower cost of living. (some companies pay you the same; it really depends).
For me, I think becoming a developer is out of my skillset at this point in time but I really do wish I had some design and data analyst understanding. I often need to create designs for Instagram and other social channels and while there are some really useful apps out there to help non-designer types like me, it takes me twice as long to come up with something half as creative as an actual designer would.
What was your major in school? Tell me in the comments below!
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