In 2018, I started experimenting with side hustle to pay off my $40,000 in credit card and student loan debt.
Today, I achieved that goal – and more. By 2021, I’ve built enough streams of income to quit my $98,500-a-year engineering job and work full-time at my businesses.
At 28, I am my own boss, and I work less than four hours a day. Last year I made over $189,000 from seven sources of income.
My biggest streams come from teaching people how to start profitable side businesses: I post educational content on YouTube, mentor people on Patreon, and sell business consulting services on Fiverr.
Here are three businesses you can start today for $50 or less:
1. Put your freelancing skills on Fiverr.
Cost to start: $0
Fiverr is an online marketplace for freelance services. Common jobs include graphic design, copywriting and translation, and digital marketing.
I created my first business advice list in 2021. I had great success selling products on Amazon and wanted to share knowledge in e-commerce.
I charged between $60 and $350 to research the products. Someone would tell me what they wanted to sell, and I would find specific products in that category that were in high demand and uncompetitive.
Then I prepared a research report that included details about the product, where to make it, a cost estimate, and a profit analysis. I would sometimes consult customers on how to list the product on Amazon. I made a profit of $29,000 in my first year.
Joining Fiverr is free and you will only be charged when you place an order. The platform collects 20% of your income as a fee.
A few other freelance platforms to consider: UpWork, 99designs, and Guru.
2. Use Patreon to benefit an audience.
Cost to start: $50
Patreon lets you create and sell memberships by providing exclusive access to your work. I signed up in 2020 to teach people how to start an Amazon store.
Every month, subscribers pay a fee to communicate directly with me and discover the best-selling products in different categories. Last year I made $33,114 from Patreon.
Signing up to create content on Patreon is free. You only pay to use the service after subscribers have paid to join your group. Patreon charges between 5% and 12% of your monthly earnings, depending on how many features and tools you need.
Here’s how it works:
- Choose a membership product or service. You can list anything you have skills and experience in. Search Patreon for creators who work in your area of interest to see what’s selling and where you have the most opportunities.
- Conduct competitive market research. Once you’ve decided on a niche, review pages from similar creators to determine a fair monthly price to charge subscribers and the features you’ll offer.
- Create a welcome video. Post it on your page to describe your services to potential subscribers. You don’t need to invest in video editing software – iMovie or DaVinci are free and easy to use.
- Set up a Google Ads campaign. This will help you target people looking for your product or service. I only spent $50 on my ad campaign.
- Interact regularly with your followers. Listen to their feedback to determine what features to add to your page. Word of mouth is essential to growing your Patreon business.
3. Rent your car on Turo.
Cost to start: Varied
Own a car? Turo, a peer-to-peer car-sharing platform that allows you to rent your vehicle, is a great way to generate additional income.
In 2019 I bought a $22,000 Polaris Slingshot with a $2,000 down payment. I’ve seen people in my market rent their Slingshots for $150 a day, and since my monthly payment was around $400 (including insurance), I only had to rent my car at least three days a month to reach the break-even point.
In 2020, I made a gross profit of $5,717.
Signing up for Turo is free, but start-up costs vary depending on your vehicle’s status. Here are three tips to help you maximize your profit:
- Differentiate your listing with eye-catching photos. To help my ad stand out, I took photos of my Slingshot in front of graffiti and local tourist attractions.
- Install a safe to save you time and provide more flexibility. I put one on the side of my house so the tenants could pick up the keys if I wasn’t there. I always asked for a photo of the customer’s ID to make sure it matched their Turo account details. Then I would send the registration instructions.
- Lease vehicles that offer the highest return. Turo has average annual revenue data for different car types and markets. For example, you can make more money renting a Toyota Prius than a Land Rover Range Rover..
Josh Elwood is the founder of Dollar debt. Follow him on instagram and Youtube.
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