In 2018, I started experimenting with side businesses to pay off my $40,000 in credit card and student loan debt.
Today I achieved that goal—and more. In 2021, I’ve built enough income streams to quit my $98,500/year engineering job and work on my jobs full time.
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, teach people on Patreon, and sell business consulting services on Fiverr.
Here are three side hustles you can start today for $50 or less:
1. Feel free to showcase your skills on Fiverr.
Starting price: $0
Fiverr is an online marketplace for freelance services. Common jobs include graphic design, writing and translation, and digital marketing.
I created my first business consulting list in 2021. I have had a lot of success selling products on Amazon and wanted to share the knowledge of e-commerce.
I charged between $60 and $350 for product research. Someone would tell me what they were interested in selling, and I would find certain products in that category that were in high demand and had little competition.
I would then put together a research report that included details about the product, where to manufacture it, and cost estimates and profit analysis. Sometimes I would consult customers on how to list a product on Amazon. I made a profit of $29,000 during the first year.
Fiverr is free to join and you will only be charged when you complete your order. The platform collects 20% of your income in fees.
Some other free freelancing platforms to consider: UpWork, 99designs, and Guru.
2. Use Patreon for the benefit of the audience.
Starting price: 50 dollars
Patreon allows you to create and sell memberships by providing exclusive access to your work. I signed up in 2020 to teach people how to build an Amazon store.
Every month subscribers pay a fee to communicate directly with me and learn more about the best selling products in different categories. Last year I made $33,114 through Patreon.
Registration to create content on Patreon is free. You pay to use the service only after subscribers pay to join your group. Patreon charges between 5% and 12% of your monthly income, depending on how many features and tools you need.
Here’s how it works:
- Decide on a membership product or service. You can list anything for which you have the skills and experience. Search Patreon for creators working 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, browse the sites of similar creators to determine a fair monthly price to charge subscribers and what features to offer.
- Create a welcome video. Post it on your site to showcase your services to potential subscribers. You don’t need to invest in video editing software — iMovie or DaVinci are free and easy to use.
- Place a Google Ads campaign. This will help you target people who are looking for your product or service. I only spent $50 on my ad campaign.
- Communicate regularly with your subscribers. Listen to their feedback to figure out what features to add to your site. Word of mouth is key to growing your business on Patreon.
3. Rent your car on Turo.
Starting price: It varies
Do you own a car? Turo, a peer-to-peer car sharing platform that allows you to rent vehicles, is a great way to generate additional income.
In 2019 I purchased 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 about $400 (including insurance), I only had to rent my car for three days a month to make the coverage.
In 2020, I made $5,717 in gross profit.
Signing up for Turo is free, but startup costs will vary depending on your vehicle’s situation. Here are three tips to help you increase your profits:
- Highlight your listing with eye-catching photos. To make my listing stand out, I took pictures of my Slingshot in front of graffiti and local tourist attractions.
- Install a locking compartment to save time and offer more flexibility. I put one on the side of my house so the renters can pick up the keys if I’m not around. I would always ask for a photo of the buyer’s ID to make sure it matches the details on their Turo account. Then I would send the application instructions.
- Rent vehicles that give the highest return. Turo has data on average annual earnings for different types of cars and markets. For example, you can make more money leasing a Toyota Prius than a Land Rover Range Rover.
Josh Ellwood is the founder Debt in dollars. Follow him further Instagram and YouTube.