In 2018, I started using side hustles to pay off my $40,000 in credit card and student loan debt.
Today, I accomplished that goal — and more. In 2021, I built enough income streams to quit my $98,500-per-year engineering job and work full-time on my businesses.
At 28 years old, I am my own boss, and I work less than four hours a day. Last year, I earned over $189,000 from seven income streams.
My biggest streams come from teaching people how to start profitable side hustles: I post educational content on YouTube, mentor people on Patreon, and sell business consulting services on Fiverr.
Here are three side hustles you can start today for $50 or less:
1. Freelance your skills on Fiverr.
Cost to start: $0
Fiverr is an online marketplace for freelance services. Common tasks include graphic design, writing and translation, and digital marketing.
I created my first business consulting list in 2021. I had a lot of success selling products on Amazon and wanted to share my knowledge on e-commerce.
I charge between $60 and $350 to conduct product research. Someone would tell me what they were interested in selling, and I would find specific products in that category that were high in demand and low in competition.
I then put together a research report that included product details, where to manufacture it, and cost estimates and profit analysis. I sometimes advise clients on how to list a product on Amazon. I made a profit of $29,000 in my first year.
Fiverr is free to join, and you’ll only be charged when you complete an order. The platform collects 20% of your revenue in fees.
Some other no-cost freelancing platforms to consider: UpWork, 99designs and Guru.
2. Use Patreon to benefit the audience.
Cost to start: $50
Patreon allows you to build and sell subscriptions by giving you exclusive access to your work. I signed up in 2020 to teach people how to build an Amazon store.
Every month, customers pay a fee to communicate directly with me and learn about the best-selling products in various categories. Last year, I earned $33,114 through Patreon.
Signing up to create content on Patreon is free. You pay to use the service once members pay to join your group. Patreon charges between 5% and 12% of your monthly revenue, depending on how many features and tools you need.
Here’s how it works:
- Decide on a subscription product or service. You can list anything you have skills and experience with. Search Patreon for creators working in your area of interest to see what’s selling and where you have the most opportunity.
- Conduct competitive market research. Once you’ve decided on a niche, review the pages of similar creators to determine a reasonable monthly price to charge members and the features you’re offering.
- Create a welcome video. Post it on your page to outline your services to potential members. You don’t need to invest in video editing software — iMovie or DaVinci are free and easy to use.
- Set up a Google Ad Campaign. This will help you target people who are looking for your product or service. I only spent $50 on my ad campaign.
- Interact with your members regularly. Listen to their feedback to find out what features to add to your page. Word of mouth is essential to growing your Patreon business.
3. Rent your car at Turo.
Cost to start: It’s different
Have a car? Turo, a peer-to-peer car-sharing platform that lets you rent out your vehicle, is a great way to generate some extra income.
In 2019, I purchased a $22,000 Polaris Slingshot with a $2,000 down payment. I saw people in my market renting their slingshots for $150 a day, and since my monthly payment was about $400 (including insurance), I had to rent my car for at least three days.
In 2020, I earned $5,717 in gross profit.
Signing up for Touro is free, but startup costs depend on the status of your vehicle. Here are three tips to help increase your profits:
- Make your listing stand out with attractive photos. To help my list stand out, I took photos of my slingshot in front of graffiti artwork and local tourist attractions.
- Install Lockbox to save you time and offer more flexibility. I put one on the side of my house so the tenants could get the key if I wasn’t around. I always ask for a photo of the customer’s ID to ensure it matches the details on their Touro account. I will then send check-in instructions.
- Rent the vehicles that give the highest returns. Touro has data on average annual earnings for a variety of car types and markets. For example, you can make more money leasing a Toyota Prius than a Land Rover Range Rover.
Josh Ellwood is the founder of A loan of dollars. Follow him Instagram and YouTube.