In 2018, I began to experience the hustle and bustle of paying off my $40,000 in credit card and student loan debt.
Today, I accomplished that goal – and more. By 2021, I had built enough income to quit my $98,500-a-year engineering job and work on my business full-time.
At 28 years old, 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 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. Freelancing your skills on Fiverr.
Starting price: $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 the knowledge of e-commerce.
I charge between $60 and $350 to research products. Someone would tell me what they were interested in selling, and I would find specific products in this category that were high in demand and low in competition.
I would then put together a research report that includes product details, where it is manufactured, and a cost estimate and profit analysis. I would sometimes consult customers on how to list the product on Amazon. I made a profit of $29,000 during my first year.
Fiverr is free to join, and you only pay a fee when you complete an order. The platform collects 20% of your income in fees.
Some other inexpensive freelance platforms to consider: UpWork, 99designs and Guru.
2. Use Patreon to benefit an audience.
Starting price: $50
Patreon allows you to build and sell memberships to provide exclusive access to your work. I signed up in 2020 to teach people how to create an Amazon store.
Every month, subscribers pay a fee to communicate directly with me and learn about the best selling products in different categories. Last year, I made $33,114 through Patreon.
Sign up to create content on Patreon for free. You only pay to use the service once subscribers 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 membership product or service. You can list anything you have skills and experience in. 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 have decided on a niche, review similar creator pages to determine a fair monthly price to charge subscribers and what features you will offer.
- Create a welcome video. Post it on your page to explain 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 Ads campaign.
- Routinely communicate with your subscribers. Listen to their feedback to know what features to add to your page. Word of mouth is essential to growing your Patreon business.
3. Rent your car on Turo.
Starting price: Vary
Own a car? Turo, a peer-to-peer car sharing platform that lets you rent out your car, is a great way to generate some extra income.
In 2019, I bought 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 only had to rent my car for at least three days a month to break even.
In 2020, I made $5,717 in gross profit.
Signing up for Turo is free, but startup costs will vary depending on the status of your vehicle. Here are three tips to help maximize your profits:
- Differentiate your listing with attractive photos. To help my listing stand out, I took pictures of my Slingshot in front of graffiti artwork and local tourist attractions.
- Install a lockbox to save you time and offer more flexibility. I put one on the side of my house so the tenants could take the keys if I wasn’t around. I would always ask for a photo ID of the customer to ensure it matches their Turo account details. Then I would send over the check-in instructions.
- Rent the car that gives the highest return. Turo has data on average annual earnings for different 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 Debt To Dollars. Follow it Instagram and YouTube.