In 2018, I started experimenting with 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 quit my $98,500-a-year engineering job and built enough income to work full-time on my businesses.
At 28, I’m my own boss, and I work less than four hours a day. Last year, I made over $189,000 with 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 get started: $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 had great success selling products on Amazon and wanted to share my knowledge in 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 specific products in that category that were in high demand and had little competition.
I would then complete a research report that included details of the product, where it was manufactured and a cost estimate and profit analysis. Sometimes I consulted customers on how to list their product on Amazon. I made $29,000 in profit the first year.
Fiverr is free to join, and you will be charged a fee when you complete an order. The platform collects 20% of your income in fees.
Other no-cost platforms to consider: UpWork, 99designs, and Guru.
2. Use Patreon to benefit an audience.
Cost to get started: $50
Patreon allows you to build and sell memberships giving you 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 discover the best selling products in different categories. Last year, I made $33,114 through Patreon.
Signing up to create content on Patreon is free. You only have to pay to use the service when subscribers pay to join your group. Patreon charges between 5% and 12% of monthly revenue, depending on the 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 with. Search Patreon for creators working in your area of interest to see what’s selling and where you have the most options.
- Conduct research on the competitive market. Once you’ve decided on a niche, review similar creator pages to determine a fair monthly price to charge subscribers and what features to offer.
- Create a welcome video. Post 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.
- Configure a Google Ads campaign. This will help you target people who are looking for your product or service. I only spent $50 on the Ads campaign.
- Interact with your subscribers. Hear their feedback on what features you should add to your page. Word of mouth is essential to growing your Patreon business.
3. Rent your car at Turo.
Cost to get started: It changes
Own a car? Turo, a peer-to-peer car sharing platform that lets you rent out your vehicle, is a great way to generate extra income.
In 2019, I purchased a $22,000 Polaris Slingshot with a $2,000 down payment. I saw people in my market renting 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 a month to convince them.
In 2020, I made $5,717 in gross profit.
Registering with Turo is free, but start-up costs will vary depending on the condition of your vehicle. Here are three tips to maximize your profits:
- Set your listing apart with eye-catching photos. To help make my listing stand out, I took photos with my Slingshot in front of graffiti artwork and local tourist attractions.
- Install a lockbox to save time and provide more flexibility. I put one on the side of the house so the tenants could pick up the keys if I wasn’t around. I would always ask for a photo of the customer’s ID to make sure it matches their Turo account details. I would then send the check-in instructions.
- Rent vehicles that provide the highest profitability. Turo has average annual earnings data 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 creator of Dollar debt. Follow it Instagram and YouTube.