Today I have a guest post from Peter who blogs over at DollarSanity. He’s had some interesting side hustles throughout the years so I hope this motivates you to explore what is possible.
My life has been a journey full of crazy business ideas that just kept on coming, one after the other. From just a modest student, looking to make money in college, to now, when I’m an experienced engineer with a keen admiration for side hustle projects and the owner of a successful blog known as DollarSanity.
Are you interested in finding out how I got started? Allow me to take you on a trip down the memory lane.
Selling Candy to Other Kids
There’s an old saying that you have to conceive success before you’ll be able to achieve it. In my case, the thoughts of reaching financial freedom came rather early. While most other kids were only worried about getting as much playing time as possible, I contemplated ways where I could earn some pocket money.
Let me take you back to a time when I was 11. I won’t mention the exact year, but trust me, it was a long, long time ago. By talking with my friends, I figured out a way to provide them with what they need the most, which was candy at the time and do so for only a small fee.
The job consisted of me going to a big supermarket, and buying as much candy as possible. The next step included resisting to urge to eat it all during the very following day. Still, I was usually able to deal with this temptation, as I knew what awaited me on the other side – a bunch of my classmates who were willing to pay extra just to have the candies delivered right to their hands.
I like to think that it was this very idea that created the need to always search for a brand new side hustle, which holds true, even today.
In case you’re just getting started, my advice would be to first test the waters, and try to make some money without any investment. Sell some stuff from the basement that you never get a chance to use, feel the process, and find out what are the difficulties you might encounter once you decide to go all in. Only then will you know if you’ve got what it takes to make it in this tough business.
College Brought More Serious Side Hustles
The life filled with side-hustle ventures continued in college as well, only here, I moved on to bigger and better things. Instead of focusing solely on my local market, I decided that it was the perfect time to branch out, so I started reselling stuff on eBay. Mind you, this was in the early days of the Internet, and the market was not as highly competitive as it is today.
If I told you that selling DVDs was my primary gig, you’ll understand just how far removed we are from those simpler times. Still, it turned out to be highly profitable, at least when it came to the needs of one modest student. It was the perfect way to make money in college.
However, all of these online businesses cannot even compare with the offline ones. The profit is nowhere near the same, but the stress levels are completely different too. Hosting parties used to bring me $1,500 a night alone. Of course, the biggest single profit came from organizing New Year’s Eve in 2006. when I sold 4,200 tickets which was enough to buy my property. Ultimately, the organization of such a huge event had to last for quite some time. In this case, it took 3 months, as we started working on the project in late September.
Becoming a Bar Owner
A perfect example of a job that was very financially lucrative, but left me absolutely drained of energy. Being the owner of a bar sounds like a great idea, but when you get down to it, it’s a serious business.
Not only that you have to keep an eye on it at all times, or you risk losing all of your money in a hurry, but it also means that you’ll be spending a ton of long nights, making sure that each customer gets what they wanted, when they wanted.
The worst part of it might be your friends, who will act as if they’re entitled to always have a free table for themselves, even at private parties. And they’ll be ready to argue on the spot if you tell them no.
I cannot say that I regretted going into this line of business, but I don’t know whether I’d have the courage to do so ever again.
Learning to ‘YouTube’
Looking at some of my friends who made a decent profit from YouTube, I also decided to give it a spin. Truth be told, the enthusiasm didn’t stick with me for long in regards to this particular side hustle, and the results were a perfect indication of such an effort.
It’s not to say that this idea was a complete waste of time, though. Even today, the few videos that I uploaded years ago bring me about $20 a month. Hey, I know that it’s not much, but at least it can cover for the expenses I make from eating at McDonald’s for a day. Something is better than nothing.
Selling Videos to Major Networks
Speaking of videos, I even accidentally stumbled upon one idea that eventually turned out to be rather profitable, at least compared to the amount of effort it took to get there. It involved uploading some of my personal funny and interesting videos to platforms such as Newsflare and Rumble. The mentioned platforms sell your video rights to major media outlets, ultimately bringing some profit your way.
Three years after I uploaded a bunch of videos to these websites, I had the best month ever. It brought me $1500, which at the time seemed completely ludicrous. I even went as far as asking them whether or not this was some sort of mistake. Once they checked everything out, and confirmed that no mistake was made, I was completely blown away. Some, at least to me, unknown production company bought the rights to my videos, out of the blue. Pretty sweet!
Making Quick Money with Fiverr
Perhaps my biggest unexpected profit came from Fiverr. I wanted to explore the platform for a bit, as I was planning to write a post on the topic “How to make money on Fiverr”. With that in mind, I decided to register, and create a gig named “I will suggest which product you need to sell on Amazon.”
The price was set at $50, but in the case of speedy 2-day delivery, the cost was $70. In the 7 days in which the gig was active, three people decided to buy my services. Accidentally, I made $200 with close to no effort at all. Still, take this story as a proof that anyone can make money in a very short time. You just need to have the guts to get yourself out there.
Life Lessons Learned From Selling on Amazon
While these side hustle ideas were moderately successful, I also like to mention that selling on Amazon has brought great benefits to my life. Not only that it generated a steady source of income for some time, it also helped me learn a ton of useful things that I plan to use in my future business ventures.
The job itself was pretty self-explanatory. I just invested a ton of time in order to find the products which had a huge demand, but where the competition was not at a necessary level. The next step included finding a trustworthy manufacturer, usually located in China, who provided plenty of goods for some time to come.
Eventually, I was able to crack the Amazon algorithm, which allowed me to earn a lot of easy money. In time, I even became a sort of an expert on the topic, which helped me land interviews on some major broadcasting networks. Naturally, this helped spread the word on my worth in the business world, and it eventually opened up some doors for future collaborations.
Finally Coming Around to Blogging
It goes without saying that DollarSanity was also included in the mix. You might have read before that it takes a year or two of nothing but investing to eventually turn in some profits from blogging. My example proved that those theories are formed by a group of people who don’t know what they’re talking about.
The results speak for themselves. Just 6 months after starting the blog, I was able to gain a wide audience that accounted for 150k+ readers. Nowadays, my goal is to steadily improve that number for years to come, thus turning my blog into a safe stream of passive income.
It’s not to say that I didn’t invest a lot of my time and effort in order to make it work, something which I’m still doing on a regular basis, but for any doubters out there, the numbers clearly say that it can be done. Work hard, work smart, and there’s no way that the results won’t eventually come.
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