07 Feb My $1 Million Side Hustles
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Side hustles are my jam. Seriously, I wouldn’t be millennial millionaire and achieved financial independence at the age of 30 without side hustling. I’ve always been hustling. It’s in my blood. I can’t help it. Everything I look at in life I see a business opportunity. Sometimes it’s a blessing and sometimes it’s a…. well I guess it’s always a blessing. #gratitude
I launched my first business at the age of 5 when I started a newsletter for my neighborhood. I sold subscriptions for $10/year to my neighbors, promising to keep them informed of the happenings in the neighborhood. I made them pay up-front either with cash or check. I sold 18 subscriptions and made $180 in one weekend at the age of 5.
While I don’t have detailed records spanning back over the past 25 years, I am 100% certain based on my calculations that…
I have made over $1 Million Side Hustling. Here's How.
Thankfully I now track all of my side hustle income through the free net-worth tracker Personal Capital. I bought my condo with side hustle money. I bought my car with side hustle money. And I’ve traveled to over 25 countries using side hustle money. I invested as much of the extra income as I could.
I also have a lot of problems with side hustling. I’ve talked with too many people who tell me that they want to be career Uber drivers, despite that fact that Uber is clearly trying to replace all drivers with robots. Also, I see too many people trying to side hustle on Fiverr and websites where the only way they can compete is on price – essentially offering a commodity product. It is very hard to get ahead in life if you offer a commodity product at a low price.
Offering services on Fiverr for a vast majority of people is just a waste of time. I encourage anyone who is interested in side hustling to try and look at your side hustling as a business – and then build that business. Don’t just offer commodity services for a fee. TaskRabbit, Uber, Instacart, etc. are fine to pay the bills, but your time is better spent MAKING MONEY WHILE LEARNING SKILLS that can you use later.
Check out our recent Millennial Money Podcast episode on side hustles:
A lot of side hustle posts that I read are written by people who haven’t tried the side hustles themselves. I have tried all of these side hustles personally. Here’s a list of most of the top side hustles that I have used to make money, invest, and build wealth.
7 Best Side Hustles
1. SEO Consulting
I have worked as an SEO consultant for over 10 years and booked side gigs ranging from $500 to over $100,000. This has been by far my most successful side hustle. And even though SEO has become more of a commodity service – it feels like everyone and their mother does SEO these days, I have built a referral network that continues to generate new clients.
I also recently wrote a blog post on Free SEO Tips for Bloggers that has been viewed over 100,000 times and is bringing in an additional stream of SEO clients. If you happen to want to take your traffic to the next level, hit me up if you are are in need of SEO consulting. This is a really in demand side hustle and can be done from anywhere in the world. In total the SEO work I’ve done has resulted in hundreds of millions of additional traffic, which I’m super proud of.
Side hustle revenue: $500,000+
2. Concert/Event Ticket Reselling
I can’t buy tickets to an in-demand concert without buying 4 extra tickets to sell on the side to pay for mine. Sometimes if I can get a pre-sale code I’ll buy 12 tickets just to make the money. I bought 12 Beyonce tickets and made over $5,000 just from less than 3 clicks on my computer. “Buy” “List in Stub Hub” “Confirm Purchase”. What did I do with the money? I used it to make my annual IRA contribution.
I have repeated this many times over the years and it’s actually pretty easy to do when you are already planning on buying tickets for an event. A piece of advice, there are a ton of people who try to do this so it’s hard to make a full-time business out of it, but I do know one guy who makes over $200,000 every year simple buying and reselling concert tickets to the big name shows. Something about ticket reselling has always felt a bit skeezy to me, but good tickets get bought up immediately anyway. Might as well make a few bucks doing it.
Side hustle revenue: $100,000 +
3. Domain Reselling
Investing in domains is one of the easiest side hustles. There is no other place where you can get a 1,000%+ return on your money in a pretty short amount of time (less than 90 days in some cases). I buy and sell them at $400+ profit regularly and have been doing so for over 10 years. Domains are the real estate of the internet and they are only getting more and more valuable. I have seen the average price for a mid-tier domain jump from $400 to $3,3000 in the past 3 years alone.
One huge driver of these price increases, of course, is the growth of WordPress and as building websites have gotten easier, more people have been willing to shell out pretty big bucks to get the exact domain they want. I currently own over 800 domains and a vast majority of them have a “Domain For Sale” landing page where visitors can submit an offer to me. I have them all set-up so unless an offer is over $1,000 then I don’t receive the email. So I don’t have to deal with lowballers.
Side hustle revenue: $140,000 +
4. Launching A Blog
This blog currently makes over $2,000 per month on advertising and affiliate revenue. This is money that I have to do nothing to get – readers just reader, they sometimes click, and then sometimes they sign-up or try a service at no cost to them. Here’s a guide I wrote on how to start a blog and make money.
I didn’t launch Millennial Money to make money. I launched it because I really like thinking and writing about money. To learn more about why I blog check-out my blogging and money as meditation post. I also feel like it’s my personal mission to share sound financial advice and spread financial literacy. It just so happens that pretty much everything I get interested in turns into a business opportunity. The money from the blog is simply a by-product of my passion for writing. If you don’t enjoy writing then don’t start a blog – you really have to love writing.
Side hustle revenue: $50,000 +
5. WordPress Website Building (& Maintenance Fees!)
I no longer build WordPress sites, but back in the day I easily built over 100 of them and worked on even more. I was an OG WordPress adoptor and loved building websites for anyone who needed one. I got my early clients from Craigslist and eLance (now UpWork) and started building websites for law offices, consulting firms, non-profits, churches, real estate companies, and e-commerce startups.
One bonus is that I got to learn about so many different industries, including for example hydroponics, which I would have probably never learned about had I not had to build WordPress site for the second largest (at the time) online hydroponics store. Another cool thing about building WordPress websites is that my clients then wanted to buy on-going website maintenance services from me. These services included things like keeping the website secure and uploading content. This is where the real gold was, especially from larger law firms. I was able to get some maintenance contracts at $1,000/month – which is a tiny expense for a big firm. Building WordPress websites really added up.
Unfortunately, while there is still a ton of WordPress website projects – it’s now more of a commodity service. The best WordPress developers now on UpWork are based in India or the UK. WordPress development becoming a commodity is fine if you want to build a $500 website for your friend’s local business, but it’s a lot tougher to scale. I no longer work on WordPress projects unless I am helping a friend for free, because I don’t enjoy building sites as much as I like doing SEO consulting.
Side hustle revenue: $300,000 +
me on maintenance fees!
6. VW Westfalia Campers and Moped Flipping
This is probably the side hustle I have the most fun doing. I have been buying and selling both VW Campers and mopeds since I was in college. I sell a lot more mopeds that VW campers, but when I find a good camper deal I don’t hesitate. I love VW Westfalia Campers from the 1970’s and 1980’s and have owned 2 over the past 10 years. They have gone up a ton in value over that time, but you can still find deals on them locally.
I also buy and sell moped – little 49 cc Italian and Austrian mopeds made in the mid 1970’s to the 1980’s. These are super cool and command premium prices in cities since they are easy to ride and get 100+ mpgs! I have Craiglist alerts set up in Chicago for mopeds and pounce quickly on the deals. I actually have a storage facility just for my mopeds and still love buying and selling them. These two hobbies of mine are actually great side hustles that I don’t ever imagine stopping.
Side hustle revenue: $50,000 +
7. Freelance White Paper Writing
I’ve never worked as a freelance writer for any websites because I was never able to find lucrative enough gigs. I didn’t want to write posts for $200-$300 each. I wanted to get paid to write $5,000 – $10,000 reports! So I haven’t written as a freelancer for any websites, but what I have done quite a bit of is write white papers for companies. Here’s basically how it works. Consulting companies, engineering firms, law firms, and tons of other professional service firms like to put out “thought leadership” reports which basically are blog/research reports on steroids. Sometimes they are pretty big.
The firm wants to look smart on a topic and then use the whitepaper as part of their sales strategy. The funny thing about these reports is that very few companies actually write them – they hire freelancers to do it. If you were good at writing college papers then you will be awesome at writing white papers. I’ve written papers on all kinds of things and even hired my own researcher in India to do most of the fact finding for me. Always be hustling! A great place to look for these gigs is on Craigslist or through networking at local corporate events. If you go in expressing interest in white paper writing you can find likely find some gigs.
Side hustle revenue: $30,000 +
I’ve done other side hustles, but these have been my most profitable and all helped me build new skillsets. I strongly recommend that you try side hustles that enrich your skills and teach you new things. Those side hustles will pay you back for a lifetime.
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