Niche Markets

9 Ways to Make a Profit with (a Small Part of) Your Stimulus Package

The unprecedented events of economic shutdowns throughout the world have already led to significant stimulus packages for individuals and businesses. Even as things open back up, many jobs and businesses are still on hold or gone forever. On top of that, we're seeing a surge in cases as offices and establishments open back up which may signal another shutdown is inevitable. While the temporary bump from a stimulus check is nice, using that money to create ongoing income that lasts well beyond this pandemic would be even better.

If you’re looking to turn your stimulus money into something that generates income well into the future, you could use some of that money to start a business or side hustle, or invest in your current business.

There are many different ways to make money. Chances are, you’re at least actively pursuing one of the four top financial strategies for building wealth, and this stimulus could be just what you need to take action. With that in mind, let’s look at some realistic options that you might want to consider.

We’ll be focusing on what you would be able to do by investing $500 - $1,000 into your venture.

01Buy an Existing Website

While starting a website from scratch is always an option, there are some significant reasons why you might want to consider buying an existing site, including:

  • You can skip some of the work involved with getting the initial momentum for the site.
  • You can identify sites that are underperforming or that haven’t reached their potential and earn a great ROI by making some key improvements.
  • You can build up a portfolio of websites faster than you could if you were starting each site yourself.

There is a lot of work involved in getting traffic to a new site and starting to make some money. By purchasing an existing website, you may be able to fast forward to the stage where the site has some existing traffic and you’re able to start making money faster.

Of course, there are all different types of websites you can buy, and many of them will cost far more money than what you’ll get from a stimulus check. However, there are also some sites that can be purchased for less than $1,000.

For under $1,000, you’ll probably be looking at websites that are currently making less than $30 per month. While that may not sound like a lot, the site could have some established traffic already and you may be able to quickly increase that monthly profit with a little bit of work.

You could turn the site into an asset that generates some additional income each month or sell it for a profit if you don’t want to maintain the site going forward.

If you’re looking for websites that can be purchased for less than $1,000, the best place to find them is the Flipping Websites Facebook Group. This is an active group with some new activity every day from people who are looking to buy or sell a site.

Some of the sites listed in the group will have listed prices in the thousands (prices are negotiable), but there are sites listed for less than $1,000. You could also create a post to mention that you’re looking to buy a site in the $500 - $1,000 price range and you’re almost certain to get responses from other members who have sites that they’re looking to sell.

How to Get Started: Join the Flipping Websites Facebook Group and browse through the recent listings. Contact the owner of any sites that appeal to you. Otherwise, create a post in the group to state your interest in buying a site and your budget.

02Start a Niche Website

If you have a great new idea for a brand or buying an existing domain doesn’t interest you, another option would be to start your own website. Here at NicheHacks, you’ll find plenty of content that will lead you through the process of starting your own niche website to make a steady stream of income each month.

The only essential costs of starting a niche website will be domain name registration and web hosting (and you may already have an existing hosting account that you can use), but there are some additional ways to invest that may help you to grow the site faster.

Here’s a sample budget for starting your own niche website:

  • Domain name registration and hosting from HostGator - less than $100
  • Premium WordPress theme from ThemeForest - $60
  • Logo design from Fiverr - $50
  • NicheHacks Academy membership - $29.99 per month
  • Total for one year - $569.88

Starting a niche website can be a great option if you have a long-term focus and you’re willing to put in some work before seeing the results of that work. In a year or two, you may have a valuable asset that puts money in your bank account each month.

Most niche websites generate revenue through affiliate programs and/or display ads, but there are other ways to make money as well, like selling your own products or publishing sponsored content.

How to Get Started: If you’re looking for some direction or guidance, please see these free resources from NicheHacks:

03Start a YouTube Channel

One of the best money-making opportunities available right now is to start a YouTube channel. The demand for video content is constantly increasing. In 2019, viewers spent an average of 6 hours and 48 minutes per week watching videos online, which was a 59% increase from just 3 years prior (source).

Another study predicts that the average person will watch 100 minutes of online videos per day in 2021 (source).

Even with the strong and increasing demand for video content, getting your video content to rank for a search on YouTube is still much easier than getting a website to rank on the first page of Google. There is plenty of opportunity for anyone interested in creating and building a YouTube channel.

With a successful YouTube channel, you’ll be able to make money through YouTube’s advertising platform, affiliate programs, and possibly some direct partnerships or sponsorships.

There is no cost to start a YouTube channel, but you may want to invest in some equipment that will help you to create higher-quality videos. It’s possible to start without investing anything at all and simply use your smartphone to record videos, but since you have that stimulus check handy, why not put it to good use?

Investing a small amount of money will improve your chances of success since you’ll be able to create better videos. Of course, you could spend a lot or a little, depending on the equipment that you choose. Here is a sample budget that will allow plenty of money to get quality gear that will be a great starting point.

  • Camera - $350
  • Tripod - $75
  • Microphone - $75
  • Soft Box (lighting) - $100
  • Total - $600

How to Get Started: Check out the Complete Guide to Building a Successful YouTube Channel for steps that you can follow.

04Start a Podcast

While video content is certainly an excellent option, another possibility would be to focus on audio content and create a podcast.

There are podcasts on just about every topic under the sun and millions of people that regularly listen. There are currently more than 1 million podcasts (source) and while that seems like a lot, it’s nothing compared to the 500 million blogs that are online (source).

If you’re interested in starting a content-based website, going with a podcast instead of a blog can help you to stand out a lot easier since there is much less competition.

Podcasts can generate revenue through sponsorships, affiliate programs, and potentially by creating and selling products (like an online course, for example).

It’s possible to start a podcast using nothing but the equipment you probably already have (like a laptop with a built-in microphone) and free tools, but you can significantly increase the quality of your audio content by investing a little bit of money.

Here is a sample budget that will allow you to purchase equipment that will help you to create episodes that sound great.

  • Microphone - $100
  • Mic Stand - $50
  • Pop Filter - $50
  • Headphones - $75
  • Mixer - $200
  • Domain name registration and web hosting from HostGator - less than $100
  • Premium WordPress theme from ThemeForest - $60
  • Total - $635

How to Get Started: If this seems like a good opportunity for you, you can learn about the steps you need to follow in How to Start a Podcast: A Complete Step-by-Step Tutorial.

05Start a Self-Publishing Business

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has made self-publishing more appealing than ever before. Anyone can sell ebooks or paperback books without the backing or a publisher and without the need to invest thousands of dollars in a large run of printed books.

KDP allows authors to get started with virtually zero expense. If you’re interested in writing, this could be a great opportunity for you. However, the opportunity still exists even if you don’t want to do the writing yourself.

Since you have some money to invest, thanks to the stimulus, one option that you might want to consider is hiring a ghostwriter. You could outsource all of the writing and focus your time and effort on the other aspects of running a business.

The cost of hiring a ghostwriter will depend on several factors like who you decide to hire, the length of the book, and the topic. You might be surprised by how affordable this can be. At sites like Fiverr and Upwork, you can find ghostwriters with starting prices below $100.

Of course, you’ll want to be careful who you hire and don’t simply go with the cheapest option. Be sure to check the writing samples from any freelancer that you’re considering, as the quality of writing will have a huge impact on the ultimate success of your book/ebook. But it is possible to turn a relatively small investment into a profitable business with this approach.

The budget for this option is difficult to project because it depends on so many factors. But for the sake of ballpark numbers, this budget could easily allow you to get a book completed and up for sale.

  • Ghostwriter - $350
  • Cover Design - $50
  • Layout and Formatting - $100
  • Total - $500

How to Get Started: See Book Marketing 101 for detailed information that will help you to plan and start your publishing business.

06Start a Freelance Business

So far we’ve looked at several different possibilities for starting an online business, but we haven’t covered any service-related options. Service-based businesses sometimes are overlooked in the overall landscape of online business. Maybe service-based businesses aren’t as glamorous, but they definitely can be an ideal way to make money.

There are many different types of services you could offer as a freelancer, including:

  • Writing
  • Editing or Proofreading
  • Web and Graphic Design
  • Web Development
  • Photo Editing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Voice Acting
  • Consulting

Those are just a few examples, but there are countless possibilities. Chances are, you already have some skills that could be put to good use as a freelancer. That means you won’t need to spend time or money learning new skills, you simply need to start marketing your services and land a few clients.

Working as a freelancer is an ideal way to make money because it can be done part-time as a side hustle, or it can be grown into a full-time business. Essentially, it can be whatever you want it to be.

Getting started as a freelancer doesn’t require much of an investment, and in fact, it’s possible to get started without spending any money at all. But there are some investments that might help you to grow your business a little bit faster. The details may depend on the specific type of service that you provide, but here is a sample budget.

  • Domain name registration and web hosting from HostGator - less than $100
  • Premium WordPress theme from ThemeForest - $60
  • Bloom (client contracts, invoicing, accounting) - Starting at $9/month for an annual plan
  • Total - $352

How to Get Started: First, you’ll need to decide what services you’ll offer (think about the skills and experience that you already have). Next, create a simple portfolio site with descriptions of the services that you offer and (ideally) some previous work samples, even if those samples are from your personal projects.

Once your portfolio site is ready, reach out to everyone in your network to explain what you’re doing and see if you can land your first client. Craigslist can also be an excellent resource for finding a first client.

07Start a Social Media Marketing Business

Another service-related business that can be highly profitable is social media marketing. Many small businesses, and even some larger businesses, need help in this area. As a social media manager, you could be managing the social profiles of your clients, which would involve creating text and image content to share and scheduling those posts.

Aside from simply managing social profiles, you could also set up and manage advertising campaigns on Facebook or other platforms. This is a skill that most business owners don’t have, so there are a lot of potential clients out there.

You could choose to specialize in a specific social network or take a more generalized approach. You’ll also have the option of doing the work yourself or outsourcing it to others.

This is a business that could be started on the side as a one-person operation but could be grown into an agency that generates a full-time income, and then some. As you add more clients you could hire others to handle the day-to-day tasks while you focus on growing the business.

Like freelancing, this is a business that can be started with very little money. The sample startup budget below will easily allow you to get the essentials.

  • Domain name registration and web hosting from HostGator - less than $100
  • Premium WordPress theme from ThemeForest - $60
  • Bonsai (client contracts, invoicing, accounting) - $192 for an annual plan
  • Software and apps (like Tailwind, Buffer, or others) - $300
  • Total - $652

How to Get Started: Define the specific services that you’ll offer and create a website to provide details about those services, and be sure that potential clients can easily contact you through the website. You can reach out to people in your existing network to see if you can find your first client.

Another effective way to land clients is to offer local businesses in your area a free social media audit. Reach out to business owners and see if they would like you to review their current social media activity and identify any opportunities that are being missed. It will be easy to find ways that most businesses could improve, and then you can offer your services to manage everything for them.

08Start a Reselling or Flipping Business

This opportunity is much different from any of the others covered in this article because it involves some offline work as well as online work. You’ll be heading to yard sales, flea markets, auctions, estate sales, or thrift stores to find items that you can buy and resell for a profit. After you’ve purchased an item, you can list it for sale on eBay, Craigslist, the Facebook Marketplace, Mercari, or some other platform.

This is a surprisingly effective way to make money since you can find plenty of great deals at yard sales. Possibly the most appealing aspect of this business opportunity is the fact that you can start making money almost immediately, which isn’t always possible with most types of online businesses.

You can take some of your stimulus money and use it to buy items that you’ll resell. Depending on the items that you purchase, you can start with a very small investment.

Another variation of this business model is to buy old furniture, improve it, and resell it for a nice profit. You can find old solid wood furniture for very low prices, and even free in some cases.

With some paint and a few hours of work, you can give that item new life and significantly increase the value. Use the Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to sell the refinished item to someone in your local area.

How to Get Started: If you’re interested in learning more, the free workshop Intro to a Profitable Reselling Business is a great place to start. It’s run by a six-figure flipper with loads of experience and insight.

09Invest in Your Current Business

If you already have a business, whether it is online or offline, investing in your existing business is another option that you should consider. Starting a new business can be exciting, but sometimes you’ll be better off to focus on the one you’re currently running rather than starting something new and dividing your attention.

Of course, there are a lot of ways that you can invest in a business. While there are endless possibilities, here are a few that you might want to consider.

Facebook Ads

If you’ve got $500 - $1,000 of stimulus money that you’re willing to spend, running some Facebook ads could be a great way to earn a nice ROI.

Your ads could be used to promote your products, affiliate products, your services, or your email list. A successful campaign could have a lasting impact on your business that helps you to reach the next level.

How to Get Started: If you don’t have experience with Facebook ads, this Beginner’s Guide to Facebook Advertising provides a detailed tutorial that will help you to get up and running.

Outsource Content Creation

If you have a website or a blog, content is an essential part of your business. It’s also an aspect that is easy to outsource.

By investing money into additional content of your site, you may be able to increase traffic and revenue, as well as the value of your business.

The amount of content that you’ll be able to purchase for $500 - $1,000 will vary greatly depending on several factors like the niche/industry that you’re in, the type of website or blog that you run, the length of the articles, and who you’re hiring to do the work. It may range anywhere from just a few articles to 100 articles, or even more.

Content for niche websites can often be outsourced for a relatively low cost, so an investment of $500 - $1,000 might be enough to have a big impact on your business. And with added revenue as a result of the content, you may be able to continue to outsource more content creation, which continues to increase the revenue of your site.

How to Get Started: Decide on the type of content and topics that you’d like to create and then post a job listing on Upwork so freelancers can bid on it.

Unless you already have freelance writers that you work with, or if there is an agency that you use, hire them to create the content.

Create a Digital Product

One of the best ways to monetize a website or blog is through the sale of digital products. You may be able to create some types of digital products yourself with no investment, but others might require some capital.

You could take $500 - $1,000 from your stimulus check and use it to hire someone to create a digital product (or several digital products) that you could sell.

The options that are available to you will depend on the niche or industry that you’re in, but a few examples include:

  • Mobile App
  • Printables
  • Ebook
  • Templates
  • Graphics/Illustrations/Photos

Your investment into a digital product could have a long-lasting impact on the profitability of your site, as many types of digital products can be sold for years to come.

How to Get Started: Browse other websites in your niche to see what types of products are for sale, and decide on the product that you would like to create. Post a job ad on Upwork so freelancers can submit bids.

Improve Your Education

Would you be able to grow your existing business if you developed a new skill or improved in some way? There are online courses available that will teach just about anything you could possibly want to learn, and an investment of $500 - $1,000 would cover the cost of most courses (or several different courses).

What skills would help you with your business? If there is something you’ve been wanting to learn but haven’t taken the time to do it, this is the perfect opportunity to invest some money and time. Your investment in your education could pay off in a big way for your business.

How to Get Started: Decide what you would like to learn and find the best course that will teach you those skills. There are lots of courses available online, but Udemy and Skillshare are two of the best sites with thousands of courses available.

Hire a Virtual Assistant

Do you struggle to get everything done? Do you spend time on tasks that you know are not the best use of your time? If so, you might benefit from hiring a virtual assistant (VA).

With a VA, you’ll be able to delegate certain tasks so you can dedicate all of your time and attention to the things that matter the most, and the things that you do best.

The amount that you’ll pay will depend on factors like the tasks that you’re outsourcing, who you hire to do the work, and the location of the VA. You could use a site like OnlineJobs.ph to hire a VA from the Philippines and get a full-time worker for a month or two. You could use a site like Fancy Hands to work with U.S.-based VAs and get 30 requests per month (20 minutes of work per request) for $150 per month.

This could be something that you do for a few months until that stimulus money is used up, or maybe you’ll decide that it’s a good investment that you’d like to continue.

How to Get Started: Sites like OnlineJobs.ph and Fancy Hands make it easy to get started right away. Alternatively, you could hire your own VA directly if you prefer.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to put your stimulus money to good use to create even more money in the future. Investing in yourself and your business is a great way to use your money.

If you have an existing business, consider the options that you could pursue to invest in that business. If you don’t already have a business, choose one of the options to start a new business that appeals to you.

Good luck!

Melissa Hollis