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The Best $20 I Spent on My Side Gig

Riska / Getty Images
Riska / Getty Images

It doesn’t seem like $20 goes far these days, but with the right strategy, this seemingly small amount can help advance your side hustle’s growth. With more than half of Americans taking on a part-time job, side gigs are the new normal, and GOBankingRates spoke with people who shared how investing $20 into their side hustle helped boost their revenue stream.

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Rhett Stubbendeck is the Chief Executive Officer at Leverage Planning but got into thrifting and reselling things online as a side job a while back to make extra cash.


“It all started with just $20,” he told us. “I hit up a local thrift store and found a few cool items — some vintage clothes and small electronics. I listed them on eBay and Facebook Marketplace. With some decent photos and clear descriptions, they sold pretty quickly. That initial $20 turned into $60 after those first sales.”

Stubbendeck added, “I took that money, bought more stuff, and kept the cycle going. Before I knew it, I had a steady stream of extra income.”


Pickleball’s popularity has quickly skyrocketed, and Michael Chien, a Civil/Structural Designer at Allied Engineering and Design, saw an opportunity. For the last three years, he’s been selling pickleball equipment as a side gig, and it started when he bought a $14 pickleball paddle on Amazon to begin playing.

“The paddle was adequate but didn’t meet my expectations, prompting me to design and manufacture my own paddles,” Chien told us. “This initial investment helped me understand the market and the needs of other enthusiasts.

Today, he sells custom paddles through his company, 101 Pickelball. “That $14 paddle inspired me to create a product line that is now profitable and well-loved by the pickleball community,” he said.

Social Media Software

Julie Lacouture is a consultant for nonprofit organizations, but for 10 years, she’s had a side gig as a potter. She made a smart financial move by investing a little in social media, which has helped her business grow.

“The best $20 I spent was on a software subscription [] that helped me schedule my social media posts,” she explained. “This helped me plan everything out in about an hour a week. I set it and forgot it, and I can do my real job during the week. Social media has helped me grow an audience, and because of that, I’ve been invited to market at a local restaurant.”

Trivia Games Host

Rosie Bell is a freelance travel journalist but hosts trivia games as her side gig for individuals and companies, including Google, Meta, and Spotify. “When I was starting out in June of 2020, I paid $18 to subscribe to Kahoot!, which is the app I use to host the game. I very quickly started making write-home-about money and even had five-figure months.”

Travel Agent

Dan Bagby is now a full-time travel agent and content creator for, but it was once a side gig. He credits Canva with helping his business boom.

“Now, $15 a month, the pro account helped me streamline work and get so much more done in the same amount of time while also making things look more professional,” he explained.  “I use it for flyers, YouTube thumbnails, proposals, our media kit, and other content.”

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Canine Camp

Janice Costa has been a magazine editor for 30 years. Still, her love of animals sparked a side business called Canine Camp Getaway, where she creates unforgettable vacations for dogs and their owners.

“The idea was simple – find people who, like me, loved their dogs and also loved going on vacation, and create a vacation geared for dogs and dog lovers alike,” she explained. “As a bonus, I wanted to create something that people could go to without a friend or significant other, where they could just go with their canine BFF and make friends there with the kind of casual ease of camp as a kid.”

To help advertise, Costa thought outside the box and did something that grabbed attention.

“While I used social media, flyers, and free or inexpensive outdoor expos, the best $20 I spent was on a couple of glittery, blinged-up doggie t-shirts that said, “I vacation at Canine Camp Getaway!” she told us.

Her dog wore the shirts everywhere, and the idea worked.

“You don’t often see big dogs in clothing, and with the rhinestones and bling, it was kind of hard to miss, so invariably, people would stop and ask me about what this “Canine Camp Getaway” thing was.”

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This article originally appeared on The Best $20 I Spent on My Side Gig