Clearing trees. Performing magic tricks. Pet sitting. Repairing other people's credit. These people are earning $100,000 or more.
Reads Minds, Does Magic Tricks
- Name: Wayne Hoffman
- Pay: $135,000
- Age: 30
It all started as a hobby, when I got a magic set for Christmas as a kid. At college, I studied psychology. And that's when I started getting interested in mentalism, which is geared toward mind-reading.
Times were rough at first and I had to bust my butt to get jobs, but now I have to turn away business, and I can take off time whenever I want.
Companies hire me to do entertainment for them, I'm also hired to work at trade shows, where companies set up a booth and I incorporate their sales message into my magic. I do college campus tours twice a year. I perform at theaters, and I do cruise ships, where I get flown out to an exotic location and perform magic on the ship -- I've been to Tahiti, Bora Bora, Hawaii, Venice and Japan.
On the low end, I make $4,000 and it can go anywhere up to $30,000 for one show. I never thought I would be making this kind of money.
[Hoffman said his annual income ranges anywhere from $100,000 to $325,000 a year depending on the number of jobs he books].
Sells Recycled Ink Cartridges
- Name: Lauren Elward
- Pay: $165,500
- Age: 33
I was an English teacher, and the copy machine at school was always breaking so I would make copies at home.
I had 125 kids a day. I can't count how many times I was running out to Staples getting more ink cartridges -- and it was all coming out of my pocket.
I looked online and there are companies out there [that recycle cartridges], but it wasn't a flooded market. So [my husband and I] invested about $1,000 and found some inexpensive guy from Europe to make a website for us.
We developed a relationship with a company that takes cartridges that have already been used, and recycles them, so they ship them out to our customers.
Our cartridges range from $10 to $30 -- if you were in the store you'd be paying $25 to $50 -- and toner [from our website, CastleInk.com] for the big copy machines can be hundreds of dollars cheaper.
I'm making quadruple what I made teaching. At one point, we were getting so many sales a day we couldn't believe how much money we were making.
People were like, "where are you getting this money to redo your whole backyard?" It's definitely nice to have, especially for a cushion for the kids. I'm putting a lot into savings for them.
Voice Actor For TV Commercials
- Name: Jonathan Lockwood
- Pay: $127,000
- Age: 46
I got into radio when I was very young, at 17. I was a deejay, and recording commercials [for local businesses] was part of my job.
As I moved from station to station, I found there wasn't a lot of money. So I started doing TV commercials. And when I was 32, I finally left my last radio station to work out of my home studio [recording TV commercials].
I do a lot of commercials for national furniture retailers. I announce the big sales. I just did an infomercial for eDiets where I introduce people who had success on eDiets. I do car dealers and laser vision correction doctors. I did a voice-over for an animated medical documentary. I'm doing the on-hold system for [a bank], so while people are on hold, they're listening to me talking about the various things the bank is offering.
I probably send out a total of 25 invoices a month. To do a 30-second commercial in a local market could be $100 to $250 per commercial, depending on the size, and [bigger jobs] can be $500 per spot.
[What I like most is] that I'm in shorts and t-shirts every day in my home, that going to work every day involves stepping into one of my bedrooms, that it doesn't take very long. It would really surprise me if I'm working more than 18 or 20 hours a week.
Listen to Jonathan's voice here: http://www.voices.com/people/jonathanlockwood
Runs A Tree-Clearing Business
- Name: Josh Skolnick
- Pay: $250,000
- Age: 29
When I was 10 or 11 years old I had my own little business pushing a lawn mower for people, and I continued with landscaping through middle school and high school. [By 2005, I had my own] mulch business. I had about 385 residential clients.
[One day], someone called and said they had a dead elm near their pool that no one would come cut down and remove. So I went out and [hired a contractor for the day to] cut down the tree. While I was out there, all the neighbors saw what I was doing and started asking me to cut down their trees, too.
After that, I started a tree service and sold my mulching business soon after.
Since starting [Monster Tree Service] in 2008, we've had over 10,000 customers. The first year in business we did well over $1 million in sales, and once we were three years in, we launched a franchise business.
I didn't go to college. But at 29 years old, I look at friends who just graduated medical school or are getting law degrees, still living at home with their parents, and I've got houses and millions of dollars worth of equipment.
Run Luxury Hotels For Dogs
- Name: Steven and Jason Parker
- Pay: $150,000-plus (each)
- Age: 28 and 25
Steven: When we were kids we would always ask our parents for a dog for our birthdays and holidays. When I was 14 and Jason was 12, we said "what if we start a dog-sitting business to show our parents we're responsible enough to take care of a dog?"
We [took care of 50 dogs] and went back to our parents, and they said "it's not that we don't believe you have the responsibility, it's that we don't like dogs."
But we loved what we were doing anyway. So we opened [a luxury dog hotel] in 2005 and it was an immediate success.
Jason: [To set ourselves apart, we have] cage-free rooms and suites, outdoor window views, and plasma TVs playing "Animal Planet."
Steven: In 2010, we started franchising, and we [just] sold our sixth franchise. We plan to open 100 stores within the next three to five years.
It's the American dream. We're first-generation Americans and came from humble beginnings, and we're just getting started. We want to be the Donald Trump of the pet care industry.
We like to have fun, too. Jason bought a Maserati. We took our mother to Hawaii for her wedding anniversary and to her hometown in Italy.
Cleans Up Credit Reports
- Name: Kevin Foster
- Pay: $103,000
- Age: 53
About five years ago, I went to go purchase a car, and the salesman said [no one would finance my loan]. Then he told me I had a 460 credit score. He said I needed to find someone to help me get my credit cleaned up. I called a [credit repair] company and enrolled.
It turned out there was another guy who lived in my same town with a very similar Social Security number, so his bad credit had gotten merged onto my credit report. [Once the credit repair company was done], my score went from a 460 to a 780.
[Three years later], I started going to national conferences that are like boot camps for credit repair and I learned how to legally and ethically launch my own company [TRW Credit Services].
My total out of pocket was under $1,000 to launch my business out of a spare bedroom in our house.
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