The $650K online course + From Fiverr to an $8K/mo business

Updated: May 13th, 2021

This is an archive of the Starter Story newsletter, which is read by 202K people every week.

In each issue, we share the biggest business ideas that are working today, along with case studies of founders who are making millions every month. Sign up today ➜

A $650K Pinterest online course business

While at home recovering from a medically induced coma, Kristin started Believe in a Budget, a personal finance blog based on her experiences with both saving and making money. To generate traffic, she started using Pinterest, which was only semi-popular back then and not well-known to the business community at large.

This technique started generating a large amount of traffic very quickly, so she wrote a case study about it on her blog. That was the launch of her Pinterest management business - She started getting emails from fellow bloggers and online business owners, asking her to manage their Pinterest account. Instead of mentoring them individually, she created a $49 course to share her knowledge.

Because she already had a solid readership on the blog and a solid Pinterest traffic generation strategy, launching was simple. She wrote a blog post about it, emailed her list, and (of course) put it all out on Pinterest.

💡 First takeaway: Build an audience. You can launch different projects without starting from scratch.

She had developed some friendships in the personal finance blog space, so a few of her good friends came on as affiliates. During the initial launch week, the program brought in over $10,000.

💡 Second takeaway: Building relationships never hurts

One of the biggest selling points of any online program is student success stories, and those only come from having a solid program that actually works. It has become trendy to pump out online programs, and having these testimonies really helps to reduce skepticism from new visitors.

👉 Related: Carly too started a $10K/mo business teaching people how to get traffic from Pinterest.

The power of Pinterest

Pinterest is incredibly popular, bigger than Reddit and Twitter in terms of monthly active users, but, in my opinion,it’s not as “trendy” and is often overlooked in the marketing plans of many businesses. Seems kinda crazy to ignore 442 million people.

Statistic: Most popular social networks worldwide as of January 2021, ranked by number of active users (in millions) | Statista

Here are some businesses that we have spoken to that are driving crazy amounts of traffic thanks to their Pinterest strategies:

Creating an online course is one of the easiest ways to make money today

We just talked about Kristin and how she started a Pinterest online course, but the online courses industry is growing non-stop. COVID-19 has forced millions of people to transition to e-learning, new platforms that make it easy to create a course and share your knowledge are popping constantly and consequentially the industry is skyrocketing.

Whether you already have a business and want to make some extra money or if you’re looking for an opportunity to start something new, you should seriously consider getting into this market.

This week we also caught up with Shannon, whom we originally interviewed about her online video tutorial series called the Free 5 Day Website Challenge. That free product brought a lot of users that she capitalized on (generating $10K/mo at the time) thanks to affiliate commissions and selling paid services.

A bit more than a year later she’s launched the Web Designer Academy and her business has grown to $30K/mo! All thanks to online courses.

These are some of her learnings:

  • Invested in mentorship. Many people have walked your path before. Learn from them whenever you can. (This is why I started offering 1 on 1 mentorship to Premium Plus members of Starter Story, I helped Luciano successfully launch their $4,5K/mo newsletter on Product Hunt).
  • Made more offers, more often. She was not making nearly enough offers to existing email list subscribers. Once she started making more offers, started making more sales.
  • Partnered with a graphic designer to create website templates. Now instead of leaving the students by themselves, they have the option to buy professionally designed, branded + pre-written templates.
  • Restructured her Web Designer Academy and transformed it from an online course into a 12-month coaching and mentorship program that helps them create a full-time income as a web designer. People react better to the promise of making more money.

Creating an online course is one of the greatest ways to make money from what you already know. You just need to adjust your audience and the level of the course. If you know about something but are not a world-class expert, just create “X for beginners”. It can be about literally anything.

There are many easy-to-use platforms so you don’t have to worry about the tech side and just focus on the content. See some success stories of people using Teachable, Coursera, Kajabi or Podia.

By the way, do you know that I recently launched an SEO course to share how I grew Starter Story to 900K monthly visitors?

Quote of the week

To be successful in this specific moment we are living, we need to take a look at the niches or tribes. It's very difficult to sell to the masses. We need to find a very specific niche or tribe and become the brand that they will love.

Temo Valle, Founder Bold Tribe $9K/mo CrossFit accessories brand

From freelancing on Fiverr to starting an $8K/mo business

Arrigo was a little lost when he finished his studies and after trying some meaningless jobs he found something that combined some of his passions: languages, technology, and writing. He started offering his services as a translator on Fiverr and gathered a significant amount of reviews.

Fiverr is a great platform to find business ideas because there are people already looking for solutions to their problems right now. It’s an opportunity to gain some experience, test if it’s something you’re good at or you see yourself doing for a long time. But with the upside that you start getting paid from the beginning.

Look at all these successful businesses that go to Fiverr to hire professionals to help them in a wide variety of areas.

After some time, Fiverr launched a new feature called Studios, Arrigo immediately joined and that was the beginning of Koala Rank. The advantage of being one of the first settlers when a platform offers new opportunities is that you position yourself organically higher than the competition, accumulate more reviews and you get featured by the platform itself because they want others to join and the best way to achieve that is by showing success cases.

After a while, he felt like he could start growing the business outside Fiverr (and stop giving them a 20% of all his work) and went began searching for clients. His tools? Chrome extension to find the emails of company founders and perseverance.

Now he generates thousands of dollars on his own, including a record-breaking month of $11K.


Wine Spies reached $1M/mo and their team is growing, reach out to them if you’d like to be their new customer service agent, graphic designer chop, or wine buyer.

Gino is the founder of TECLA, which revenue grew from $80K to $120K per month and he’s hiring for talent acquisition roles. If you’re in tech recruiting, get in touch with him! On a separate note, he’s also really looking forward to hearing from other entrepreneurs who have founded B2B services businesses that could help them reach their sales and marketing goals this year!

The mobile accessories e-commerce Phone Loops ($125K/mo), since launching in 2014 they have sold millions of silicone straps for smartphones. Now they’re looking for some new people to join them in these positions: Marketing (paid media, newsletter, SMS, etc.) and Shopify online business manager.

Blake Barash is a custom shoe painter located in Orange County, CA and also the owner of B Street Shoes. A business that makes $50K/mo customizing sneakers. He’s hiring too!

Dr. Wei-Shin Lai and Jason Wolfe created a drug-free solution to common sleeping difficulties and are looking for a science geek who can write.

At this six-figure consulting and marketing agency, they are looking for a Junior Graphic Designer, a Junior Facebook Ads Specialist, and a Social Media Intern.

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter to get this information every week in your inbox!


Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
Want to find more ideas that make money?

Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.

Get our 5-minute email newsletter packed with business ideas and money-making opportunities, backed by real-life case studies.

meet the author
Pat Walls

I'm Pat Walls and I created Starter Story - a website dedicated to helping people start businesses. We interview entrepreneurs from around the world about how they started and grew their businesses.

Starter Story
Unlock the secrets to 7-figure online businesses
Dive into our database of 4,418 case studies & join our community of thousands of successful founders.
Join thousands of founders