A Former Starbucks Employee’s Side Hustle Earns $70k Monthly


This Side Hustle Spotlight Q&A features Tom Saar. Saar has been using Taskrabbit, an online marketplace that pairs freelance workers with local jobs, to help build his moving business. He currently works with two other approved “Taskers” and has earned more than $150,000 in the past seven months.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Tom Saar

What was your day job (or other sources of income) when you started your side hustle?
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always had a deep passion for computers and the web. So naturally I was drawn to content creation, which led me to YouTube at age 12. I began recording gameplay on my iPad screen and eventually grew my channel to over 800,000 subscribers at its peak. Alongside this, I dabbled in game development, using game engines like Unity to create and release a couple of Flappy Bird/Infinite Runner clones on the App Store and Google Play Store. As you might imagine, the apps never took off, but it was a fun experience nonetheless.

In late 2020, I moved from Sweden to the U.S. to pursue a computer science education. At the time, my YouTube channel wasn’t pulling the same viewership, and I felt my motivation disappear. I hoped that a change of environment would reignite my passion and help me jumpstart a new venture.

While studying, I worked in retail at Whole Foods, Target and Starbucks. These jobs provided valuable experience in customer service and helped me overcome social anxiety by interacting with new people daily.

Related: This 23-Year-Old Started a ‘Simple’ Side Hustle Using Items She Already Owned — Then She Earned Nearly $60,000 and Made It Her Full-Time Gig

When did you start your side hustle, and where did you find the inspiration for it?
One of the first things I noticed after changing my primary residence to New York City was the abundance of moving trucks. They always stood out to me in this crowded city. It wasn’t until I looked more closely at one of the trucks one day that I saw the letters “Moving” and “Storage” printed on the side. This got me thinking. I sat at home one fateful night in early 2023 (February or March) and started delving into researching moving as a business by watching videos, reading articles and finding out if it was feasible for me to do on my own. I came across numerous horror stories of movers mishandling belongings and overcharging their clients. I was determined to address these tactics by creating a moving company that would provide excellent service at an affordable price. By prioritizing integrity and customer satisfaction, I was confident that customers would pick my company over the competition.

What were some of the first steps you took to get your side hustle off the ground?
I started my moving business in June of 2023 by purchasing a 2016 medium-sized box truck from Penske for just over $15,000. With insurance, monthly parking, moving materials, equipment and registration fees, my initial investment totaled more than $20,000. In retrospect, a smarter way would have been to build up experience by renting a truck first, but I was so determined to see how much I could make over the summer that I decided to go all in. Fortunately, I had a helper with years of moving experience to guide me through the process — we connected via a Facebook job posting that I published looking for a moving partner. I also had my dad, who provided moral support and aided me with a lot of the back-end business tasks.

Related: This Former Tesla Employee Started a Side Hustle to Save Gen Z Time — Now It’s Raised Over $40 Million From the CEOs of Salesforce, Uber and More

Image Credit: Courtesy of Tom Saar

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced while building your side hustle, and how did you navigate them?
I faced a lot of challenges trying to get this side hustle off the ground. I had invested $20,000 before securing a single customer. I joined some gig work platforms to get started, but getting someone to trust me and book me for a job without any reviews or a reputation was extremely difficult. I set my rates low in the beginning, and it was hard to stay afloat financially, but it was the only way that I could get clients. It also didn’t help that I had no moving experience prior to starting this side hustle. Doing the physical aspect of the job while also trying to be a salesperson and marketing to new clients while managing finances and bills was strenuous, to say the least.

How long did it take you to see consistent monthly revenue? How much did the side hustle earn?
I started seeing consistent growth in revenue after August or September of 2023 as my experience grew and I improved my communication skills with clients. A big part of running a successful business is being able to sell your service or product. The first month was absolutely dreadful. I was looking back at my old interactions with clients on past gig work platforms, and I couldn’t believe how ineffective I was at selling my services. A lot of the issues in the beginning stemmed from a lack of experience, not knowing the right questions to ask and getting a lot of useless information. Consequently, the first month or two was mostly just covering operational expenses, barely breaking even and gaining valuable experience. By the third month, I decided to raise my rates and began seeing some profits, with revenue exceeding $10,000 in August 2023 and onwards. It was also easier to market to potential clients when my account had positive reviews coming in.

Related: This Young Professional Left Her Job in Finance After Her Remote Side Hustle Took Off and Made $76,000: ‘My Idea Solves a Universal Problem’

What does growth and revenue look like now?
In November 2023, I discovered Taskrabbit and decided to add it to the many platforms I was using to find jobs. I heard people talking about hiring movers on the platform, but I was hesitant to explore it. When moving activity slowed down in September and October, I started looking for ways to get more jobs, so I remembered Taskrabbit and decided to try it. Surprisingly, Taskrabbit connects clients looking for help with Taskers at no cost. After using platforms where leads could cost anywhere from $20-$40, this proved to be an absolute game changer! Since then, I’ve completed over 1,000 jobs through Taskrabbit, partnered with other skilled Taskers on the platform to complete jobs and experienced explosive growth in both revenue and profits due to not having to spend money on marketing. In April 2024, I made over $70,000 in gross revenue solely from Taskrabbit, and May is on track to close at a similar figure. For June, my goal is to exceed $80,000 in a single month.

What do you enjoy most about this side hustle?
While I wouldn’t say that my background fits the description of a mover, it is still something I decided to pursue because I saw immense potential in this venture. People are always on the move in New York City, as it’s one of the largest metropolitan areas bustling with activity. Indeed, being around all this energy is really fun for me, and I enjoy the challenge of solving problems on the fly. Navigating the city’s tough parking situations has become second nature. The most rewarding aspect, however, is the positive feedback from clients who appreciate my help in making their moves stress-free. Moving is often a stressful process, so I promise my clients to come prepared, be punctual and work efficiently to make their move an enjoyable experience.

Related: These Brothers Had ‘No Income’ When They Started a ‘Low-Risk, High-Reward’ Side Hustle to Chase a Big Dream — Now They’ve Surpassed $50 Million in Revenue

What’s your advice for others hoping to start successful side hustles of their own?
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to manage expectations. When starting out any new venture, we like to assume that it will be an immediate success, but that’s rarely the case. It took me nearly six months to see noticeable results, and for others, it might take even longer. If you’re starting a side hustle, especially one based on providing a service, the quality of your work is very important. If you want your clients to recommend you and become lifelong customers, you need to set the highest standards because how you do anything is how you do everything.

Moreover, communication with your clients should be high on the list of things to become more effective at. Clients don’t want to be kept in the dark. If you’re running late to an appointment, keep them informed. If something goes wrong, be generous with refunds or compensation. This builds strong customer relationships. Lastly, don’t be afraid to fail. Failures are inevitable, but how you take responsibility for them and learn from them will set you apart and help you grow.

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