He Turned His Love of Bargains Into a Side Hustle That Earns $1000’s a Month

He Turned His Love of Bargains Into a Side Hustle That Earns $1000’s a Month

David Paxton had a passion for golf but quickly realized how expensive the sport can be, between equipment, apparel, shoes, and greens fees.

So in July 2021, at the height of golf season, he had the idea to launch DailyGolfSteals.com — a website to curate and share the best daily golf deals he could find.

Thanks to Paxton’s hustle and some key strategies, Daily Golf Steals earned over $2,000 in its very first month.

On the latest episode of the Side Hustle Show, Paxton shares how sharing bargains can bring in bucks.

Finding inspiration in an established niche

The world of daily deals and group buying took off ten years ago with the rise of sites like Groupon and LivingSocial.

But while the hype around those big players has died down, the business model remains viable in niches with an engaged audience.

When Paxton discovered HuntingGearDeals.com, run by Camron Stover (featured in Side Hustle Show episode 485), he decided to try the model in golf.

Stover also gave Paxton the confidence to make daily deals work in the golf niche. He saw the potential for steady growth by delivering consistent value to an engaged audience.

This competitive analysis validated the opportunity and accelerated David’s timeline for getting Daily Golf Steals in the green.

Related: The 8 Best Online Side Hustles of 2023

Leveraging Reddit

Paxton focused on one of the largest golf groups, r/golf, with over 800,000+ members.

This subreddit already had an established “deal guy” role posting great golf bargains as a helpful free service to the community.

Paxton eventually took up the mantle of finding the best discounts and steals for this community of golfers. The Reddit audience instantly responded, embracing Daily Golf Steals because the deals were genuinely valuable.

Paxton carefully balanced those first few weeks, sharing a mix of deals — some with direct affiliate links, others as pure “giveaways” without monetization. This mix demonstrated he wasn’t solely there for profit.

Thanks to the instant traction from Reddit, Daily Golf Steals earned thousands of dollars in month one. The power of a pre-built audience cannot be overstated for accelerating new side hustles.

Driving traffic

Clearly, leveraging Reddit for a fast start was a huge win. But Paxton knew he couldn’t rely solely on Reddit long-term. He needed to diversify his traffic sources.

The two primary strategies Daily Golf Steals uses are:

Building an email list

Paxton includes a call-to-action in the footer of every single Reddit post, inviting people to have the deals sent directly to their inbox via email newsletter. This tactic alone nets approximately ten new email subscribers per day. He also captured over 15,000 emails from a contest giveaway by Golf Advisory Council. Paxton contributed gift cards to the prize pool, and in return, got access to all 80,000+ contest entrant emails. By scrubbing the list and only keeping highly engaged people, he added 15,000 targeted new subscribers.

Running Facebook ads

David has invested heavily in Facebook ads since starting Daily Golf Steals. To date, he’s driven roughly 10,000-12,000 email sign-ups via Facebook. His cost per acquisition averages around $1.25-$1.30. He estimates Facebook ads are at least break-even if not slightly profitable.

With a current email list size of 30,000+, David sends out approximately 22 monthly emails. He targets a 40% open rate to ensure his audience remains engaged. To make the high volume affordable, David uses the self-hosted email service Sendy rather than MailChimp or Active Campaign.

Related: I Turned My Passion Into a Nonprofit Side Hustle — Here Are 3 Insights I’ve Learned in the Process.

How he scaled his business

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges with Daily Golf Steals is manually hunting down discounts seven days a week isn’t sustainable in the long term. Burnout is almost inevitable. So, Paxton has taken steps to automate the deal-sourcing process significantly:

He hired a couple of contractors
Paxton brought on students from his college golf team to handle deal finding and email/post formatting. This freed up countless hours Paxton would otherwise spend on daily operations.

He tapped his programming skills
With no Python experience prior, Paxton taught himself to write scripts that compare yesterday’s product catalog and pricing data to today’s updated feeds. This automated analysis flags new markdowns or products, which his contractors can quickly validate as deals to share.

He built templating tools
Paxton built a VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) tool to take a deal’s info and automatically format it for the newsletter, website, Reddit, etc. This saved tons of manual copying and pasting.

Thanks to these efforts, Paxton simplified the daily requirements to just 1-2 hours of his contractors’ time. And it takes Paxton himself only about 3-4 hours per week of oversight at this point.

Multiple revenue streams

Aside from sales on its website, Daily Golf Steals has other moneymakers:

Affiliate commissions
Paxton gets a percentage when site visitors click a deal link and complete a purchase. Commission rates range from 1% to 20%.

Paxton sells banner/text ads in his daily email newsletter and on Reddit. He looks for brands relevant to the subreddit community and showcases them in a dedicated “Other Links” section below his daily deals list.

As his audience has grown, he can command higher rates. While affiliate marketing remains the core focus, Paxton seeks more ways to diversify revenue. Building a loyal audience gives him options like physical products, coaching, and events down the road.

The Challenges

Although Daily Golf Steals has earned impressive income right out of the gate, it’s still not without challenges. Paxton cites three major difficulties:

  1. Inconsistent revenue – income fluctuates widely day-by-day based on deal quality. Bad weather or low inventory can mean bad days.
  2. Lots of manual work – automation helps, but securing and formatting deals takes a daily, consistent grind. Even with contractors doing most of the heavy lifting, burnout is a risk.
  3. Rejections – the most surprising hurdle was getting rejected by Amazon Associates for not providing enough unique value.

But rather than get discouraged, Paxton persists through the ups and downs.
He’s constantly tweaking his systems to save time and locking in affiliate partners to open up new deals. And as a new dad, he can now manage the business in just 3-4 hours a week.

How to replicate this side hustle

For anyone looking to borrow Paxton’s business model in their niche, here are some key strategies:

  • Pick your passion – Choose a topic you genuinely enjoy and already spend money on. Your enthusiasm will fuel the hustle.
  • Start where the audience is – Online forums like Reddit offer instant traffic. Be a value-first member of the community.
  • Automate relentlessly – Find any way to save time with scripts, tools, or contractors.
  • Plan beyond affiliate – Commissions are great, but develop diverse income like sponsorships to support yourself.

It takes immense work ethic to make daily deals succeed long term. But the model has profit potential, even as a side hustle. If you can automate a chunk of the busy work and thrill your niche community with outstanding value, the financial rewards may surprise you, too.

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