188
7 min 59 sec

Side Hustle Turned Full-Time Job Disrupts Car Rental Industry

A corporate employee who enjoys saving on car rentals builds an affiliate project that becomes so successful that the car rental companies try to put it out of business.
Affiliate High Profit Service Sharing Economy

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What It's About

A car rental affiliate side hustle that changes the way people rent cars.

Business Model
Affiliate
Skills Required
Research & Resourcefulness
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
High

Words of Wisdom

When Mike asked Jonathan if he had done any actual testing of this hypothesis about price drops, Jonathan had to admit that his evidence was anecdotal. Mike then suggested that he validate this with actual data over the course of a number of weeks. So Jonathan tested his hypothesis, and he was shocked at just how much volatility there was in the car rental market.

Affiliate side hustles are ideal for those who excel in analytical and logistical thinking. Why not put those powers of deduction to good use and conduct validity tests to see if your side hustle idea is viable?

Fun Fact

In 2012 AutoSlash was featured on the front page of the business section of the New York Times. Jonathan was a bit worried because he was still working his full-time job at a company in NYC where many of his colleagues read the Times. Turns out that his fears were for nothing—either no one read the paper that day or no one put it together. It turned out to be a non-event and he was able to continue his side hustle and a full-time job for a few more years.

Notes from Chris

Episode 188

You’re probably familiar with the Amazon affiliate model—but that model is just one way to make money with affiliate commissions. Today’s story features a guy who built an affiliate project that became very successful. In fact, it became so successful that it almost went out of business.

You wouldn’t really expect Jonathan Weinberg to have a side hustle. He had been working and steadily moving up the corporate ladder for the same financial institution since 1994. But as the years wore on, he got bored in his job, so he started doing some consulting for an airfare deals website. He figured that having a side hustle would give him some new challenges. He quickly moved up from an entry level role to doing product management, all while still being full time with his day job.

As he puts it, “The idea was that coupons and discount codes could reduce the price of a car rental, and by tracking the price over time, and re-booking when prices dropped, you could save a lot of money.”

He officially launched AutoSlash in early 2010 and only a few days later the site was discovered by a bunch of travel blogs. They were soon flooded with traffic because the rates they were showing were lower than anywhere else. But this meant that the car rental agencies soon found out about them too. AutoSlash was this new disruptive player in a game that no one other than the large rental companies had really bothered playing. So instead of celebrating, after only a few weeks in business, they were essentially shut down at the demands of the major car rental companies.

That probably would have been the end of it, but AutoSlash got creative: They relaunched and were thrilled when they got back up to around 100 reservations per day. By the end of the year, they had booked over 100,000 rentals.

The commission they earn from each booking is small, but again—there were 100,000 rentals that year.


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"Who the heck thought that car rentals would be my passion in life? Certainly not me, but I absolutely love what I do. If I didn't I couldn't get up at 6AM and work until midnight for days on end, and sometimes, that's what it takes to make it. You need to be laser focused and expect that it's going to be really really hard."
—Jonathan Weinberg #SideHustleSchool

Sponsors & Gratitude

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau