7 min 43 sec

$8 Startup Costs Lead to $400,000 in Annual Revenue

A longtime side hustler finds a way to get paid—a lot—for improving people’s online reputations.
High Profit Low Startup Potential Public Relations SEO Service

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What It's About

After helping friends improve their online reputations, a partner in an event staffing company creates a lucrative side hustle.

Business Model
Skills Required
Public Relations & SEO
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

For Alex and his clients, the results are easy to measure, both in online presence and return on investment. Clients are able to compare pre-incident revenue to mid- and post-incident revenue to confirm the results, and a 10 second Google search is all it takes to prove that Alex has done his job.

As he said, "If I do my job well, when you Google my clients, you'll see positive results. If you can build a business like this, where the results are unquestionable, you'll never run out of people wanting to hire you."

Fun Fact

One particular firm had recently fired a partner for inappropriate behavior. When potential customers did an online search the first few pages of results were only news about firing. None of the company's philanthropic work, nor their quick response in removing the partner, showed up in the first page of results. Alex was brought on to return their online presence to what it was before the unfortunate firing.

Notes from Chris

Episode 259

Have you ever done something bad that then ended up posted on the internet? I hope that doesn’t bring up any bad memories for you, but today’s story found a way to profit…a LOT…by helping people fix this problem.

A chronic side hustler since he was making "candy money" at the age of ten, by day Alex Simon is a partner in an event staffing company based in Las Vegas. But to really understand it, we have to go back to the mid-2000's when he was running an entertainment marketing and PR company.

His company became the victim of online defamation by a competitor that posted false claims all over the internet. While that competitor eventually ended up in jail on unrelated charges, the damage had been done. A marketing/PR company couldn't bounce back from seeing its reputation harmed so publicly. But Alex immediately saw an opportunity. He saw the need for people and businesses to fight back and take control of their online presence.

He contacted friends and colleagues who were dealing with some negative online information and asked them if they could quantify in dollars what this negative online presence was costing them. Each was able to give him specific dollar amounts by comparing the amount of money they made before the negative press and after. Alex then offered them a chance to regain control of their online presence for a fraction of the amount of the lost revenue.

Each of them jumped at the chance since it was a no-brainer investment for them and their business. Alex not only knew he had a great idea on his hands, but his market research subjects also became some of his first clients.

Within a couple of weeks of starting this market research, Alex decided to launch Digital 86—an online reputation management agency. And for $8 in hosting per month, he had a website. Which is surprisingly, pretty much the same website he has to this day.

Over the past two years, Alex has helped celebrities, professionals, and business regain control of their online image and in the process created a thriving business. He expects to exceed $400k in revenue this year. Pretty amazing business for someone who discovered this new industry by accident.


  • Digital 86: Now you see it...now you don't! Learn more about Alex's disappearing act on his website
  • SquareSpace: The website building platform that Alex used to create Digital 86
  • Keyword Planner: This tool helps you reach the right customers with the right keywords and helps you to better build your SEO and ad campaigns

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

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"Start cheap to see if the idea gets traction. Don't over-prepare. Get the idea out there and test it. If it doesn't generate interest, reevaluate and move on to the next thing if necessary. I live in Las Vegas, so it's like gambling. Keep trying until you stumble onto a winner."
—Alex Simon #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau