9 min 48 sec

College Student Hacks Into $40,000/Month Side Hustle

When he found himself in need of making car repairs, this student bought a $25 microphone and recorded a course in “ethical hacking.” The course has now served more than 80,000 paid customers.
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What It's About

A computer scientist brings hacking over from the Dark Side with his ethical hacking side hustle.

Business Model
Skills Required
Communication & Writing
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Ethical hacking is a hot topic, but remember that the other stories we featured using this platform are about baking bread and plotting your novel—not exactly high-tech topics. Usefulness is the key! All three of these topics are things that a large group of people want to learn. If you’re the authority to teach them, your skills are valuable.

Fun Fact

Zaid has been able to use the profits from his side hustle to start his own internet security company, iSecur1ty, that serves Arabic speakers.

Notes from Chris

Episode 373
For college student and self-described ethical hacker Zaid Al-Quraishi, everything seemed to be going according to plan. His website teaching Arabic speakers how to ethically hack was making decent money. He was doing well in class and even had some cash left over to buy himself a nice car. But then he encountered a challenge.

Driving to college one morning, the engine of his car blew out and left him with no way to get to college for the coming months. This, topped off with a few other financial commitments, left Zaid in dire need of $4000. Not exactly money a college kid has lying around in their dorm room.

To help solve the problem, a close friend recommend that Zaid take a look at the website Udemy. They had thousands of people looking for courses like Zaid’s, and he could reach many more people than with his current website.

Zaid thought this was a great idea. He’d already created all of the material for his ethical hacking courses and just needed to translate the audio to English. He dubbed over it, kind of like a Hollywood movie, using the free iMovie editor that came preinstalled on his laptop.

I should point out that Zaid doesn’t make his money teaching people to “hack” like the bad-guys you see on the news. Instead, Zaid is teaching something called ethical hacking, which he describes like a martial art.

If you were to learn Kung Fu, you could use it to either defend yourself or to go out and hurt people. “Black hat” hackers would use their Kung Fu skills to steal your identity while you’re using the free wifi at Starbucks. But “white hat” hackers like Zaid use their skills to hack pre-approved security systems and help them improve their online defenses.

Zaid made more courses, now 8 in total on Udemy, which retail between $50 and $200. What does all of this add up? First of all, Zaid has more than 87,000 students—and these are not free students!

To date, he’s averaging around $40,000 per month in total course sales. He’s also stopped selling his Arabic courses and focuses full time on an English speaking audience.




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Quote of the Day
"Just try everything, you never know what would work, I never thought that doing online courses will go so well, and if I wasn't in a place where I had no other option I probably wouldn't have done it."
—Zaid Al-Quraishi #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau