9 min 37 sec

Side Hustler Gets Paid to Run 7 Ultramarathons on 7 Continents

After getting hurt on his first of 7 ultramarathons, a long-time side hustler builds an app to help other injured runners recover.
App Fitness Health & Wellness Service Sports

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What It's About

An ultramarathoner helps others get back on track after sports related injuries.

Business Model
Skills Required
Research & Fitness Knowledge
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Joel’s advice to anyone else wanting to build a side hustle with an app (and limited developer experience) is this:

1. Opt for a subscription service, and 2. make it as low-tech as possible.

Apps are fun and really useful, but they can get expensive and unpredictable quickly which can make them a more problematic. Something as simple as Apple or Google updating their operating system can cause a whole slew of things that you don't want to necessarily deal with. Keep it simple!

Fun Fact

Until December of 2011, Joel was a marketer with a half-million dollar monthly marketing budget for a well-known outdoor company. It was his job to increase the company’s search engine position and make their pay-per-click campaigns profitable.

Joel’s head was in the game but his heart was out doing his own thing. He followed his heart and quit his job.

Notes from Chris

Episode 381

Joel Runyon lives a life of his own design. While he focuses his mission on doing things that seem impossible, he creates side hustles to support that mission. The formula is simple. He tosses an idea out there. If it catches enough interest, he turns it into a side hustle. If it makes enough money, he turns it into a business. If it doesn’t, he moves on, and tries it again, thanks to what he calls his short-term memory and positive view of failure.

That’s how Joel has started at least half a dozen successful projects over the past six years. His current side hustle is an app called MoveWell.

He created a blog called IMPOSSIBLE, designed to test a series of experiments on himself. He was tired of backing down from challenges that seemed impossible and he wanted to see if he could attract a following of others who felt the same. The plan worked and IMPOSSIBLEHQ.com has become an active community that takes on fitness and mindset challenges on a regular basis.

As you would expect of someone with a blog called IMPOSSIBLE, Joel likes taking on things that seem impossible. One item on that list was to run seven ultra-marathons on seven continents, raising money to build 7 schools. He called it the 777 Project. He got the campaign ready and launched it in Patagonia. What happened next was the motivation behind his current side hustle, MoveWellApp.

At mile 26.2 of his first of seven ultra-marathons, the 25 miles per hour Patagonian winds shifted and literally swept Joel off his feet and down the hill. He rolled his leg past his ankle, injuring himself pretty badly. He stubbornly finished the race, which made things worse, and the doctors told him to take six months off to heal and rehab the ankle.

Joel discovered something about himself and physical therapy: he performed well when his rehab coach is right there with him, but in between sessions he forgets about it. Joel wondered if other people had that same problem, and that's when it hit him. What if he created an app that could serve as a mobility coach? Would other people want it, too? He decided to find out.

The app has been out for two years and currently brings in about $1,000 per month, a nice amount of extra cash, but not really a sustainable business yet.

Interestingly enough, though, even though MoveWell brings in the smallest amount of revenue of any of Joel’s ventures, the project has some of his most enthusiastic followers. Joel says it’s in that awkward in-between place of growth and he and his partner are figuring out what to do next. They have a lot of interest in building it but not much income to do it with. Joel says if they get the app to earn $4,000 - $5,000 a month they can scale it and turn it into a business with its own team.



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
"You only get one life. Do something impossible."
—Joel Runyon #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau