Every Business Ryan Trahan Used To Survive on One Penny for 30 Days

by posted in MAKE MONEY, Passive Income Ideas, Remote Job Opportunities, Side Hustle Ideas

You’re familiar with Mr. Beast- the YouTuber who has dominated online spheres with outlandish challenges and astounding generosity. You may not be as familiar with Ryan Trahan.

Trahan, a content creator in his own right, traveled coast-to-coast across the USA to deliver Mr. Beast a penny. Here’s the twist: Trahan had to start his journey using a single penny, trading for subsequent goods and services, living on only what he could trade. To kickstart the trip, bought a pen for one cent, then sold the pen for one dollar. He used the dollar to buy a water bottle, which he sold for two bucks. He repeated the process, completing odd jobs and side hustles until he earned enough money to buy plane tickets and hotel rooms until he finally met up with Mr. Beast. 

While unconventional, the side hustles Trahan participated in can bring in some revenue. Follow in Trahan’s footsteps to build your savings, pay off debts, or, you know, travel across the country. 

1. Online Surveys

Young Multiethnic Developer Working on a Laptop Computer in Creative Office Environment. Beautiful Diverse Latin Female Project Manager is Developing Data and Scheduling a Project.
Image Credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.

Regardless of your knowledge of content creators, you’ve definitely heard of this job. The premise is exactly how it sounds: You sign up on reputable websites, answer some questions about your demographics, and take the surveys the site pairs you with. Rinse and repeat, and wait for the profits to trickle in. Ryan earned about $20 from online surveys—nothing substantial, but enough to keep him in the game. 

If you need a few extra bucks in an emergency, taking dozens of surveys can help, but it will not bring you any kind of abundance. 

2. Golf Ball Reselling

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Unlike online surveys, golf ball reselling took Ryan less time and made him more money. Keep in mind that this practice isn’t necessarily ethical; however, looking for balls after paying to access a golf course isn’t considered illegal. 

How much money can you make from golf ball-hawking, though? Apparently, a lot. Glenn Burgers made 15 million dollars by finding and reselling golf balls to courses. After cleaning and polishing them, he sold balls that he found for free for $1 each. Ryan made $30 from selling eight balls for an average price of $3.75 per ball. 

3. Lawn Mowing 

teenage girl working in garden, mowing grass with lawn-mower
Image Credit: Aigars Reinholds and Shutterstock.

Lawn mowing is one method that didn’t quite work out for Ryan. His advice is to find a market before embarking on this particular endeavor. The lawn mowing business can be lucrative, earning you between $20 and $50 per lawn or even more in the right neighborhood.

For true success, however, we turn to Christy Webber, who turned landscaping into a million-dollar business. Her trick was to offer more specialized tasks, such as installing gardens, green roofs, and irrigation systems.

For Ryan, who had rented a lawn mower for a day, empty houses and a plethora of “no’s” awaited him. He finally convinced one person, though, and he provided the same service to a family who offered him a room and food. So, all things considered, it wasn’t a complete loss.

4. Car and Window Washing 

car power wash
Image Credit: Nataly Sedova/Flickr.

This business requires only a bit of time, a bucket, and water. Despite its relative ease, Ryan only found one client for each job, which taught him a very important business lesson: you must have a market to succeed. 

This is exemplified by Liam Maguire, a man who loved cleaning so much that he left high school to do it. Now earning over $3000 monthly cleaning cars, Liam takes his cleaning supplies to the bank. Ryan, however, took his cleaning supplies back to the drawing board. Your success may vary, so do some research and ensure you have an interested client base before investing in a lot of cleaning supplies. 

5. Selling Soda 

Vending Machines
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Ryan was sure that selling sodas would be the next step toward success. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

This method taught him another business lesson: when you have an audience, you need to know and understand their needs. While people at beaches are thirsty and willing to buy a drink, a healthier option will likely sell more in a health-focused society, while sodas will sell more in a place that isn’t as focused on healthy living.

It’s no secret that drinks are big business, but when you know your audience, you can create and sell them a drink that’s right for them. Logan Paul and KSI have done this with outstanding success. While you probably can’t pump out a drink that will sell on shelves, you can absolutely fill a need by selling cans of soda outside sports arenas, concerts, or other big events. 

6. Drawing Caricatures And Telling Jokes 

Man drawing caricature
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

These two methods were by far the most entertaining and well-received. Although Ryan did technically different jobs in different videos, the verdict for successfully growing them is the same: You need to become a content creator.

While comedy and art are important parts of our society, unfortunately, the “starving artist” stereotype is still a reality for many people. Drew Lynch and ZHC, respectively, have done a great job growing careers in comedy and art through YouTube. Drew is estimated to have a net worth of three hundred thousand, while ZHC is worth $3 Million.

7. Dog Walking 

dog walking
Image Credit: a katz / Shutterstock.

Being paid to take walks and play with cute little dogs sounds like something out of paradise, a sentiment Ryan and I shared as he started his mornings smiling every time he had a cuddly friend to walk with.

Dog walkers who walk five dogs at $25 per dog earn $125 per day. Assuming a 35-hour workweek, this is an annual income of $45,625. Kristin Morrison is an example of someone who retired as a millionaire after walking dogs and caring for pets. Now, doesn’t that sound like the perfect career? 

8. Delivering For UberEats and Doordash 

Image Credit: Shutterstock.

If dog sitting is paradise, delivering food on a bike in scorching heat would definitely be the opposite. Food delivery is a tried and true method that helped Ryan secure plane tickets and cover travel costs.

This method might be for you if you need some quick short-term cash. How much money are we talking about, though? According to ZipRecruiter, Uber Eats drivers earn an average of $38,383 annually—not bad! 

9. Selling Water Bottles 

Bottled Water
Image Credit: Adoscam – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

This is the simplest yet most effective method Ryan used during his video series. He consistently showed us how to use a $1 and quickly turn it into hundreds, but can you get rich by selling water alone?

Zhong Shanshan, the richest man in China, created an extremely profitable water bottle company. Like Ryan, Shanshan is known for his hard work, starting from being an elementary school dropout to becoming the business mogul he is now. You probably don’t have the capacity to create a huge water factory, but you can offer water bottles to thirsty event attendees. 

10. Being A Content Creator 

Dutch influencer and vlogger recording himself for content.
Image Credit: Jari Schottink – CC 4.0/WikiCommons.

Through all the business ideas and money-making methods Ryan tried, his biggest win was the YouTube videos he made.

Following the footsteps of creators like Mr. Beast and Mark Rober, who pioneered the #TeamSeas and #TeamTrees initiatives, Ryan created The Penny Challenge to raise money for Feeding America. In just one month, he covered the cost of nearly 14 million meals. The Challenge also increased his channel views, making him a staple for fans everywhere and securing his financial future. 

If you choose to start a channel, you won’t necessarily make millions. However, you will get to share information or skills that are meaningful to you while entertaining and helping others along the way. There are some things money just can’t buy. 


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