Entrepreneur: Josh Ellwood

Biz: Debt to Dollars

Tilt: How to make money from Fulfillment By Amazon program

Scene: YouTube, Instagram (3K), Linktree

Snack Bites: 

  • Josh didn’t set out to be a content entrepreneur. He tested and tried several side hustles so he could quit his day job.
  • One of the side hustles, Fulfillment By Amazon, led to some revenue, but it was a year after he added a YouTube channel to teach how to do FBA that he hit his $3.45K monthly goal and quit his 9-to-5 work.
  • In the first four months, his YouTube channel had more videos (31) than subscribers.
  • Josh’s success led him to raise his one-on-one coaching service rate from $50 in October 2020 to $149 a month in 2022.

Why We Stan: Josh Ellwood didn’t start out his YouTube with a passion for his topic but a recognition of topics he knew that an audience was interested in. He also pushed through his regular publishing schedule even though his audience wasn’t growing as big as he wanted.

The Story of Josh Ellwood

Josh Ellwood’s dream wasn’t to launch a business on YouTube. His goal was to do side hustles that would net at least $3.45K a month so he could quit his full-time job.

As he explains to CNBC, he hustled to sell ads in Uber vehicles and rent his motorcycle through an online car-sharing platform in 2018. But those gigs didn’t work. In 2019, he grossed $25K in his Amazon store, using Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA). But that still wasn’t enough to achieve his I-can-quit-my-job goal.

Josh added a YouTube channel, Debt To Dollars, in February  2020. He posted two videos a week. “My strategy was to throw as many darts at the board on topics that I had experience in, and once one stuck, I was going to focus everything on that topic,” Josh tells Starter Story.

More videos than subscribers

In the first four months, he had more videos (31) than subscribers. “My motivation was at an all-time low on creating more content, but I pushed myself to stick to my goal,” Josh explains

Four months after entrepreneur Josh Ellwood started his #DebtToDollars @YouTube channel, he had more videos (31) than subscribers, he says via @Starter_Story. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Eight months later, he had 14K subscribers and 871 views. Ultimately, he found a successful content tilt around educating others on how to earn money through Amazon’s FBA. He arrived on that topic after a big hit on his video tutorial about how to list your fir Amazon FBA product. In the first month, it netted 17 subscribers and gained 800 views. It eventually grossed 600K views and nearly $40K.

Josh uses his Patreon account to sell coaching – an Amazon mentorship program – at $149 a month. (He started at $50 a month for the service eight months after he launched the YouTube channel in 2020.) Josh also sells a limited number of his product research subscription at $50 a month and invites supporters to donate $5 a month just to show their interest.

Eight months after Josh Ellwood launched his @YouTube channel, he launched one-on-one coaching for Fulfillment by Amazon. He charged $50 in 2020. Now he charges $149 a month. #Stan #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Achieving his monthly revenue goal (and more)

By February 2021, Debt to Dollars dominated his monthly revenue, allowing him to quit his engineering day job.

In 2021, Josh earned over $189K, with his content business revenue streams (Google AdSense on YouTube, coaching, and affiliate marketing) bringing in almost $145K of that revenue. In December 2022, his YouTube channel had over 64.7K subscribers.

Josh says a how-to video strategy can be difficult because viewers find the video through search, watch it, and don’t plan to return. That’s why he created a recurring video series, such as the monthly feature on the top Amazon products to sell, to encourage viewers to subscribe and return.

He also actively engages his community with polls, such as this one about what type of videos they would be most excited to watch.

Interestingly, Josh tells Starter Story, what made all the difference was switching from a hobby, side hustle mentality to a serious profession when he formed a limited liability company in 2019.

Join your fellow serious content creators at the Content Entrepreneur Expo May 5-7, 2024. Registration now open!

About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.