How This Woman’s Side Hustle Became a 7-Figure Business

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

seven-figure side hustle

When Melissa Viscount, founder of the Silhouette School, decided to stay home with her newborn, she started a blog.

“I can’t even sit down and watch television,” she said. “I always have to be doing something else. I decided to blog so I’d have something just for me.”

Although her first blog wasn’t a huge financial success, it gave Viscount the skills and experience she needed to make her next business idea a reality. Her dedication and hard work paid off; now, she runs a million-dollar company.

Starting a side hustle

Viscount met her husband, Bob, in high school. After college, she worked as a news producer while Bob transitioned to a career in sales. She handled the overnight shift, producing the early morning news show.

It was an exhausting schedule. When the couple welcomed their first child, it was too hard to juggle work and a new baby. Instead of returning to work as she’d planned, Viscount became a stay-at-home parent.

“We didn’t have any financial plan for me to just stop working and to become a one-income family,” said Viscount. “I thought about what we could cut from our budget to make it work. Then, I started a blog writing about mom stuff, like when my kids nap. After a couple of months, I heard of these sites where you could write articles, and you’d get paid per click.”

The earnings were small. One of her early pieces earned a whopping $0.17, but Viscount found that she loved getting paid to write online. She gained a lot of experience and learned what makes articles attractive to readers.

“I wanted to create something where I kept the majority of the profits instead of bringing in money for someone else,” she said.

She started a do-it-yourself blog but realized the market was saturated with similar content. Viscount began to look for another niche she could enter.

Launching the Silhouette School blog

silhouette school

Image credit: Melissa Viscount

“In 2013, I found out about this machine — the Silhouette machine — that could cut vinyl and paper that people were using for crafting,” Viscount said. “I thought that would be cool, so Bob got me one for Christmas.”

The machine’s capabilities inspired her, and she realized she could turn it into a profitable blog.

“The machine is software-based,” she said. “There [are] many older people or retirees using it who are intimidated by the software. So I started writing tutorials on how to use it.”

Viscount wrote tutorials in her spare time during the day, such as when her children were napping. Within six months, she had a social media following of over 50,000 people.

“By the time I started the Silhouette School, I had been blogging for five or six years,” she said. “I had the background on how to blog and how to market it. All those different things prepared me to take the site to the next level.”

She monetized the blog with advertisements and affiliate links, where she’d earn a commission whenever someone made a purchase. However, she soon expanded to new income streams as well.

Friends encouraged Viscount to write a book on how to use the Silhouette machine. She started work right away and soon had the book ready to publish.

“I remember the day I launched it,” she recalled. “Bob said it would be so cool if I could sell 800 copies. Now, we’ve sold 12 different books and 100,000 copies.”

Turning her side hustle into a full-time job

With the success of her books and the continued growth of her blog, Viscount earned six figures. The business grew so quickly that she needed help, so Bob left his job in the corporate world to join her.

“It was this big, scary thing,” she said. “Bob’s salary was in the six figures, and we had health insurance and a 401(k) with an employer match.”

Now self-employed, they had to learn to budget for their health insurance coverage and retirement.

“I wouldn’t recommend someone do what we did without some padding in their budget,” Viscount said.

Bob took over many of the business aspects of the blog, such as negotiating with vendors and developing the site, so Viscount could focus on the creative side. With his help, the business’s income more than doubled.

Between the books, affiliate links, advertisements, and membership site Silhouette U, the couple has experienced tremendous success. As of 2017, their earnings crossed the million-dollar mark.

Advice for other bloggers

Although her story is inspiring, Viscount cautions other would-be bloggers.

“Anyone can start a blog, but you need to know how to market it and how to build an audience to earn any real money,” she said. “If you want to have a blog that can replace your paycheck, you need to treat it like a business.”

That means you can’t spend just a couple of hours on your blog and make money. Viscount said you should expect to put in long hours to make your blog successful. It’s not uncommon for her to work 14 hours a day. Plus, you’ll need to produce quality content on a regular basis, which can be exhausting and might lead to burnout.

To help you stay focused, Viscount recommends that you create a schedule for yourself and stick to it. As your blog and income grow, delegate minor tasks to a virtual assistant. Outsourcing some of the more tedious day-to-day items can improve your work-life balance and will allow you to focus on the big picture.

If you’re prepared to put in the work and you’re ready to start your own site, find out how to launch a profitable blog.

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Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal LoansFixed rates from 5.950% APR to 14.490% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.825% APR to 14.365% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of May 3, 2018, and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.825% APR assu[mes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.90% plus 4.175% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate Disclosure: Fixed interest rates range from 4.99% – 16.24% (4.99% – 16.24% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates shown are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank


Upgrade Bank Disclosures


  • Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification and review process. You may be asked to provide additional documents to enable us to verify your income and your identity. This rate includes an Autopay APR reduction of 0.5%. By enrolling in Autopay your payments will be automatically deducted from you bank account. Selecting Autopay is optional. Annual Percentage Rate is inclusive of a loan origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. All loans made by WebBank, member FDIC. Please refer to Upgrade’s Terms of Use and Borrower Agreement for all terms, conditions and requirements.
  • Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.

7.73% - 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
5.83% - 14.74%1$5,000 - $100,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
5.96% - 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% - 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
4.99% - 29.99%$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
4.99% - 16.24%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% - 34.49%$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
5.99% - 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.49% - 18.24%$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% - 35.99%$2,000 - $35,000Visit Avant
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.