I grew up in a single-parent home, in a neighborhood where money was always tight. I was surrounded by working-class people that did their best to make ends meet at jobs that were not fulfilling to them. Those were tough circumstances, but they motivated me to get a good education so that I could change my family’s economic situation.
When I was 18, I wanted to enjoy my last bit of freedom before going off to college. So I got my first credit card. It came with a $500 credit limit and I maxed it out in one day going to restaurants with my friends and buying cute clothes I could wear to class when college started. A month later I got the credit card bill, looked at it, and tossed it in the trash.
I severely underestimated how that would affect me in the next few months.
When college started that fall, my friend and I went to open bank accounts. That’s when reality hit me. My credit score, 495, was so low that the bank refused to open an account for me. I was embarrassed when the branch manager told me this and my friend watched from a distance.
That experience in college completely changed how I thought about credit. I started monitoring my reports and scores every month via a service offered through my bank. I spent the next year disputing negative items, also known as derogatory marks, which led to them being removed from my credit report. This practice helped me raise my credit score by 300 points.
Ultimately, this tough period in my life became the inspiration for the side hustle that helped me earn $100,000 in passive income in five months. Here is how I got started.
I led with my personal experience:—
Last summer, I was looking for a side hustle that could help pay for my son’s daycare expenses. My 9-to-5 job had just informed me that I would be taking a major pay cut, and I needed to boost my income before my maternity leave started. The answer was right in front of me.
I already had a blueprint that had helped me raise my credit score by 300 points. And after I improved my score, I spent the next six years doing credit consultations for friends, family, and people in my community, doing that as a side gig in between my college classes.
I knew from that experience that credit was an evergreen and fairly universal topic. And I knew that I was far from alone in struggling with it. So at eight months pregnant, in August of 2021, I decided to take what I had learned and create a digital kit that others could use as a resource to help them manage their credit.
It was important to me to make the product more affordable compared to more traditional credit repair agencies, a baseline that helped me figure out what I felt comfortable charging.
I created a system that could run without me:—
Since I was pregnant when I first decided to launch my digital products, I knew I needed to keep my overhead costs low and create an operational process that could run without me once I gave birth to my baby.
I did some research and decided to use a platform called DPD to host my products for $10 a month. It was the least expensive to me, and it felt like the platform that would be the easiest to set up and to use overall.
I took that approach when I was creating my products. I wanted them to be as intuitive and budget-friendly as possible. I hoped people would use them to advocate for themselves in what can be a confusing process.
So for my first product, the Ultimate Credit Boost Kit, I created templates that my customers could use as straightforward scripts when contacting credit bureaus to help contest and get negative marks removed from their credit reports. I also made sure to include specific language in citing the laws and guidelines that the consumer is protected by.
I built on my first product to scale up my business:—-
When their credit began to improve, for many of my customers, their next financial step was exploring buying a home, and they asked if I could create a similar kit to help them through the process.
I saw the demand for it start around September 2021. There was an uptick in my YouTube and social media comments about how to approach such a competitive housing market. My husband and I had just purchased our home in June 2021, and we had successfully bid on a home that had 60 other offers.
Building on that recent experience, I created a home buying kit. It took about a week to film the first two videos, edit them, create the channel, banner graphics, and to design the thumbnail that would be used on the videos.
Then in October, I started being asked about creating tools for people who wanted to help get noticed by recruiters. So I created a resume, cover letter and thank you note templates, and a guide about interviewing, all in one bundle.
Overall, it took about two weeks to put together the whole package, including finding designers to work with to create specific branded materials.
My latest product is an online course called the Digital Credit Recipe, which will be launching in February 2022.
I used YouTube, a platform I loved, to grow my community
I love spending time on YouTube, and it has been a major pastime of mine throughout the pandemic. I started a YouTube channel and posted my first video on January 11, 2021.
I wanted to widely share my credit boosting tips, as opposed to solely working with clients one on one. It was supposed to be a one-time thing, but there seemed to be an audience for the video. I had some viewers even start suggesting credit scenarios they wanted to learn more about.
That summer and fall, as I thought about how I would scale my digital products, I knew I didn’t have thousands of dollars to spend on Facebook or Google ads, so to me, it seemed like an efficient way for me to market my products was on YouTube.
In my research, I found that, once my channel became monetized, I could earn passive income from ads. I also learned how to optimize the SEO on my channel so that it could reach more people, which could lead to more subscribers and channel views, which are all factors that determine how much you receive in YouTube revenue.
August of 2021 was the first time I made money from YouTube via ad revenue, a payout of $3,199, and those earnings have increased over time, up to $6,800 in one month.
Now, I regularly post the link to the products in my YouTube videos, and I’ve also partnered with companies like Experian and Carvana to advertise their products on my channel.
I focused on building relationships, not just products:—-
My YouTube subscribers are like an extended family to me. I love that each day I get to read comments about how people have used my products and saw a boost in their credit scores, or that they come to my channel when they want advice.
One of the biggest things that have helped me learn about eCommerce and customer psychology is working with my mentor, Nicole Walters. We connected after I followed her on social media, and took a business building course she led.
She helped me understand how to monetize what I was good at, and how to build trust with people in a way where they don’t mind investing in your products.
One of my favorite parts of my business is working directly with my subscribers or customers to learn what their needs are, and how to build a solution for them in real-time.
I’ve always believed that you are the company you keep and surrounding me with people that have achieved the level of success that I am working towards gives me constant accountability and motivation to “lift as I climb,” and to ensure that everyone I connect with finds their version of success.
Jasmine “Jazzy Mac” McCall is a finance expert, mompreneur, and YouTuber, where she creates content showing Millennials and Gen-Z how to build credit, pay off student loans, and create passive income. Jasmine is also the creator of the Digital Credit Recipe, an online academy that walks users through credit building and shortcuts to boost their credit scores. For daily credit and finance resources, you can connect with Jasmine on Instagram and TikTok. Jasmine resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.