Arash Lahijani is a 19-year-old college sophomore who stumbled upon an interesting side hustle as a high school senior. Lahijani realized that he could write backstories for video game characters of popular games. Two months after he launched his Fiverr business, he earned nearly $10,000, and has since made $62,400.

What he does

Unlike the professionals who develop characters and plots for video game studios, Lahijani simply writes for users who play Grand Theft Auto 5 Roleplay, a multiplayer computer version of the popular console game. In this particular game, players must submit character backstories to join specific servers and play with certain users. That’s where Lahijani comes in. He writes these backstories, which require writing skills and immense imagination.

How he got started

In high school, Lahijani had a friend who paid a Fiverr freelancer $70 to write a backstory for a Grand Theft Auto character. Lahijani started researching how to do it, then realized there was a market for it and that he could easily do this after school and on weekends. In April 2021, he set up a Fiverr account and made $9,700 in his second full month writing backstories. The video backstory writer told CNBC he had no idea he could make that much money from writing.

Lahijani credits his knack for storytelling to writing and listening to speeches. In high school, he was a grade president, the school treasurer, and the founder of the computer science club. Those public speaking experiences taught him how to write a “hook,” which his entire speech would revolve around. He uses those same types of hooks as the first and last sentences of his character backstories.

A look at his side hustle

Lahijani’s clients range from teenage boys to middle-aged dads. His writing side income is based on how many hours he can commit, and as a full-time student, he can only work three to four hours per day during the school year. In September 2022, he only made $1,750. So, his income fluctuates greatly depending on how much time he puts in.

Why he doesn’t want to do this full-time

If Lahijani made his maximum of $10,000 monthly, he’d earn six figures a year. Despite this, Lahijani doesn’t want to write full-time after college. He plans to study finance and risk management while writing on the side.

Lahijani uses his side hustle income very sensibly. He spent $12,000 on a used car and put $6,000 in a Roth IRA account. Sometimes, he treats himself as well as his family. He’s traveled a bit and even bought his mother a $1,500 diamond necklace.

A happy customer recently asked Lahijani if he would write a customized children’s book for their nephew’s birthday. While Lahijani refused, it helped him realize he could apply his writing skills to more than just video games.

There are so many ways to make money writing online. What do you think of this one? Leave a comment below!