Pro soccer player who spent almost $10,000 building a side hustle: 'I wasted so much money'

Professional soccer player Amobi Okugo founded the smart money site A Frugal Athlete to help people manage their finances. Here's where he wishes he'd spent less.

Amobi Okugo, #14 of the Philadelphia Union.
Drew Hallowell | Getty Images

Professional soccer player Amobi Okugo has spent years building up his side hustle, the smart money site A Frugal Athlete. Given the chance for a do-over, there's one expense he'd save money on: website design.

Okugo started A Frugal Athlete in 2014 with money from his savings account, with initial start-up costs including hiring designers to build a website and create a logo. All told, he spent less than $10,000 for the website, logo, and management apps like Trello. 

In retrospect, he says, he could have started his business for $1,000. 

"I wasted so much money building out a website when I, if I could have just spent three hours on YouTube University to really learn what to do, plug and play, how to navigate Squarespace," he says. "I could have saved that money and reinvested it back into my business." 

How Amobi Okugo turned a side hustle into a full-time business

Video by Courtney Stith

Okugo, who is currently playing with USL team Austin Bold FC, created A Frugal Athlete as an "online media platform that promotes prudent financial practices and smarter decisions among professional athletes and student athletes." He decided to launch it after watching ESPN's documentary "Broke," which explores professional athletes' financial struggles. 

An estimated 78% of former NFL players go broke or are bankrupt within two years of retirement, according to reports compiled by Sports Illustrated. Among former NBA players, 60% are broke within five years of retirement.

"I wanted to find athletes that I could look up to for being smart with their money," Okugo previously told Grow. "And what I kept finding were [stories like], 'This guy lost all his money. This lady lost all her money. This financial advisor scammed these athletes.'"

How to start a side hustle for less

Depending on your side hustle, having a professional website is a great way to market yourself and showcase your skills. But as Okugo points out, you don't need to invest a lot of money: There are low-cost ways to create your own.

Author and business strategist Scott Steinberg told Grow that you may need less than $100. "If you wanted to build a site to launch a coaching or consulting business as a side hustle, for example," he wrote, "you could install WordPress (free), grab a pre-made web template from ThemeForest ($5 and up) or TemplateMonster, and get access to a variety of free, and royalty-free, graphics from"

Keeping your start-up costs low can help you turn a passion project into a business, like Okugo did. Don't "disrespect the side hustle," he says: There's no idea too small for you to build on. 

"Be creative," he says. "Find something you're passionate about and figure out a way to monetize it." 

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