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DimeADozen: The $185 Experiment That Turned into a $150,000 AI Side Hustle

Looking ahead, Aiello envisions a future where DimeADozen becomes an indispensable tool for businesses to validate and learn about their ideas.
UPDATED JAN 22, 2024
Cover Image Source: Pexels/Matheus Bertelli
Cover Image Source: Pexels/Matheus Bertelli

Two friends, Sal Aiello and Monica Powers, recently demonstrated that with a creative idea and a minimal investment, one can turn a side hustle into a lucrative business. In their case, they managed to build and sell their side hustle DimeADozen for a whopping $150,000, all while spending just $185 to get it off the ground. Their journey is a testament to the power of technology and entrepreneurship.

Sal Aiello, a seasoned CTO for tech startups, and Monica Powers, a product designer running her own branding company called Mascot, joined forces to create a unique AI-powered research tool. Their journey started when they began consulting ChatGPT, a generative artificial intelligence chatbot, for market research. It was while using this tool that they discovered their knack for asking precise questions that yielded valuable answers, making them realize they had a potentially profitable service on their hands.

Cover Image Source: Pexels | Kindel Media
 Image Source: Pexels | Kindel Media

With Aiello's tech expertise and Powers' design skills, they decided to create an AI-powered research tool named DimeADozen. The concept was simple: users could submit information about their business idea, and the tool would extract relevant insights by utilizing ChatGPT. DimeADozen aimed to provide "want-repreneurs" with a fast and cost-effective way to test their business concepts.

Soon after its launch, DimeADozen gained traction in the market, offering a comprehensive report on business ideas for a modest fee of $39. In just seven months, the venture generated over $66,000, with the bulk of it being profit. Apart from a $150 expense for the web domain and $35 for hosting and a database, the side hustle was remarkably cost-efficient.

The success story continued as Sal Aiello and Monica Powers decided to sell DimeADozen for $150,000 to Felipe Arosemena and Danielle de Corneille, a husband-and-wife team. This duo, one a software engineer and the other a product designer had the ambition to make DimeADozen their full-time endeavor. Meanwhile, Aiello and Powers intended to remain as advisors, dedicating about five hours per week to the project.

Cover Image Source | Pexels | Hatice Baran
 Image Source | Pexels | Hatice Baran

In Aiello's words, DimeADozen "really does print money." The project's quick rise to success exemplifies the potential of AI and innovative thinking when harnessed for entrepreneurial endeavors. The secret to DimeADozen's efficiency lies in its innovative use of AI. While it's possible to conduct similar research manually using search engines like Google, DimeADozen automates the process by plugging received information into pre-written ChatGPT prompts. The result is a 50-page report that analyzes the hypothetical business's potential investors, customers, and competitors.

According to Aiello, DimeADozen's approach is faster and more reliable than the manual alternative. Additionally, Aiello and Powers used their expertise in prompt engineering, a technique for asking chatbot-specific questions for precise responses, to minimize the risk of AI hallucinations. Hallucinations occur when chatbots generate information that seems relevant but is, in fact, incorrect. Through rigorous testing and refining of prompts, they managed to reduce the incidence of such errors, enhancing the tool's reliability.

Pexels | Tara Winstead
Pexels | Tara Winstead

Looking ahead, Aiello envisions a future where DimeADozen becomes an indispensable tool for businesses to validate and learn about their ideas. In an ideal scenario, it might even attract the attention of tech giants like Salesforce. The journey of DimeADozen serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs, showcasing how innovative ideas and the power of AI can turn a simple side hustle into a thriving business venture.