Category: Wealth

How One Man Turned $100 into $1,050 in 16 days

In January 2017, 32/10 (a division of entrepreneurial non-profit New Leaf Digital in Huntsville, AL) ran a contest to see who could turn $100 into $1,000 in just 30 days. We called the contest our first 10X Challenge.

Nandish Dayal accomplished the feat in just 16 days.

With all the entrepreneurial talk about apps, Facebook ads, scalability, etc. you would expect Nandish’s methods to have involved something tech-related. But, Nandish 10x’ed his money in just over 2 weeks with some of the oldest, most tried and true entrepreneurial methods imaginable.

Nandish is a native of Fiji. In his words, “We didnt have a lot of resources so you learn to be creative.”

Nandish is not, in his words, a “tech guy”. His career is in healthcare. He just finished becoming a nurse practitioner and relocated to Oregon to work in a healthcare facility where he is negotiating a partnership. Making his hustle even more impressive, he achieved 10X returns while packing up for his big move across the United States.


Nandish and wife Judith

Nandish’s Strategy

Coming into the competition, Nandish knew he wouldn’t win in some kind of tech or app competition. He decided to focus on something he knew really well. His hobbies have long included working on cars, specifically Subaru vehicles. For most of the last 7 years, Nandish has worked on Subaru’s as a hobby. He also drives them and has bought and sold them for profit.

Nandish found an old Subaru in very bad shape. It needed thousands of dollars worth of work to run properly again. The owner wanted $300 for the car. After a a lot of negotiating, Nandish got the cost for the car down to $100. The engine ran long enough for the car to sputter its way back to Nandish’s garage. The transmission was shot.

But, Nandish knew the value of the parts inside the car. He knew how to remove the parts. He knew that the parts inside the car were worth substantially more than the $100 he paid if they could be removed and if he could find buyers.

As luck would have it, while removing parts from the car, Nandish’s neighbor sees him and says he knows “a fella” looking for a front assembly for a car like that. Nandish ends up selling the complete front bumper assembly (both sets of wheels, hood, both fenders, front bumper) to the “fella” for a whopping $750.

A few days later, he sells the rolling shell that remains for $300 to put him $1,050 in just 16 days.

So, there you have it… a 10.5X return on investment 16 days.

Takeaways from Nandish’s Achievement

  • If you are accustomed to depending on someone to give you a job to make money, that’s not the only way. Our education system largely encourages us to seek careers instead of entrepreneurial opportunities. Nandish’s upbringing taught him to look for opportunities and not to expect anyone to give him an easy path to making money when he needed or wanted cash.
  • Nandish was willing to think of what was possible and be creative, not just what other people were doing.
  • When looking for a way to make money on the side or start a new venture, your best chance of success is to stick close to something you know well.
  • In Tony Robbins’ book Money, he covers a strategy that billionaires use in investment called the 5X Rule. Simply put, the 5X rule means that they must see a likelihood of 500% upside to make any investment. Smart businesspeople know they will be wrong and, if you follow this rule, you only need to right 1 time out of 5 to break even. It’s a low-risk/high-return strategy (what you learned in economics about risk and return being related is completely out of sync with the real world) and so was Nandish’s strategy. He was only risking $100 and felt certain there was at least $500-1000 worth of value in the car. These are the type of business bets you want to make. Too many people risk all their investment in hopes of a 30% return on their investment. This isn’t a good strategy because you will be wrong sometimes.
  • You don’t have to be the world’s foremost expert to be on your own and make money. There are people who know more about cars than Nandish. But, he knows more about cars than most people know. That is usually enough to be able to make some profit.

I asked Nandish for a closing comment to those who might read this article. Here is what he said:

“There are often instituted drawbacks or obstacles that may hold us back. But the important thing to remember is that you are truly the master of your own destiny. It’s okay to have bad days but someone out there would kill to have the access to all the privileges that we have.”

Nandish shared with me that he plans to donate his winnings to a scholarship at his alma mater, the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

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Get Paid to Stop Using Your Debit Card

Many of us use a debit card for nearly everything. It’s convenient, it’s simple. You pay for something, it comes out of your bank account, and you never have to think about it again.

But, to anyone looking to optimize and improve their personal financials this is my #1 piece of advice: You should never use a debit card. By using a debit card for every transaction, you are likely costing yourself $500 per year or more.

Simply replacing your debit card transactions with credit card transactions can put an extra $500-1,000 per year in your pocket, depending on your spending habits and offer you better fraud protection. Let’s take a closer look at both this advantages:

How a Credit Card Beats a Debit Card

#1 Better protection in case of fraud – If your debit card number is stolen and used by someone else, that money leaves your bank account. You almost certainly have fraud protection from the card issuer, so you won’t lose your money permanently. But, here’s the catch: it can take several days for the money to go back into your bank account after the fraud is reported.

And, worst case, if the fraud isn’t caught by your debit card company, you may not even know the money is missing until a debit charge is declined or a check is bounced due to insufficient funds. Compare to your worst case with a credit card: if you have a credit card declined due to hitting your credit limit, you can fallback to another card, or your debit card, or you can even pull cash out of your still safe bank account to use.

Contrast this with a credit card fraud case: you have additional charges appear on your credit card, you call the card issuer, they waive the charges, send you a new card, you’re done. If there is any controversy over a charge, you simply don’t pay that part of the bill. Your worst case with credit fraud is that you have to do without your credit card for 2 or 3 days. The money never leaves your account, your cash flow is never impacted.

If there is any situation where money could ever be tight for you, #1 is a very big deal.

#2 Using a credit card can give you a lot of cash back – My favorite credit card is the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card.  You get a whopping 6% cash back at U.S. grocery stores, 3% cash back at the gas station, and 1% cash back on everything else. I usually earn about $600-800 cash back per year on this card alone.

But, it can be difficult to get through life with only an American Express card since some stores don’t take American Express. So, I pair the Amex with an Amazon Rewards Visa card. The Amazon card gets 3% cash back from Amazon purchases (which I use often), 2% cash back at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% back on everything else.

The strategy – I use the Visa at restaurants & drugstores (2% cash back, better than the Amex on these categories), on Amazon (3% cash back, better than the Amex on these categories), and anywhere that doesn’t take American Express. I use the American Express everywhere else. Simple.

You want to use your credit card everywhere possible to maximize your cashback. You typically can’t use your credit card to pay government fees, taxes, or mortgage payments. Also, many utility companies won’t take a credit card. Or, if some of these entities will let you use a card, you are forced to pay a “service fee” or “convenience fee” which would wipe out any cash back that you might earn. So, don’t use your card for any charge like this.

However, most insurance companies, cable companies, cellular phone companies, and other recurring fees will gladly take your credit card. Don’t use your bank’s bill pay or use an automatic bank draft to pay these bills. Go to the biller’s website and set recurring payments using your credit card.

Put everything on your credit card that you can to maximize your rewards. While 1% might not sound like a lot, if you look at everything you buy in the course of year, 1% can really accumulate into a good chunk of change.

Extra credit – If you really want to squeak out some extra cash, there a handful of cards out now which offer 1.5% on everything, like the Capital One Quicksilver card. You could add this to mix if you want the extra .5% on your “everything else” category, but, it adds a bit of complexity for not a lot of extra return.

There are also some cards like the Chase Freedom or the Discover It card that offer a great cashback amount of 5% on rotating categories that rotate very quarter. For example, a card issuer might offer 5% cash back at movie theaters in January thru March or at department stores in April thru June. But, for me, tracking the categories and being sure to have the right card onhand is a hassle. I also don’t like carrying too many different credit cards in my wallet as I like to carry a small wallet. For me, I feel that the American Express Blue Cash Preferred/Amazon Rewards Visa combo offers 85-90% of the optimal benefits for minimal effort.

However, if you are one of the few people who doesn’t shop with Amazon very much, then the Amazon Rewards card could be easily swapped for the Freedom, Discover, or Quicksilver. You can also play the rotating quarterly category game if you wish.

Cash Back vs. Points, Miles, etc. – There are tons of other reward programs out there – you can get points, you get miles, dollars to spend with certain companies. But, I like the simplicity of just getting cash back. I find that points and miles just lead to me searching for something to buy, and in many cases, what I end up getting isn’t something that I would have spent cold, hard cash on. Cash back means I don’t have to waste time, energy or brainpower on my rewards, I just take the cash.

You may be saying, “But I like that my debit card just comes right out of my bank account and I don’t have to worry about paying a bill” – Set AutoPay to pay the full new balance on your credit card’s website. Now you have all the advantages of the credit card and the simplicity of a debit card.

Again, be sure to set AutoPay on your credit cards that you are using to earn cash back. This is very important. We are using these like a debit card. Accidentally miss one payment and the penalties and interest can cost you most of the cashback you would earn in a year. You also don’t want to waste time and mental horsepower on remembering to pay multiple credit card bills monthly.

If you intend to carry a balance on a credit card, then use a separate card entirely for those charges that you don’t want to pay immediately. The point of these cash back cards are to earn you cash on your purchases that would have gone to a debit card previously. You don’t want to mix purchases that you might pay over time with these “run rate” purchases.

This is a good place to mention, however, that carrying a credit card balance is strongly not recommended. If you already have a credit card balance, consider using your new cashback rewards to help you pay off your balance faster. Also, consider moving your credit card balance to a new card that will give you 0% or very interest for 6 to 12 months. This will instantly save you interest cost and give you time to beat down the balance.

To further simplify things, use or a service like it to aggregate all your credit cards and your bank accounts into one view. You can login to Mint and see, for example, that you owe $500 on one card, $200 on another, and you have $2,000 in your bank account. You can also review a list of all your transactions from all your cards and bank accounts and it has a nice mobile app. Login at least once per week to review charges and make sure everything looks as you expect. This will help you keep a handle on your finances and will help you spot any fraudulent transaction that your credit card company hasn’t caught already. If you are using my weekly review strategy for your email inbox, that would be a great time to review your financial transactions from the week as well.

Only keep a debit card on hand for ATM transactions – I’m not saying you shouldn’t carry a debit card or have one. Only that you shouldn’t use it to buy dinner or pay for groceries. Take the cash from the credit card company for those transactions, carry your debit card in case you need to pull cash out of the bank. Bonus debit card tip – get a debit card from a bank that offers to pay your ATM withdrawal fees. It’s often a pain to search for your particular bank’s ATMs to avoid withdrawal fees, but, many banks like PNC or Ally offer debit card programs in which they will refund ATM fees charged to you by other bank’s ATMs.

Other credit card extras – Many credit cards offer things like Purchase Protection in case of accidental damage or theft within 90 days of purchase, Return Protection if the merchant won’t let you return an item, Rental Car Insurance, and other benefits. I have never had occasion to use these, so, I don’t focus on them, but, it is another leg up the credit card has over the debit card. Parting piece of advice – if something bad happens with an item you bought on credit card, check into your credit card features to see if the credit card company has a policy in place that may be of help.


I hope that all this has been of help to you. A number of my friends have adopted this strategy and it has helped them tremendously. An extra few hundred dollars of income per year for doing next to nothing is a pretty great return. It turns out that reward is not always tied to risk after all.

Do you have a favorite credit card that I missed? Did this strategy help you save some cash? Comment below or email me at

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