Custom VPN on a VPS side business project

Hello everybody.

I’ve been looking over at a possibility of doing some small scale side hustle, by setting up VPN tunnels for regular people over in the countries with restrictive internet access, such as China, Turkmenistan, Russia and so on. The idea is not new, and I’ve seen some freelancers openly promote their services to set up custom VPN for a ranging sum. Purchasing couple dirt cheap VPS, setting up Wireguard or any other VPN technology and then giving out access to the clients seems easy.

But of course there should be a bunch of “gotcha’s”, so I would love to hear about them from people who had their foot in this game.
Or from whoever likes to weigh in on the issue!
Or anyone, really… I’d just like to hear anybody’s thoughts :)

So here’s my questions:
1.) Competition from major VPN providers.
Seems like big players like NordVPN or Surfshark are everywhere with their constant marketing campaigns, aimed at mainstream users. I can see maybe one reason why a regular person might wanna go with a custom VPN connection, instead of using these providers. Setting up a custom VPN might leave the client out of the spotlight of the suppressing regime, making it harder for them to ban certain subnets. Could pricing be another reason to use custom VPN? Some of these VPN providers really do go low in their pricing, which leads me to another question…
2.) Project network setup.
My first gut reaction was using a VPS with a VPN installed, however I wonder – is this an ideal setup for the job? Like, how many users could I potentially have running on the same VPS, considering bandwidth most hosters allocate is usually around 100 mbit/sec. I’m not even wondering about different users potentially compromising the IP address of the VPS, for now I’m just wondering about how many users could be using just one VPS as an exit node comfortably. Or would you set up individual VPS for each user, and sell it as a premium service with guaranteed bandwidth? Some mainstream VPN’s seem to offer higher speeds at cheaper prices, too, how do you compete with that?
I would love to hear thoughts on this question, especially!
3.) Getting payments from clients.
I wonder about this issue, since most of the clients will be most likely from different countries with their payment options hindered. How do you accept the pay in that case? Crypto? Wouldn’t using it scare off regular users from your business? Or should I get involved with every client’s specific situation and try to find an optimal method with each one of them? Seems like the only way to go really, would love to hear how people deal with this issue.

Again, I’m not aiming at any huge amount of users – I would love to get around 50 clients to start.

You’re welcome to come and bring me back to reality with some harsh truths and facts regarding this idea, or refer me to similar discussions/resources! But I would love to get some info from people who’s done some of this work already and some of the challenges you guys faced. Thanks!

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