Money doesn’t grow on trees, but if you’re determined or creative enough, you’ll find lots of opportunities from which to pluck extra income. Side jobs, or side hustles as it’s more commonly known, are things you do for extra cash outside your full-time job. Unlike your regular job, side hustles offer more freedom, flexibility, and control. The most common types are babysitting, coaching, dog-walking, freelancing as a virtual assistant, social media management, and blogging. Now, I have nothing against those, and if they’re your passion, then by all means. But there are a lot of unconventional side hustles out there for the curious. We’ll look at the most interesting side hustle ideas in this article to see if any fit your preference.
Why go for unconventional side hustles?
Some people are not content with finishing up their regular 9-to-5 and then sitting at home on the computer to do much of the same. Unique side hustles offer ways to tap into niche markets and unconventional sources of income. You can use your inherent talent and creativity, find a matching type of work that fits your personality, and earn more money while doing it. It can also broaden your skills and financial horizons, making it a worthy investment of your time, effort, and resources. Plus, it lets you take the path less traveled.
Things to consider when choosing your side hustle
Now that you know unconventional side hustles, you might be excited to try them out, but don’t immediately jump in with both feet. Thinking things through before getting into a new kind of work is important. You wouldn’t want to be midway through a new gig and then realize that you don’t like it very much. To that end, here are the things you must consider when choosing an unconventional side hustle.
Does it fit my interests?
Let’s start off with the most important thing: do you want to do it? Side hustles take time and effort — sometimes even more than your regular job. You want to choose the kind of work that will keep you invested, offer welcome challenges, and steer you clear of boredom. Keep in mind that burnout can happen to anyone.
Does it fit my skillset?
Some side hustles require a certain degree of expertise and experience. Sure, you can learn them, but it’s best to have foundational skills to build upon that tie neatly with your interests. Imagine getting a job as a game tester for RPGs, Indie releases, and Triple-A titles when the only video games you’ve touched in the last few years are Candy Crush and Fruit Ninja. You would have no idea where to start.
Does it fit my needs and values?
Getting jobs that pay good money is great, but money isn’t the end all, be all when considering work. Everyone has needs and a value system — an established collection of goals, morals, and beliefs that guide you through making your decisions. You need to make sure that your value systems align with your side hustles, or even your regular job, for that matter. Before committing to an unusual side hustle, here are things to consider.
This is more evident in art-centric tasks like blog writing and photography, but it doesn’t have to be limited there. There’s a lot of space in those types of work to express your creativity.
Not everyone likes the monotony of predictable tasks. You may not have the luxury of that choice in your regular job (although I suggest you start finding one that isn’t quite as tedious), but you should take advantage of the freedom side hustles offer and look for work that doesn’t bore you.
Challenge and growth
If career development is important to you, try to find a side hustle that allows you to learn marketable skills in your industry.
Comfort and values
This is perhaps the most important thing to consider. You need to be okay with what you’re doing. And when I say okay, I mean that the side hustle doesn’t create friction with your morals or value system.
After you’ve looked at the questions above and decided to continue, then great! Let’s get to down brass tacks.
List of unconventional side hustles
The side hustles that I’ll be listing down here is by no means comprehensive, but they should give you an idea of what kind of work are available out in this weird, crazy job market.
Test websites in your spare time ($10 per 20 minutes)
Everything is online now. Even small companies are entering the fray on the Internet, putting up websites for their products and services. With the influx of new sites comes a great demand for testing them before going live. This is where website testers come in. You’ll be asked to act as a regular user or a series of conduct automated or manual tests to see if the website and its features are functioning as expected. The position may ask for previous experience with programming languages, but sites like UserPeek only need C1-level certification in English to apply. Testers are paid $10 for every 15-20 minutes of website testing on video, subject to approval.
Be a video game tester ($16 to $24 per hour)
Chances are this job has crossed your mind if you’re an avid gamer like me. Video game testers are experienced gamers who poke and prod at games, especially during their initial stages. They push the game’s engine and physics to look for bugs or glitches, check on-screen texts and menus for errors, and listen for audio issues. Companies and developers put job notices for video game testers on their websites and platforms like Indeed or Upwork, so keep an eye out if you’re interested in making this a side hustle.
Be someone’s online friend (starts at $10 per hour)
It’s weird how the Internet — a place ostensibly built upon the concept of interconnectivity — can make people feel lonelier. That’s why some places are offering online friendship services. Online or virtual friends are great for people with limited mobility, social disabilities, or the elderly. They can be there when others need someone to discuss their problems with or sit back and talk about their day. It can also be an excellent way to build confidence for people suffering from social anxiety. You can sign up as an online friend on websites like RentaFriend.com or through job marketplaces like Upwork.
Sell photos of yourself ($20 to $100 per image)
Did you know that you can sell photos of yourself? Companies offer premium prices for pictures of people doing tasks like cleaning your room or being in specific places, like beaches, roads, or forests. Some websites pay good money for photos of you showcasing different brands of clothing or accessories.
Another great side hustle is selling feet pics. There are virtually no requirements or qualifications to enter the trade aside from having aesthetically pleasing toes and soles. There are also little to no starting costs; you can whip out your camera anytime and start snapping photos of your ankles.
I make it sound easy when I say that, but taking feet pics involves a lot of work and practice. Like any kind of photography, you must consider lighting, poses, background details, angles, and colors. Having experience with photo software is a plus since you retouch or improve your shots. This is important because feet pictures are used for modeling footwear, foot jewelry, skin care products, and pedicure services, so they require a certain degree of polish.
And that’s it. That’s all they’re used for.
You may now move on to the next item on the list.
Stop looking at me like that.
Okay, fine. Just so we’re clear, we’re all adults here, and we don’t kink-shame.
Feet are one of the most fetishized parts of the human body, there are millions of people looking for that kind of stuff. If that isn’t an issue for you, then you can make thousands selling feet pictures on sites like Feet Finder. You can create a profile in minutes, make it visible to the buyers on the site, and instantly start earning money.
To wrap up, selling selfies and photos can go from $20 to $100 or more, depending on the client’s requirements. They may even pay you using merchandise or the products you model, depending on the deal you make with them. So be sure to explore your options.
Be a Corporate Gift Consultant ($25 – $50 per hour)
Businesses give gifts to vendors, clients, prospects, and employees all the time. However, small to medium companies don’t always have the expertise or dedicated manpower to make their presents memorable, so they hire the services of experienced corporate gift consultants. Corporate gifting is so much more than just giving a business partner an expensive present: you need to consider their personality, what they’re into, and what message the company wants to send. As such, this side hustle is perfect for people who are great at figuring out the best gift for people.
Get paid for advertising on your car ($260 per month on average)
Ads are everywhere these days. Companies pay top dollar to get their products and brands on billboards and virtual ad spaces worldwide. Some of them even go as far as advertising on people’s cars. This side hustle might just be for you if you drive around a lot. Websites like Wrapify pay drivers to put company advertisements on their cars as wraps or decals. You’ll be required to drive a set number of miles before being eligible for advertising, but once you reach that target, you can earn decent money (as much as $260 to $400 per month per full wrap, depending on how many miles you drive.)
Get hired to stand in line ($20 to $35 per hour)
Have you seen the lines of people waiting for the latest iPhone release? Or how about the line to buy concert tickets before they’re sold out? Cities with large populations, like New York, tend to generate long wait times for even the most basic stuff. That’s why professional line sitters/standers (people who stand in line on behalf of clients) are now a thing. They either queue up for gadgets, concert tickets, and documents or stand in line and wait until the client arrives. This is a great way to earn money if you have a lot of extra time on your hands. You can sign up as a line sitter on websites like Inline4you or find postings on job boards like Indeed or TaskRabbit.
Become a Dating Consultant ($50 to $100 per hour)
Put your interpersonal skills to good use by being a dating consultant or coach. You can help people create attractive online dating profiles, assist them in finding matches in their area, give them feedback on flirting, conversation, and the art of seduction, and bolster their defenses against rejection. It’s a lucrative enterprise for people with the right skill set. Job boards carry postings for this type of work, but most dating consultants create their own sites and brand through social media channels.
Rent your yard to dogs ($4 to $25 per hour)
Do you have a piece of unused land sitting around? Or is your yard too big and too empty for your liking? Make it a rental dog park! Walking dogs in public spaces like parks involves the risk of them slipping the leash. There are also many distractions on the streets, so a lot of dog owners prefer private spaces for off-leash exercises. You’ll need to have the area fenced and ensure it’s safe. Dog owners can bring their pets and rent your yard by the hour. Sniffspot is among the most popular sites for offering unused spaces to interested pet owners and their furry friends.
Become a mystery shopper ($20 to $30 per assignment)
Mystery shopping is a method market researchers, retailers, and consumer product agencies employ to measure the quality of products and services offered in a specific establishment. Mystery shoppers come in like regular customers and audit restaurants, shops, banks, and other similar places to see if the service standards align with the company’s directions. This could be a fun side hustle if you enjoy shopping or going out. You can apply for jobs directly at mystery shopping companies like Best Mark.
Run errands for people during the holidays ($20 to $30 per hour)
People working full-time often lack the time to do a common household task or errand during business hours. Stuff like getting the dishes sorted, cleaning the house, doing laundry, or buying groceries get shunted to the side when work demands start to pile up. Errand running companies can take care of those needs for other people. This side hustle is perfect if you like doing chores. You can find job postings on ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Glass Doors, or the Facebook Marketplace. You can also put up your own small business if you prefer.
Sell plasma ($20 to $100 per donation)
We’ve all seen the jokes about selling kidneys to pay for expensive stuff, but did you know there’s a safer way to earn money by selling a portion of your blood? Plasma is the clear liquid component of your blood that carries red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and other cellular components. Pharmaceutical companies use it as a base for therapy drugs for rare diseases and chronic conditions. It can also increase trauma or burn victims’ blood volume to keep them from going into shock. As far as side hustle goes, this is a great way to make money. The pay for plasma donations can vary between places and market demand, so be sure to check your local donation center for more information. You’ll also need to undergo assessments to confirm if you’re a viable donor.
There are a few side hustles that I didn’t cover, like furniture assembly, party planning, taking online surveys, drop shipping, joining focus groups, bargain hunting on thrift stores, and a lot more. Feel free to look for more unconventional side hustle ideas online.
Side hustles can be great sources of extra money. Finding one that fits your personality, skills, interests, and values might take a while. Still, with some time and effort, you can surely find one you like, whether a regular or unconventional side hustle.