Taking up a side gig is a great way to earn some extra money, but why limit yourself to the same predictable options as everyone else?
From the slightly different to downright absurd, these unusual side hustles offer unique and interesting ways to earn some extra money.
Why choose an unusual side hustle?
Perhaps you’re bored of your traditional job and want a more interesting way to bring in some extra income, or maybe you just need that little bit extra to keep on top of your finances. Or maybe you’re saving up for something special or even hustling hard to work towards early retirement.
Whatever your reasons, finding a unique or unusual side hustle can be a fun way to earn some extra money.
Here are some unique side hustle ideas that can bring in some real money.
27 Fun And Unusual Side Hustles
Sell photos of yourself
We live in such as visual world where almost everyone has access to a camera, or at least a smartphone with a camera included. You can sell pictures of yourself, anywhere, doing just about anything. These can be stock images, portraits, and selfies.
Check out our guide: How to make money selling photos of yourself
Get paid to cuddle
No, we’re not on a wind up, professional cuddling – yes professional cuddling is actually a thing. And you could be paid to hug people.
I think this may be the most unusual side hustle I’ve ever heard of. When you think about it though, it makes sense.
Especially following the pandemic, people are increasingly lonely and sometimes just miss that physical touch .
Professional cuddling can meet this emotional need. It’s NOT sexual contact, rather a way for isolated people to feel connected with other humans.
The safest way to cuddle as a side hustle is join an established company, such as Cuddlist, Cuddle Sanctuary, or Cuddle Companions. You can search online to find companies operating in your area.
Always read the terms and conditions and make sure they have good policies and procedures set out.
If you love animals as well as keeping active, dog walking is a great choice for making some extra money. A lot of people are dog owners, but are also super busy, leaving them with little time to make sure their furry friends get out for regular walks.
That’s where you come in. Providing a dog walking service can be really helpful in fulfilling a need as well as being a profitable hustle for you!
Take part in medical research
This is probably one of the more unique side hustles out there! Medical research participants are vital in the development of medicines, so you’ll definitely get the feel good factor along with the cash with this one.
Always do your research when deciding which trials to apply for and make sure you’re happy with all the information given about what will be required and any potential side effects.
Flu Camp is one example of a clinical trials recruiter in the UK that will pay you for volunteering – rates start from £100 a day.
Be a games tester
Love playing games? Games testing involves playing games to help find any bugs and provide detailed feedback to game designers to improve user experience.
One platform you can sign up for paid work testing games is PlayTestCloud – you don’t need any prior experience to apply.
Rent our your parking space
Do you have space on your drive you’re not using? If you live in a busy town or city you could rent out your parking space to earn some extra money on the side!
Websites like Your Parking Space allow you to list your space for people to find and book parking.
Become a virtual friend
If you are a sociable and outgoing person, an unusual side hustle that could be perfect for you is becoming a virtual friend.
A virtual friend helps people looking for online companions fill their time with either talking, playing games, or even teaching them new skills or languages.
There are quite a few websites you can sign up to and become a virtual friend, but some popular options are Rent a Friend and Rent a Cyber Friend.
Read more: Ultimate guide to becoming a virtual friend
The reseller market is huge! If you’ve got a great nose for a bargain, becoming a reseller could be a great side hustle for you, as it’s all about sniffing out a good deal and selling it on for more money.
You can build up your stock from thrift stores, car boot sales, eBay, Facebook marketplace, buy sell apps – there are so many options – and the same applies for where to resell too!
There are all sorts of things with good potential for reselling – clothes, sneakers, technology, jewellery, take your pick!
Line sitting (professional queuer)
Do you love a good queue as much as we Brits do? Did you know you can actually get paid to stand in line for people? Plenty of people hate waiting around and will pay people to hold their place in a queue for them.
People who do this job are known as various terms such as line sitters, line standers, queue sitters or queue professionals. They stand in line for things such as concerts, sporting events, Broadway shows and so on.
You can search for this kind of work on platforms such as Taskrabbit, or apps like In Line 4 You.
Sell feet pics
Yes, you read that right. You can actually make a profit selling photos of your feet. If that doesn’t qualify as an unusual side hustle, I don’t know what does.
Platforms such as UserTesting and Intellizoom will pay you to test websites for any bugs or other user issues. To become a website tester you will need a computer with a microphone and a good internet connection.
Website tests will often involve talking aloud as you complete the required testing steps, recording your findings and feedback as you go along.
Get paid to flirt
This one is definitely not everybody, but did you know you can get paid to flirt right from your mobile phone?
Chat jobs such as those with ChatOperators.com can be a fun and flexible side hustle for outgoing people. You can earn between $0.13 and $0.19 for each typed message, and you don’t need any experience to start.
If you do choose to work a text chat job, always take your personal safety and security seriously and never give away any identifiable personal information. Choose a reputable company to work with and check reviews before applying.
Become a Google Rater
Ever wondered how Google determines which search results show up first when you type a query? Whilst some is down to their algorithm and who has paid for advertising, Google actually do use real humans to rate websites.
These are known as Google Raters or Search Engine Evaluators. The job involves rating how relevant or helpful results are when given in response to Google queries.
Google rating work pays upwards of $10 an hour for those in the US. Anyone can apply, but to qualify to work as a Google Rater you will have to pass their qualification test.
You can apply for Google Rater jobs through Appen, who also provide a huge range of part time jobs that can be carried out from all over the world.
Teach English online
You can start teaching English in your spare time without needing a teaching qualification. There are a number of websites you can register with to become an English language tutor. These websites are looking for native English speakers who they can match with people looking to learn and practice their English skills.
Once you’ve signed up, you can usually state your preferred times of work and will be paid a set hourly fee for your time. You may have to complete English language tests to prove your language knowledge before being accepted to work.
One site you can apply to teach English online is Cambly. They don’t require you to have any previous teaching experience and you can choose to work at your preferred times of day. You’ll be paid just over $10 an hour weekly to PayPal.
Do you always find yourself noticing errors when reading? Do you have a great knowledge of spelling and grammar? Becoming a professional proofreader could be the perfect side hustle for you.
A good proofreader can earn a very decent income working just 25 hours a week so if you’re willing to put the work in, it can be a great earner.
If you’re interested in becoming a professional proofreader it’s worth looking into taking a course to learn everything you need to know.
If you want a flexible side hustle that you can start with no experience, then you might be interested in becoming a transcriptionist.
The work involves listening to audio files and typing what you hear. You can usually work in your own time as long as you meet the specified deadlines. As a transcriptionist you are usually paid per project, so the faster you are the more you’ll be paid for your time.
To do transcribing work from home you will need a computer and internet connection.
You don’t need any prior experience to become a transcriptionist, but when applying for jobs you’ll probably be required to take a small test to measure your accuracy, typing skills and attention to detail.
You’ve heard of a PA, but have you heard of a VA? Virtual assistants are remote workers that help others with all different aspects of their businesses.
You can offer VA services based on your skills and experiences, but some common services for virtual assistants to offer include:
- Data entry
- Social media management
- Graphic design
- Web design
With remote working becoming much more the norm post Covid, finding work as a Virtual Assistant is easier than ever.
This one may not be for you if you’re the shy and retiring type, but if you’re not bothered about putting yourself out there, art classes often pay for life models.
You must be comfortable with taking your clothes off and able to stay still in one position for prolonged periods of time.
Becoming a life model can be a fun way to earn extra money and meet new people and have a laugh.
Get paid for advertising on your car
If you’re not precious about how your car or van looks on the outside, you can get paid to have advertising displayed on your vehicle. This is known as car wrapping. You’ll then just drive your car around as you normally do.
Write a blog
The entry barriers to writing a blog are so low, it’s easy for anyone to get started. With very little start up costs you can have a blog up and running the same day you decide to start.
You can choose to write about anything you like! Whether it’s something you’re passionate about, an area of expertise or your own lived experiences, the options are pretty much endless.
Making money from a blog is a long game but has great potential as there are lots of ways to earn.
Sponsored posts, affiliate marketing and display advertising are just a few of the monetization options.
Read more: How to make money blogging
Mystery shopping is a fun side hustle to try. It involves secret shopping missions to give companies feedback on customer experience.
As a mystery shopper you could get paid to enjoy a meal at a restaurant, or buy specific products from stores. You’ll often be rewarded with a fee for each mystery shopping trip as well as being able to keep the purchased product, or be refunded for any food you eat on a restaurant mission.
There are lots of different mystery shopping companies you can sign up to work with, some of the most popular in the US are Best Mark and Intellishop.
If you’re in the UK you can sign up with MarketForce and BeMyEye.
Upcycling is really on trend right now, but not everyone has the patience or skills to do it themselves. If you’re handy, you can use your skills to rescue old unwanted furniture and bring it back to life. You can then sell on your products for much more than you bought them for (you can even find stuff for free that’s just being thrown out!)
To grow your up cycling business, it’s worth building your social media presence. Before and after shots, along with process videos are really popular, with people loving to follow along the journey to see the work in progress. Capitalise on this to grow your following, and in turn, potential customer base.
Be a Film or TV Extra
Want the chance to get close to the stars? Okay so you’re not that likely to be rubbing shoulders with celebs, but you might get to see yourself on the big screen.
It’s also a great way to find out more about the whole filming process and hear some interesting stories about big stars. My friend found herself sitting at the next table to Jonny Depp while working as an extra on Orient Express!
There’s always the need for extras in film and TV work, and you don’t necessarily even need any experience to start – although the more experience you gain, the easier you might find ongoing work.
The best way to start is by joining a reputable agency. You may have to pay a small joining fee, but you shouldn’t have to shell out much to join a legit agency.
Get paid for your opinions
A relatively popular side hustle is taking online surveys. This is where you share your opinions on products and services, which helps companies with their market research and product development.
Online surveys don’t pay exceptionally well, but they are easy to complete and you can do them in your own time, making them a good option for people looking to top up their ‘pocket money’. You can often choose to be paid in gifts vouchers for your favourite stores too.
Some of the most popular survey companies you can sign up with are:
Read more: Making money with online surveys
No, I’m not joking! If you’re breastfeeding and can produce more than you need, you can actually make money selling your milk. Milk banks and online selling communities are both options to earn some side money this way.
Read more: How to sell breastmilk for money
Sell your smelly shoes
This is up there with some of the most interesting of the unusual side hustles! No word of a lie, there are people out there who will pay you for your old stinky shoes. The more worn out and smelly the better.
See our interview below for more information on this weird and wonderful side hustle.
Read more: How to sell your smelly shoes for cash
If you have skills in proofreading, editing, content creation, web design, graphic design, programming, SEO, social media management or similar, and are happy to work for more niche clients than you might find on Fiverr, you could be making money by selling your freelance skills on adult friendly remote work platform Freelancers xxx.
Things to consider when starting an unusual side hustle
When choosing a side hustle it’s good to think about your skills and experience and what that will be suited to, as well as the time you have free to commit to it – maybe evenings work best for you, or you have time to spare at the weekend.
Maybe you already have a hobby that could make money?
Also consider whether there are any initial start up costs and whether there’s a risk factor there. Most side hustles are free to start and you should beware of companies that ask you for money upfront – these could be scams.
When you start making money with a side hustle you should always keep good records of your income. This means that when it comes to tax time, you’ve got everything clearly recorded and can file your taxes accordingly.
If you’re choosing a more unusual side hustle, make sure you’re vigilant about checking companies are legitimate before joining and taking care to fully read terms and conditions.
There are so many fun and unique ways to earn money on the side – which will you try?