The Weirdest Side Hustles That Can Make You Real Money


Whether the rise of the side hustle is evidence of the can-do American spirit or the decline of the American Dream (why not both?), a lot of folks need one. Not quite a second (or third) job, but more than a hobby, a side hustle is a way to turn free time and sweat equity into cash, and maybe have a little fun at the same time.

Most side hustles aren’t all that exciting—delivering food or driving for Uber may offer the occasional adventure, but are typically about as boring as a full-time gig. But there are some seriously weird side hustles out there, the sort of side gigs that make you wonder about the state of modern civilization—but that offer real, actual American currency, sometimes a surprisingly high amount of it. While these side hustles might seem bizarre at first glance, they offer a legitimate opportunity to earn some extra cash while simultaneously providing you with all the party small-talk material you’ll ever need.

Pooper scooper

People have dogs. Those dogs poop. A lot. While many folks take their dogs out for walks, some people just let their dogs run loose in their backyards, and the poop can, er, pile up. Or, sometimes, people discover that stray dogs are using their backyards as a toilet, and they would rather anyone else come and deal with all the poop. And that’s where you come in: You can earn around $50 an hour doing this once you get enough customers. And it’s actually an easy business to start—you don’t need any special equipment, and you can get started just by contacting your neighbors and offering your services.

It’s worth it to do some research to see if anyone else is in your area offering pooper scooper services. There are companies like DoodyCalls that do this, so you might consider getting a part-time job with a company, or just check their pricing to ensure you’ll be competitive.

Baby gear rental

Do you have a bunch of old baby stuff that your kids have outgrown? You can donate it, sure, or offer it to friends and family who are just starting their families. Or you can monetize it by renting it out to folks.

The need here is mainly for families who are traveling: They’re going to be in your area for a short period of time, and it’s easier and cheaper to rent cribs, toys, and other baby stuff than to transport their own or buy a bunch of temporary stuff. Companies like BabyQuip and TravelingBaby let you sign up to be an affiliate independent contractor. When someone in your area needs baby stuff, you’re contacted, deliver the stuff to them, then pick it up when they’re done. The money obviously varies depending on volume, but TravelingBaby says you can earn as much as $1,200 a month doing this. Even if it’s much less, you’re monetizing stuff you no longer use, so it’s a win.

Friend services

It’s something a lot of adults discover to their dismay: Being a grown-up can be incredibly lonely. But that yawning chasm of loneliness is an opportunity, because that means people will pay you to be their friend or to come and cuddle with them. To be clear, these are both explicitly platonic arrangements: You get paid to hang out with someone or to engage in nonsexual physical contact just to provide some comfort. RentAFriend says you can earn “up to” $50 an hour, though they also say that renting a friend starts at just $10 an hour, with friends offering “special skills” or expertise costing more. Still, getting paid to hang out with someone isn’t bad work. Cuddling, which involves physical contact, can earn more money—as much as $150 an hour.

Sell your underwear

There is income potential in your used, worn, and absolutely not laundered underwear, socks, and other intimate items of clothing. All Things Worn and Male Things Worn are two marketplaces where you can list your unwashed knickers for profit. Prices are up to you (though All Things Worn provides a helpful list of suggested prices), but turning old, used underwear and other clothing into cash is a lot better than just throwing them away or wasting your time and money washing them.

Sell your hair

If you’ve got healthy, undyed, and relatively long hair, you can sell it. Best of all, it’s a renewable resource—you can sell a foot of your hair, wait a few months, then repeat the process. You can get anywhere from $100 to $1,000 for your hair depending on several factors, which isn’t bad, especially if you were planning to cut it all off, anyway.

Line standing

It’s often said that the main benefit of being rich is time: You can pay people to do things for you, which leaves you more time to do the things you actually want to do. And for a lot of rich folks one of the things they definitely don’t want to do is stand in line with the plebes waiting for concert tickets, fresh cronuts, or limited edition sneakers for their collection.

That’s where you, a mobile physical object capable of handling basic transactions, come in. Get paid to stand in line for your economic betters. Companies like Same Ole Line Dudes need employees, and sites like TaskRabbit have explicit listings for line standers. Typically, you can make about $25 an hour for … waiting.

Virtual juror

Everyone groans when they get that jury duty summons in the mail—but you can make some decent side money by serving as a virtual juror. Law firms and marketing companies conduct a lot of mock trials as part of their research and case prep, and they need regular folks who are representative of actual jury composition to serve in those trials.

Most of these gigs are done at home over video, and the pay varies widely—from $5 per case on the low end to several hundred bucks for more complex cases that might take more time. There are a lot of companies looking for virtual jurors, so you can sign up with several and just take the assignments as they come, making a fair bit of coin for doing something that’s really interesting.

Sell your poop

If picking up dog poop doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps you’d be interested in monetizing another natural resource you’re producing all the time: your own poop. Companies need human feces for a wide variety of research purposes, and they’re willing to pay for it—as much as $500 per “donation” or $1,500 a month.

Not everyone is eligible for this side hustle, however, so don’t start collecting your output for future resale just yet. For example, GoodNature needs poop, but restricts donors to specific locations, and usually requires that you have a specific medical condition they’re studying. HumanMicrobes solicits stool donations for people needing a fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), and pays well for them. But you have to meet some pretty strict age and health requirements. Still, if you meet those requirements, you can make serious money just by going to the bathroom.

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