As we start a new year and consider how to bring in extra cash, it’s time once more to look at weird ways to make money.
Some of the following ideas might be worth trying if you’re looking for another source of income. Others, well, let’s just say they make for interesting reading.
So for entertainment or entrepreneurial inspiration, here are some weird ways to make money you might want to consider.
41 Weird Ways to Make Money
1. Sell Your Breast Milk
Given the recent baby formula shortage, breast milk is in serious demand. Only The Breast provides an online classified forum and community for moms looking to sell breast milk. Standard prices start at $1 an ounce, so get pumping.
2. Get Paid to Stand in Line
You’ve heard the adage: Time is money. And you don’t have to waste hours of your life in line at the DMV or post office. Enter one of the weird ways to make money: minding someone’s spot in a physical or virtual queue.
TaskRabbit is a great site to find odd jobs like this, including one-time gigs like furniture assembly or hanging pictures.
3. Win Cash as a Professional Eater
If you’ve seen eating contests on TV, you may have wondered if you could make a living with this “sport.”
Maybe. Just look at the list of upcoming events on MajorLeagueEating.com, and check out the list of competitive eaters on Wikipedia. Several have won more than $100,000 in prize money.
Boil 50 eggs or hot dogs and start practicing (on second thought, that sounds too dangerous).
4. Become a Professional Weight Loser
After you end your competitive eating career, you can win big money betting on your weight loss and losing a few pounds with Healthy Wage.
Your potential prize money depends on how much you bet and your personal data. Healthy Wage explains, “We give bigger prizes to people who statistically have a harder time losing weight.” At the moment, the maximum prize to lose weight is $10,000.
5. Sell Your Plasma
You see ads everywhere imploring you to sell plasma. Is it really as easy as rolling up your sleeve for an hour?
The short answer is yes, provided you’re in good health and have iron levels above a certain threshold. Read our guide to selling plasma, and if you’re not a good candidate, consider donating blood instead through the Red Cross.
6. Become a Personal Ad Consultant
If you think keeping your dating profile updated and attractive to potential love interests is a full-time job, you’re not wrong. Enter e-Cyrano, where they’ve made a virtual business of crafting dating profiles that’ll get you noticed.
Becoming a dating profile wordsmith seems like one of those crazy life stories ripped right out of a rom-com, but profile makeovers start at $99 so don’t swipe left on this opportunity.
7. Become a Lice Removal Technician
As a lice removal technician, you can make $30 per hour plus travel expenses, according to a posting by LiceDoctors.
You’ll be an independent contractor, but LiceDoctors will train you in how to use its “all-natural 100-percent-effective” methods. You’ll need to make house calls, and you’ll spend up to five hours on each one.
8. Get Paid for Your Sperm
In the last 30 years, an estimated 120,000 to 150,000 babies were born by anonymous donor insemination, so this is one weird way to make money that’s especially meaningful.
Most sperm banks, which pay anywhere from $25 to $140 per ejaculation sample, have the following requirements:
- At least 5-foot-7 and up to 6-foot-6
- Between 18 and 40 years old (none accept donations from minors)
- Height and weight proportional
- In good overall health, based on general physical health screenings and fertility tests
- College graduates, enrolled in college or military veterans. Some banks pay more if you have a doctorate or attended an Ivy League school (because recipients pay more for those donor qualities).
- A nonsmoker and non-drug user
- Able to provide a biological family medical history
9. Sell Your Feet Pics
Cultivating a side hustle to sell pictures of your feet may seem a little creepy, but it’s a relatively painless gig TikTok swears by.
Riley, a 21-year-old college student who has been selling feet pics online for years, told Business Insider it’s a lucrative way to make extra cash and can be safe as long as you take steps to protect your anonymity.
10. Trade Your Way to Riches
Everything old is new again. You’ve seen those TV shows where someone barters their way from a paperclip to a house. As odd jobs go, bartering can be slow, but being persistent pays off.
11. Become an ASMR creator
That weird tingling sensation in your brain when someone speaks softly can turn out to be the key to making money on YouTube. The highest-earning ASMRtist, Jane ASMR, from South Korea, has 9 million followers and banks $500,000 a month.
While you won’t garner an overnight following, Adobe has a tutorial on how to make ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) videos that excel on YouTube.
12. Sell Your Friendship
It’s true: You can rent your friendship.
RentAFriend.com claims you can make up to $50 per hour on its platform, plus get free meals, concert tickets and more.
And don’t worry: RentAFriend.com says it’s “solely a platonic friendship website only.”
13. Be a Virtual Babysitter
Will parents pay money for you to entertain their children online with puppets? Yes, they absolutely will. The Virtual Babysitters Club has online performers available for individual sessions and parties that do everything from juggling and snakes to trivia games.
The rate for virtual babysitting is around $15 an hour, although those with special skills make much more. Indeed offers a guide for virtual babysitters detailing what skills you’ll need and how to get started.
14. Get Paid to Fly Drones
If you already fly drones as a hobby, you can turn that passion into profit. You need a certification to fly unmanned aircraft professionally, but it’s not as difficult or rigorous as obtaining a traditional pilot’s license.
You do have to be 16 years old to become a drone pilot, and the average pilot makes $33 an hour.
15. Sell Weird Toilet Paper
Perhaps one of the weirdest ways to make money on this list is customized toilet paper. Etsy abounds with rolls printed with games, camouflage designs and bright colors.
You can just buy rolls and customize them or make your own toilet paper from scratch, which, in retrospect, would have been a handy skill during the pandemic.
16. Become a Bridesmaid for Hire
It sounds like the plot from the movie “27 Dresses,” but you can become a professional bridesmaid. Hiring a professional creates a drama-free big day for the bride, but be warned, it’s serious work.
Jen Glantz of Bridesmaid for Hire walks down the aisle with complete strangers to the tune of glowing reviews.
“Being a Maid-of-Honor feels like you just adopted a second full-time job, but not when you hire Jen to help,” reads her testimonial section.
17. Sell Your Poop
You can sell plasma and breast milk for profit, so why not poop? Medical companies look for donors of healthy stools to treat patients with colon infections. They pay anywhere from $25 to $500 per donation.
Before you rush to the bathroom, get the lowdown on how to sell your poop, who’s buying and how to ship samples.
18. Rent Your Shed
Tiny homes are trendy, but can you honestly house someone in your shed for cash? The answer depends on where you live and what your shed provides. The Tiny Life has discussed living in a shed as a housing alternative.
Of course, you can also rent out your shed as storage space.
19. Be a Human Guinea Pig
The Penny Hoarder has reported on how to make money as a test subject more than once. Most of the time the pay is low, but at one time you could get paid $5,000 per month to stay in bed. Let’s hope that opportunity comes up again.
You don’t have to undergo experiments to earn money as a test subject. See the companies that pay money for toy testers or market research and surveys.
20. Join a Mock Jury
Real jury duty certainly isn’t the best gig, but lawyers pay big bucks to practice with mock juries. Mock jury services provide in-person and virtual jurors who fit certain demographics for all kinds of cases.
Keep in mind there are a few qualifications for mock jurors. You’ll have to be 18, a U.S. citizen and have a clean criminal record to be considered.
21. Be a Train Pusher
If you have the job of “oshiya,” or “train pusher,” in Tokyo, you use brute force to push people into the subway and train cars, to squeeze in as many as possible. But watching oshiya in action is a bit disturbing to those of us who don’t like crowds.
Don’t live in Japan? There are plenty of ways you can profit from public crowds — like these authors who took notes from a public typewriter and turned them into an award-winning book.
22. Sell Your Hair
Although it seems a bit Victorian, you really can sell your hair, and sometimes for big money.
Depending on the length and color of your hair, those gleaming locks could fetch anywhere from $300 to $1,000.
However, professionals suggest you do some things to encourage growth of healthy hair before chopping it off for extra money.
23. Become a Beekeeper
Being a beekeeper can be a pretty sweet side hustle if you’re not allergic. Backyard beekeepers are usually amateurs with a passion for winged pollinators and an affinity for all things honey.
Before embarking on beekeeping, connect with The Honey Bee Society to learn more about what you’ll need to get started and how to help your hive thrive.
24. Play Video Games for Prizes
The best way to turn playing video games into cold hard cash is to become a content creator and stream your play. If you’re really talented, you could make money playing games on the highly competitive esports circuit.
A look at a list of games that award prize money shows that there are still millions to be made. Plus, professional gamers often enjoy perks like free accommodation and gaming systems.
25. Collect Dog Poop
Yeah, nobody really wants the work, but numerous businesses come to people’s homes to clean up dog poop in the yard.
If you aren’t sure you’re ready for a business, Doody Calls is looking for workers at the moment.
26. Be a Professional Sleeper
Get paid to sleep on the job? Yep, it’s a thing. There are research companies that will pay sleep study participants thousands, but these studies require you to sleep in a laboratory setting. If that feels a bit weird, there are some at-home sleep studies, but those opportunities pay less.
27. Become a Living Statue
You might be surprised how much you can make standing still. Living statues are the latest craze in street performers, and they make a lot in their spare time standing around in parks and at festivals.
Maggie Karlin, who has been a living statue for nine years, makes as much as $100 a day during the summer. She says that, like poker players, the hardest part is keeping a straight face for hours at a time.
28. Be a Professional Whistler
If you can whistle well, you might make money with your skill. After a 2005 documentary called “Pucker Up,” Molly Lewis decided to take a deep dive into the world of competitive whistling.
Now she’s a regular in the LA music scene and even has her own recording career. So pucker up for a few hours and see if you can’t whistle while you work your way into financial freedom.
29. Clean IMAX Screens
Working on a large-format movie screen is not your typical cleaning assignment. In fact, not many cleaning companies can handle an IMAX dome.
That’s why Michael Quaranto and Andrew Brown started 1570 Cleaning Services. As Quaranto explains, cleaning an eight-story screen involves special patented equipment and can take up to eight hours. You also have to travel quite a bit if you do this work.
30. Sing Strange Songs
Matt Farley has produced 23,000 songs, according to Paste Magazine, singing about anything from news headlines to songs about going to the bathroom. He fills Spotify and iTunes with songs containing popular keywords, and makes money when people listen.
While certainly a weird way to make money, Farley has also leveraged his fame to start a low-budget film career that’s starting to get him noticed in Hollywood circles.
31. Be an Ice Sculptor
You’ve seen those fancy ice sculptures at events, and maybe you’ve wondered if you could make them too. There’s actually good money in this craft, especially as part of a culinary or catering business.
But how much can you sell them for?
Most ice sculptors don’t publish prices online because each job is different. But the price list for Sculpted Ice Works starts at $425 to $475 for a single block sculpture and goes up from there.
32. Test Ice Cream
Professional ice-cream-tasting jobs are not an urban myth. In fact, Dreyer’s official ice cream taster, John Harrison, samples 60 packages of ice cream daily and has taste buds that are insured for $1 million.
He grew up in a family that worked in the ice cream industry, though; it’s not clear how an outsider would go about getting hired for one of these jobs.
33. Provide Strange Subscriptions
No matter how strange, if you’re into it, there’s probably a subscription for it. For example, the Dive Bar Shirt Club sends members a limited-edition T-shirt “from the best of America’s most interesting and unusual dive bars” each month. The subscription costs $24 monthly.
Think of some other odd thing people will subscribe to (apples?, underwear?) and you might have your own business!
34. Be a Restaurant Cliff Diver
Casa Bonita is a real restaurant, not just an invention of “South Park,” and yes, there are people diving off cliffs inside. The famous Colorado restaurant was saved from bankruptcy by the “South Park” creators and is reopening this year.
And in case you don’t live in Colorado, there are other restaurants that hire cliff divers, although you might have to suffer through a summer in Jamaica or Mexico to snag the job. Such a hardship.
35. Provide Doggy Day Care
The Penny Hoarder has reported on the business of pet sitting, and most of the work involves visiting animals in their homes.
But there is also a demand for drop-off pet day care. Even PetSmart has doggy day camp, so owners can leave their pets somewhere safe while at work.
For about $100 you can get certified in dog day care and start offering your own service.
36. Make Your Pet a Supermodel
If your dog or cat is as cute as you think, it may be time to cash in. Winning competitions is one way to make money with Kitty or Fido, but making your pet a YouTube or Instagram influencer may be an easier route.
Some pet influencers make $1 million or more per year, making this paws-down one of the cutest ways to make money online.
37. Cuddle With Strangers
You can make $60 per hour as a professional cuddler on sites like cuddlecomfort.com and cuddlist.com.
Cuddlist’s code of conduct specifies each cuddler gets to set their boundaries with clients. “Sometimes we feel lively and playful, sometimes we feel quiet and introspective. There are a gazillion right ways to cuddle! As long as you are following the code of conduct and respecting your Cuddlist practitioner’s boundaries, you are doing it right.”
38. Sell Deer Pee
Sam Collora is a pee farmer. He has a herd of more than 100 deer (and a few elk), from which he collects urine. He sells the urine for $15.50 for a 2-ounce bottle. It’s bought by hunters to attract deer.
Not sure you have room for a herd of deer? You could sell other animals’ urine. For example, Predator Pee sells everything from bear to coyote urine. If your dog is part wolf, you might be ready to go.
39. Sell Your Coffee Mugs
This weird way to make extra cash involves saving your vintage coffee cups from the trash heap. Experts say some vintage mugs in high demand could fetch big bucks.
A coffee mug from Disney World can sell for $50 or more, and some collectors pay more than $250 for specific mugs. Check those cupboards!
40. Get Paid to Cry
Professional mourning is a mostly historical occupation, according to Wikipedia.
But Rent a Mourner, in the U.K., currently supplies “professional, discreet people to attend funerals and wakes,” and it’s still a common practice in many parts of the world. So maybe it’s time to start crying a river of dividends.
41. Be a Clown
This is not a joke. Dressing up as a clown or a princess for birthday parties is big business. And while putting on clown shoes might not be your dream gig, you’ll be the one laughing all the way to the bank. The average clown salary is about $63,000 a year.
You also don’t have to join the circus to live that clown life. Lots of performers make quick cash doing weekend work for event planners and local entertainment companies.
Your Turn: What’s the weirdest way you’ve made money?
Kaz Weida is a senior writer with The Penny Hoarder. Steve Gillman, author of “100 Weird Ways to Make Money,” contributed.