8 Unusual Side Hustles That You Didn’t Realize Will Make You Money

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Side hustles have become the way of life for many Americans. According to Zippia, up to 45% of all Americans have a side gig, with that figure going potentially as high as 49% for workers under 34. 

By now, most of us are well aware of some of the most popular side hustles — like driving for Uber or DoorDash — but there are in fact more than a few side hustles you’ve probably never heard of. Some of them are definitely on the stranger side, but hey, they can be lucrative! 

Car Advertising 

Car advertising may not sound very appealing (it essentially turns your vehicle into a portable ad for a business), but it can be an easy and lucrative way to earn passive income. 

“You can partner with various companies and get paid for promoting their products or services,” said Kyle Roof, the founder of High Voltage SEO and PageOptimizer Pro. “The amount of money you can make depends on factors like the company you’re working with, the size and location of the ad, and how much you drive. On average, car advertising can earn you between $100 and $400 per month.”

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Focus Groups and/or Research Studies

Plenty of companies and research organizations lead focus groups or research studies to compile insights. You can make a quick buck by playing a role in this important feedback process. 

“The compensation for focus groups or research studies can vary greatly depending on the duration, complexity and topic of the study,” said Cyrus Vanover, founder at Frugal Budgeter. “Typically, you can expect to earn anywhere from $50 to a few hundred dollars per session or study. Some studies may also offer additional incentives or rewards such as gift cards or product samples.”

See: 18 Legitimate Games & Apps That Pay Real Money in 2023

Freelance Cybersecurity Writer

Every business needs cybersecurity, but some need cybersecurity material for their websites, too. There’s a need for cybersecurity writers to fill this gap.  

“For those who enjoy writing, this might be a great way to supplement their income by creating blog posts, marketing content, or whitepapers,” said Peter Zendzian, president at ZZ Servers. “To get started in this sector, you must have a good understanding of cybersecurity and a flair for writing. Although prior experience in the cybersecurity field is preferred, guest posting and launching a personal blog to add to a portfolio are additional options for starting from scratch.”

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According to ZipRecruiter, freelance cybersecurity writers earn an average of $49 per hour. 

Professional Bridesmaid/Groomsman

Not everyone has a trusted and available friend and family group to step up and represent at their wedding. This is why wedding-related services have boomed. You can even become a professional bridesmaid or groomsman. 

“Some people are willing to hire professional bridesmaids or groomsmen to help with various tasks, such as assisting with wedding planning, providing emotional support, organizing events and even participating in the wedding ceremony,” said Brian Meiggs, entrepreneur and the founder of Gigs Done Right. “Rates for professional bridesmaids/groomsmen vary depending on the services provided, but it’s possible to earn several hundred dollars per event or even more for full-service wedding support.”

Sell Other People’s Junk 

Amanda Manera, the founder of The Resale Doctor, has an unusual side hustle if there ever was one: She sells other people’s junk. 

“Back in 2016, I started by selling my own trash (or things around my house I didn’t want anymore) and began, to my surprise, making money,” she said. “This practice evolved into receiving donations from family and friends, and continued to grow to a point where I could reinvest my earnings into new items from thrift stores.” 

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In 2022, Manera made $20,000 doing this. 

“This involved me working between 10-16 hours per week on my side hustle,” Manera said. “However, there is an entire community of resellers who earn their primary income, at times well over 6 figures, from reselling. The key to being a top earner is learning the market, finding sought-after items and keeping consistent with buying, listing items and selling.”

Collect Amber (and Possibly Other Gems) on the Beach 

Where does the beautiful amber that jewelry and gemstone stores sell come from? Possibly your local beach — and you can make a quick buck by collecting it yourself. 

“A side hustle I was not aware of, which gave me quite an additional income, was collecting ambers on the local beach,” said Milosz Krasinski, the managing director at Chilli Fruit Web Consulting. “Those small stones are thousands of years old, and have a significant value among collectors and jewelers. Considering the global amount of amber, it’s a rare finding, but where I live, you can find them quite easily, especially after storms and strong winds. A sack of tiny ambers costs around $150-200, and the bigger the stones, the higher the value. Additionally, sometimes you can find some insect remains in the amber, and then the value skyrockets.”

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‘Hangover Helper’ 

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any weirder or more niche, in comes the hangover helper. This is a job that leaves little to the imagination: You provide service for people recovering from a night of too much drinking.  

“A hangover helper service helps people recover from a night of partying by taking care of things like cleaning, cooking, running errands or even offering hydration therapy,” said Kelan Kline, a personal finance expert and one-half of The Savvy Couple. “You can create customizable packages for clients and advertise your services through social media, local bars or platforms like TaskRabbit. You can charge $20 to $50 per hour, depending on your services.”

Worm Farming

Remember how we said things were going to get even weirder? We were actually also referring to worm farming, the practice of breeding worms for various causes. 

“Breed worms to sell for composting, fishing or as live food for pets,” said Jonathon Watterson, head data analyst at Money Crashers. “Earnings will depend on the size of your operation and market demand, but a small-scale worm farm can generate between $500-$2,000 per month.”

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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.
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