Are you ready to try something different in the new year? Then, why not consider these unusual side income (or even full time income) gigs?

1. Get Paid to be a Friend

At, a site that boasts over 500,000 members, you can sign up and get paid to be a friend. This friendship might entail going out to the movies, to the mall, or to a corporate or social event.

RentaFriend friends have reported taking on gigs that involved standing in line for tickets, doing someone’s laundry and grocery shopping, and going out dancing. The RentaFriend website does NOT condone inappropriate behaviors or activities; in other words, all friendships are strictly platonic. Furthermore, friends specify which activities or tasks they will do.

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While the site boasts that some of its friends make as much as $2,000 per week, the baseline pay rate for friends is $20/hour.

How can you profit with RentaFriend? Consider why a person would pay money for companionship. It’s not that that person is without friends per se. More likely, it’s because that person lacks an advisor or helper for a specific activity such as visiting a new city/country, trying out a new sport/hobby, or fitting into a high-profile event (e.g., company picnic).

To this end, advertise the unique angle or skill you offer with your friendship. If you live in a touristy city, offer to show your out-of-towner the spots that only locals know about. If you speak another language, offer your multilingual services to someone for whom English is a second language. If you are an expert ballroom dancer, boater, fisher, etc., extend your expertise in these hobbies to someone who wants to learn them too.

RentaFriend friends pay no dues to the site and keep 100% of their earnings. The site makes money through the members that contact friends; these members pay either $24.95 per month or $69.95 per year.

2. Get Paid to be a Bridesmaid

If you’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid more times than you can count, you might wish to offer your bridesmaid services on a site like Why would a bridesmaid be hired in the first place?

Many brides don’t have friends who have the time and/or financial capacity to be a bridesmaid. Other brides, and especially young brides, require a bridesmaid who can advise them on important dates and things to keep in mind as the wedding unfolds- and the bride’s other young bridesmaids just don’t have the experience.

Being a bridesmaid is a job more than an honor; therefore, if you have performed this job a few times, you are better qualified to ensure that a wedding proceeds smoothly than a novice bridesmaid.

How can you best promote your services?

Consider what special angle you bring to the wedding. Maybe you’ve served in several destination or themed weddings and so can help with hotel arrangements or costumes. Alternately, maybe you were able to save thousands of dollars for the last wedding you served at; advertising this fact in your ad can help you get selected.

You can choose to simply advise the bride via phone and/or email and be more of a wedding planner, or you can go all out and provide bridesmaid services before, during and after the event. For some helpful hints and ideas of how to package your bridesmaid services, check out this page.

Payment for bridesmaid services varies from $199 to $1,000; additionally, you score free clothes, meals and other wedding-related goodies. Referrals from a happy bride and groom can quickly expand your business and fill up your weekends with lots of weddings to choose from.

3. Get Paid to be a Drone Pilot

Small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), or drones, are growing in popularity not only as toys but also as commercial tools. Increasingly, drones are used to showcase houses, companies, yachts and other properties. Drones are being used to discover issues with pipelines, electrical lines, towers and dams. Drones are also flown over concerts, weddings, festivals, carnivals and sporting events.

You can become a drone pilot by practicing with an affordable model such as this one, which cost just $30 and is equipped with a photo camera and video recorder.

To operate a drone commercially, you’ll first need to pass an FAA aeronautic knowledge test. At that point, you’re ready to start marketing yourself locally via word-of-mouth, flyers, social media ads or a website. Alternately, you can search out freelance drone contract jobs on sites like this one.

When first starting out in the drone piloting business, you’re better off specializing in one or two fields like real estate flyovers or outdoor weddings. Showcase some example drone videos to potential clients and offer package deals that include several different videos and photos. It may take some time for your new business to take off; however, with drone use on the rise, it won’t take too long before you win a few clients.

Payment for drone projects can range from $200 for a two-hour shoot and edit job to several thousand dollars for checking on a commercial pipeline or water tower. Best of all, you can do much of your job from home by practicing your flying maneuvers and editing your photos and videos.

Do you know of an unusual at-home business that’s on the rise? Post about it in the comments area below.

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