In general, when we think of earning side cash, we think about running a side hustle or a part-time job. But there are also unusual, weird ways to make money that you just might be interested in.
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I have read, researched, and tried out so many ways to make money and shared them on this website.
If you’re a rebel or just want to do something not everyone would have thought of to make some side cash, here are some of the strangest, wackiest, most creative ways to make money.
Weird Ways to Make Money
You may have heard of some of these, while the others may be just as surprising for you as it was for me when I first encountered them.
If you keep an open mind, though, you might find something interesting in this list that you can start to do.
1. Get paid to get tattooed.
If you don’t mind getting certain visible parts of your body tattooed, being a human billboard may appeal to you and may earn you quite a bit of cash.
“Skinvertising,” a term coined from “skin advertising,” involves getting tattoos on prominent parts of one’s body to advertise companies.
It was mostly fueled by the dotcom boom in the early 00s, and several tattoos ended up outlasting the companies they were advertising.
A well-known story is that of Billy Gibby, “The Human Billboard,” who had over 20 face tattoos of various websites (he has since had those removed).
He also had a HostGator.com logo on the back of his neck, and he changed his name legally to Hostgator Dotcom in 2011.
There used to be a website called LeaseYourBody where you can advertise spaces on your body to be tattooed for a price. But the website has been shut down and there’s no information whether they’re ever going to be back up again.
Your best bet would be to contact companies directly with a proposal to have their company name and logo tattooed on your body.
You can also promote your “advertising space” on websites such as eBay, Craigslist, or Fiverr.
Figure out your rates depending on whether it’s a permanent or temporary tattoo, how many tattoos you’re willing to have inked, how long it should remain, and which parts of the body they’re going to go.
Skinvertising isn’t for everyone, though.
If you’re planning to get inked (or you’re already inked) with tattoos you truly like from tattoo artists you trust and whose art you admire, you can try to become a tattoo model instead.
Tattoo models are hired by fashion companies to demonstrate how their clothes and accessories look on people with tattooed skin.
If modeling is something you know you can do, start building your portfolio by hiring a fashion photographer for photoshoots. Once you have your portfolio, you can start applying to modeling agencies specifically looking for tattoo models or those who don’t specifically state that models can’t have tattoos.
You can also showcase your photos and personality on your social media to get noticed by modeling agencies and even by fashion brands themselves.
2. Sell your plasma.
Selling your body fluids is definitely a weird way to make money.
But it’s one with the potential to help people and save lives.
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Plasma is the light yellow fluid that is left when all the other cellular components are separated from the blood.
It contains various molecules that are needed for medical treatments, such as clotting factors, immunoglobulin, alpha-1 antitrypsin, albumin, hyperimmunoglobulins, and many other plasma proteins.
For many rare, life-threatening diseases, plasma-derived therapies are the last resort.
You can make anywhere from $20 to $50 per donation, and you can donate twice a week with at least a day in between donations.
However, not everyone is eligible to donate plasma. There are various requirements and restrictions you’ll have to comply with.
To get more details, read our comprehensive guide to donating plasma for money.
3. Sell your underwear.
Yup, I know what you’re thinking.
There’s no way anyone would pay for used underwear.
As it turns out, there is a lucrative market for your used underwear, particularly used panties.
People also buy and sell used socks, stockings, bras, and sports clothes.
Yes, it’s a weird way to make money, but it’s not illegal, at least not in the US, Canada, or the UK, as long as both the buyer and seller are legal adults.
You’ll get into a world of trouble if you get caught selling to underage buyers, even if you go through a selling platform, so be vigilant about this.
Also, you’ll need to be very clear that what you’re selling is used, worn clothing.
As this industry attracts unsavory characters, it pays to be extra careful about your personal information.
Don’t ever disclose your real name, address, and phone number to any of your buyers. When shipping your item, use a PO box address as a return address.
So, where can you sell your used underwear?
Interestingly, Etsy does have a category for used panties and underwear, so you might want to try that first.
Although you might want to use another email address to set up an Etsy account.
Not going to link out to those sites, but try to search for these online selling platforms:
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- Sofia Gray
- Naughty Connection
- Worn Desires
- All Things Worn & Beautiful
4. Sell photos of your feet.
Photos of feet?
Yep, it’s a thing.
But who would want feet pics?
Modeling agencies, stock photo sites, artists (sketch artists, painters, sculptors), podiatry websites, and shoe companies are just some of the mainstream buyers who’d like your feet pics.
And then of course there are foot fetishists who are willing to buy feet pics and may try to pretend to be one of the above.
So just like when selling your underwear, protect your privacy as much as you can when you’re not sure who’s buying your feet pics.
Protect your photos as well by watermarking your preview photos before sending them to potential buyers.
Also, don’t forget to receive the payment first before you send feet pics.
We’ve described in detail how to go about selling your feet pics.
5. Wait in line.
People are going to wait in line for something important.
Think DMV, Black Friday, the latest sneaker release, the latest iPhone, or some other in-demand item.
But waiting in line is the worst.
So people who really want something but really don’t want to wait in line for it are more than willing to pay someone else to do it for them.
If you’re willing to be paid for the trouble, being a professional line-sitter can earn you $25 per hour or even more, depending on the conditions of where you’re waiting in line and how important that thing is for the one hiring.
6. Get into competitive eating.
Competitive eating is yet another weird way to make money, and it’s not for the faint of heart.
It’s a legitimate event (or sport, depending on how you treat it). Competitive eaters train for months and even years to increase their stomach capacities and their eating speeds, as well as decrease their gag reflex.
What makes this appealing aside from the unlimited food is the prizes. You can win up to $10,000 depending on the contest.
Other ways that competitive eaters earn money is through sponsorship deals, brand ambassadorship, merchandise, media appearances, and vlogging.
The most well-known competitive eating competition is probably Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest, but there are also eating contests for shrimp cocktails, buffalo wings, ramen, oysters, and even strawberry shortcake.
Check out the Major League Eating website for contests you can train for.
7. Become a head lice technician.
If creepy crawlies don’t faze you, this might just be a lucrative endeavor for you.
A head lice technician performs head lice checks, usually on children, and removes the head lice through proven techniques.
It’s also your duty to educate your clients about the treatment, as well as future prevention of head lice infestation.
Your potential clients would likely be parents of young kids, schools, daycare centers, summer camps, teachers or other employees who work closely with kids, and hair salons.
It’s normally an on-call, mobile job that requires you to go directly to your client’s homes or businesses, but you may also be working out of a clinic or a hair salon.
If you have experience in the hair industry and are comfortable talking to children and their parents (and again, not easily freaked out by lice), you can try to get a lice treatment certification and apply as a technician to local lice removal companies.
You can also search the usual job boards for a head lice technician job.
8. Become a veterinary acupuncturist
Yes, acupuncture isn’t just for humans.
Veterinarians and doggy daycare businesses are increasingly offering more holistic services, such as animal massage and acupuncture services.
Veterinary acupuncturists or animal acupuncturists insert needles into specific points to relieve pain, stimulate nerve activity, improve circulation, and treat other health disorders.
They perform acupuncture only after a thorough physical examination and communicating with the owners to know the health condition of the animals.
They may also design nutritional plans and medication to work with acupuncture to improve the health condition of the animal.
You can’t just come into a veterinary office and work as an acupuncturist. You’ll have to have at least an associate’s degree in acupuncture, as well as a certification from the American Board of Animal Acupuncture.
9. Be a professional cuddler.
It seems ridiculous to pay for someone to cuddle you.
But professional cuddlers are increasingly in demand, especially after the recent pandemic has left everyone craving physical human touch that’s not necessarily sexual.
Professional cuddlers meet their clients in a safe space, which is at their home or a previously agreed-upon place other than the cuddlers’ home.
From there, depending on the arrangement, cuddlers can embrace, touch, or caress the client in a chaste, nonsexual way. Or they can simply hang out and chat, or watch a movie.
Professional cuddlers have to be comfortable with constant physical contact for an hour or two, be empathetic while maintaining professionalism, and be able to communicate and set boundaries with clients.
Depending on which company you sign up with, you can take home around $40 per hour.
We’ve covered this extensively in our guide on how to get paid to cuddle.
10. Be a friend.
If cuddling seems too intimate and violates your personal space, why not get paid to be a friend instead?
People can now rent a friend to talk to, to accompany them to events, or simply hang out with.
It’s certainly not conventional, but if you’re the type of person that makes complete strangers feel comfortable quickly and you don’t mind small talk, you can earn money by being a friend to someone for a few hours.
We discuss this in more detail in our article on how to get paid to be a friend.
11. Pick up animal poop.
This one definitely isn’t for the squeamish.
But if you can work a pooper-scooper tool, put the animal poop in poop bags, and dispose of it properly, you can make $40 and up per cleaning session, depending on the number of dogs, how often you visit, how large the area is, and how difficult the job is.
You may have to interact with the animals, so you’ll need to be comfortable with that, too.
Your clients would normally have dogs as pets, but you may find yourself having to dispose of cat, bird, or monkey poop.
You can do this just as a side hustle through verbal agreements with pet owners, or you can consider pet waste removal companies. That way, the rates are standardized, the company usually has their own equipment, and you’ll learn a lot about the business from the inside out that you can start your own poop removal business.
12. Sell your poop.
Speaking of poop…
This might be the craziest one on this list, but this is another unexpectedly helpful way to make money.
A medical treatment called Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) involves the insertion of stool from a healthy individual into the gut of a sick one.
It’s used to treat a variety of gut microbiome-related conditions, such as Clostridium difficile infections, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and obesity, to name a few.
There seems to be a high bar for accepting stool donations. Stool donor candidates need to be in excellent physical and mental health, be within a certain age range, not be using antibiotics, have excellent diet, and many other criteria.
But if you do get accepted, you can get $50 per donation, to as high as $150, depending on where you donate.
If you live in the Boston area, you can donate locally through Poop with Purpose.
Human Microbes accepts donors from all over the US and Canada, but bear in mind that you’ll have to deposit your donation sealed in a ziplock bag and then ship it in an insulated box with dry ice. They do pay higher for the inconvenience.
You can also contact research hospitals near you to find out if they accept stool donations.
The Bottom Line
So those are the weirdest ways that people can make money.
Some are kind of low on the weirdness scale, while others are definitely up there.
But it just proves that if there’s money to be paid, people will be right on it.
Remember, side hustles that used to be considered weird 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago, are now commonplace.
If you’re interested in some non-weird ways to make money, check out the following articles on this site:
What was the weirdest way you ever made money? Share your stories in the comments below!