There are plenty of “listicles” out there that give you ways to earn cash on the side, but they’re basically all the same. If you’re looking for boring, unoriginal all-too-common ideas for how to make extra dough, we’ll save you some time by listing them now:
- sell all your stuff
- drive for a ride share company
- become an influencer (like that’s easy)
- stream your gaming on Twitch
- take surveys
- play the stock market
On the other hand, this article will present a few truly unorthodox alternatives as the missing piece to your side hustle puzzle. After all, the government might not want to give you $2000, but there are certainly people, places, and companies in America that do.
Here are five out-of-the-box ways you can make a decent amount of money — with little to no skill involved:
Do a sleep study
Last week, a company called Sleep Standards announced its search for a candidate to help with some research. During a five-night experiment, the “Master of Zzzs” (just made that title up) will test sleeping in different environments and report on how each environment impacted their sleep. One night, of course, will take place at a bougie five-star hotel.
The other four nights of the research remain a mystery for now — I’m imagining one night in an apartment next to a loud train that runs every 10 minutes, another night in a motel where the A/C fluctuates between 55 and 80 degrees all night, on and off. Who’s to say for sure?
You may recognize the name Sleep Standards because it’s the same company that made waves last summer when they ran a similar PR stunt — only then, they were paying five couples $3000 to have sex on a bunch of different mattresses and help determine which is the best mattress for gettin’ busy.
Outside of Sleep Standards, there are plenty of sleep studies you can participate in that can make you a pretty penny — and don’t involve consuming sketchy trial drugs.
Rent your car to delivery drivers
Chances are, you’re not going anywhere and your car is sitting unused in a street, lot, or garage. If you want to earn some passive income in a surprisingly efficient way, look into peer-to-peer car rental services that allow you to rent your vehicle to people like rideshare- and food delivery-drivers. Some renters claim to make $2000 in two- to three-months’ time.
This is one of those win-win-win scenarios: You get paid, the driver doesn’t have to ride a bike in the rain or snow, and I get my burrito bowl 20 minutes faster.
Quick question: What’s the best part of babysitting? Getting paid. Now, what’s the worst part? The kids. (You thought the same thing, right?)
Well, perfect for these pandemic-ridden times, there are multiple sites that let working parents hire virtual babysitters to monitor and entertain their children while they work remotely. On average, remote sitters make about $16 per hour for monitoring one kid and up to $20 per hour for two kids.
We’ve all seen the unfortunate — albeit hilarious — videos of children storming into the room during a parent’s video conference. Virtual babysitting helps to eliminate, or at least minimize, those incidents.
Did you know you can make about $50 a pop for donating plasma? It doesn’t sound like a lot, but depending on your eligibility, you may be able to donate twice a weekso that number can add up quickly. Plus, some places will pay you even more; a simple Google search tells me up to $700/month!.
Plasma donations can help create crucial treatments for people with life-threatening conditions. Right now, fully recovered COVID-19 patients are encouraged to donate their plasma to help treat patients who are vulnerable to the virus.
Another win-win-win: You get paid, the donation centers get plasma, and patients have easier access to the treatments they need.
Move somewhere boring
Alaska has been trying to lure Americans to live there since the ’80s, offering a yearly payout to each resident based on the state’s annual oil royalties. The amount fluctuates; for example, Alaska residents got about $1600 in 2019 but less than $1000 in 2020; most likely because of the pandemic and lower demand for oil.
Recently, inland U.S. cities have launched programs to attract motivated young people. If you’re okay with living in Oklahoma, the Tulsa Remote program offers $10,000 and a free desk at a co-working space in the city. Northwestern Arkansas’ ‘Life Works Here’ initiative is also offering $10,000 and a free street/mountain bike to bring youthful energy and talent to the area. Newton, Iowa has a similar program for home buyers looking to become Newtonians, shelling out incentives of $5000-$10,000 depending on the price of your new home.
The catch? You have to live somewhere like Newton, Iowa.
If the past year has taught us anything, though, it’s that many jobs can be done from home, so maybe it doesn’t matter where you live. Plus, since the cost of living is much lower in a lot of these places than in New York City, Boston, Chicago, or San Francisco, your money will take you further.
Think outside the box
So, if you were counting on that next stimulus check to help get you out of a bind — say, to pay off credit card debt — you might as well shoot your shot with one of these unusual ways to make money. It may not be a sure thing, but tomorrow is never guaranteed either.
Take a risk, take a chance, make a change. Break away from the monotony. If the ordinary doesn’t work for you anymore, try something out of the ordinary.
At the very least, you should have a cool story to tell.
About the Author: Ryan Hussey is a seasoned copywriter whose clients have included financial services firms, personal injury attorneys, and an osteopathic doctor. In his spare time, he writes fiction and roams around looking for dogs to pet.
Photo Credit: Tax Credits