Need some extra cash or an ongoing side hustle?
It can pay (literally) to get a little creative. In fact, in today's inventive economy, it can pay even more if you go beyond "creative" and into the realm of pretty weird. Still, as long as they're legal (and the following suggestions are), what does it hurt to bring home the bucks in an odd fashion?
For those who are open to an off-kilter experience and not ashamed to show it, here are six odd - but perfectly legal - ways to make money:
Serve as an online mock juror
It's fairly random, because it's not guaranteed that you'll get called, but if you sign up on sites like Sign Up Direct, you can get paid to become a surrogate juror.
Here's how it works: parties to a legal case require jury-eligible citizens from particular venues. Those selected listen to the case and decide the issues in the same way they would on a convened jury. Most sessions last either eight to 10 hours on a weekend or five to seven hours on weekdays and pay between $100 and $150 per session, just as soon as the "verdict" is returned.
Get paid to be a buddy
Consider the RentaFriend website, which takes applications for people who are wiling to provide (strictly platonic, no touching allowed) friendship in exchange for hourly pay that starts around $10. Fringe benefits include free meals and entertainment like concerts and sporting events.
The reasons people rent friends include needing a date for a business event or wedding or wanting someone to do stuff with in a new town. Some of the friends employed are able to offer additional services, like tutoring in a foreign language or etiquette advice. Do note that RentaFriend doesn't perform background checks on either its friends or its members.
Deliver phone books to real live doorsteps
While those yellow phone books may be old-school, individuals and charity groups who deliver them make modern-day money for their efforts.
Yellow Books doesn't pull any punches about the difficulty of the work: "Make no mistake, this is no walk in the park," they say. "It's good old-fashioned door to door deliveries so that means lacing up those runners, heading out into the fresh air and getting that blood pumping!”
On the plus side, you only have to be 18 or older, you can earn more the harder you work, you get paid four or five times per week during delivery season and you can often choose your turf. Yellow Books recommends checking out the active delivery locations listed on its "Where & When" page and then attending a 30 minute orientation to get started.
Drop in on lazy dogs. Or maybe iguanas
While Rover is known as the nation's largest network of pet sitters and dog walkers, it also offers a "drop-in" option. That means you can create a business through them (if you pass the qualifications test) where you mostly stop by to feed and check on low-maintenance dogs, cats or caged pets.
Play video games
Apparently, a few experts actually make a living playing the popular golf arcade game Golden Tee. In 2017, GO Banking Rates advised gamers to check out the earning potential of playing games while streaming live on video platforms like Twitch. "There, fans can interact with you as you play. Of course, it helps if you're actually good at the game, and can talk strategy and character builds. On Twitch, streamers with a few thousand followers and five-figure views earn an average of $3,000 to $5,000 per month playing 40 hours per week, and that's just off subscriptions. On top of that, ad revenue averages about $250 for every 100 subscribers."
According to the Smartasset blog, the three components of a Twitch channel are the game play itself, the webcam video of the player and the audio commentary. "That means broadcasters need a computer or console and other gaming equipment, plus a camera and a microphone headset for broadcasting purposes."
Make your backyard a wedding venue
"Renting out your property for backyard weddings is also a great way for homeowners to generate income while helping couples create a special day their guests will never forget," according to the Install It Direct blog. Venuelust estimated that engaged couples will spend anywhere from $2,500 to $30,000 for a unique venue, but of course you could start smaller in the beginning.
If you're sold on the idea, Venuelust offers a complete guide to renting your home for wedding events. They begin with the advice to avoid potential liability by listing with a venue management company like Estate Weddings and Events that takes precautions to protect you from such risks.
About the Author
Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com
Credit: Clayton County Police Department