Since writing a post about weird and extreme ways to save money, I wanted to share all the weird ways to make money I have come across. If you’re looking for weird side hustles or non-traditional ways to make money, come join me for a walk on the unusual (but entirely legal) side.
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Weird ways to make money
1. Become a test subject
Don’t mind taking part in drug testing?
There are lots of different ways to become a test subject. You can take part in clinical drug trials, test out new products like soaps and shampoos, take part in psychology research, and even become a test subject for NASA!
If you are chosen to be in the test subject pool for NASA, you’ll need an annual physical. Different studies you could be part of for NASA include cardiovascular, neuroscience, bone and mineral, suit and engineering, exercise, nutrition, and immunology. For more info and to apply to become a test subject at NASA, go here.
Many universities need test subjects for research. Most are in person, so you can check out the website of the colleges or universities in your city to see any openings. When I was at university, there would be posters in the Biology building recruiting test subjects. I volunteered (for pay!) a couple times and it was really interesting!
Stanford University has opportunities to become a paid test subject both in person and online. You can sign up here.
You can become a test subject for the National Institute of Health (NIH). The NIH is always looking for healthy volunteers to take part in clinical research. There are around 300 studies available to healthy volunteers, and many are paid. You can search and apply to current clinical trials here.
Requirements to become a test subject:
The requirements for this weird way to make money fast will vary. For drug trials, they are looking for healthy volunteers. Universities may be looking for certain age groups. For NASA your physical health will be a factor on whether or not you are chosen as a test subject.
How much money can you make as a test subject:
This varies widely. Some studies don’t list the pay online. For many, you will have to directly contact the researcher to find out compensation.
If you are chosen to become a test subject with NASA, you will be paid $10 an hour. No this will not get you rich, but you’re helping NASA y’all. That’s pretty cool.
2. Sell poetry to Hallmark
Do you have a way with words and know that poetry doesn’t have to rhyme? According to this page, Hallmark no longer accepts unsolicited poetry submissions for its greeting cards. Bummer! But there is another way to sell poetry to Hallmark.
Requirements to sell poetry to Hallmark:
You can apply to become a Hallmark Freelancer. There are positions for graphic design, admin support, customer service, and writing. If you are hired as a freelance writer for Hallmark (the application form is here), you can get paid to sell poetry to Hallmark.
Blue Mountain Arts is another greeting card company. They do have an open invitation for poetry submissions. Poems need to be between 50 words and 300 words. There’s more information here about what they are looking for with submissions.
How much money can you make selling poetry to Hallmark:
There is no information about Hallmark salaries given with the job postings or with the Hallmark Freelancer application. If you are interested, you will have to apply and find out from there.
3. Sell plasma
Oooh, I am too squeamish for this weird side hustle, but it can be an easy (for some people) way to make money fast and it is so needed. Blood plasma can save and improve lives of people with certain disorders and diseases. Plasma is also needed in some surgeries.
Plasma is collected using a process called plasmapheresis. This separates the plasma from the blood and collects it in a bottle. A machine collects the plasma and returns the other parts of the blood back to you. The collection process usually takes approximately 90 minutes.
Donations are needed now more than ever, especially to treat patients vulnerable to COVID-19.
Requirements for selling plasma:
You have to be in good health, 18 or older, and weigh at least 110 pounds. You also can’t have had any tattoos or piercings within the last 4 months. After that you have to meet the eligibility and screening requirements (via a questionnaire), have valid identification and a permanent address to be able to donate plasma.
How much money can you make selling plasma:
Donating plasma is more extensive and time-consuming than donating blood, and plasma donors are compensated for their time. As for compensation, you can earn up to $400. An extra way you can earn money as a plasma donor is by referring friends to donate. For every person that signs up through your special link, you will get $25 and they will get an extra $5 on their first donation.
>> This is not exactly a weird way to make money, but it is unique: How to make money writing romance novels <<
4. Put ads on your car
If you want to get paid to do weird things, why not put ads on your car?
Make easy, passive income by putting removable ads on your vehicle. You are never obligated to participate in any campaign. You can always accept or decline a particular campaign if it’s not something that aligns with you.
Your car is professionally wrapped and the ads are removed at the end of the campaign. The car ads won’t harm your car or its paint.
Requirements for putting ads on your car:
Owning a car is the obvious requirement, and you have to drive your car! If you rarely drive and your car sits around in the garage or driveway most of the week, this is not going to work for you.
There are the requirements for this car advertising company:
– Drive at least 30 miles / day
– Have a clean driving record
– Own a 2008 model car or newer
– Factory finish paint job
How much money can you make by putting ads on your car:
You can earn $300-$1200 per campaign and campaigns generally last between 2 and 6 months.
5. Become a professional cuddler
If you want to get paid to do weird things, you can become a professional cuddler! This is a strictly non-sexual service, fully clothed, for people who need extra touch.
There are many reasons why a person might want to hire a professional cuddler. Some people might simply need a hug. Others want to practice speaking up for what they need physically. Some people might be looking to create positive and caring touch experiences that they haven’t had.
Though we are fully in the realm of non-traditional ways to make money, there is a real demand for professional cuddlers.
This weird way to make money is not going to be as popular during a pandemic. Though a lot of businesses can convert well to remote work, professional cuddler is not one of them. Zoom cuddling might not be very fulfilling though some cuddling businesses are offering virtual cuddle sessions.
Requirements to be a professional cuddler:
Some cuddling job boards state that their professional cuddlers must be open to cuddling clients of all ages of legal consent, sizes, ethnicities, religions, genders and sexual orientations.
Sometimes you need to complete an online course before you can be listed as a professional cuddler. Then you set up a profile and start booking clients.
I would also add either you should be single or have an understanding partner. I get that it’s platonic and about warmth and connection, but I can’t see a lot of spouses being fully on board with this weird side hustle.
How much money can you make as a professional cuddler:
The rates listed on this cuddling site varied per practitioner from $80/hour to $100/hour.
6. Make money by losing weight
Did you know there are actually legitimate ways to get paid to lose weight?
HealthyWage is a program where you bet on your own weight loss, and can win a lot of money if you reach your weight loss goal.
The idea behind HealthyWage is using money as a motivator to lose weight. In a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, people who bet on their weight loss were 5 times more likely to reach their weight loss goal.
You enter your weight loss goal, time frame that you will lose the weight by, and some other information like your gender and current weight. Next you enter how much you would like to bet, from $20-$150 a month. The HealthyWage calculator will use a proprietary algorithm and let you know how much money you would win if you lose the weight in that timeframe. You can try out the HealthyWage calculator here.
An example of a recent winner is Katelyn P. from Ammon, ID. She lost 40 pounds in 6 months and won $1,436.93.
Michelle M. from Centreville, VA lost 68 pounds in 9 months and won $3,300.
Requirements for HealthyWage:
You need a smartphone and a scale and have to download the HealthyWage app.
When deciding on how much weight you want to lose, you can enter 10 pounds or 150 pounds but it has to be at least 10% of your current weight.
The deadline to reach your weight loss goal has to be between 6 months and 18 months. HealthyWage does not want to encourage crash dieting!
How much money can you make by losing weight with HealthyWage:
You can make up to a whopping $10,000 for losing weight.
Get all the details on this weird way to make money online in my full HealthyWage review.
7. Gigwalk is a newer weird way to make money
Gigwalk is a flexible side job you can do with a just a phone. Work is posted as “Gigs” that show up on the map and Gig list in the Gigwalk app. You find Gigs in your area that look like a good fit and apply by clicking a button. All the reporting is done through the free Gigwalk app, available on iOS and Android devices.
If you have been selected for the gig, you’ll be given detailed instructions for completing the work. You do the work and submit it through the Gigwalk app. Your work is reviewed and is approved or you might need to answer a quick follow-up question or two. Once approved, you get paid directly to your PayPal account.
Most Gigs are posted by brands and retailers that want to check into the conditions of their products or events. They are looking to verify that the products are available on the shelf and displayed and priced correctly.
Requirements to be a Gigwalker:
All you need for this weird way to make money fast is a mobile phone and the Gigwalk app. You need to be able to use geo-location on your phone and have it enabled. You’ll also need to give the app permission to take photos, as this will be required by a lot of the brands.
How much money can you make as a Gigwalker:
You can pick gigs that take anywhere from 5 minutes to a few hours. Short gigs (that take just a few minutes) pay $3 and longer gigs can pay $100 or more. Gigwalker pays you through Paypal.
8. Get paid to be a friend
If you’re looking for weird ways to make money fast, consider getting paid to be a friend. RentaFriend matches people who need a friend with people who get paid to be a friend.
You fill out a profile similar to how you would for a dating website, except this is a fully platonic website. Some people might be new to a city and want to go and explore different places with someone. Other people might want to bring a +1 to a work event or family event. If you have a special skill, talent, or job make it clear on your profile. People are always looking for something new to learn, such as dancing, a foreign language, and more.
You set your own hours, decide on the rate you will charge, work when you want to, and keep 100% of the money you make.
Requirements to get paid to be a friend:
RentaFriend is available worldwide. I combed through all the information I could find, and did not see any specific requirements.
How much money can you make as a RentaFriend:
It is free to make a profile to offer your friendship for sale, and you can make up to $50/hour. The rate will vary as you get to set your own rate. You can also get to go to events, concerts, sporting events, and restaurants for free.
Some Friends (yup, capital F) on RentAFriend make over $2000 a week full time. Some people who just do it on the weekends and make $300-$500.
Also check out 7 exciting hobbies that make money
9. Get paid to be a life model
If you’re in the mood to get paid to do weird things and you’re not too shy, why not get paid to get naked?
Getting paid to be a nude model for art classes is definitely a non-traditional way to make money, but it is legit (and legal!)
You model unclothed in a variety of poses for either life drawing, painting, or sculpting classes.
This is one of the weird ways to make money fast I actually considered doing years ago. I thought it would be an interesting exercise in overcoming inhibitions. Now there is pretty much no way I would try this side hustle.
It’s not even because I’ve had a baby, but it’s because I live in a smaller place where everyone seems to know everyone. I’ve had a local catering business with my name on it and I don’t love the idea of walking into an art class as the nude model and knowing people in the class!
Requirements to be a life drawing model:
You must be over 18 and also able to stay in poses for a long time. This can mean up to 20 minutes in seated, standing, and reclining poses.
How much money can you make as a life drawing model:
From looking at art schools as well as typical salaries on Glassdoor and Indeed, there is a huge range in rate of pay. The lower end was $14.52/hour; there were some life drawing model jobs for $18/hour and $20/hour.
An art school also said that many artists will tip $5 or $10 per person to the model on top of the base pay.
10. Weird ways to make money: Sell your hair
Did you know that there is a big market for buying and selling human hair? I had heard about selling hair to make money but I had no idea it was so lucrative! See below for what you can make to sell your hair.
Selling your hair is similar to any other buy/sell online marketplace. As a hair seller, you make a listing which includes all the details about the hair you want to sell. Include photos, length, color, thickness, sellers even include details about how often they shampoo and condition their hair.
It takes most people between 2 and 8 weeks to sell hair after posting the listing. This could be an easy (slightly weird) way to make money fast.
As for why people buy hair? The top two reasons are for wig making, and to make hair extensions. Two minor reasons for buying hair are for art/design work, and for a hair fetish!
Requirements to sell hair:
More buyers want “virgin hair” which is hair that has never been chemically dyed or processed. You can still sell your hair if it has been dyed in the past, but virgin hair will make you the most money. All different colors and thicknesses of hair are being bought and sold.
How much money can you get paid to sell your hair:
You choose the selling price for your hair so this amount varies a lot. People either list a firm price or add “or best offer” just like on other online market websites.
Natural red hair tends to make the most money, as does hair that is all one length (as opposed to layers).
Looking up the recently sold hair listings, hair sold for $300-$400 on average, with many listings at $500 and some for $800. The top hair sellers have sold hair for thousands of dollars!
If you film the hair cutting (this proves that it’s all human hair you’re selling), there is usually a premium of ~$200 more.
If you’re interested in selling your hair, this is a popular hair marketplace to list your hair for sale.
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