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29 Creative Ways to Make Money in 2022

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The average salary in the United States is almost $48,000. But with the cost of living slowly creeping upward, it’s no surprise you’re turning to the internet with one question: “How can I make my first $100 on the side?”. People are always looking for creative ways to make money.

Rest assured, you’re not alone. A 2021 Zapier survey found that one in three Americans have a side hustle—earning up to $2,000 per month. People with successful side projects may have been more likely to respond, but it still demonstrates that money can be made on the side of most full-time jobs.

However, the attraction of a side hustle isn’t just limited by the opportunity to pad your wallet. Sure, you can use the extra cash to grow your savings account, travel more, and eventually quit your job if your venture becomes successful. But learning how to build and sell products and services on the side also offers several related benefits:

  • Security. A day job can offer stability, but it also puts your earning potential all in one basket. If you lose your job, you lose your only source of income. Diversifying with a side hustle means you’ll still have cash if the worst happens.
  • A new hobby. A hobby is something that you want to do but don’t have to do. Creative people tend to cross-pollinate their hobbies and day jobs. Hobbies are something fun to do, yet they sometimes have spillover benefits for your day-to-day work. They give you another place to learn and grow, even if your day job (or another important activity) has hit a wall. 
  • Building your money-making skill set. Making money is its own distinct skill—one you need to practice if you want to turn interests and talent into a sustainable business. Even if a specific side project doesn’t reach its full potential, you’ll still build valuable skills that can be applied to your next idea.

Free: The Big List of Business Ideas

To help you find the inspiration to start, we compiled a list of 100+ in-demand business ideas, broken down into categories like fitness, apparel, and gaming.

29 creative ways to make money

  1. Sell your photos
  2. Print on demand
  3. Teach online classes
  4. Sell food waste
  5. Recommend your favorite products
  6. Rent your unused space
  7. Sell your services
  8. Productize industry-specific skills
  9. Host tours in your city
  10. Test websites
  11. Sell your art
  12. Train your dog
  13. Sell your stuff online
  14. Do random tasks
  15. Give your opinion on online surveys
  16. Sell your old clothes
  17. Become an online juror
  18. Answer questions
  19. Join writing contests
  20. Sell NFTs
  21. Babysitting
  22. Find unclaimed money
  23. Join clinical trials
  24. Make money in the metaverse
  25. Flip furniture
  26. Become a fitness instructor
  27. Organize other people’s things
  28. Become a translator
  29. Become a mystery shopper

We’ll break down each side hustle idea by:

  • Effort: how much time, skill, or experience you’ll need to put into the idea. 
  • Leverage: how well positioned you are to turn the idea into a money-making one that increases in value without needing your direct attention. A low leverage idea is a 1:1 trade of time for money. A high leverage idea will have much more of a return for your efforts, many times resulting in passive income
  • Startup costs: the upfront budget you’ll need to launch the idea.
  • Potential earnings: how much profit you can expect to make from your side hustle per year.

1. Sell your photos

Effort: Medium

Leverage: Low

Startup costs (out of 5 💸): 💸

Potential earnings: On average, $0.35/image. $0.10–$99.50 per (royalty-free) sale or up to $500 for a photo sold under an extended license.

Modern smartphones have high-quality cameras. The iPhone 13 Pro, for example, has a triple-lens with macro optical zoom capabilities and that can take ultra-wide shots.

It’s no surprise then that the ever-increasing quality of smartphone cameras has crashed the camera industry. Mid-level cameras were made obsolete when your phone began offering the same quality with 10 times the convenience. You carry your smartphone wherever you go.

But instead of leaving your photos to sit idly in the cloud, you can potentially turn your snapshots into cash—and your smartphone is all the equipment needed to make money on the side while expressing your creative side.

Photographs are like any other product, and in order to successfully sell your photography you need to target an audience of potential customers who want or have a need for them. Start by thinking about the photography style you’re most interested in, whether that’s landscapes, portraits, or pets. 

Then, depending on how you plan to monetize (e.g., by selling prints or offering rights to stock photography sites), see if there’s a specific lane or niche you can identify. For example, you may notice that photos of papercraft creations are in demand on stock photography sites but that the current supply is limited. That’s a potential opportunity.

The Haute Stock library was born out of this concept. Its founder, Rachel Rouhana, was “frustrated with the lack of stylish stock photography available for women business owners.” So she created Haute Stock to fill that gap in the market.

Once you’ve found your niche, start building a following on visual-heavy platforms like Instagram or Pinterest. Snap some niche-specific photos, use a free photo editor to polish them up, then sell them on sites like Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, and TourPhotos.

Monitor which style works best through the platform’s analytics. Pinterest, for example, shows how many link clicks a photograph has had. Are there any similarities between your top-performing photographs?

Use your social media accounts to tease your paid content—bloggers and business owners always need stock photos. You could pitch directly to your target business owner, asking whether they’d be willing to pay for your photos—and how much they’re willing to pay. For example: you might identify the audience for your pet-related photos as dog retailers who are willing to pay $25 per stock photo. 

Bear in mind that you’ll need to price your stock photos on three factors: the demand for photos in that industry, the price competitors are charging, and the fees you’re paying to take the photos themselves. If you're shooting people, you'll need to pay them, and if you're shooting locations you’ll usually need permission or to pay a fee. Build this into your pricing to make sure you’re not losing more money than you’re making.

By selling your images through one of these platforms, you could turn your hobby into your first $100 on the side.

2. Print on demand

Effort: Low

Leverage: High

Startup costs: 💸💸

Potential earnings: Depends on the products you sell. The average t-shirt has a profit margin between $5 and $8. 

Print on demand is a low-risk way to make money that, unlike traditional dropshipping, lets you leverage your creative talents. Here’s how it works: You work with a supplier to customize (or white label) products such as books, t-shirts, phone cases, or other merchandise. You add your design to a plain item, then the supplier prints and delivers your products to customers on a per-order basis so you don’t have to hold inventory in order to start selling.

Since you can take the lion’s share of logistics and operations work off your plate, thanks to Shopify apps like Printful, Lulu Direct, and Printify, you’ll have more time to focus on design, branding, and marketing your products. It’s a very accessible business model if you’re working a full-time job. You can get creative with your own talents or commission a freelance designer to help you with patterns or full-blown product designs.

Since your customized products will be manufactured once a customer places an order, you also won’t have to pay for the items until you’ve sold them.

Print on demand is a superb model for creatives who want to get involved with their products but don’t have time to commit to making or manufacturing them. It combines the ability to be expressive and to build a distinct brand with the ease of dropshipping, making it a nice sandbox to start your side hustle in.

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3. Teach online classes

Effort: High

Leverage: Medium

Startup costs: 💸💸💸

Potential earnings: Beginners can make between $10 and $20 per hour. More experienced or niche class teachers charge upward of $3,000 per course. 

Turning your industry knowledge into an online course is a smart way to make extra money—even as a complement to an existing product-based business. Take Babbel for Business and Sugarlash Pro Academy. Both online courses have a niche customer base yet still bring in extra money for the course creators.

The creators behind Sugarlash Pro Academy found a unique niche they were knowledgeable about and created a series of profitable online courses around the topic. 

sugarless

You can start making money by teaching classes in an area you’re interested in. What can you talk about for hours on end? What do your family and friends ask for your advice on? The answers are likely a great class idea. But remember, a huge part of any online course’s success is the audience who purchases it. 

Some niches might not be as profitable as others, so check whether there’s high demand for your course topic before investing time in creating it. Generally speaking, you want to look for audiences willing to pay money in order to make progress. Passionate hobbyists or professionals who are willing to invest in their craft are prime examples.

Next, plan the flow of your course. Think about the topics you want to cover and create content for each section. This could be a one-off lesson sold as a class or a curriculum of content on a similar theme offered as a course.

You can host and distribute your content on platforms like Shopify, Udemy, Teachable, SkillShare, or LinkedIn Learning, all of which allow creators to monetize their course. This offers an added bonus versus selling a course through your own site by giving you a built-in distribution tool. 

Sure, you’ll need to spend some time promoting your course. But once you’ve invested time in creating the content, your investment is basically done. The time and money you spend developing the course is upfront, meaning you’ll only need to fork out marginal costs if and when you update it. 

4. Sell food waste

Effort: Medium

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸💸

Potential earnings: Varies from $1–$20 per pound.

Every year, we throw out 931 million tons of food. This includes items beyond their best-before date or that don’t look their best—such as those with small marks or that are deemed the wrong size. You can collect this otherwise wasted food and monetize it.

Take farm produce. Farmers are often unable to send unsightly vegetables to a supermarket for sale, even when they’re perfectly edible. This food often gets tossed in the trash. You could ask for their “wonky” vegetables and sell them at a discount to people in your city. Farmers can do this themselves at a farmers market, but you can offer to do it for them if they sell the products to you at a lower cost. There’s an added benefit for the farmers: they won’t need to go to the markets themselves and can spend their time producing crops.

Or you could take advantage of apps like OLIO or. Give the discounted-rate products a new lease of life and use them to create something new—such as a recipe you batch-make and sell at a weekly market stall.

This side hustle idea is win-win. You’re making cash out of unwanted food, which in turn helps save the environment. Instead of getting tossed into a landfill, the food is reused and eaten. 

5. Recommend your favorite products

Effort: Low

Leverage: Medium

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: Unlimited.

Chances are, you’ve got a list of products you couldn’t live without. You refer one of those products to your friend, and they soon feel the same. Affiliate marketing is a way to monetize your passion for helping people connect with the right product. 

The affiliate marketing model works by recommending products to your network and receiving a bonus—usually a percentage of the sale price in commission or gift cards—as a reward. Most companies, including Amazon, Uber, and eBay, offer a refer-a-friend incentive.

You could take things a step further by recommending your favorite products to a bigger audience through blogging or posting on social media. Wirecutter has a team of staff writers who create product-centric content for its audience. The site monetizes through the commissions they receive for referrals.

wirecutter affiliate program 

This is how most influencers and bloggers make money online aside from offering sponsored posts. Wirecutter and BuzzFeed, to look at two examples, both employ staff writers and freelance contributors to write review-focused content that’s monetized with affiliate links. Affiliates receive a commission when their audience purchases based on their recommendation.

These reviews aren’t spammy—there’s no pushy feeling that forces you into making a purchase just because the influencers will receive a commission. Their reviews are in-depth, unbiased, and genuinely make it easier for you to find the right product.

That’s the basic idea of great affiliate marketing: providing additional education and context that can be challenging for the official company to present in a genuine way. Affiliate content is formed around unbiased options, simply referring products you enjoy.

It’s relatively easy to get started with affiliate marketing—particularly if you’re an existing customer of a brand. Search the brand’s website and see if it offers a refer-a-friend program. (If it doesn’t, you can always email to enquire.) Ask friends to use your link or code when they purchase from that brand and you’ll both get a reward.

6. Rent your unused space 

Effort: Low

Leverage: Medium

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: $300–$3,000/year.

Statista reports that the rent price per square foot of storage space has steadily risen the last few years. Extra space has become more valuable. So if you have some extra space in your home, you might be able to make some money renting it out.

One example is your backyard. You can treat it as a side-hustle opportunity by listing it on camping websites or Airbnb and charging people to pitch their tent there. Create boundaries with the people you open your camping space to—such as whether they’re allowed to use your indoor toilet, access your home, or light barbecues on your grass. 

You might also want to consider limiting your space to a specific group of people, like families or those with young children. Even if you charge just for the pitch space, it’s a superb option for making your first $100 on the side.

You also can partner with Rent the Backyard. It’ll build a small apartment in your yard for free and split the profits with you when you rent it out. The company’s website says a homeowner in San Francisco could make up to $12,000 in their first year. But bear in mind that this is a big commitment in return for the large paycheck.

Similarly, for a small monthly fee you could rent the parking space that comes with your home or apartment to family, friends, or one of the many drivers who spend 17 hours per year looking for a parking spot—a huge source of frustration for commuters. This is an especially great side-hustle idea if you use the car space but aren’t at home during the day.

The amount you’ll earn depends on where your parking space is. New York, for example, has an average monthly parking cost of $600, but people in downtown Austin pay just $219 per month.

You can use sites like Parkopedia or Craigslist to check out your competition. Find what people in your location are charging for their parking space, then price your spot competitively. Pop into local offices and ask whether any staff would be interested in renting your spot.

parkopedia

7. Sell your services

Effort: High

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: $20+ per hour.

The gig economy is on the rise. An increasing number of people are performing work as independent contractors or freelancers who work for other organizations on a flexible or temporary basis to earn money online.

Freelancing or service-based businesses are the second-most popular side hustle. In fact, Upwork’s 2021 Freelance Forward survey reported that 59 million Amercians performed freelance work in 2021. 

You can get involved by selling your services. Think about what you’re good at or want to learn. There’s probably a company looking to employ someone like you on a project basis, as opposed to a full-time contract. 

Once you’ve found your special skill, start getting experience on sites like Upwork, TaskRabbit, or Fiverr. Be wary that other freelancers, especially those who don’t know how to position their services, might charge pennies for similar work, and that there’s a risk of pricing way too low to beat them in the battle for clients. A great place to start is the average hourly rates in your country for a specific profession. The average hourly rate for a marketer in the US, for example, is $33.

Decide what services you could offer by looking at the skills you’ve nailed in your day job:

  • Are you praised for the way you organize your email inbox? You could make a great virtual assistant.
  • Do you communicate with co-workers and summarize your meeting minutes for your team? The leap to writing isn’t too far. 
  • Can you listen to a client and deliver exactly what they want? You could offer party planning services for people in your area.

You could also take a look at the tasks you enjoy doing or those you’d like to develop. Let’s say you’re working in a marketing agency as your full-time job. You enjoy social media posting but don’t enjoy advertising. You could reach out to clients who only want social media content and offer that as your standalone service. Just make sure there isn’t a non-compete clause in your full-time contract. (It’s worth chatting with your boss to double check.)

You’ll also need to decide on a schedule for your side gig. Some companies hire remote staff that don’t need to be present in the office. Look for that type of role if you’d prefer the flexibility that comes with remote-friendly work. Similarly, if you thrive being around other people or find that kind of work isolating (even on the side), offer to join other companies in their office when you’re free. You’ll do the same work—just in their office.

You might need to spend a while creating your portfolio—a collection of work that proves you’re good at the service you’re selling—before you can demand higher rates.

However, you can start with lower rates and potentially use your service offering as a springboard to starting your own business. First, see whether there’s a demand for your service, whether you can fit the work into your schedule, and how much clients are willing to pay you. You might find a hidden home business opportunity to make this income stream your main one.

Service-based side hustles are high margin, and can be very profitable and quick to pay off. But the downside is they’re usually a bit harder to scale into an asset that can run without you. You are your business—you’ll need to be on-hand to do the work, or at least oversee it if you grow to the point where you’re able to subcontract work to another freelancer and maximize profit. 

8. Productize industry-specific skills

Effort: High

Leverage: High

Startup costs: 💸💸💸

Potential earnings: Up to six figures.

You’ve found a skill you’re good at and you’ve started monetizing it by offering a service to clients. But you spend so much time with your clients that you realize there’s a gap in the market for a product you could sell.

Tracey Hicks is a real estate agent and independent business owner who found herself creating small notebooks to keep track of her clients. It dawned on her that other agents would probably benefit from these notebooks too, so she started selling them on her Shopify store.

Another example is Dustin Lee. He noticed that graphic designers were always looking for add-ons to their standard tools, such as paintbrushes, design elements, Photoshop templates, and clip art. So he created RetroSupply, which sells those products directly to other designers instead of design clients.

This follow-on from selling your services will only work if you understand your clients. You might need to land a few freelance gigs before spotting a gap in the market—but that’s a silver lining. Business ideas present themselves more noticeably when you’re in the weeds and living with the problems yourself. 

9. Host tours in your city

Effort: High

Leverage: Medium

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: $28,000 per year on average.

If you live in a tourist city, there’s an opportunity to host tours for visitors.

These can be niche—like a tour of a famous monument—or activity-specific, such as general walking, bike, or alcohol tours. Think about what you’re knowledgeable about and start to plan the route of your tour. You might need to create a script or fact sheet to explain areas of your city to your attendees.

Then, start to think about how you can find people to join your tour. You could create your own website and optimize it for keywords your tourists are likely searching, such as:

  • “Walking tours in [your city]” 
  • “Bike tours in [your city]” 
  • “Cheap [your city] tours” 

Rely on SEO tactics for this part. Then, arrange a date, time, and meeting point with the tourists who enquire.

But if you don’t fancy that upfront commitment, you can join platforms like Showaround. With Showaround, you can host tours in your city to make money—and friends—by entertaining tourists passing through. Take a look at the value propositions that people in your area are offering—like Lexie in London.

show around

Like Lexie, you might be up on where the best exhibition is in your city. Or maybe you’re aware of a fantastic restaurant that only locals know. Think about what you have to offer a tourist that they might not have seen or done before.

You’ll be making friends while also earning extra cash.

10. Test websites

Effort: Low

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: $10 per test on average.

You form an impression of a website when you visit it, and companies are always looking for feedback on their site. So you could get paid for sharing your thoughts, whether it’s on design, content, or usability.

This is a great side hustle for people who have spare time at an office—maybe on their lunch break. Sites like UserTesting pay $10 per 20-minute test, which might not sound like much, but if you do one every lunch break for two weeks, these small tasks will have earned you your first $100 on the side.

Similarly, you can volunteer to take part in focus groups. Designers, copywriters, and marketers are always looking for feedback on their new campaign. You could email them and volunteer your time to help, asking for a small incentive—like a cash reward or gift card—in return for your time and opinion.

11. Sell your art

Effort: High

Leverage: High

Startup costs: 💸💸💸

Potential earnings: $20–$20,000/month.

If you’re a budding artist, selling your work is a great side hustle idea.

It’s a simple way to make money from your hobby—especially when you combine it with the print-on-demand model. Transfer your illustrations onto a physical product (like a t-shirt or coffee mug) and create an online store for your items. You’ll only pay the fee for the item once you sell the product.

Or you could create an online library of your artwork. Work on building a following, then offer quick, personalized art in return for a small fee. This is a great way for budding artists to work on their craft, making extra money on the side and building an audience as they grow. Sites like Buy Me A Coffee let people donate the cost of a coffee in return for your custom work. 

Talented artists can combine their art with a service and offer made-to-order illustrations. Both businesses and the general public often look for custom illustrations through sites like Etsy or Fiverr.

Alternatively, you can use Shopify to sell your art directly to customers. You’re able to print several copies of your work and sell them through your own online shop. This means you can set your own pricing, manage your inventory, and have full control over your illustrations.

12. Train your dog 

Effort: Medium

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: Varies.

If you’re looking for a fun way to make money on the side with your furry friend, this is it. You could pick up some training skills on YouTube and practice them with your dog. Not only will it build a bond with your pet, but you never know—it could lead to movie roles or teaching other people how to train their dogs.

Ashleigh Butler entered Britain’s Got Talent with her well-trained dog, Pudsey. Their appearance resulted in a movie, a handful of theatre performances, and multiple TV spots.

You don’t need an exceptionally talented pet, either. You’ll learn how to confidently handle dogs throughout your training, meaning you can use sites like Rover to offer pet-sitting services or start your own dog walking business.

13. Sell your stuff online

Effort: Low

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: Anywhere from $1–$1,000+. 

Chances are, you have stuff you aren’t using and it’s taking up space. In fact, Statista reported that only 8.3% of all US self storage units were vacant in 2020, with that number projected to continue to decline through 2024. We all have stuff we don’t need and could probably sell for good money. 

After you go through your things and find all the stuff you want to sell, all you have to do is take a good picture, post it on a site that will get it seen, and write a good description. No longer do you have to suffer through a painful garage sale—you can do everything online. 

You can use larger marketplaces like eBay and Facebook Marketplace to get your stuff seen or you can use something that caters to the specific things you’re selling. Like Chairish, which is geared toward home decor and furniture, or RubyLane, which focuses on vintage and antique items. 

 Chairish

The best part about selling your stuff is you get to declutter your home or office and it doesn’t cost you a thing to start selling—just your time.

14. Do random tasks

Effort: Low

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: Average of $35/hr, but depends on task and experience.

The Pew Research Center reports that in 2021, 16% of Americans earned money through an online gig platform. Getting paid to do random tasks for others is a legit side hustle and a great way for people to make money fast. 

There are many apps where you can sign up to offer simple services like moving furniture and helping to mount a TV on a wall. If you have a skill, that’s great, but a lot of these tasks just require someone who has some extra time. 

The best part is, you set your own schedule and rates. You can keep this as a side hustle or turn it into a full-blown online business. You’re in complete control of how much you want to work and how much you want to make.

Below is a shortlist of several apps where you can sign up to be a handyman or random task contractor.

  • TaskRabbit: a general app that offers everything from home deliveries to gardening.
  • Handy: similar to TaskRabbit, but also offers plumbing and electrical work.
  • Fancy Hands: offers assistants of any type to its customers, whether it’s picking up dry cleaning or walking the dog.
  • Thumbtack: helps find local pros like wedding DJs or photographers.
  • Staffy: finds temps for employers in essentially any industry, oftentimes on short notice or same day. 

15. Give your opinion on online surveys

Effort: Low

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: On average about $1 per survey. 

Signing up with online survey sites is a great way to pad your pocket with a few extra bucks. Just apply to the survey site of your choice and put in your interests and survey preferences. Then you get to choose which surveys you want to fill out. 

You don’t need any specialized knowledge or expertise. These companies are just looking for people willing to take the time to answer their questions thoroughly. 

Some online surveys will take five minutes and others might take you over an hour. You can decide what sort of commitment you want to make and what survey rate is right for you. 

Just keep in mind that a lot of these survey sites may have conditions on how you get paid. They may offer limited cashback options or limited payment methods. Some only offer payment through gift cards or specific merchants like PayPal, so make sure the site you choose works for you.

There are many companies and survey sites looking for your opinion, but here’s a shortlist to get you started.

16. Sell your old clothes

Effort: Medium

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸💸

Potential earnings: On average between 25%–40% of what you originally paid for your clothes.

Look in your closet and your dresser. How many pieces of clothing are just sitting there that haven’t been worn for years? As long as they’re in pretty good condition, you may be able to get a lot of money for those pieces. 

The amount of money you can get for your clothes will depend on a few factors, mainly the brand, style, and general condition. The resale value for luxury brand items is around 50% to 95%, and for everything else, it tends to average between 25% to 40% of what you bought it for. 

The great thing about this side hustle is you can keep it as a part-time thing that you do every spring cleaning, or you can turn it into a small business. Either way, there are a number of websites and apps you can use to sell your clothes.

  • ThredUp: for selling your everyday clothes that are still in good condition. 
  • Poshmark: for selling your clothes quickly, but you’ll have to accept the best offers.
  • Depop: specializing in vintage and quirky fashion pieces, though it sells anything.
  • Vinted: known for selling high-fashion street brands.
  • Rebag: known for luxury handbags
  • LePrix: for high-end designer items in good condition (requires authentication process).
  • The Real Real: for Designer and high-end fashion items.

Remember that these apps will take a percentage of your sales. They can also charge listing fees and extra shipping fees. If you think you could tackle that, you could start an ecommerce store of your own. Stores like Fashionably Yours, an online consignment shop that buys and sells pre-owned designer clothing, operates both online and in-store. 

fashionably yours

17. Become an online juror

Effort: Medium

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: Usually $5–$10 per case.

According to the USFinancial Education Foundation, there are over 40 million lawsuits filed each year and more than one million registered lawyers. These lawyers sometimes need to practice presenting their case to real people. That’s where you come in.

eJury offers to pay people to sit on a virtual jury. You log into eJury’s website, review the facts of the case, and then submit your verdict. The verdict isn’t legally binding, it simply shows how you would vote if you were on a jury for this case. This helps lawyers decide where their case is weak and how better to present their case when they actually go to court. 

jury

The great thing is you don’t need any specialized knowledge to do this. In fact, just like in a real jury, eJury requires that you aren’t in the legal field at all. It only requires that you be an adult, can read and write, and not be under indictment for any felonies or have any felony convictions on your record.

You can do as many or as few cases as you want. If you find that a case is taking too long, you aren’t obligated to finish it. 

eJury onlys pays about $5 to $10 per case, so you probably won’t get rich being an online juror. But you can certainly make some extra money to help with bills or get you some extra spending money. 

18. Answer questions

Effort: Low

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: 20%–50% commission on $5–$90 fee per question.

If you’re a professional or an expert, you can get paid to answer questions in your field of expertise. All you have to do is apply, and once your credentials are verified, you can start making money right away.

An expert is someone like a doctor, lawyer, veterinarian, plumber, mechanic, etc. Basically someone with a set of knowledge that the everyday person wouldn’t have. 

The way it works is, users are charged a fee to post questions on sites like JustAnswer.com. They can either pay per question or pay a rate to ask an unlimited amount of questions. Then you, as an expert, will browse the questions that relate to your expertise and choose the ones you want to answer. If your answer is helpful, the user will give you a rating. 

A consistently higher rating will give you a bigger percentage of the fee that the user is charged. Sites like Fiverr and Upwork also provide some version of this. This is a great way to get paid for simply sharing what you already know. 

19. Join writing contests

Effort: High

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: $25–$25,000.

In terms of money, it costs almost nothing to put words on a page. If you have access to a computer, an internet connection, and an idea, you can make up to $25,000. 

There are a lot of writing competitions out there. All of them are geared toward different kinds of writing and different kinds of writers. Like the Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans, geared towards US military writers, or the Page International Screenwriting Awards. Some of them do require a small entry fee, but there are also a bunch that are free to enter

Related Link: The Best Writing Contests of 2022

Whether you’re just starting out or have been writing for years, there’s a contest out there for you. For the cost of your effort, you could not only make some money, you could also get your work seen and critiqued. 

20. Sell NFTs

Effort: Medium

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: In the millions.

An NFT (non-fungible token) is a digital certificate (or token) stored on a digital ledger called a blockchain. It can take the form of any digital data, like a photo, video, audio, or even piece of code. 

They are created (or minted) on their blockchains and each NFT has no equal (it is non-fungible). That means, even if a lot of copies are made of an NFT there is guaranteed to be only one unique original. These NFTs can be sold and traded using cryptocurrencies. 

NFTs exploded into the mainstream in March 2021 when Beeple’s crypto art The First 5000 Days sold for $69 million. Now you might not be able to get that amount of money on your first go, but there’s still money to be made in NFTs.

beeple's nft

The first way would be buying and selling NFTs. The price of an NFT correlates heavily to how the cryptocurrency market is doing. Because of that, their value can fluctuate dramatically in a short amount of time. So it’s not uncommon to buy and sell an NFT in the same month or week to gain a profit. 

There are a few things to consider before buying and selling NFTs: 

  • Where can you buy the NFT? 
  • What marketplace has the NFT you want?
  • What wallet do you use? Choose the wallet that is compatible with the marketplace you’re going to use.
  • How are you going to pay for that NFT?
  • Is the NFT available only at specific times? Some NFTs have limited windows of time when they “drop.” Like the NBA Top Shot NFTs.

If you want to create an NFT, a lot of marketplaces have platforms built right in for that, like the OpenSea platform. All you have to do is click on the Create button and follow the prompts, then you can use the same NFT marketplace platform to sell your NFT. A one-stop shop. 

New NFT marketplaces are popping up every day, but here are a few that can help you get started.

New NFTs and cryptocurrencies are being created every day. All of this is still fairly new, so it is volatile and there is risk involved. But, if you’re savvy enough and able to stay on top of all the new developments, you can make good money. For example, just take Benyamin Ahmed. At 12 years old, he helped create an NFT collection that has generated over $5 million in just a few months. 

21. Babysitting

Effort: Medium

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: $10–$25/hr.

Thirty percent of US children under the age of five can’t get enrolled into a child-care facility because there isn’t enough space for them. In other words, babysitting is still very much needed today. 

In the past, when you thought of a babysitter, you thought of a high school or college student. But recent studies by Zippia have found that the average age of babysitters is 38 years old

So, depending on the area where you live and your experience, it’s not uncommon to charge anywhere from $10 to $25 per hour, per child. If you’re able to get Red Cross certifications in First Aid, CPR, and advanced child-care training, that will make you an even more attractive option to parents.

And now, you no longer have to be referred by word of mouth in your neighborhood. There are all kinds of apps and websites where you can sign up to be a babysitter. Here are five that can get you started:

22. Find unclaimed money

Effort: Low

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: Varies greatly.

In the US alone there is a total of $49.5 billion of unclaimed money and property. And it’s estimated that one in every 10 people have unclaimed cash somewhere. 

This can be anything from tax refunds that were sent to the wrong address to unclaimed security deposits that were forgotten after a hectic move. That’s your money—go get it! 

All you have to do is go to usa.gov and choose what kind of unclaimed money you are searching for. If you’re looking for unclaimed property or state taxes, the links on the page will direct you to the specified state website, because each state has its own procedures for retrieving your unclaimed monies. Otherwise, just click on the appropriate links and they’ll direct you to the respective pages that give you all the information you need. 

There are also sites out there that will help you find your unclaimed cash for a fee, like OurPublicRecords or UnclaimedRecordsFinder. All you have to do is put in your full name and the state or area you want to check for unclaimed cash and they’ll take you through a series of questions to whittle down which search results are relevant to you. The benefit of sites like these is that they tend to get you your results faster and do most of the searching for you. 

Whichever method you decide to use, going out and finding your unclaimed money is a no-brainer. If you want extra cash, just go find what’s rightfully yours. 

23. Join clinical trials

Effort: Low

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: $50–$300/day or visit.

A clinical trial is a study that asks volunteers to come forward to test a drug or hypothesis. That means they ask people who fit their parameters to commit to a specific regimen or test period. In 2021 almost 400,000 different clinical trials were registered and conducted. 

To participate in a study, you first need to apply. The more involved the study, the more complicated the application process. Once you’re accepted, the people conducting the study will outline the guidelines and how long the study will last. Usually, you’ll only get paid if you complete the trial by following all the guidelines to the end.

The most common type of trial is a new drug that helps treat a disorder or disease. For example, Altasciences is asking for healthy females suffering from cystic fibrosis to participate in a study to test a new medication. They’re offering free COVID tests and compensation of up to $6,500.

But there are also other types of trials that are less invasive and could even be quite fun. Like this trial from 2019 that tested how effective Wii Heart Fitness was in improving physical activity and health in people of all ages. 

How much you get paid will depend on a few factors: how invasive the study is, how much time you must commit, and whether it may be dangerous to your health. Below is a link to all the different kinds of clinical trials that are outlined by the FDA.

Related Link: What are the Different Types of Clinical Research?

24. Make money in the metaverse

Effort: Medium

Leverage: Medium

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: $100–$15,000/month.

The metaverse is a virtual world. It acts like the real world, but it only exists online, and the way you can access the world is through your computer or a virtual reality headset. In this virgin land, the possibilities are endless and there is a lot of money that can be made. 

New ways to monetize the metaverse are popping up everyday, but below are a few ideas on how to get started:

  • Buying property. You can buy sections of digital property and those sections of property will become more valuable the more people visit them. You can advertise your piece of metaverse property out of the metaverse, through Instagram or YouTube, to get more visitors. 
  • Renting property. If your property gets a steady stream of visitors it might be profitable for you to rent your space out to businesses or other metaverse residents. They can use your visibility to advertise their businesses or indulge in their own metaverse pursuits. This will also give you a great source of passive income.
  • Play-to-earn games. You can design and play mini games that are specific to each metaverse. In these games, you can win NFTs and wearables, which you can sell for profit. If your metaverse has a casino, you can also play casino games for NFTs, metaverse tokens, or wearables. 

There are a lot of metaverse projects available right now and each one has a unique theme and aesthetic. Each metaverse also has its own tokens or currency. For example, Axie Infinity looks a lot like something out of Pokémon and uses AXS as its currency. The Sandbox has a very minecraft look about it and uses tokens called SAND.

sandbox 

Whichever one you choose, there are pros and cons. If you choose a more established metaverse that’s already quite popular, you’ll be able to experience a fairly settled, stable metaverse with a lot of people. But the opportunities to invest in that metaverse may have already been taken, and it’ll probably be more expensive to begin investing now. 

If you choose a newer metaverse, you can get in on the ground floor of investing with that metaverse fairly cheaply. But there’s always the risk of that metaverse folding, causing you to lose your investments. Either way, there is money to be made in the virtual world, and you can do it all in a way that feels like a videogame. 

25. Flip furniture

Effort: High

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸💸💸

Potential earnings: $50–$500/month.

According to the EPA, over 12 million tons of furniture has been thrown out every year since 2015. Not only does that hurt our environment, it’s also a wasted opportunity. If you’ve got time, can transport furniture, and don’t mind a little bit of elbow grease, this is a great way to make money from home.

There are several ways to flip furniture. One is to find high-end pieces online or at flea markets and upsell them in your own store, like the way Flippers does. Or you can find some pieces that need a little TLC and turn them into something more modern, like Shayna Alnwick.

furniture flipping example

Either way, you’re going to need a bit of money to start out. You’ll either need a bit of money to buy the high-end pieces you want to flip and a place to store them or tools, supplies, and a workspace. 

The upside is, in most areas you can find cheap or even free furniture. And if you’re willing to give it a clean and a paint job, you can sell those pieces for hundreds of dollars. 

26. Become a fitness instructor

Effort: Medium to high

Leverage: Medium

Startup costs: 💸💸💸

Potential earnings: Average $20–$50/hr. 

The health and fitness industry is estimated to continue to increase by 7% each year and be worth over $96 billion in the US alone by 2024. So this is a growing industry that you can still tap into. 

These days, you can teach classes in person or online. And if you want to turn this into a full-fledged business, you can do both. 

If you want to teach in-person fitness classes, the first thing you’ll need is the necessary certifications. Check with the gym or fitness center you want to apply to and see what certifications they require. Certification exams can cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. So make sure you know which exams your employer requires. 

Some gyms pay by the hour, others by the head (how many people sign up for your class). So it’s important to create your own style of teaching. If you create a following of loyal students, the gym will be more likely to ask you to come back and maybe even add more classes to your roster. 

A great way to build a following is also to take your workouts to the web. Take @MrandMrsMuscle—they put short workout teasers on their Instagram page, have video workouts available on to make extra income from YouTube, and have developed their own fitness app

All of this has gotten them over 1.5 million followers and a steady stream of passive income as they add new workouts every week—they’re even adding meal plans to their services. 

If you’re someone who enjoys working out, this is a great side hustle to get paid while you sweat. And if you turn it into a full-fledged business, you can make some real money. 

27. Organize other people’s things

Effort: Medium

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: $30–$130/hr.

If Marie Kondo has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes, all we need is a little help organizing the things in our lives. If you’re someone who has a knack for organization and likes to help people, this might be the side gig of your dreams. 

On average, a professional organizer makes about $50 per hour in the US. This can involve more than just putting a bunch of stuff in boxes. It means understanding your clients and finding an organizational system that works for them and their lives. 

Professional organizers are hired for more than organizing items in a house. You can also help with restructuring a business, digital information organization, time management, and even feng shui.

You can sign up on contractor sites like Thumbtack and Westtenth. From there, you can specify what your skills are and your rates. Then get to organizing!

28. Become a translator

Effort: Low

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: Anywhere from $10–$100/hr. 

In 2021, 46.2 million immigrants entered the US. The world is becoming more and more connected, so if you’re fluent in more than one language, you can use that to make some extra money. 

With sites like Translate.com, Unbabel, and even Fiverr, it’s easy to find gigs asking for translation services. Some sites require you to take a test to show your fluency level and then base your pay rate off it. 

There are sites that specialize in blog posts and proofreading, and sites that only do mobile apps or web comics. If there are words involved, you’ll most likely find a translation gig as well. 

Here’s a shortlist of 5 sites to get you started:

If you have specialized knowledge in another language, that’s a whole other avenue you can delve into. For example, under the Affordable Care Act Section 1557, all hospitals are required to offer competent translators for their patients. And because you’d be offering a specialized type of translation, you can charge more per hour for your services. 

The great thing about this gig is you can make your own hours and set your own rates. You also can help people who otherwise would feel lost in legal or medical situations. On top of that, if learning languages is something you enjoy, you can get paid to continue your studies.

29. Become a mystery shopper

Effort: Low

Leverage: Low

Startup costs: 💸

Potential earnings: Average $20/hr.

If you like shopping, why not get paid to do it? Mystery shoppers are hired to report about their experiences in specific stores. They’re usually called in when a complaint or concern has been raised about that store. 

Because of that, your duties can include anything from taking pictures of the storefront to buying a specific item and recording your shopping experience from start to finish. How much you get paid for each job is going to depend on what it is you’re asked to do. 

While this gig won’t replace your day job, you can make some extra cash while you’re out and about. With sites like Bestmark and IntelliShop, it’s easy to find the mystery shopper gig right for you. 

But be careful, there are mystery shopper scams out there. You should never have to pay to become a mystery shopper. Also, keep in mind, many times your travel costs are not included, so factor that into the jobs you accept.

How to make money in real life and online

Instead of following conventional advice, these offbeat money-making ideas make it more likely you’ll find a side hustle where passion and profit overlap—without too much competition.

Whether you’re selling your art, offering a niche skill, or simply renting something you own that people want, remember that a new income stream typically takes time to build momentum. It’s worth building for the long term—potentially with the plan to quit your day job and take on your new venture full time—when you find an idea that you enjoy.

These creative ways to make money are different from your typical money-making tasks, but they all need a creative person to do one thing: connect the dots between what people want and outside-the-box solutions you can use to give it to them.


Creative ways to make money FAQ

What creative things can I do to earn money?

  • Sell your photos
  • Start a print-on-demand business
  • Teach online classes
  • Sell food waste
  • Recommend your favorite products 
  • Rent your unused space
  • Make money in the metaverse 
  • Sell NFTs
  • Sell services

      How can I make $100 a day?

      • Take part in clinical research
      • Become a mystery shopper
      • Get paid to take surveys online
      • Become an online juror
      • Answer questions online 
      • Test websites

        What are some weird ways to make money?

        • Sell your plasma
        • Rent yourself out as a friend
        • Become a professional cuddler
        • Mine bitcoin
        • Wait in line for other people
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