5 Creative Ways to Make Money From Real People Who’ve Done It

creative ways to make money

One in two millennials has a side hustle, according to data by GoDaddy, raking in an average $258 of extra income a month. But how they’re scoring that extra dough varies greatly.

While the study reveals that the majority of people (52 percent) are selling items online, other side gigs let you step outside the box a bit with some pretty unique ways to make a little extra dough.

Here are five creative ways to make money that you haven’t thought of yet.

1. Snuggling

creative ways to make money

Whether you’re having a bad day or are feeling lonely, sometimes you just need a hug, maybe even a snuggle. Well, there are actually professionals who will take care of you in those times.

Sam Varnerin of Boston heard about professional snuggling while she was a full-time construction engineer, and after learning about the flexible hours and hourly pay, started doing it on this side.

“I looked up the Snuggle Buddies agency and found that there were a lot of people looking for someone to snuggle with in my area and I thought I’d be good at it,” she said. “Two weeks later I had my first client.”

Varnerin explains that the process is easy, but it’s legitimate work. She went through a phone screening, reviewed a training manual and code of conduct, was given a test client who reported back, and after they went over her review of the first session, she was booking regular clients.

“Anyone who is a good listener and communicator can do this job,” she said. “You also have to have a sense of humor since weird things will happen. One time, I had a guy in a full suit with tails who didn’t want to change, but didn’t want his suit wrinkled. I had to laugh.”

Being a professional snuggler requires zero initial start-up costs if you go through an agency. If you want to venture out on your own as a professional snuggler, you might have to set up a website to attract customers. But those costs are minimal and not very time-consuming, so your snuggling side hustle can be up and running quickly.

Regarding the money, Varnerin says she started making $40 an hour and now charges $80 to $100 an hour. In fact, her snuggling side hustle became so lucrative, she quit her full-time job, created the business Snuggle With Sam, and now snuggles full time. “It’s therapy, and a lot of people need it,” she said.

2. Read tarot cards

creative ways to make money

Tarot cards have been around since the 1400s and reading them is still a great way to make some extra money.

Professional witch and owner of StartWitchin, December Fields-Bryant, first started reading tarot cards in college when she was looking for creative ways to make money. She researched the different types of decks online and how to read the cards by watching YouTube videos, and started asking people if they wanted a reading.

“I went to local businesses and asked if they would be interested in having me read for their customers,” she said. “I’ve met readers who worked in bars and clubs, at parties, hotel lobbies, even hair salons. I worked at a cafe and did my best (and most profitable) work at fairs and festivals. It’s a great gig, and most of the time I barely felt like I was working.”

The only start-up cost associated with becoming a tarot card reader is investing in a deck — around $15 — which pays for itself after a couple of readings. Fields-Bryant makes about $1,000 offering $10 readings over the course of a weekend and says you could easily start charging the same per reading. “Not bad for a two-to-three-day side gig,” she said.

3. Coach people on dating

creative ways to make money

Dating can be tough, which is exactly why there are coaches to help in the romance department. Think you have what it takes to be one? Well, being an online dating coach is an actual gig that you can do from your own home.

Erik Lothbrok discovered the side hustle after going through a tough breakup and was looking online for ways to win back his ex. He discovered a ton of dating coaches for men and quickly realized that he could do just as good of a job.

After researching and watching YouTube videos on the art of dating, he started applying his new skills by helping clients who were in similar situations as him. “I work with guys remotely, via phone coaching and Skype, helping them set up online profiles,” he said. “Then I work with them on everything from appearance, to their mindset, and what to say and do to convey their personality.”

At first, he charged “next to nothing,” but built up his expertise and created his own business: Coast to Coast Dating Coach. Now, Lothbrok charges $350 to $750 for an online session, which lasts a minimum of five hours. He also helps coach others who want to be coaches for the same rate, so they can start working with clients ASAP.

“It’s a great job to do on the side because you can control the number of sessions you book,” said Lothbrok. “I did it just for a few hours a month at first, but was able to grow my client list to take full time. You can make good money and work from anywhere.”

The only major start-up costs to become an online dating coach are any books you purchase to learn about the art of dating and a website to advertise your services. If you decide to get training from someone like Lothbrok, you can expect to spend around $350 and up, depending on how much time you want to invest.

4. Look for jobs

creative ways to make money

People say looking for a job is a full-time job, but it can actually make you some money.

Kevin Han found a free app, Job Spotter, where you take a picture of any hiring sign you happen to see and the storefront, and upload it. For every hiring sign you find, you earn points which you can then redeem for Amazon gift cards.

Typically, you can earn anywhere from five cents for a sign to over $1 for a hiring sign. The difference in amounts is based on the type of sign. An employment sign that is always up in a fast food restaurant, for example, won’t make as much as a local store hiring for the holiday season. The more unique the opportunity, the more you can get paid.

“You won’t make a full-time income doing this, but it’s not hard to make an extra 10 to 25 dollars a month,” he said. “Although there are people on the Job Spotter leaderboards that seem to make hundreds of dollars a month. It’s just a few extra dollars I can make whenever I’m out biking or walking around.”

5. Watch the tapings of TV shows

creative ways to make money

Why watch your favorite show on your TV when you can get paid to watch it live? With multiple shows being filmed, there’s often a need for live audience members.

Jackie Lam, who is a freelance writer and blogger at Hey Freelancer, discovered this while trying to find creative ways to make money on the side. She learned that you could easily sign up for websites such as Standing Room Only (if you’re 18 or older). You create a profile, answer basic demographic questions — age, ethnicity, location — upload photos of yourself, and note if you have special skills.

Once logged in, you can scour the site every day for opportunities, click “I’m interested,” and wait to hear back. Audience members are chosen for a variety of reasons depending on the topic of the show. For example, a Valentine’s Day segment might want more couples in the audience versus a show focused on music lovers.

If you’re chosen, you have to confirm you can make the gig and sign a waiver. Just be sure to read all the instructions carefully (dress code, call times, location).

“It’s not a ton of money, but you can make an average of $10 an hour,” said Lam. “Also, there’s a lot of sitting around, so you can bring your laptop or a book to read while you’re killing time or do other work. Plus, as you imagine the work itself is incredibly easy.”

The only costs associated with this side hustle are parking once you get a gig, but you don’t have to pay anything to get started.

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