5 Unusual Side Hustles to Earn Extra Income

Many of us are on the lookout for ways to make a bit of extra money. In fact, a staggering 63% of Americans don’t have enough in savings to handle a $500 emergency without cutting back on expenses or borrowing – either from family and friends if they’re fortunate, or through credit cards or payday loans if they’re not.

It’s true, there’s no shortage of advice on how to earn some extra dough. Many experts in personal finance recommend activities like freelance work (including writing, designing, coding, and more), driving for Uber, hosting on Airbnb, or selling homemade food and crafts.

While these suggestions are valuable, how about exploring some lesser-known avenues for making money online?

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1. Flipping

Flipping is all about the knack of buying something for less, sprucing it up, and selling it for more. Though often we hear it in the context of real estate (think “I bought that rundown house, fixed it, and sold it for a lot more!”), you can flip just about anything in demand.

What’s great about flipping is you can weave in what you love to do. For car enthusiasts who know their way around auto parts, there’s a chance to find and sell them online. If fashion is your thing, some folks earn well by reselling thrift store finds. And it’s not just physical items – even websites can be flipped!

You’ve got options like Amazon, Ebay, and Craigslist for listing your finds, or you might even decide to set up your own online store. Just remember, if you’re launching an e-commerce site, make sure to include these 10 essential elements to succeed.

  1. Choose a niche you’re excited about.
  2. Do your homework to discover specific needs in that niche you can meet.
  3. Invest some time to watch the usual prices and your competition.
  4. Look for suppliers and work out the costs. If you can sell your items for a good profit after covering the expenses (like packaging, listing, and shipping), you could be onto a winner.

Want a simple way to start? Begin with items around your home that you no longer use. Or, become a regular at garage sales. To give you a leg up, here’s a list of items that usually flip well.

2. Create & Sell Designs

Imagine creating a design just once, and then selling it over and over again. That’s the beauty of passive income through digital designs. They cost nothing to store or copy, and here are some places where you can sell your creations online.

But, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Your designs have to be original and not something people can easily find for free. The challenge here is to create designs that cater to very specific interests or niche markets.

For instance:

PixieFaire – a place to create and sell clothing patterns for dolls.

PixieFaire Doll Outfit Patterns

Tiny House Designs – a platform to find and purchase design plans for tiny houses.

Tiny House Design Plans

MOCPlans – a site to find, buy, and sell custom LEGO build instructions.

Custom LEGO Builds

This approach to income generation is especially effective for those with hobbies that are considered very unique. The basic economic principle of supply and demand suggests that your designs are more likely to sell if there’s little competition.

Check out our post on 5 Places to Sell Your Artwork Online.

  1. Don’t forget about product marketing. It’s crucial that your designs are easy to find, so make sure they’re listed on popular platforms.
  2. It’s equally important to provide excellent customer service and to be active in your community.
  3. The more accessible your designs are and the better the buying experience you offer, the more you’ll sell.

3. Be a Local Guide

Do you love showing people around your city? Consider becoming a local guide. The key is to provide unique experiences, not just a list of places to visit. This opportunity has huge potential, no matter where you live. You might already know about popular options like Walking Tours and Cycling Tours that are common in many cities globally.

Local Walking Tours

These tours take visitors to fascinating spots and landmarks, enriched with stories and history. And then there are more specialized tours you can conduct on your own, like Food Tours, Temple Tours, Wine Tours, Street Art Tours, Paranormal Tours, and even Yoga Tours.

  1. Get started by sharing your guide services with friends and family. Create experiences that appeal to both locals and travelers – find out what’s unique or sought-after in your area by checking travel forums or asking around.
  2. Set up a beautiful landing page to showcase your tour offerings.
  3. Build a presence with reviews on TripAdvisor and Yelp. You can also register on certain websites to list your services and gain more visibility.

4. Host Meal-Sharing Events

If you love cooking and entertaining guests, why not turn that passion into profit? Meal-sharing websites allow you to open up your home to locals and tourists for a unique dining experience. You set the menu, the price, and the number of guests you can accommodate.

Here are some platforms to consider:

Traveling Spoon – Connects travelers with local hosts for private meals.

Traveling Spoon Meal-Sharing

Eatwith – Offers a variety of dining experiences, from casual dinners to cooking classes.

Eatwith Meal-Sharing

Tastemade – Features hand-selected experiences from local hosts around the world.

Tastemade Meal-Sharing

Alternatively, you can manage bookings directly through your social media profiles.

  1. Prepare a sample menu and take high-quality photos of your dishes. Appealing visuals are key to attracting guests.
  2. If demand grows, implement a reservation system and require prepayments to secure spots. Meal-sharing not only lets you earn money but also enjoy the comfort of working from home.

5. Rent Something Out to Peers

The concept of peer-to-peer renting may be compact but holds vast potential. Owning everything isn’t always feasible, yet on occasion, the need for certain items arises. It’s the market’s need that drives this demand.

Renting out personal items carries inherent risks such as damage or loss, but partnering with reputable startups can help reduce these risks. Consider these platforms:

KitSplit – Specializes in peer-to-peer camera gear rentals.

KitSplit Camera Gear Rentals

GetAround – Platform for renting out your car. Turo is also an option.

GetAround Car Rentals

Curtsy – A marketplace for renting out dresses and other attire.

Curtsy Dress Rentals

While traditional rental businesses may require significant upfront investment, starting with a peer-to-peer platform is a lower-risk way to join the sharing economy.


The landscape of side hustles is ever-expanding, offering a multitude of unconventional ways to earn extra income. With the resources available today, particularly the internet, there’s ample opportunity for anyone determined to supplement their earnings. Indeed, the potential for generating additional income is virtually limitless.