12 Weirdly Successful Side Hustles That’ll Inspire Your Entrepreneurial Spirit
Starting a side hustle is a great way to nurture your creative spirit and earn a little extra moola, but finding the right side hustle that will showcase your specific talents isn’t always a piece of cake. So if searching through side hustles you can start today hasn’t *quite* inspired you to start your own small business just yet, you may want to consider trying something a little more unconventional. Here are 12 quirky side hustles that will inspire you to start your own business ASAP.
1. Making 3D Printed Jewelry: Everyone knows that making 3D printed *anything* is mega cool, but spending your life savings on a pricey 3D printer is probably a little too costly for most starter side hustles. Luckily, tools like Shapeways are here to provide artists and designers with the ability to make custom 3D printed materials without ever having to purchase your own printer. “With traditional jewelry making, there are a lot of tools and space involved,” notes founder of Two Perfect Souls and Latte.A.L Evelyn Leung. “Unfortunately, I live in a small one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, so space is a luxury item. I began researching on Google, read many forums, and eventually found the 3D printing community Shapeways which provided an easy, full service solution for jewelry design. You can upload an idea you drew on paper that Shapeways can turn into a piece of jewelry which you can then sell on their marketplace, if you decide to do so.” Now her jewelry side hustle is booming. “With all the stress in managing my own business by myself, I am glad to have found this fun hobby to share my designs with others and make some money on the side, and it all just started with an idea and a doodle.”
2. Niche Blogging: One of the most popular side hustles around is starting a blog, but instead of picking a popular topic to write about with tons of competition, co-founder of Bitches Who Brunch Cori Sue Morris decided to choose her blogging side hustle based on something a little more far-fetched. As writers and brand experts, Cori Sue Morris and Becca Loveridge recognized a niche among city-dwelling millennials: brunch. She built a corner of the internet where young professionals could find advice on brunch, fashion, and travel and learn about what was happening in Washington, DC. Hey, we’ll raise a mimosa to that.
3. Creating an App or Chatbot: While creating a tech product may take a little extra know-how, it’s definitely a cool side hustle if you have the time to dedicate to learning something new. Uzma Saeed decided to pursue this as her hustle alongside her regular nine-to-five PR job and helped scale a free Facebook chatbot called Tarjimly that instantly connects refugees to volunteer translators all around the world. If that isn’t inspiration to hit the library and learn how to code, we don’t know what is!
4. Sharing Your Opinion Online: If your side hustle is more about making some extra cash than having a creative outlet, Founder and CEO of dating app Cheekd Lori Cheek suggests checking out some local focus groups. “In 2014, four years after working on Cheekd full time, I was close to running out of money,” she reminisces. So after trying everything from walking dogs to searching jobs on TaskRabbit, Lori decided to investigate different focus groups. “Twice a day I check Craigslist, bulletin boards, and focus-group apps like dscout looking for money-making opportunities. Keywords help guide my search — product test, app test, and focus group — and a few hours of work can be worth hundreds with the right opportunity.” Plus, it doesn’t hurt that she actually found some of the groups to be quite interesting. “A recent focus group had me tasting beer (not a bad way to make $120!) and I’ve even had one-on-one feedback opportunities that pay as much as $400.”
5. Becoming a Wedding or Pet Photographer: If you love taking pictures, starting a side hustle as a photographer could definitely be a lucrative hustle. “Whenever I meet brides and grooms, I candidly joke that I suffer from a split personality disorder,” laughs Jimmy Chan of Pixelicious.ca. “Monday to Friday I happen to be an engineer, only to document weddings during the weekends.” After hearing a ton of bridal photography horror stories (like brides not getting their wedding pics after the event… eek!), he decided to jump in the photography biz himself. Just like anything, we suggest starting small — even if that means taking candid pics at your friend’s wedding or snapping your buddy’s bulldog — and build up a portfolio before charging for your talent.
6. Renting Your Baby Gear: Renting your home as a side hustle on Airbnb is sooo 2016. Babierge (baby + concierge) is a cool new service that allows side hustlers to rent their baby gear to families who are vacationing in the area. Their average renter makes just under $1,000 per month fulfilling orders, but peeps with a high-traffic location like near Disneyland can definitely bring in a lot more dough. Dust off your kiddo’s gently used gear — you could make enough to treat yourself to a tropical summer vacay!
7. Creating a Custom Subscription Box: No matter what your passion is, you can probably create an awesome subscription box out of it — which is why it makes for such a great side hustle! Nick Ehret, who works full-time at Ernst and Young, decided to self-fund a tea subscription box startup called Varieteas while looking for a healthy replacement to coffee. Feeling inspired to take action? Make sure to check out the tons of resources available online for girlbosses looking to start a subscription box, like this handy article from Cratejoy.
8. Sharing Products via Social Media: Already have an awesome social media following or side hustle blog? Make the most out of your popular accounts using services like Maven. This awesome website offers their users the ability to create ensembles and collections of popular products, share it with their social network, and earn up to 25-percent commission if anyone clicks through and purchases from the retailer. Seriously, some of their users are making over $1,000 a month just by creating and sharing a single board per week… get to it!
9. Designing Custom T-Shirts: These days, customization is one of the keys to succeeding in business, which is why using your design skills to create custom t-shirts and garments is definitely a lucrative business. Websites like RedBubble and Spreadshirt allow you tons of flexibility by making it easy to only take on work when you have the time, which makes it perfect for designers looking to earn a bit of cash on the side.
10. Making Planner Stickers: One craze that we are currently *loving* is the throwback vibes of physical planners… so much so that we even created the Brit + Co DIY Planner Collection available at Target. One planner trend that’s huge on Instagram and Etsy is creating custom planner stickers, and there are tons of #plannergirls who actually run crazy successful side hustles just by designing, printing, cutting, and selling planner stickers! You’ll need to invest in a few tools to get started, including design programs, sticker paper, and a silhouette, but it’s actually a really fun way to get creative and satisfy your need for chic organization.
11. Creating and Selling Mickey Ears: Another item that is majorly popular on Etsy is creating custom-themed Mickey ears. The barrier-to-entry for this awesome DIY side hustle is super low — in fact, you can find everything you need to get started in a craft store! Follow along with this helpful tutorial to get started.
12. Becoming a Live Audience Member: Did you know that you can actually get paid to attend certain gigs? That’s right, according to Jackie Lam, you can use sites like Standing Room Only, Central Casting, and Auditions Free to score audience jobs at daytime talk shows, game shows, and cooking shows, depending on the city you live in. Most pay around minimum wage, so it’s a great way to earn some extra cash on your days off doing something fresh and exciting. Plus, sneak peaks, y’all!
Do you have a quirky side-hustle? Tweet us by mentioning @BritandCo.
Fall is right around the corner, and we're getting amped up for our next session of Selfmade, Brit + Co's 10-week interactive startup school. Designed to help you create a new business or grow your existing one, this course is personally led by Brit + Co founder Brit Morin and co-founder Anjelika Temple, and supported by more than a dozen of the top female entrepreneurs, creatives, and investors in the country. Students receive personalized coaching on everything from how to get out of your comfort zone to how to scale your business, and everything in between. And now, thanks to Office Depot, even more of you can join the course!
For the fall session, we're thrilled to team up with Office Depot to grant 200 FREE scholarship seats to the course. Scholarships are open to US residents, focusing on women of color, women from underserved and underrepresented communities, and women in need of support to help them trail-blaze. After all, we firmly believe that your support system is a huge part of how you achieve greatness, and we are here to cheer all of you on.
To nominate yourself or someone you know for a scholarship, head to our nomination form right here. The deadline for scholarship nominations is September 27th — it's time to take the leap!
Beyond the scholarship, Office Depot is all about helping you accomplish more. Whether it be the start phase, growth phase or keep businesses going phase, Office Depot offers a full suite of business solutions, including services and products, to help you work from anywhere, organize and save time and help build your brand.
So what are you waiting for? Take a chance on yourself and get yourself one step closer to truly being selfmade. Learn more about the Selfmade program, apply for a scholarship and prepare to be inspired :)