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Alternative Hustle: 3 Unique Ways to Make Some Extra Money

Black woman working on laptop
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As criticized as it is for taking advantage of independent contractors, the gig economy does have one thing going for it — you can get paid to do just about anything. If you need some extra cash, you should explore some of these new and unique ways to get paid. 

Who knows, you might be able to actually profit off of things you may already be doing in your free time. Let’s have a look at some of the unique side hustles to emerge in the past couple of years.

1. Get Paid to Wait in Line – Become a Professional Line Waiter

This sounds crazy, but you can make extra money waiting in line for people who have the money to pay to not wait in line for things they want. Though this seems like a dystopian job from the future, there is a growing market for this today. 

Think about it — consider the truly crazy lines, hours long, that form ahead of highly anticipated releases like new iPhones or game consoles. If there is one thing rich people love to do, it’s pay to remove the slightest bit of inconvenience from their lives. They want the new iPhone, but they don’t really want to wait for it. That’s where the demand is. 

Though iPhone releases are certainly the most famous example of long lines, there are so many other opportunities, especially in large metropolitan areas where the wealthy live, shop, and play. 

The role of a professional line waiter goes beyond mere retail, however. They are paid to wait in line for broadway tickets and other ticketed events. They are also employed to wait in line at exclusive no-reservation restaurants and nightclubs. There is even a growing market for professional line waiters in Washington D.C. These line waiters are employed to wait in line on behalf of lawyers, lobbyists, non-profit organizations, and other interest groups that want to grab a seat at capitol hill during contentious debates regarding legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. 

Professional line waiters make an average of $25 an hour, but depending on the nature of the release or event they wait in line for, they can make over one thousand dollars waiting over a few days.

 2. Become an Amateur Music, Fashion or Food Critic

You’ve heard the cliche saying, “everyone’s a critic.” Now, due to consumer testing, you can actually get paid to rate your experiences and give your opinions on a whole myriad of cultural topics, products, and trends. Marketing agencies, record labels, and fashion companies want valuable consumer data, and they are willing to pay to get it. 

There are many ways they procure this data, including paying consumer data corporations for valuable information on consumer habits, social media data – posts, likes, and shares, and demographic data on consumers. However, companies also like to get a direct sample from consumers and will pay you to rate their products, brands, music, or fashion. 

Most of these jobs are remote and involve companies sending you their products to try. Then you fill out a survey or do a write-up, and they pay you for it! Some companies will send you to their restaurants with a voucher or prepaid card so that you can review their food and rate your experience. Other companies will send you video games, card games, or board games to playtest. 

The pay for these jobs varies greatly depending on the scope of the experience and what you have to include in your review. Full-time product testers can earn just over 20 dollars an hour; however, as a side hustle, product reviewers can make between $50 and $500 per product tested. The takeaway is not to simply have opinions — have opinions and get paid for them!

3. Channel Your Inner Spy – Become a Mystery Shopper

Imagine strapping on a hidden camera and going into a grocery store to film your experience. If you like shopping and want to make some extra money doing it, there are companies that will pay you to record your experience. They sell this footage and accompanying survey you fill out to shops and stores. This “ground-view” perspective is a crucial part of understanding a customer’s actual experience. 

This service is vital for management to gather up how their employees actually behave when they think corporate isn’t paying attention. However, the role of the mystery shopper goes beyond simple associate/customer interaction, and some roles require shoppers to follow a script and test other attributes of the shop – like cleanliness, lighting, smell, etc.

You may also be surprised to learn that many industries pay for this type of service. From retail restaurants and grocery stores all the way to realty companies and car dealers. There are even mystery shoppers who get paid to attend concerts, sporting events, and other entertainment events. The first-person perspective of an “experiencer” provides crucial data for businesses that want to improve their service.

Depending on the shop and the mystery shopping company, your food, travel — and best of all — shopping is paid for with a pre-loaded card. Most mystery shoppers are independent contractors and can make as much as 100 dollars a video. Other companies provide reimbursement for expenses.

There is a Market for Just About Anything

Though we covered three unique jobs in this article, there are so many additional ways to get some extra cash flow. Some honorable mentions include professional cuddler, dog walker, professional text-flirter, speech-to-text transcriber, dating consultant, card game play-tester, and many more!

Though our modern world is kind of crazy, tumultuous, and changing rapidly, there will always be human needs. Wherever there is a human need, there is a market. Wherever there is a market, there is a job to be done!  










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