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Creative Businesses Ideas You Might Be Surprised Make Money

People like you are starting businesses every day. These creative business ideas are some of the most unique we have seen that are making good money.

Jill Caren
By Jill Caren
Updated February 8th, 2024

Side hustles are becoming more common than ever. Increasing inflation, high cost of living, and interest self-employment are driving this change. According to Statista, in 2023, the gig economy will reach $455.2 billion dollars. This is an increase of $255 billion dollars since 2018, and there is no sign of this growth slowing down.

This growth comes with a lot of creativity in the types of work people are doing to earn money. Whether part-time or full-time, there is no lack of side hustle opportunities. Some side hustles we found were so unknown we could not even believe they were real.

But they are – and we are sharing them here to inspire you to think out side the box. If you are on the hunt for a lesser known side hustle, then these should get your brain going. Remember, the pet rock made someone a millionare back in the 1970’s – so get out there and try something new.

1. Driftwood Seller

driftwood in a garden
Image credit: Carol Highsmith / Library of Congress

There is nothing better than finding things and selling them. That is what Thomas does on his Facebook page called Driftwood decor & creations. He finds pieces, posts pictures, and promotes them on Facebook marketplace. He also has some larger retail clients that he now supplies product too.

According to Side Hustle Nation, Thomas earned $50-$60,000 in 2021.

2. Linesitter

people waiting on line
Image credit: Camilo J. Vergara / Library of Congress

I remember sleeping outside on concrete over night as a teenager! This was for tickets for a Bon Jovi concert back in 1987. Fast forward 30+ years and now you can hire people to do that for you. From concerts to Apple launches, there are people who will wait on line for you to get whatever you need.

One company is Same Ole Line Dudes out of NYC. They have a 2 hour minimum for $50 and charge $25 for each additional hour. They have even had the press use them to hold spots at major press opportunities!

3. Picnic Planner

picnic planned by a picnic planner
Image credit: PeandBean / Depositphotos

A luxury picnic planner does not just plan a picnic, they plan an experience. OC Luxury Picnics started in 2021 and has been going strong ever since. The owners, Austin Chen and Mayari Chen stated they made over $10K a month in their first few months of business.

Pop-up picnics are a growing trend that can be done anywhere, but warmer climates see more success. Clients pay $200+ and the planner handles all the details from planning to clean-up.

4. Baby Namer

baby in blanket

Taylor Humphrey, owner of What’s in a Baby Name, is a professional baby naming consultant. Her $1,500 consultation fee she will help you curate a lit of possible names and help you make a final selection. She offers also offers custom packages based on your unique needs.

5. Custom Pet Headstones

memorial stone from melton memorials
Image credit: Melton Memorials

In 2022 Americans spent $136.8 billion on pet products, and that number is only expected to grow. Starting a side gig around the pet industry is one smart move, and Rodney Melton proves it.

Rodney is the owner and founder of Melton Memorials. What started as a small act of kindness for a friend turned into a $200,000+ business. Early on he was only able to craft a few headstones a week. He made an investment to get better equipment which allowed him to scale.

Another smart move was to partner with a local countertop company. That partnership gives them the granite scraps that were not being used. This helped him save money on product and shipping costs. While this is a sad industry to get into, it is making a difference for pet families everywhere.

6. Tumbleweed Jewelry

tumbleweed jewelry pendant
Business creating tumbleweed jewelry and gifts. – Image Credit: Tumbleweed Mining Company

Walter and Doris Husbands are the owners of Tumbleweed Mining Company. Doris, having never seen tumbleweed before, took a piece home when they were on a drive in Texas. She decorated it and used it for various ornaments, eventually turning into a colorful mess. That mess inspired Walter to create something beautiful.

After many failed attempts, he successfully created “fossilized” tumbleweed. Not he uses that process to create beautiful jewelry and gifts.

7. Professional Snuggler

couple holding hands
Image credit: BogdanPhoto / Depositphotos

A recent survey shows nearly 1 in 4 adults feel lonely. Working from home and feeling that relationships are hard to come by play a role in these statistics. But, what do you do when you just need a good hug, or someone to snuggle with?

You call Sam Vernerin of Snuggle with Sam. Located in Boston, Sam has made quite a business from working as a snuggler. Her website states that she has a minimum starting investment of $300 for a first session. She offers virtual sessions, group sessions, and will gladly fly to you – at your cost. She has been in business for 7 years, so we guess business is going well.

8. Penny Portrait Kits

penny portrait kit of abraham lincoln
Image credit: Penny Portrait

Create a portrait of Abraham Lincoln out of pennies. Yes, pennies.

This creative concept comes from Maury McCoy, creator of the Penny Portrait Kit. He supplies the a poster of the image with pennies and you add real pennies on it based on the image. When you are done you have a real penny piece of art that you can frame and hang. The kit also includes a booklet about coin collecting, art, experiments and more. According to the website, there has been over 8,000 sold but not sure when that was last updated.

9. HVAC School Podcast

become hvac technician

What else is a busy dad to do when he owns an air conditioning company? Start a podcast of course. Bryan Orr started the HVAC School Podcast to help HVAC/R technicians in the industry to grow and improve their skills. The podcast has since grown into a full website featuring a variety of resources for beginner and experienced HVAC techs to enjoy.

The idea came from his need to improve his own training processes when hiring techs. At one point he was earning approximately $11,000 per month in sponsorship revenue.

10. Rent A Bridesmaid

bridesmaids holding flowers
Image credit: MNStudio / Depositphotos

Jen Glantz describes herself as the “the world’s first professional bridesmaid here to take care of all your wedding dirty work”. Jen has built a thriving business with this unique concept. She tested her concept idea on Craigslist and she had hundreds of emails from interested people.

Whether you just need a maid of honor speech or a full wedding services package, she has what you need. In an interview with Business Insider in 2020, Jen stated she charges a base price of $2,000 for wedding services.

11. Chicken Rentals

chickens for rent
Image credit: Kassandra2 / Depositphotos

A business born from COVID. Eric Strother wanted to tap into the growth in people wanting to have pets during lockdown. This led him to start Rent Backyard Hens. Customers get a starter kit and 2 chickens for a set period of time. When the rental period is over, he comes back to pick them up. Rates start at $395 for a 1 month rental. After a major press hit, he had a waitlist for his chickens.

Blue Collar Side Hustles

power washer at work
Photo Credit: bubutu / Depositphotos

Have some trade skills you are not using? Looking for some extra income but not sure where to start? Turn those skills those into a lucrative blue-collar side hustle! See the inspiring ideas and stories from others who have launched trade side hustles.

Dirty Business Ideas With Less Competition Than Other Careers

portable toilet workers

Dirty jobs make great business opportunities because less people are interested in doing them. These jobs require more start-up costs, but the ROI can be very much worth it. Find some dirty business ideas that others have started and let it inspire you to start your own.

Jill Caren is an international SEO consultant and founder of 2Dogs Media. She is also a trainer, journalist, and speaker who helps brands increase their organic search visibility, traffic, and conversions. She is also the co-founder of Blue Collar Brain, a resource for those looking to enter a trade career.

She has been featured on MSN, Wealth of Geeks, Hubspot, SEO Powersuite, and other publications for her work as an SEO and advocate for skilled trades.