7 Ways to Make Money Without Actually Having a Job

Job market got you down? If applying to real-person jobs isn’t landing you the position you want, it may be time to try something different. Like offering up your body to medicine. Or selling your opinion for $50/hour. Or, easiest yet, hanging out at someone else’s house.

We’ve come up with seven ways you can make money without actually having a job. See if any of the opportunities below help you think outside the employment box.

1. House Sitting


While petsitting and babysitting generally don’t involve much down time, house sitting is a literal job: You sit in someone else’s house. For money. Sure, you have to water their plants every so often, but the rest of the time, you can relax. Just don’t break or steal anything.

Pros: Get paid to sit around in someone else’s house.
Cons: None, unless you throw a kegger while you’re there.

Pay range: $50+ per day.

2. Medical studies


Can’t sleep? Depressed or anxious? Got bunions? Chances are, someone wants to use you as a guinea pig for their latest product. Craigslist is usually chock full of opportunities in this field.

Pros: Get paid while potentially curing whatever ails you.
Cons: Nobody’s sure what the side effects are. That’s why they’re hiring you.

Pay range: $100+

3. Consumer surveys


A quick, painless way to get pennies in your cup is to fill out customer surveys for marketing research companies. Mind you, it’s going to take a lot of Internet time to turn those pennies into dollars. If time is what you have, surveys might be worth a try.

Pros: Low effort.
Cons: Low pay. Scammers abound in this industry.

Pay range: Usually a few dollars per survey.

4. Homestays


Students around the world come to the US to study and learn English. Many of these students choose to live with American families to get to know the culture better. Those host families, meanwhile, get paid a stipend to accommodate that student.

Pros: Get paid to have a student live with you and talk to them in English.
Cons: You may hate the student.

Pay range: $500+/month

5. Egg/sperm donation

Image: Yale Medicine

Sperm donation doesn’t net you as much as donating eggs does. Then again, giving sperm doesn’t require hormones, weight gain, and surgical harvesting sessions.. Call it hazard pay.

Pros: It’s easy, if you’re a guy.
Cons: It’s hard and painful, if you’re a woman.

Pay range: Sperm: $100—if you’re lucky. Eggs: $1,000-$30,000+

6. Focus groups

Image: Behavior Research

Research departments will pay you hundreds of dollars to sit around for a few hours and discuss topics of their choosing. The pay per hour can be good, if you’re selected.

Pros: High pay for little time.
Cons: You might not get selected. Watch for scammers.

Pay range: $50+/hour

7. Surrogacy


If you’ve successfully carried a child to term once before, why not do it again–for pay? Lots of couples want you to carry their precious bundle, often for close to $10,000.

Pros: Get paid to for living your life–with someone else’s bundle of joy in your stomach.
Cons: It’s someone else’s bundle of joy.

Pay range: $7,000+

Written by Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.