Entrepreneurs are as varied as their ideas. Here are some unique ways that people have turned inspiration into $1 million.
The big caveat is that, like watching a stuntperson on TV, some of these feats are better watched than attempted. Many are risky or require a heck of a lot of luck.
That said, enjoy...
Image source: Getty Images.
No. 1: Side-Hustling a Side Hustle
Uber has been a hit with anyone in a pinch for a ride, but it's not just Uber founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp that are making money. In 2015, Uber-preneur Gavin Escolar told Forbes that he's making nearly a quarter of a million dollars as an Uber driver.
He's accomplishing that feat largely thanks to a tactful display of hand-crafted jewelry he displays in his vehicle. Escolar soft-sells his jewelry to interested patrons after they've inquired about them, and his self-qualify approach translates into $18,000 per month in orders.
Many of Uber's drivers are entrepreneurs earning extra money on the side, and Escolar's success suggests that if you're a crafty self-starter with drive and a great product, then a Uber showroom could make you a success, too.
No. 2: Kickstarting it
Artists, filmmakers, and inventors are turning to Kickstarter to finance their dreams, and so far, 10 million Kickstarter investors have helped fund tens of thousands of projects, including Exploding Kittens, a wildly successful card game that has made Elan Lee, Matthew Inman, and Shane Small a pile of money.
Pick a card of a cat doing an explode-worthy shenanigan and you're out of luck, unless of course, you happen to hold a defuse card, such as catnip sandwiches. After putting the game up on the funding site Kickstarter, 219,382 backers pledged $8,782,571 to get their hands on Exploding Kittens.
Perennial fidgeters Matthew and Mark McLachlan also struck it rich on Kickstarter when the they created Fidget Cube, a small cube packed full of useless buttons and controls that are a fidgeter's dream -- and the source of millions of dollars. Support from 154,926 people contributing a combined $6,465,69 got this Kickstarter up and running.
The moral? Never underestimate the ability for a wacky, yet creative idea to put you on a path to riches.
No. 3: Pinch-hitting
Websites like Taskrabbit match up your extra time with busy people near you who need a helping hand with anything from running errands to building bookcases.
For instance, Taskers have climbed 4 million stairs moving furniture!
Even though many of these people are working part-time, 10% to 15% of these micro-entrepreneurs are hauling in tens of thousands of extra dollars every year.
Taskrabbit says that top producers can earn $6,000 to $7,000 a month, and in 2015, Brian Schrier told CNNMoney that he spends half his week working on his boat, and the other half tasking. Despite his non-full-time schedule, Schrier says he's pocketing the equivalent of $72,000 to $84,000 per year.
How long tasking takes to get you to the million-dollar mark will depend a lot on your commitment to it, and what you do with the money. If you task part-time, earn $25,000, and commit all of that income to investments yielding 6%, then you'd hit the million-dollar mark in 21 years. .
Okay, working extra for years in order to save and invest isn't the sexiest of concepts, but it's attainable and time-tested.
No. 4: Superhosting
Are you a hostess (or host) with the mostest? If so, then turning that extra space in your home, or your second home, into a top-rated Airbnb destination could help you hit 1 million dollars.
More than 1 million places in about 200 countries are listed on Airbnb, and savvy entrepreneurs are using Airbnb's marketing might to earn sizable amounts of money. Hoteliers may frown about it, but owners of multiple properties are successfully using Airbnb to fill up their properties year-round.
Top Airbnbers can generate high five- to six-figure incomes annually. For example, Canadian Gary Bearchell -- a "superhost" outside of Vancouver -- told Fast Company that he hoped to double his $30,000 in annual earnings by listing a second property in 2015.
Meanwhile, Scott Shatford, a Californian, told travel website Skift in 2015 that he's renting out five properties on Airbnb that are hauling in a combined "six figures." That's a lot of money, especially if it's in addition to your day job.
But similar to our eighth way to make a million dollars (flipping houses), this one can entail a lot of risk, especially if you're funding with debt.
No. 5: Gaming for major green
Your teen's gaming habits may tempt you to toss their gaming systems out the window, but a better idea may be to teach them a little about YouTube, because top YouTube gaming stars are hauling in seven figures annually by sharing their recordings online.
For instance, Bajan Canadian's YouTube channel, which includes more than 3,500 videos, mostly of him playing the popular Minecraft game, has garnered over 1.6 billion views. According to StatSheep, those views could be worth more than $4 million.
Bajun Canadian isn't the only one monetizing Minecraft, either. Some of the most popular YouTube channels, including Captain Sparkles, are run by gamers who are playing Minecraft. And, even if Minecraft isn't your thing, gamers are making big money posting videos of other games, too. For instance, ElRubiusOMG is reportedly bringing in seven figures annually from videos showing him playing Skyrim and Battlefield.
No. 6: Hand-crafting success
At one point, Alicia Shaffer was making $80,000 per month selling products on Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY), the online retailing site that's known for selling hand-crafted goods.
Shaffer's Three Birds Nest started out small, selling bohemian-inspired hats and scarves and earning a couple hundred dollars per month in the process. However, before long she was tapping Etsy's 30 million registered users for envy-inspiring paychecks.
The same is true for former teacher Erin True. True cut her e-retailing teeth on Etsy when she sold a reclaimed wooden bench on the site. Since then, her company Urban Woods Goods has become a million-dollar-plus operation that gets roughly one-quarter of its sales from Etsy customers.
Shaffer's left Etsy to pitch her wares on her own website, and Urban Woods Goods generates a lot of money from other sources now, but its success shows that business-minded craftspeople can make it big, even if they start out small.
No. 7: Brewing up millions
Co-founder and Chairman Jim Koch's famous love of beer has turned his Boston Beer Co. (NYSE:SAM) into a billion-dollar craft brew behemoth, but while Boston Beer is a legendary pioneer of the U.S. craft beer craze, he's not the only one who's making millions by scaling up tasty home brews.
Last year, Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) forked out $1 billion to buy California's Ballast Point Brewery, one of the nation's fastest-growing breweries. Founder Jack White left Ballast Point earlier this year to work on a spirits venture, but his 20-year history with Ballast Point is another example of how passion can produce profit.
Overall, thousands of homebrewing aficionados have taken the plunge and opened local breweries that could make them millionaires. In fact, there are over 4,000 craft breweries in the United States generating a combined $22 billion in retail sales every year. On the one hand, that's a lot of opportunity ... on the other, it's a lot of competition.
No. 8: Flipping houses
The housing market has come a long way since easy lending led to a deluge of bad loans that caused the Great Recession. Today, real estate markets are rebounding, and that's providing opportunities for people to buy homes in need of some TLC on the cheap in order to fix them and flip them for a profit.
Not everyone will make money flipping homes, but for people with a good eye for value and a network of contractors, flips can lead to tens of thousands in additional income per year.
For example, successful realtor Mark Ferguson manages a team of agents that sells more than 200 homes annually, and he flips 10 to 15 homes per year. Ferguson manages the real estate website www.investfourmore.com, and he says he makes up to $30,000, or more on each flip, depending on his purchase price and the total cost of repairs.
Of course, getting to Ferguson's level takes time, experience, and a willingness to take on risk. Often too much risk depending on debt levels.
No. 9: Karaoke to superstar
Some of today's most sought-after musicians got their start by posting videos online, building up followers, and eventually, landing lucrative contracts.
Perhaps, the most successful of these musicians is Justin Bieber, who signed a record deal after his YouTube videos caught the eye of a talent agent. Since then, Bieber's become a music phenom with a reported annual income north of $60 million, and a net worth of around $200 million. Bieber brings in millions from his music, and he's also branched out into clothing and cologne.
Calvin Harris, a Scottish-born DJ, also owes some of his fame to humble internet beginnings. Harris' desire to be a DJ led to his creating a MySpace account that helped him catapult to international fame. Today, Harris is making an estimated $46 million annually from music, including gigs in which he can fetch as much as $300,000.
No. 10: Moonlighting
If you can convey a message in a way that resonates, build a website, or edit marketing copy like a champ, you can make significant money using websites like Upwork to match up your skills with small businesses that need a helping hand.
Often, small and mid-size companies require business tasks outside their employees' wheelhouse, and increasingly, they're turning to places like Upwork rather than hiring new full-time employees.
This trend is a boon to people with extra time on their hands who are eager to pad their paycheck, or to take the path less traveled and become self-employed. Earlier this year, contributor Laura Pennington wrote on the website SixFigureWritingSecrets.com that she was able to secure $2,000 worth of work in four days on Upwork.
Pennington's six-figure income shows that moonlighting can generate millionaire-making money, so if you're eager for a fresh start that can help you achieve financial security, now may be the perfect time to explore opportunities like this.