Lean Hogs. And 6 Other Unusual Investments That Can Pay Off.

Lean hogs? Goat rentals? Crowdfunded real estate? Weather derivatives? What is your investment portfolio missing?

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Lean Hogs. And 6 Other Unusual Investments That Can Pay Off.
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Entrepreneur and Marketer, Co-founder of Web Profits
5 min read
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Have you ever wondered what the world's most renowned investors do with their money other than buy stocks?

Related: 10 Interesting Investments to Make in Your 20s

The Motley Fool once reported on how Warren Buffett acquired shares of the obscure Brooklyn-based chocolate company, Rockwood & Co. Under a special situation, Buffett bought the shares for $34 each, sold them back to the company for $36 in cocoa bean certificates, then sold the beans for $36. The whole transaction took place in less than a week and earned Buffett an instantaneous return of 6 percent.

You don’t have to be the next Warren Buffet to find the hottest deals in cocoa beans and beyond. Instead, look for a solid return on your investment by doing everything from buying livestock futures to becoming a Broadway show investor.

Here are six unusual investments that can pay off big.

1. Buy lean hog commodities. Really.

If you’re not much of an investor, you might be surprised that investing in lean hogs is actually a thing. In February 2016, the Wall Street Journal called out lean hog futures as one of the single best asset classes of the year.

Lean hogs and pork bellies are traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), but you won’t actually get the hog -- these trades are cash settlements. You’re actually investing in a contract on animals' carcasses, or bacon. So, if you’re hoping for a lean hog of your own, you’ll have to go to an auction or make inquiries at a nearby farm.

2. Rent out goats.

While we’re on the topic of lean hogs, let’s talk about what you can do with a few goats. Instead of investing in livestock commodities, you could buy a Rent a Goat clearing franchise and put it to work for a profit. Goats have stomachs of steel and love to eat poison ivy, briar bushes and other inedible plant life -- in case you're clearing land.

En route, you’d better be ready to invest in a lot of goats. To clear out a half-acre a day, We Rent Goats recommends at least 100 goats to get started. While prices vary, you could earn a cool $1,000 to let your goats dine on their favorite snacks.

Related: 8 Ways Real Estate Is Your Smartest Investment

3. Collect wine.

Invest in something you can savor, even if it goes belly up. Brush up on the wine industry, and start your own collection to resell later at an auction or to a wine dealer.

Not just any high-end wine will do. According to Trellis Wine Investments, investment-grade wines make up less than 1 percent of the total worldwide wine market, and 80 percent come from the French wine region of Bordeaux.

But your investment could pay off big. A 2015 Sotheby's auction sold six bottles of Chateau Petrus 1982 for $30,000. Launch your own collection by earmarking about $10,000 to build up an impressive wine collection at $75 and up per bottle.

4. Crowdfunded commercial real estate

Investing in commercial real estate has proved an elusive goal for many would-be real estate pros. In the past, the capital needed to invest in a single property was out of reach.

Now, however, it’s possible to crowdfund just about anything, including an investment in a multi-million dollar property, with as little as $2,500. Realty Mogul simplifies the commercial real estate process. Investors can browse for debt, equity, multi-family or even self-storage investments to figure out the best fit for their money and long-term goals.

5. Become a Broadway show investor.

Ever wonder what it takes to be a Broadway producer? Typical investments start at $25,000, and the SEC requires Broadway investors to have a net worth of at least $1 million, or make $200,000 a year.

Remember, investing in a Broadway show does come with higher risk than that of traditional investments. If the show is a flop, you won't recoup your investment. On the other hand, you could end up funding the next Wicked and see an astronomical ROI that you won't see anywhere else. For instance, Phantom of the Opera has grossed over $5.6 billion since it opened over 25 years ago.

6. Launch your own business.

Most people don’t consider that bootstrapping and growing your own business is an investment that can pay off big. If you’re willing to put in a lot of your own time and just a modest amount of money, you can launch a side business in as little as a day.

Try something with little-to-no overhead, like consulting or freelancing, to put pure profit in your pocket. I used free and paid speaking gigs, earned revenue from ebooks and relied on free content marketing to help build up businesses of mine, like Mailshake, from scratch.

7. Invest in weather derivatives

Trading the weather is a relatively new concept: It was introduced to the mainstream when the first OTC weather derivative trade took place in the late 1990s. A few years later, the CME started trading weather futures and options on futures.

Related: 7 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Invest in Themselves

Today, weather derivatives are a multi-billion dollar industry that covers low-risk, high-probability events. Energy companies, agricultural firms, tourism and travel firms are just a few of the types of companies with an interest in weather futures that can help you protect your revenue while putting money back in your investment pocket.

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