Normally, people imagine applying at a local business to earn an income. But finding a job can be difficult for some people if they don’t have the right education or experience on their resume.
Sometimes, if you want to make money, you have to think outside of the box. So we broke are 30 strange things people have done to make money. Some of them are brutal and some are just strange. Enjoy the list below.
30. Selling Their Virginity
Years ago, women were only seen as valuable if they were virgins when they got married. In some countries, it’s common to find young women auctioning off their virginity to the highest bidder. This is usually a result of living in an incredibly poor family. But even in the United States, some people have decided to give it a go. Nevada is the only state in the US where something like this would actually be legal. Not all of these women have decided to pursue a career in sex work and most are just looking to make money in the short-term.
In 2014, a 27-year old medical school student going by the name Elizabeth Raine tried to auction off her virginity online as a way to pay for expensive school debt. At first, she was trying to get $400,000 to pay for her education, but the auction actually went all the way up to $801,000 from someone who was eager to take her up. In the end, she backed out of the auction. The Daily Mail did a follow-up article about it. It turned out the winning bidder had cold feet and didn’t pay. This also ruined her reputation at the medical school and damaged her future career.
29. Participating in Clinical Studies
Before medication goes to the mass market, pharmaceutical companies need to make sure that their new pills actually work. This is why they will pay people to participate in pharmaceutical trials. Sometimes, you don’t know if you’re getting the real medication or a placebo that is a plain sugar pill. Of course, the obvious danger in participating in one of these trials is that you never know how this medication is going to affect your body. Most of the time, you can’t qualify unless you are already healthy and not on any medication. Other times, they may look for people who are suffering from a specific ailment.
Patients who participate in a clinical trial make between $50 and $300 per day depending on the amount of time it takes to go through the process. The highest-paying trials will require you to stay in the facility overnight. If you want to participate in a Clinical Trial, make sure you go through the official government website run by the Food and Drug Administration, or one that is affiliated through a local university.
28. Selling Pictures of Their Feet
There are some weird fetishes out there, and one of them is feet. We won’t get into the details about why some people find this attractive. It’s popular enough that there is an underground network of people seeking out people willing to take photographs of their feet. There are also a lot of other fetishes out there where people are selling photos on the internet.
On YouTube, a young woman named Sarah Shauer explained how she works full-time as a freelance writer but sells pictures of her feet on the side. According to Shauer, she created an Instagram account featuring her photos and coordinates payments through direct messages via Venmo and Paypal. Scrolling through YouTube, other young women say they have made tens of thousands of dollars with this side gig.
27. 3D Modeling
Any time you watch one of those home makeover shows on HGTV, you’ll see a 3D model of interior design plans. This is someone’s entire job to make 3D models for clients, and the possibilities of what you can do in this field are actually endless. Some people want a 3D version of an invention or they need an animated reenactment for a court case, and much more. The majority of 3D modeling professionals have a degree in graphic design and know how to use advanced programs.
The amount of money you can make from 3D modeling changes depending on whether you are working full-time or freelance. You can offer your services on websites like Fiverr. In order to make money, you’ll need some examples of your past work.
House-sitting is exactly what it sounds like. There are some people who travel often but own a home base. When they are away, they want someone to stay in their home to water the plants, clean, and generally make sure that the property is running smoothly. It is also much safer from a security standpoint because if someone believes that your house is vacant, it could become a target.
Most house-sitting arrangements will give free rent to the person who is staying there. They might not necessarily earn any money from this job, but they can save a tremendous amount of money by not paying rent. In order to qualify as a housesitter, you have to go through an agency that complete a background check on you to make sure that you qualify.
25. A Subway Crammer
In Tokyo, the subway becomes so incredibly crowded during rush hour that people attempt to squeeze themselves into the train even if it means having absolutely no personal space. When there are too many people on the train, the door will not close, which delays the process. Other times, people have accidentally gotten their arms or clothing stuck in the doors as they were closing, resulting in injury. This is such a big problem that the subway has to employ workers to squish people into the trains or pull them away when there are too many people to close the doors. This job has been called “train pusher,” “passenger pusher,” or “passenger arrangement staff.”
In Japanese, these workers are simply called “Oshiya.” There are similar jobs in subway systems around the world, but there are none as intense as what you will see in Tokyo. For a few decades, these professionals were needed to get the train cars to over 200% capacity during rush hour. Today, many people have their own cars, Uber rides, or travel during off-peak hours. Oshiya are not squishing people into trains as they once did, but the job still exists.
24. Teaching English
As an American, it’s hard to imagine teaching the English language since we are surrounded by so many people who speak it. But plenty of foreigners move to the United States and look for private tutoring. If you have a teaching background, it’s possible to make extra money on the side through a local program. It really helps if you are bilingual and know the student’s language because they may have questions and want to communicate with you. Typically, you’ll make around $15 per hour working with a student.
In addition to giving private lessons, it’s actually very common for people to move to foreign countries to teach English to children abroad. You need a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree and you can apply to move to another country for at least a year. Surprisingly, you don’t usually need to know the language of the land because they want you to only speak English to the students. Typically, these programs will deduct part of your paycheck to pay for your rent. Keep in mind that you often have no control over where you work. This job doesn’t pay a lot of money, but many young people use this as a way to get themselves established starting a life in a new country fresh out of college.
23. Sell Your Hair
Selling your hair will help you earn between $100 to $4,000. The drastic price difference comes from the length and quality of hair you are selling. You can get more money for your hair if you eat healthy foods, drink a lot of water, and never dye it a different color. They also take into account the amount of heat damage that may lessen the quality of your locks.
Most people sell their hair through an online marketplace and you can sell it to whoever is willing to buy it. Curious how much your hair is worth? Check out this hair calculator to get an estimate. If you’re feeling generous, you can even donate your hair to charities like Locks of Love, which makes wigs for people who have lost their hair from chemotherapy.
22. Selling Haunted Dolls
Believe it or not, some people are selling “haunted” dolls on eBay. These are used by collectors, paranormal investigators, and ghost enthusiasts who try to summon spirits with an Ouijia board. Others have even been sold as props for movies, TV shows, and photoshoots. Many of these listings will even say that customers should “buy with caution,” in case the haunted dolls cause issues in the buyer’s home.
Of course, the only downside to selling haunted dolls is that you might pick up bad karma. And honestly, even if you believe in ghosts, what are the odds that you could keep up with finding inventory over and over again?
21. Taking Notes in Class
Studious college students can make a nice little chunk of money on the side by selling their notes. Sometimes, it’s possible for you to sell your notes to fellow students that you know, especially if you got straight As in a difficult class. There are also programs set up through the college to help people with disabilities. You may be able to sell your notes through the school’s Office of Special Needs.
I can speak from personal experience being a note taker during college. Typically, the office checked my schedule to see if any students needed note-takers in the same classes I was already taking. This way, the notes matched up with each of the lectures. If I wanted to earn more money, I was allowed to sit in on additional classes, essentially auditing the course. It only paid minimum wage, but it beat working at a fast-food restaurant.
20. Online Surveys
Nowadays, people spend countless hours on the internet scrolling through articles and mindlessly watching videos. What if we told you that it was possible to make money every time you did this? Inbox Dollars is a website that will send you survey opportunities regularly. You can also watch videos on a variety of subjects and earn a few cents per view. Personally, I allow the videos to play in the background and still get credit for the views. Once you reach $30, you can withdraw the money to your PayPal account or get a digital gift card.
On Inbox Dollars, there are sign-up bonuses for streaming services you might have already considered trying anyway, like $5 for joining Disney Plus. If you take advantage of a lot of these offers, it’s actually very easy to reach your first $30 deposit. Personally, I have earned roughly $60 so far from using Inbox Dollars, and I don’t put a lot of effort into the process. Obviously, this is not enough to replace your day job, but it can be a fun way to make a bit of extra money.
19. Mystery Shopping
Getting paid to go shopping sounds like a dream come true, but it’s actually possible for people who are mystery shoppers. The way mystery shopping works is that companies want regular people to go into their stores to have a real customer experience. You go shopping the way that you normally would, ask questions of the staff, and pay attention to the establishment. Keep your receipts, and the company will reimburse you for anything you purchased. You also get paid for your time, which means that you get free products and payment.
They pay between $8 to $25 per shopping trip. The only trouble is that your opportunities might be few and far between, depending on where you live. Also, be careful of scam companies who are actually looking to steal from you. Be sure to do research before you get involved.
18. Making YouTube Videos
In today’s world, kids look up to YouTubers because the perception is that these people can work from home and make millions of dollars in their pajamas. Some of the most popular YouTubers, like PewdiePie, have become famous by playing video games on camera, which seems like a dream come true for most kids. Years ago, it truly was possible to become famous with a cheap camera and a great personality. But today, competition is fierce. Becoming a popular YouTuber is a lot of hard work. It requires countless hours of editing footage, writing, collaborating, and marketing in order to get a filmmaking business off the ground.
As the years have gone on, the quality that is expected of creators has elevated to what you might see on TV. For example, Marques Brownlee is a tech reviewer on YouTube, and he uses cinema-quality RED cameras that cost $30,000. Most people at least use a Canon 80D, which is around $1,000. There is now a company policy that no one can earn ad revenue until they reach 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of total views. This means that you need to buy expensive, high-quality equipment and put in the work for free until there is a chance to make money. Even then, the amount of money they earn from ads totally depends on the type of content on their channel.
17. Nude Modeling
Art school students learn the beauty of the human body. Anatomy is an extremely important element when trying to make beautiful artwork. This is why students have to sketch images of nude models. Before you cringe at the thought of being a nude model, keep in mind that schools aren’t actually looking for all sizes and body types. They want their students to be able to draw pictures of real people rather than stick-thin models.
A nude model makes around $20 per hour. They have to pose in certain ways and hold it for at least 20 to 30 minutes per pose. Some models manage to make $100 per day if they can book enough classes. If you are considering trying this, just be careful that you don’t end up in some kind of scam or lured into a pervert’s private home. Only go to gigs at real art schools.
16. Aquarium Photographer
This next one might raise an eyebrow, but aquarium photography is a real job. When he was a boy, millionaire real estate mogul Graham Stephan got his first job as an aquarium photographer. The owner of a fish shop needed help from someone with a digital camera to take pictures of his fish to upload to the company website. For the most part, aquarium photography has become a hobby and doesn’t typically pay unless you sell your work in a gallery. There is at least one fish photographer, Visarute Angkatavanich, who became famous for his majestic photos of Siamese Fighting Fish.
There is another branch of aquarium photography where underwater photographers who scuba dive inside of the tanks. These may be done by professionals who are already well-known for their skill. These photos are often sold in gift shops or in art gallery exhibits.
15. Dog Boarders and Walkers
There are some people out there who love dogs so much, they have made it a full-time career of taking care of them. If you have ever gone on vacation for an extended period of time, you might already have experience with boarding your dog. Some of these facilities are being run out of someone’s home as long as they meet state certifications.
Dog walkers are popular in major cities where people have less time and more disposable income. A walker might only make $10 to $15 per dog, which is why they will walk several dogs at once, multiple times a day. This is popular among people who are college students or are looking to have a side-hustle.
14. Act as a Test Patient
Also known as a “test subject,” these are people who get paid to participate in medical studies. Unlike clinical trials which give you drugs, these kinds of test subjects usually sign up for both psychological and physical trials. Many of these are done through universities. One of the most famous psychological trials was the Stanford Prison Experiment, where students were made to pretend they were running a jail in order to see what it did to the human psyche.
Many of these trials might just be a form of market research and are trying to see what kind of emotional or psychological response people have to certain situations. There are even experiments that involve your pets. Before you sign up for a trial, make sure it is officially listed through the Department of Health.
13. Professional Eater
Getting paid to eat sounds like a dream come true for some people, but these professionals have to take it to another level. Competitive eaters often join contests that offer prize money to the people who can eat the most food. Leah Shutkever is a competitive eater from the United Kingdom. Looking at her, you’d never expect that such an athletic woman would be a huge eater. She travels around to contests around the world. When the eating is over, she spends time bodybuilding at the gym. Leah has already won six Guinness World Records and has a popular YouTube channel.
There is another branch of professional eating that is reserved for the “feeder” fetish, which is when men enjoy watching women eat and gain weight. For many of these women, their goal is to gain weight to please their audience. Some (but not all) of these morbidly obese women eventually have trouble walking and cannot leave their house due to their disability. So they charge clients to watch them eat via webcam. According to Salon, some of these women have made as much as $90,000 per year. However, many people have considered this to be a form of abuse because it ruins the health of these women in the process.
12. Professional Sleeper
Everyone loves to sleep, but did you know you can get paid to snooze? Sleep studies pay participants to have their sleep patterns monitored over a certain length of time. These studies involve being hooked up to wires and watched by cameras while you sleep. Most places are looking for people in a certain age range and with conditions like sleep apnea. Some people would never be able to fall asleep under those circumstances if they are a light sleeper. But if you are the sort of person who can sleep anywhere, you may be able to profit.
One patient named Jillian Shea was paid a whopping $12,000 for an 11-day study. Shea continued to travel across the United States to become part of sleep studies at various facilities. Of course, if you want to participate in something like this, you would need a job that is flexible. Not everyone can just take 11 days off to participate in a sleep study.
11. Donating Plasma
One of the typical go-to ways to make some quick cash is by selling your plasma. The heavier you are, the more plasma you will produce in your blood. So as long as you are in good health, 18 years old, and above 110 pounds, you should qualify. You also cannot have had any tattoos in the last year or drink any alcohol within 24 hours of the donation.
Patients can make anywhere from $30 to $40 in one session, and they usually limit you to two donations per week. Typically, this is reserved for broke college students and minimum wage workers. You can also feel good knowing that your plasma donation helps people in need.
10. Professional Cuddler
Human touch is essential for one’s health. If someone is working too much, they can become incredibly lonely. While we all know about talk therapy, there is also “touch therapy,” which is essentially cuddling and holding someone so that they feel loved and accepted. This is a totally non-sexual practice meant to help someone through a tough time.
If you want to become a professional cuddler, it’s best to do it through an agency like Cuddlist. You have to go through a training course, have a background check, and become fully certified. This costs $400 upfront. You will eventually earn that money back if you can find clients who want to cuddle with you. Clients pay the agency $80 per hour and the cuddler keeps a portion of that.
9. Reviewing Google’s “Sensitive Content”
Google hires people to review websites and YouTube videos that have been flagged as “sensitive content.: Some people might think that this has to be one of the easiest jobs in the world since it’s just a process of looking at videos and websites.
Unfortunately, this job doesn’t pay enough for what it entails. Many people report that they feel psychologically scarred by the things they’ve seen and some formed PTSD. They often have to go to therapy and quit the job within a year of starting it.
8. Becoming a Disney Shopper
Disney Parks and resorts often sell items that are limited-edition exclusives that can only be purchased inside of Disney World or Disney Land. Fans are often eager to buy these limited-edition items and are willing to pay more than the retail price in order to get the products. This is why people who live near the parks will get a season pass and get in line early. Once they have made their purchases, they can go to eBay and sell those items online.
They are often called “souvenir flippers.” These annual pass holders pay over $1,000 per year to get their passes and often spend thousands more to enter exclusive events just so they can flip the items online. In 2018, Disney Parks began to crack down on flippers by canceling their annual passes. They now encourage people to buy park products directly through them by calling their Shop Disney Parks app. However, this still doesn’t cover some of the products that are exclusive to special events, so people are still flipping items.
7. Scrapping Metal
Making money from scrap metal is often associated with desperation because it’s a lot of hard work with little reward. As you might imagine, this is the process of collecting discarded metal and bringing it to a recycling center. The amount of money you earn per-pound changes depending on the type of metal, so the money you make from this changes drastically depending on the situation.
Sometimes, people will bring in an entire washing machine. In order to have the metal weighed, your vehicle needs to go on a giant scale. Once the metal is removed, your car is weighed a second time to determine the weight of the metal. This entire process can take up to an hour. To most people with a full-time job, this is not worth their time. For example, if you are only bringing in a large garbage bag of soda cans, you will go through a half-hour long process just to make $3. For most people, it’s easier to just put your cans in the recycling bin. This is why most people will wait until they have a pickup truck full of scrap metal before they bother going. Even then, they might only make $50.
6. Trash Pickup
Most towns in America have a trash pickup system where we put our cans at the side of the road once a week. Our waste disposal system may be great, but there are still some moments when we have more trash than our local pickup can handle.
This is why there are companies out there like 1-800-Got-Junk, who will show up with a truck and take your trash away. If you have a large truck, you can pick up trash in the same way, especially if you are willing to offer competitive pricing.
5. Professional Mourner
As someone who has been to a lot of funerals in my lifetime (my great aunt and uncle run a funeral home), I am oddly an expert on ceremonies celebrating the dead. You can really see how popular someone was during their lifetime based on the amount of people who go to their funeral. I have been to ceremonies where there is a massive line out the door with people coming to pay their respects. But I have also been to funerals where there were only 5 people in the room because they isolated themselves from friends and family for years. It really puts things into perspective as you wonder how you will be remembered.
Americans don’t like to dwell on death, so no one really thinks about planning for the size of their funeral. But in Eastern cultures, they think a lot about the size of the funeral, and how popular they seem after death. This is why they have professional mourners who show up to funerals in order to cry and wail dramatically. These people are hired by the families of the deceased in order to make their elders appear as though they had more people wiling to mourn their deaths.
4. Writing College Essays
To some people, getting good grades so that they can move on to a prestigious college or graduate school is everything. And just like everything else in life, people with money can buy their way into just about everything. So there is a market for writing college essays. There are various essay-writing firms out there, but other people advertise themselves on places like Craigslist and Fiverr.
Keep in mind that this is against most school policies. So if the student was ever caught, they could potentially be kicked out of school and lose their degree. The amount of money you get paid also changes drastically depending on the subject, with more difficult topics in STEM bringing in the highest prices.
3. Cleaning Foreclosed Houses
After the recession in 2008, there was a huge uptick in the amount of foreclosed houses in America. Even though the foreclosure process is usually long and drawn-out, many people trashed these houses out of spite or left behind the objects. This is why banks hire cleaners to empty out foreclosed homes once the mortgage stops being paid and they have been seized.
Cleaners typically make $500 to $2,500 per house. This sounds like a lot of money, but just keep in mind that some of these homes might be so messy that you will need more than one person to help you clean it up. It could also take an entire week and might require renting a dumpster to dispose of the trash. On the other hand, you might get lucky and find a house that is relatively clean and is far easier to empty. Many cleaners also sell the items they find abandoned in homes by flipping them on Craigslist for extra profit.
2. Running a Minecraft Server
Even though the game has been around for years, Minecraft is still going strong. Believe it or not, people are making a tremendous amount of money running Minecraft servers. Running a server costs money, so the people who have gone through the trouble are providing a service to the players. They have also gone out of their way to build a fun digital environment people enjoy. Some of the most popular servers called HIVE and Hypixel make over $100,000 per month.
Anyone can run a Minecraft server, but at this point in the game’s history, you need to put in a lot of work without much reward. One player named Robert Craig spent 15 hours a day paying out of his own pocket to run a server and create a beautiful digital world. At first, the server was just for his friends. Eventually, he began receiving donations from people who played on his server, which covered his costs. Even in his best month, he only made £450 per month, or $587. After getting his first real job, he spent less than 15 hours a day working on the server, and the quality went downhill. People stopped being interested and moved on to play elsewhere.
1. Selling Lego Bricks and Figurines
Some people out there are serious about playing with Lego. They create full-scale models and even statues of objects using only Legos as material. Some people are able to sell off the mini figurines or blocks that they no longer use from the kits they’ve purchased in the past, or make a profit from childhood toys.
Want to know how much your Legos are worth? Check out websites like Bricklink and eBay to do price comparisons. Since some of these toys are only worth a few cents each, it makes more sense to sell them off in bulk whenever possible.