What would you do to make money? Below you’ll learn about a man who got rich by wearing t-shirts, and another who sold letters from a famous murderer for big bucks.
Okay, one-off strategies like that are tough to replicate, and you may not want to be a venomous snake milker, or watch suicide videos for Google, right?
But then there are those jobs as an ice cream tester or restaurant cliff diver, and opportunities to get paid for playing video games or sleeping. Those sound like more fun.
So you may find something interesting and profitable to do in the following list of weird ways to make money, or you might just shake your head at most of the entries and wonder why anyone would do that. For example, would you want to…
Table of Contents
1. Work as a Lice Removal Technician
If you watch the recruiting video on LiceDoctors.com you’ll be told that working as a lice removal technician is fun and full of laughs.
Skeptical? Yeah, me too.
But at least it’s lucrative work. As an independent tech working for LiceDoctors you make up to $30 per hour going to people’s homes, and you’ll be reimbursed for mileage. You’ll work up to five hours on each gig, using only all-natural methods that are said to be 100% effective.
2. Become a Dumpster Painter
Dumpsters, like many painted things, eventually need to be repainted. There are companies like Container Painting Repair in Maryland that do this work. Google “dumpster painting” and the name of your city to find potential employers.
If you want to do something more creative, you can become an artist who paints murals on dumpsters.
3. Collect Money for Wearing T-Shirts
Make $1 million wearing t-shirts? Jason Zook tells his story on his website, IWearYourShirt.com. He says he was paid to wear promotional t-shirts for companies, and did well enough that this launched various other marketing projects, which eventually made him a cool million.
4. Be a Jellyfish Vendor
They’re not the cuddliest pets, but jellyfish are expensive — and that’s good news if you’re the one selling them. For example, at JellyFishArt.com the least-expensive “Desktop Tank Kit” they sell costs more than $300. For that the customer gets a jellyfish, a small tank, and a three-month supply of food.
I first reported on that website years ago, and it’s still around, so apparently there is a market for jellyfish as pets. It makes you wonder what other sea life you might sell profitably.
5. Cry for a Living
Professional mourning “is a mostly historical occupation” according to Wikipedia. That’s what they say, but my wife tells me that in her native Ecuador it still happens regularly, and then there is the British company Rent a Mourner.
They supply “professional, discreet people to attend funerals and wakes.” Cry your way to the bank!
6. Talk to Dead Pets
We’ve covered pets and death, and now it’s time to put them together, with a job talking to deceased animals. That what psychic Lisa Miller does. She says, “Animals, both living and deceased, are eager to connect also!”
How much can you make? Miller charges $200 for an hour-long phone consultation involving a deceased animal. Maybe, if you sell people pet oysters, you can also provide communication services when their shellfish pass on.
7. Donate Your Sperm Directly
Okay, you’ve probably read about donating to a sperm bank for extra cash. But there are also opportunities to donate directly to a couple looking for help. PollenTree.com connects sperm donors with those looking for sperm.
The amount of compensation is not mentioned, but a recent posting on SimplyHired.com offered $6,000 for sperm from the right candidate (you had to be attractive, athletic, college-degreed, and at least 50% Italian).
8. Win Money by Eating
Eating large amounts of food as fast as possible has become a sport, and one that can involve big money. Consider the events listed on MajorLeagueEating.com. You’ll find many with prizes of thousands of dollars.
But be ready for some stiff competition. A professional eater like Peter Czerwinski, also known as “Furious Pete,” can eat a raw onion in 43.53 seconds, and fifteen hamburgers in 10 minutes.
9. Get Paid to Lose Weight
If you’ve done well at competitive eating it may be time to make some money with competitive weight loss. How? By betting on how much weight you can lose and then accomplishing your goal.
HealthyWage.com says you can win up to $10,000 using their website. You and others place your bets and a prize is calculated. Then, according to the website, “We pay your prize if you have achieved and maintained your goal at the end of the challenge.”
10. Give Away a Book
I spent two days writing a small ebook on meditation, and included affiliate links to a brainwave entrainment product I liked. Then I gave the book away by the hundreds. Every time someone clicked on those links and bought the product I made a $42.50 commission.
Using affiliate links in this way was one of several strategies I used to make thousands of dollars giving away books.
11. Make Them laugh
Working as a comedian is one way to make money making people laugh, but it’s not the only way. On LaughterTherapy.com Enda Junkins, the “Laughing Psychotherapist,” offers her services as a therapist and speaker, and sells laughter-based DVDs.
Of course, Junkins has a master’s degree and is a licensed clinical social worker. But perhaps, as a simple comedian you can sell similar services without making any therapeutic claims.
12. Rent Your Friendship
After many years online, RentAFriend.com still claims you can “Earn Up To $50 Per Hour! Plus Free Meals, Free Concerts, Free Sporting Events, & More!” And before you get too worried about what you’ll have to do, it should be noted that it’s “a platonic friendship website only.”
13. Take Begging to a New Level
For more than seven years Craig Rowin has been asking for a million dollars using a YouTube video. At one point he went on TV and was handed a check for $1 million by a supposed millionaire. Alas, Rowan later admitted this was a hoax.
In any case, perhaps he made some money by boosting his career as a comedian. And hey, if you’re going to beg, why not try for big money?
14. Get Paid to Watch Horrible Videos
Google hires “sensitive content” viewers to screen questionable YouTube videos. One guy who had the job was profiled in a post on BuzzFeed.com.
The videos he had to watch included pornography, bestiality, and suicides. He not only needed therapy, but he was let go after a year, at which point Google suggested further therapy. So maybe you don’t want this job.
15. Become a Human Guinea Pig
Want to get paid to be a research test subject? Websites like GPGP.net (Guinea Pigs Get Paid) will help you locate the best gigs.
I was paid just $30 for testing a new aspirin, but companies like Celerion have studies that pay volunteers up to $15,000 for testing various drugs and devices.
16. Sell Murder Memorabilia
People will pay for just about anything related to a famous person. For example, letters written by Mark Chapman, John Lennon’s killer, were put up for sale at an auction house for $75,000. And the asking price for a “Double Fantasy” album Lennon signed for Chapman is a reported $1.5 million.
So if the Unabomber sends you a birthday card, don’t throw it away.
17. Design and Sell Weird Toilet Paper
Take a look at some of the weirdest toilet papers being sold. You’ll see camouflage designs (?), games printed on the squares, etc. That’s your inspiration.
Now design and sell something new. I’m thinking faces of politicians.
18. Sell Flammable Effigies
Burning effigies in Ecuador is traditional on New Year’s Eve. My wife and I bought a Bart Simpson for her family’s fire. Millions of effigies of every type are sold.
Since burning effigies is generally an insult here, there is perhaps a market for political figures. And the last time I looked Effigy.com was for sale.
19. Pimp Out Your Dog
Apparently, according to an article on the Huffington Post, you can get a dollar-per-kiss if you put your dog to work at a kissing booth. It may have to be cute for this one to work.
20. Push People Around
How do you get paid to push people around? Become a “oshiya,” or “train pusher” in Tokyo, Japan. They push crowds into the trains to fit more passengers. You can watch train pushers in action on YouTube to get an idea of what the work entails.
21. Pick up Dog Poop
Okay, nobody is really thrilled about doing this work, but it’s a living, right? In fact, there are many businesses that come to people’s homes to clean up the messes, and I’ll bet that, as soon as they’re doing well, the owners want employees to do the dirty work.. For example, Doody Calls is hiring at the moment.
22. Play Video Games
Yes, there really are people who make a living playing video games competitively. For example, Kurtis Ling, also known as Aui_2000, recently won a $6.6 million prize in an international competition. Take a look at a list of games awarding prize money and you’ll see there is big money available — if you’re good enough.
23. Sleep for a Living
As reported by CBS News, the Hotel Finn in Helsinki hired someone to sleep in and review their rooms a few years back. Maybe you could approach hotels and offer a similar service?
If there are no takers, check with NASA. They pay people to lay in bed to research the effects of space travel. Recently they were offering $100,000 for a two-month stay in bed.
24. Sell Deer Urine
You might be aware that hunters use deer urine to attract attract deer. Well, CNN reports that pee farmer Sam Collora gets $15.50 for a two-ounce bottle.
No deer? You could try other animals. PredatroPee.com sells coyote urine, bobcat urine, and many others. Maybe your dog is part wolf?
25. Sell Your Urine
If you don’t have any deer or predators from which to collect urine, try selling your own! Of course, it does have to be drug free, since it’s used to pass drug tests.
26. Become a Condom Tester
Condom tester David Wynter says “sometimes it feels like too much work and too little play.” But hey, he tests them in real-life circumstances. That complaint would make more sense coming from professional condom tester Steve Abbott, who just tests them in a laboratory.
27. Recycle T-Shirts
Inc.com says Project Repat, a company that sells products made from “upcycled” t-shirts, had revenues of more than $1 million in 2013. Part of that year’s success came from selling quilts made of t-shirts — 6,000 of them in a month!
Hmm…what else can you make out of old t-shirts?
28. Rent Out Your Shed as a Bedroom
Living in a shed is becoming more mainstream, and renting one out for that purpose worked for me. I got $50 per week for a shed/bedroom I built for less than $300. Tenants had access to the house, of course.
29. Be a Fake Patient
Known as “standardized patients,” people with this job help new doctors get trained. NPRs profile of Gabrielle Nuki explains that the 16-year-old is paid up to $20 per hour to act like a patient while medical students examine her.
If you’re interested, you’ll find these jobs at medical schools.
30. Milk Snakes
To make snake anti-venom the venom of snakes must be collected. That’s what a snake milker does. But before you apply for such a job, think about Jim Harrison, a snake milker at the Kentucky Reptile Zoo. He has been bit and put on life support 4 times.
31. Become an Ice Sculptor
At SculptedIceWorks.com single-block sculptures start at $425. Double-block company logos start at $725. Water is cheap, so we can assume most of that is gross profit.
32. Be an Ice Cream Tester
You might think this is one of those dream jobs that are invented, but John Harrison, Dreyer’s official ice cream tester, has to taste up to 60 packages of ice cream every day. What isn’t clear is how you find one of these positions (Harrison’s family worked in the industry).
33. Whistle Your Way to the Bank
Another position that is not invented:is professional whistler. Whistling Tom, for example, has been in TV commercials and regularly performs at various events. And you can hear professional whistler Robert Stemmons performing in an NPR interview.
Interested in this work? Watch a professional whistler workout on YouTube to get started.
34. Be an IMAX Screen Cleaner
Most cleaning companies don’t have the skills or equipment to clean an IMAX movie screen. It takes up to 8 hours, and a lot of special tools, to clean an eight-story screen, explains Michael Quaranto. He and Andrew Brown started 1570 Cleaning Services to do just such work.
No word on whether they’re hiring, or whether cleaners get free movies out of the deal.
35. Sing Weird Songs
Business Insider says Matt Farley has produced 14,000 songs. Topics range from news headlines to going to the bathroom. He made $23,000 from his weird songs the year before the report.
How does he make money? By using Spotify and iTunes, targeting popular keywords so he can earn money when people listen. For example, he recorded 500 versions of ‘________, Will You Go to the Prom with Me?’ using a different name for each.
In these polarized times you might try singing insulting songs about every politician out there, and make money from all the hatred.
36. Sell Strange Subscriptions
The Dive Bar Shirt Club sends members “t-shirts from the best bars you’ve never heard of.” Subscribers get one per month for $23 each.
The natural question here is “What else can you get people to subscribe to?”
37. Sell Pet… Somethings
You may remember pet rocks from the 70s. Well, the the pet rock is back! Just $29.95 for a rock!
What else can you sell as a “pet?” Pet socks might come close to trademark infringement, but I’m sure there are other potentially profitable possibilities.
38. Help People Commit Suicide
In Switzerland, Dignitas has “helped more than 1,700 people to end their lives gently, safely, without risk and usually in the presence of family members and/or friends.” They’ve been in business 20 years now.
In an interview, founder Ludwig Minelli says he hopes to have a “chain of ‘suicide clinics’ in other countries,” so, if you think you’re ready for this kind of work, Dignitas may be hiring.
39. Barter Your Way to Wealth
You may recall how Kyle MacDonald bartered a paperclip into a house through a series of careful exchanges (the first step was trading a red paperclip for a fish-shaped pen). It took him almost exactly a year.
Got a paperclip?
40. Become a Virtual Gold Farmer
When players don’t feel like working to earn their own gold in World of Warcraft, they buy it. The companies that sell it use crews of virtual gold farmers in China. There is a documentary on YouTube about these Chinese gold farmers.
The bottom line? Low pay and long hours — unless you own the company.
41. Become a Restaurant Cliff Diver
No, Casa Bonita was not invented by the writers of South Park. It’s a real restaurant in Denver, Colorado. My wife and I didn’t care for the food when we were there, but the entertainment was fun, including the indoor cliff diving.
You can read my profile of restaurant cliff diver Tyler Harding for an idea of what it takes, and yes, they regularly hire new divers.
42. Get Involved in Marijuana Tourism
Pot is legal in several states now, and that has led to numerous new businesses. Forbes magazine, for example, has reported on marijuana tourism companies including pot-friendly hotels and marijuana tours.
You could also start a website like ColoradoPotGuide.com, which makes money providing information on where to go to buy supplies, where to stay, etc.
43. Become a Dinosaur Puppeteer
The Natural History Museum in Los Angeles employs more than a dozen puppeteers to operate their Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops. Some puppeteers work inside the dinosaurs.
It isn’t clear what the job requirements are, but if you’re interested the University of Connecticut does offer a master’s degree in puppetry.
44. Sell Your Feet
Apparently a lot of people obsess about feet. There is even a Wikipedia entry for foot fetishism. But some fetishists are not content with photos…
The New York Post reported on “Olivia” (last name withheld), who worked as a “foot hooker” along with nine other woman. Men paid to look at, touch, and even lick their feet, and Olivia made $200 for 40 minutes of work.
Small feet and high arches are preferred, in case you wondered.
45. Sell Your Hair
Okay, so you want to keep your feet to yourself. But what do you need all that hair for? Why not sell it?
You can use the hair price calculator on HairSellon.com to see how much money is sitting atop your head.
46. Sell Your Future
Feet, hair… what else can you sell? Your future!
Wired.com says Mike Merrill “divided himself into 100,000 shares and set an initial public offering price of $1 a share.” He only sold 4,000 shares, but those who invested helped decide his future and collected a share of any income he made outside of his day job.
Alas, when investors were deciding whether or not Merrill got a vasectomy (because kids impact future profits) his girlfriend was very upset.
47. Cuddle for Money
There are now enough professional cuddlers that a website, Cuddlist.com, was created to help connect them with clients. Nothing beyond cuddling is allowed, of course, but clients pay $80 per hour for simply snuggling up with a stranger.
If you’re interested in this work, Cuddlist provides training and certification.
48. Sell Your Coffee Mugs
Go check out collectible coffee mugs for sale on eBay.com. Then check your cupboards to see if you have anything worth selling.
How much can you make? Maybe nothing, maybe $10, but if you sort the eBay results by “highest price first” you’ll see some mugs going for hundreds of dollars apiece.
49. Paint a Really Big Bridge
If you don’t mind hanging out hundreds of feet in the air, you might have what it takes to help paint the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan. And this could be pretty steady work, since painting it takes 20 years.
But be careful! One painter fell to his death working on the the bridge.
50. Make Your Pet a Superstar
There are competitions for dogs and cats, and many have cash prizes. But for bigger money you might want to try making your pet into a YouTube or Instagram star.
On YouTube you can generate income more directly, but any fame opens the possibility of advertising deals. Pet owners have made six figures from these deals.
The Dog Agency and other pet agents can help you cash in, assuming your dog, cat, or hamster is as cute as you think.
Too weird or too wild? Which of the above would you do. Share your thoughts below, and If you know some weird ways to make money, please tell us about them … and keep on frugaling!