I’ve decided to lighten up for this article.
There’s no strict action plan to help you be more productive or start an online business.
We’re just going to sit back, relax and balk at the wonderful strangeness of the web and the kind of job opportunities it offers should you be inclined to dig deep enough.
Although, by the end of this top 10 list you might find yourself convinced to give some of them a go.
Who wouldn’t want to get paid to sleep? Or become a virtual, pole-dancing vampire.
I know I’m tempted.
Brace yourself for 10 of the weirdest ways to make extra money online in 2018.
1. Professional Snuggler
Yep, you read that right. You can actually get paid to snuggle someone.
According to Wall Street Journal, thousands of customers across the United States are booking appointments with professional cuddlers.
And the money isn’t bad either. Turn pro in the snuggling game and you can command up to $80 an hour.
Find a really lonely customer that requires your services for the entire night and you could walk away with $400 in your wallet.
The role is open to both men and women; both parties remain fully clothed with the only extras being whether you want to be tickled, bear-hugged or spooned.
Opportunities within the industry are good with free apps such as Cuddlr (launched in September 2015 it had over ¼ million downloads in its first 6 months) and sites like Cuddle Comfort, helping match snugglers with their snugglees.
Those that have booked hugging services out of mere curiosity say they have become hooked on the therapeutic benefits. How lovely.
2. Stand in Line for Cash
There’s no shortage of people that enjoy the kudos of getting their hands on something before anyone else does, (just look at news reel footage of the suckers that camp outside the Apple Store the night before any major release).
And where ever there’s a demand, you will find a job to facilitate the supply. In this case standing in line.
Whether the client is after shiny hardware, limited release concert tickets or the latest instalment of some fictional trend that keeps fans in a perpetual state of hyperventilation, if there’s a queue involved it is possible for the hard-of-cash to step up for a fee.
3. Writing Breakup Letters
Do you have an empathetic mindset? Or maybe equally as important, can spin a good yarn? If so why not put your skills to the test with a bit of breakup letter writing.
One notch up from ending a relationship via text, today’s lothario (of either sex) has the option to employ a freelance writer to create the heart-felt explanation as to why the relationship has come to an end.
Fees range from $10 to $30 per letter depending on length and experience.
4. Hawk Your Hair
Did you realise that every-time you go to the salon you are leaving good money on the floor in the form of your chopped ends?
That’s right, your mane could be worth a bob or two.
That’s if you decide to utilize the services of TheHairTrader.com, a site specializing in online hair sales.
It is free to create a listing, and someone, somewhere could well be willing to part with their hard-earned cash in exchange for your long-grown locks.
Interested parties use the site to bid on the soon-to-be-chopped tresses. Once you make the cut, you package the hair off to the winning bidder.
This is clearly very much a one-time gig, (or at least once a year depending on your hair growth rate and length demands), but the money is surprisingly good.
An average bundle brings in around $500, while the really impressive manes go for thousands.
And while it is tempting (or slightly creepy) to think that your strands may end up in the recent equivalent of a Wayne Rooney hair-transplant operation, wigs and hair extensions are the more likely end result.
5. Virtual Vampire
Remember Second Life? (Yes I thought it was ironically long dead too), well it is apparently still going strong with over half a million active monthly users.
And while it didn’t end up being quite the Matrix style disruption to society that the founders may have first envisaged, (millions of users arriving in their virtual space to carry out their alternate lives), it did and clearly still does, provide a platform for those wanting to make some extra money online.
Unskilled jobs within the virtual world range from being a shop attendant, bouncer or even a pole-dancer.
The gender of the real-life you is irrelevant, it all comes down to the sex of your avatar; ie the virtual you.
Skilled roles – which are really contributions to the upkeep of the game – are also available. These include creative endeavours such as animator or texture artist.
And then you can move into the world of the truly bizarre.
Search the Second Life inworld employment jobs board and you will find occupations that take niche to a whole new level.
There’s a whole page of jobs dedicated to those whose avatars are depicted as vampires.
From DJ’s and Club Hosts to the more provocative, “vampire required for ‘role play’” (not quite sure what that means in a virtual domain), if you’ve got an appetite for blood, you’re in.
6. Join a Virtual Jury
From blood-sucking vampires we turn to the legal industry. Ahem.
More interesting than strange, it seems as if the technological progress of the gig economy has veered into the judiciary too.
Now it is possible to sign up to sites such as eJury and get paid to help lawyers stage a mock trial in preparation for the main event.
The job is very much like that of sitting on an actual jury; you review cases put forward by the lawyers.
After consuming the evidence, you give your opinion based on a list of questions.
The site pays about $10 a case, (after seeing legal billing first-hand, I’d hate to think how much the law firm is paying to gain access to your opinion), which will buy you a beer at least.
7. Professional Bridesmaid
This is the first of 2 strange side gigs where women get the upper hand in the selection process.
And yes I know this is a dad blog, however I am not expecting anyone to go out and actually do these jobs.
Is there anything quite as sad as having to hire your own bridesmaids though?
But then the internet being what it is, there is literally a service for anyone.
In the words of the famous Gershwin song:
Glantz provides several options to account for the range in price. From being a bridesmaid behind the scenes project managing the wedding party, to being up at the altar as the rings are exchanged.
She even does the Electric Slide, too!
8. Professional Mermaid
The second bizarre, work at home side-gig that has little need for the Y chromosome is that of the professional mermaid.
According to online business website, Fast Company, Professional mermaids are in high demand.
Want to book one for your child’s birthday party, or a Boogie Nights style pool party and you can expect to shell out $250 an hour for the performance.
9. Mourner for hire
Can’t be bothered to visit the grave of a loved one? Well now you can pay someone to go mourn on your behalf?
While we won’t question the moral implications of using such a service, it does make our list of strange jobs for good reason.
Professional mourners can be found in several countries across the world, including Taiwan and the UK. The main use is to actually supplement the funeral party, to add some drama if you will.
Because the nature of the work might actually appeal to jobbing actors. According to IOL, a mourning agency based in South Africa, prices are set in line with the amount of emotion displayed.
A low priced package will get you some common or garden variety weeping. Pay a bit more and you’ll get some discernable tears, above that and you have crying and rolling around on the ground.
Pay top dollar and your mourner for hire will lose the plot and threaten to jump into the grave.
Money well spent I think you’d agree.
10. Professional Sleeper
‘Where do I sign up?’ is my response to our final entry. Paid to sleep! Who wouldn’t want this as a side line?
The reality is a little different of course. Earning dollars while you slumber has a catch, the main one being that most opportunities involve you being in hospital.
According to Career Addict, doctors and medical researchers are the biggest clients. However, there are gigs available with mystery-shopping companies and hotels.
Now that I could handle.
Over to you
It’s unlikley, but have you experienced any of these gigs? Either doing the job or paying for it? Or maybe you have ideas of other strange ventures that could make the list.
Or you just want to say hello. Whatever you write, I always love hearing from you, so leave your comments below.