28 Weird Ways People Make Money Online

Over the years, we’ve seen people make money online in all kinds of weird and unusual ways. Below is a list of our favorites, in no particular order.

Jesus Impersonator

  • At least $22,500 per year.

User SoCalChrist on Fiverr dresses up as Jesus Christ and makes short, customized videos for $10-45 a pop.

Make Money Online: Jesus Impersonator

He racked up almost 9000 customer reviews in his first four years on the platform, which means he earned at least $22,500 per year.

“Jesus” also makes money online through his Patreon and by selling merchandise on his website.

Paid To Eat (Mukbang)

  • Up to $10,000 per month / $1,500 a night.

There are numerous people in South Korea who make a living by live streaming themselves eating meals.

NPR reports:

The top-ranked stars make as much as $10,000 a month, and that’s not counting sponsorships from food and drink brands.

On Facebook, Business Insider posted a video of one 14-year-old who earns up to $1,500 a night eating dinner in front of a webcam in South Korea.

Paid To Study (Gongbang)

  • $253 per video.

A South Korean YouTuber who goes by the name The Man Sitting Next to Me broadcasts himself studying for up to three hours per day.

Money is earned through YouTube ads, which one calculator estimates to be $253 per video.

Make Money Online: Gongbang earnings

Paralyzed people controlling robot waiters

  • $9 per hour.

artFido reports:

This month a Dawn Ver Beta cafe was opened up Tokyo, Japan for two weeks. It used Orly Lab’s robots to serve customers and the most brilliant part about the cafe is that all of the robots were remotely controlled by severely disabled people, for the sole purpose of helping disabled people gain more independence in their lives.

There were 10 people working at the cafe. The employees suffered from diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other spinal cord injuries. They operated 4-foot robots called OriHime-D, from their home and were paid 1,000 yen ($9) per hour.

Turbulence Forecaster

  • At least $1,000 per month.

Via TurbulenceForecast.com:

My name is Peter, the founder of Turbulence Forecast. I’ve been forecasting turbulence for over 13 years, and I will personally give you a one on one briefing of what you might expect on your upcoming flight via email. I write each and every forecast personally, with over 8,500 written so far. No questions asked refund policy!

Peter charges $25-56 per order.

8,500 orders in 13 years works out to ~650 per year. At his lowest price point that’s well over $1000/month.

Binge watch superhero movies

  • $1000 in three days.

From a March 2019 report on INSIDER:

CableTV.com is offering to pay one Marvel fan $1,000 to watch 20 Marvel movies back-to-back.

It would take you over 40 hours to do. CabletTV.com told INSIDER that the candidate would have three days in which to complete the task.

The chosen fan would also need to live-tweet their experience and would receive more Marvel gifts.

The Million Dollar Homepage

  • $1,037,100 in 4.5 months.

In August 2005 a college student in the UK set up a webpage consisting of a million pixels in a 1000 x 1000 grid, with the intention of selling each one for $1.

The idea went viral. This was the result:

Make Money Online: Million Dollar Homepage

Via Wikipedia:

On 1 January 2006, the final 1,000 pixels were put up for auction on eBay. The auction closed on 11 January with a winning bid of $38,100 that brought the final tally to $1,037,100 in gross.

(The same guy went on to create the meditation app Calm, which achieved a $1 billion valuation in 2019.)

Virtual Bridesmaid

  • $300 per engagement. 3

Jen Glantz is a self-styled “professional bridesmaid,” providing a range of services to budding brides.

BBC Business reports:

Starting from $300 (£230), you can have the “Virtual Bridesmaid” offering, which includes one-to-one sessions to help brides “create a to-do list, a day-of itinerary and a budget for your wedding adventure”.

While there is a set number of phone sessions, Jen is on hand at all times via text and email.

Wedding Speech Writer

  • $75 per speech.

MEL Magazine reports:

For the low, low price of $75, a complete stranger on Fiverr will explain to your new wife exactly how much she means to you.

The article also mentions one writer getting paid nearly $700 for a single speech.

Online Research Studies

  • Up to $350 per study.

Many online survey sites will pay you $1-4 per hour for giving your opinion on a variety of different topics.

Respondent is different.

You are first required to fill out a survey to qualify for a study, and if selected you are paid as much as $350 for a 1-2 hour phone call.

Make Money Online: Respondent
Above: Examples of research studies you can apply for on Respondent.

We tested Respondent ourselves and found that the studies were difficult to qualify for. But we still earned an average of $20.56 per hour. Full review here.

Framing Tweets

  • $25,000 per month.

Zach Katz started Framed Tweets in 2017 “to give people a simple way to beautifully frame their favorite tweets as art, to remember and enjoy forever.”

Make Money Online: Framed Tweets
Above: Examples of framed tweets.

Above: Examples of framed tweets.

As per Starter Story, most sales come via Instagram ads:

Sales are steadily increasing as we scale our Instagram ads. We’re grossing about $20k per month from Instagram ads, spending about $300/day. Our ROAS hovers around 2.

Katz reports however that the business has yet to be very profitable:

I truly expected Framed Tweets to be an overnight sensation, and to make millions of dollars immediately. That didn’t happen, and two years later, it’s basically just starting to be profitable.

Blogging about paleo diets for dogs

  • At least $6,000 per month.

Via Side Hustle Nation:

Kimberly Gauthier has been running KeepTheTailWagging.com since 2011, but things really started to take off when she niched down her focus to raw feeding for dogs.

Kimberly earns money from her blog in a variety of ways, such as affiliate marketing, brand partnerships, and $4,000-$5,000 per month from display ads.

Mock Online Juror

  • $1 per minute.

At OnlineVerdict you can apply to become an online juror in your county and/or federal district.

From their FAQ page:

Lawyers will post a case summary and verdict questions to the OnlineVerdict, with the option of having 25 or 50 jury-eligible people like you review the case facts and provide feedback on the case issues.

Each case review may take anywhere from 20-60 minutes to complete depending on the length of the case summary and the number of attorney-provided questions. Juror payment amounts ($20-$60) reflect the amount of time we estimate it takes to review a case.

Teaching Ukulele

  • At least $3,000 per month (probably more like $6,000).

John Atkins makes videos that teach people how to use the Ukulele.

Like this one:

One of the primary ways John earns money is via his Patreon, where he has ~1,600 supporters sending him a little money each month.

Graphtreon estimates his earnings to be anywhere from $3,000 to $14,000 per month.

Gamer Girl

  • At least $20 per hour.

MEL Magazine reports:

Most nights after her parents have gone to bed, Sam, a 16-year-old from Toronto, makes herself a cup of coffee, reclines in her gaming chair and prepares to play Fortnite until the wee morning hours. During that time, Sam, a pseudonym, isn’t playing with her friends, or even a team in a conventional battle campaign.

Instead, she plays a series of hour-long sessions with men she refers to as her “clients.” So while they battle other players, build forts and hunt for weapons, she listens to their problems — ranging from nervousness over asking out a girl to sadness about a traumatic childhood. At the end of each hour, she makes at least $20. Some nights, she earns well over $100.

Helping Chinese people fake riches

  • $1,500 to $3,000 per month.

Sixth Tone reports that China has an industry for flaunting fake wealth:

Looking to impress your friends? A few bucks can get you a customized video with a fat wad of cash, a luxury home, a celebrity gal pal, or the car of your dreams.

[…]

After choosing a video of two hands holding a stack of 100-yuan bills and submitting a recorded audio message — “Oh yeah, look at all my money” — the WeChat account sent back a finished video in under a minute.

Videos cost as little as 6 yuan ($0.90), making it easier than ever for Chinese people to get their Tai Lopez on.

One merchant cashing in on the demand reports to be earning 10,000 to 20,000 yuan each month ($1,500 to $3,000).

Domain Squatting

  • $70 million per year.

Starting in the late 90’s, Kevin Ham built a portfolio of 300,000 domain names in less than a decade. The result was a $300 million empire, generating $70 million in estimated annual revenue.

From a 2007 article in Business 2.0 Magazine:

Need wedding shoes? Type in “weddingshoes.com” — a site that Ham happens to own — and you’ll land on what looks like a shoe-shopping portal, filled with links from dozens of retailers.

Click on any one of those links, and the advertiser that placed it pays Yahoo, which in turn pays a cut to Ham. That single site, Ham says, brings in $9,100 a year. Small change, maybe, but the name cost him $8, and his annual overhead for it is about $7. Multiply that model several thousand times over, and you get a quick idea of the kind of cash machine that Ham was creating from his living room.

Ham’s cleverest play may have been striking a deal with the Cameroon government to “typo-squat” all non-registered .cm domains.

From the same article:

he’s also the man behind the domain world’s latest scheme: profiting from traffic generated by the millions of people who mistakenly type “.cm” instead of “.com” at the end of a domain name.

Try it with almost any name you can think of — Beer.cm, Newyorktimes.cm, even Anyname.cm — and you’ll land on a page called Agoga.com, a site filled with ads served up by Yahoo.

Ham makes money every time someone clicks on an ad — as does his partner in this venture, the West African country of Cameroon. Why Cameroon? It has the unforeseen good fortune of owning .cm as its country code — just as Germany runs all names that end with .de.

By 2007, Ham’s days were numbered as companies like Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo began to crack down on domain and typo-squatting.

In October 2017, Ham reportedly sold 100,000 of his domains to GoDaddy for some portion of $50 million.

Whispering and making other pleasurable sounds (ASMR)

  • Up to $130,000 per year.

Business Insider reports:

Autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR, refers to the tingles in your brain and spine some people feel when they hear certain pleasurable sounds.

And it pays the bills for some YouTubers. It’s estimated that GentleWhispering, YouTube’s top ASMR channel, makes at least $130,000 a year.

Other full-time ASMR YouTubers don’t report the same cash influx. Three YouTubers told Business Insider that they make around $2,000 per month through YouTube, Patreon, and other revenue streams outside of their main channels.

Here is the most popular video on the GentleWhispering YouTube channel, with 21+ million views:

Paid To Lose Weight

  • Up to $10,000 (“Average prize for goal achievers is $1,331.”) 4

HealthyWage is a website where you can place a bet that you’ll lose a certain amount of weight by a certain date.

Achieve your goal, and you get paid.

Fail, and you lose your stake.

Today.com reports:

At HealthyWage, success rates vary, with between 25 percent and 40 percent of participants actually winning their bets, [HealthyWage co-founder David] Roddenberry said.  That doesn’t mean he’s betting on their failure. Revenue comes not only from participants but also from sponsors and other fees, he said, so his incentive is not to have people fail.

Pretending to be interested in renting apartments

  • At least minimum wage.

Yardi Matrix will hire you to pose as a person interested in apartment rentals. Your job is to call apartment complexes and ask them simple questions about their apartments, no selling involved.

Per the Yardi Matrix website:

Surveyors will be paid $6 per hour and a piece rate of $.50 for surveys marked Done, $.30 for surveys marked Wrong Number, $.20 for surveys marked Part-Done, and $.07 for surveys marked Answering Machine or No Answer. You will receive at least minimum wage in your jurisdiction for all hours worked; however, you can earn more depending on your speed and efficiency.

Paid To Name Stuff

  • $100 minimum for winning a contest.

On Squadhelp you can suggest names for products or businesses. If your suggestion gets picked, you get paid.

$100 is the minimum prize, though several folks on their leaderboard have apparently earned more than $20,000 with their mad naming skillz.

Ethical Hacking

  • Up to $500,000 per year.

CNBC reports:

Freelance elite hackers can make more than $500,000 a year searching for security flaws and reporting those issues at big companies like Tesla and organizations like the Department of Defense, according to new data released by ethical hacking platform Bugcrowd.

IJet and Tesla pay hackers $1,000 to $15,000 for finding problems, depending on the severity of the issue. Mastercard pays up to $3,000.

Search Engine Evaluator

  • Up to $15 per hour.

A company called Appen will pay you to search the Internet all day.

From the Appen website:

Appen independent agents conduct in depth internet-based research and provide information evaluation for leading companies from around the globe. Ideal candidates are self-reliant, self-motivated, are very internet savvy, have a broad range of interests and enjoy online research and evaluation.

Glassdoor reports that the average salary for an Appen search engine evaluator is $15 per hour.

Talking people to sleep

  • At least $25,000 per month.

Twice per week, Drew Ackerman publishes the Sleep With Me Podcast, which receives more than 2 million monthly downloads.

Per Wikipedia:

Sleep With Me Podcast is meant to distract listeners, keeping their minds occupied when they experience insomnia, while gently lulling them to sleep.

The podcast is monetized in a variety of ways, but the biggest income source is likely Patreon, with more than 5,000 patrons on there pledging a minimum of $5 per month.

Selling blank books on Amazon

  • $6,000 to $11,000 per month.

In an interview on Side Hustle Nation, Rachel Harrison-Sund revealed that she earns a substantial income selling “blank” books on Amazon.

Think journals, diaries, planners, notebooks and sketchbooks.

From the PDF highlight reel that accompanies the interview:

Rachel said her process is very similar. She starts off browsing Amazon and other marketplaces online, as well as browsing physical bookstores for what’s selling. A tip that’s worked well for her is to add some “millennial speak” style catchphrases in the title. An example being a daily planner she published last year called, “Get Shit Done.” This book bought in between $6k-$11k a month for the first few months.

We’re not certain but most likely this is Rachel’s book on Amazon. You can see a bunch of similar titles from the same author here.

Ultimate Frisbee Coach

  • $13,000 per month (approx).

Melissa Witmer once taught chemistry at a community college and new “absolutely nothing” about working online.

Now she earns a living helping ultimate (frisbee) players and coaches achieve better results in the sport via her website, Ulty Results.

Ulty Results mostly generates income via paid training programs.

Puppeteer

  • At least $1,500 per month.

Mark W. Gray makes videos like this for paying clients on Fiverr:

On average, Gray apparently fulfills more than 1000 orders per year. He started in 2011, and was earning a decent income within a few months.

In 2012, LA Weekly wrote:

According to Gray, he now makes about $1,500 a month working only a few hours every few days. About half of that is through basic $5 gigs, of which Fiverr takes a $1 cut each, and half are $10-$25. It takes him only two to four minutes to make a $5 video.

Gray’s income from Fiverr is likely to have increased since 2012, as his lowest-priced gig is now $10, while his highest is $150.

Asana Consultant

  • $15,000 to $20,000 per month.

Paul Minors helps businesses and individuals get to grips with software. He offers training and consulting packages for:

  • Asana
  • Pipedrive
  • MailChimp
  • Zapier

As per Paul’s website, he earned more than $1,400 in his first month as a “virtual consultant,” and later scaled the business to $15-20k per month.

Make Money Online: Asana Consultant
Above: Part of the info page for Paul’s Asana consulting service.

For Asana in particular, Paul’s offerings range from a $97 video + ebook training program, to a $7,500 custom consulting package.

Honorable Mentions

The following are some noteworthy suggestions we rejected from the above list for one reason or another, but still thought you’d find interesting.

YouTube videos for cats

There are videos on YouTube especially for cats, like this one:

That video is monetized with ads, and according to one calculator, it has earned an estimated $12,558 in ad revenue.

Make Money Online: cat video earnings

The real earnings from the video must be far less, however, because ain’t no cat going to click on no YouTube ads.

Remote Matchmaker

Not online work but it’s too quirky not to share.

A company called Tawkify will pay you to play cupid.

Via a job posting on We Work Remotely:

You’ll scour your city to find and screen quality, eligible matches for our clients. Our intuitive matchmakers handpick each candidate based on our “VIP” approach to compatibility: Values, Individual lifestyle and Personal preferences.

Save Toby

Back in 2005 someone created a website called SaveToby.com.

Wikipedia tells the story:

The website claimed that the owner found Toby wounded outside his home, and nursed the rabbit back to health, not believing it would survive. However, it did, and he was unable to afford to care for him. The website then claimed that, unless he received $50,000 in US dollars to pay for its care, he would eat the rabbit. The money could be either donated directly, or through purchasing “Save Toby” merchandise.

It’s unclear if any money was ever collected via the website, and it’s widely believed that the entire thing was a hoax.

Trading a paperclip for a house

Via Wikipedia:

One red paperclip is a website created by Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald, who bartered his way from a single red paperclip to a house in a series of fourteen online trades over the course of a year.

However, Kyle did not accomplish his feat online.

He traveled to several states in the US and Canada in order to complete his trades.

Do you know some weird ways to make money online?

Let us know in the comments below.

(Special thanks to Hazel Lau for her help putting this article together. Give her a shout if you want to generate leads for your local business.)

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