You’ve probably met a doctor, lawyer, office worker, or teacher. Unfortunately, there’s a lack of information available in schools, various institutions, career counseling offices, and in homes where children grow up, about ways to make money if you’re either not interested in, or for whatever reason, aren’t cut out for living the life of a doctor, lawyer, or office worker. According to Forbes.com there are 52 million freelance workers, which make up 33% of the domestic workforce. In other words: the number of freelance, independent contractors has increased. Some join the freelance workforce out of love and passion, some join it to adapt to a not so great economy, and for some it’s a bit of both.
Here’s your chance to find out about the people that find a way to make money, off the most in demand, but obscure niches. There’s so much demand for the jobs listed below, that they generate plenty of work, and plenty of income, but are considered obscure, because the work of the outside the box thinkers, who make money off these in demand niches daily, isn’t common knowledge. If you hate your job, are unemployed, or just want something interesting to talk about at the next party you attend, then you might find this list extremely useful.
10. Wrinkle Chasers
Wrinkle Chasers make $19,00 – $49,000 a year. They iron out the wrinkles on shoes using only a hand iron, and a hot air dryer. Wrinkle chasers help make shoes look shiny, new, and wrinkle-free.
They’re a bit like professional shoe shiners, except they help keep shoes shiny and new in a completely different way, through using nothing but commonplace household appliances. Next time you need to eliminate evidence of wear and tear from your shoes, keep in mind there are people out there that will gladly help, for a fee.
9. Human Mannequins
Human mannequins are paid about $100 per hour. The pay is so high because it involves staying still for periods of time that very few people can successfully achieve. This job isn’t for people with even a hint of ADD, or those who get bored easily because you’re paid to stay super still in one place for several hours.
If you go to a store, and think you’re going crazy because you genuinely believe that the mannequin in the windowsill just moved an inch on its own, you might not be going crazy. In fact, you may have experienced your first professional human mannequin.
8. Professional Sleeper
Hotels pay professional sleepers to test out their beds, and write about their experiences. The only requirements: being fluent in the official language(s) of the hotel and being able to doze off.
In 2013, Helsinki-based Hotel Finn posted a help wanted ad, seeking a professional sleeper to test out their 35 rooms and blog about it. According to the hotel’s manager, Tio Tikka, her company was seeking a professional sleeper, with the following qualifications: “a dynamic person to write about their experience living in the best summery spot of Helsinki.” Hotel Finn wasn’t the first hotel to hire professional sleepers though. In 2010, a Chinese woman with the surname Zhang was selected out of 7,800 candidates as a hotel test sleeper for the Chinese web platform Qunar.
There are also professional sleepers hired by doctors and researchers. Professional sleepers hired by doctors and researchers are paid to sleep while hooked up to a bunch of machines, which test out the sleeper’s heart rate and brain activities. Doctors and researchers hire professional sleepers so that they can find out more about the way the human body behaves while sleeping.
7. Sex Toy Tester
Sex toy testers test out sex toys, for approximately $39,000 a year. Professional sex toy testers work from home, and are the first to test out sex toys, lingerie, and products designed to fulfill specific fetish niches. Companies that make sex toys and lingerie hire sex toy testers so that they can figure out how effective their products are before they’re sent to the shelves of sex shops, and the homes of couples worldwide.
Twenty-four year-old Nat Garvey for instance, became a sex toy tester, after replying to a help wanted ad posted by a company based in the UK which makes sex toys, looking for someone to test out their products. A variety of sex toys and products designed for specific fetish niches show up on her doorstep daily, and then she tests them out, and lets the company know how effective these products are. If Nat has a positive experience with the products that show up on her doorstep, the products that she tested out are publically distributed.
6. Professional Bed Warmers
Professional bed warmers are paid to wear special, all in one-sleeper suits, and warm up the beds of Holiday Inn guests, before they get under the covers. An Edinburg Sleep Centre study concluded that cold beds inhibit sleep, and warm beds, approximately 20 to 24 degrees Celsius, help people have a good night’s sleep. In January 2010, five-minute free bed warming sessions were test driven at London and Manchester, U.K Holiday Inn Locations.
5. Hangover Helpers Party Cleaners
Hangover Helpers Party Cleaners make $20 per roommate, through showing up at places where parties involving large quantities of alcohol occurred, 24 hours prior to their arrival. They make money off easing the pain of hangovers, through serving breakfast burritos and Gatorade, and cleaning up every bottle, dirty dish, and mess left over from the party. The only leftover evidence of what happened the night before are peoples’ memories, and hangovers hurt a little bit less.
Hangover Helpers Party cleaners founder Marc Simons started off by cleaning party houses for extra cash, and then he realized that he’d managed to tap into a niche, despite the bad economy. Marc runs Hangover Helpers Party Cleaners with his high school friend, Alex Vere Nichol. Alex and Marc started their business to get by in a not so great economy after they figured out there’s a lot of demand in Boulder, Colorado for people willing to clean up the leftover mess of party houses. Alex and Marc’s business operates exclusively in Boulder, Colorado, a college town, although there have been plenty of requests to expand their business to other cities across America.
4. Human Alarm Clocks
Daily Wake Up Call assigns customers a real live person that will call them either daily, or on a specific day that’s scheduled in advance, in order to remind them of their responsibilities, daily routines, and special events. Considering the amount of people out there that have busy professional and personal lives, this is a great way to make money off other peoples’ busyness, and prevent everything from forgetfulness to people sleeping through their alarm clocks.
3. Paint Dry Watcher
Are you familiar with the saying: “it’s like watching paint dry?” Keith Jackson knows what it’s really like to watch paint dry, because he watches paint dry for a living. Keith Jackson became a professional paint dry watcher when he was 16 years old. Companies pay Keith Jackson to figure out what paint will dry fastest, time how long it takes for different types of paint to dry, and tell them when their paint will dry.
Instead of literally “watching paint dry on walls” paint dry watchers conduct various tests, and use microscopes to determine how durable a particular type of paint is and how specific environments effect a specific brand/type of paint.
2. Professional Cuddler
Professional cuddlers are paid to cuddle with clients that need a good snuggle. They thrive in Japan, where there’s a large population of people, mostly in their 20s, who are apathetic about love and marriage, and put all of their focus on their careers, therefore they don’t have time for romantic relationships. A Vice Magazine documentary on the Love Industry in Japan revealed that professional cuddlers are paid extra to do things such as dressing in outfits that anime characters wear, and cleaning client’s ears with a Q-tip.
There are also professional cuddlers in parts of North America, because North Americans like to snuggle too! It’s important to recognize that although they provide physical contact for a living, professional cuddlers’ work is purely platonic. The Snuggle Buddies even get clients to sign a contract stating that no sexual activity of any kind will occur with the company’s snugglers.
1. Professional Queuer
If you don’t mind standing in a long line-up for extensive periods of time, this is the perfect job for you. For $36 per hour an American company called linestandings.com provides lobbyists with someone who will wait in line, at busy congressional hearings, and in China, where it’s actually quite common for a bank line up to take half a day, Professional Queuer’s jobs are gradually growing in popularity.