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10 Weird Freelance Jobs People Actually Get Paid For

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If you thought you’ve seen all the weird freelance jobs out there, think again.

The world of freelancing is growing at an unprecedented pace. In the US alone, there are 73.3 million freelancers. That’s almost a third of the US population, and the industry is expected to exhibit a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.1% between 2023 and 2028.

A few years ago, freelance online jobs were limited to online writing, graphic design, virtual assistants, resume writing, and marketing. But things are changing!

Today, if you search for “online freelance jobs near me,” you’ll get hundreds of unconventional jobs. Sometimes, the weird online jobs are so odd that it can be hard to believe they actually exist.

From professional cuddlers to ostrich babysitters, some freelancers are truly taking the world of the weird to a whole new level. We came across hundreds of these weird online jobs, some of which are so interesting that you’ll want to tell your friends about them.

1. Ostrich Babysitter

The ostrich babysitter is perhaps the mother of all weird freelance jobs. As unusual as it may sound, this freelance gig exists and is very popular in South Africa.

Ostrich chicks are usually very sensitive in the first three months and require constant care. For this reason, babysitters are hired to keep constant watch of the young birds, ensuring they don’t fight with each other, escape, or get eaten by predators.

Remember, the more ostriches that survive, the more income the owner makes. So, it stands to reason why those who practice ostrich farming often hire ostrich babysitters.

If you’re up for it, you can expect to earn $10 per hour. Keep in mind, though, that this is a risky job, as ostriches consider humans as potential predators. If angered, these birds kick with their powerful feet armed with long claws, capable of killing or disemboweling in a single blow.

2. Professional Mourner

Yes! You heard that right! Professional mourners.

If you know how to fake tears and show extreme sadness on command (no degree needed), you can easily get a job as a professional funeral mourner.

Professional mourners are required to attend a funeral for about an hour, during which they’ll cry and loudly lament at the passing of the departed (despite having never met or known them). The idea is to create the impression that the bereaved will be missed by many.

Also known as moirologists, professional mourners are gaining popularity, particularly in China and some parts of the US. This gig has no barrier to entry and requires no skill. In China, professional mourners earn an annual income of around 200,000 Yuan (roughly $28,000).

3. Train Pusher

If you have a few hours to spare during the morning and evening peak hours, you can easily get a freelance job as a train pusher.

Train pushers do exactly what the name suggests; push passengers until they can all squeeze into the train’s carriage. Yes! This is real in Asia, particularly in Japan, where train pushers are in high demand.

The Japanese rail network is known for its superiority and complexity.

In Tokyo alone, nearly 40 million passengers ride through the rail daily. That’s more than the entire population of California. With such a large population relying on the rail, you can imagine the traffic congestion during peak hours.

In fact, some sources have suggested that during rush hour, the trains are overloaded by 70%–with some running over 200% over capacity. This is where professional pushers, commonly known as oshiya, in Japan, make a living. Dressed in nice suits and white gloves, these professionals wait until the train is full, then shove more people into the train car until it’s beyond capacity and ready to hit the rails.

4. Professional Sleeper

someone sleeping in a bed with gray pillows and a gray blanket over them

Researchers are always looking for volunteers to participate in tests involving medical research. Generally, a professional sleeper is a person paid to sleep to support research investigations. They work with different types of clients, including medical professionals, scientists, and manufacturers. Specific areas where professional sleepers may work include.

  • Medical research
  • Product testing (drugs, beddings, mattresses, and pillows)
  • Art installations

The research company will pay them to sleep, take some drugs (or exercise), and monitor them, often changing parameters and conditions until they arrive at a conclusion.

In the case of bedding, a professional sleeper is hired to test the mattresses (or pillows) and give their feedback on what they like and dislike about the product. As of Feb 2023, the average annual salary of a professional sleeper in the US was $60,423. Who knew such a weird freelance job could be so lucrative?

5. Gross Stunt Tester

You probably have seen those gross stunts on Fear Factor and other reality TV shows where celebrities eat bugs and other creepy stuff. However, before a celebrity can chow down this stuff, someone has to test them first to ensure they are safe.

And that’s where a gross stunt tester comes in!

The film and TV industry employs gross stunt testers on a regular basis. These individuals are paid handsomely to test disgusting items, such as fluids and creepy bugs, to ensure they’re safe for others to consume on camera.

Expect to test all sorts of disgusting and creepy things—from spiders to roaches, worms, and duck embryos eaten straight from the shell. This gig is not for the faint of heart. But if you have the stomach for it, you can earn up to $1,000 a day testing this stuff.

6. Baby Name Consultant

Baby name consultants are in high demand in many countries, the US included. These professionals help couples find common ground over what to name their kids.

New parents can spend months agonizing over what to name their babies. Sometimes, both parents have ideas of their own and can’t reach a compromise. In this case, consulting a baby name advisor can help find the perfect name for their kid.

A baby name consultant will walk you through the various options, give you meanings behind certain baby names, and advice on the best name for your kids. Today, expectant parents are paying upwards of $1,000 to professional baby name consultants.

7. Photo Editor

The advancement of technology has given rise to a universe of freelance online jobs, including photo editing, among others.

If you possess some photo editing skills, you can make a killing from it, editing photos for journalists, marketers, and influencers online. It’s not one of the weird online jobs out there, but it’s definitely one that can give you big bucks if you can perfect it.

And the best part; you don’t need a degree to master the art of photo editing. Many free photo editing tools, like Picsart, exist that can take your photo editing skills to the next level. Such tools leverage AI technology to bring your vision to life without pinching your pocket hard.

According to Salary.com data, the average salary of a freelance photo editor in the US is $26 per hour.

8. Movie Reactor

audience watching a movie in a theater

Imagine getting paid for watching movies from home — kind of a weird freelance job you probably didn’t think existed.

But, believe it or not, hat’s how a growing number of people have been making a living.

Known as “movie reactors,” these people record themselves laughing, crying, and reacting in all manner of ways to movie scenes, then post those reactions on websites like YouTube or Patreon, where viewers can pay to watch movies with them.

Movie reactors generally earn their income from YouTube ad revenue, Patreon subscriptions, merchandising, and even live chat from fans. They promote their movie reaction videos on popular social media sites like TikTok, Instagram, and more, where they grow their following, increasing their potential to earn more.

Besides movie reacting, you can also watch videos, play games, or even take paid surveys on sites like InBoxDollars or Swagbucks.

9. House Sitter

Now here’s a freelancing gig that’s not so unusual but with some real perks. House Sitting!

People with expensive homes don’t like leaving their property unmanned for fear of break-ins and theft. When they go on holidays or work trips, they often employ house sitters to look after the place rather than leaving it vacant.

And this is where house sitters fit in! These individuals are hired to man or look after the property when the owner is away. Responsibilities may include taking care of pets, attending to plants and flowers, and staying on the property during the day and night to ensure no break-ins.

This gig pays $50 to $80 a night, which could increase depending on your period of stay. That’s not much, but the fact that you’ll be living in a luxurious house, enjoying all the benefits, including swimming, home theater, and more, is incentivizing enough for anyone to want the gig.

10. Professional Cuddler

Are you a caring person with a lot of platonic love to give? Then a career as a freelance professional cuddler can work for you.

Also known as professional snugglers, their job is to snuggle clients at all hours of the day, providing affection, warmth, and comfort to clients irrespective of age, race, and background. This job is a form of touch therapy that’s platonic in nature. A woman in Oregon started a cuddling business and earns a staggering $60 per hour from it.

Well, that was weird…

That’s it! Our roundup of the weird freelance jobs you can find online and offline. If you’re looking for unusual jobs working from home, some of these jobs might be ideal for you.

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Written by Jessica Perkins

Staff at Millo.co

A growth hacker at heart, Jess helps SaaS companies rapidly scale their inbound leads through lean marketing strategies. She views content marketing and advertising as the perfect concoction of growth, and loves to write about her insights and experiences.

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Reviewed & edited by Adam Wright, at Millo.

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