Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up? Lots of kids make big plans about becoming an astronaut or superhero, only to settle into far more mundane professions as adults. However, other free spirits come up with unconventional business ideas that break the mold of a typical job.
In fact, these bizarre ventures almost sound too weird to actually make money. But they are raking in a fortune! Some sound like a blast, while others are gross enough to make you thankful to have a normal desk job. Either way, you won’t find these bizarre professions at your local job fair.
1. Rage Rooms: Whether you’re Mother Theresa or The Incredible Hulk, we all get a little mad sometimes. That’s why “rage rooms” evolved, giving furious customers the chance to smash furniture and electronics — all with the proper protection, of course.
The Washington Post
2. Earwax Salon: You’ll want to hear about this unusual treatment. Popularized in Japan, ear cleaning salons clean the gunk out of your auditory organs using a “candling” technique. Essentially, the staff creates a gentle vacuum effect that sucks the wax right out!
3. Glitter Bombs: Spilled glitter is a real pain to clean up. Online prank companies, taking notice of that fact, will let you ship boxes full of glitter to your enemies and (soon to be former) friends. Upon opening, they send shiny particles everywhere!
YouTube / Mark Robert
4. Funeral Caterer: Grief can make you surprisingly hungry. That fact inspired David Storke to start Sympathy Foods, a caterer focusing on meals for bereaved families! He ships comforting dishes to people all over the United States too overcome to cook for themselves.
5. Professional Wedding Guests: If you’re at a close friend’s nuptials and don’t recognize a couple guests tearing up the dance floor, they’re probably not crashers. Some couples, particularly in South Korea, hire expert guests to help fill out the reception and plan the festivities.
6. Fake Paparazzi: Have you ever wanted to enjoy the attention of celebrity without having any of the money or power? Well, you can hire phony photographers to follow you around and act like you’re famous! That’s a better investment than buying up space in tabloids.
7. Rent-A-Goat: If you own a lot of land, cutting and weeding your lawn can take forever. But rural services will tell you to put away the mower and hire a goat herd for a few hours! Since they’ll eat anything, goats clear litter off your property as well.
We Rent Goats
8. Senior Computer Testing: Just because a tech pro approves of your website doesn’t mean it’s user-friendly. Will your average joe understand it? To answer that question, developer Scotty Allen founded the venture TheUserIsMyMom, where his actual mother tests out sites to see if they make sense.
9. Wedding Wagons: Eloping is usually cheaper than a traditional wedding, but you still have to run off someplace to tie the knot. But thanks to a Las Vegas company, however, a deluxe Wedding Wagon will come to you and carry out your nuptials. Romance!
10. Invisible Boyfriend: Plenty of single women are tired of pressure from friends and family to find a nice guy. Those who are really exhausted can download Invisible Boyfriend, an app specializing in overhauling their social media to give off the appearance that they have beaus.
11. Hangover Bus: It’s easy to go overboard at an open bar, but responsible hosts charter Hangover Heaven for the afterparty. The clinic-on-wheels provides inebriated passengers with advanced hydration, beds to crash, and a full entertainment system. Headaches have never been so luxurious!
12. Cheese Sculpting: Sarah Kaufman appreciates Michelangelo’s David as much as anyone, but with one big complaint — the statue isn’t made of cheese. The self-described “Cheese Lady,” makes a living creating dairy sculptures for grocery stores and special events. No whey? Yes whey!
13. Dog Sled Chauffeur: Perfect for fans of the movie Balto, plenty of kennels in colder regions will let you rent out an entire team of dogs. You can host your own personal Iditarod with a fat enough wallet!
Summit Daily News
14. Snake Massages: Spa experiences are meant to provide peak relaxation. That’s why it’s surprising that some massage services now use snakes! They allow the reptiles to crawl all over you, which doesn’t sound like the most natural way to relieve stress.
15. Baked Soaps: This could be the tastiest way to wash your mouth out. Though it appears to be a delicious cookie, that’s actually soap in disguise! Nadine Brown, founder of Mrs. Brown’s Bath Bakery, concocted recipes for body products that look and smell exactly like delectable treats.
16. Alibi Fabricator: Even if you’re not a hardened criminal, you might need a Saul Goodman to watch your back. Though not as colorful, online companies will supply you with a watertight alibi. They’ll do everything from verify your whereabouts to provide a fake job reference!
17. Bacon-Flavored Everything: For some folks, breakfast for dinner isn’t enough. They can only scratch their bacon itch by making everything taste like bacon. Lucky for them, J&D Foods can oblige, with salt, popcorn, mayo, lip balm, and envelopes with that signature bacon tang!
18. Cremation Jewelry: Be careful about what you buy at Purple Cloud Studio. Far from your typical jeweler, the shop takes cremated ashes and makes mementos for loved ones of the recently deceased!
19. Parent Rentals: But if your actual mother isn’t around to lend a hand with the task at hand, don’t fret. Many college students are hiring local “moms” by the hour to help with chores like laundry and dusting. Home-cooked meals not included!
The New York Times / Brian C. Frank
20. Body Painter: Finally, a use for your art degree! These talented painters create mind-boggling designs to turn the human body into a true work of art. Best of all, their subjects usually don’t even have to bother putting on clothes.
21. Panda Handler: Pandas are awesome, but they have a little bit of trouble when it comes to mating. So among other responsibilities, handlers have to, ahem, help out the critters before they feel ready for a night of romance. It’s like being nature’s third wheel.
22. Subway Pusher: As bad as your rush hour may be, it has nothing on peak times in Tokyo. Its subway system gets so crowded, that specialized workers called ‘Oshiya’ cram as many passengers into train cars as possible. But hey, at least they wear spiffy white gloves while they’re shoving you!
23. Professional Mourner: Worried that nobody will show up at your funeral? Don’t sweat it. Even if someone scares off all their friends and family in life, they can hire mourners to attend their memorials and make a very big show about how sad they are.
24. Professional Cuddler: Do you give the best hugs? If so, you might have a bright future ahead of you as a pro cuddler. People in need of affection hire these comforters to provide non-sexual contact for up to $80 per hour. Now that’s a pay rate worth embracing!
25. Pet Food Taster: All animals love eating, but unfortunately they can’t describe what they like about their food. That’s why pet food companies have humans on staff to sample the kibbles and bits and provide feedback. It might sound demeaning, but at least they’re allowed to use silverware — we hope.
YouTube / What’s Good at Trader Joe’s?
26. Rental Boyfriend: Dating is hard. So why bother finding a long-term significant other when you can just rent one? Japan offers multiple boyfriend rental services, which provide companionship at an hourly rate. Surprisingly, their main clientele are middle-aged housewives.
27. Armpit Sniffer: If you’re really low on dough, you can start a promising career in smelling strangers’ armpits. Deodorant and perfume companies pay sniffers good money to test out the effectiveness of their products.
28. Water Slide Tester: This position would make quite a splash on your resume. Waterpark manufacturer First Choice employs testers to try out their rides all over the world. Unfortunately, they only have one on staff at a time, so don’t hold your breath to land in this talent pool.
29. Alpaca Shaver: This one might get hairy. Expert barbers shear dozens of alpacas in a single day so that their fleece can be used for clothing and bedding. For an added bonus, the shaved alpacas look like they’re part of a 1990s grunge band.
Flickr / Selbe
30. Electric Shock Distributor: Drunk people will always do stupid things, so you might as well make some money off them. In Mexico, men called ‘Toques’ offer bar patrons a grip on a small box that sends an electrical shock up their arms. Some people believe it helps you sober up, but we wouldn’t recommend it.
31. Professional Stander-In-Line: If you have a lot of patience and free time, then this is the perfect job for you. For crowded events or big product releases, shoppers can hire proxies to hold a place in line for hours and hours.
32. Reality Show Stunt Tester: Before reality show contestants dig into any gross eating challenges, these events need to be thoroughly tested. That’s where these brave folks come in! The best part is, they never have to pack a lunch.
33. Personal Shopper: Need help spending your money? Many stores in China sell knockoff products, so consumers take assistants with them to determine what’s real and what’s fake. And let’s be honest, they probably do all the heavy lifting too.
34. Flavorist: This is the type of mad science we can get behind! These chemists spend their days in a laboratory creating both natural and artificial flavors to add to food. Imagine being able to taste a hamburger just by sipping a little bit of liquid.
YouTube / CBS News
35. Slot Machine Music Composer: Even though playing the slots rarely works out, they have a way of drawing us in with all the lights and sound effects. Because each type of machine has its own theme and music, dedicated composers write jingles to keep people distracted from all the money they’re losing.
36. Pick-Up Artist Coach: Having trouble with the ladies? For a fee — sometimes as high as $3,000 — there are pick-up instructors available for hire. They will teach you how to flirt, act cool, and dress like a movie star.
37. License Plate Blocker: When traffic became overwhelming, Iran implemented a policy where on certain days streets were only open to cars with license plate numbers ending in even or odd numbers. Busy businessmen, however, hired people to cover their plates so cameras couldn’t catch them breaking the new law.
38. Professional Sleeper: If you’re always getting in trouble for sleeping on the job, then you might want to fire off your resume to a nearby hospital. Doctors carry out various sleep studies, which require paid volunteers to do little more than snooze the workday away.
39. Bicycle Fisherman: Amsterdam is filled with bicycles and canals, and that often proves to be a bad combination. After cyclists enjoy too much of the local flavor and veer off the road, a crew will arrive to dredge up the bike. They rescue about 14,000 bicycles each year!
Flickr / Ernst Kers