Sick of the 9 to 5? Here are some of the weird and wonderful alternatives you can earn from with nothing but a laptop and a quality pair of socks.
Newsflash: the online world is a weird place. And while we might be worrying about the evolution of the likes of ChatGPT, perhaps what we should be worrying about is some of the wild career paths that have surfaced somewhere in the midst of our favourite hobbies: social media and screen time.
As the cost of living crisis rages across Europe and companies across every sector cut more staff, we wouldn’t be judging if some of the jobs listed here actually inspire you to ditch the 9 to 5 and take up something a little less conventional.
After all, why sit at a desk for eight hours a day when you could be getting paid to sit in a cinema with a stranger who’s paying you by the hour to be their friend?
Here are some of the oddest jobs you, too, could be making a living from in our online world.
Become an influencer on TikTok by filming every detail of your life
This is just one subset of an ever growing corner of social media: the lifestyle content creators.
Remember the days people were ostracised on Instagram for taking pictures of their lunch? It’s like that, but on Olympic-standard steroids and, weirdly, with a huge following.
You might wonder why anyone would want to know every minute detail of a stranger’s day, from their skincare routine to how they clean their kitchen surfaces. But in 2023 we can confirm: the appetite is there. And people are capitalising on it.
In fact, it’s become such a lucrative industry that France is now putting the final touches to a landmark “influencer law” regulating this space, and tax authorities want to be sure they get a slice of it too.
Lifestyle content creators tend to make their money from advertising and paid partnerships. They range from “micro influencers,” generally considered to have around 10,000 - 50,000 followers, who could earn in the region of €100 - €500 per post, to “mega influencers” (over a million followers) who could be looking at up to €10,000 for a single post.
Influencers were very much a thing before TikTok became mainstream, but the short video platform has only driven demand for content on… well, basically anything.
Sell your dirty socks and pictures of your feet to strangers
We’re not saying foot fetishes are a phenomenon that came along with the Internet, but the online world has made it a lot more accessible (and acceptable), along with any other fetish one may or may not be partial to.
Insider recently reported the monthly income of a woman who sells images and videos of her feet, as well as her dirty socks, to clients who are willing to pay up to €500 for the socks alone.
According to Insider, the woman, who had previously worked in hospitality and hairdressing, discovered the website “Fun with Feet” during lockdown when work was slowing down and it was unclear when things would be returning to normal.
Ladies, gentlemen, non-binaries - no time like the present to treat yourself to a pedicure and a fresh set of cotton crew socks. A little bit of investment in your trotters could just see you through the cost of living crisis.
Get paid to be someone’s friend
On a more serious note, if we’re thinking about the repercussions that can come with tech advances, social media dominating our subconscious and our increasing dependence on our devices, the global average of screen time is approximately seven hours per day.
It’s no surprise then that the issue of people feeling like they don’t have much time for forging genuine in-person connections is getting worse.
In the US, for example, the share of people saying they have no close friends at all went up from 3 per cent in 1990 to 12 per cent in 2021, according to surveys by Gallup and the Survey Center on American Life.
Thankfully, there are legitimate jobs out there ready to exploit our escalating rates of global loneliness. For example, RentAFriend.com, where you can be hired to join your bestie, aka your employer, at events like family functions, sports events, or just hanging out.
Websites like this also facilitate people who can teach others skills like cooking or a new language, or show someone around their city or town. So it’s not quite as tragic as it sounds.
RentAFriend.com states you could look at earning around €10 per hour, but your clients will be expected to pay for added extras like event tickets, coffees or food and drinks.
Write other people’s dating profiles and help them fall in love
In a similar vein, if you pride yourself on your dating app skills, there’s a market to monetise your assets.
Professionally known as an online dating ghostwriter, your responsibilities will range from writing up a profile to managing a conversation until your client feels ready to take the reins.
Don’t worry, you won’t be expected to actually show up for the date itself. That’s a different profession.
Morally dubious? A little bit. We’re not sure where the line is between being a ghostwriter and a straight up catfish, but you can expect to earn €80 to €100 per profile as a starting point.