Some of the Latest Weird Ways to Make Money
By Steve Gillman - October 19, 2013
Here is a roundup of some of the stranger ways people are
making a living (or trying to) as of the fall of 2013. We start
with one that is perhaps a bit controversial; charging for "homeless
tours" in Seattle. From there we move on to cremation jewelry,
cheese sculpting, and spiritual house cleansing, among others.
Referring to it as "poverty tourism," critics have
said that Mike Momany's new business is tasteless at best. But
the former web developer, who is himself homeless, thinks he
is giving a voice to the homeless. What he offers is a "homeless
experience" for $2,000, for those who want to spend three
days on the streets. No photos are allowed, but customers can
have GPS trackers so that in case of an emergency they can be
tracked down. No word yet on whether Momany has any paying customers.
Artist Michele Palenik says she has "20 years of experience
as a jeweler, a fine jewelry background, a funeral director husband,
two kids, a crazy dog and a Marine Biology Degree." Among
her other artistic creations you'll find jewelry with human remains
in it. Send her a half-teaspoon of the ashes of a loved one and
she'll make it into something you can wear. She calls her business
the Purple Cloud Studio.
Yes, you read that right, and the profession is real, at least
for Sarah The Cheese Lady Kaufmann. She travels around
carving blocks of cheese into all sorts of intricate sculptures
for various events. She supplements her cheese carving income
by doing seminars on cheese making. You can see some of her creations
and find out where her works will be displayed next, on her website:
Bacon Flavored Products
Want to try some bacon-flavored lip balm? Now there is a place
to buy it, along with sunflower seeds and other products that
are have been made to taste like bacon. J&D's Foods was started
in 2007 by a couple friends who love the taste of bacon. If you
want to make money with a new concept you can go get your inspiration
(and bacon-flavored mayonnaise) at their website: http://www.jdfoods.net/
Speaking From the Grave
It would be nice to hear from our loved ones after they have
passed on, and now we can. A company called Immortum allows customers
to record their memories and advice and more in various formats,
and then delivers these to specified family and friends after
death. Many years ago I imagined a similar concept and wrote
about it online, calling my service "Letters From the Dead."
The idea was that birthday and anniversary cards and letters
could keep going to one's family and friends for years after
Mobile Wedding Chapel
Las Vegas is known for instant (and cheap) weddings, so it
is no surprise that the "Wedding Wagon" started there.
This company will rush right over to your resort or hotel or
wherever you like (within reason -- call for locations) when
you feel the need to get married right now (before you sober
up?). Their prices start at just $129, and that includes not
only the minister and witnesses, but a photo album as well.
Body Farm Caretaker
Scientists and criminologists need to learn how bodies decompose,
so they bury dead humans in various ways and then dig them up
again after a while to study the remains. Of course someone has
to tend to these macabre gardens to be sure that nobody tampers
with the bodies planted there. This is not a job for the squeamish.
Other Strange Ways to make Money
Here are a few more notes on some of the stranger ways people
get a paycheck or turn a profit.
A "cuddle cafe" recently opened in Tokyo, Japan,
where customers can be cuddled, have there heads patted, and
otherwise be treated like a mother comforting her baby.
One Google worker reportedly has the job of watching porn,
or rather watching videos that might be pornographic, in order
to identify and remove repulsive photos and videos from Google
properties (like YouTube).
Lisa Miller does "spiritual house cleansing" starting
at $300 per house, and has many testimonials on her website from
One of my own recent unusual jobs was driving an electric
tram that runs people from their high-end condos to the beach
restaurants and bars at an exclusive community here in Florida.
I had to stop more than once to allow passengers to watch alligators
eating birds, a possum, and even another alligator.
I have read that cleaning IMAX theater screens is a specialized
job; not sure what that entails.
Finally, you can, of course, find many more odd ways to make
a living or some extra income in my book, 101 Weird Ways to Make Money: Cricket Farming, Repossessing Cars, and Other Jobs With Big Upside and Not Much Competition. The good news is that
the jobs and businesses covered in the book are not at all speculative.
At least a few people have succeeded from each of them, and sometimes
they make more than just enough to pay the bills.