Fun and Humor

21 Seriously Strange Businesses & Extremely Weird Jobs That Pay Well

Human with a unicorn head dancing at a concert inside a nightclub.

Sometimes the wildest ideas breed success. Billions of dollars in revenue are generated each year in niche markets that you may find strange, unappealing, or downright wrong. Some call the founders of these obscure jobs and organizations crazy while others, innovators, but these are unique jobs that pay well; most of them, really well. Here is a look at 21 successful odd jobs or business ventures that have yielded massive returns.

Could you see yourself in any of these weird high paying jobs?

#1 Cat Cafes

Calico cat rubbing its head and ears against a seated person's foot.

What started in Taiwan made its way to the US and right to the heart of trendy Los Angeles, California. Located on Melrose Ave in LA is Crumbs & Whiskers, a cat cafe with an estimated revenue of $4M. Crumbs & Whiskers is open by appointment only to ensure a personalized experience for each client. Keep your eyes peeled, because you may spot a celebrity or two.

#2 Professional Cuddling

Prolonged human touch is scientifically beneficial; it boosts your mood by increasing chemicals in the brain like dopamine and serotonin and, as a result, can benefit you physically, too, by decreasing blood pressure, reducing pain, and lowering stress and anxiety. If you are longing for more human contact, this non-sexual business of cuddlers for hire has now become widely available. From snuggle parties to one-on-one cuddle sessions with a like-minded person or professional snuggler, the therapeutic cuddling business is booming. Websites like Cuddle Connect can get you set up with cuddle buddies in your area.

#3 Professional Mourners

Known as professional mourners, moirologists, or mutes, this practice originated over 2000 years ago. You will find the popularity of this odd job in Asia, Egypt, and the Mediterranean. Professional mourners are hired to weep loudly at funerals, speak kind words, sing, perform music, and dance to ensure a proper send-off in specific cultures. While the need for professional mourners appears to be declining, they are still used today at certain ceremonies or if family members cannot be there in person for a loved one’s funeral.

One modern-day Taiwanese professional mourner, Liu Jun-Lin, was trained by her grandmother and built a lucrative business out of this unusual job, charging approximately $600 for a full performance. With the success of her mourning business, her family is now all homeowners. Liu is also branching out to plan for the changing times; she has hired more than 20 striking female assistants to help funeral directors with embalming and other memorial services.

#4 Stunt Doubles

Jane Austin and Kurt Lott, a husband and wife stunt double team, started their own business called Hollywood Stunt Works. On our list of crazy jobs and businesses, Hollywood Stunt Works generates approximately $380K in annual revenue. They have worked on movies like Pirates of the Caribbean, G.I. Joe, Divergent, Red Dragon, and more.

According to Job Monkey, “Stuntmen average $70,000 per year. If you’re newer to the industry, you may only make $5,000 per year. It all depends on how much work you manage to find. The highest-end stuntmen can make up to $250,000 per year.”

#5 Legal Hackers

Computer terrorist in a dark hoodie hacking a computer network, types software code on the keyboard and controls a virus attack to hack into government sistems. Digital panels with many open windows with program codes and a windows for loading digital data.

HackerOne’s mission is a safer internet. HackerOne is a team of worldwide hackers for hire that will attempt to break into your business’s online data to show weak points of entry. Sound like strange job? HackerOne exposes clients’ security issues so they can take stronger precautions against real hackers and digital thieves. Calling it “hacking for good,” the HackerOne headquarters is located in San Francisco with offices in London, New York City, Singapore, and the Netherlands. For unusual jobs that pay well, HackerOne’s estimated annual revenue is between $10M and $100M per year!

#6 Smash Rooms

Among weird jobs that pay well, is a smash room owner.

Ever just feel like breaking something? That’s the premise behind smash rooms; a fun form of stress relief where clients can break anything they see. You enter a room where everything is fair game; bottles, dishes, televisions, computer monitors, and more. All you have to do is put on your protective gear, pick up your weapon of choice (crowbar, baseball bat, etc.), select a soundtrack, and start breaking stuff! Great for one-on-one sessions, corporate events, parties, or date nights.

The rage room industry has gotten so popular that one company, Smash Solutions, has created a curriculum that educates clients on the proper ways to start an anger room. Smash Solutions was started by the owner of Smash Therapy, Inc., Steven Shortino, who founded a Rochester, NY-based anger room that quickly took off and now garners $25K a month.

#7 Ayahuasca Retreats

Sometimes called transformation vacations, ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic compound that hails from South America. Often administered by a shaman and drank like a tea, ayahuasca is said to give you a new perspective on your life. Ayahuasca has been used to treat certain mental disorders, depression, drug addiction, or the spiritually lost; though, it is offered to anyone looking to gain insight into their existence. More recently, ayahuasca retreats have popped up, and some, like Rythmia, cater to the high-end crowd. Rythmia offers a high-end ayahuasca retreat that mirrors a luxury resort with all-inclusive spa services, fine dining, and more. Agree or disagree with this practice, Rythmia’s estimated revenue is still a respectable $4M, making owning an ayahuasca retreat one of the weirdest jobs that pay well.

#8 Revenge Businesses

Cute handmade voodoo doll (Made completely by me) with pins on a white background

Looking for dirty deeds done dirt cheap? There are plenty of random jobs and weird businesses out there to help you do it. While their products and services may be affordable, these oddball companies are generating millions of dollars per year in combined revenue. Here are seven strange businesses that will help you get even with a friend, enemy, or frenemy.

  1. Dirty Rotten Flowers: Choose a dead flower bouquet to send to an ex, friend, or family member that you just can’t stand. On a lighter note, they will also make a great gag gift.
  • Middle Finger by Mail: Want to flick someone off by mail? Well, now you can. This company allows you to customize your middle finger message and send the bird to those most deserving.
  • Ruin Days: This company offers a list of revenge services, including glitter bombs, box of annoying sand, poop in a box, and more!
  • Joker Greeting: Send someone a musical greeting card that doesn’t stop playing, a stinky candle, a spider bath bomb, and more.
  • Nefarious Jobs: This is a legit revenge business that offers several packages tailored to exes, bad bosses, and more.

#9 Cat Poop Coffee

No, this isn’t a revenge business or gag gift. There used to be a company called Really Sh*t Coffee that allowed you to send terrible-tasting coffee to anyone you please, but their website no longer exists. However, cat poop coffee is an actual thing now with scientific benefits and a really high price tag. Called civet coffee from the origin of the civet cat, this species is fed only organic coffee cherries (the fruit that produces coffee beans), and the beans are then extracted from their stool. The coffee is called Kopi Luwak and goes for $80 a cup in the United States or about $600 a pound.

#10 Eternal Reefs

How would you like to be buried? Okay, it’s not the most lighthearted question; the standards for what to do with your body after you die are typically grave, mausoleum, or cremation, but start thinking bigger. If you choose cremation, you can have your ashes spread over someplace pretty or personal to you, but that’s still relatively textbook. Writer Hunter S. Thompson had his ashes shot out of a canon over his Colorado farm by movie star Johnny Depp in an estimated $3M spectacle. While you don’t have to go that grand, Eternal Reefs offers a serene way for your memory to live on and be part of a bigger picture that actually creates more life. As described by their website, “An Eternal Reef combines a cremation urn, ash scattering, and burial at sea into one meaningful, permanent environmental tribute to life. An Eternal Reef is a designed reef made of environmentally-safe cast concrete placed on the ocean floor as a permanent memorial of a life well lived.”

Eternal Reefs’ revenue is estimated to be in the hundred thousands, with services offered to clients ranging from $4000 on the low end to $8000 on the high end.

#11 Happy Socks

funny doll  sock with googly eyes on a yellow background, hand theater

Yep, you guessed it, they sell socks, along with underwear and swimwear, but this Swedish company grossed $106.4M in 2016 alone. Their fun, vibrant, and quirky designs make them a standout in a relatively dull market. Happy Socks has collaborated with The Beatles, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Megan Massacre, Snoop Dog, and more.

#12 Pet Winery

Their website touts, CAT WINE, DOG WINE, CAT CHAMPAGNE, DOG CHAMPAGNE, DOG BEER AND MORE!” They also sell pet ice cream for cats and dogs. Sound silly? $4M in revenue certainly doesn’t, making the pet winery another successful profession on our list of odd jobs that pay well.

#13 Extreme Kidnapping

Have you ever seen the movie The Game with Michael Douglas? That’s what inspired Adam Thick’s Detroit-based business, Extreme Kidnapping. Clients pay for an abduction scenario that lasts anywhere from four hours to more than 24 hours, based on how much they are willing to shell out. The costs range from $500 to several thousand dollars to be abducted and even lightly tortured. While this sounds completely off-the-wall, there is a niche market for it, and Thick has seized that market; he has been in business since 2002. Some of his employees do these kidnapping gigs as fun side jobs, but this is Thick’s main profession, and he couldn’t see himself doing anything else.

Extreme haunts also exist, and some can be highly grueling, mentally, emotionally, and physically. The most infamous extreme haunt or survival horror location, as it’s sometimes called, is McKamey Manor. McKamey Manor was featured on the Netflix show Dark Tourist and the documentary Haunters: The Art of the Scare. McKamey Manor is located in Tennessee.

Looking for something a little less extreme? Escape rooms are now a booming business. A single escape room can make around $125K a year. Escape rooms are great for social get-together and company team building exercises. Typically, you have one hour to escape from a locked room by solving a series of puzzles and clues. Escape rooms have various themes like ancient temple, night at the museum, 80s house party, zombie invasion, and plenty more!

#14 Hidden Passageways

You’ve probably seen secret passages in movies or read about them in books, but the company Hidden Passageways will install them in your very own home. Pull a book down on a bookshelf, and it will open up to a corridor, secret room, or storage space, but their wide range of installations doesn’t stop there; they offer custom passageways within bookcases, bars, dressers, doors, fireplaces, mirrors, and more. They can even create high-security doors, safes, and panic rooms with prices that start at a couple thousand dollars and head up from there.

#15 Vampire Facial

Dr. Charles Runels has trademarked the name vampire facial where blood is drawn from another part of the patient’s body (usually the arm), the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is extracted and then added to microscopic punctures in the face after a process called microneedling. The platelets are said to stimulate cell turnover, as they are rich in growth factors that provide a boost to your skin and ensure it’s functioning at its best. This process can offer hydration, antioxidants, and an increase in things like collagen and elastin. Vampire facials have garnered some acclaim from celebrities like Kim Kardashian and go for more than a thousand dollars a treatment.

#16 Cameo

Paparazzi taking pictures with flash

Want to have a celebrity wish someone in your family a happy birthday? How about congratulate a friend on a new job? Or offer their blessing on an upcoming wedding? Whatever personalized message you wish to create, Cameo can help you do it; just choose your famous person from a long list of celebrities, pay the fee, and provide some general information about your recipient. Sports figures, musicians, television stars, and movie stars all come together on this website to make this happen and list their rates; you can even have them endorse your business. Some rates start at just under a hundred dollars and increase from there. If you’re looking for odd jobs online and have some industry experience, this could be for you.

#17 Child Leashes

Does your child have a habit of wandering off? A tethering system may be the key to ensuring they stay by your side in crowded places. Who invented kid leashes? This is up for some debate, but child harness prototypes can be traced back all the way back to the late 1800s. However, kid harnesses really came to fruition in the early 20th century.

Later on, some sources say that a man named Chester Lockhart invented the first child harness and leash in the shape of a friendly monkey, called the monkey backpack. You may have seen the monkey backpack at the gift shop of your favorite amusement park or a large retail chain like Walmart. A Utah native and the first-born of 23 children, Chester grew up in a community living environment where it was often hard to keep track of all his siblings. At a local zoo, Chester lost his sister when she wandered into a Komodo dragon habitat. After that, Chester vowed to create an easier way to keep everyone together – literally – so the first monkey backpack child leashing system was born. Since then, there have been many spinoffs of these child leash systems and stuffed animal hybrids garnering millions of dollars in sales.

#18 Moss Walls

Currently trending, these are living plant walls and framed moss gardens presented like art installations. Moss frames bring a bit of the outdoors indoors. They have become a true statement piece in both residential and commercial properties, as well as high-end offices. Numerous businesses are getting in on the fun, with some solely dedicated to this art form. Moss art can start out relatively inexpensive but increases to thousands of dollars or more depending on the project.

#19 Scent & Flavor Development

For different jobs, try scent or flavor development.

Have some McCormick spices in your home? That business started with one guy (Willoughby M. McCormick) in a cellar making root beer, extracts, and flavored syrups; it is now a multibillion-dollar company.

Scent and flavor development run the world; from the food you eat to the perfume you wear and the scented candles you burn in your home; they all have an incredible team behind them. Believe it or not, there is even a line of employees whose main job is to sniff armpits when testing a new deodorant, and odor testers actually make more than $70K a year! There are also dog food testers; not the most glamorous business, but their annual wage is still nothing to scoff at ($30K+ – $100K+). So if you find yourself asking, is there a guy or gal out there whose job is testing all the new sauces for your favorite chicken wing chain; the answer is yes.

#20 Subscription Boxes

Subscription Box Service Delivery Mailbox 3d Illustration

Think of your favorite things; there are probably monthly subscriptions dedicated to them. Subscription boxes are all the rage and something to look forward to on your doorstep each month. There are wine subscriptions, pet product subscriptions, coffee subscriptions, hot sauce subscriptions, murder mystery subscriptions, custom clothing subscriptions, and so many more. The subscription box industry now generates revenue in the billions!

#21 Popups

Popups, specifically art installation popups, have become an Instagrammer obsession. Perhaps, one of the most notable is The Museum of Ice Cream that houses ice cream art that you can actually walk through and interact with. Since its inception in New York City in 2016, it has bridged out to California, Florida, and Singapore, and grossed more than $10M in sales! How’s that for fun and weird professions that generate major income?

Bonus: My Pet Rock

Remember the pet rock? The pet rock was simply a rock with a great marketing strategy. The concept was invented by Gary Dahl; it sold for $3.95 a pet and made $15M. So the next time you have an idea that sounds silly or a bit too crazy, remember these seriously wealthy innovators and laugh with them all the way to the bank.

Turn your crazy business idea into a reality at 123Print!

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