I've been paid well and never felt creeped-out or threatened.
Craigslist isn’t just for buying used refrigerators and selling bicycles. I’ve used it to find paying gigs that are really weird.
If you’re adventurous and willing to work hard, you could be making extra cash in fascinating ways. For me, I always leave with money and a story…
1. Fake office worker
I once got paid to “look busy” at an office in Los Angeles. Not for TV or anything — I answered a Craigslist ad for a company whose CEO was coming to town. The company wanted the office to look bigger and busier. I could do whatever I wanted on the Internet, as long as I looked like I was working. It was strange, but awesome.
Money and time: $13 an hour for 5 hours
2. Rave water-seller
In the cold, dark, and gray winter of Portland, Oregon, I was the “water girl” at an all-night rave in a sweaty warehouse from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Essentially, I sold water bottles to crazy, drugged-up ravers.
It was a packed event, with music that I didn’t really care for and people strung out like nobody’s business. When that many people are dancing and doing drugs, people are dehydrated and will pay $2 for a bottle of water — and tip you for handing it to them.
Money and time: $12 an hour plus tips for 8 hours
3. Medical test subject
While at NYU, I also participated in medical research. In the experiment, I got hooked up to fancy cords and had an electrode attached to my wrist, while watching a screen that made it seem I was driving down an open road.
I had to press a button every time I felt the pulse on my skin. I started feeling dizzy from the screen, so I asked them to stop.
They paid me my $30 and said I was now ineligible for future research! Medical research isn’t for everyone. In addition, easier studies pay less, and more elaborate studies pay more. (You can find studies near you at sites like Center Watch.)
Money and time: $30 in 15 minutes
4. Invisible dog-walker
As a side hustle, I often work as a brand ambassador. A brand ambassador is someone that increases brand awareness at events by giving out free swag and sharing information. It’s fun and easy.
One time I was promoting a grand opening of a new pet store, and we were told to walk up and down the street with a leash and “invisible dog” and start conversations with people. (The leash had a sturdy wire in it that made it look like a transparent dog was on the other end.)
Money and time: $18 an hour for 6 hours
Since the coolest gigs on Craigslist are urgent tasks, timing is everything. I find Saturday mornings to be the best time to look for the craziest stuff.
Searching the “Gigs” section periodically can unearth some easy and fun jobs. Of course, use your own discretion and put your safety first before meeting strangers. But I’ve found that many gigs are legit and can be rewarding.
It just requires persistence, patience, openness, and the desire to hustle. Some people aren’t willing to give up their free time or do things they deem “below them.” I’m not one of those people — I take all the weird Craigslist jobs I can!
What’s the strangest thing you’ve done for money? Win a gift certificate for telling us about it.