Over a decade ago, a very good friend and I set out to start a company. The problem was that we did not have a new or unique business idea between us. Instead, we did what many entrepreneurs do -- we decided to buy a business.
Over months, we researched in publications and met with a number of attorneys and business brokers. While we found a number of very interesting businesses (most of which are described in my book, One Million Frogs), by and large, the most unique prospect was a dead body removal company.
Yes -- dead body removal.
Here's the thing. The company had a long and successful history, tremendous financials, and apparently a monopoly over a large geographical area. The owner wanted to retire, but he was looking for a couple of young and ambitious guys to carry on his legacy. We were just those guys.
All was progressing nicely until the owner mentioned "going out on a call" with him. Up to that point, I had always planned on being the guy to send out invoices, handle calls, manage employees -- you know, business stuff.
The reality was that if a technician phoned out sick on a Saturday, then it would be up to me to be on call to remove that three-week-old body found in an apartment. That's entrepreneurship.
Needless to say, the negotiations did not go far after that meeting (I barely have a stomach for blood). The experience, however, did leave me with the realization that sometimes the best business opportunities are outside the norm -- in some cases, well outside.
So, if you are looking for inspiration, or perhaps you are seeking a moonlighting gig as you grow your business, here are 18 crazy jobs and industries that actually pay well, courtesy of BigAssignment.com:
1. Crime Scene Cleaner ($35,000-$75,000/year)
Although this is a job that is very-much recession proof, it is not pretty or easy. If you can handle it, however, it can be a very lucrative position.
2. Worm Picker ($25,000/year)
For those who are "calm under pressure" and don't mind dirt under their fingernails. Bonus: Discounted fish bait.
3. Fake Executive ($1,000/week)
If you are willing to work in China, there is a need for westerners who can attend events, give speeches and generally help Chinese companies give the appearance of a connection with the western world.
4. Chicken Sexer ($28,000/year)
New hatched chicks may be cute, but sorting them by gender is a task for experienced individuals.
5. Bingo Manager ($56,000/year)
Maneuvering strict state gambling laws and accounting practices is just part of these responsibilities. Maybe most important is providing unique -- and culturally sensitive -- experiences for your players.
6. Professional Bridesmaid ($400-$1,000/event)
If you are brave enough to attend multiple wedding (and be subject to "The Chicken Dance" on a regular basis), recite speeches about people you don't know, and improvise a fake story about how you know the bride, then there is a market for your talent.
7. Golf Ball Diver ($30,000/year)
8. Embalmer ($27,000/year)
While newly minted embalmers do not earn much, you can earn as much as $60,000 per year with experience. The good news is that if you do not enjoy the job, you have a future as a movie makeup artist.
9. Paper Towel Sniffer ($19,000-$50,000/year)
With a well-tuned sense of smell, you can have the job of making sure paper towels do not have a strong odor.
10. Professional Sleeper ($15,000-$30,000/year)
If you love to sleep (and really, who doesn't), then maybe you can find a job testing beds for hotels or taking part in research studies.
11. Beer Taster ($45,000/year)
If you love beer (and really, who doesn't), then consider becoming a beer taster, judge or even an intern who blogs about beers from around the world. Although many jobs require a qualification as a beer sommelier or cicerone, achieving either is part of the fun.
12. Ethical Hacker ($50,000-$125,000/year)
Computer hackers with a conscious can put their skills to work and get paid to hack into business systems and report areas of vulnerability.
13. Psychic Reader ($40,000/year)
If you are good at reading people (or truly have an extrasensory gift), then you might qualify as a readings consultant. Interview is optional -- since you should already know whether or not you will get the job.
14. Live Mannequin ($100/hour)
Not many people can stand still for long periods of time, but if you can, there may be a unique modeling job for you. Individuals should proceed with caution, however, considering the torment that young children (my kids included) have been know to dish out on mannequins.
15. Fortune Cookie Writer ($38,000-$75,000/year)
This position is one of the easier jobs on this list, considering it only requires using every motivational tweet that sound good with the phrase, "in bed."
16. Food Scientist ($60,000/year)
While many of these positions require some technical degree or certification, there are few better jobs than being on the front line of developing (and testing) new foods and recipes.
17. Cinema Screen Cleaner ($40,000/year)
We rarely pay attention to movie screens, but someone has to take on the task of cleaning them. A few of the qualifications include a love of heights, soda-proof shoes, and an affinity for the smell of popcorn.
18. Live Stream Eater ($10,000/month)
We have no shortage of YouTube celebrities that get paid for their personality. No personality? No problem. Now you can get paid simply for eating. Of course, a year's supply of antacids is a requirement for the job.