“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” There goes the old saying written on many a university professor’s coffee mug. It is a message I have not seen in a long time. I wonder if it’s still around, because I have an oversized coffee mug with the words ‘hot stuff’ on it and it isn’t nearly as catchy. Also I have two bachelor degrees that my parents paid for so I have no idea what it is like to have the emotional weight of a ton of debt that would crush my soul like a ten-ton truck.
But college and education requires more than just money. It also requires brains, and brains are hard to train and kind of expensive to replace. But brains are one of the biggest determining factors of success in life and how much moolah will roll into our bank accounts. Take a look at the biggest entrepreneurs and business moguls of the past 50 years. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard because Harvard couldn’t keep up with him. He already had the brains to make the world his oyster (and then not eat it, because come on… oysters? Why are people in love with these shellfish thingies, they’re kind of gross, really).
But if the brains department is lacking, then woe betide unto he or she (or insert preferred pronoun here) who wishes to succeed within the confines of our modern world. For they shall be destined to a life of physical toil… wait, since when did this turn into fake Shakespeare? And no, those types of jobs are even rare now, which means brains are still a necessity… or are they?
Well guess what…there are jobs that CAN make you rich, or at least get you a very nice salary that can get into the 6 figure territory, and require very little of what we would think of as brains. Don’t believe me? Well let’s read on to the list of 20 jobs that require no brains, but can still make you some serious bank!
(Word of warning: not all these jobs are legal, so for the sake of all that is holy and clean, reader discretion is advised!)
20. Sperm Donor
Speaking of donations… so this one is for men only (sorry ladies) but while this might seem like a really bizarre way to make money. I mean you’re basically donating some DNA matter that could be used to produce another human life. And the really weird thing about it? If you can pass the ridiculous screening process, you can make as much as 100$ per donation… if your ID is secret. If you forgo secrecy and decide to let your future offspring know who you are, you can make up to 500 dollars per donation! Of course, you have an obvious downside to possibly fathering a lot children who’ll come knocking at your door and asking where you’ve been… and your only answer is… well, read on.
19. Human test subject
It’s a job that I personally considered going for (and didn’t) for supplemental income. Being a human test dummy for medical students to poke at, or to test pharmaceuticals (because let’s face it, there’s only so much we can learn from lab rats), you can actually make up to 50,000$ a year or even more by ingesting the pills and taking injections for experimental medication.
But like sperm donation, there is a downside to this job… you could die. Things DO go awry with experimental medication. Some people have gotten tuberculosis and other disease from experiments. There have been guys who were given pills, and a few hours later (in public) collapsed and fell into a coma for several days. This is a dangerous job. But if you have no brains and no skills, you can actually make a good living off of it… if you live long enough to spend the money.
18. Mob Boss
So we’ve looked at drug dealers, but what about their bosses? I mean you’ve seen the movies, Scarface, Goodfellas, Casino, etc. One thing you have to realize about mob bosses is that many of them aren’t exactly superbly educated… I mean Al Capone dropped out of grade school at the 6th grade. He didn’t even MAKE it to high school, but he made over 60 MILLION dollars per year… in 1920s money. Modern gangsters make even more cash. So much that it’s a miracle they can even spend it all. Of course, this money must be laundered and taken care of it. But they do end up still making a lot of money. There have been successful drug lords who were uneducated to the point of complete illiteracy and still made it. To succeed, you need some creativity, survival instinct, and people skills… and a healthy dose of sociopath…
Do you remember Walt Disney’s Pinocchio? The scene where the fox and the cat take our wooden puppet friend (who so wants to be a real boy) and tell him that the easy way to success is the theater? Well… here’s the truth. Acting is actually pretty hard, but it isn’t something that requires brains. All it requires is the ability to pretend to be another person. To fully embody the personality of another human being that you have no relation to… or you can just ham it up so much that the Razzies will love you.
Have you ever wondered how actors got the way they are in Hollywood? Some actually did make it just by applying. Others… well, look… Hollywood is a place of make believe, dreams and fairy tales, and yes, many actors DID get discovered just because they were lucky. Harrison Ford was a carpenter who just became extremely lucky because he impressed George Lucas when he was hired to build him a cabinet. Jack Mercer, the voice actor behind Popeye who played the character from the 1930s until his death in the 1980s got that gig because he was just doing a mock impression of Popeye’s voice and the producers just so happened to be walking by.
Johnny Depp was following a friend to an audition back in the ’80s when a producer saw him and just asked him to recite the lines from the movie, and he immediately was given the role. Johnny never even intended to pursue acting and he’s now an A-list star.
Frank Sinatra… he was America’s darling in the mid-20th century. If you think old-school pop, then Frank Sinatra’s voice will be goes through your head. What about modern pop? Like Justin Bieber? What do these two have in common?
Both of them were discovered in the most ham-fisted way possible. Frank was a singer for very low-key, Podunk establishments in the 1930s when a gangster just so happened to visit and proclaimed that he had an ‘olive oil voice’ (which is the most Italian thing ever spoken) and not only wanted him to be a star, he was willing to make producers an offer they cannot refuse…
Justin Bieber’s discovery was a little less interesting, but equally haphazard. Justin was just a teenager with a passion for singing and a talented musician who posted videos of himself singing on Myspace.com when that website still existed, and his skills were noted by Scooter Braun, who was looking for videos of another singer but stumbled across Justin and clicked on one of his videos by complete accident. That’s a hell of a way to be discovered.
15. Professional sports celebrity
Have you ever wondered how much money sports celebrities make? Millions, obviously and while it does take talent and physical prowess, there is a running joke that many big time athletes are of less than average IQ or borderline intellectually functioning. I remember back in the 1990s when many celebrities, especially in the NBA and boxing, had a ‘stay in school’ campaign. Why? Because many of the athletes that took part in this didn’t even graduate high school, and at least one Olympian boxer was illiterate and trying to learn to read for the first time in his life. Many kids thought they could follow in the footsteps of someone like them by just playing the game, when in reality this really isn’t a good idea for 99.9% of people who aren’t top-of-the-line sports celebrities.
14. Professional Gambler
So you’re probably envisioning the image of a sleek, suave individual in dapper clothes, surrounded by beautiful women and throwing craps dice to roll a perfect 11 or 7 and winning every time while quoting the World’s Most Interesting Man numerous times.
But that is fantasy. The reality is you need absolutely no education other than the rules of the game, and maybe some basic math skills that any 3rd grader can have, a lot of guts and tolerance for risk, and you can make a lot of money at poker and blackjack tables. I say those games because unlike craps, roulettes or (heaven forbid) baccarat, you can actually BEAT those games if you really know what you’re doing… but not always. While some professional gamblers make lower middle class or middle class incomes (from GAMBLING, not working!) The high rollers (and that is the only time you will EVER use that phrase literally) can make hundreds of thousands per year.
Of course the downside is if you’re a legendary gambler and win a lot, you might have a hard time finding a casino that’ll let you in. This is because casinos, at least those in the U.S., actually communicate with one another and keep tabs on potential cheaters or big shots who know how to game the system (in the most literal sense possible).
13. Septic tank worker
So we’ve been looking at entertainment and non-productive jobs so far… but what about productive jobs that require no brains, but are still quite lucrative? Enter the septic tank cleaning business. Despite the name, it is a lot cleaner than you think, and you can make up to 300 dollars per visit to clean someone’s septic tank. There is a large demand for this job, too, as James Dillard, the owner of Dillard’s Septic Service in Annapolis, Md., and he doesn’t just get paid big time to do it, which is a superbly simple job, he gets multiple jobs per day, and while he makes a hefty 6 figure salary, he only needs to work a few months out of the year. Which means not only does he make big bucks, but he also gets months off at a time. He describes the job as so easy that he doesn’t even feel like he’s working. How’s that for a mindless dirty job that you get rich doing?
So I’m a writing for an online magazine… did you know that I also published a novella and a short story? And I want to publish more but I need to write more for this job and because I have a second job on top of that? So what does it take to be a novelist? Other than actually just knowing how to write in your preferred language? Well… nothing. It’s not a smart job, you just need a different mentality. I never took a single creative writing class in my entire life, and I positively SUCKED in English class. I write like I talk, like I’m having a conversation with the word processor in front of me that just lets the words slide off my fingers onto the screen.
Most people have one great story that they want to tell, and most people will never really write it, sadly. But there are those who do, and there are those that do end up making it lucky and finding a publisher who ends up getting them their lucky break.
While many novelists are educated, they rarely educated in their own field. Stephen King wasn’t looking for a career as a writer. He was actually interested in working as an English teacher, but just wanted to write for supplemental income, and now he’s the leading novelist in the horror and thriller genre of books. James Patternson was in the advertising business until he retired, then he became the number 1 author of our time, and he was the first to sell 1 million e-books.
Writing is all instinct and practice. Just write what you feel, and maybe you’ll make it… and in the meantime, please buy my novella? No seriously, it’s called Cold Coffee With a Touch of Cocaine and it’s available on Amazon.com…
11. Internet Celebrity
So being a celebrity can sometimes bring a lot of money, but often times while it doesn’t necessarily require brains, it does require something, until you realize that there are people online who became what they are by having absolutely no talent whatsoever, and just got that way by pure luck. Take the example of Gary Brolsma. In 2004, he released a video of him fooling around and lip-syncing the words to the “Numa Numa” song by O-zone. He was hilarious on a level that would beat out most comedians, but it was entirely unintentional and from that one video, he ended up making a fortune and now launched a career as a let’s play gamer that still continues to this very day.
Other people who WOULD have been incredibly wealthy due to their accidental fame would be if they could exploit it… but brainless doesn’t mean blind. Sadly this is the case for Christian Weston Chandler, an online celebrity who had a massive cult following (which includes myself) but doesn’t make a penny off it because no one told him he could monetize videos…
10. Professional video gamer
So you like playing video games? Who doesn’t. Video games have been around since the 1970s and haven’t been a child’s thing since the ’90s (as early as 2003, the average age of the gamer was 29… nowadays it’s the average of the population. Mid-30s, because if you were born in the ’80s, you were born at a time when video games were an established part of the world). Now, professional gamers have become a thing. I’m not joking when I say that in some places, you can make as much money as a lower-tier pro-sports guy. In South Korea, professional gamers are treated like rock stars AND they train EXACTLY like athletes do. They even have camps where they wake up at 5 AM and play the game 10 or more hours per day in order to hone their skills and do it in a very, very specific way. Players like Park ‘Lyn’ Joon made over 317,000 dollars playing WarCraft III, and Johnathan ‘Fatal1ty’ Wendel made nearly $455,000 from various tournaments for first-person shooters.
And these are only the tournament players. PewdiePie is the number 1 Youtuber of all time, so he’s not only an online celebrity, but as the leading Youtuber, he is making money from videos of him playing video games (with comedic commentary added). His income range is literally in the millions.
And now for one shady piece of business… what do you think when you think of ‘hitman’? Well I think of Agent 47 from the Hitman video games (who is pictured above), but as we know, putting a hit on someone is a very, very real thing. While in the media, murderers for hire are portrayed as sophisticated people who know the mechanics of murder, your typical hitman is anything but… they’re actually rather brainless schlubs who barely know how to operate a firearm (and there are comedic stories of some hitmen trying to shoot their mark in a bar… only for them to be shot themselves by the bar owners defending their business). But despite this, getting someone to murder another human being does take a lot of persuasion… usually by means of paying from as little as 5,000 dollars, to around the average of 20,000 to 40,000 dollars per hit.
To quote an actual hitman, ‘I don’t need a reason to kill someone. 20K bucks, that’s my reason’. It requires an utter lack of moral consciousness, and not getting caught (the last part is the hardest)
8. Weird Web Developer
So web development and the computer field is huge, and it’s growing all the time. But programming takes brains, right? And the whole point of this list is to find brainless ways to get rich, Apparently this was discovered by complete accident in 2005 when Alex Tew wanted to raise money to pay for college, but ended up making 1 million dollars by selling pixels…
He created a single website that just had one million pixels on it and sold space on it like you would sell advertising space on billboards, and the result was an unprecedented amount of people who jumped in on a really, really weird fad…
7. Novelty pet creator
Do you remember the pet rock? Well it still exists, so we know about it, and not technically ‘remembering’ it. So in 1975, a man by the name of Gary Dahl thought he capitalize on the ultimate pet for the laziest people imaginable… and he got some smooth, clean rocks from Mexico’s Rosarito Beach and then sold them. I don’t know if people were trying to be ironic or they really were into that sort of thing for a laugh.
But either way, they sold like crazy and Gary because a very wealthy man as a result of what is possibly the most ridiculous marketing trick ever made. There was no way this could have been anticipated.
6. Plain Dumb luck
So the final way people can get rich by having zero skills, zero talent, zero education, zero… anything… Well here it is. You’ve probably seen this one coming: sheer dumb luck!
That’s right. Have you heard of the lottery? Of course you have. Have you passed by a casino and saw the ad for the ultra-big jackpot on the slot machine? Many people have. They exist, but the chances of winning those are almost zero. I say almost zero because people DO win those. In 2003, a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas put in 3 dollars into the biggest slot machine in the city and won 35 million dollars, and that went into the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest slot machine jackpot ever. We don’t even need to cover lottery winners, as those are self-explanatory. Other ways people got rich was by searching through their attics and their deceased grandpa’s old stuff and discovered a valuable object, like the original Superman comic from 1938. There was even a teenager who discovered such a thing in his grandfather’s old stash alongside OTHER extremely valuable first edition comics and ended up with more than 5 million dollars’ worth of comic book history.
5. Drug Dealer
Ahh yes… dealing drugs. You’ve seen it in the movies, and maybe even in real life. From the wealthy drug boss that ferries in tons upon tons of ‘weight’ (that’s what large quantities of drugs are called in the drug dealing business), to the humble street dealer who asks you if you want some cocaine or weed… and are actually quite polite when you say no! It’s amazing! The ’80s aggressive drug dealer doesn’t exist! Even if it isn’t the ’80s anymore…
So how much do street drug dealers make? For a job that requires no brains and no education beyond ‘don’t get caught,’ ‘don’t get shot’ and ‘know where to find a supplier,’ you can actually make around 2 to 3 thousand dollars per night! Even lower end dealers can still make a few hundred bucks a night. Which is more money that what people make at their burger-flipping job…
4. Street Musician
Sitting around and playing music in public seems like the worst possible way to apply your music career. I mean you spent a lot of time learning to play your favorite instrument, and what do you have to show for it? A bench on the street and playing for people to toss money into your music case? I mean that’s got to be a really poor way to make a living off of music… or maybe music is one of those fields that you can be super rich as a celebrity, but super poor as a street musician?
Or maybe… middle class? No joke. Depending on your skill, and depending on your choice of location, many street musicians can make anything from 15 to 25 or even more per hour, making it a job that not only makes a lot of cash, but can be comparable to some mid-income middle class type jobs.
But that’s not all, not only do street musicians make that kind of money, but even street performers who can’t play music can make a ton of cash, like mimes, people with weird gimmicks and tricks. Some of these people actually make as much as 5 figure or even 6 figure salaries if they’re good enough, in good enough locations, and attract enough attention…
But playing a musical instrument and being a street performer takes WORK… I mean what if you don’t want to work, but still want to make serious bank? Well then just dress in ragged clothes and sit around panhandling. I know it seems completely loco to say this (not to mention that it doesn’t do much for your social image) but you know that ancient joke that panhandlers often have (or make) more money than the person giving them the cash? There is a lot of truth to that. So much in fact that in the right places, panhandlers have been able to make as much as 100,000$. So forget college, you can make loads of money just by sitting around at the right spot with a big sign that says ‘The best nation in the world: doNATION! Also need cash for new Ferrari!’ That’ll get their attention for sure!
2. Dumpster diver
So dumpster diving is right up there with panhandling on the list of jobs that would make people look slightly down upon you. But the really bizarre thing is dumpster diving can be like panning for gold. You will have to sift through a lot of dirt and grime and crap, but you might occasionally get a very valuable trinket.
You’d be amazed how many people throw away perfectly good objects that can be repaired and improved even with a little creativity. I had a friend of mine that found a jeweller’s scale that was only slightly damaged, and missing an easily replaceable piece, and it was worth over a thousand dollars. There is obviously no fixed or estimable income for this, but if you’re good at fixing things, or just plain lucky, you can make a few thousand dollars selling the repaired stuff online.
1. Can collector
So have you seen some homeless people pick up cans and put them in large trash bags for recycling? Well did you ever stop to think how much money they were remaking? If the cans are in reasonable order, you only need 20 cans or so to make a dollar, and they’re not hard to find, since Americans throw about a billion pounds of cans every year.
And cans aren’t the only thing that can be collected. Have you ever find old hardware made of steel, copper, iron, and other metals? Those can be sold for scrap (and will be in turn used to make stuff which will end up being scrapped themselves). Those can also fetch a fair price.
But enough of this honest hard work… let’s do something a little more exciting.
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