One of the more interesting ways to earn money that’s come out recently is one that lets you get paid to be a virtual friend.
We all know that people these days spend a huge part of their time staring at a screen, whether that be a phone or computer. So when you look at it like that, it’s probably not so surprising that there are now ways to get paid to be an online friend for someone who may be feeling pretty lonely.
After all, despite our constant connection to the online world, many are reporting a lack of connection on a personal level.
And at the end of the day, we’re all still human and so we still need some sort of social interaction.
But where there’s a need, there’s a business opportunity!
And so some companies have come on to the scene that let you get paid for companionship.
Meaning that not only can you make some extra cash if you get paid to be an online companion, but you can also help them with some socializing – which, to your new virtual friend, could make all the difference in the world.
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And given it’s paid out over $400 million through Amazon, Paypal and other gift cards, it’s 100% legit.
Can I really get paid to be an online friend?
You definitely can.
In fact, more and more websites are appearing these days that provide opportunities for you to get paid to be a virtual friend.
I should note that this isn’t only in response to our collective e-addiction.
It’s also a great initiative for people who may be stuck inside due to mental or physical health issues and so don’t have the opportunity to see people face-to-face.
Or they could have recently moved somewhere new or simply have packed schedules and so don’t know anyone in “the real world”.
So you should definitely see this as a positive thing – even if it may sound a bit weird at first to make money in this way.
Related: 37 of the Highest Paying Online Jobs
How can I get paid to be a virtual friend?
1. Create a profile
The first step will be to sign up to one of the websites that offer this. We’ve listed a bunch of them below.
You’ll have to set up a profile that involves giving a summary of yourself, including giving an idea of your personality.
Don’t think that you necessarily have to be an extrovert to consider this, although clearly it suits people who are able to lead – or at least initiate – a conversation. But an introvert “client” on the other end may love to talk to you even if you’re also a bit introverted.
That said, just make sure to make your profile as honest and thorough as possible. That way, you’re more likely to be paired with someone that suits you.
Not only is this better from a personality perspective but, purely as a money-making opportunity, you’re likely to earn more if it’s a good experience for both sides.
2. Include anything that helps you stand apart from the rest
It’s also a good idea to note down if you speak any other languages or if you have expertise in a certain area.
As you’ll see, a few of the options that let you get paid to be a virtual friend are linked to some sort of professional or academic field that you might be in, so it’s also worth stating these up front.
And even if you choose to use a site that’s more of a generic way to get paid to be an online friend, people are sure to be interested if you can bring some sort of specialty to the table.
Just think about when you’re meeting new people at a party. If someone says they’re an astronaut, you’re definitely going to want to spend a good chunk of time talking to them about it.
But it’s the same if someone says that they, say, recently opened their own yoga studio. Sure, they may not be going to the moon. But damn, what an achievement, tell me more!
3. Add your financial details
These sites generally pay you via either PayPal or will wire your earnings to you electronically. This means it’s basically the equivalent of being paid cash in hand.
So if you don’t have a PayPal account, spend two minutes to create it, add in the information to your profile – and you’re good to go.
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4. Pass the test (sometimes)
In some cases – but not all – the site will ask you to pass a test before you’re able to accept clients.
Don’t worry, you won’t be tested on your knowledge of capital cities of the world or anything like that.
Instead, it essentially involves them having a conversation with you to see what kind of person you are, as well as to get a general idea of whether you’d suit the sort of work that this involves.
5. Wait for clients to approach you
Once you’ve completed your profile and had it approved, you’re ready to get going.
Potential clients will be able to search based on a range of factors – age, gender, location, special skills or attributes and so on.
If they think they’d like to talk to you, they’ll send you a message. It’s then up to you whether or not you wish to accept.
Once you do, there are a bunch of ways that you can do this, depending on the services on offer on the specific site:
- Get paid to text people by phone
- Have a phone call at an agreed date and time
- Video chat at an agreed date and time, like through Skype
- Talk in a chat room
Sites that let you get paid to be a virtual friend
Rent a Friend
Rent a Friend does just what it says it does – it lets you rent someone to be your friend.
It’s mostly focused on in-person meet ups but they do allow you to limit yourself to being a virtual friend, so you’ll only talk online with people.
They really emphasize letting clients know in your profile if you have a special skill, as a lot of people use the site as a way to not only meet someone new, but to learn something.
This can be anything from speaking Spanish to being good at baking to being really into astrology. Whatever your thing is, let people know as who knows who else is interested in learning about it.
How much does Rent a Friend pay?
They let you set your own rate, with an average hourly fee of between $15 to $50.
The best part is though that you get to keep every cent you earn. Instead of charging a commission, potential clients are charged a small membership fee.
This is not only good for you from a money-making point of view, but it also means that you’re only contacted by paying members of the website.
So you avoid random people just wandering past the website and you also know that if someone reaches out to you, they’re actually serious about following through given that they’ve paid a membership fee to do so.
Is Rent a Friend worth it?
Definitely. The fact that you get to keep all your money earned really puts you in the driver’s seat as to how much you can make from doing this.
Is Rent a Friend dangerous?
The fact that Rent a Friend is a paid membership site is really reassuring from a security perspective.
If you could be contacted by anyone on the internet, it would definitely increase the chances of people reaching out to you who are, shall we say, less than ideal.
But by making people pay even a small fee, it’s a great way to deter anyone with ulterior motives.
Also, Rent a Friend makes it very clear on its website that it’s purely for platonic friendships. This also goes a long way towards decreasing the weirdo factor.
Rent a Cyber Friend
Rent a Cyber Friend is pretty similar to Rent a Friend except that, as you may have figured out from its name, it’s purely for people who want to get paid to be a virtual friend.
To join, you simply build your profile which involves listing your location, some interests and how you want to chat. On that last point, it can include things like Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp and more.
You can take a look at some of the other potential friends on there without signing up, so it’s worth checking out the site before signing up to see the kind of information you’d provide as a potential friend too.
FriendPC is another good option if you’re looking to get paid to be an online friend for someone.
It offers all the options for talking with your new friend that you could possibly think of – text message, chat room, phone call, online call…whatever works for you is likely an option here.
Users have to pay a small fee to request to talk to you, which helps to make sure that the people who approach you really do want to chat.
The site also emphasizes that it’s not only for people who just want to be friends, but also those looking to learn a new skill or even get a life coach.
So if they sound like something you’d be able to provide, perhaps look into FriendPC to earn a bit of cash.
Freelancer is a site you may have heard of before. People can look for all kinds of services on there – including if you’re looking to get paid to be a virtual friend.
Can I get paid to chat online with Freelancer?
Absolutely. Once you’ve signed up with the site, you have the chance to bid on eight possible projects for free. And if you use up that quota, you can always buy more.
All you have to do then is use the search function to look for opportunities to get paid to be a virtual friend for someone. I used search terms like “chat” and “friend” to find a number of possibilities with average bids of between $12 and $25 per hour.
While Freelancer clearly isn’t strictly for people looking to get paid to be an online friend, its benefit in being a large site is that it’s pretty good at weeding out scammers.
Also, the payment process is both very secure and very fast, making this perfect if you need money urgently. Users have to link their account to either PayPal, a card or a bank account so either way, you’ll definitely get paid.
Finally, Freelancer allows teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 years old to use an adult’s account (with the permission of the account holder) making it a great way for teens to make money.
Similar to Freelancer, Fiverr is a marketplace for freelancers to offer their services in response to requests from users.
How do I get paid to be a companion on Fiverr?
Create a profile, including setting your hourly free, and then people looking to talk will have the chance to approach you.
A quick search of Fiverr shows that there are actually quite a lot of people offering this service on there, so try to find a way to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
Fiverr is a massive website though with a lot of traffic, so there’s a good chance that someone visiting will want to talk to you.
Also, keep in mind that the average fees are a bit lower than some of the other sites mentioned in this list, at around $5 to $25 per hour.
(You may also be interested in: The 29 Best Companies That Pay For Ideas)
While not strictly for making online friends, College Pirates lets you get paid to be a mentor to college students.
They say that you can earn up to $80 per consultation, which involves you either providing general advice on issues facing college students or specific guidance on things like selecting a major.
It’s open to people who are either a current student or recent graduate who’s spent at least one year in the particular college or major that you want to give advice on.
They’ll help to link you up with students whose needs best fit your profile and you’ll be able to talk to students through either chat, voice or video, so it’s really flexible in terms of which option you prefer.
How much can I make if I get paid to be an online companion for someone?
The amount you earn when you get paid to be an online companion is completely up to you!
With most of these sites, you set your own hourly rate.
The range of fees can vary, but most people set something in the range of $15 to $50 per hour, with a common amount appearing to be around $20.
And from there, it’s up to you how many clients you accept.
One of the sites below states that they have some people who only accept clients on weekends and still make in the region of $300 to $500.
So it all depends on how much time you have available – and, of course, how many people reach out to you to “rent” you.
It should also be noted that some sites will take a cut from you as their commission. The rates for this vary, so make sure to read the fine print before you sign up anywhere.
Anything else to know if I want to get paid to be an online friend?
A huge thing to keep in mind is that these services are strictly platonic.
If anyone approaches you for anything more, block and report them – these aren’t those kinds of sites.
Also, as with any interaction with people you don’t know, keep your wits about you.
When you get paid to be a companion for someone online, you’re obviously not expected to have any sort of in-person meet up.
But even so, use common sense regarding how much of yourself you reveal. Things that could be used to track you down, like your home or work address, or any sort of information that someone could use to commit fraud, like revealing your social security number or even your full date of birth in some cases, should be kept to yourself.
As you’ve seen, you’re fully in control regarding who you accept as a client. But even if you accept someone, if at any time you find you’re getting uncomfortable with the direction that a discussion is going, feel free to end it.
In summary: safety first.
Secure payments only
The sites on this article all offer only secure payment processes, so you’ll definitely get your money and won’t get ripped off in the process.
So if you choose to use another site for this side hustle, make sure that all payments made to you through there are also secure.
Look for the various symbols that appear when a site is secure and also do some research online to see what others say about the site, just to be sure that others have had a positive experience when using it.
Final thoughts on getting paid to be a virtual friend
As you’ve seen, there are a ton of options for anyone looking to earn money through getting paid to be a virtual friend.
Sure, being an online friend is far from your standard side hustle.
But it’s a great way to earn a few extra hundred dollars (or more!) on the side – and has the added bonus of really helping to make someone’s day.
About the author
Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been featured on Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. She’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom using the experience gained from turning $60,000 in debt into a six-figure investment portfolio. Find out more.