060 · Getting Paid to Talk to People Who Are Lonely Or Struggling

Some people who are going through difficult times can feel lonely and need to talk to someone who can listen. If you have the nature to help others, this attentive and caring ear could be yours. So here’s an idea that will allow you to earn money while making the world a little better place.

I had already covered this topic in the article “making money by chatting”, but since there is a lot to say about this one in particular, consider this article as a complement to the other one.

What is it all about?

There are times in life when problems can become overwhelming and difficult to handle for some people. They feel isolated and dejected. Loss of a job, financial difficulties, loss of a loved one, a breakup, domestic violence, serious illness, various addictions (alcohol, drugs, gambling…), the causes can be multiple.

And then, there are our modern times too, which can be very anxiety-provoking. With the various crises that are shaking our world (ecological and climatic, financial, pandemic, war…), the number of worried or anxious people has literally exploded these last years.

Fortunately, there are various online services that can help them. They come in different forms (website, phone line, messaging…) and are sometimes specialized in a specific type of problem, such as health, addictions or marital problems. But others are just “generalist” services open to anyone who feels the need to talk.

And that’s where you could be helpful. These services, whether they are associative, governmental, or private, are often looking for motivated people to talk with their users. Some of these missions are paid, while others are not, as we will see.

Also, the topics discussed are not necessarily dramatic, and not everyone comes with serious problems on their back. People sometimes need to confide in us about their anxieties and just want to be reassured. They can be elderly people who are afraid to bother their family with their little concerns, very shy people who find it difficult to create relationships, businessmen who work so much that they don’t have time to make friends, or migrants or expatriates who don’t succeed in integrating… In fact, the profile of the people who use this type of service is quite varied.

An adult businesswoman feeling exhausted while working in the office People suffering from burnout also sometimes use this type of service.

Who can do this?

As you will have understood, the first thing you need to have is a fairly stable and solid mind, especially if you are dealing with the heaviest cases. This activity should therefore be avoided if you are emotionally fragile or suffer from depressive disorders.

Then you need some specific qualities, such as patience, listening skills, and empathy because the conversations you will have sometimes require a lot of them. You don’t have to be of impeccable virtue, but these 3 qualities are really useful to respond effectively to those with whom you will be conversing.

Age is also a factor that can be decisive because even if teenagers can do this activity, older people, and therefore more mature in mind, with more experience on the difficulties of life, but also a strong sense of responsibility, are often preferred (especially, once again, for “difficult” cases). If, for example, you are looking for an occupation because you are newly retired, you should know that your profile is potentially ideal.

And then, as I said above, some services focus on a specific type of help. If you want to assist people with medical problems, for example, you will probably be required to have a medical assisting diploma or other qualification (depending on the case), or to follow a specific training.

Note that to work for sites offering real online therapy, you will need to have a certified degree in related fields, such as psychology, psychiatry, or other specialty as appropriate, as well as experience in psychological support.

But if you are young and like to chat, singles and lonely seniors will be happy to have a chat with you.

How do you find this type of job?

Here are some tips to help you figure out how to make money while talking to people who need it. I’ve tried to explore a bit of everything, but I admit I haven’t tested them myself, so feel free to send in your feedback when you have some.

1Sites to find friends and a listening ear

There are a few sites where you can find a virtual friend to talk to. These sites are very popular in Japan (it must be cultural) but are progressing in the West too.

There are all kinds of people who use this kind of service: from young students who are just looking to make friends to people who are isolated or in trouble and who have no one to talk to but still need someone to confide in.

FriendPC: This site, available in dozens of countries around the world, offers to pay you to have various discussions with people who request it, online or by phone.

RentAFriend: This is probably the most famous site. It offers a wide variety of services, from simple phone chats to organized trips. Plus, registration is free and no commission is retained on your services.

List of activities on RentAFriend People use RentAFriend for all kinds of activities.

rentacyberfriend: This website connects people from all over the world through video calls. Users can choose their caller based on their interests, hobbies, and other affinities.

Papa: This one is intended for those who wish to provide face-to-face help to the elderly (do some housework, shopping, a walk…), but it is apparently also possible to have long-distance conversations with the seniors who request it.

2Fiverr

I regularly talk about this freelance platform such as Fiverr because it allows everyone to propose various services, including those that interest us here. Whatever your specialization or your preferences, you can create a free profile and propose a listening on various subjects. Be careful though, because all services related to medicine, psychology, etc., are forbidden here.

The advantage is that the offer is not yet very important, and there is still plenty of room. So you can start a service and promote it on social networks or Google, for example. And to get started, I invite you to read my article on the subject.

vector image of a young man working on his computer
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3Online therapies

These sites are only intended for professionals in the medical or psychomedical sector. Indeed, the law stipulates in most countries that only doctors or people specialized in the follow-up and treatment of people with psychological or medical problems (of any kind) are authorized to do so.

These sites generally regroup a few specialists and are always looking for newcomers. I propose some of them here. Consultations can be done by video, phone, or email, and you will find all the contact information in the footer of each site.

Psychologie: BetterHelp, TalkSpace, Amwell, online-therapy.com

Médecine: HealthTap, MDLive, Doctor On Demand

4Contact local associations

Well, I don’t hide the fact that these kinds of associations are mainly looking for volunteers, especially for missions that don’t require any specific training. But maybe the need to make yourself useful is stronger than the need to earn money? And then, if you have real qualifications, some associations have the budget to pay you.

The easiest way is to look for one near you, or at least in the country you live in. Do a Google search with specific keywords, such as “talking with lonely people” + the name of your city or region, find the websites of various local or national associations (suicide prevention, alcoholics anonymous, etc.) and contact them to ask. Most of the time you will find useful information directly on their website.

5Create your own association

Yes, why not? If you find that there is nothing near you to take care of people who are lonely, suffering from various addictions, depressed, etc., you could create your own association and be paid by it for the work you will do.

There are several ways to find funds, such as addressing a sponsor, asking for help from your local administration, setting up a premium rate phone line (not too expensive though), creating a website and calling for donations, etc.

And when your project is on track, you could launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds, but also to promote your association. I have written several articles on this subject, if you are interested.

6Visit nursing homes

Elderly people are not necessarily equipped with a smartphone allowing them to chat online, and sometimes even have difficulty using a phone for reasons related to their age or their health condition. Yet, many of them spend their days alone watching TV or observing what’s going on outside (often nothing) because they don’t have anyone to chat with. These people have a lifetime of stories and experiences to tell.

The idea here is to offer your services and to come and keep company with the people who want it, for a fee. I admit that I just had this idea while writing this article (and it probably already exists), but I think it has potential.

For starters, you could print up flyers with pretty pictures and a blurb about exactly what you offer, then go out and distribute them to all the nursing homes in your area. Maybe creating a website would be helpful too? Let me know what you think in the comments.

I had written a little article with a very similar idea so you can read it here if you are interested.

7Flirtatious chat rooms

I couldn’t end this list without talking about people suffering from affective distress. I had already talked about it in this other article, but I wanted to underline the usefulness of this kind of service for those who, for various reasons (shyness, lack of self-confidence, physical problems…), are unable to have a love relationship and suffer deeply from it.

There are a lot of chat rooms, often quite “hot” and mostly intended for men such as flirtbucks.net, mygirlfund.com or phrendly.com, but surprisingly and despite my researches, I didn’t find anything equivalent for women (do you know any?). I don’t see any reason why women should have less need to “flirt” online than men, so here’s another idea to exploit!

How much can you earn?

As is often the case with this type of service, the compensation varies considerably. For virtual friend sites, it depends on your level of commitment (online discussions necessarily pay less than physical meetings), but also on your “popularity”.

On RentAFriend, earnings range from $15 to $50 per hour. On Fiverr, where you set the prices, one-hour online chats can range from 5 to 10 dollars, and between 15 and 20 dollars for voice chats. For those with a good reputation, the remuneration can even go up to more than 20 dollars for 20-minute phone conversations.

The rates depend on your ability to meet the demand, the time you are willing (and able) to devote to this task, as well as factors such as the commissions taken by the various sites and services.

I have also mentioned online therapies and medical consultations, but I confess that this is mostly for information purposes as I doubt that any psychiatrists or doctors will come by (and even if they do, I think they already know). But if it’s the case, you should know that the pricing is most of the time determined by the platform itself, and that it generally follows the rates applicable in your country.

Finally, it is impossible for me to estimate what the revenues will be for the other points mentioned. There are too many uncertain parameters, so the range is somewhere between nothing and a lot.

Some tips on how to become a virtual friend

I will end this article with some tips that will be useful in most cases. There are many things to say here too, but I will try to be concise.

  • Post a photo that matches what you are offering: A photo where you are acting funny while offering psychological help will discredit you from the start. Only do it if you are a “big joker” and just offer to be a virtual friend always ready to laugh. In more serious cases, show a face that is both optimistic and reassuring.
  • Take care of your profile: People are often suspicious by nature, especially when they feel bad about themselves. Explain your approach in as much detail and sincerity as possible, set your limits, talk about yourself and your background, but without revealing too much. The goal here is to show that you are a trustworthy person who likes people as they are and without judging them.
  • Be honest: This seems obvious, but I think it’s important to establish a trusting relationship from the start. And if you are asked an awkward question, it’s better to simply admit that you’d rather not answer than lie.
  • Be tactful and respectful: This is not always easy. Emotional or fragile people can be very sensitive and you can never be sure that you will say something that hurts or confuses them. So take it easy with people you’ve just met and get to know them.
  • Be faithful: I know that life often brings surprises, sometimes bad ones, and that you might have to stop overnight, when one or more people were enjoying your discussions. Be aware that, for some people, this will put them in real dismay. So, even if you have to walk away, do it smoothly. For example, offer to space out your exchanges and try to find someone to replace you.
  • Learn about human psychology: Read books and take courses. This is the best way to effectively help the person with whom you are talking. If you really like people, you’ll see that this is a fascinating subject.
  • Don’t be too greedy: People who are in emotional or psychological distress are often also in financial distress. Therefore, have a minimum of ethics and ask for a fair price, in accordance with the services you provide. Remember that you are not doing this for the money (if you are, do something else).

Also, be careful never to divulge any personal information about yourself and avoid meeting with people you are talking to because not only does it never work out the way you thought it would, but there is a real risk of running into someone malevolent.

Being confronted with certain “human miseries” on a daily basis and in such a direct way can be psychologically hard for emotionally fragile people. If you find that this activity is having a negative effect on you, it is wiser to stop right away.

Conclusion

There are many ways to help others while making reasonable money, and some have yet to be invented or explored as we have seen.

Human distress, whatever its level, is unfortunately a “market” that is doing well. And with the various social, economic, ecological, and other problems which already exist, but which are likely to increase in the years to come, it is to be feared that this tendency will not weaken.

I first wanted to write this article to gather as many ideas as possible so that those who feel a real empathy for these people in difficulty can act, and then finally, I am aware of it, I got a bit lost or scattered on other subjects such as virtual friends and online doctors. The topic is vast, and I probably could have handled it differently. I hope you won’t find it too confusing, but I think I’ve said pretty much everything I needed to say.

And then you too, try to explore new avenues and share them with us here because there is nothing more noble than helping others.

EcoTips

Environmental and climate change issues are more than ever at the heart of the concerns of this 21st century, which is why I am proposing a few ideas that will enable you to limit the negative impact that the implementation of this idea could have.

These solutions that I suggest are sometimes largely insufficient to compensate for these negative impacts, such as carbon offsetting. Unfortunately, there is not always an ideal and 100% efficient solution, far from it. And if you have others, please do not hesitate to share them in the comments below.

The good news is that this idea (or rather, these ideas), in addition to being socially beneficial, is not (too) bad for the environment. You’ll mostly be using a smartphone or computer, so maybe just be careful with that.

For example, if you have to buy a computer, opt for a laptop model, even a used one, which consumes less energy than a desktop model. And if you already have one, keep it as long as possible. If it’s a little slow, adding more RAM and installing an SSD drive can give it another boost.

Pros

  • A meaningful activity where you feel useful.
  • There are different ways to help others, and some are yet to be discovered.
  • Some conversations can be very rewarding.

Cons

  • Requires certain qualities that not everyone has.
  • Income is not often high.
Disclaimer, please read this

Legal and administrative aspects of the ideas you'll find on Sweekr are rarely discussed because they vary greatly depending on the country you live in. I would advise you to check with your local adminitration before starting any business. Keep in mind that if you make money, the state will ask for "its share" in order to guarantee the proper functioning of schools, hospitals and other public services. Therefore, you will probably have to acquire a micro-entrepreneur status, or any other similar.

Please also note that there are currently NO affiliate links on Sweekr! This means that NO commission is charged when you make a purchase from any of the sites recommended here. Some links are optimized for performance testing only, and each recommendation reflects the opinions or evaluations of the writer of this article. And be sure you'll be notified if (and when) this situation ever changes.

This article could be completed or improved with your help. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any question, a relevant remark, a feedback, additional information or spotted any error.Go to comments

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2 comments

  1. Nice article, and great site. So different from all those other that promise to get rich in a few days by doing almost nothing 🙄

    Reply

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