8 Legit Ways to Get Paid To Be An Online Friend: Up to $50 an Hour From Home


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Can you really can get paid to be an online friend?

The short answer is yes.

The longer answer is your odds of making consistent money as a generic online friend are pretty low.

In this post, we’ll explore:

  • how virtual friendships work
  • how to maximize your earning power
  • how to keep yourself safe online
  • the top alternatives to consider

As more and more elements of our lives shift online, paid virtual friends really isn’t much of a stretch. We’re more connected than ever before, but also more isolated.

If you’re a social person with a gift for interesting conversations, this may just be the side hustle for you.

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how to make money as an online friend

Why Become an Online Friend?

Are you friendly, talkative, and empathetic? Are you interested in other people and what they have to say?

Being an online friend can provide relevant experience towards a career in caregiving, psychology, or life coaching. You might be motivated to help change someone’s life, or you might just need extra cash.

Whichever it is, being an online friend is worth looking into. After all, it can be rewarding both emotionally and financially.

What is a Virtual Friend? What Do Virtual Friends Do?

It’s simple: virtual friends offer friendship online. This can be through messaging, video calls, or even video games! It’s all platonic and doesn’t involve meeting face-to-face.

And, as it turns out, there are real websites and online platforms that set these connections up.

Virtual friends have to be available, willing to talk, listen, and express interest. This “job” may even involve offering advice or emotional support. Ultimately, your task is to be a real friend — just not in-person.

And it’s not that far-fetched: a recent study found that over 80% of Americans have met at least one person they consider a friend online.

Why Do People Hire Online Friends?

It might seem over the top to pay for a virtual friend. But the fact is, there are many people who really struggle to make friends “in real life.” Social anxiety, depression, agoraphobia, and just being an introvert are a few reasons why.

Loneliness is another reason, even with the connectivity of the Internet. Even people who are surrounded by friends and family can feel lonely. It can mean feeling misunderstood, like no one you know relates to your opinions and interests.

People might also hire virtual friends for life advice or emotional support. Sometimes because their current friends are not as available as they used to be.

Housebound disabled people are also likely to seek virtual companionship. And the same applies to seniors who have lost their partners.

1. Rent a Friend

If you want to get paid to be an online friend, RentAFriend is one of the most popular websites to sign up for.

The global platform is strictly for platonic friendships, and has over 600,000 members.

rentafriend

The site primarily caters to people looking for in-person friends to:

  • show them around a new city
  • attend events with
  • be a wingman/wingwoman

But they facilitate online friendships as well.

How it works is you’ll create your free Friend profile, complete with your personal details and interests. This allows you to be searched for by Members and get hired.

Profile pages look like this:

rentafriend profile example

Friends on RentAFriend charge anywhere from $10-50 an hour, paid any way you choose. There are no fees for being hired, and setting up a profile is 100% free.

It’s between you and your new friend to sort out the payment. (Many users use Venmo, Zelle, or PayPal.)

YouTube video

The only requirements are being at least 18 years of age with no convicted felonies. Sex offenders are obviously not allowed.

It’s worth mentioning that Rent a Friend is used for in-person meet-ups as well as virtual friendship. So for strictly online interaction, make sure to state that on your profile.

How Does Rent a Friend Make Money?

Rent a Friend charges members — not friends — $24.95 a month to access their database. This unlocks the ability to message and hire friends.

Is Rent a Friend Safe?

Rent a Friend might not have the most professional-looking website in the world, but the service itself is legit. They’ve been around since 2009… and apparently haven’t redesigned their site since then.

Still, RentAFriend is widely used for face-to-face meet-ups so it’s important to take caution. And RentAFriend actually encourages its users to only meet for public social activities.

As an extra precaution, let others know where you’re going. Turn phone location tracking on, and carry pepper spray if it provides peace of mind.

If you just want to interact online, however, this is generally going to be safer.

2. Rent a Cyber Friend

RentaCyberFriend is another website where you can get paid to be a virtual friend.

rentacyberfriend

And unlike RentAFriend, Rent a Cyber Friend operates fully online. There’s no meeting face-to-face.

RentaCyberFriend calls itself a community that connects people of similar interests.

Users can search for Cyber Friends from around the world who share the same hobbies or goals as they do. And once a Cyber Friend is found, they can start video chats.

Cyberfriends get paid by the minute. In browsing different profiles, I found rates from $0.10-$1.00 per minute. The platform charges a 20% fee, so a $1.00 per minute friend could earn $48 an hour after the fee.

As for requirements, you only have to be at least 18 years of age with a good Internet connection and camera.

When you complete your profile, be sure to include keywords people might search for, such as:

  • your location
  • hobbies
  • interests
  • skills

The more relevant keywords you can include — along with a fun profile picture — the more likely your profile is to get seen, and the more likely you are to book calls.

3. FriendPC

Think of Friend PC like RentaCyberFriend, except that it doesn’t just involve video calls.

Friend PC allows users to find Virtual Friends who share interests and hobbies. They can then interact via text, online messaging, phone calls, video calls, and even video games.

friendpc get paid to be a virtual friend

As a result, people seeking friendship use this platform for various reasons. This includes emotional support, life advice, online gaming, and general conversation.

What’s good about Friend PC is that Virtual Friends can be booked for several days or weeks. Availability calendars are also displayed on each Virtual Friend profile.

You can get paid to be a Virtual Friend on Friend PC by signing up (for free). Fill out your profile and make yourself available for different services like:

  • messaging
  • calls
  • gaming
  • life coaching
  • tourism advice
  • and more

You get to set your own rates, with payments easily withdrawn from the FriendPC dashboard. Friends on this platform typically charge between $5-50/hr.

You can also pay a monthly membership to enjoy extra perks—like getting featured on the homepage.

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4. Outschool

Unlike the sites above that focus on relationships between adults, Outschool is actually aimed at creating a safe online environment for kids.

make money on outschool

The site allows you to create virtual group classes on any topic — academic or not. I’ve connected with Outschool teachers with writing classes, virtual reading hangout time, and just social hours to discuss the latest books, games, or movies.

One of my favorite examples is Devyn Ricks, who goes by Miss Devyn on Outschool. She hosts a variety of video game classes for kids and reported earning up to $4,000 a month part-time.

YouTube video

5. Preply

Another angle to get paid to be an online friend is to help people learn and practice English. Preply is a popular site that language learners use to practice their conversation skills.

preply homepage

As a Preply tutor, you can earn $15-25 an hour with no special certifications or teaching experience required.

6. Fiverr Friendship

Many lists of ways to make money as an online friend include Fiverr, the popular freelancing platform.

fiverr friendship

And while it’s true you can list you online friendship services on the site, there doesn’t appear to be a huge demand. (Based on the low number of ratings the top gigs have.)

Still, it’s free to set up your Fiverr profile and offer gigs around:

  • advice
  • relationships
  • emotional support
  • conversation
  • life coaching
  • online friendships
  • general chat

Like most of the other online friendship services on this list, Fiverr allows you to set your own rates, starting at $5. The company takes a 20% fee on whatever you earn.

You can also get rated up to 5 stars on Fiverr, helping you gain exposure and earn more clients. After you get paid, you can withdraw to PayPal or your bank.

7. RentALocalFriend.com

Rent a Local Friend focuses on travel and tourism. It connects travelers with locals (like you!) who can share insights and activities about your hometown.

rent a local friend

In other words, Local Friends on RentaLocalFriend are tour guides or travel buddies. They can provide companionship, local information, translation, photography, and more.

Despite that, Rent a Local Friend can be used virtually. And as a Virtual Friend, you’ll simply provide the client with local travel tips online. I found rates between $10-$40 per hour.

You’ll need to set up a Friend profile with all your details, which will allow you to be searched for and hired. You set your rates and then get paid through PayPal.

8. Get Paid to Chat

For women comfortable with more adult-centered online relationships, there are a number of sites that can help you make money.

Among those is Chat Recruit, which claims to have paid out over $30 million to members. The company specializes in phone and webcam chat jobs, and allows you to set your own rates.

chat recruit make money chatting

Tips to Earn Money as an Online Friend

The best tip to earn money as an online friend is to simply be the best friend that you can for those who choose to hire you. This means treating them like any of your real-life friends.

But to be hired as an online friend in the first place, you need to make yourself approachable. Be transparent with your personal details, interests, photos, and what you offer friendship-wise.

This will result in more people with similar interests being drawn to you. It can also lead to genuine friendships that will help you earn money without feeling like work.

Sign Up to Multiple Virtual Friend Websites

Another tip to earn money as a virtual friend is to sign up to multiple virtual friend websites. The more virtual friend websites that you sign up for, the more chance you have of being chosen as a virtual friend.

Get Paid to Be an Online Friend: Safety Tips

If you’ve been thinking about safety while reading this article, you wouldn’t be alone. Presenting yourself online and talking to strangers comes with risks like:

This makes it important to be careful with any online interaction with strangers. Here are a few must-know safety tips.

Only Sign Up for Trusted Friend Websites

The most important safety tip is to only sign up for trusted online friend websites. The above websites are good examples. These sites have terms and conditions, and privacy policies that all users need to follow.

It’s also recommended to maintain online communication on the website itself or on trusted messaging/video chat platforms. Avoid using messaging services or apps that you are unfamiliar with, even if it’s described to you as safe.

Be Careful About Your Privacy

To have a better chance of being chosen, you need to be honest and open about who you are. However, this requires completing your profile with your personal information and photos.

To protect your privacy and make it harder for someone to reverse image search you, consider using a unique profile picture — one that you haven’t uploaded to Facebook or other sites.

If there’s an option, make your profile only visible to registered members of each site.

Be Clear and Firm with Your Boundaries

Like real-life friendships and relationships, boundaries are important. This means being upfront about expectations.

With the exception of the adult chat and webcam options, all the sites listed above are strictly platonic. Still, you may want to reiterate this each time you get picked as an online friend.

Other boundaries might include:

  • not meeting in person
  • conversation topics that are off-limits
  • offensive language
  • your available times to chat

Which Virtual Friend Websites Are Most Popular?

My big fear with this side hustle is that there are far more people looking to make money as an online friend than there are people wanting to hire them.

Even Rent a Friend, the most popular “online friend” site, doesn’t seem to have enough buyer traffic to support its 600,000+ friends.

And when you consider that a good chunk of their estimated 250,000 monthly visitors are people looking to get hired, and the majority of customers are looking for in-real-life companions, the odds of making any money as an online friend seem super low.

which online friend sites are most popular

That’s not to say that online friends don’t provide a valuable service — they do. It’s just that the supply of available friends far outpaces the apparent demand.

The idea sounds cool, but success stories of people actually making money as a virtual friend are hard to come by.

So what other ways can you make money online?

Alternatives to Being an Online Friend

While it’s certainly possible to make money as a virtual friend, I don’t think it’s super likely. (Aside from a niche service offering like on Outschool, language learning, or adult chat.)

Here are some other ideas to make extra money with low startup costs.

In-Person Caregiving

It’s not entirely virtual, but the market for in-person caregiving, childcare, and companionship is booming.

Sites like Sittercity.com and Care.com are big platforms that help connect families with caregivers like you. You can create a free profile and take on jobs that fit your schedule.

start a side hustle with care

The nationwide average rates are in the range of $14-20 an hour. If you love kids and you and have time to spare, babysitting would be a pretty easy side gig to consider.

Online Focus Groups

There are several sites that help match you with paid research studies online. Depending on your areas of expertise, these can pay $50-200 an hour.

My favorites are:

Best Overall
Best for Industry Pros
  • 4.1
  • Earn an average of $75 per project, and get notified of upcoming studies you may qualify for.

Best for Medical Research
  • 4.5
  • Patients and caregivers can earn $120/hour while helping advance medical research.

Best Overall
4.1

Earn $50-150/hr, with thousands of new studies added each month.

Best for Industry Pros
4.1

Earn an average of $75 per project, and get notified of upcoming studies you may qualify for.

Best for Medical Research
4.5

Patients and caregivers can earn $120/hour while helping advance medical research.

Become a Virtual Assistant

Starting a remote service business is another way to make money online on your own terms. Virtual assistants provide administrative support for other companies, and often earn $20-40 an hour.

Or, you can check out FlexJobs, the leading resource for work from home jobs.

Side Hustle Nation Approved
FlexJobs: #1 For Remote Jobs
4.7

The best place to find legit work from home jobs. Established in 2007, FlexJobs has 1000s of listings including part-time, full-time, and freelance options in tons of industries.

flexjobs 1200

There’s a nominal fee to access their listings, but the site is legit and has thousands of flexible, part-time, and full-time options.

Create a Helpful Website

Finally, my favorite way to build an income online is to create a helpful resource. What are you interested in or curious about? What are you a relative expert in?

Could you turn around and help answer questions online about that topic on a website or YouTube channel?

For example, Raffaele Di Lallo turned his love of houseplants into a 6-figure online business. How cool is that!

Making Money as an Online Friend: Conclusion

Being an online friend can be an emotionally and financially rewarding side hustle, but it will be a challenge to stand out from the crowd.

My recommendation is to find a narrower niche — such as providing language practice or chess lessons.

Don’t expect to create a profile and have the cash automatically roll in. Like anything, building an online income takes patience, practice, and consistent effort.

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

14 thoughts on “8 Legit Ways to Get Paid To Be An Online Friend: Up to $50 an Hour From Home”

  1. Thanks for the article, it was quite helpful. Can you mentor me on how to get a good and legitimate side hustle. I am a married woman with three children. I live in Nigeria. Thanks in anticipation of your response.

    Reply
  2. The article is very useful, I will definitely create profiles on several websites. If you want to have friend from Kyrgyzstan please don’t hesitate to contact me.

    Reply
  3. Hi I would like to be an online friend. I like to talk to new people and making friends, but most of all I need extra cash coz I’m a single mom and life is hard.

    Reply
  4. I wish to practically see myself on this side hustles. I only hope that I will earn through this side hustles because I am looking forward to earn the money eagerly. Thank you.

    Reply
  5. An extro-introvert as I am , I like making people feel loved and feeling special by being me for their sake ..for their peace of mind because that is key. Feel free to make me your friend and I will be at your service.

    Reply
  6. I love making friends and spending time with friends and show them the positive side of life and making people feel loved and appreciated.

    Reply
  7. I love the platform and is so helpful, this is just like my hobby like seeing people happy smiling and advice them in good way

    Reply
  8. Hi! I love giving advices and make friends online and i also want to get paid through it but i don’t know how to start and it’s really happy for me to help others by giving them an emotional support advice.

    Reply
  9. I’m a very social person and interacting with different types of people and races is one my happiest moments in life thats why im here and also to make a little money for myself and kids

    Reply

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