This Man’s Side Hustle Is Doing Nothing – Literally Nothing And Getting Paid For It
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How would you like to do nothing and get paid for it? One man has mastered the art of doing nothing so much that people pay him to do nothing – in what could be the ultimate side hustle.
Shoji Morimoto gets paid to literally do nothing. He’s known as the “Do Nothing Man,” the “Rent-a-Man,” and “Rental-san.” The 38-year-old Japanese man offers companionship, but in his own special do nothing way.
Following college, Morimoto went from menial job to menial job.
“I was often told that I wasn’t doing enough, or that I wasn’t doing anything, so this became a complex for me,” Morimoto told the Washington Post. “I decided to take advantage of this and make it into a business.”
In 2018, Morimoto was unemployed and decided to do nothing. He started a Twitter account with the name: Do Nothing Rent-a-Man” that offered his company in exchange for money.
“I lend myself out to do nothing, which means I don’t make any special effort,” he told CBS News. “I don’t initiate conversation. I reply to chitchat, but that’s it.”
Morimoto has accompanied people to go shopping or to restaurants, stood in the freezing cold to be an audience member for a struggling street musician, he waited at the finish line of a marathon for a client who wanted to see a familiar face at the end of the race, provided a dramatic farewell to someone as they boarded a bullet train in Tokyo, ate cake with a lonely person on their birthday, went with a woman to woman to file her divorce papers, listened to healthcare workers describe the mental anguish caused by the pandemic, went to the doctor with a client during a hemorrhoid surgery consultation, sat with students as they finished their thesis as a deterrent to them goofing off.
The Do Nothing Man has turned down requests to be a friend, clean homes, visit a haunted house, and pose nude.
“People use me in different ways,” Shoji Morimoto noted. “Some people are lonesome. Some feel it’s a shame to go somewhere (interesting) alone — they want someone to share their impressions with.”
“What’s amazing is the huge variety of personalities, circumstances, and situations,” he added. “That’s striking to me almost every day.”
Akari Shirai wanted to eat at her favorite restaurant that she used to visit with her ex-husband, so she hired Morimoto.
“I felt like I was with someone but at the same time felt like I wasn’t, since he existed in a way where I didn’t have to be attentive of his needs or think about him,” Shirai said of the 45-minute dinner date where she shared memories and photos from her previous marriage. “I felt no awkwardness or pressure to speak. It may have been the first time I’ve eaten in complete silence.”
An anonymous female client explained why she hired Mr. Rental.
“Japanese women tend to worry about what others think, and about not burdening others,” she said. “It’s exhausting. So being freed of this obsessing is valuable.”
The Do Nothing Man charges 10,000 yen (about $83) per session with his unique side hustle. He schedules up to three appointments almost every day. To date, Morimoto has been on approximately 4,000 meetings for his side gig. Morimoto said his side hustle provides enough income to maintain a dual-income household and raise his son.
There is a 12-part semi-fictionalized Amazon Prime series based on Morimoto’s side hustle.
“I think when people are feeling vulnerable or are in their intimate moments, they become more sensitive toward people that are close to them, like how they will be perceived, or the kind of actions they will take for them,” he said. “So I think they want to just reach out to a stranger without any strings attached.”
“Even if people look normal and fine on the surface, they often have shocking pasts or secrets, or impossible problems,” Morimoto said. “People who come to me with crazy problems, they’re usually not people who look like they’re suffering. Everyone, even the ones that seem well, all have their own sets of problems and secrets.”