Takanobu Nishimoto and his fellow middle-aged men are renting themselves to other people as listeners in Japan (video below).
"For me, the service is a hobby more than anything," Nishimoto told AFP.
"The initial idea was to improve the image of guys my age, people who might not be spring chickens anymore and not taken so seriously," the 48-year-old paid listener added.
Nishimoto came up with the idea about four years ago, and now has close to 60 men across Japan charging clients $10 an hour.
Nishimoto, who is a professional fashion coordinator, services between 30 and 40 people monthly, but insists all he does is listen and talk with his clients; 70 percent are women.
"The people who rent me are just asking me to keep them company for an hour or two, mainly to listen to them," Nishimoto stated.
His clients include an 80-something-year-old woman who pays him to listen and take a walk, a fisherman, a college student hoping to break into the entertainment business and a gawkish young person who has trouble knowing how to act around a boss.
People pay for this unusual service so they can speak freely, something they apparently can't do with their family and friends.
"I never know exactly what they're going to ask for when they rent me, and of course that's a bit scary, but it's also why it's so interesting," Nishimoto said. "Honestly, I've never had problems with any weird clients ... I've had plenty of emotional experiences."
In the U.S., a different type of service will be offered through an unusual app called Pooper, which allows people to pay others to pick up their dog's poop, notes The Washington Post.
Pooper users will note on a digital map where their dog has defecated, signal that they need it picked up and another person will come to the location to pick up the dog's feces.
Pooper co-founder Ben Becker told the newspaper that the new app already has hundreds of people signed up to be poopers, also known as customers, and workers, who are scoopers.
Pooper is "at the tail end of an alpha rather than a fully functional public beta" testing stage in three cities where this service is apparently needed: Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City, according to Becker.
Pooper will officially lunched this fall.