This article will not cover the obvious and age-old way to sell yourself. The following are other ways to make a profit from your body; legal and ethical ways (mostly anyhow; one or two of the following may be questionable).
Speaking of legality, did you know that the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act makes it illegal to get paid for donating your corpse to science. However, you can save money by being a “whole body donor” (or at least your family can save money). For example, if you let Medcure have your body for about 6 to 12 weeks after you die, you’ll get free cremation and the ashes will be returned to your family.
Saving money is nice, but you probably want to make money, and preferably while you’re alive, right? So here are a dozen ways to sell your various fluids and parts or otherwise make your body into an income-producing asset.
Let’s start with the obvious…
1. Donate Your Blood Plasma
Why donate bodily fluids for nothing? Doctors, nurses and everyone who provides healthcare products and services gets paid, so if you’re going to have your veins tapped to save someone’s life, it seems only fair that you make something too.
And giving plasma is the way to go. The Atlantic says, “There is no money to be made selling blood anymore.” Plasma, a component of your blood, is what’s valuable.
According to PlasmaDonating.net the amount you’re paid varies, but you can expect to get about $40 for each donation. Generally you can donate twice per week, so you can make a little over $300 per month in most areas.
How you’re paid varies too. Some places pay more for the first donation and some pay more after the first one. Also, many blood banks are now paying donors with a prepaid debit card rather than by check.
BloodBanker.com will help you find places to sell your plasma. Just choose your state from the drop-down list and click “Search.”
2. Cut Your Hair
My hair used to be 16 inches long. If I had saved it when I cut 14 inches off, it would be worth $151, according to the HairSellon hair price calculator.
HairSellon.com is a platform for buying and selling hair. Current offerings range from $135 to $1,800, but in the reviews posted on the site the highest sale price mentioned is $4,000.
Value varies according to length, color, and thickness, and is always higher for “virgin hair.” That’s hair that’s never been chemically treated, artificially curled, or straightened. The hair price calculator shows my hair would have been worth only $108 — about 30% less — if it had not been virgin.
3. Snuggle With Strangers
People will pay you to cuddle with them. Really, just cuddling, nothing more.
You can try this on your own, or become a professional cuddler with Cuddle Comfort. They’ll find clients for you for just 15% of what you make. You decide what to charge, but since the going rate is $80 per hour, you’’re 85% share is likely to be a decent wage.
Cuddle Comfort says qualified candidates should be able to be “affectionate to anyone,” and “accepting of all races, ages, genders, and sexual orientations.” They say this work is best for women, noting that “the market for male cuddlers is very small.”
4. Make Your Skin Into a Billboard
According to an article in the Daily Mail, “The first ‘skinvertisement’ was sold in 2003 on the back of the head of an Illinois man named Jim Nelson.” The Company CI Host paid Nelson $7,000 to have their logo tattooed on him, and he agreed to keep it there for at least five years.
And it gets better than that. Joe Tamargo claims to have sold $200,000 worth of website logos on his body. The article notes that he and many others are wearing tattoos that have outlived the companies they advertise.
Many companies that originally bought body advertising may be gone, but the practice itself continues. ABC news reported on “human billboards” as recently as 2014.
If tattooing yourself with company logos is something that interests you, there is a website that can help. It’s called, appropriately, LeaseYourBody.com.
Maybe your body ad doesn’t have to be forever or require an expensive removal procedure after the company fails. According to an announcement on the FAQ page, one member was paid for wearing a temporary tattoo.
5. Pump That Breast
According to Newsweek, the practice of selling breast milk dates back to at least 1745 B.C. and it’s a booming business today. Julia, one woman they profiled, says that after nursing her own children she has an excess of 20 to 24 ounces daily, which she sells for $3 per ounce.
And Julia is milking this money–making gig for all it’s worth. She’s sold more than 1,000 ounces of her milk so far.
If you try this be careful, and be honest. Recent reports show that breast milk bought online is commonly contaminated with bacteria and diluted with cow’s milk.
6. Sell Your Eggs
Egg Donor Central will pay you $200 to go through their testing, and $300 once you’re accepted into their program. Then you’ll make up to $8,000 “every time you complete an egg donation cycle.” You can donate up to 6 times in your life.
In a Huffington Post piece, Jasmine Stein details how she made $8,000 selling her eggs. She says she doesn’t regret it, but if you consider doing this, be sure to read her post to the end. The process can be invasive and painful.
7. Sell Your Sperm
The good news is that you can make some decent cash for donating your sperm. The bad news is that you may not qualify.
David Plotz details his own experience in an educational and entertaining excerpt from his book, “The Genius Factory.” As the title suggests, sperm banks do not want sperm from just anyone. For example, besides the myriad health criteria you have to meet you’ll also be expected to demonstrate your good genes with good college degrees as evidence.
If you do qualify, you can expect to make about $209 per “deposit,” at least at the facility where Plotz donated.
To find a place where you can apply, use a sperm bank directory.
8. Pee for Profit
People need your urine — if you’re a non-drug user. Clean urine is sold to customers who use it to pass drug tests
Urine sales can be pretty lucrative. Kenneth Curtis, profiled on Wired.com, has sold more than 100,000 “urine test substitution kits,” each containing 5.5 ounces of his own urine. The price? Just $69 per kit.
But check the law in your state. According to Wired.com a few states have made selling urine illegal. In fact, after the law was changed in South Carolina, Curtis was arrested, and 20 gallons of urine was seized from his home.
What if you’re not sure you want to help people cheat on drug tests? Well, there are six other ways to cash in on that liquid gold. But they might be even worse (really, peeing on pregnancy test sticks and selling them on Craigslist — who buys that?).
9. Get Naked for Cash
No, we’re still not talking about the oldest profession. Making money with your body can be as simple as disrobing and just sitting there… for hours… while people look at you and draw or paint what they see.
If you search Indeed.com for nude modeling jobs, you’ll always find something. There are 29 openings at the moment, with pay ranging from $10 to $19 per hour.
Mostly these are positions at art institutes and community colleges. You don’t even need to be beautiful to apply; students need subjects of all sorts to draw or paint. But you do need to be able to sit or stand for hours without moving too much.
10. Be a Human Guinea Pig
I was once paid $30 to take an aspirin each day for ten days. It was to test a new brand for any irritation or side effects. Fortunately I had nothing negative to report.
I figured aspirin can’t be too dangerous. On the other hand, being a research subject can be risky. At least one volunteer has died as a result of a drug test.
Of course, you’ll normally be compensated much more than $30 for taking part in medical or health-related research. For example, Vice.com interviewed test subject Sam Spadino while he was earning $250 per day taking a new thyroid medication.
And not all of these jobs require you to take potentially dangerous drugs. Nasa paid volunteers $5,000 per month just to lie in bed. Participants did have to sleep on a slight tilt, with their heads lower than their feet.
You can look for opportunities to be a human guinea pig on JALR.com (Just Another Lab Rat).
11. Clip and Sell Those Nails
Okay, this one may not be a viable way to make money, but because it has been done by at least one man I’m passing on the information (with reservations).
The Huffington Post says Mike Drake saves his fingernail and toenail clippings and makes art from them. He makes designer paperweights, to be specific, and sells them for $300 to $500 each. He only makes one of the acrylic nail-clipping-infused paperweights per year, so perhaps their rarity is what keeps the price so high.
Drake is apparently no stranger to making money from body parts. The Huffington post notes that,, “In 2011, he helped raise money for a veteran’s hospital by making paperweights using prosthetic eyeballs that once belonged to soldiers.”
Hmm.. It makes you wonder what else could be sold as art.
Drake apparently knows how to market unusual things, and that may be the key. After all, when someone tried to sell Jesus’ toenails on eBay the bidding was stuck at 99 cents.
12. Sell Your Poop
I hesitated to include this one too, because it’s really only for people living near Cambridge or Somerville, Massachusetts. But to round out these dozen ways, and end with the body’s end product, here it is…
OpenBiome needs excrement for fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT). That’s a treatment that involves putting good poo into the colon of someone with bad poo, specifically patients suffering from C. difficile infections.
If you have the right stuff (there will be a round of qualifying tests), you’ll be paid $40 for each stool donation. Oh, and they need it several times weekly for 60 days, so you can make about $1,000 total. Holy crap!
I’m sticking to the legal ways to sell your body, so that leaves out selling your internal organs. But just so you know, it is legal to sell your kidneys in Iran
If you have some experiences with these or other ways of selling your body, please share them with us below… and keep on frugaling!