At this very moment, you may very well be sitting on a gold mine of secondary income. Don't worry about qualifications: The only skills you need to get started are a pulse and a clean bill of health.
According to a recent, gruesome CNBC feature, every corpse can generate between $10,000 to $100,000, depending on how the remains are used. This new trend of “body brokering” is indeed as morbid as it sounds...but it also got the ole' blogging pistons firing. If our bodies are worth that much after we’re gone, can we cash in a few of those chips while there's still bills to pay? If you're willing to do a little research and don't mind sharing your inner-most self with the world, you can.
Do not take this post as an endorsement. Each of the below money-making tactics carry varying degrees of risk, and the legalities around each have some grey areas. Do your own research first before committing to anything. Also note that most, if not all of them, have non-paid donation options if you're just looking to help. (At least you'll still get the tax write-off.) But if times are tough, the options are out there.
Blood is one of the oldest, easiest and probably most-practiced ways to pimp your bod. Paid blood donations are less common these days, but there may be hospitals and blood banks in your area that still offer cash. Stay on the up and up, though. The black market blood trade (Craigslist, etc.) is not only illegal, but libel to get you sucked dry by a web-crawling vampire. You may also consider donating to your local Red Cross, which can always use your help.
Profiting from donations of your plasma (a component of your blood), requires more legwork. After you find a collection center and get successfully screened, you’ll sit through a 90-minute procedure in which your blood is drawn, separated from the plasma and then returned to your body. Since you’re keeping the red stuff, go-getters can sell their plasma as often as every 48 hours for around $35 a pop.
Hawking your platelets isn’t for the squeamish. If you can stand a relatively long date with a needle, you’ll help transplant patients in dire need of the platelets’ blood-clotting abilities. You'll also earn around $50 bucks for your time. Learn more about donating platelets at Donate-Blood.com.
Do you have a beautiful mane that’s about to get cropped off for summer? Before you make an appointment at your stylist, consider there’s still a huge market for human hair. Check out this great post on Wisebread and learn how to maximize your profits.
5. Breast Milk
The laws vary on this one, so do your homework. If you’re a mother that produces more milk than your little one needs, there may be a market for selling off the excess. Safety concerns, processing fees and pasteurization laws make this one tricky, but private sales do happen. OnlyTheBreastMilk serves as a clearing house for those in need and those who can donate.
Nearly every struggling college male has at least considered donating sperm when facing another week of Ramen Noodle dinners. Before you get too excited (no pun intended), note that sperm banks have extremely high screening standards. The vast majority of applicants don’t make the cut, but those selected are compensated handsomely for their, ahem, hard work.
Expect to earn between $50 to $200 per session. Remember, however, that “cheating” on the bank will lower your potency and disqualify your donation. As a result, regular visits could put a serious cramp in your social life. Search SpermBanker for a list of donation sites in your area.
7. Female Eggs
If kids aren’t really your bag and you want to give someone else the gift of motherhood, egg donors are generously rewarded with as much as $5,000 to $10,000. Qualifications are incredibly strict, but if you’re a pro athlete, Carnegie Hall pianist or Mensa candidate, you just might change someone’s life. Recent policy changes also make it possible to sell your eggs in some states for embryonic stem-cell research. Either way, the process is quite complex and sometimes risky, so egg donation isn't for the faint of heart. Visit EggDonor for details on how to donate.
8. Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are potentially very lucrative, but probably the most dangerous of these options. Human guinea pigs can make some serious coin and help advance medical research, but you also may experience some serious side effects.
If the idea of turning into an X-Men character worries you, do your homework and learn as much as you can about the test. Talk to the doctors, discuss potential reactions and make sure you’re 100-percent clear on the process before getting started. Visit FDA.gov for background information and ClinicalTrials.gov for ongoing trials.
For additional ideas on earning extra money fast, check out our post "Quick cash: 24 Ways to Make Money While Unemployed."