Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past year or so, you may have realised that the global economy has been somewhat tenuous. People have learned the hard way that they need to be wise with their money, and, for some it means taking on extra work to boost their income, pay off that credit card debt and start saving money again.
But why make your life more miserable than it already is? Sure, you could get a job in the local fast-food joint, take on ironing in the evenings or even run a garage sale, but where’s the fun in that? Why not try your hand at something you’ve never done before, and still make money. Here’s a guide to some of the weird, wonderful and downright peculiar ways of earning a few extra bucks during a cash crisis.
1. Medical Trials
Selling your body for medical research isn’t as scary as it sounds. All trials and testing are heavily controlled and have to adhere to strict guidelines, especially in the US, Europe and Australia. Participants are often recruited to test drugs which have yet to be deemed clinically safe, but to get to this level they’ve already gone through rigorous testing, just not on humans. Generally, the trials are held to determine the correct dosage, so budding participants should be aware there may be possible side-effects, although this will all be explained beforehand.
Those not freaked out by the idea and willing to become a human guinea pig will need to be in good physical and general health, though some trials actively seek people with asthma, are overweight, or who smoke. The levels of financial compensation vary depending on whether you’re simply taking a test-drug alongside your normal diet and life, or if you’re undertaking a residential stay in a private clinic. If you’ve signed up to stay over you may have to eat a regimented diet, but you’re also kept entertained in what is, essentially, a private hotel with medical staff. Oh, and you’ll need to be prepared to be woken at all hours to have tests or provide samples, so this money-making method is not for the faint-hearted.
2. Sell Your Blood Stateside
We are regularly reminded that donating blood is a good thing and we should do it as often as is safe. Blood saves lives in hospitals and operating theatres across the world. But have you ever thought of selling it? In Europe, donors are generally not paid for their contributions but in the US, where the concept of free health care is yet to take hold, you can collect up to $35 per donation. It only takes a short amount of time to donate and your body replenishes the lost blood within a day.
3. Sell Your Hair
If you’ve got a nice head of hair and you don’t mind parting with some of it, you can make some good money. It’s mostly used by manufacturers to make wigs. To be saleable, your hair needs to be clean and in good shape and also untreated — nobody wants to buy your highlights or second-hand hair extensions — and needs to be at least 25 cm in length once cut.
So if you want to retain some hair on your head afterwards, look to grow it to about 30 cm in length before you go lopping it all off. Specific hair-sale websites allow users to list details of their flowing locks for sale. The right head of hair can command prices up to US$1,000.
4. Use Your Pets
If you’ve got a cute pet you might do more with it than just sit around at home stroking it. Get it out there; show it off and make it earn its keep! Pet modeling is big business, especially with cats and dogs. Pet food manufacturers always need photographs of healthy-looking pooches for their marketing campaigns. Though, you’d be advised to get a good agent as some companies can be ruthless and will rip you off, or even try and placate you with free supplies of their product.
If you’ve got a pet that boasts its own produce, take advantage of the business opportunity. Goats and cows are always good for free-flowing milk and therefore diary produce, and the wool from sheep or alpacas make great garments. And, if you’re feeling extra-entrepreneurial why not pimp your pooch to single friends keen to pick up.
5. Scrounge for Scrap Metal
Turning your old scrap metal into money has long been a way of trading in unwanted goods, and right now some metals are worth a pretty penny, especially copper. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should join the merry band of people trudging through half-built or abandoned houses and stripping them of their precious metals. Keep it above the law and search registered dumps in your locale. As the saying goes, “one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure.”
6. Create Stock Images
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to get paid for your pics. Good images are needed everyday by journalists and picture editors, who spend ages trawling the internet to find the perfect picture to accompany an article. And you’d be surprised what type of images they need. Sometimes they’re looking for incredibly mundane shots of inanimate objects, or people posing with everyday objects, as well as wonderful artistic shots that only the gifted seem to be able to produce.
Grab your camera and start shooting anything and everything. You might not think it, but images of letters on a scrabble board, plant pots in your back garden or pictures of dogs in the park might be perfect for an article. There are a number of stock image agencies online, which offer both one-off payments and royalties, you just need to find the right one for you.
7. Use and Abuse Swine Flu
It was only a matter of time before some bright spark used this latest pandemic disease to rake in the cash. Inventive designers have created a series of comical swine flu T-shirts, which are currently selling like hot cakes, while others have released swine flu-branded face masks, which will please some members of the extra-cautious, yet fashionable, public.
8. Get Creative
If you can make something reasonably unique, which you think will sell well online, then get cooking, making, baking or inventing. You’ll need to set up an online shop and website, so there may be some initial outlay, but if your idea works, it may turn into a lucrative business.
9. Sell Your Sperm
Image via: Mesomorphosis
Yes, you read it right. Making money from your manhood is one of the lesser-known but potentially regular, and quite well-paid, second jobs a lot of men have, but don’t often boast about. Of course, donating sperm once a month may not be the best course of action for those who are worried their off-spring will seek them out in 18 years when they’d like to meet daddy. Finding out it was all about the money may not be the reunion your grown-up sperm was hoping for.
Contributor’s articles are written by members of the personal finance community. Each article was reviewed Moolanomy’s editorial team before its publication.