If you're struggling financially, here are five ways you could make some extra money from your body - without risking your health.
The phrase ‘sell your body’ tends to conjure up several odd ideas - most of them illegal.
In recent months there have been some horrific ‘real life’ stories in this area. People have tried to flog their organs on eBay, put their virginity up for sale, and suffered horrific injuries when clinical tests have gone wrong.
Sperm donation - a once-popular way to make a few quid - now has much higher stakes attached. Since April 2005, people donating sperm and eggs have not had the right to remain anonymous.
Here, I’m going to look at five other ways you can use your natural assets to make some cash, without being arrested, becoming a parent or risking your health.
This is the only body part I’m going to recommend selling (and certainly the least painful).
Wigs and hair extensions are always in demand, and the companies that make them constantly have to source high quality human hair. This is where you come in.
How much you’ll get for your hair will depend on its colour, length, type and quality. A particularly popular head of hair may sell for £1,000 or even more.
If you’re willing to go under the scissors for a price, just bear the following things in mind:
- Wig manufacturers generally require hair to be at least 10-12 inches long - so don’t just send them some clippings in a bag!
- The hair usually has to be ‘virgin’ - in other words untreated by the chemicals used in perms or dyes.
- The hair should be clean, healthy and shiny. Traces of any drugs taken or cigarettes smoked will stay in your hair long after it’s washed, and could make it worthless.
- Extra long hair - and certain unusual natural colours - will probably command the highest prices. Contact a wig seller first to see what your hair is likely to make.
- How you ‘market’ your hair is also important. If you’re advertising it online, make sure you include clear, accurate pictures and as full a description as possible.
2. Hand modelling
This quirky alternative to catwalk and glamour modelling doesn’t require you to be stick thin or be shaped like Jessica Rabbit. In fact, it doesn’t matter what your face and body look like - because they’ll never be on show.
It’s all about the hands - and when it comes to hand modelling, the competition is pretty tough.
To stand a chance, your hands should be well-manicured and moisturised (though not necessarily with long nails). Veins, scars, birthmarks, moles and any skin conditions (like excema) all generally a no-no.
The rates of pay when you do get work are pretty good - you could easily earn £300 for a single shoot. However, bear in mind you might go months on end without a job.
3. Life modelling
You don’t need to look like Kate Winslet in ‘Titanic’ to get work as a life model. Just think of ‘Benefits Supervisor Sleeping’ by Lucian Freud.
However, you DO need to be happy posing in the buff - and not fidgeting - for hours on end. It can also get pretty chilly, so make sure you have a nice warm dressing gown close at hand!
Rates of pay can vary considerably, but £10-£15 per hour is fairly typical for ‘unclothed’ life modelling.
If you want to get started, contact your local art college or look for ads in art shop windows, especially at the beginning of terms.
The Register of Artists’ Models is also a great source of information and contacts.
- Watch our video: How to save when you've got no money
Ed Bowsher investigates great ways to save and earn some extra money!
4. One for the boys
If you’re proud of your pecs, consider flashing them for some extra cash. Being an escort and a stripper are both legal options, but if you fancy something a bit more refined, what about becoming one of the Butlers in the Buff?
This ‘male order company’ supplies scantily-clad butlers for events like hen nights, corporate hospitality dos, wedding receptions and private parties.
Rates of pay are pretty decent, with butlers earning up to £25 an hour. And the company operates a ‘no touching’ policy, so you don’t need to worry about straying hands.
5. Use your head
Andrew apparently earned over £16,000 in a single month by wearing a company logo tattooed above his eyebrows (in non-permanent ink, thank goodness).
You may not be quite that lucky - but it just goes to show, it pays to think outside the box.
Just don’t get the wrong sort of tattoo, or you could have ‘Starbucks’ or ‘McDonalds’ branded on your face for life!
This is a classic article which has recently been updated.
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