An Unconventional Side Hustle: Become a Lab Rat

An Unconventional Side Hustle: Become a Lab Rat

The economy seems to be doing pretty well at the moment. Unemployment is at a low-point. We added 200,000 jobs in January. Wages are beginning to break out and of course the stock market continues to climb, which is great for our portfolio. Even though the economy is doing well it seem like everywhere you turn nowadays people talk about side hustles. There is a constant barrage of advertisements to earn extra income by driving for Lyft or Uber. You can tutor in your spare time by working for groups like VipKid (for my teacher friends wanting to earn some extra income you might look into it).

That side hustle could even be buying cheap clothing or discount items and selling them on Ebay.

Side hustles are so common that over 44 million people in the United States currently have some kind of side hustle to bring in extra income.

You could even say that I have a side hustle/second job. I teach extra courses beyond my normal teaching load for extra money. I do this partly to pay down debt and save for retirement, but I also like having that extra money. My hope is that I don’t have to do this forever, but I anticipate having to teach an extra course or two during the normal school year for at least a couple more years. If we pay down some more debt before then I might be able to change my mind.

Anyway, I digress.

Aside from getting a 2nd job or Ebay there are other side hustles.

One of those side hustles I have done in the past and have just recently restarted is becoming a Lab Rat.

What Does It Mean to Be a Lab Rat?

I would define this side hustle fairly broadly. There are a number of things that I would consider being a lab rat. For example, I recently signed up at a company called LeukoLab. At LeukoLab you basically donate blood that can be used in different research experiments. Depending on what specific type of program that you get chosen for you can earn up to $400 or so for different treatments. I just earned $300 last week for my first donation.

A second way to earn money as a “lab rat” is to donate plasma. I actually did this in grad school and earned over $200 a month for donating twice a week. Now you can earn up to $300 or $400 a month for donating plasma. I fully admit I did it at that time for extra drinking money, but today I would’ve used that money for investments or paying down debt. I don’t plan on going back to donating plasma anytime soon because of my recent donation at LeukoLab and I have some scar tissue from my donations long ago that make me leary of constantly donating. However, it can be some good extra money in the short-term.

A third way is to volunteer for a particular study. In college my brother made somewhere in the neighborhood of $10k for doing different studies. A few of those studies he actually would have to spend weekends at the specific lab facility where he got free food, cable tv, a bed, but had to adhere to the rules of the facility and he couldn’t leave for 48 hours or so. You can get paid for different clinical trials and medical studies. Here is one article that talks about some of these studies.

If you live near a major city, particularly one with a lot of universities, then you should have these opportunities available for you.

You can also find a lot of these studies on Craigslist or just Googling medical studies in your area.

The Bottom Line: In order to do these kinds of side hustles you do have to be in good health, a certain age, weight, and willing to give up some of your time. It isn’t for everyone, but some of those side hustles can be worth the time you put in and are less work than driving Uber or Lyft. I have earned more money doing these side hustles than doing Uber or Lyft.

Just something to think about. Do any of you have a side hustle and what is it?

4 thoughts on “An Unconventional Side Hustle: Become a Lab Rat

  1. Interesting, I certainly wouldn’t participate in a clinical trial where they gave me an unproven pharmaceutical, but it sounds like there’s varying levels of degree where you can do so without being at risk. While I’m probably past the age of such a side hustle, but for others where would they find such opportunities.

    1. I can understand that. And it does take a special kind of person (or maybe desperation) to do something like that. But my experience has generally been positive and I know my brother’s was, but anecdotes don’t prove anything. That is why people need to explore it on their own. But it can a nice little chunk of change if you want to do it.

  2. I did that one time but not for pay. One of the marathons I ran, Wichita KS I think had a research program where they took blood samples after you finished the race to try to determine the benefits and liabilities of endurance races. I never did see what they found out but I got a really cool tee shirt with a rat inside a wheel and the tag line, running for research. I still wear it!

    1. Wow that is so cool. I did get a mug when I signed up for LeukoLab (just the screening appointment). Of course I don’t drink coffee and my wife hasn’t used it yet so it has just been a scoop for our dog’s food, but hey it was free.

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