Side Hustle True Story: I Donated Plasma

Welcome to an exciting and fun new series entitled Side Hustle True Story. In this series, I am going to go into detail about some of the more interesting side hustle jobs I have done in the past. Some of these jobs were well worth it and a lot of fun. Other side hustle jobs were a total failure!

When I compiled a list of 25 ways to earn extra income, I chose not to include every side hustle job I had ever done because some of the jobs were a little odd.

Side hustle by donating plasma
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This week’s post is no different. I used to donate plasma to earn extra money. This is a pretty extreme side hustle as it involves using your body to (legally) make money. This is a useful article if you are considering donating plasma or wondering how the process really works.

Related post: Side Hustle True Story: I Delivered Drugs

What is plasma?

Plasma is the liquid portion of blood and is made up of proteins. These proteins help fight off infections! Plasma also regenerates quickly, which is why people can donate often.

The initial appointment

If you are unsure if there is a plasma center near you, do a quick google search or check out CSL Plasma. Call and make an appointment over the phone. Most plasma centers are open 6 days a week. My center was open from 6 am to 8 pm during the workweek and half a day on Saturdays.

Your first appointment will seriously take 2-3 hours. You have to get a physical and do a ton of paperwork. Once this is done, you can finally donate plasma. It’s extremely tedious and really weeds out the people who are serious about donating.

Scheduling future appointments

Once you have completed your 1st donation, you are now able to schedule all your future appointments! This means you can donate two times a week with a 48 hour resting period between appointments. This resting period is important because you’re body needs time to recover!

Most centers book appointments via telephone or online. I found it easier to book online. I was able to log on and view the calendar, which listed all the available appointments. I could even book my appointments up to one month in advance.

Most appointments took me 45 minutes to 1 hour. I liked to book mine first thing in the morning or at the end of day, as these were the slower times.

Donating plasma is a lot like donating blood

Before donating, a nurse will check your blood pressure, your temperature and prick your finger to make sure everything looks normal. Once everything is clear, the nurse will start the process.

The actual donation time depended on how fast your body produced the plasma. If you drink a ton of water, you were much more likely to finish faster than someone who came in hungover and dehydrated.

What happens after donating?

After you finish donating, it’s recommended to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. The nurses also advised against lifting anything heavy for the remainder of the day. Your sugar level might be low as well, so many facilities will provide juice and cookies to get your levels back to normal.

What kind of people donate plasma?

All kinds of people! The plasma center I went to was in a really nice area . There was a mix of professionals, students, retirees and just regular people.

I will say that there was another plasma center I look into and it attracted a really rough crowd. I felt extremely out of place and very uncomfortable. I also didn’t like the facility itself.  Make sure you do your homework first and are comfortable with your environment.

How much money can I make donating plasma?

Most centers advertise a person can earn $200 or more a month. This was correct! My pay schedule rotated, with one visit earning $35 and the next visit earning $20.

This is a side hustle! How do I get paid?

Different plasma centers pay differently. Some facilities pay in cash. The facility I went to gave each person a prepaid Visa card on the 1st visit. After each donation, a technician loaded payment onto the card, with the funds available immediately.

Why did I stop donating plasma?

This was a tough side hustle for me! I donated plasma off and on for a couple months. I was never able to go twice a week, because my body had a hard time recovering afterwards and I was tired for most of the day. The main reason I stopped donating plasma was because I fainted on 2 separate occasions. This was just too extreme for me and not worth the money!

*If you have a side hustle story you would like to share on this blog, please contact me at [email protected]

Related reading:

Have you ever side hustled?

Kristin, is the creator behind Believe In A Budget. She teaches others how to start a blog and how to side hustle. Her course, Pinterest Presence, helps bloggers + businesses drive traffic to increase their website’s profitability. Click here to learn more

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  1. Hello,
    Yes, donating plasma could really be an easy part time job if you donate faithfully and regularly. Where I’m from, if you donate twice a week, monthly allowance is somewhere between $400-$550. I think it’s worth it, if you drink lots of water and eat a hefty meal, and also pump your hand the same reps as your heartbeat, the process will take 20-35mins.

    1. Kristin Larsen says:

      That’s great information to share about donating plasma, thanks!

  2. Adria Adam says:

    I actually donate twice a week most weeks and make awesome money! With the current coupons I’m using at Biolife Plasma, I’m making $400 this month! I find that donating plasma actually has helped me to be more conscientious of how much water I’m drinking and what I’m eating around and especially before my appointments. It’s soooo crucial that you drink enough water, but when I do, I find that it’s totally worth my time. This month it’s coming out to me making $50 an hour, which is sweet! I just sit there and listen to my pocast 🙂

    1. Kristin Larsen says:

      That’s awesome Adria!

  3. Dee Garcia says:

    Wow!! Definitely would not donate for that cheap… the place in my town pays u $75 ur first time, next 4 donations $50 then $75…then depends on ur weight but I never stick around long enough…

    1. Kristin Larsen says:

      That’s great! I think this can definitely vary depending on location. This post is also a couple years old, so pricing could have also increased since then 🙂

  4. I’m able to donate pretty frequently. I find that drinking a protein shake made with Spinach helps elevate my levels, as well as recover afterward. I was able to pay for a cruise with my earnings! 🙂

    1. Some people have no issues with it and can really earn a nice side income from it – going on a cruise would be awesome 🙂

  5. I tried donating plasma once despite my fear of needles (I thought maybe this would finally desensitize me).

    I spent about an hour there before a technician came out and said that my veins were too small. Oh well.

    What really got me was that EVERYONE there was wearing face shields. I asked why, and they were like, “Oh, sometimes we have squirters.” I was floored!

    1. Oh hahahaha, face shields?! Girl, I am with you on this. It is a GREAT way to make money and I have always seen more men at these centers than women. This is definitely where I had to draw the line!

  6. I used to donate plasma 2x a week, $10 each time. Lots of interesting characters, and we used to race to get the blood bag filled the fastest. Pump your fist a bunch to make the bag fill quick.

    I was featured in a Marty Stouffer video as I had a hawk that they needed for a shoot, it paid $300 back in the early 80s. I have done a few other things too…

    1. That’s great you were able to donate plasma frequently!

  7. My then-boyfriend (now husband) and I tried to do that once. They wouldn’t take his because he used his inhaler too often. They had trouble finding a usable vein for me. I guess mine just aren’t close enough to the surface or I was dehydrated or something.

    But people should know that it’s not just about money (though that’s a plus). The plasma is really important.

    I had a rare, severe neurological illness when I was in college. One of the ways they treated it was to cycle out bad plasma for good. I started improving noticeably after the second or third treatment.

    But yeah, mainly it’s a great way to make some money to watch movies.

    My own side hustles were mainly mystery shopping. It didn’t pay a bunch, but it was relatively easy. Plus I got free meals, stayed at a hotel a few times, and got into an amusement park. Pretty cool!

    1. It is amazing how plasma can save lives! It is really a win-win situation for everyone involved. Mystery shopping is a great side hustle!

  8. Donating plasma always sounded so intense to me, as I was never a big fan of donating blood. $200/ month sounds decent though but that’s so scary how you fainted twice. I think it’s risky because you’re not sure how your body will recover afterward and you might not be as productive while you’re waiting to get your strength back. I actually have a side hustle story to share, I’ll email you!

    1. It is definitely not for the faint of heart! I have always been a fainter (which sounds weird) but this was too much!

  9. I was told how hard giving plasma was on a persons body. I had a friend back in the day who use to do this on a regular for free. I couldn’t do it for I hate clinics and anything that resembles medical.

    1. I am amazed how people do this regularly!

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