22 Ways to Make Money as a Teen

22 Ways to Make Money as a Teen

Most teenagers want to sport the latest fashions and own state-of-the-art tech devices—which takes money.   This said, a lot of parents either can not afford or do not want to fork out the money for these types of things.  And with all the demands of school work and extracurricular activities, not to mention the child labor laws in some states that limit the types of jobs and hours that younger teens can work, it can be hard for a teenager to commit to “regular” employment.  There are numerous other opportunities for teens to make money, however.  Below are 22 ways to make money as a teen, most of them less traditional.

1. Share your opinions

There are a number of sites that will pay you for your responses to surveys.  SurveyJunkie and Swagbucks accept participants as young as 13.  Respondents on SurveyJunkie earn points that can be deposited in a linked PayPal or bank account or redeemed for a number of different gift cards, including Visa, Amazon, and Walmart.  Swagbucks participants earn Swagbucks that can be redeemed for gift cards, and, at the present, Swagbucks offers a $10 sign-up bonus.  Those 18 years or older can get paid for completing surveys on InboxDollars, which currently offers a $5 bonus for new participants.  It is recommended that you establish a separate email account when registering on these survey sites (the more you can register for, the more money you can make), so that you do not clutter your regular email inbox.

2. Play games or watch videos

Swagbucks and InboxDollars also pay you for playing games and watching videos.

3. Create a YouTube channel

Anyone 13 years or older is eligible to have his or her own YouTube channel.  In order to make money from it, however, you will first need to attract 1,000 subscribers and have 4,000 hours of watched video in the past 12 months. So, you need to decide on something you are passionate about that will attract viewers.  How-to videos can be popular–fly-tying, crocheting, knitting, creating smart phone skins—as are video games and movie reviews.  You might also attract an audience with a particular talent, such as music, dance, comedy.  Once you meet the requirements, you can apply to Google AdSense to place ads on your channel, which will enable you to begin earning money.  You can also seek sponsorships.

4. Review music

Register as a fan on MusicXray, listen to songs, and provide your feedback on the artist, lyrics, and genre-fit to earn money for as little as 30 seconds of listening time.

5. Birthday party entertainment

Parents are always looking for unique ways to keep the guests at their kid’s birthday party entertained.  If you have a Thespian leaning and a particular interest in a character that kids adore, like a superhero or one of the Disney princesses, advertise your services in the local newspaper, on Craigslist, or on a community bulletin board.  You can have fun dressing up as the character and keep the kids entertained by answering all the questions they will have for your alter ego.  Alternatively, you may have honed some talent as an amateur magician or juggler, which could also be in high demand.

6. Babysit

Parents are always looking for reliable babysitters, too.  Again, you can advertise in a local newspaper, on Craigslist, or on a community bulletin board.  You can also register on Care.com to find jobs in your area.  Word of mouth goes a long way.  Do a good job, and you will have more work than you can handle.

7. Tutor

If you happen to be particularly good in a subject, for example, English, math, a foreign language, or a science, consider advertising your services as a tutor.  The national average hourly wage for tutors is $14.50, depending on qualifications and experience.  You can find jobs in your particular locality on Care.com.  Alternatively, you can advertise in the usual local venues—or do both!

8. Sew

Those talented with a needle can earn money altering, and even making, clothes for their friends and relatives.  Start by creating your own wardrobe pieces, and when the compliments roll in, advertise your willingness to do the same for others.  Your business will blossom as word of your talent spreads.

9. Sell your crafts

You can also sell items you create on sites like Etsy, an e-commerce site specifically for handmade goods, including clothing, jewelry, home décor, and greeting cards. Etsy charges a $0.20 listing fee per item and takes a 3% commission and a $0.25 payment processing fee when your item sells.

10. Sell your designs

If you enjoy creating logos and designs, you can make money for them by uploading them to CaféPress.com.  The site will sell products with your design on them and pay you cash.

11. Sell stock photos

Maybe you have a passion for photography.  If so, you may be able to sell some of your photos for cold, hard cash.  A number of websites, including 123RF and Dreamstime, let you upload your pictures and earn a royalty for them when someone—an individual or business—chooses to download them.  Dreamstime indicates that you can earn as much as a $12 royalty fee while still owning the copyright on your images.

12. Sell your gently-used clothes

Take the clothes you no longer want or that no longer fit to a local consignment shop.  You will receive cash when your item(s) sell.  An online alternative is Thredup.com.  They send you a free kit for you to fill with gently-used, well-made items that are less than five years old.  They even provide the shipping label.  As with the brick-and-mortar consignment shop, they send you cash when your items sell.

13. Become an amateur referee

If you have a passion for a certain sport, consider refereeing or umpiring games for the younger kids.  County and community recreation departments often hire teenagers to serve as referees or umpires for their youth sports programs in football, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, baseball, and so on.  Check with them.

14. Help senior citizens with new technology

While teenagers have usually cut their teeth on high-tech devices, senior citizens are often befuddled by them.  Even if they have already owned a tablet or smart phone, the gift or purchase of a similar, but not exactly the same, new device can leave them hopelessly frustrated.  Advertising your help in a local newspaper is likely to generate a lot of business initially, and word-of-mouth may find you swamped! 

15. Proofreading and writing

If you happen to be a superstar in your English classes, you can earn a good income with your talent for writing.  Offer your services on a website like Fiverr, Upwork, or Guru, and you will soon find a number of ghostwriting, editing, and proofreading jobs come your way.  The pay can vary widely, and you may need to take a couple of bottom-paying assignments initially to build your reputation, but once you have established it, you can be choosey. 

16. Lawn work

When both parents work, time is precious, and people are more than willing to pay to have mundane tasks, such as lawn mowing, weeding, and raking, handled for them so that they can have more free time to spend with family and friends.  This creates a great opportunity for a teenager to fill the void.  Advertise in local newspapers, on a community bulletin board, or by distributing flyers door-to-door.

17. Snow removal

When the snow begins to fly and lawn work is no longer required, a teen can promote his or her snow shoveling services to his existing lawn customers.

18. House sitting

Many people travel for both business and pleasure these days, but are wary about leaving their homes unattended.  They may be happy to hire a teen to do a daily check on things.  This can involve watering plants, collecting mail, ensuring pipes are not leaking, turning lights off (or on in the evening hours), and just putting off any would-be burglar with the coming and going.

19. Pet sitting

This task may be combined with house sitting and include walking and ensuring any household pets are fed and otherwise cared for.

20. Build a blog

Like YouTubing, blogging can generate a substantial amount of income—or not.  And, also like YouTubing, it takes a while because you have to attract an audience.  Blog on a subject that you are passionate about because you will need to post regularly in order to keep any audience that you gather interested and coming back for more.  It might focus on a particular sport; talk about the newest fashion trends; provide advice and/or tips for other teens and/or insights for parents of teens; offer reviews of video games, music, or books; or provide tips on car maintenance, among other numerous topics that might attract readers of all ages.  Once you have built an audience you can monetize your blog via display ads, which are similar to magazine ads that appear in a sidebar or as a header or footer on your blog; create sponsored posts, wherein you get paid to blog about a specific company’s product or service; or use it to promote a service you provide or a book you have authored.

21. Sell items you no longer want

You may have a number of items laying around that you no longer use or want—DVDs, video games, toys, jewelry, CDs, sporting goods.  Maybe you can raid your parents’ attic (with their permission) for other things that are simply collecting dust and creating clutter. You can turn these into cash by selling them on one of a number of venues—eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or an ad in a local newspaper are just a few possibilities.

22. Become a reseller

Even if you don’t have a lot of unwanted items, you can still earn money selling things others don’t want by searching garage sales, Craigslist, and eBay for underpriced items and then reselling them for a higher price with your own Craigslist or eBay listing or on Facebook Marketplace or Amazon.  This will require a bit more effort on your part in that you will need to determine what the average selling price of an item is in order to ensure that you will be able to sell it for more than you pay for it.

Of course, these methods can also be utilized to augment income from any regular part-time job, time permitting, since most are flexible in terms of schedule and the number of hours spent. And any extra money earned can be saved for the purchase of a good, used car when the time comes; to fund a post-graduation celebratory vacation with friends; or to offset part of the cost of a trade school or college education, among other things.  Regardless, earning money and learning to manage it early in life will prove to be an invaluable lesson in the long run.  

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