How Can Teenagers Make Money? Our Complete Guide

how can teenagers make money

Are you looking for tips on how teenagers can make money? Or just wondering how to navigate the world of money and make a few bucks to support your lifestyle or set you up for a positive financial future? 

how can teenagers make money

American teens are increasingly aware that they’re not being taught solid financial literacy in school.

Recent research polled more than 1,000 teens on financial questions surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion – and the results were poor. 

Kallin Marquez, an 8th grader from Diamond Canyon Middle School in Anthem, Arizona sums it up perfectly by asking 

Why do students have to learn so many things in math that they can never apply to the real world? Instead, shouldn’t we be learning more things that focus on financial literacy?”

Yet, only six states require high schoolers to take a dedicated personal finance class before graduation. 

If you’ve not been blessed with a decent financial education in school and don’t know the first thing about how to get your first job or start your first side gig, then this guide will teach you everything you need to know about:

  • How to make money as a teenager online 
  • How to make money as a teenager during quarantine 
  • How to make money from home as a teenager 
  • How to get a part-time job 
  • Paying tax as a teen 
  • Setting your teen financial goals. 

Let’s get started. 

How can I make money fast as a kid? 

That’s the burning question, right? Much depends on your age, your current commitments including school and hobbies, as well as the area you live in and the support you get from your parents. 

It makes sense that if your parents have bought you a set of wheels, then you might have more money-making opportunities available as you can travel to different places for work.

Having said that, some of the best ways to earn money as a teenager can be found online.

So long as you have a broadband connection and a laptop or even a smartphone, then the dollars could roll in. 

But how could a 13 year old make money? Isn’t it difficult when you’ve only just entered your teenage years to make any decent cash? You might indeed have fewer opportunities available to you, but you’ll also have next to no expenses to take care of either. 

Do teenagers pay tax? 

Once you start earning money, this is a valuable lesson in learning how the US tax system works.

But surely you don’t have to pay taxes on a babysitting job? Not so.

Even if you’re seeking guidance on how to make money as a 12 year old, the IRS isn’t too worried about your age and is more interested in how much you’re making. 

So if you earn more than $400 a year, then the IRS will consider that you’re self-employed, no matter how old you are. However, you’ll also be eligible for some great tax deductions too. 

For example, if you drive to work, then you can take the money for gas out of your earnings and won’t pay tax on this portion.

Similarly, if you use your tools or lawnmower to run a landscaping side gig, then you can take off the cost of your equipment from your earnings. 

If you earn money as a teenager by working for an employer, then of course they will handle your payroll.

By filing a tax return, you might be entitled to a tax refund if your employer has withheld too much of your earnings from you. File the W-2 form and contact the IRS to learn more. 

How to earn money as a teenager online 

Here are some of the top ways for a teenager to make money with just an internet connection and a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

The great thing about this type of work is that there are zero commuting costs and it’s 100% flexible.

Whether you want to log in after class, or on a rainy Saturday afternoon, online work can fit around your schedule.

Crucially, this type of work is also suitable during the pandemic if you’re quarantined. 

As a teen, it can be challenging to find the time for an official ‘job’.

Check out the list below to show you how to make money as a teenager without a job online. 

Writing Essays 

This may not be entirely ethical, but if you’re smart and get good grades in school then you can make a decent income helping others to beat the system.

You can expect to earn as much as $10 a page and if you’re a good writer, then it’s easy to expand your business through word of mouth.

It’s usually best if you keep this type of work separate from your school life, so writing essays for students from other towns or states is your best bet. 

Tutoring 

There’s no age that’s too young to get started with tutoring so if you’re asking ‘how could a 14 year old make money?’ then this might be the right job for you.

Much like writing essays, if you’re a smart kid who gets good grades, then why not put your talent to use by assisting others to do well in school too?

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that remote learning is BIG business.

There’s no need to go round to someone’s house after school loading up with books.

Online tutors might make use of voice chat, videotaped lessons, or text-based chat to support their pupils. 

There are plenty of tutor websites that you can sign up for, but be aware that the majority of platforms such as Tutor.com, Kaplan, Magic Ears and Tutor Me require you to be at least 18 years old to take part.

If you are younger than this, then you’ll need to tutor privately and should seek approval from both your parents and your pupil’s parents before beginning lessons.

Wondering how much money you could make as a teen tutor? Typical base rates for tutoring start from around $15 per hour, but you could easily make up to $25 if you’re willing to tutor during peak hours after school and at the weekends. 

Selling stock photos 

Do you have a passion for photography? The great news for budding photographers is that many smartphones are now equipped with in-built cameras which take excellent quality snaps and cost a fraction of the price of a pro camera.

Whether you have a collection of photos already or are keen to get started, you can upload your shots to platforms such as Pexels, iStock, Getty Images, or Pixabay.

You’ll then earn money every time someone downloads one of your snaps.

There’s no limit to how many photos you can place online, so why not get snapping? 

Start a dropshipping business 

Ok, we know that starting a business as a teen might seem a little daunting, but the positive thing about dropshipping is that you never have to pre-buy or handle any stock. 

The business model revolves around you setting up a website or social media page where you advertise goods.

A customer places an order with you, then you contact a manufacturer behind the scenes to fulfill the order. Let’s say the customer pays $30 for their order and you pay the manufacturer $10 for the item, you then pocket the $20 difference. 

There are very low start-up costs involved with dropshipping.

You just need to have your eCommerce site set up and find a reputable manufacturer who will fulfill your orders quickly and accurately. 

Flipping goods 

Did you know that Kim Kardashian started her business empire by flipping designer handbags and selling them on eBay? 

If you have an eye for a bargain, then you can buy cut-price goods on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or even at your local garage sale.

You then sell them on for a profit – you may need to clean the items, upcycle them, or simply advertise them to a different audience where there’s high demand. 

Start a YouTube channel 

YouTube was launched back in 2005 and has catapulted some kids and teens into permanent financial freedom.

Check out Ryan Kaji as an example – this 9-year-old Canadian boy is worth $50 million thanks to the success of his family YouTube channel ‘Ryan’s World’. Since the age of 4, Ryan has been unboxing toys and reviewing them for other kids to enjoy. 

Whilst it’s challenging to know exactly what type of YouTube topic an audience will go nuts for, it’s also extremely easy to get started.

So long as you’re 13 years old, you can start your own channel if you have an Internet connection and a decent camera. 

You can enable monetization in your YouTube account settings and select to join YouTube Partners Program or YouTube Premium. 

Manage Social Media Influencers 

You don’t necessarily need to have loads of followers on social media to make money from this type of marketing. You just need to be willing to work with those who do. Let us explain. 

People who have tons of engaged followers online can monetize their accounts and make a tidy figure from advertising, sponsored posts, etc. By acting as the middleman, you can get in touch with a high-profile, or an up-and-coming influencer with loads of potential, then ask how much it would cost to place an ad on their profile or website. 

Once you have a figure, you can then get in touch with relevant advertisers and let them know about the opportunity you’ve found for them.

Make sure you always provide a price that is much higher than the social media user has asked for, and then you can pocket the difference as your influencer management fee. 

Your social media user will often be delighted that you’ve handled this business for them and as most of the work will be carried out via messaging or emails, the fact that you’re a teenager shouldn’t hold you back. 

Become a blogger 

If you have a way with words and are passionate about a topic, then starting a blog can be an excellent way to generate income on a schedule that suits you. 

Let’s say you’re passionate about cheerleading.

You might start a blog where you write regular posts about anything from uniforms, accessories, coaching or tournaments. You could incorporate video posts into your blog to attract plenty of engagement and then promote your blog on social media to make sure you get loads of hits. 

Although it can take a while to generate a loyal audience, those who love your posts will subscribe so they’ll read your content regularly. You can make money by publishing static ads from companies such as cheerleading uniform suppliers.

Alternatively, you can signup for free with affiliate networks such as CJ Affiliate and earn money through referrals to other relevant advertisers. 

Become a freelancer 

As a freelancer, you will offer a service to other people, without being attached to a specific company or employer.

If you learn a high-income skill, then you can charge up to $50-100 an hour or more for a project depending on your skill level and experience. 

Some of the typical services offered by freelancers include: 

  • Copywriting 
  • Graphic design 
  • Web design 
  • Search engine optimization 
  • PPC
  • Social media growth 
  • Coding 

You may already have a strong background in one or more of these skills, or you can build your experience by watching YouTube tutorials or reading blog posts online. 

Becoming a freelancer is inexpensive as you usually only need access to the Internet and potentially some specialist software programs.

But other than that, you can advertise your services on platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr where companies will be able to find you based on your skills. 

If you’re entirely new to freelancing, then you shouldn’t expect to earn much at first.

It would be worthwhile to take on some low-budget projects to boost your portfolio and gain positive online feedback and allow your business to grow.

If your customers are happy with you, then you can receive repeat business, referrals through word-of-mouth and can put your prices up as your reputation improves. 

As your freelancing work is completed online, your clients might be located in the States or they could even be based overseas in a different timezone.

So long as you offer a reliable and top-quality service, there’s no reason that your age will hold you back in this profession.

In fact, it’s great work to get into as you get older, and can be completed alongside your college work too. 

Starting a Podcast 

Did you know that almost 150 million Americans listen to podcasts? That’s a serious audience for you to tap into. 

If you’re wondering ‘how can I earn money as a teenager through podcasting?’, you’ll be pleased to hear that the monetization concept behind podcasting is very similar to blogging.

You simply chat about a topic you’re passionate about, either by yourself or with other podcast guests.

Once you have a strong audience following, you will appeal to advertisers. 

As a teen, you’re unlikely to have your own product to promote, but you can review or chat about other people’s products and receive an advertising commission for doing so. 

Live Streaming 

Live streaming works in a similar way to YouTube in that if you gain a large enough audience, then you increase your advertising potential. 

Twitch.tv allows teenagers to join its live streaming platform and eventually you could end up being paid as an audience watches you play video games. Sounds pretty cool, right? 

As with any type of social platform, this isn’t a get-rich-quick type of income.

You could expect it to take a year or two to build a decent following, as with blogging or social media. But once you’re getting plenty of subscribers, you could become a fully-fledged Twitch partner which has the potential to earn you as much as $2.50 per month per subscriber. 

You don’t need to be amazing at math to know that translates into some pretty tidy money. 

Signing up for apps 

Large companies pay out money to people just like you as part of their valuable market research strategies.

Essentially, they want to find out what makes teens like you tick so that they can angle their products and services towards your demographic.

And the best part is that you’ll be paid a small amount for participating in their research. 

From taking surveys to downloading apps, there are tons of ways for teens to make a bit of extra cash in this way.

It’s important to realize that you might only be offered a few cents here and there, but this can add up quickly. 

Here are some of the easiest apps to make money from: 

  • Swagbucks 
  • My Points 
  • VIP Voice 
  • Sweatcoin 
  • Get Perksy
  • Smart App
  • Toluna
  • i-Say 
  • SurveySavvy 

Why not download a couple and give them a try? 

How Teenagers Can Make Money In The Neighborhood 

Some of the most traditional types of teenage jobs can be found right in your neighborhood.

Your customers could be your next-door neighbors, your best friend’s parents, or just anyone who notices your ad on a notice board or picks up a flyer you’ve dropped in their box. 

The advantage to picking up a neighborhood job is that you usually get paid for your efforts very swiftly, in comparison to some digital earning strategies where it can take many months to build up a presence on the web.

So, if you’ve been wondering ‘how can a teenager make $1000 quickly?’ then the answer is usually to devote a chunk of hours over the holidays and get stuck into some neighborhood gigs. 

Here are some of the most popular ways for teens to make money in their local area. 

Dog walking 

Dog ownership is a huge commitment and not everyone has the time to fit their dog’s needs into their weekly schedule.

That’s where you come in. 

If your customer isn’t able to walk their dog during the day due to work, sickness, or taking a trip, then you can step up.

By charging a few dollars per dog, you can take them around the block, to the park, or any other route you fancy. Average rates charged range from $10 to $35 per hour, depending on your location. 

The more dogs you’re able to walk at once, the more money you can make in one hit.

If you live near an apartment block then you could have a very profitable business in the making.

Apartment owners in big cities don’t have the outside space to let their dogs out into, so they rely on dog walkers to meet their furry friend’s daily exercise needs. 

To get started making money by dog walking, apps such as Rover or Wag are free to sign up to and put you in touch with dog owners who need your help. 

Pet sitting 

Ok, so if you’re interested in dog walking, then it’s not a stretch to suggest that you might also be drawn to pet sitting as a teenage money earner.

The main difference is that the pet will visit your home, or you will visit theirs for a longer period.

Sometimes you might pet sit for several hours or even overnight if the owners have taken a trip. 

Always ask your parent’s permission before bringing home a pet, and if you have your own pets be mindful of how they might react to the extra company. 

The average drop-in rate for pet sitting in America is $32 per hour and $75-85 for an overnight stay. If you take on an additional pet from the same household, then pet sitters would usually charge just $5 more according to research conducted by Thumbtack

Babysitting 

Busy parents often don’t have much time to themselves and kids are a 24/7 job.

If you’re great with kids, then becoming a babysitter is a good way to make some extra cash during your teenage years. 

Depending on the age of the kids you’re watching, you might be expected to: 

  • Make and give formula feeds
  • Help the kids brush their teeth and get into their PJs 
  • Read bedtime stories 
  • Help with homework 
  • Get them into bed on time
  • Prevent the kids from causing chaos 

As a teen babysitter, you can expect to earn between $12.50 to $20 depending on where you’re based in the States.

The best way to become a babysitter is through word of mouth in your local area.

Let your parents know that you’re interested in making some extra cash and they should be able to help spread the word amongst their friends. 

Alternatively, you can sign up on apps such as sittercity.com.

Repeat business is highly likely as a babysitter if you’ve done a good job, as many parents like there to be a bond between a regular sitter and their kids. 

Teaching hobbies 

Do you have a passion for arts, crafts, or music? We’ve already discussed the possibilities of tutoring younger kids in high school subjects, but what about teaching them extra-curricular activities too? 

If you’ve got an excellent singing voice, love ballet dancing or doing karate, then these are all hobbies that you can pass onto the younger kids. 

Private 1 to 1 sessions could be possible but you’ll need to charge each individual a higher rate to make the time worth your while.

Alternatively, if demand is high, then you might make more money by offering group lessons for around $5 per kid. If you have a class of $10 kids, then this is a great earner for you. 

Remember that you may need to take the cost of supplies out of your earnings, such as paintbrushes or venue hire, so don’t forget to factor this in when deciding how much you would like to charge. 

Hosting Parties 

Teens love parties so if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, then there’s money to be made in party hosting.

This doesn’t mean it’s ok to trash your parent’s house! Instead, you can look into renting out the perfect venue and then sell tickets for a great party there.

Make sure you pre-sell the tickets in advance so that you’re able to pay your costs upfront. 

If you have experience as a DJ, then even better – or you can use some of the income to hire someone to spin some unforgettable tunes.

Some DJs will be willing to play for free to increase their exposure, but others can be tempted with a percentage of the revenue. 

Selling Drinks 

Before you whizz past this idea thinking that we’re talking about 8-year-olds making homemade lemonade, take another look. It’s super cheap to buy a bulk pack of water bottles or sodas and make some ice.

Plonk yourself in a busy area of the park, beach, or open-air pool on a hot, hot summer’s day and you’ll be surprised how much people will pay for a drink you’re offering at just the right time. 

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is just a summer gig either.

It works equally as well in the winter if you set up near the ice rink or Christmas market armed with hot chocolate and coffees. 

Sign up to Task Rabbit 

If Task Rabbit operates in your area then it’s free to create a profile and sign up.

Task Rabbit provides help to local people who need assistance with odd jobs ranging from hanging pictures, painting fences, assembling flatpack furniture and house moving. 

You will need to be 18 years old to become a Tasker, so this isn’t available to younger teens, but for those who qualify, you’re able to set your own rates, be your own boss and grow your own business.

You can’t say fairer than that can you? 

Offering Cleaning Services 

Ok, so let’s say you’re in the middle of your teens and you’re thinking ‘how can a 15 year old make money fast?’.

If you’re feeling like you don’t have too many strings to your bow yet and haven’t had a chance to learn a high-income skill, then one job that any teen is guaranteed to be able to do well is cleaning. 

None of us like it, but we can all do it, right? Cleaning services are in high demand throughout all of America.

There will be plenty of people right now in your neighborhood who need something cleaning, whether that be their: 

  • Home 
  • Yard
  • Car 
  • Bike 
  • Garage 
  • Boat 
  • Golf clubs 

You probably already have most of the equipment you need to get started, but if not then it’s inexpensive to arm yourself with some budget cleaning fluids and some old rags.

To drum up business, you can either go door to door and ask if anyone would like you to clean for them.

Alternatively, you could print off some flyers and drop them in your neighbor’s boxes. 

House cleaning generally costs anything between $50 to $100 depending on the size of the property.

But if you set aside a couple of hours and do a great job, then that’s quite an addition to your wallet. 

How teenagers can make money from part-time work 

Does drumming up your own business not appeal to you? Or perhaps you would prefer set hours and the opportunity to work for a reputable employer? If so, then getting a part-time job as a teen could be the right option for you. 

Most employers will advertise when they’re looking for entry-level staff.

You can look out for ads hung in their windows or business displays, or posted on their website or social media.

As a teenager looking for work, this might be your first job in which case be on the lookout for ads which state ‘no experience necessary’ or ‘full training provided’. 

If you can’t find any suitable positions in your local area, then feel free to draw up a basic resume using an online template and drop it into a business that you would be interested in working for.

It might feel like an uphill struggle to put together your resume when you’re new to work, but by providing a cover letter and listing your skills and availability, you’ll have an increased chance of being hired. 

Wondering what types of jobs teenagers can do part-time? Check out some of these ideas: 

  • Busboy – the first step to becoming a waiter, you don’t need any experience to be a busboy and you might even receive free meals during your shift as a perk. 
  • Working in retail – how many chain stores do you live near? Think Walmart, Target, Macys etc. Stores like these are regularly looking for teenagers to join their crew on a part-time basis for tasks such as folding clothes, checking stock, operating the cash register or sweeping the floors. The work might be menial but the hours can be flexible with the opportunity to take on the shifts that work around your school and social commitments. 
  • Amazon warehouse operator – heard of a little company called Amazon? You could be an essential cog in its wheel by working in one of their enormous distribution warehouses. The job is essentially to locate the stock and pack it for an order. This is hard work and will require some heavy lifting but again you can take on as many shifts as you like and even switch to a more permanent role during peak seasons such as Christmas or the summer. 
  • Delivery driver – most delivery jobs will require you to have your own set of wheels, or at the very least a bike. 

How to choose the best type of teen money maker 

If you’re reading this guide then you’re most likely either a teen or a parent of a teen who is interested in making money. Deciding which is the option with the most earning potential for you depends on how much money you would like to make, and how quickly.

It also depends on your age as the options for how to make money at 17 without a job will be different in comparison to a 13 year old. 

First up, decide if you have a particular figure in mind, which might be the case if you have been searching for tips on how to make $1,000 as a teenager.

Perhaps you’re saving for your first car, a new bike, a pair of AirPods or a summer vacation with your buddies.

Next, decide when you need to have reached your target by.

Break that down into weeks so you know how much money you need to earn each week until you reach your goal. 

Of course, you might not have a particular financial goal in mind.

Perhaps your main aim in making money as a teenager is to set yourself up for financial independence in the future.

By learning new skills during your teen years and gaining on-the-job experience, you will make it very easy for future employers to take your resume seriously when it lands in front of them. 


Thanks for reading How Can Teenagers Make Money? Our Complete Guide. The Finances Hub offers a comprehensive platform to teach financial literacy to anyone from teenagers to seniors. To get started on making your first $5,000 in 52 weeks, please download our free guide today.

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