There are plenty of reasons for a teen to have a job. Earning money can be an empowering experience that gets you ready for adulthood. You learn time and money management skills from the relative safety of still living at home. You can use what you earn to save for later expenses like college. Then there's the most significant reason: you are probably looking for money-making ideas because you have things you want to buy!
How to Make Money as a Teen
You have two directions you can take when exploring opportunities to make extra cash. You can look for a part-time job that pays you by the hour or look for something more entrepreneurial. Both of these have their pros and cons.
The primary benefit of a part-time job is once you start, you will receive consistent paychecks for the amount you work. Part-time jobs can also be very good at building the discipline you need later in life. By bringing home some income, you will learn budgeting skills that can be the building blocks for financial health later in life. Entrepreneurial endeavors and gig work can be super flexible with hours and structure. They can help you think outside the box and learn to take ownership of problems.
Hourly Vs. Entrepreneurial
You can pick between making money on an hourly basis or a more entrepreneurial or gig basis between the two directions. You might find that gig work is better as a teen. Flexibility is essential since you have to balance your work schedule, sports, activities, and work schedule.
Some entrepreneurial endeavors have uncertain payoff periods. For instance, you may never make it as a TikTok star. Having an uncertain payoff may not be the worst thing ever, though. After all, you have fewer responsibilities and bills to cover as a teen, so it may be the appropriate time to take measured risks of starting a business.
The middle ground of entrepreneurial vs. hourly work is gig work. Most gig work is set up where the worker is technically doing freelance work. However, they are in charge of their own time and bill the company for their services. Gig work gives you more autonomy over your schedule and gives you the ability to get the job done.
1. Lawn and Landscaping Services
Creating a lawn care business can be an excellent opportunity to make money as a teen. The lawn care business scales up as you can buy better equipment. For instance, you could start with just a push mower and a weed wacker. Then as you get more clients and save some of the profits, you could buy a zero-turn mower and a trailer. You will dramatically improve your output and the number of clients you can take on.
2. Offer Babysitting Services
Babysitting can be a great gig for making money as a teen. Most people looking for babysitting services typically look for a sitter when school is not in session. You can advertise your babysitting services on a few different apps and platforms to start getting gigs. Check out Bambino, Sitter City, Care.com, or Urban Sitter if you want to get started.
3. Pet Sitting
If you love animals, pet sitting is an excellent option for earning money as a teen. You can watch a family pet while they go on vacation and make some extra money. Some pet sitting gigs involve you going to their home and feeding and playing with their pet while on vacation. Others include taking them to your house to keep a closer eye on them.
4. Manage Social Media Accounts
The assumption is that teens are great with social media and understand the nuances of each platform. Whether this is accurate or not, this is one area of business where your age might give you a competitive advantage.
Most businesses want to be active on social media and use the platforms to bring in business. But unfortunately, nearly all business owners have so many things on their plate that they neglect their social media profiles. The opportunity for you is to identify the businesses with this need, reach out to them, and see if they would like to help manage their accounts.
One significant aspect of the social media business is you can find work that meets your needs. For example, if you are looking for hourly work, companies will pay you for a few hours a week, keeping their profiles up to date. On the other end of the spectrum, companies would pay for performance to increase their following.
5. Referee or Umpire
If you participate in sports, becoming a referee or umpire can be a great gig to earn money as a teen. Since you already know the game's rules from participating in it, there is a relatively easy learning curve to get started.
As you referee or ump, you will deepen your knowledge of the sport, which can translate into becoming a better athlete—getting paid while increasing your skill level and immersion in a sport is a great way to earn extra money!
6. Start a Youtube Channel
You can make money by posting content to Youtube. Starting a youtube channel is great if you have a skill or hobby you would like to share. However, it can take a long time to gain enough traction to earn money from starting a youtube channel.
Are you trying to get good at something? Then, document your journey on youtube. If you combine being entertaining with being informative, chances are you will be able to find a niche in the vast ecosystem that is youtube.
7. Create Content on TikTok
Creating content on TikTok falls safely on the entrepreneurial side of the spectrum. However, no guarantee creating content will get you the views and the engagement required to make money.
If you have a specific style and the grit to keep at it day in and day out, some people succeed in creating content on TikTok to make money. Your level of commitment to creating content will impact how much money you can make from TikTok. Unfortunately, the majority of TikTok creators make little to no money.
8. Start a Blog
Did you know that you can get paid to write and publish content with a blog? Self-publishing content can be both satisfying and financially rewarding. If you have a topic that you would like to write about, do a little research and see if anyone else is in that space and making a go of it. If so, you can also make a go of it.
9. Wash Cars
Sure there are car wash and detailing businesses all over America. However, if you were to provide a service where you washed your neighbor's cars, perhaps providing the service in their driveway, there is a good chance people would prefer to pay you to have you clean their vehicle without having to take it in somewhere.
It would be hard for existing businesses to compete with this convenience factor, so it is more likely that they would overlook that you are just getting started in the industry and are only looking to provide the service for a couple of years.
10. Lifeguard at a Pool
Lifeguarding at a pool is an outstanding teen job. However, lifeguarding is typically a seasonal job, and the seasons that employers are looking for lifeguards are the same as when most teens are available from summer break.
11. Work at a Movie Theater
If you like movies and the culture of movie theaters, working at one could be a great way to earn money as a teen. Movie theaters are busiest on weekends and evenings, so when they need employees and when your schedule is free typically line up reasonably well.
12. Work at Chik Fil A
Chik Fil A offers some great benefits to its employees. One advantage is they offer scholarships. That can dramatically cut down on out-of-pocket expenses when going to college.
13. Work at Chipotle
Like Chik Fil A, Chipotle offers very competitive benefits to its employees. For example, they offer tuition assistance up to $5,250 per year and have a debt-free degree program. Not to mention, who wouldn't want free Chipotle burritos?
14. Work at an Amusement Park
Amusement parks are seasonal, and their busy times usually line up very well with teens' schedules. That means they are big employers of seasonal workers who go to school. In addition, most amusement parks have jobs for operating rides, running food service, and keeping the park clean.
15. Become a Server or Host
There are tons of jobs in the restaurant industry for servers and hosts. Restaurants are busiest during weekends and evenings, so they are likely to be able to offer shifts when you are available after school.
Wrapping it Up
As a teen, there are many options for you to make money. However, some of them require more dedication and time commitment than others. Some options to earn extra money are entrepreneurial, while others are hourly and shift-based. You will not end up making a six-figure income with a part-time job, but you can make some extra spending cash and save for the future.
It is an excellent time to learn about yourself by trying out the shift-based or entrepreneurial options. At the same time, you have fewer responsibilities as a teen than trying to figure out when you have to pay for housing and other major expenses.
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Tyler Weaver is a real estate investor and blogger at Relentless Finance (https://www.relentlessfinances.com/). He has flipped over 50 homes and manages a real estate portfolio in the midwest. He strives to help others build wealth and add value to other’s lives through a constant pursuit of growth.