Need Extra Cash? Try These Online Jobs and Side Hustles for Teens
It’s time to get ahead, and to do it early!
If you’re a teenager looking to make money, now is an ideal time to find the right gig for you. With job openings at a record high, there’s a lot of work to go around if you’re looking for an in-person side hustle. The pandemic has also opened new opportunities, like running errands for at-risk people and new avenues for virtual work.
One thing to note about finding side hustles is that some gigs may require you to be 18 or older in order to sign a contract. This applies if you were to become a delivery driver with UberEats, for instance, or if you were to sign up for gigs on a site like TaskRabbit. But working for yourself – or for people you know – typically doesn’t come with any age restrictions.
Ready to find the right part time job for you? Let’s dive into the best side hustles for teens.
Side hustles while you’re still in school: from local fast food restaurants to running social media accounts
Having a part time job can come with a number of benefits. First, there’s the financial part. Earning extra money can help you (and your family) feel more financially secure, give you opportunities to save up cash and allow you to buy fun things that your allowance doesn’t cover.
Having a side hustle also gives you something to do. Sure, playing video games, scrolling through YouTube videos on your phone and chilling with friends is great. But if you’re looking for something more to fill your hours because you’re feeling bored or uninspired by life, adding in a part time job can give you a renewed sense of purpose. With the right motivation and creativity, instead of watching videos on YouTube, you could be creating YouTube videos for yourself or an influencer, and building important skills that are in high demand!
Side hustles can help teach you responsibility. Having to be somewhere on time, complete certain tasks and generally be accountable are important skills to learn and practice before you head out into the so-called real world. Getting the hang of these skills as a teen will set you up for success as an adult, whether that is as a college student or a young worker. Having a side hustle early on is a good starting point, and will help you get ahead in the game of life.
Side hustles in your neighborhood
Want to make more money? Good money, serious money? Become your own business.
One way to make money is simply through helping out people in your neighborhood. While there’s definitely a ceiling on how much you can make—your customers are limited to people you know or to those who live around you—working for people in your ‘hood is a great way to start out with side hustles. You can either literally stack the cash, or build a bank electronically in a PayPal account.
Especially if you’re a younger teen, working for people you know (including family members or neighbors) can be a good option because you don’t need to worry about any official age limits or contract stipulations. You’re just getting paid cash to do work people need.
To get started, you can print up flyers explaining your new venture and tuck them into people’s mail boxes or deliver them door to door. You can set an hourly rate yourself or ask people what they are willing to pay you. (Either way, you’re sure to make money.)
Here are some options you can try:
Walking and watching people’s pets
If you love animals, consider dog walking or pet sitting. While there are pet daycare centers and dog walking apps, many people would rather trust their fur babies to someone local who they know. This is a fun way to make money and help people out at the same time.
If you like kids, working as a babysitter could be a great option for earning money, especially if you’re willing to work nights so parents can go out. If your neighborhood skews older, you could also be an elderly caretaker and keep older people company by reading to them, having meals with them or helping them around the house. Plus, doing this can provide good experience if you want to be a camp counselor a little later on. Who knows!
If you know how to mow the lawn (or you’re willing to learn), can shovel snow, rake leaves or pull weeds, you can earn money taking care of people’s yards. You can also offer to help with holiday decorating (or removing decor), painting, cleaning the garage—anything outdoors that neighbors could need help with.
Running errands for people
With the ongoing pandemic, this side hustle has become even more in-demand. Offering to run errands for older neighbors and those with kids in particular can be really helpful to them and a lucrative way to make money for you. You can do it in person, or use the power of the internet and skip the trip to the store by shopping online.
In person side-hustle jobs
Working for local businesses is another way to make money. These more official side hustles for teens are great additions to your resume because they show commitment and dedication to a traditional job. Your employers can also provide legitimate references for getting into college or for your next gig.
Here are four options to think about:
Make a list of your favorite stores, from boutiques to tech outposts to food purveyors. Then, check to see if any of them are hiring. If you can, it pays to work somewhere you like to shop because employees can sometimes receive discounts. These local businesses may need more help than ever with the pandemic creating a service industry labor shortage.
Likewise, think about which restaurants you enjoy eating in and see if there are any food service jobs you can apply for. From fast food to fine dining, there are a lot of options right now in particular for work. You can sometimes enjoy free meals on your shifts, which is another perk of these gigs.
Tutor or coach
If you’re gifted in a particular school subject or sport, consider helping younger students with their skills. You can look for tutoring jobs through your school or the other schools in your area, or you can reach out to the parents of young people directly by posting on physical job boards around town or on Craigslist. Set an hourly rate that sounds like a reasonable price for your services.
Internships are a great way to learn skills in an industry you might want to have a career in one day. Any legitimate business will pay its interns, giving you an hourly wage or a stipend. If you’re skilled at understanding social media, many companies look for young people to handle their accounts and this could be a great place to start. You can go from building a social media presence as an intern to becoming one of those social media managers yourself!
Easy online side hustle jobs
If you have a computer, you can also make money right at home doing remote work. There are a number of online gigs and websites that need virtual workers, and it’s a popular business model for a reason. Check out these opportunities to see if one of these ways to earn cash would work for you:
Working as a virtual intern or assistant
If you’re interested in interning, you don’t always need to be in-person to assist someone with their business. As a virtual intern or assistant, you can take calls, upload content to social media, take notes during Zoom meetings—you name it. This kind of job can also give you valuable experience in a field you want to break into as an adult.
There are so many ways to create online content these days. You can start a blog and monetize it with ads. You can apply to magazine and website jobs looking for teen writers and create articles and social media content. You can start a YouTube channel about any topic you’re interested in. Finally, you can use social media directly and create content for Instagram and TikTok.
While making money through these avenues isn’t guaranteed (save for a magazine or website gig), with hard work and constant hustle to create new content, you may just become the next big influencer in your free time.
Designing printables and clothing
If you’re talented at graphic design, you can list your designs on websites like Etsy. You can earn what’s called passive income by creating printable materials that people can pay to download digitally and then print out themselves. (Art for their homes, calendars, labels and stickers, etc.)
You can also offer print-on-demand goods like mugs and t-shirts. Set your items at a reasonable price so you’re compensated for your time but also so people can afford your designs. You can use social media to promote your work, which can help you find more ways to make money through word of mouth.
Reselling clothes, toys and home goods
Selling any clothing, furniture or collectibles you no longer need or use can be a great way to make money. Sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are great for selling furniture, while Poshmark is good for selling your clothes.
You can put up toys and collectible items on sites like Mercari or eBay. If you enjoy fixing things up and reselling them, you can even shop garage sales or Goodwill for great pieces and then resell them online.
There are a number of stock photo websites through which you can earn extra money for your photographs. If you have a talent for taking pictures, you can share your snaps on these sites and, when people want to use your images, you get paid a commission.
The more photos you take, the higher the chance that you’ll be able to sell one of them. Plus, you’ll be able to build your portfolio while you make money.
Doing odd jobs
If you only have time here and there for picking up extra work, you can use websites like Mturk and TaskRabbit to search for random jobs that people need done. By working on your own schedule, you’ll be able to complete the jobs you take on, meaning that you’ll make money without overextending yourself.
Teaching virtual classes
If you’re an expert about a certain subject or super passionate about a particular topic, you can teach a class and upload it to a website like Udemy. This is a good option if you’re not finding any in-person tutoring options in your area but you want to share your expertise.
Since these classes can be watched again and again (for a fee that gets paid to you), you just need to take the time to plan them and film them.
Giving language lessons
You can sign up to be an online language teacher, which is a great side hustle that almost anyone can do to earn money. Some websites look for English speakers, while others need bilingual speakers. Typically, you work with a student via webcam to help them hone their conversational skills, making this gig both fun and social, all from the comfort of your home.
Transcribe interviews or videos
You can get hired by the hour to type meeting notes, interviews, videos, podcasts or any audio that someone needs to have a transcript of. All you need to do is be a fast and efficient typer and you’ll receive an hourly rate for your work.
You can post on Craigslist that you’re available for work or search online job boards for people looking for a transcriber. Sometimes journalists and writers will need fast turnarounds, meaning that sometimes you can take on a gig and get paid on the same day.
Through websites like Survey Junkie, you can get paid for giving your opinion in various market research questionnaires. You won’t get paid a lot of money, but these surveys are easy to complete and can be done quickly. Be sure to check the age limit and other restrictions before you get started.
What to use your side hustle money for
The aforementioned side hustles for teens can bring in varying amounts of money. But no matter how much you make, you’ll want to think about what to use that cash for. Here are some options that you should think about to make the most of your extra money:
Taking responsibility for everyday expenses
Many teens have side hustles simply to pay for their lives. If your family doesn’t have a lot of extra money, as is the case for many, many families, your side hustle will contribute to your family’s overall well being.
This extra cash could be instrumental to making sure everyone in your home has enough food to eat and clothes to wear. There’s really nothing more important than being able to help provide for your loved ones.
Adding to your college fund
As previous generations know all too well, student loan debt can be crushing. High interest rates and long repayment periods can keep people owing tons of money long after their graduation days. If you can help it, don’t plan on taking out loans for college.
Use your extra money to create or add to a 529 college savings account. These accounts offer tax benefits, allowing you to pay for college, or even schooling before college, so you can hopefully avoid taking out loans.
Investing any extra money
If you’re looking to simply save money in a general savings account, look for a no-fee account that offers a high interest rate so you can earn money while your extra cash stays in the bank. You could also try your hand at the stock market in a very low-stakes way by putting money into bonds or low-risk mutual funds. This allows your money to grow while you’re not using it.
Saving for something big
Maybe there’s something you really want: A car, a new laptop, a TV, a cool pair of sunglasses. Whatever it is, you can devote a portion of your paycheck to this item and save up to buy it. When you purchase something important for yourself, you’re more likely to really cherish and appreciate it.
Paying off debt
If you have any current debt—a loan from your parents, credit cards or a car loan—you should use your extra money to try to pay off what you owe ASAP. If possible, you don’t want to start your adult life off with debt and getting this cleared to zero will help you start out with a clean slate.
How to balance your side hustle with life
When it comes to making extra money, you don’t want to work to overrun your life. You’re still technically a kid, after all. Sure, most teens can’t wait to grow up and enjoy all the benefits and freedoms of adulthood but—trust me—you’re going to miss the days of being able to use your age as an excuse to do less.
So, when you choose to get a part time job or side hustle, make sure that you still have time for your homework and school responsibilities, because you don’t want your grades to slip after taking on too much at work.
And try to build in some leisure time for yourself or with friends so that you don’t get burnt out. Being a teen can be exhausting and you don’t want your job to get so overwhelming that you can’t enjoy this unique time in your life. That said, building a side hustle can be a great advantage later in life, because those that can do it early will be able to more easily tap into that sense of motivation later in life, when you have more time to use it.
The bottom line? When it comes to side hustles, balance is key. Hustle enough to make some extra cash and feel the sweet sense of accomplishment. But don’t hustle so much that you’re exhausted and can’t muster the energy to get your schoolwork done or hang out with friends. After all, you have the rest of your adult life to work and make money.