18 Ways for Teens to Make Money: Starting a Side Hustle in 2021
The first thing you want to think about when thinking up ways for teens to make money is: How much money do you want to make? If the answer is “a lot,” then you should be focusing on ways to start a side hustle so that you cans start and grow your own business. If you just want to make a little money once in a while, then you can take on some odd gigs for friends and family.
The goal of this blog post is to cover many different creative ways for teenagers to make money online and offline. While starting an online business is easier than ever, it’s not the best fit for everyone. And because so many people are turning to online side hustles, sometimes offline ways to make extra money are even easier to get due to the lack of people willing to do them!
Ready? Let’s get started!
Ways for Teenagers to Make Money Online
The truth is, you’re not going to make a lot of money with online surveys like survey junkie so I’m not even going to cover that here. In my opinion, your time could be better spent making way more money!
Start a blog to monetize
You’re reading my blog right now and I can tell you it’s a great way to make money! If you like to write, then blogging could be an amazing side hustle and will bring in money for years to come. Think college and beyond if you’re able to make it successful! It does take some time to build up (usually a year or more depending on the blog and how much time you have to put into it), but it can bring a lot of money and be pretty passive once it gets going. With a blog, you write about a topic that you either know about or are willing to learn about and then once you start to get a bit of traffic, you can monetize your blog.
Let me tell you, there are plenty of ways to monetize your blog! Most people think that it’s just about ads, but that’s not even the best way to make money with your blog. Sure, it’s a bit more passive and easy, but you have to continue to get a lot of traffic to make a lot of money with ads. My favorite ways to make money with a blog are through your own digital products or through affiliate income, which is where you place links to products or services in your posts and then drive people to that post by making it really relevant and helpful. When people place an order through an affiliate link, you get a commission! Click here for more information on how bloggers make money.
But starting a blog isn’t as easy as just starting to write without any goal or structure in mind. You need to look into SEO optimization, keyword research, etc. to make sure people are actually visiting your blog. Here are my favorite resources for blogging are:
- How to start a blog by Neil Patel
- Niche Site Academy (a bit pricey, but worth it if you want to start a profitable blog)
Buy items to sell online
One of my favorite ways to teach people to make extra money online is to buy items at thrift stores, yard sales, or flea markets and sell them online! People often just want to get stuff out of their house, so they don’t bother with reselling items themselves. That leaves a lot of money to be made for resellers who are willing to put in the work finding items to sell, listing them online, and shipping them.
You can sell basically anything online from clothing to video games to electronics and the profits are usually pretty high! If you’re a teen, you may not have a lot of room to store items, but if you focus on sourcing a few items that will make you a lot of money, rather than a lot of items that bring in a little money, then a little extra space in your closet or garage is all you need.
Some of the best places to sell items online are Ebay, Poshmark, Mercari, and Facebook Marketplace. Depop is also becoming more popular, especially if you have an eye for fashion.
Here are my best resources for starting a reselling business:
- My Free Ebay Training
- Starting a reselling business? tips from a pro
- How to start a reselling business in 2021
Start a YouTube channel
Do you have what it takes to make YouTube videos? I’m going to start off by being pretty straightforward here and say that not everyone can just vlog about their life and make good money anymore. YouTube has become too competitive for that, but it’s not impossible. If you want to start a vlog channel, you’re going to have to stand out. Either with a unique or exciting lifestyle, or with amazing editing.
But my recommendation is actually skipping the whole vlog situation and going straight into creating a niche specific channel. Think of something you already know about or want to learn about and start there. Make your channel a learning experience for you and your audience so that people come to watch your videos with the intention of improving their own lives.
The biggest thing with YouTube is instead of making random videos, make videos people are searching for. That’s how you get views, especially when you’re new and don’t have subscribers yet. What kinds of things are you and your friends searching for you YouTube? That’s a great place to start.
If you’re looking for YouTube resources Cathrin Manning is one of my favorites.
Chances are that because you grew up around technology, you can easily build up skills like video editing. Many people and businesses want to put video out there, but don’t have the time or skill to edit those videos! Even if you start out charging $50 per video and it takes you 2 hours to edit, that’s $25 per hour which is a great income for a teenager. If you need help with skills like video editing there are plenty of YouTube videos out there or you can take a course on SkillShare which has hundreds of courses for online and offline skills. Click here for a free trail for SkillShare
Monetize a skill
Do you have a skill that you can monetize? Maybe you’re really good at digital art and you can do illustrations for small businesses or authors. Or maybe you’ve been playing the guitar your whole life and can teach others to get started. If you have a skill that others want, then you can monetize that by other doing/creating for others or by teaching them to have that skill too.
One of my favorite places for stuff like this is Fiverr. I earned over $1,000 in my first 30 days on Fiverr and over $35,000 on Fiverr as a PART TIME freelance writer and social media manager in my first yaer. But there are over 100 different categories on Fiverr and probably thousands of services you can offer on Fiverr.
Don’t have a skill that you can monetize? You can develop one! Take an online course somewhere like SkillShare (link id for a free trial) based on something you’re interested in that can make you money. For example illustration, graphic design, video editing, photography, etc.
You might like: 8 Easy Fiverr Gig Ideas
Sell handmade items on Etsy
If you’re crafty and like to make things, then you can try selling them on Etsy. Not sure what to sell? Check out Etsy to see what others are selling for inspiration (not to copy) and see if you have any interest in making similar items. You can make things like soaps, clothing, art, or even furniture to sell on Etsy!
Before you start, make sure there’s a market for it and that you can create a product that a customer will be happy with. It may take some time to get to a professional level that is suitable to sell, but having a side business creating can be very fulfilling!
Sell digital products
One of my favorite ways to make money online is selling digital products! I personally have a spreadsheet and a couple of courses that I sell to people who are looking to start making money reselling. But there are so many types of digital products you can sell!
If you want to sell somewhere like Etsy, you can sell spreadsheets, digital planner pages, coloring book printables, social media graphics, and more. The great thing about selling digital products is that if you set them up to be delivered automatically, you don’t have to do anything but make sure you market your products.
I personally sell my digital products to people who land on my blog or my youtube channel, but you can also use websites like Etsy which already has built in traffic on their website. Here a post I wrote about how I made over $5,000 selling one digital product (a spreadsheet).
Creating digital products doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact you can do it for free in some cases. Are you really good with google sheets? Maybe a teen budgeting or college students budget template would be a good first product for you. Or if you like to do digital art, you could create wall art that others can print for their homes or even premade logos. It’s something that can be fun to do in your free time and then list for sale!
Manage social media accounts
As a teenager, it’s likely that you’ve been around social media for a big chunk of your life so why not make that into a business? If you’re pretty good at navigating certain social media platforms, then you can manage social media accounts for small business owners who may not have time or simply don’t know how to work social media. The great thing about being a social media manager is that a lot of the work can be done right from your computer or your phone at home. You don’t need to go anywhere to get your work done!
Plus, it can pay pretty well. If you’re looking for clients, try telling friends and family and charging cheap rates so that you can get your first few clients. From there, you’ll learn the best ways to manage social media accounts and then you can raise our rates and use those first few people as referrals when a new potential client pops up. Not sure where to get clients? You can even try places like Fiverr, which has an age requirement of 13 years old.
Best Ways for Teens to Make Money Offline
If you feel like you spend enough time online and prefer to do something more offline to make money, then that’s great too! We could honestly all use a break from our phones and computers.
Deliver for food apps
Delivering for food apps like DoorDash and UberEats can be a great way to make money if you have a car. It does have an 18+ age requirement, so if you’re under 18 it’s best to skip this one and try out different ways to make money. But driving for food delivery apps can be a great side hustle because you can work whenever you want, like evenings and weekends. Plus, who doesn’t love being able to just drive around with your music on while you make money!
How much you can make delivering for food apps depends a lot on which app you work with and how many tips you get. Some people won’t tip at all, while other’s will tip generously. As long as your car gets good mileage, you should be able to earn over minimum wage delivery for food apps. But you’ll never know until you give it a chance.
Grocery shop for Instacart or Shipt
There are so many people who just don’t have the time to grocery shop and would rather have someone do it for them. Luckily, there are apps like Instacart and Shipt to get your groceries delivered to you! This is also an 18+ side gig, so make sure you’re old enough to sign up. But if you don’t mind going to the grocery store to shop for someone else, this can be a great side hustle.
With the grocery delivery apps, you will accept different jobs based on your schedule and it’s you job to do the shopping and deliver it to the customer. The tips on grocery delivery can sometimes be even better than food delivery because people are shopping for a whole week or longer and their orders can be quite large.
Sell clothes at a consignment store
Of course, you can start with your own closet and clean out clothes you no longer wear to take to a consignment store to trade for cash. Unless you have a pretty good consignment store this probably isn’t a good way to make a lot of money, but if you have some good stuff they’re looking for then you can often make a few bucks on the items that they accept. Calling ahead to see what they’re looking for can really help you narrow down what to bring.
Once you run out of your own clothes, you can try hitting yard sales which usually have clothing for .50 or $1. But make sure you choose wisely so you’re not buying stuff the consignment store doesn’t want.
Babysitting for family members or friends
One of the original ways for teenagers to make money is babysitting. This can be a job that you have for years or just work when needed. It can pay pretty well and if you’re good with kids, you can get paid to basically play most of the day! Not to say it’s not hard work, but if you enjoy children it can be one of the easiest ways to make money. Most parents need a little help for date nights or even during the day on weekends when they need to get other stuff done, so offering your babysitting services can be an easy way to make money.
Depending on where you live, how old you are, and your experience babysitters usually make between $10-$20 per hour.
Pet sitting & dog walking
If you prefer the company of animals, then you might like pet sitting or dog walking. Dog walkers make an average of $15-25 per hour and pet sitters usually start at around $20-$30 per visit. You can even offer overnights where you stay at other people’s houses which can range from $30 to even $100 per night, depending on the situation.
Usually you can get plenty of work by just telling people around you, but if you’re over 18 you can also use the Rover app to sign up and get pet sitting and dog walking clients that way. With Rover, they do take a small percentage of what you charge, but because your potential clients are on the Rover app looking for pet sitters it can be one of the best ways to actually find clients if word of mouth doesn’t work for you or you simply want a higher volume of jobs.
Do yard work for neighbors
Not everyone loves to do yard work and a lot of adults love to help out an entrepreneurial minded teenager. You could even start with your own parents! They might be more than happy to pay the $20 for someone else to mow their lawn and if your neighbors see you doing it, they might as if you can do theirs too. Even if it takes you an hour, that’s $20/hour for pushing a mower around and could easily turn into $200-$300/month even if you just have a couple of lawns.
If you want to expand even more, you can offer other lawn services like maintaining flowers and plants, planting, etc.
Cleaning houses may seem like the last thing you want to do, but if you’re good at it and pay close attention to detail it’s a great way to make extra money! Plus, as you get more clients word of mouth will spread and you can continue to grow this type of business. Many house cleaners make $20-$40 per hour so it can definitely be worth it! If you specialize in something like non-toxic or green cleaning products then you can usually charge even more.
Tutor other kids
Are you good at a particular subject? Or even all of them? Try tutoring other kids! Either within your own grade or younger kids. This is a great way to make money using the knowledge they already have from school. Maybe you’re really good at science and know the answers to all those tricky questions – offer your services as an after-school tutor who just does one subject, or offer a variety of subjects. Many parents are happy to pay for their child to get the help they need to do well in school.
Do odd jobs for friends and family
Sometimes you just want to make a little bit of extra money once in a while and you don’t necessarily want to make it into a full business or even something you do all the time. In this case, you can let friends and family know that you’re willing to help with odd jobs to make a little extra money here and there. Maybe your uncle needs some help painting a room or a family friend needs help cleaning out a garage. Doing little things like this can earn some extra cash without the pressure of committing to something long term.
If you have a good camera and an eye for photography, you can shoot session for people! Not everyone has the money to hire a professional photographer and sometimes they just want a few pictures of their family or someone to take photos during a casual event. If you have any photography skills, you can offer your services for a fair price while continuing to gain experience.
Interest in photography, but don’t necessarily have the skills? Remember there’s always YouTube or online courses via websites like SkillShare so you can perfect your skills. Click here for a free trial of Skillshare.
Photography is a great way to make money for teens and doesn’t require anything but your eye. You don’t even need the best camera or an expensive DSLR if you have a good eye and good editing skills. Some of the best photographers can take a picture on a phone that’s better than one taken by an expensive camera by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. If you do want a good camera, you can always pick one up used on somewhere like Ebay or Facebook Marketplace.
If this sounds like you, put together a portfolio of your best photos. And if you don’t have one? Grab a few friends and take their pictures so you can create one to show to potential clients.
When it comes to the best ways for a teenager to make money, a lot of it is going to depend on you. What are you interested it and what will you stick with? Do you need money ASAP or are you willing to work to build something that will pay off even more in the future?
You can get started today, even if that’s just creating a plan to take that first step. Take a look at your favorite ideas from the list above and figure out which one will work best for you and your lifestyle. You don’t even need to be out of high school to start most of these side hustles, so what are you waiting for?