How to Make Money Online as a Teen

1. Make an App

I know this one sounds impossible — but it's not. A friend of mine did exactly that and is earning income per month passively from a simple multiplication app on the iOS app store.

She didn't have much technical experience, but she was motivated to take a course on Udemy (the exact course listed below) and built the app when she was still in high school. You can also have an app built in under 3 months following a tutorial like the ones below.

If you find a certain need and market it well, you could charge $1 for every download and/or make money from in-app ads.

14. Sell your stuff

Another way to make some easy money is by putting your clothing or other items on websites (or apps) such as Dote, Let Go, or thredUP. You can create your own account and choose your own prices. Another option is to organize a garage sale and invite the neighborhood!

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30. Putting Up/Taking Down Christmas Decorations

Almost everyone loves Christmas decorations. But putting them up can be a challenge, and taking them down can be a hassle.

Offer your services around your neighborhood, especially if you have a flair for putting up decorations. The work will only be seasonal of course, but it will give you a chance to make some extra money around the holidays.

44. Snagajob

Snagajob is actually a job board, but one where you can find the kinds of jobs that are not available in the local newspaper or the mall.

All kinds of employers in every industry advertise for jobs on the site. It may be a chance for you to find that unusual job you’ve been hoping to find.

How Parents Can Help Teens Learn Financial Responsibility

Talking to kids about money from an early age can lead to lifelong benefits that can keep them in financial health. Some ways parents can help teens learn financial responsibility include addressing topics such as:

  • Budgeting basics
  • Setting savings goals
  • The benefits of investing
  • The importance of managing debt

Parents can also teach financial responsibility by setting a good example and sticking to a budget, regularly setting savings goals, and managing their debt. They can talk to their teens about their own financial decisions.

Parents can also help their teen manage financial products such as credit cards, bank accounts, or even IRA accounts. They will often need to co-sign for these products for their teens. Some budgeting apps offer debit cards for teens and allow parents to monitor their spending activity.

What to Do With The Money You Make as a Teen

If you decide to start making money as a teen, it is important that you have a plan for the money that you earn.

Make sure you put money in three different areas:

  1. Give
  2. Save
  3. Spend

A good rule of thumb is put 10% toward giving, 20% toward saving and 70% towards spending.

You can adjust these percentages depending on your needs and your level of discipline.

Making a plan for your money will help you build money habits that will be beneficial for the rest of your life. Making money, spending money and saving money are three different things. Part time jobs like these are great to get you started.

Tips for Teenagers with Online Jobs

Here are some pointers to help you find success with your online job:

Keep Your Parents Posted

Remember to keep your parents or legal guardians in the loop—they’ll appreciate it. Plus, if you suddenly become richer than them—and they didn’t know where the money came from—they would be worried!

Your parents already know that you’ll learn the value of money when you earn extra cash as a teenager.

Learn on the Job

As you’ll learn, the road to financial independence is paved with patience and hard work. Earning extra money now, as a teenager, will teach you how to succeed when you start making more money later in life.

And these online jobs can teach you a lot about working in the professional world. The same is true for old-fashioned jobs for teens like becoming a babysitter, pet sitter, camp counselor, or grocery bagger. Nothing replaces work experience.

Watch Out for Scams

Unfortunately, the online world is full of scams. When you’re hopeful about starting a new online job, you could fall victim to one of these schemes.

To avoid this, stick to the ideas on my list or vet your job opportunities with these questions:

  • Is the job asking me for money? Whether you’re being asked to buy software or invest in a product, you shouldn’t be parting with money in order to get a job. This is a huge warning sign.
  • Does the employer want me to meet in person? You shouldn’t need to meet an employer in person to become a virtual assistant or a graphic design freelancer. If you do need to meet someone in person, make sure you’re meeting in a safe, public place. And make sure your parents or guardians know what you’re up to.
  • Does it seem too good to be true? You won’t make a hundred grand a year as a proofreader. You won’t become a millionaire by working the survey sites. Over-the-top promises may be strong signals that the job isn’t for real.
  • Are there too many personal questions? Your mother’s maiden name, your middle name, your Social Security number, your bank account numbers… all this info shouldn’t be required for you to get a part-time job or a side hustle gig. Be careful sharing personal data. Identity thieves love to steal credit profiles from young people.

One of the best ways to avoid scams is to source your side hustles from vetted sites. The Steady app compiles legitimate local and national gig economy jobs to help you start earning extra money. It’s 100% free and worth a try if you’re not sure where to start looking.

Get a PayPal Account and a Bank Account for Teens

You may have noticed a lot of jobs on this list pay through a PayPal account, which can link to your bank account.

But PayPal won’t verify an account unless you’re an 18-year-old. So to make this legit, you’ll need help from your parent or legal guardian to set up your accounts.

It’ll take some legwork upfront—and up to 30 minutes of your parent or guardian’s time. But it’ll be worthwhile when you have your own bank and PayPal account set up so you can make money and control where it goes. We recommend starting a checking account to store your money and start building savings for the future.

Learn more:

5. Sell on Etsy

In general, you need to be at least 18 years old to sell on Etsy. However, teens who are 13-17 can sell on Etsy with “appropriate permission and direct supervision” of a parent or legal guardian, according to the site’s terms of service. In this case, your parent’s information will be used to create the account and your shop’s “About” page must list the adult as the shop owner. 

Although there are a few hoops you need to jump through, this does work (I have a niece who sold on Etsy as a teenager by following these guidelines). Once you’re set up, you can start making money by selling your handmade, vintage and/or digital products.

Some examples of things that teens can sell on Etsy include:

  1. Stickers.
  2. Printables.
  3. Jewelry and accessories.
  4. Art and wall prints.
  5. Original t-shirts.

Starting an Etsy shop is a good option if you’re into arts and crafts or using your creativity. You can use your talents and work on the types of things you enjoy. 

Building a profitable Etsy shop will take some time, but it provides excellent long-term potential. If you’re looking to create a business that can generate some money in the short term while also opening up more doors for the future, Etsy could be a good choice.

Additionally, you’ll also have the option to expand by selling your products on other platforms or directly from your own website, if that’s something you want to pursue.

For more details, read our guide on how to make money on Etsy.

Knowing Your Rights 

It’s important to know that there are special protections for teens with jobs. In the United States, minors are not allowed to work under the age of 14 (with a few exceptions) and have limited hours they can work when they’re under 16. Federal law also bars anyone under 18 from working in jobs considered dangerous. Many child labor laws in the US were established by the Fair Labor Standards Act, and you can use this tool on the Department of Labor website to see whether the Act covers your job.

Once you turn 18: Using Apps

When you turn 18 you'll have more options for employment, but you may still want that flexibility with when, where, and how much you want to work. Here's some apps that make it easy to find work when you want it.

Why you should start building passive income side hustles as a teen

Passive income allows you to make an income, maybe even as much as a full-time job, but without needing to work all the time. The sooner you start building passive income sources, the better.

It will help you save and prepare for the future. It’s beneficial to do this as a teenager because much of your time right now should be focused on your education.

What to Do With Your Money

Once you’ve earned some money for yourself you can do whatever you want with it! However, before you go and spend it all, take a look at these other options:

Treat Yo Self

The fact that you’re taking the initiative to start learning how to make money on your own is pretty significant. Not a lot of teenagers do what you’re doing now.

For that reason, once you start making some money, be sure to reward yourself. Go out and buy something that you’ve wanted for a long time. Just don’t go too crazy!

Reinvest in Your Business

If you’ve started one of the side hustles above like reselling things at school or starting a blog, your business needs money to keep running. Make sure to re-invest as much of your profits as possible back into your business so that it can grow.

Save it

Once you start earning money, it’s important that you don’t blow it all. Saving money is an essential rule of finance and learning how to save early on will benefit you greatly later in life.

Plus, if you ever want to make a big purchase (e.g. car, computer), you’ll need some money saved in the bank for it.

Invest it

If you’re only 13, it may seem a bit silly to start investing so young, but by starting early you actually have a huge advantage.

Here’s how:

Let’s say you invest $1,000 when you’re 15. With no additional contributions and an 8% avg. return rate, by the time you’re 45, you’ll have $10,062.66 just from interest.

That’s your money making money without you doing anything.

Now let’s say you waited until you were 20 to invest that $1,000. With the same 8% return rate and no additional contributions, at the same age of 45 years old, you’d have only $6,848.48. That’s $3,214.18 less just because you waited 5 years to start investing.

I wish I started investing when I was younger!

If you want to learn more about getting started, check out this beginner’s guide on how to invest as a teenager.

Bottom Line

This list just scratches the surface of ways for teens to make money. There are many awesome money-making gigs for teens who are looking for summer work.

If you’re creative and willing to put in the effort, there are plenty of opportunities to earn good cash.

What are you doing to make money this summer? 

*Actual earnings may differ and depend on factors like the number of deliveries completed, time of day, location, and expenses. Hourly pay is calculated using average Dasher payouts while on a delivery (from the time you accept an order until the time you drop it off) over a 90 day period and includes compensation from peak pay, tips, and other incentives.

Is it hard to get a job as a teenager?

Many companies and businesses hire teenagers for part-time and weekend work. How difficult it is to get a job as a teenager can depend on your age, hiring laws in your state, and whether an employer requires any special skills.

Get Hired for Part-Time Jobs

Food delivery

Food delivery

You can also make some extra cash for delivering food. For example, Instacart is an app that provides its customers with same-day delivery on groceries (they too do pick-up services) from their local store. The user does all of their shopping directly through the app and checks out. Once that’s complete, the order is sent to a personal shopper (this is where you come in) to do the shopping and deliver the order that same day.

What’s cool about Instacart, though, is that they offer both a full-service and in-store only option. A full-service shopper goes to the designated store, does the shopping, packs it up, and delivers it directly to the customer (you leave the food on their doorstep in nearly all cases).

But if that sounds like too much, you can also be an in-store shopper, where you do the shopping and get the order ready for the customer to pick up. The in-store option is excellent for people who don’t want to bounce around from store to store all day or make deliveries. Note that you have to be 18 years old to sign up for Instacart.

Another option is Postmates. Postmates hires “couriers” to deliver not only groceries but also food from restaurants as well as other personal items directly to the customer’s home. As a courier, you’ll get compensated based on how many orders you complete in an hour, your waiting time for orders, and how many miles you drive.

On top of that, you get to keep all of your tips. So if you do an excellent job, you can make some good money. You can also pick and choose which delivery requests you want to take – otherwise, you’ll be automatically assigned deliveries. Like Instacart, you do have to be 18 to deliver for Postmates.

Golf caddy

If you live near an upscale golf course, make sure to apply as a golf caddy this summer. According to The New York Times, caddies can earn more than $100 for 18 holes. Not bad, considering that your primary responsibility is holding clubs for someone.

A golf caddy plays a crucial role in a golfer’s success. They serve as a confidant and an advisor when it comes to club selection. If you’re really good at your job, you can be the difference between an excellent round and a mediocre one. The same goes for the size of your post-round tip.

Lifeguard

You need to know how to swim and be at least 15, but if you check both boxes, you have an inside track to becoming a lifeguard. All lifeguards must take a course before they start earning a paycheck. The certification process ensures that the hire is a strong swimmer who understands how to perform first aid.

While you can garner a steady paycheck as well as a tan, make sure you’re up for the responsibilities. Lifeguards have to handle emergencies that can be matters of life or death. If you don’t want the pressure that comes with donning the whistle and rescue tube, consider one of the other options on the list.

Retail worker

Many teens in this country work retail, making it one of the most popular ways to make some extra money as a teenager. The position can be flexible and rewarding, especially if the company you pursue has values that align with your own. For instance, if you’re an aspiring fashion designer, apply for a job with a clothing store.

Many retail stores pay minimum wage, or close to it, and hire people starting at age 16. The average hourly salary for retail workers is $14.12, with many high school students using the job to make discretionary income.

Camp counselor

Sign up to be a camp counselor and make money as a teenager in the great outdoors. You get to work throughout the summer, teaching adolescents valuable skills. Pick something that mirrors your interests, whether that’s Girl Scouts, basketball, or just a general summer camp.

Camp counseling is a job, but it’s also a rare opportunity to get paid to play. You make money while going on a hike or teaching campers how to start a fire. You can also leave knowing you helped people build their confidence, independence, and skills.

Fast food server

Next to retail, fast food is one of the largest employers of teenagersWhile you probably don’t want to work in fast food for your entire life, it can be a great way to earn your first paycheck. Restaurants have a lot of open positions and hire people without industry experience.

Fast food experience can bolster your resume in several ways. Working in a fast-paced environment teaches people how to adapt on the fly and meet tight deadlines. You may even parlay the job into one day working in a gourmet restaurant.

Golf course worker

Many of the jobs on this list, like camp counselors, retail workers, and fast-food employees, require customer service skills. If you’re not a social butterfly, making money as a golf course worker may appeal to you. You work with a small group of groundskeepers who ensure that a course remains in top shape. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know anything about playing golf to work there.

Golf courses see an uptick in golfers during the summer, so clubs hire in late spring and early summer. Some of the core responsibilities include cutting grass, refilling water tanks, raking bunkers, and moving pins. 

Car wash attendant

If you have a passion for cars, get paid to clean them in your free time. Car wash attendants are responsible for taking orders, wiping the frame, and cleaning the glass. It’s a simple way to make money as a teenager, whether you work for a local car wash or start a one-person-crew.

If you decide to go the entrepreneurial route, ask your friends and family if they need a wash. Once you help everyone you know, start knocking on doors in your neighborhood and offering your services.

Video game tester

Yes, video game testing is a real job. Testers work with the video game quality-assurance team to find bugs in the game. Instead of completing missions, their responsibility is to find ways a game glitches or fails.

Video game testers should have outstanding attention to detail, focus, communication, and creativity. You have to articulate to developers how you found a bug so they can recreate your steps and correct the problem. Entry-level testers make about $10 per hour.

Grocery store worker

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to reassess how “essential” their jobs are. Grocery store workers are among the few jobs that remain in demand, even in the face of a recession. Whether you work stocking groceries or slicing meats at the deli, there’s always a way to make money as a teenager at a grocery store.

Many stores, including Kroger, Safeway, and Publix, hire kids as young as 14. You have a good chance of landing a position, even if you don’t have previous experience. You’ll likely start with entry-level tasks, like bagging groceries and collecting shopping carts, before graduating to more responsibility, like butcher or cashier.

Mystery shopper

Companies want unbiased feedback to figure out what they’re doing well and where they can make improvements. Some places hire mystery shoppers to review their customer service, inventory, and cleanliness. It’s free to sign up, as companies pay you to eat and shop at your favorite restaurants and stores.

Mystery shoppers play a vital role in their local communities. They help make upgrades so that future shoppers can enjoy better customer experience. 

Movie theater attendant

If you’re a movie buff, apply to a movie theater. Attendants have a hand in keeping a theater operational year-round. That includes handling tickets, serving food and beverages, running the movies, and cleaning up after the shows.

Movie theater jobs can provide valuable insight into the film industry if you aspire to make films. You’ll also work with people your age and get free movie passes as a perk. The average attendant can expect to earn as much as $16.84 per hour.

Barista

Making a fantastic latte is about more than making money as a teenager – it’s an art form. Baristas learn valuable customer service skills while working in a team-oriented environment. They can even flex their creativity when adorning coffee cups with frothy milk.

Starbucks employs the most baristas in the world, with more than 200,000 employees. You need to be at least 16 to apply for a job unless you live in Montana, where the minimum age is 14. The average barista will make $10.57 per hour.

Ice cream scooper

In the summer, the sale of ice cream tends to skyrocket. Experts estimate there are more than 14,000 ice cream shops nationwide with thousands of open roles.

Scooping ice cream provides a great way to learn practical skills. You can gain real-world business and entrepreneurial knowledge while serving customers and members of your team. You’ll also have access to discounted (or even free) ice cream all summer long.

Music teacher

If you are proficient in at least one instrument, you can turn that knowledge into a music teaching career. You can start by teaching your friends, and move on from there. 

Music teaching work may appeal to you enjoy educating others. According to ZipRecruiter, the average music teachers make $20.64 to $28.14 per hour – but that’s with a lot of experience, so know that you’ll have to start out on a smaller scale. 

Bonus: Start Investing

While it’s not exactly a job, another excellent way to improve your financial situation as a teen, and to build a solid foundation of financial skills for the future, is to start investing. With the help of a parent or guardian, you can create a UTMA (Uniform Transfers to Minors Act) account so you can begin investing. 

Of course, you’ll need some money to invest, so an ideal situation would be to combine investing with one of the other online jobs covered in this article. At the same time, many investing platforms are now free to join, with no minimum account size and no trading fees; that means you can get started even if you only have a few dollars.

If you start saving and investing as a teen, you’ll be well ahead of most people you’re age, and you’ll significantly increase your odds of achieving long-term financial success. Compound interest is a powerful force, and the earlier you start, the better off you’ll be.

For more details, read our guide on how to start investing as a teen.

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