Making money online as a teenager is challenging, but with hard work, a plan, dedication, and consistency it is achievable! Chances are that your teenage years will be full of distractions, a lot of them good and fun, but with that being said you can definitely get a head start and make some cold hard cash in your spare time.
In reality, getting started in business as a teenager, making money online will give you a head start in building a passive or active revenue stream. It’s 2020 and you do not need to wait for permission or a college degree to get started. The money you earn can be used for college, future savings and any successful business can go on your resume. Starting a business that earns some money will give you not only experience but also an advantage in a competitive job environment.
Earning money as a teenager will give you invaluable life experience about running a business, not when you are an adult, but now! There are many ways to consider earning money now in a new business, like a part-time opportunity that still gives you great job experience while earning some extra bucks.
So do we mean getting a part-time job at the neighborhood ice cream shop or the local grocery store? Not exactly, though those options to earn money as a teenager are very good for some kids. But there are many other ways to earn money that involve doing it your way, on your terms even as a teenager.
Below are some ideas for teenagers that involve a wide variety of business options. The ideas are based on what some successful teens are already doing, and the options include everything for the detail-oriented, hands-on teen, to the tech-loving teen, and even the philanthropic type.
In no particular order, here are 50 legit ways in 2020 to make money as a teenager:
- Rent your Video Games – One thing all teenagers have in common is their love of video games. With the unfortunate events of 2020 and virtually everyone around the world spending more time at home, more and more people across all age groups have been playing video games. Not to mention, many teenagers might be tired of playing what they already own. And adding insult to injury is the fact that video games are quite expensive and store inventories might be low with the current circumstances. Renting your video games is a great business idea as there currently is a big opportunity for the peer-to-peer video game rental market. Start a group on the social media platform of your choosing, set up payment options and get some flat rate envelopes from the post office, and you are on your way!
- Grocery Delivery – Again, with the disconcerting pandemic events this year, grocery delivery services are in extremely high demand. There are national services like Instacart, as well as local services offered by neighborhood store. There may be age requirements, depending on the delivery service, and you must have access to your own car, but this grocery delivering is a great way to make money as a teenager. Looking to start something more on your own? Then advertise personal grocery shopping and/or delivery options for folks in your community.
- Babysitting – An oldie but a goodie, especially during the summer months! In most areas in the U.S., babysitters can earn between $15 and $20 per hour. For teenagers who have their babysitting and CPR certifications, they can expect to be paid on the higher end, but even teens without certifications are often in high demand. Ask your parents to advertise your services on FB with their friends or on local community pages, and you can put up flyers in places where parents shop. Depending on your age and credentials, you can join sites like Care.com and Sittercity, which require a number of background checks, but they do the advertising for you.
- Tech Support – Offer tech support and/or lessons to seniors in your community. You’ve probably already done a fair amount of this for family, like your parents and grandparents. Often, the older generations need help with their computer hardware and software, cell phones, ipads and other devices. Teaching older people who did not have the advantage of growing up with modern technology is a great way to make money. You can drop off flyers to senior apartment buildings, senior centers or ask your grandparents if they have any friends who need help. You can set up weekly “lessons” for an hourly rate or charge for as needed help desk visits.
- Tutoring / Lessons – Is there one subject you are really good at, or do you just enjoy working with young kids? Set up an online (via Zoom or FaceTime) or in person tutoring business! During the school year, help kids in subjects like math, science and english. If you are a great writer, help kids with their papers and projects. If you are a theater or music lover, offer music lessons or acting coaching. During the summer, you can help with summer reading and math packets. If you aren’t sure how to get started, there are websites like TakeLessons, where you can advertise your “expertise” after passing some background checks and evaluations. Whether you go out on your own or use a service like TakeLessons, tutoring is a great way to make money as a teenager.
- Cleanouts – Most people have a garages, basements, attics and/or multiple closets that need to be cleaned out. Offer a service to help folks not only clean out, but also haul away their junk. Because one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, many items can be dropped off at local charity shops, which many clients will appreciate. Anything that cannot be donated can be discarded at your local municipal dump, and most municipalities charge reduced fees to local residents. Dump fees can be included in your overall service charge. Helping folks declutter is a win-win for everyone!
- Time via TaskRabbit – Make money doing tasks with TaskRabbit! Be prepared to help people with literally any task they need help with, like cleaning, moving, lawn care, light home repairs, assembling furniture, mounting TVs, etc. The work can be hard, but the pay can be great! While helping with tasks is a totally legit way to make money, one drawback is that laborers must be at least 18 years old.
- Get your friends and family to use Boostapal – Boostapal understands that jobs for teens are few and far between, so they provide another way for teens to earn money. Teens become an Ambassador and get their family and friends to become “Boosters” and make all online purchases through Boostapal shops. Teens earn a specific dollar amount on all qualifying purchases from over 1,500 stores. Stores include popular favorites like Target, Walmart, macy’s and more. It’s that easy!
- Pet Sitting – Do you have a way with the 4-legged, fury kinds? Then a pet sitting or dog walking business would be a legit way to earn money if you are a teen. Teens can offer dog walking and/or pet sitting services to busy individuals and earn a handsome fee for doing so. According to Angie’s List, dog owners can expect to pay $15 – $20 for per walk that lasts 20 minutes long. Pet sitting services are charged per day and can be as much as $40 per day, and $75 if overnight help is needed. Start getting clients by advertising at local pet stores, online and also try introducing yourself to area veterinarians. There are some pet sitting sites that can help match sitters with pet owners, but they require the teen to be at least 18 years old.
- Play Video Games – You read that right! Get paid to play video games. And we aren’t talking about winning a major Esport title. The voyeur industry is on fire (think YouTube, TikTok, Instagram Live), and there are tons of people out there who love to watch other people play video games. If you are particularly good at a game, or even particularly bad, consider Twitch. The platform allows you to charge subscribers to watch your channel where subscribers watch you play either via live stream or an uploaded recording.
- Teach Video Games – Love playing but don’t want to put yourself out there for others to watch? Then consider teaching other young kids and teens how to play video games. Gamer Sensei lets esport “pros” to provide coaching or lessons. You can apply to be a Sensei and once approved, you can set your own rates and times. This is a great way for teens to earn legit money.
- Social Media Influencer – This might be easier said, than done, but it is still one way teens can earn money. If you love putting yourself out there and don’t mind some unfriendly comments, then becoming a social media influencer is for you! Become an influencer by sharing your experiences, travels, opinions and general thoughts. Platforms include Instagram, Tik Tok and even YouTube. Becoming a social media influencer requires a great deal of media management as well as creativity. Influencers make money via advertising and also sponsored posts.
- Sell Items on Poshmark – Most teens have a few big ticket presents in their closet from high-brow brands. Even certain sneakers are now considered big ticket items. Teens can sell not only their own unused or gently used items on Poshmark, but can also offer to sell items for their family and friends and then charge a commission per sale.
- Rent out your Car – Are you one of the lucky teens who has his own car? If you and your parents agree, then you can use apps like Turo or Sixt to advertise your car as a private car rental. The make and model of your car will determine the rate you can receive. Turo provides an estimate for the rate you can expect to receive per rental, as well as an estimate for your annual potential earnings.
- Dinner Delivery – Old enough to drive and looking for a legit way to make money? Then consider on-demand meal delivery services like Uber Eats, DoorDash, etc. You set your own hours and can decide which days you want to work. With the current limitations with indoor dining, on-demand food delivery services are in high demand. And if you don’t have an interest working for a formal delivery service like Uber Eats or DoorDash, many local restaurants are improvising and offering delivery, so food delivery jobs are fairly easy to come by.
- Scan your Groceries – National Consumer Panel states that it is a great way to earn “points for gift cards, merchandise and more” just by scanning food items you are buying anyway. The service provides desired feedback to the grocery industry as to what products are being bought, the frequency and location. Participants use a barcode reader to scan all purchased food items like groceries and even take out and market items. As a teen, it shouldn’t take you long at all to scan the items and earn rewards and doesn’t cost you anything but time. And you can expect to earn more if you include family and neighbors’ groceries and food products.
- Transcription Work – If you have good typing skills and a good ear, then you can transcribe audio files. Sites like TranscribeMe have a growing network of people who work from home transcribing various audio files. And TranscribeMe claims to pay the highest rates in the industry with no shortage of work.
- Ironing – While you might not know what ironing actually is, it remains a necessary evil in most households. As families become increasingly busy, there are many chores that keep getting pushed to the bottom of the to do list, and this is where a motivated teen comes in to help! Help with some day-to-day mundane, but important chores like laundry and ironing. You can charge per the load plus per piece of clothing that needs to be ironed. Start by offering the service to your friends’ parents and neighbors, or advertise on community FB pages. Word of mouth will spread quickly and we are sure you will be pressed for your help!
- Take Surveys – Qmee pays you for your opinions. Install the Qmee app on your browser and mobile phones and then take surveys and/or watch advertisements and earn money. It is as easy as it sounds and is honestly a legit way for teens to earn money.
- Teach Conversational English – You don’t need to be a grammarian to help non-native English speakers learn conversational English. You can become a personal English coach on sites like Samespeak and help others around the world. All lessons are virtual via video calls, and Samespeak provides lesson plans and a course syllabus. Rates are about $10 per 30 minute lesson, so it is a great way for a teen to earn some extra money.
- Lifeguarding – If you love to swim and being out in the sun, then consider becoming a lifeguard. Check the Red Cross for lifeguard certification courses near you. Community pools, swim clubs, country clubs and even some YMCAs are always in need of junior lifeguards especially during the summer when demand is high and pool hours are long.
- Landscaping – Another chore that busy adults hate to spend their spare time doing is mowing their lawn, planting, pruning and weeding. You can start a mini landscaping business and offer a small number of specific services. Get a couple friends to help and you can share the work and finish a house in no time. Hand out flyers in your neighborhood, advertising on local FB groups and post flyers around your community.
- Become a Crowdworker – Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (known as MTurk) is a market place where businesses can hire remote workers to do tasks that cannot be done by computers. There are thousands of tasks posted, like tagging items in an image, identify objects seen in satellite images, identify duplicate listings in catalogs, content writing, and more. And the best part of MTurk is teens only have to be 14 years old to join! You decide which tasks you want to apply for and you decide when and how often to apply. MTurk is not only a legit way to earn money, but also an easy one, too!
- Listen to Customer Service Calls – When your parents make any customer service calls, the calls always start with the disclaimer that “calls may be recorded for quality assurance and training purposes.” So who actually listens to those calls? Well you can! Humanatic provides a service of reviewing calls and customer feedback for various companies, and the only thing you need to join the Humanatic is a valid PayPal account. It is a super easy way to earn some extra money while working from home and on your own schedule, even as a teen.
- Sell Virtual Items – Ever need to buy an extra life or a specific tool while playing a video game? Selling items for these in-game purchases is a way to make legit money. Second Life is a virtual marketplace that allows you to sell digital items and get paid to do so. Here is a quick start guide for Second Life.
- Reselling Sneakers – Sneakers are a hot commodity. New sneaker styles are released and often sell out in minutes. And many vintage styles are also in high demand and pairs in good condition can be sold for a nice profit. There are tons of sneaker communities that provide information on upcoming releases and resale ideas. Top resellers can make 5 figures a month and there is still plenty of room for other teenagers to still make legit money.
- Be a Camp Counselor – Most communities have tons of summer camps that always need seasonal employment. Or maybe you went to a day or overnight camp and have aged out and are ready to be a CIT (counselor in training) or a full counselor. Camps love to hire teenagers because they often work great with kids, and many have been to camp and know what it is like. Check out local job boards or a website like CCUSA for available camp counselor jobs. Working at a summer camp is not only a legit way to make money, but it is also a lot of fun.
- Sell Old Electronics – Did we already mention that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure? Maybe you have an older iPhone or iPad lying around, a box of DVDs in the attic, or a handheld game system you no longer use — these older electronics are definitely worth something! Use sites like eBay, Mercari or Decluttr to check the market and reasonable prices, and also to sell your items online. If you use a site like Craigslist, please make sure to not use your personal phone number or meet any place other than in front of a local police station.
- Sell Old Books – Have you ever heard of a site called Half.com? Well that site was started as a way to sell old college textbooks when online selling was just taking off. Now that site is part of eBay and the founder is a top Venture Capitalist. That sort of rocket trajectory might not be the path for all teenagers starting a business, but we are sure you all have quite a few old books lying around (both old and newish!). Selling old books is a great way for teenagers to make legit money, and apps like BookScouter make it easy to do so!
- Test Websites – Companies often need average users to test newly launched websites. These tests might include commenting on ease of use of the site, design feedback, recording any glitches, etc. You don’t have to be an expert in website design or a professional developer. Usually companies are looking for every day users to test and provide feedback. Sign up on a site like usertesting.com and earn $10 for every 20 minute test completed.
- Watch Movie Previews – This is another great job that teenagers can do at home, whenever they want. Watch prospective movie previews and give feedback for money. Sites like Market Force and Swagbucks provide opportunities for customers to watch trailers and take surveys, and get paid to do so.
- Rep Household Products – Multilevel marketing has a bad name, but there are plenty of direct sales companies in which you can invest a small amount and sell their products, without getting caught in a multilevel circle. Avon and BeachBody are just a couple of very successful direct sales companies that provide legit ways for teenagers to earn money. It is best to choose something that is of interest to you, and that you might even use yourself. And also do some research and make sure the company is a direct sales and not a multi-level marketing company. Once you start selling, tap your friends and family first and then word of mouth and social media will help grow your business.
- Manage Social Media for Companies – For most teens, using social media is second nature, like walking and eating. But for many business owners, it is a real chore to keep their social media accounts current and relevant, not to mention it isn’t part of their core business, no matter how important it might be. Consider offering your services to manage social media accounts for businesses. Advertise on FB and hand out flyers to local small businesses. Guarantee there will be more than one small business owner who will jump on the opportunity to have you take over managing their social media accounts.
- Monetize your Blog – Have you been writing a blog or interested in starting one? Like popular social media accounts, blogs can be monetized to earn money. The two main ways to monetize blogs are by using Google Adsense and also through affiliate links. Both are legit ways to earn money, and don’t take any more time or effort than what you would normally be doing on your blog.
- Gig Jobs – There is a new emerging market for gig workers, officially defined as, “independent contractors, online platform workers, contract firm workers, on-call workers and temporary workers.” So of course, there are sites where companies and gig workers can be matched up. Instawork is a major player in the gig economy and allows companies and gig workers to connect. You will be able to pick and choose which type of gig job you are interested in, and will have flexibility over when the work is performed. Pay rate, due dates, gig duration and other job information is all available before you match to any potential gig.
- Give your Opinion and/or Review – Kind of like the movie trailers and website testing, there are a host of other products for which companies need customer opinions. Thing music, fashion, product experiences, secret shopping, etc. Some work is online through sites like Reckner, Market Force and Slice the Pie. And then other jobs are in the field, like being a mystery shopper. Never, ever pay to participate in an opinion or secret shopping job! No legitimate customer experience marketing company will ever require participants to pay anything, especially a membership or participation fee. Remember, the idea is to find a legit way for you to make money as a teenager.
- Take Surveys – This has to be one of the easiest legit ways for a teenage to make money. Answering surveys online can pay up to $50/survey, but be ware of scams which run aplenty. Many of the same companies that pay for opinions and reviews also pay for surveys. Check out Reckner, Market Force and Swagbucks. Again, the most important aspect of this job is to find a real company that will pay you to take surveys online.
- Invest your Money – Do you have some birthday money that you have saved up over the years? Consider taking some of it and investing in the stock market. Investing money in the stock market is not for the faint of heart, and most financial advisors say young investors should aim to invest for the long term. Historically, investing in the stock market took large sums of money, but now there are many ways for investors even with small amounts of money to participate. Sites like Robinhood have fractional shares in many stocks. And other sites like e*trade and TD Ameritrade are great for beginners and require small minimums to get started.
- Online Customer Service – There are so many companies that now hire at-home customer service representatives, but U-Haul has a particularly teen-friendly program. Job responsibilities include answering calls, monitoring customer experience, and more.
- Freelance Writing – If you have a way with words and an eye for grammatical details, then becoming a freelance writer could be for you. A freelance writing business is a great way for a teenager to make legit money, and can also build a pretty good portfolio for college and job applications. You can find basic writing gigs on sites like Fiverr and Upwork, or you can start a blog and post all of your portfolio. You can then use social media to advertise your blog and freelance writing services.
- Bake Sales – You don’t have to love to bake to have bake sales. If you have friends and family who love to bake, offer to sell their baked goods and split the proceeds. There are many people who like to serve homemade goods, but don’t have the time or skills to bake anything. Organize local bake sales in different places in the community like charity events (may require you to donate a portion of the proceeds to the charity), or advertise on social media to sell baked goods for special occasions (cookies for graduations, cakes for birthdays, etc.). Ask for referral and for clients to post pictures on their own social media — word of mouth is a great way to grow your baked sales business.
- Sell Stock Photos – Making money taking pictures doesn’t mean you have to be a famous photographer or even that you have tons of expensive camera equipment. Good quality, stock photos are in high demand for online magazine articles, blogs and more. And almost every teen has a cell phone in his pocket, and with the advances in the cell phone camera technology it is super easy for teens to take great pictures and then post them for sale on stock photo platforms such as iStock, Shutterstock, Adobe Stock and more. Selling stock images is a legit way to make money as a teenager.
- Become a Mystery Shopper – Similar to completing surveys, writing reviews or providing your opinions, you can make money by becoming a mystery shopper. A mystery shopper is hired by retail companies to go into one of their stores and then report back on their entire experience, including the condition of the store, the customer service you received from staff and how you felt shopping in the store. As with some other jobs on the list, there are many illegitimate companies trying to scam potential shoppers so make sure to watch for warning signs like being asked to pay to see jobs. You can also make sure that the companies are MSPA members. Sign up for legit mystery shopping jobs at sites like Market Force and Best Mark.
- Refereeing – Most local sports leagues need referees. Even townships have youth recreational leagues for which they need referees. As teenagers as young as 15, you can go through the process to become license refs in a variety of sports. Check state referee sites like the U.S. Soccer Federation Referee Program to find a local program in a sport that interests you.
- Become a Personal Assistant – Do you like to organize your closet in your spare time, or appreciate the details? Then being a personal assistant may be for you. As life becomes busier and busier, many households are in need of a personal assistant to help with day-to-day task such as buying groceries, updating calendars, running errands, opening mail, etc. Advertise in your community or offer your services to ay friends or family. As your business grows and you make more money, you can even hire some friends!
- Teach a Foreign Language – If you grew up in a multi-lingual home or are in an advanced level of a foreign language, consider teaching a foreign language. Websites like Verbalplanet match tutors to students. Lessons are conducted virtually and you set your own schedule. Tutors can earn up to $30 / hour.
- Resell your Wardrobe – Always looking for the latest trends and need some money to keep up? Consider reselling your gently used clothing items on sites like ThredUp and Poshmark. These online consignment sites accept items from thousands of brands and generally must be less than 5 years old. There is very little you have to do to make money this way, and you can also take a small commission for selling clothes for your friends and family.
- Online Freelance Work – Similarly to freelance writing, if you have some other niche skills like graphic design or coding, using Fiverr and Upwork to get online freelance jobs. You set your schedule and fee, and can work any where. Freelance work is is a great legit way to make money as a teenager.
- Review Songs – Most teenagers already love music and listen to quite a bit of it, so why not get paid to do so! Music XRay is a super cool platform that pays listeners for their opinion on new songs to which they get special access. Rates are about $0.10 per song and you will be asked for your feedback on lyrics, your thoughts about the artist, and more. Song bits are about 30 seconds long, so it won’t take a lot of time and you can listen any where, even on the go.
- Sell your Graphic Designs – If you enjoy graphic design, you can help others by finding freelance jobs online, or you can sell your own designs on CafePress or Creative Market. Take your designs and add them on items like t-shirts, mugs, and more and sell them on CafePress. Creative Market allows you to sell your own logo, font and other design elements. Both are great ways for teenagers to make money.
There are so many legit ways to make money as a teenager! Starting your own business is not only a great way to earn some money and independence, but also is a great resume builder. Find something you enjoy doing and it won’t feel like work.