How To Make Money As A Teenager
Welcome to this post about how to make money as a teenager!
We’ve all heard the phrase, “money makes the world go round”. Whether you like it or not, it’s true. You simply can’t exist in this world without money. Either you or someone that cares about you has to support you financially.
As kids, there wasn’t much of a need for a consistent source of income. If you made a few bucks here and there from birthdays, holidays, or chores, that was generally enough. Really the only thing you used your own money for was toys. Otherwise, your parents always supported your basic needs.
But as a teenager, things are a little different. Perhaps your parents have stopped supporting you as much. You may find yourself needing to pay for your phone bill or for your car insurance. Or maybe you need money to go out to lunch with your friends or to go buy new clothes. Or you’ve realized that you need to start setting aside money to buy a car or for college.
Whatever it is, you need to find a way to make money. If that’s the case, this post is for you. I want to lay out all of the options you have when it comes to how to make money as a teenager.
So let’s get into it!
The most obvious way to make money as a teenager is to get a job!
Fast food restaurants are notorious for hiring young teenagers. This is because most older teens and young adults tend to move on to bigger and better things. The pay isn’t great and the jobs are often quite stressful, but the experience is priceless. If you manage to work your way up to a sit down restaurant, you can actually make some good money in tips. But, you’ll likely have to start at a smaller, fast food type job.
Teens on the slightly older side tend to work in retail stores. The pay still isn’t that great, but the stress level is significantly diminished. You may be able to work your way up to a commission-based job or to some type of leadership position as well.
Finally, many teens go after seasonal jobs. We’re talking about working at pools, landscaping companies, or at a farm. These are the perfect opportunities for teens involved in a lot of other activities because they flexible and usually only last a few months out of the year. Not only that, but sometimes the pay can be significantly higher than minimum wage as well. The only downside here is that once you stop working, you may run out of money. Check out this post for a few ideas on seasonal jobs for teens!
One thing I can’t stand about working a traditional job is having a set hourly rate. This is for two reasons:
- Your money is tied to your time. The only way to make more money is to sacrifice more time. The more time you sacrifice, the less time you have to enjoy your money.
- You don’t get rewarded for working hard. You could bust your butt for the same amount of time as someone who slacks off and you both would be paid the same amount.
This is why I love side hustles and businesses. The harder you work, the more money you make.
For those that do well in school, tutoring can be a great side hustle. It might be somewhat difficult to find your first few clients, but after that the referrals should keep you busy. You’re likely still working for an hourly rate. However, this rate is WAY higher than any job can offer as a teenager.
Another great side hustle for teens is babysitting. If you like kids and have the right connections, babysitting can be a lot of fun. There’s not as much money in it compared to tutoring, however it’s something almost anyone can do. But once again, your hourly rate will be higher than you could get at a job.
For those that are unaware, flipping is when you buy items for cheap and try to sell them at a higher price. This one is for the pure hustlers out there. Flipping requires a lot of work and takes a lot of experience to make good money. However, it’s something you can work on in your spare time to make some extra cash.
Side hustles aren’t businesses because they either aren’t consistent or they aren’t scalable. Take for example those three previous side hustles:
- Tutoring – Unless you make an online tutoring business, you likely can’t find enough local clients to sustain your income (Not consistent or scalable).
- Babysitting – There’s a limit to the number of hours you can work as a babysitter. At some point, you have no more time to babysit (Not scalable).
- Flipping – While you may work all the time, your income will likely be very sporadic and hard to control (Not consistent).
The following three business ideas however have the potential to be much more scalable and consistent. But, they come with a lot more work so be prepared.
I already mentioned landscaping as a great seasonal job opportunity, but it could also be a great business idea. Instead of working for someone else for an hourly rate, you could work for yourself and theoretically make an unlimited amount of money. You’ll have to start by yourself or maybe with a few friends, but eventually you can scale this into a full-blown business. In order to do this you’ll need to build a consistent client base, have some money to invest into equipment, and start to hire a few employees.
Freelancing is kind of a broad term, but essentially it means working for other people while still being your own boss. I’ve been freelancing on Fiverr for over a year now and it’s been amazing. It’s super flexible, pays much higher than a job, and I actually enjoy the work I do. You really can do whatever you want on Fiverr, but I’ve stuck to data entry, website design, business plans, and a few other gigs. I won’t dive too deep here, but you can check out How To Make Money On Fiverr in 2021 to learn more! The only downside to Fiverr is that it isn’t very consistent. However, I have plans to start scaling this to an actual business within the next few months, so stay tuned.
Out of all of the options listed so far, this one definitely requires the most work. When I say content creation, I’m talking about starting a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel. I initially started this blog to make money. So far, that hasn’t worked out great. But, we have plans to scale this platform into a consistent source of passive income. Any form of content creation is a lot of work and takes a lot of time before you see any results. The good news though is that it can be incredibly rewarding when you do start to make money from it.
Besides getting a job or starting a business, teens can actually make money a few other ways. One that comes to mind is scholarships.
Unfortunately this one won’t be possible for everyone because you have to be planning on going to college in order to apply for scholarships. However, this can be very lucrative for you if you do plan on going to college and have the right background.
As I’ve mentioned before in my Definitive Guide On The College Admissions Process post, I’m not a huge fan of scholarships. This is largely because I’ve invested a lot of time into scholarship applications while only winning a few small ones. I think most people will find this to be true.
However, I think scholarships are a great choice for certain people. Scholarships are designed to help kids who are in minorities, underprivileged, or who have experienced major hardships in their lives. If any of these apply to your life, you could have some major success with scholarships.
While it’s not guaranteed that you will get something, it’s definitely worth your time the minute you win one scholarship. Let’s say you applied for 10 scholarships and each one took you one hour (10 hours total). If you won just one of these that was worth $1,000, that would be the equivalent of working for $100/hr!
I do recommend that you stay away from the big scholarships offered by major organizations and corporations. These scholarships have thousands of applicants, which makes your odds of being selected very small. Instead, focus on smaller scholarships offered in your local community or offered by your specific college. While these scholarships have smaller dollar amounts associated with them, you have much higher odds of winning them.
The last way to make money as a teenager is to start investing. Take a look at the picture above. It shows two different scenarios. The first is someone who invests $100/month starting at age 25 and the second is someone who invests $100/month starting at age 35.
Notice the difference by the time these people reach the age of 65. The person who started when they were 25 now has $160,000 while the person who started at 35 only has $80,000. By starting just 10 years earlier, this person made TWICE as much money from investing than the other person.
Now imagine you started when you were 15 instead of 25…this effect would be even more crazy. When it comes to investing, the earlier you start the better. If you’re not sure how to start investing, check out this post.
What I would recommend is that you use one of the other methods in this post to make some money. Then, put that money to work by investing it to make even more money.
That’s it! Those are the options you have when it comes to how to make money as a teenager. Remember the five main methods are: jobs, side hustles, businesses, scholarships, and investing. Please leave any comments, questions, or concerns down in the comments below. Otherwise, best of luck on your financial journey!
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