As a teenager, I was pretty obsessed with making money (ok, I still am). I never got an allowance so I had to figure out how to make money on my own pretty quickly.
As it turns out, there are actually quite a few different ways for teens to make money. When I was a teen I made my money online, I had part-time jobs, and I even made a bit of cash flipping products at school.
The money I earned helped me buy a lot of the things that I wanted while I was growing up (including a car). It also gave me a sense of independence and freedom.
Anyway, I could go on and on about the benefits of side hustling/working as a teenager, but I’m sure you get it.
In this post, I'm going to show how to make money as a teenager without a job and with a job. You can decide for yourself which route is better for you (you can even do both at once).
I'm going to show you side hustles, online money-making opportunities, small business ideas, part-time jobs, and some other, less recommended ways to make money as a teen.
So, whether you're 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, or even 19 years old, you can take advantage of the money-making methods below.
How to Make Money as a Teenager
1. Sell Stuff at School
This is one of the best ways to make money as a teenager. It's the simple act of buying something for a certain price and selling it for more.
Back when I was in high school my friend and I ordered some Power Balance Bands (Has anyone heard of those?) from eBay for cheap and then we resold them for $10 each. It worked like a charm and we both made a good amount of cash fairly quickly.
Here are some ideas of what you could sell:
- Soda/Energy drinks
- Baseball hats (or other accessories/clothing)
- School supplies (people are always losing their pens/pencils)
Tip: Before you go all in a product, test it out first to see if people are interested. Once you have a winning product, reinvest any profits back into your inventory.
2. Take Surveys
Survey sites definitely get a bad rap, but they're not all scams. In fact, there are still a lot of legit survey sites out there, you just have to know where to find them.
Note: You won't make a lot from taking surveys, but it's easy money. You can fill out surveys while watching Netflix, lying in bed, or even while you're pooping. This makes it one of the best ways for teens to make money online.
Here are 8 of the best survey sites that allow teens to sign up (age limit is listed beside site name):
- Swagbucks (13 years old and up) – One of the most well-known and trusted survey sites around. They've paid out over $330 million to their users since they started.
- Treasure Trooper (13 years old and up) – This site has a cartoony and fun look, and they'll pay you for answering questions, playing games, and more. (Full Treasure Trooper Review).
- VIP Voice (13+ USA) (18+ CA) – Earn points that can be used to enter sweepstakes.
- Toluna (13+ or 16+) – Earn money with tons of different surveys, and a refer-a-friend program.
- MyPoints (13+) – Earn money taking surveys, watching videos, reading emails, and more!
- Survey Junkie (13+) – Short, simple surveys that pay well.
- E-Poll (13+) – Founded in 1997, E-Poll has surveys about celebrities, sports, and entertainment.
How to make your survey taking more efficient (to make more money):
- Create a separate email to sign up to survey sites (I use a separate Gmail account) – This way your primary email account won't get filled up with survey offers, and you'll be able to see all your surveys in one place.
- Sign up for all the sites above – This way you'll have more surveys to choose from, which means better earnings and less time wasted.
- Set a survey-taking schedule – By scheduling a certain time to take surveys (e.g. in the morning with breakfast), you won't miss any good opportunities and you'll be more efficient.
- Refer your friends – I'm sure you've got friends who'd like to earn some extra cash as well. Some of the survey sites above have friend referral programs that you can make some good coin with.
3. Get Paid to Search the Web and Play Games
Swagbucks has been around for ages and they'll pay you for doing things you're probably already doing every day. Things like:
- Playing games
- Watching videos
- Searching the web; and more
Swagbucks has already paid out over 300 million dollars to its users in the form of PayPal cash, gift cards, and other rewards options. Get your piece of the pie! You just have to be 13 years old or older to sign up.
4. Start a Youtube Channel
There are a ton of teenage YouTubers making thousands of dollars per month from Youtube ad revenue. The average Youtube channel makes anywhere from $1-$20 per thousand views, so the earnings can really stack up.
Best of all, a 13-year-old can start a Youtube channel!
So, if you're someone who would enjoy making videos regularly, start now! Starting young gives you a big advantage because you have more time to grow your channel and figure out what type of videos you enjoy creating.
- The Complete Guide to Building a Successful YouTube Channel
- 10 Tips for Starting a Youtube Channel
- 15 Tips for Growing Your Youtube Channel
5. Sell Your Old Stuff
Got an old BMX bike that you don't ride anymore? Or maybe an old iPhone you don't use? Sell them!
We're so connected on social media these days you can easily post something up to see if one of your friends wants to buy it. This is one of the easiest ways to make a quick buck.
Here are some more ideas of what you could sell:
- Video games
- Sports goods
- Stuffed animals
Take a look around your room/house and see if there's anything you don't really use anymore that someone else might find valuable.
You could also post these things on places like eBay if you wanted to sell them online.
6. Install These Apps
If you have a mobile phone, tablet, or PC, you could potentially earn some passive income by installing a piece of software on one or more of your devices. After that, you just use your device like normal and you'll earn money.
How it works is the software you install will anonymously collect some of your data in the background. They'll see things like the apps you're using, the websites you visit, the amount of time you spend on certain apps, etc.
During this process, your personal info is kept strictly confidential. You can also uninstall the software whenever you want.
Here are a couple of apps you can get started with:
- Smart Panel ($60+/year) – Pays $5/month for connecting a PC, tablet, or mobile phone. Also pays a loyalty bonus every 3 months your devices stay connected.
- SurveySavvy ($60-$190/year) – Pays $5/month for each device (PC, tablet, or mobile), up to 3 devices. So you can earn up to $180 a year.
If you excel at a certain skill, you can capitalize on it. Try finding others who want to learn something that you're good at, and charge them for lessons.
Here are some things you could tutor people on:
- School subjects
- Playing an instrument
The list is really endless, you just have to find someone who wants to learn something.
If you really enjoy tutoring, once you get into college you can look into higher-paying online tutoring jobs.
8. Learn a Profitable Skill
I wish I had started learning a profitable skill when I was younger. The earlier you start the better.
Once you're pretty good at the skill of your choosing, you can start making money from it. If it's a good skill, you can make A LOT.
Here are some profitable skills to look into:
- Freelance writing/Copywriting
- Social media management
- Digital marketing
A lot of these skills can be learned online for free, so start Googling!
9. Walk Dogs
Dog walking is an excellent way to earn some extra cash and get exercise at the same time. If you already know someone who has a dog, try to get them as your first client.
Once you get some more experience, you could put up posters around your neighborhood advertising your dog walking services. If that's a bit intimidating at first, check out this “Crate Escape” dog walking kit. It'll help you set yourself up for success.
10. Pet Sit
Just like dog walking, you'll have a better chance at succeeding with this gig if you already have some experience taking care of your own/other peoples pets.
As a pet sitter, you'll basically go to peoples houses and take care of their pet while they're away (e.g. at work, on vacation, etc.).
Babysitting is one of the most popular ways for teens to make money because it pays well and it's a pretty easy job.
The best way to get started as a babysitter is by babysitting for family friends/people you already know. Those people can then give you a good testimonial and recommend you to other parents.
Once you have some experience and recommendations, be sure to sign up for some of these babysitting job apps and websites. These services make it a lot easier to find new parents to babysit for.
If you don't want to jump right into babysitting, you can also look for a “mother's assistant” job. This will involve helping a mother out with tasks while she's at home. The apps I linked to above can help you find these types of jobs as well.
Once you're ready to take things to the next level, check out this babysitting business kit. It includes everything you'd need to run and grow a babysitting business smoothly and successfully.
12. Get a part-time job
Getting a part-time job is guaranteed money once you get hired. It might not be much fun working for someone else, but it will teach you a lot.
Plus, you'll most likely meet some cool people as well.
Here are some potential part-time jobs for teens:
- Work in a restaurant – I was a dishwasher at 2 different restaurants in high school and it was great because I got paid an hourly wage + tips. The shifts went pretty late though so that was a downside.
- Get a paper route – Not the most interesting job, but you can listen to music and essentially get paid to exercise.
- Deliver pizza – A classic teenager job. You'll most likely need your license for this one though.
- Work in retail – If you shop at a certain store a lot, why not try to get a job there?
- Grocery store – Grocery stores are always looking for workers so you've got a good chance of landing a job if you apply.
- Movie theatre – This is another classic one and it's fun because you'll mostly be working with people around your age.
- Referee – If you play a sport, you probably already know most of the rules so it won't be hard to become a referee.
- Golf course/golf caddy – If you like golfing, this should be your go-to. You might even get some free tee time.
- Landscaping – Landscaping businesses need young, strong, and energetic workers. If you like being outside, this is a good option.
- Amusement park – Most amusement park workers are teenagers so this should be a really fun environment to work in.
- Bowling alley – If you like to bowl, working in a bowling alley might net you some free games if you're lucky.
That's just a small list of possibilities. I recommend just going out to local areas and handing out your resume, or checking websites like Indeed for jobs in your area.
13. Do Yard Work
If you like being outside and working alone doesn't bother you, try making money doing yard work for your neighbors.
Here are some examples of yard work you could do:
- Mow lawns – Check out this lawn care business kit to learn more about starting and growing a lawn mowing biz.
- Rake leaves
- Shovel snow – Can be a great addition to a lawn mowing business. Check out this kit if you're interested.
- Water plants
- Paint fences
- Scoop dog poop (someones gotta do it)
Do a good job and you should be able to acquire repeat customers and word-of-mouth referrals.
Check out this Quora question to learn how to turn small jobs into a full-blown landscaping business.
14. Wash Cars
Very few people actually enjoy washing their car so they'll gladly pay someone else to do it for them. You could offer full exterior and interior cleans and get a nice little business going.
To start off, ask your parents and family friends if they need a wash. Once you feel confident enough, start knocking on your neighbors' doors to offer them your services.
This business has a lot of potential in the long term. If you don't believe me, check out Josh Belk's story of growing his business as a teen: how to start a mobile detailing business ($0-$6k/month in a year).
15. Ask Your Parents for Odd Jobs
If your parents have odd jobs around the house that they don't feel like doing themselves, that's an opportunity for you.
I remember when I was younger I cleaned a spider-infested crawl space under my house for $5. It was a terrifying experience but the money was worth it.
16. Make an Etsy Store
Etsy is an awesome online marketplace where people primarily sell homemade goods. You can also resell products in their Vintage Goods and Craft Supplies categories.
Note that if you're under 18, you'll need a parent or guardian to help you create your Etsy store.
Check out these posts to learn more running a profitable Etsy store:
- Everything You Need to Know About Opening an Etsy Shop
- Beginners Guide to Etsy Setup and Success
- How This Teen Paid for College By Selling on Etsy
- 4 Mistakes That Will Tank Your Etsy Store
17. Start a Fiverr Account
If you've been online before, you've probably heard of Fiverr. Simply put, Fiverr is an online marketplace where you can buy and sell freelance services starting at $5, and it's open to anyone 13 years or older.
Fiverr is one of the best ways for teens to make money online because it's such a flexible platform. You can offer any service you want. If you're good at design, you could design logos. If you have a nice voice, do voiceovers.
The possibilities are quite endless on Fiverr, so start thinking about what you have to offer. What would someone want to pay you $5 for?
Learn more here:
18. Rent Out Your Stuff
In the book Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki talks about how he and his friend opened up a comic book library in his house. Kids could come in after school and pay to read unlimited comic books for 2 hours.
This little business earned them about $9.50/week without much effort on their part.
I'm not saying you have to do the exact same thing, but renting out things you already have can be a great way to make money.
Here are some things you could rent out:
- Video games
- Sports goods (e.g. bike, skateboard, scooter, basketball, etc.)
19. Collect Bottles and Cans
Every year a bunch of my family members get together and have a family picnic. It's a whole lot of fun and there are always a lot of empty cans and bottles lying around at the end of it all.
When I was a kid I would go around and collect everybody's bottles and cans in a big trash bag. Later in the week, I would ask my mom nicely if she could drive me to the bottle depot, where I'd cash in on my bounty.
Each can was at least $0.05 each, which isn't a ton, but it definitely added up.
If you wanted to do this, you could do what I did and wait for big family gatherings, or you could go around to your neighbors and see if they have any extra bottles and cans you could take.
20. Help People with Technology
A lot of people simply just don't get along with technology. As a teenager, you're probably pretty used to using computers and smartphones every day, so you could easily help people with their tech problems.
Some simple things to do would be installing new software, fixing small problems, helping set up a new computer/phone, etc. If you ever come across a problem you're not sure how to solve, Google is a big help.
21. Create and Sell Art
If you love to draw, paint, do graphic design, or some other form of art, you have a skill that can make you a lot of money.
With social media and the internet, you can now sell your art online and build a fanbase at the same time.
There are also plenty of online marketplaces where you can sell your artwork, or you can put your designs on things like t-shirts, mugs, and more.
Learn more here:
22. Enter a Skill-Based Competition
If you're really good at something and there are competitions/tournaments held for it, you could make money by entering! You just have to be good enough to beat the other people who enter.
I've seen tournaments/competitions for skateboarding, scootering, biking, playing video games, playing music, and more. Some competitions (like for video games) even happen online so you won't even have to leave the house.
This obviously isn't a consistent form of income, but it is a way that you could make a lot of money fast if you're good at your craft.
23. Sell Stock Photos
Plenty of businesses and blogs need photos to go along with their online content. To find those photos, they go to stock photo sites like iStock and Getty Images.
If you have an eye for good photography, you can have a go at uploading your own photos to those sites. If you post good photos and people download them, you'll get paid for each download.
24. Enter Sweepstakes
This one obviously isn't going to give you a consistent income, but if you're lucky you could potentially win physical rewards or cold hard cash.
For example, I know someone who phoned into a radio show years ago and won two concert tickets to One Direction. Those tickets were worth hundreds of dollars!
There are other “sweepers” as they're called, that enter sweepstakes for hours every day. They treat it like a full-time job. Some of these people have won hundreds of thousands of dollars in prizes.
25. Stream on Twitch.tv
Twitch.tv is a place where people live stream themselves playing video games (and doing other things). As a streamer, you can earn money from ads, subscribers, donations, and more.
Some of the more popular streamers earn thousands of dollars a month (or more)! For example, Ninja (one of the top streamers on Twitch), makes millions each year from the platform.
Although building an audience on Twitch can take some time, if you stick with it and enjoy what you're doing, the payoff can be massive. Plus, who doesn't want to get paid to play games all day?
26. Wash Windows
This is a good summer job that pays quite well if you can find businesses with dirty windows. Plus, all you need to get started is some window cleaning product and some microfiber cloths.
Once you have the supplies, gather a friend or two that wants to make some money as well, and go out looking for businesses with dirty windows. When you find a business that could use your services, go inside and offer a quick clean.
If you get turned down by a business, don't get discouraged. Move on to the next one.
27. Run Errands
If you have your license you can make a good bit of money running other peoples errands. Just find people around your neighborhood that need things done like grabbing groceries, picking up dry cleaning, things like that.
28. Clean Houses
If you like messes and you're good at making things more clean and organized, you could do well cleaning other peoples houses.
Or, if you don't want to jump right into business yourself you can join another person in cleaning houses or be a house cleaning assistant. As an assistant, you'd just go to someone's house and help them clean.
29. Start a Blog
If you're interested in a particular topic OR you want to learn more about a topic, start a blog about it. By having a blog and writing about a particular topic every day/week, you'll start to become an authority on that topic.
You can then make money by teaching people what you know. Some bloggers even make millions of dollars a year because there are so many good ways to monetize a blog.
Also, since blogs exist on the internet, they can be making money 24/7, even while you're asleep.
I wish I would have started blogging sooner!
30. Sell in Game Items
I recently saw the movie Ralph Breaks the Internet and in it, there's a character called JP Spamley who teaches Ralph how to make money playing video games. The jobs he gives out involve collecting video game items and selling them to the people who want those items.
Surprisingly, you can actually do this in real life. Many people would rather buy video game items than do the work to actually get them themselves.
However, this does go against the terms and conditions of some games, so make sure to check before you start. You don't want to get your account banned!
Also, this probably won't make you a ton of money. If you're already playing a game though and you're really good at it, you may be able to make some extra cash from it.
31. Get Scholarships
If you're planning to go to college and you don't want to get owned by student loans, scholarships are your best bet. With a good strategy, you can rack up thousands of dollars of essentially free money.
Don't believe me? Check out these stories:
- Gabrielle McCormick got $150,000 in scholarships
- Kristina Ellis earned $500,000 in scholarships
- Briana McGeough graduated college with an extra $16,000
Now those are just a few examples, but I'm sure you get the point. If you want to increase your odds of winning scholarships, check out this guide from Ramit Sethi.
32. Gather Golf Balls
If you're into golfing and you live by a local course, you can make some extra bucks collecting balls and reselling them.
Once you have a good collection, set up a stand outside of the course and start selling. You could also ask your parents to help you get set up selling them online (e.g. on eBay).
33. Get Paid to Walk
Since you're a teenager, there's a good chance that your primary mode of transportation is your legs. Well, did you know that each step you take could be making you money?
34. Deliver for DoorDash
DoorDash is a food delivery service that is looking for drivers to help deliver food to users. As a DoorDash delivery person, you can set your own work hours and earn extra cash for each delivery you make.
Here are the requirements to become a DoorDash driver:
- Must be 18+
- Own a vehicle with valid insurance (you can also do bike deliveries in certain areas)
- Have a smartphone
If you meet the requirements, sign up to become a driver here.
35. Get Perksy
Perksy is an app for iOS that pays you to answer short, 1-2 minute questions about your lifestyle. It's definitely the most enjoyable money making app I've ever used.
After using Perksy for about 6 months (that seems like a long time but I probably spent less than an hour actually on the app) I earned enough points on to cash out a $25 gift card, so it's super legit as well!
Other Ways for Teens to Make Money Without a Job
These are the more, let's say, unusual/unethical ways to make money as a teen. These are in here for fun, I don't actually recommend these methods.
36. Do Peoples Homework
If you're already doing your own homework for a certain class, you can easily help other people (for a price) who don't feel like doing their own. Just make sure to be discreet about it.
37. Save Your Lunch Money
If your parents give you lunch money for school, skip lunch and pocket the money. Maybe ask your friends to share some food with you though so you don't starve.
38. Host a Poker Night
First of all, ask your parents before you do this one. Some parents might not want you to play poker, but this game can actually teach you a lot about strategy and math.
My friends and I had poker nights every once in a while in high school and it was always a lot of fun. Plus, I usually walked away with more cash than what I started with.
If you're a good poker player and you don't feel bad taking your friends money, host a poker night at your house. I recommend practicing a bit before you get into a real game with money though.
Tips for the Teenage Hustlers
- Have fun – You don't need to get rich off your first side hustle. Have some fun with it and find out what you enjoy doing. You'll learn a lot.
- Learn from your mistakes – When you start something new, you're bound to make mistakes. Instead of getting discouraged, figure out what went wrong and learn from it.
- Do the best work possible – If you want your business to grow, you can't do crappy work. When you do good work, people notice, and your business grows.
- Start NOW – When I was younger there were a lot of things I thought I couldn't do because I was too young. I was wrong and I wish I would have just started.
- Be creative – Use the ideas above as a starting point and put your own spin and creativity on them. The more unique you are and the more you stand out, the better your chances of success.
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.
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.
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. With an 8% 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, by the time you're 45, you'll have $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.
Now that you've learned a bit about how to make money as a teenager, you're done the easy part.
What's the hard part?
Taking action and actually making money as a teenager.
Here's what I recommend you do:
- Pick a hustle on this list (start at #1) and try it out
- If you don't like it, come back to this list and move on to the next hustle
- Keep going until you find something you enjoy/are good at
You've got your entire life ahead of you so you have time to test out different things. Doing this will give you an idea of what you might want to do for the rest of your life.
Plus, you may really enjoy something on this list that you thought you would've hated. Or you may be really good at something you thought you would've sucked at.
So, what're you waiting for? Go back to the top of this list and get started!