Wondering how to make money as a teen? Or how your son or daughter can do it?

As a teenager, you may already have expenses growing. From putting gas in the car to saving for college application fees, there are lots of things you might need to pay for; not to mention the occasional movie or dinner with friends.

However, finding a traditional job can be hard. You might have no “real” work experience yet. You might be too young to get a job. And you probably already have a busy schedule between school and extracurricular activities, which can make getting hired difficult. If you’d rather find a regular job you can do after school or during breaks, our article on jobs for teens can help. But if you can’t do it or you’re of a more creative or entrepreneurial bent, read on.

How to Make Money as a Teen

The good news is that it’s now easier than ever to make money without a regular job. You don’t need a traditional job to start building your income. Whether you want to start working on your future career or just find a few income streams to help you get by, there are plenty of options that don’t involve a ‘real job.’

The ideas on this list don’t take much time, money, equipment, or training to get started. All you need is some creativity and the motivation to make money.

Ready to learn how to make money as a teen? Let’s take a look at some ideas.

Business Ideas for Teens

Starting your own business, even if it’s tiny, is a great way to gain experience. You’ll learn skills that will help you in the future. Having your own business experience will impress your future bosses. And the business venture you start might even grow into something much bigger.


It’s said that knowledge is one of the best things you can sell. You already have it, it costs nothing to share it, and others are willing to pay for it.

Think of what you know a lot about. Maybe you’ve taken music lessons for years, or excel at writing English papers. Maybe you’re a great soccer player who knows a lot of drills.

There is almost always someone younger or less experienced who wants the knowledge you have. Find a niche (or more than one!) and start marketing your knowledge as a tutor.

Pet Sitting and Dog Walking

Are you an animal lover? Many people will be glad to pay you to walk their dog or take care of their pets while they’re out of town.

You can choose to specialize in a certain kind of pet sitting or take care of all kinds of animals. If you also know how to take care of less-common pets, like lizards, you’ll have even more opportunities to make money.

Pet Grooming

With a little more specialized knowledge, you can start a pet grooming business.

Are you great at keeping dogs calm while you wash them? Do you have experience trimming your dog’s hair and nails? Pet owners will pay you to get their pets clean and pristine.

Painting Houses

Painting houses is a great way to make money while spending the day outside. Do a great paint job on one house, and you’re sure to get more clients.

Yard Work, Lawn Mowing, and Garden Maintenance

Some people don’t have time to take care of their yards and gardens. Others may be too old or lack the energy for it.

If you enjoy working outside, doing yard work for people in your community is a great way to make money. People will pay for planting, weeding, lawn mowing, and all kinds of yard maintenance. If you have an eye for planting beautiful gardens, you can even turn this into a creative job.

Farm Work

When you live in a rural area, there’s often no shortage of farm work available.

Local farmers and ranchers might need help with anything from bucking hay to mucking out horse stalls to feeding livestock. If you enjoy exercise and aren’t afraid of getting dirty, farm work is the perfect side job.

Car Washing

Washing cars is a classic way to make money in the summer. However, you’re likely to get even more business if you market yourself in the winter, when fewer people want to be outside washing their cars. You’ll attract even more clients if you offer extra services, like waxing or vacuuming the car.

Oil Changes

Changing the oil is a type of basic maintenance that every car needs. It’s also easy to learn how to do it. Professionals often charge a lot for this service. If you know how to do it and charge less than they do, you’ll have clients lining up in no time.

Chop Firewood

You’ll never need to go to the gym when you make money chopping firewood. This is a physically challenging job, but can be a great way to make money, since a lot of people aren’t willing or able to do it on their own. Be sure to start marketing yourself early enough so you can have the job done before the cold weather starts.


If working indoors is more your style, try good old-fashioned babysitting.

This has been one of the most popular ways to make money as a teen for years. However, there tends to be a lot of competition, so you’ll have to find a way to set yourself apart.

Try marketing yourself on social media, sharing positive reviews from former customers, or offering a selection of toys and games that you bring to every job. Make yourself special, memorable, and fun for both kids and parents, and you’ll have lots of loyal customers.

Garage Sale

Hosting a garage sale is another classic way for teens to make money.

First, gather items you want to get rid of. You can also ask friends and family if they want to add anything to the sale. Some might even let you keep the profit from their items in exchange for taking old stuff off their hands.

Sort these old things into “giveaway” and “sell” piles. Your garage sale will be more popular if it only has useful items for sale. Anything that’s too old, worn out, or broken to be appealing should be thrown away or donated somewhere it can be used.

Make sure to advertise your garage sale well in advance. Plan it on a day when most people will be off work and there aren’t too many other events to distract them. Posting flyers around the neighborhood is great, but don’t forget to advertise online, too! There are many local Facebook groups where people look for local events.

Holiday Decorating

You can make extra money during the Christmas season by helping people decorate.

Some people will pay you to hang and take down their Christmas lights. Or, if you want less labor-intensive work, you can market yourself as an interior decorator for the holidays instead. People may not have time to put up a tree and decorations, so they’ll pay you to help them have a festive home.

Make sure to take pictures of your work to show future customers. Good reviews from happy clients also go a long way toward getting new business.

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Cleaning Homes and Small Businesses

Are you good at cleaning, and fast? Then you’ll have no problem making money by cleaning homes and local businesses.

To gain even more customers, find ways to set yourself apart from other cleaning businesses. You might advertise that you clean using all-natural products, for example.


Organizing is a big struggle for a lot of people. Are you naturally good at organizing offices, kitchens, and closets? Make money by helping people streamline and declutter their homes and workplaces.

House Sitting

House sitting can be an amazing way to make money. People often pay well for you to visit or stay in their house and make sure everything runs smoothly while they’re away. You can also offer to do yard maintenance while they’re gone, so everything looks pristine when they return.

Ways to Use Your Creative Skills

Some entrepreneurs are more on the creative side. Are you one of them? Try one of these methods of making money using your creative abilities.

Fashion Consulting

Young people are known for being up-to-date on the latest trends. If you love fashion, sell your skills as a fashion consultant. You can offer anything from personal shopping to special-occasion looks to complete closet overhauls.

Makeup Artist/Beauty Consultant

YouTube has revolutionized the world of makeup art. Today, anyone can teach themselves how to apply amazing makeup. However, not everyone wants to take the time to do it.

If you’re great at applying makeup, market your skills for special occasions like prom and Valentine’s Day. Ramp up marketing during these times, but remind your customers that you’re available to help them get a special look any day of the year. You can also teach beauty workshops to help people learn to do great makeup on their own.

Hair Stylist

Can you do an amazing French braid, updo, or fishtail braid? You can become a special-occasion stylist for people who want an amazing hairstyle without paying salon prices.

Styling hair is great, but avoid selling services like haircuts or dye jobs. These things should only be done by certified professionals, and you can get in trouble if you perform these tasks without a license.

Sell Handmade Clothes or Jewelry

Do you make clothes, jewelry, or accessories? Take your best work to local boutiques and see if any of them are interested in carrying it. You can also sell online through sites like Etsy and on social media.

However, if you make sales online, be sure to budget for the cost of shipping and returns. You’ll also need to become an online marketing expert, since sites like Etsy can be very competitive. It’s a good idea to spend some time learning how to market your business online no matter what you’re selling – there are plenty of online tips to help you get started.

Sell Handmade Bath and Beauty Products

The DIY beauty industry is huge right now. People are tired of expensive products with subpar ingredients, and are buying from independent sources or making their own instead

Capitalize on this trend by selling handmade beauty products. Experiment on yourself and your friends to make sure your products really work before putting them on the market. You’ll find online recipes for everything from soap to leave-in conditioner, and once you’ve tried a few out, you can experiment with your own mixes.  

Sell Original Artwork

If you have a talent for drawing or painting, selling your artwork can be a fun and fulfilling way to make money.

Set up an artist page on sites like Facebook and Instagram so people can get to know your work. Ask local cafes and stores if they’d be willing to hang your art for a while. You can even participate in local events like an Arts Walk to get your work out there.


Photography is another great way to make money using the creative skills you have.

If you’re passionate about taking pictures, and willing to invest in a bit of equipment, you can market yourself as a photographer for special events, professional portraits, and more.

Again, you’ll want to make sure to post your work online so you can build a customer base. If people see examples of your work and your unique style, they’ll be more likely to hire you.

Revamp and Re-Sell Old Furniture

It’s amazing what a few coats of paint or some new hardware can do. If you love art and interior design, try picking up old furniture at thrift stores and garage sales and preparing it to be re-sold. Just make sure you have enough space to tackle this project, since this isn’t something that’s easy to do in your bedroom.

Sell Handmade Stationary

This is another great way to make money if you have an eye for visual art. Unique, custom stationary adds a nice touch to cards and letters. It may seem old-fashioned, but just think of how many people still give birthday and holiday cards to their friends and family.

Sell Customized Notebooks and Planners

Use the same skills to turn plain notebooks and day planners into beautiful works of art. Use drawing, collage, and other techniques to add a custom touch to regular notebooks you buy at the store. Your customers will love having a creative place to take notes and write down ideas.

Ways to Make Money Online

Looking to make money with nothing more than a Wi-Fi connection? Try these online business ideas.

Resell on eBay

eBay stores can be huge revenue streams if they’re popular enough. You can start by reselling things you already have. If you have nice clothes you don’t wear or collectibles you no longer care about, why not turn them into a profit?

If you want to grow your eBay store, start visiting thrift shops and yard sales to pick up more things you think will sell. Comics, vintage clothes, and collectors’ items all tend to be popular on eBay.

Be prepared, though: from listing and photographing new items to packaging and shipping what you sell, this can become a very time-consuming job.

Complete Online Surveys

Most online surveys don’t offer a significant income stream, but they can add a little extra to your bank account. Avoid surveys that pay you in “points” – turning those points into income can be a complicated waste of time. Instead, focus on survey sources like InboxDollars that pay real money.

Digital Promotion for Small Businesses

Are you a social media expert? Experienced with blogging? These skills and more are needed by small businesses.

Today’s business world is all about online promotion. Offer to run social media for a local business, draft posts for their blog, or take great pictures they can share online. Many companies will pay well for these services, and you’ll learn a lot in the process.

Teach Online Classes

If you have a specific skill that you think others would like to learn, develop and teach an online class.

You can teach anything from painting to exercise – you name it. Just take something you’re good at, and design an online curriculum around it. Include things like videos, live chats, reading material, and tips and tricks to share. Make sure your customers get a lot from the class, and you’ll get even more signups for the next one.

Hold an Online Fundraiser

If you’re raising money for a specific, important goal, like paying your college application fees, an online fundraiser can be a great way to go.

Many people are glad to donate to a good cause through sources like GoFundMe. However, you need to make sure you can thoroughly explain why you need the money and what you’ll be using it for. No one wants to donate to a fundraiser for a vacation – this should be for something that will make a big difference in your future or in the world.


If you’re great at listening and typing what you hear, you can get paid to transcribe audio files into written documents. Make sure you’re a fast typer with great attention to detail – you may need to listen to the same file many times to get it right.

Online Tutoring

You can also be a tutor from the comfort of your own home. Online services like SameSpeak and Enroll connect you with students all over the world who need your skills.

Teach Computer Skills

Older people in your community might lack the computer skills they need for work and fun online. You can get paid to teach them a wide variety of computer skills, from how to use Excel to how to use Twitter.

Film and Photo Editing

There is lots of high-quality, free film and photo editing software these days. Anyone can learn to use it to make professional-quality edits – but not everyone may want to take the time.

If you have great photo and video editing skills, market them to people and businesses in your community. Sharing photos and videos is important for local businesses to promote themselves online. Individuals will also pay you to edit photos and videos from special events and more.

Graphic Design

You don’t need advanced graphic design skills to start making money. Local businesses are often looking for help designing logos, flyers, posters, and online content. If you have a good eye for visuals, you can get paid to help them put their vision on paper.

Web Design

You also don’t need to be a professional web designer with years of training to get paid. If you have basic knowledge of how to set up websites on WordPress or other platforms, businesses and individuals will pay for your help. You’ll also gain hands-on experience and knowledge that can help you in your future career.

Be a Virtual Assistant

Many companies need a virtual assistant. Offer to help them update their website, send email newsletters, reply to online messages, and take care of other digital tasks.

Resume and Cover Letter Editing

If you’re a skilled wordsmith and know what makes good resumes and cover letters, you have a very marketable skill. People will pay you to edit for typos, help them phrase things more effectively, and design more appealing layouts.

Start Making Money Today!

This is just a beginning to the many different ways to make money as a teen. You don’t need a real job to build a steady income. In fact, with just a few basic skills to start, you can turn a lot of these ideas into a future career.

Ready to become a teen entrepreneur? Leave a comment and let us know which ideas you’re excited to try!  

Image: CC by 0 by Tumisu via Pixabay.

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