There are many ways to make money as a teenager. With a little research, networking, and planning, teens of all ages can earn money. The following ideas can help.
See also: How to Make Money as a Kid
When you become a teenager, money becomes important.
Having your own money means being able to redecorate your room, have access to more video games, buy new shoes and clothing, or having enough cash to go out to dinner with your friends – all without having to ask your parents to cover the cost.
But you may be wondering how – as a teenager with few skills – you could make your own money.
Don’t despair! There are actually plenty of ways teenagers can make money. The following resourse will help you determine what your options are and to proceed.
At what age can teenagers get a job?
The first thing you’ll need to know is that not all teenagers are eligible to work. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in the United States sets 14 years old as the minimum employable age.
It also states that teenagers between the ages of 14 and 15 can only work outside of school hours and only in non-manufacturing, non-mining, and non-hazardous jobs.
During the school year the hours when this age group can work is between 7 AM and 7 PM. But between June 1 and Labor Day, 14-15-year-olds can extend their hours up to 9 PM.
They’re also not permitted to work more than three hours per day on a school day, more than 18 hours per week while school is in session, more than 8 hours per day on non-school days or more than 40 hours per week when school isn’t in session.
Meanwhile, 16 and 17-year-olds can work any nonhazardous job for unlimited hours and 18-year-olds can work any job, hazardous or not, for unlimited hours.
Do note, however, that child labor laws vary from state to state. You can look up your state’s labor office and child labor laws here.
How to make money as a teenager
There are five different ways to make money as a teenager. They are:
Getting a part-time job is a very common way for teenagers to make money. A part-time job typically involves being hired by a business, organization, or family member and working anywhere from a couple up to 20 hours a week, usually after school or on the weekend.
Another common way for teenagers to make money is to get a summer job. These jobs can be up to 40 hours per week and may involve seasonal work such as working as a lifeguard, camp counselor, or scooping ice cream, for example.
Earning money online
There are multiple ways to make money online and teenagers can take advantage of many of them. In some cases, online opportunities are as easy as filling out surveys, while others take more of an entrepreneurial mindset and diligence.
Starting a business
Entrepreneurial teens can also start their own businesses to make money. A few common businesses teens start include raking leaves, shoveling snow, or mowing lawns for neighbors. More extensive businesses, that require significant capital investment, will take longer to make a profit.
Teenagers can also get internships to help improve their job skills. While some internships are paid, many are unpaid or pay a small stipend.
The following sections will delve into each of these five ways to make money to help you determine your best option.
Getting a part-time or summer job
Getting a part-time or summer job is a great way to make money as a teenager. While in these positions teens also learn valuable skills including professionalism, getting along with co-workers, having a boss or manager, and customer service skills.
How to find a part-time or summer job
Typically teenagers find part-time or summer jobs by inquiring at local retailers, restaurants, organizations, or schools that seem like a good fit for their interests and limited skills.
Ideas for jobs can also be generated by talking to friends and neighbors, inquiring on local Facebook pages, and by looking on online job boards.
The following are some of the most common part-time jobs for teenagers:
- Fast food worker or server at a restaurant
- Retail associate
- Babysitter or mother’s helper
- Dog walker or pet sitter
- Tutor for younger students
- Grocery store clerk or stocker
- Movie theater usher or concession worker
- Delivery driver for restaurants, Uber Eats, Grub Hub or DoorDash
- Administrative assistant or receptionist at an office
- Library assistant or shelver
- Barista at a coffee shop
For a full list of part-time jobs and more information about each position see: 28 Perfect Part-time Jobs for High Schoolers
The following are a few common summer jobs for teens:
- Summer camp counselor
- Lawn care/landscaping worker
- Fast food worker or restaurant wait staff
- Movie theater attendant
- Ice cream shop attendant
- Pet sitter/dog walker
- Car wash attendant
- Golf caddy
- Amusement park worker
- Farmhand/farm worker
- Grocery store clerk
- Pet store worker
For a full list of summer jobs and more information about each position see: 34 Perfect Summer Jobs for Teens Who Want to Earn Some Extra Cash
How to apply for a job
Once you’ve identified a job you’d like to do, you can start reaching out to the business or organization through email.
In your professionally written email, inquire if there are any part-time or summer jobs available. It’s also helpful to include your age and when you’re available to work.
Alternatively, if the business or organization has a way to apply for a job online, start there. Fill out the application and submit it.
Note that if the business or organization doesn’t have an application, you’ll most likely need to create a resume. (See Resume Examples for Teens to get started)
In either case, if you do not hear back from the employer, you may want to follow up with a brief and polite email or phone call a couple of weeks later. Emails and applications can get lost while at the same time hiring needs can change so it’s a good idea to follow up.
How to prepare for a job interview
After you’ve submitted an application, if a business or organization is interested in you they’ll want you to come in for an interview.
When preparing for a job interview, here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Research the company: Learn about the company you are interviewing with, its mission, values, and the type of work they do. This will demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm.
- Dress appropriately: Dress professionally for the interview, even if the company has a more casual dress code. It’s better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.
- Be punctual: Arrive on time or a few minutes early for the interview. Punctuality shows respect and reliability.
- Practice common interview questions: Prepare answers for common interview questions such as “Tell me about yourself” or “Why do you want to work here?” Practice your responses to sound confident and natural.
- Showcase your skills and experiences: Highlight any relevant skills, experiences, or achievements you have that are related to the job you are applying for. This could include volunteer work, extracurricular activities, or previous jobs.
- Be attentive and engaged: During the interview, actively listen to the interviewer’s questions and provide thoughtful responses. Maintain eye contact, show enthusiasm, and ask relevant questions about the role or company.
- Be honest and authentic: Be genuine in your responses and don’t exaggerate or provide false information. Interviewers appreciate honesty and integrity.
- Show good manners and professionalism: Demonstrate good manners by being polite, using appropriate language, and displaying a positive attitude. Be respectful to everyone you encounter during the interview process.
- Prepare questions to ask: Have a few thoughtful questions prepared to ask the interviewer. This shows your interest in the role and allows you to gather more information about the job or company.
- Follow up with a thank-you note: After the interview, send a thank-you email or note to express your gratitude for the opportunity. This is also a chance to reiterate your interest in the position.
Remember, the interview is not only an opportunity for the employer to assess your suitability for the job, but also a chance for you to evaluate whether the job aligns with your interests and goals. Stay confident, be yourself, and approach the interview with a positive mindset.
How to make money online as a teenager
It used to be that the only way to make money as a teenager was to get a job outside the home.
But today, there are a plethora of ways to earn extra money, have a side hustle, or get a paycheck through work online – as long as you have a strong internet connection.
Some methods of making money online aren’t jobs per se but are simply ways to make extra cash or get paid in gift cards. In contrast, other opportunities require a sense of entrepreneurship which may or may not pay off.
Virtual or remote jobs can also be obtained online but these entry-level positions are primarily only available to older teenagers.
The following are a few ways teenagers can make money online:
- Selling stuff online: Teens can sell crafts, artwork, t-shirts, or used clothing through sites like Poshmark, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Etsy, Mercari, Depop, or Thredup.
- Design websites or apps: Teens who know advanced code can design websites or create apps and sell their services to small businesses or organizations.
- Be entrepreneurial: Media-savvy teens can create their own YouTube Channel or launch a blog or podcast on a topic they’re knowledgeable in.
- Freelance services: Teens can sell their expertise in graphic design or writing, for example, through sites like Fiverr.
- Become a virtual assistant: qualified teens can get a job as a virtual assistant, helping businesses with administrative tasks or managing social media accounts such as Instagram or Tiktok.
- Take online surveys or review videos & ads: Sites like MusicXRay, Swagbucks, Survey Junkie, Userliytics, and many others pay participants to review products or answer questions. Payment is often in the form of cash rewards or gift cards.
- Tutor kids: Teens 15 or older can tutor other kids online through sites like Enroll, Chegg, or Tutor.com
For a full list of ways teens can earn money online and more information see: How to Make Money Online as a Teenager
How teens can start their own business
Another way to make money as a teenager is to start your own business.
Starting a business isn’t always easy and depending on the industry could require an upfront investment to get started. Also, some businesses may not generate a profit for many months or even years.
That said, there are a few small businesses teenagers can start that can turn a profit fairly quickly. These businesses usually involve selling services, so expenses are low, and are typically sold to households in the teens’ community or neighborhood.
The following are a few common businesses teenagers begin:
- Dog walking
- Snow shoveling
- Raking leaves
- Mowing lawns
- Doing yard work
- Cleaning out garages, closets or basements
- Providing music lessons
- Planning and assisting with birthday parties
How teens can get an internship
Getting an internship before you graduate from either high school or college is an excellent way to gain valuable job skills. It can also help you determine if you’re really interested in a particular line of work. Having an internship in high school can also enhance a college application.
And while most internships do not pay, some provide compensation or at least a small stipend. The real payback, so-to-speak, with internships is the longer-term career skills and exploration gained from shadowing and being mentored by professionals.
A few ways to find an internship include networking with friends and family. You can also check listings on websites such as Chegg Internships in the high school section or through Bank of America’s Student Leader Program.
For more information about finding an internship see: How to Find a High School Internship
What to do with the money you earn
Something to plan for before getting a job is what you’ll do with the money you’ve earned.
It’s a good idea to open a bank account to have a place to keep your earned income. Some employers prefer to directly deposit paychecks into personal bank accounts.
But it’s also a good idea to think about how much of your paycheck – if any – you’ll want to save. Placing even a small portion of your paycheck into a high-interest savings account could grow your money further, depending on how long it’s there.
If you plan on using the money you make many years from now, investing it may make more sense. A good and well-balanced investment strategy can substantially grow your money while avoiding too much risk.
What to do next…
1. Subscribe to Self-Sufficient Kids’ email list.
Like what you read here and want to learn more? Every Thursday I’ll send you one parenting tip about raising self-sufficient kids and creating the peaceful relationship you yearn to have with your child. Click here to sign up.
2. Take one of my quizzes!
Find out if you’re raising a self-sufficient kid (click here) or if you’re doing too much for your kids (click here). At the end of each quiz, you’ll be asked to provide your email address to see the results.
3. Get your kids started on chores.
Learn how to get your child started on chores (& keep them motivated + avoid power struggles) by enrolling in my Get Your Kids Successfully Started on Chores course. Click here to learn more and sign-up.
Kerry Flatley is the owner and author of Self-Sufficient Kids. She has a BA in economics, an MBA, a certificate in financial planning, and has been investing ever since she landed her first job. Kerry also has two girls, ages 13 and 15, who have been receiving allowance – and learning money management – for the past seven years.