Saturday, March 16, 2013

5 Ways Teens Can Make a Little Extra Money

It used to be that there was only one way for a teenager to earn some money while still in school - the “part-time job”. With resume in hand, going down to the local grocery store, clothing store or fast-food joint and filling out an application. They used to call them McJobs. But if you wanted to make some extra money while in school, you had no choice. You’d be forced to take that minimum wage position. What makes it worse is that nobody wanted to do that for a career, it was just a way to make a little extra money.

But times have changed, and there are now many more ways to make some extra money. Here are just a few.

1. Running Your Own Service Business

You’ve heard this one before. Yards need mowing, leaves need raking, pools need cleaning, snow needs shoveling, walls need painting, boxes need moving, and the list of things that people would need help with and would be willing to pay for it is a long one. The truth is that many teens are not too thrilled about the traditional service business, but that spells opportunity for anyone who has the energy and hustle to go out into their neighborhood and earn some income through hard work and perhaps hard labor. While other students are asking about fries to go with their sandwich, you could be picking up all the opportunities on the same street where you live.

One thing that turns this from “just another a part-time job” into a real business is that you can actually recruit some of your friends to help you, and make some extra money through the hard work of others.

Let’s say you decide to enter the lawn care business, and are able to find some homes in the local neighborhood that need regular mowing, watering, raking and cleanup. You get customers willing to pay you $50 every two weeks to keep their lawns nice. Does that mean you get 3 or 4 of these customers and then work your butt off for the rest of the semester until you collapse from exhaustion? No!

What you should do is find a reliable friend who is willing to accept $40 to go mow a lawn and rake some leaves every two weeks. For him or her, they don’t have to deal with the customer, they just show up and do some work whenever they have time in the week. For you, you collect $50 and pay them $40.

And you do that many, many times. You never have to mow a lawn all year and make more than your friends that do.

2. Selling Stuff to Friends and Classmates

In every class, there is at least one person who can get stuff. You might casually mention that you are looking for the latest pair of basketball shoes but they are sold out everywhere, and then a week later you get a text saying they found a pair and would you like them to get it for you? Or the person who has a backpack full of the cutest jewelry and sells them to people for a really great price. Or that guy who has those sick DC t-shirts that they just don’t sell anywhere near where you live.

That person could be you. You could find out where rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces are sold very cheaply (hint: China), go through the sites and find the best items you know all your friends would want, buy a bunch of them for yourself, and then when they arrive show them to people and see if anyone wants to buy it. If you buy something for $1 and sell it for $5, that’s a pretty good deal for you. Be sure to start small, ordering just a few things at first before seeing if its something worth doing.

3. Online Writing

They say that the Internet doesn’t know or care about your age, and it doesn’t. If you like to write and consider yourself OK at it, you might want to consider making some money from it. There are plenty of sites such as, and where you can accept small writing assignments, and get paid $5, $10, or $20 for them or more. If you do this once every few days, this could allow you to be wearing new clothes all year (or start saving for college).

4. Fiverr

Speaking of Fiverr, there are many people selling stuff on there (for $5) other than writing. People do art, make short videos, take pictures with a company name written on their hand, and all manner of stuff for $5. Depending on your skills and location, you might have something unique to offer. $5 doesn’t seem like a lot - and it’s not. But getting started on fiverr could lead to selling your skills on ebay, etsy or other sites that allow you to charge more. Fiverr is an easy way to start.

5. Tutoring

And finally, we couldn’t leave the school world entirely with this list. The thing is, if there are subjects you are good at, you could become a tutor and make a few extra dollars teaching those subjects to others. Being a teen teaching another teen might give you a particular advantage, since you are still in the midst of schoolwork and learning. If you took a course last year and got an A, you’d need to find students who are taking that same course this year and having trouble. The thing is, the students are not your customers. Their parents are. You need to convince the parents of students who are having difficulty keeping up with the course that, for $20 a week, you are the solution to that problem. Not only do you know this, you passed this subject with an A with the exact same teacher last year.

Alternately, you could tutor students much younger than you. If you’re in high school, you could offer to tutor middle school or primary school students in difficult subjects like Math. 

As you can see, there are many opportunities outside the fast-food part-time jobs, that pay just as well or better. Many of these businesses allow you to set your own schedule, so you can do the assignment on a Sunday afternoon when you are free instead of a Friday night, when you would rather be doing something else. And who knows, if you start a business and do well at it, you can keep that business going for years and turn it into something *really* big.

Article by Scott Duffy of is a web site dedicated to exploring all of the different ways to make money, with informative articles on how to do each one.  It also contains links to other resources on these ideas, and is a good place to go when you are looking for a new business to start and are looking for ideas.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I have really enjoyed reading your blog. I was wondering if you feature guest postings. Thanks and have a great day!