How to Make Money Online: Side Hustles for Teens

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Teenagers have lots of opportunities to make some serious cash but you need to think about creative ways to use your skillsets. Growing up, many of my friends had part time jobs working hours at jobs they didn’t really like for minimum wage. Don’t work hard, work smart. This post shows how to make money online and includes passive income ideas and side hustles for teens and young adults.

In high school, my friends worked at grocery stores, the local library, and retail establishments like Target and Kohls. I tutored and fixed computers and made 2-3 times as much as they did in a fraction of the time.

I previously posted about how to make money online but this post will focus particularly on high school and college aged students looking to grow their passive incomes or make some money through a side-hustle.

Passive Income or Side Hustles for Teens and Young Adults:

Babysitting

Babysitting

Babysitting is one of the oldest teen jobs. Parents want a break from their kid(s) but they want to ensure that their child(ren) is/are in good hands with a responsible person. Depending on the day and time of year, you can play games, watch tv, or supervise as the child(ren) do their homework. Nearby babysitting jobs can be found by word-of-mouth or simply asking your neighbors.

There are online platforms where you can also connect and babysit for people in your area.

  • Care.com Must be at least 14 years old (Minors need legal guardian’s consent)
  • Sittercity Must be at least 18 years old to sign up. 
Difficulty and earning potential of babysitting

Tutor

tutoring side hustle

Do you earn good grades in school? You can help others who are struggling in math, science, reading comprehension, writing, and other subjects. Advertise your services on community bulletin boards found at shopping centers, community centers, and the library. Local Facebook groups is another good place to find potential customers. 

When I was in high school, I built my customer list by offering free tutoring at my local library. If students or parents wanted additional sessions or support, I gave out cards with my contact information and price. I charged slightly less than the teachers were charging for private tutoring.

If you are 18+ years old, you can sign up as a tutor on Upwork, Tutor.com, and Wyzant

tutoring difficulty and earning potential

Pet sitting/dog walking

dog walking side hustle idea

Do you love animals? If so, this side hustle will feel less like a job and more like something fun to do. Pet owners need help walking their dogs and/or watching their pet when they are away.

There’s many platforms and apps that exist but here’s a few:  

  • Rover  Must be 18+ years old to sign up.  $15-$25 per hour (Rover keeps 20% of your earnings)
  • Fetch! Must be at least 13 years old (Minors need legal guardian’s consent) $9-10 per hour + tips
  • PetSitter.com Must be at least 13 years old. $10-$15 per hour
  • Meowtel (cat-sitting) Must be at least 18 years old to sign up.

If you are entrepreneurial, you can ditch the apps and open your own pet sitting/dog walking business. Just make sure you purchase the appropriate liability insurance to protect you and your business in the event that someone gets hurt as a result of your negligent business activities.

dog walking and pet sitting difficulty and earning potential

Lawn services

lawn mowing side hustle idea

If you live in the suburbs and don’t have a regular lawn service, lawn maintenance is a pain for many homeowners. Does your family mow its own lawn? Lawn care isn’t particularly difficult but it can be time consuming. You’d be surprised at what people would pay to mow grass, edge borders, clean up debris, sticks, and leaves. If you have a tractor or lawn mower, this might be a great job.

Online apps and platforms include:

You can also start your own business. If you go this route, make sure to buy liability insurance.

lawn mowing side hustle difficulty and earning potential

Snow shoveling

snow shoveling side hustle

In the Northeast, winter snow is a fact of life. Many homeowners would prefer to stay warm and avoid shoveling driveways and walkways by hiring others. As homeowners get older, manual snow shoveling is back-breaking and not fun. Reach out to your neighbors before the winter season to build your client list. Similar to other professional work where accidents can happen, consider getting liability insurance.

snow shoveling difficulty and earning potential

Start a Blog / Write Content

blogging and content writing side hustle

Do you like to write? Blogging is a great way to learn the skills that many companies are actively looking for. Pick a niche that you think would interest people and capture their attention. Creating your own blog requires lots of upfront investment of time and effort. You’ll need to learn about web design and how to drive traffic and monetize (make money off) your site. There’s no guarantee that your blog is going to make money but you will learn a lot.

If you don’t want to create your own blog, you can write content for existing blogs. Many websites look for people who can contribute to their site and might pay you per post. Search for blogs online where you might want to write a post and contact the site owner to see if he or she would be interested.

blogging and podcast difficulty and earning potential

Start a Podcast

podcast side hustle idea for teen

Do you like making videos? You can start a podcast about subjects that interest you. Similar to blogging, you need to invest some time and energy to learn how to record content, grow your audience, and monetize (make money off) your podcast through ads or affiliate marketing. There’s no guarantee you’ll earn money but you will learn how to set up a production.

blog podcast side hustle difficulty and earning potential

Start a Pressure Washing Business

Pressure Washing Side Hustle Business

Pressure washing can really change the look of driveways, fences, siding, patios, and outdoor furniture which can get dirty from being outside and exposed to weather elements. If you never power washed before, borrow a friend’s pressure washer or rent a pressure washer from Home Depot or Lowes. Test it on your family’s driveway, patio, and walkways.

If you think you’d like to do this as a seasonal job, buy a gas-powered pressure washer. You’ll need insurance, business permits, and gas. You’ll also need to market your business with (signs, flyers, Facebook ads, etc).  

pressure washing business difficulty and earning potential

Bake Sales at Sporting Events

bake sale side hustle

Many Parent-Teacher Associations host fundraisers to raise money but you can also use bake sales or similar food/vendor sales to make some profit. Some sporting events are captive audiences where there might not be food or drink. Scope out local soccer, baseball, and football fields and note if there are any vendors. There’s also potential to expand your product line and include custom shirts or signs supporting the local team.  Check with your local government to see if you need to purchase a vendor permit.

My high school didn’t have an on-site cafeteria and I was able to earn thousands of dollars selling hot dogs from a crockpot and grilled cheese sandwiches.

bake sale side hustle difficulty and earning potential

Declutter the House and Sell Things Online

Sell items on eBay

One person’s junk is another person’s treasure. It’s easier than ever to sell items online than ever before. Don’t just sell your family’s stuff without asking for permission! Once you get the go-ahead, snap multiple photos of the item and list on Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, or Craigslist. The process is similar for all three sites: 1) Snap some photos 2) describe the item and 3) price your item. You can have the option for local pickup only but to increase the likelihood of selling your item, you may need to ship it. Before listing your item, you may need to do some research to see what you should price your item at. One way is to use ebay and look up your item filtering on completed and sold listings.

bake sale sell online difficulty and earning potential

Test Apps and Software

App testing side hustle

Are you digitally savvy? You can earn money by helping improve digital products by testing them for software bugs on various devices.

Test Birds is a site that allows digital product creators crowdtest their products. If you are 13 years old and up, you can sign up to be a tester. Minors will need to have their legal guardian sign a consent form. Note that the company is based in Germany and you will be paid in Euros but you can use paypal or your Bank to convert your Euros to US Dollars. 

app testing difficulty and earning potential

Summary:

There’s many ways to make money online and earn passive income or create a side hustle.

Some top ideas to make money and side hustle for teens include:

Your turn

Do you do any profitable side gigs where you make some extra passive income? Share in the comments.

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By Adam

Hey, I'm Adam. I started Wonder of Compounding in 2021 to help others learn about financial literacy and achieve their financial goals. I’m a lifelong student and eternal optimist with a passion for investing, technology and entrepreneurship. I’ve worked in the financial services industry for more than a decade. In 2008, I earned my Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology and in 2015, I received my MBA from New York University.

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