If you are a teen looking to make extra money, you don’t want to waste your time. You want to find the jobs for teenagers that pay well. Really, you shouldn’t be concerned about getting a “real” job as there are many things you can do on your own to make good money.
Disadvantages of a “real” job
While there are certainly some benefits to having a so called “real” job for an actual company, there are some downsides too. When you are a teenager you typically have an ever-changing and crazy schedule. Between sports, school, church, and a variety of other activities it can be tough to pin down a set schedule for your job. Most often, you end up missing out on different activities because of your job, which is no fun. Some might argue that this kind of sacrifice is good for you, but we are coming from the point of view that you want to enjoy your teen years and make money!
Another notable disadvantage of “real” jobs for teenagers is that they are tougher to find. You’ll be checking out Craigslist, job sites, and looking for help wanted signs while setting up interviews and filling out lengthy applications. Again, these are all necessary at times, but it makes life easier if you can find a way to work for yourself and bypass all the red tape that comes with formal employment.
The final disadvantage of a teenager having a real job is that you usually aren’t paid well. There are some exceptions for sure, some of which we’ll discuss later, but many times you are working a job where you are paid hourly. Coming in the door at 16 or 17 you probably have very little experience, so that hourly pay is at or near minimum wage. After you take out the tax obligations, you’ll likely spend a full day flipping burgers and net $50 – $60. One might ask: is that really worth it? Your time has value.
Creative Jobs For Teenagers
Let’s shift the discussion from “having a job” to making money. At this point in your life, as it is at most points in life, the primary goal of having a job is to make money. Therefore, once you find a way to make money without having a job you’ve effectively eliminated the need for a real job.
Please take a moment to understand that this isn’t to say you won’t have to work. Although you may not be formally employed, you’ll still have to have a work ethic to make money. You may find that motivation is easier to come by when you are being paid for the value you provide, rather than simply being paid a fixed rate for the hours you show up. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Sell on Ebay
No doubt you’ve heard about the auction giant eBay. While you may have purchased things from there, you may not have explored what you can sell on eBay. In short, you sign up as a seller for free and then eBay will charge you a fee for certain listings and then a final value fee, which is a commission based on what your item sells for. This is a great way to get started making some extra money from home at any age. If you are under 18, technically the account will need to be in a parent or guardian’s name in order to sign up. However, if they agree to it, you can do all the leg work from there.
What can I sell?
You can sell virtually anything on eBay. We mean anything. One thing that tends to be a good seller is a vintage item. This is a nice way of saying old or retro stuff. Perhaps old t-shirts, toys, collectibles, etc. Maybe you have some of this around your house? If not, maybe you can go shop at a local thrift store and look for some of these gems. Sports memorabilia can be very popular for the right teams and players. The good news is, if you buy at a thrift store you’ll spend very little upfront. Just take some quality photos and get started on your auction. Data shows that starting things out at .01 for the opening bid tends to draw the most activity. You can view more of the ins and outs here about selling on eBay.
While this isn’t a guaranteed route to make millions, you’ll definitely gain some real life knowledge and make some money in return. You may find a little niche that works well for you and end up making a living out of it. Thousands of people have done just that.
Sell on Etsy
Etsy is a marketplace specifically for vintage items and in large part, home made specialty items. If you have a talent for making things, perhaps selling on Etsy could be for you. Like eBay, you do have to be 18 to sign up so you would need to start out partnering with a parent or older friend if you don’t meet this requirement.
If thinking about what you could sell, maybe have a look around Etsy as a shopper to see what is available currently. While you probably won’t want to copy something already for sale, this kind of research will get those creative juices flowing on a complimentary product, or some kind of variation of an item that is already successfully selling right now.
Etsy makes money by charging a very reasonable commission, so if you can make something where the costs are low and the demand is fairly high, this could really be a profitable venture. This is another thing that could blossom into a full-time income if you find the right niche and put in the effort. On the other hand, many people just sell to make some extra money here and there. Outlets like Etsy and eBay are great for this because your upfront investment is so small, you can do a lot or you could choose to do very little.
There is always a need for caregivers for people of all ages. This could be babysitting some little kids, or even caring for the elderly by taking them for walks or just being a friend. While this may not sound like a paying position, it most certainly can be for a family that may need help caring for an elderly parent and are short on time. Maybe you could take them to run errands and get paid in the process. Certainly caregiving can be fun and rewarding.
If you are female, you have a more realistic chance of finding babysitting jobs. No matter how you feel about that statement, it is the truth. One of the best jobs for teenagers can be as a babysitter. Why? Because you can work as little or as often as you’d like while getting paid a pretty good rate on average. If you don’t like playing with little kids, then you might see this as hard labor. However, if you kind of like spending time with little guys then babysitting may not feel like work at all!
How to get started
One way to get started online is by using Care.com. This is a site where people can post the need for Nannies or the occasional babysitter. You can also find house cleaning and other service related jobs on the site. You do have to be at least 17 to sign up as a care giver, but if you meet that criteria this is a great free way to get started.
If you aren’t yet 17, then you can start by asking around your neighborhood. If you know families in the neighborhood that already trust you, simply let them know that if they need a night out, you’d be happy to watch their son or daughter. This is a great low pressure way to ask for the job. If they are interested, they’ll definitely call when the time comes. Keep putting the word out through family, friend, Facebook, etc. and eventually people will come calling if you are mature and trustworthy.
One way to build up the reputation as being responsible enough to be a good babysitter is to get the right training. The Red Cross offers a babysitter training course that you can take for as little as $25 and print out a certificate at the end. This teaches you the basics along with what to do in an emergency. Being able to tell a parent “I am only 15, but I have gone through the Red Cross babysitter training” will take you much further than someone who has done no training. This will let parents know that you are serious about doing a good job.
Since caregiving was more stereotypically available for the ladies, lawn care traditionally is associated with a job for men. That isn’t so say, of course, that women can’t mow grass and run a weed eater! No matter who you are, one of the best paying (per hour) jobs for teenagers may well be lawn care.
Lawn care is a service job that usually isn’t too physically demanding, but there are probably plenty of people in your neighborhood who have reached an age where they can’t do it anymore, or they may just not have the time. Mowing that persons lawn is typically paid by the job. So they may say “I’ll pay you $25 to mow my grass.” Frankly, that person isn’t worried about how long it takes you to cut the grass, as long as you do a good job. That $25 may only represent a half an hour of work for you. If so, you’ve just made $50 per hour. Not bad, eh?
How to get started
Getting started in lawn care should usually start very close to home. Stop by your neighbors house, or just walk your street and let people know that you mow lawns if they are interested. You can also print up some homemade fliers and hang them on trees, telephone poles, bulletin boards, etc. with your name and number on them.
It is best to start close to home because you may or may not be able to drive, and even if you do have a license you may not be able to haul a mower or other equipment with you. The home owner may be fine with you using their mower and their gas, but you should at least be prepared to use your own. Make sure you agree to those details when you set a price for the job. Once you start getting the word out, you’ll probably be surprised just how many people are looking for a good, affordable lawn service. You can really save up some big bucks going full throttle on a lawn care job over the summer.
No, we don’t mean to hack Craigslist in some kind of malicious way…
Craigslist as you well know is basically a free online classified ad site. People buy, sell, and trade on Craigslist millions of times over. While one thing you could do as a teen, similar to eBay, is take some old furniture and stuff that your parents want to get rid of and sell it locally on Craigslist. If you take care of the hassle of doing the pictures and listing it, often your parents or other friends/relatives will be happy to share those profits with you – sometimes 50/50.
Another cool technique is to troll the “free stuff” area of Craigslist. People give away all kinds of things for free. You can find a free app for your phone to get alerted when new stuff is listed, as the good stuff will go quickly. There are things given away for free on Craigslist virtually everyday that someone would pay money for, but that person didn’t want to deal with the hassle of selling it. To some, they’d rather get rid of it for nothing than to spend a week fielding questions and phone calls over something they may get $20 for.
This is where you come in. Find those free things on Craigslist and pick them up (ideally you have a drivers license or a really nice sibling to be your taxi driver). Then, take pictures and turn around and sell them on Craigslist. There may even be opportunities if you are someone that likes to fix things where you can fix a broken item, and then resell it. For instance, sometimes people will give away nice appliances, televisions, etc. because there is a relatively minor problem, and they just bought a replacement rather than mess with it.
This may all sound a little far fetched, especially if you haven’t done much with Craigslist. However, I can assure you that I’ve done it myself and I know of people that do this as a full-time living. The last dryer I bought was from a guy who buys (and finds free) broken washers and dryers on Craigslist. He then fixes them and resells them on Craigslist. This was his full-time “job.”
“Real” Jobs For Teenagers That Pay Well
To this point, most of what we’ve talked about are ways to make money without going into a so-called “real” job. While we aren’t knocking a real job in anyway, you should certainly be open minded at your age and realize there are virtually and endless number of ways to earn income.
One idea for a teen to make good money at a real job, is being a waiter or waitress. Typically a restaurant server is paid a very low hourly wage, and the bulk of their money is made from tips. If you are pleasant and have a way with people, you can really make a nice living waiting tables. Notice that at many nicer restaurants, there are a number of adults that wait tables. These people make a pretty good living, because people generally tip based on the price of their meal. So for a nice restaurant, tips can be pretty hefty.
How to get started
With no experience to speak of, you probably won’t be able to find a job waiting tables at a “nice” restaurant. This doesn’t mean you can’t find a job to make nice money. Ideally you should find a place that stays busy. You’ll have to work hard to make money, but without customers you won’t have tips. So start by thinking of nearby restaurants that are really popular. If a place has a big lunch crowd, maybe you can work those hours over a Summer break and cash in. If it is a place with more of a dinner clientele, maybe you can work after school and pick up that money. One thing you’ll love about serving is that you walk out with cash every night, so you truly see the fruits of your labor.
No matter what you choose, keep your options and your mind open. You’ve got a long life ahead of you and as they say “you have the rest of your life to work.” Therefore, unless you have absolutely no choice, don’t get stuck in a job you hate! On the contrary, try to look for a field, skill, etc. that will be enjoyable to you and be something that helps broaden your experience for the future. If you do hate the job, that is just one thing to mark off your list that you don’t want to do in the future!
If you have other ideas, feel free to comment below.