Dec 1, 2022
Side hustles for teens: Tips, tricks, and creative ideas
- Side hustles provide a flexible way for teens to make money.
- Many side hustles require a minimum age of 18, so teens must look for age-appropriate opportunities (and may need parental help to set things up).
- Some of the best side hustles for teens include doing odd jobs for neighbors, taking on extra responsibilities at home, and using their talents to make extra cash.
Teens have plenty of reasons to want to start earning some cash — but often, getting a job that works around school schedules can be tricky. A side hustle for teens allows for some income without the schedule considerations of a normal part-time job.
But what is a side hustle, exactly — and how can you get started with one? In this blog, we’ll go over the benefits of a side hustle for teens while providing guidance on how to select a great side hustle opportunity for any given situation.
What is a side hustle, and what are the benefits for teens?
Side hustles are flexible ways to make money on the side, typically without a formal job. Examples might include mowing lawns, tutoring, freelance writing, or selling products online.
In many cases, “side hustle” refers to a source of income in addition to one’s primary job. However, as a teen, a side hustle may be your only source of income, as you may not have a traditional job since you spend most of your day in school or on extracurricular activities.
There are many potential benefits of a side hustle:
They often have flexible hours, which helps you work around school schedules.
You can earn cash on the side, often without a formal commitment.
Side gigs can be a way to pursue interests or explore future career options/college majors.
Some opportunities can help you learn business, interpersonal, and financial skills.
You will learn how to earn money outside of traditional employment.
Many opportunities are scalable to the amount of time you have available.
Ultimately, a side hustle is a flexible way for teens to make money in their spare time.
Here’s what to look for in a side hustle for teens.
Not all side hustle opportunities are a good fit for teens. To find a good opportunity, you should look for something that is:
Age appropriate: Many apps and services that are used for side hustling have a minimum age to participate. For instance, apps like Uber, Lyft, and Rover all require users to be at least 18, which excludes most teens.
Flexible in timing: Good opportunities will allow you to work around your school, sports, and social schedules. You may have more time to put into side hustles during the summer, with less time during the school year.
Accessible: Perhaps you share a car with a family member, or you don’t have your driver’s license yet. Look for side hustles that are a fit for your available transportation options. Virtual opportunities are a great fit, as are neighborhood gigs that can be easily accessible via walking or public transport.
Affordable to start: Good opportunities shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to get started! For instance, a dog-walking gig has minimal startup costs (if any), while something like starting a small manufacturing business might cost significantly more.
How old do I need to be to start a side hustle?
There’s no minimum age to start a side hustle. Those 6-year-olds running lemonade stands during the summer — yep, that’s a side hustle!
With that said, certain types of side hustles do require you to be a legal adult.
For example, as we mentioned, many popular side hustle apps and services require users to be at least 18. This includes apps like:
Rover (dog walking and pet care)
eBay (selling online)
Etsy (selling crafts online)
In some cases, you can still participate in these kinds of side hustles; you just can’t use the specific apps to find gigs. For instance, you could certainly babysit or walk dogs — but you can’t legally use Care.com or Rover to find clients.
For certain apps, like eBay and Etsy, you can still use the service with the help of a parent. For instance, Etsy allows teens ages 13-17 to use their parent’s accounts to buy and sell goods on the platform.
Other apps, like Uber and Rover, do not allow underage users, even with the help of a parent. It’s important to check the user terms and conditions before using one of these services.
What are the best side hustles for teens?
The best opportunities depend on your interests, availability, and preferences. Some of the best overall options for making money on the side can be broken down into four categories:
Doing odd jobs for neighbors 😎
Taking on extra responsibilities at home 🏠
Using your skills to make extra cash ⭐️
Starting a small business 💸
Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories, along with some ideas for each.
Do odd jobs for your neighbors 🐕
Completing odd jobs and side gigs for neighbors and family friends can be a good way to earn some money on the side. These opportunities are often casual, flexible in timing, and close to home.
Some side hustle ideas in this category include:
Seasonal work (e.g., raking leaves, putting up holiday decorations, shoveling snow, etc.)
Opportunities in this category are often scalable, meaning they can require minimal time commitment at the start but can scale up over time. You can advertise your services via word-of-mouth, local Facebook groups, or on local social media apps like NextDoor.
Greenlight tip: Make sure you've got parent approval before advertising
Take on extra responsibilities at home 🍳
The ultimate close-to-home side hustle may be literally at home. In some cases, you can earn extra money by talking to your parents about taking on additional responsibilities.
You likely already complete chores around the house and may earn an allowance for doing so. You may be able to take on additional tasks in order to earn some extra money while also taking pressure off your busy parents.
Some ideas in this realm may include:
Cooking meals for the family
Taking on extra cleaning tasks
Helping younger siblings with homework or transportation
Helping out with the family business
You might be able to help out in a variety of other ways as well. Check-in with your family to see what opportunities you might have!
Use your talents to make extra cash ✍️
Some of the most profitable side hustles for teens involve using specialized skills and talents to earn money. Many of these opportunities let you make money online, which can be even more flexible than most in-person opportunities.
The specifics of these opportunities depend on what skills and interests you have, but some ideas include:
Freelance graphic design
Social media marketing or managing social media accounts for local businesses
Selling crafts online
Creating content (e.g., blogging, starting a YouTube channel or a podcast, etc.)
Live streaming video games on Twitch
Many of these opportunities can make good money, particularly as you scale up and specialize. You can find customers on your own or by using various platforms. For instance, Fiverr is a popular freelance platform that allows users to sign up at age 13.
Greenlight tip: Always make sure your parents are on board before signing up for apps like Fiverr or Twitch. And if you're creating content for viewers online, check in with parents before starting!
Start a small business 🛍
If you have entrepreneurial interests, starting your own business can be a fulfilling and potentially quite lucrative experience.
These opportunities often require some startup costs, but there are plenty of low-cost business ideas to pursue. Some small business ideas to consider include:
Buying and reselling used items on Facebook Marketplace (with the help of a parent), Poshmark, Mercari, OfferUp, eBay, garage sales, etc.
Creating products to sell, such as candles, crafts, T-shirts, etc.
Making food products like jams or baked goods
When it comes to selling your products, you can create your own e-commerce website or consider local craft shows or farmer’s markets. If you’re buying and reselling items, you can consider Poshmark, Mercari, eBay, OfferUp, or garage sales. Just be sure to watch for any age limits and get your parent’s approval, and help if necessary.
In many cases, something that starts as a side hustle can quickly turn into a real business. A side hustle in high school could even turn into a full-time business.
And sometimes, simple ideas turn into big opportunities for successful businesses. Greenlight member Kierra is a perfect example. What started as Kierra’s desire to create the perfect Father’s Day gift turned into her creating Kandles by Kierra, which has since been featured in publications like the New York Times and on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Consider diversifying your income streams.
The side hustle suggestions above are a great place to start, but you don’t need to limit yourself to one idea. You can combine a couple of side hustles together. For example, maybe you babysit your neighbor’s kids after school and sell crafts.
Another way to earn extra money alongside your side hustle is through passive income and other creative income opportunities. Some options include:
Earning passive income from investing
Completing online surveys or tasks for Swagbucks or other survey sites (with parental permission)
Referring friends to apps and services
Earning rewards or interest on savings
The idea here is to start earning money from multiple sources — even if it’s just a small bit here and there. Even if an opportunity won’t earn you big bucks, the money can really add up over time.
Side hustles = Flexible financial freedom
As a teen, you have dozens of opportunities for side hustles, ranging from classics like babysitting to unique options like freelancing. The right side hustle will let you work on your own schedule in your free time — and ideally won’t cost much to get started.
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