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How To Make Money Online As a Teenager: Start An Online Business
If you’re wondering how to make money online as a teenager, then starting an online business should be one of the first things you think about. While it can be less reliable than a job or even freelancing, online businesses will be among the most scalable options on this list. You can grow a business to generate hundreds or even thousands of dollars in profit each month, all while gaining valuable experience as a business owner.
#1 — Start A Blog
If you’re looking at starting an online business, one of the first options you’ll hear about is starting a blog. A blog is basically an information site that provides information about a certain subject. Heck, even this site you’re reading is technically a blog.
Blogs make money by coming up with interesting content, promoting that content using SEO (and social media, newsletters, etc.), and monetizing the resulting traffic through advertisements. It can be a very profitable business model if you can pull it off, but it’s more difficult than it looks. Overall, this is definitely something to consider, as long as you’re aware of how much effort can be required for even a chance at making some money.
As of 2022, Youtube is the second biggest search engine in the world (second only to Google) and pulls in 1.7 billion unique visitors every month. Although there are billions of videos already on the platform, there is still a ton of potential for small creators to get views and build their audiences.
As a video creator, you can make money through ads, affiliate marketing, sponsorships, and a plethora of other methods. You can start a channel on nearly any subject you can think of, and you don’t even have to star in it if you don’t want to. One quick search and you’ll be able to find movie scene channels, Tik Tok compilation channels, animal video channels, and more — all with millions of views.
You won’t make money immediately, but if you do it right your videos can make thousands of dollars for years to come. It’s a great solution if you’re wondering how to make money online as a teenager, and want to build a skillset while doing it.
#3 — Buy And Sell Textbooks
Regardless of where you are, I’m willing to bet that there are a bunch of high schools and universities in your town. That means that every year, thousands (or tens of thousands) of people will be looking to buy and sell textbooks related to what they’re studying.
This gives you the opportunity to buy those books for low prices and sell them for high ones. You can also expand to online platforms like Amazon, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace. Just make sure that you do your research on each book prior to investing your money in it.
#4 — Flip Products Online
Flipping products online is one of the most beginner-friendly options if you’re wondering how to make money online as a teenager. All you need to do is buy products that you find locally (or online) and list them for a higher price somewhere else. Naturally, you want to get as good of a deal as possible, or the numbers won’t make sense (especially if you need to pay for shipping), but there are ways to maximize your margins.
To start off, you could go to a local thrift store, look at products, and see what they sell for on eBay. You can also check out garage sales, vintage shops, or even the clearance section at your local Walmart. You should also check out Facebook Marketplace, as it can be a great place to both buy and sell products. Collectibles, electronics, and furniture can all be great categories to start with.
Just make sure you don’t buy more products than you have space to store since they might not sell immediately.
Nowadays websites, magazines, newspapers, and everything other forms of media need access to images for their content. They can’t post these images without ownership or access to the Copyright for the images, so they’ll want to purchase or license them.
On sites like Envato Elements or Shutterstock, you can put your own photos up for other businesses to use. Depending on the site, you will either receive a fixed rate per usage or a cut of the subscription revenue your downloaders pay. The trick with this business is a high quantity of high-quality shots, and to make sure they are tagged with as many keywords as possible.
Starting a themed social media page can be an amazing first business. It can be done completely for free, it can be grown into many different opportunities, and it can be sold once all is said and done.
What am I talking about? Well, go on Instagram or TikTok and search for a subject. Any subject. Type in “cats” or “new york” or “crafts” and you’ll find dozens of accounts that compile content on the chosen niche. These accounts are often just re-posting content they found on the internet, but because they have traffic and followers, they can sell advertising to businesses with similar audiences.
Cat product stores want to sell products to cat lovers, art supply stores to craft lovers, and so on. Just putting up their Instagram story and a link to their store in your bio can fetch a $20-$200+ price point, depending on how it performs.
Did you know that you can sell t-shirts online, without ever touching a t-shirt, ink, or a printing press? Actually, the same applies to coffee mugs, water bottles, bags, and dozens of other products. What I’m talking about is called print-on-demand.
In a nutshell, print-on-demand services allow you to sell products with your custom designs online, and the design is only printed once the product is sold. In other words, you’ll never have unsold inventory.
While some sites (Shopify & Etsy) require you to set up your store and supplier, sites like TeeSpring and Redbubble take care of everything for you. They have both the marketplace (i.e. customers) and the fulfillment (i.e. they will print and send the products for you). All you need to do is create designs, list your products, and collect your cash. And if you’re looking for an easy way to create designs, we recommend PlaceIt!
#8 — Sell Homemade Crafts
Selling homemade crafts can be one of the best starter businesses since it teaches you how to offer value without much financial risk. Etsy is a marketplace like eBay that specializes in handmade and vintage products, and it’s perfect for small-scale creators. This will require a few trips to the post office than you might expect for an entry in an article on how to make money online as a teenager, but it can reward you for the hassle.
In terms of products think of soaps, candles, accessories, and art as the main product lines you could think of. You likely don’t have to be very artistic to produce any of these products either. Do your research, create beautiful & niche products, and find angles to market them. Lastly, once you get a customer, never let them go. Build an audience, and continue to sell to them as much as possible. You might be surprised at how much money you can make this way.
Etsy is an online marketplace where people go to buy vintage, handmade, or unique items. And not everyone knows this, but there is also a growing section for digital products. Digital products are files such as art, templates, graphics, or more.
Anyone can make a listing for such a file as long as they own the rights to distribute it, and unlike physical products, digital products can be sold an unlimited amount of times. This means that if you can create something unique and valuable, you may be able to sell it indefinitely without any extra work per sale. Nothing is required from you after the customer clicks “Buy”, making it a nearly entirely passive form of income.
How To Make Money Online As a Teenager: Freelancing
The other idea that should come to mind when you’re thinking about how to make money online as a teenager is freelancing. Freelancing essentially means to offer services as an individual to another individual or business. While having skills in a certain area might help you get paid more, it’s not necessary! Most of the items on this list can be learned over a few weeks of self-study.
#10 — Become A Tutor
Tutoring is important for students who want to do well academically. Some students need more 1-on-1 explanations than big class sizes allow, and their parents will often be willing to pay for private sessions. While many parents will prefer in-person sessions, you can pitch online sessions at a reduced rate.
If you did well in a certain subject of school, this means you can charge $20+ per hour teaching the subject to students that are the same age or younger than you. Remember — you’re not just selling your time. You’re selling the idea that you can help the student be more successful in their studies, and parents will pay almost anything to have their kids be successful. So, value your services accordingly.
Nowadays, data makes the world go ’round. But not every company is a good fit for the many automation options that now exist. Many of them still rely on manpower to move their data around or format it to their liking. The opportunity here is to help those companies organize their data on a freelance basis.
This might mean copying data over from one source to another, formatting it to a new organizational system they’re trying, or cleaning it up. You can get paid by the hour or by the project, and there’s a ton of work available on the web.
#12 — Make UGC For Brands
UGC stands for user-generated content, and it basically refers to content that is made from the users of a brand, and not the company itself. Most people don’t think about UGC creation when thinking about how to make money online as a teenager, but it’s a rapidly growing industry.
Companies of all sizes like to purchase photos and videos of average people using their products because it comes across as more authentic than their paid actors. Teenagers are no exception.
If you don’t mind being on film, then you can record yourself unboxing products, using them, and reviewing the various features they offer. You can get paid with products, cash, or both.
#13 — Work As A Remote Customer Service Representative
One of the easiest ways how to make money online as a teenager is to become a customer service representative. A few years ago, businesses would have call centers full of employees handling customer concerns by phone, chat, or email. But, in the past few years, many companies have decided that it’s more profitable to have employees work from home rather than renting an office and paying for all of the maintenance fees.
This can be done either as an employee or as a freelancer on a contractual basis. You’ll likely get paid by the hour, which makes it a very steady and reliable answer to the question of how to make money online as a teenager.
#14 — Build Websites For Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs
If you’re a small business, and you don’t have a website, then you are flushing large sums of money down the toilet every year. Business owners know this, but not all of them are tech-savvy enough to build a modern website or keep it up-to-date.
This is exactly why you can make a healthy living by building websites for small businesses. You can build off templates for platforms like WordPress or Shopify, and in many circumstances, you won’t even need to learn how to code. There are tons of guides on Youtube that can help you get started, and you can charge businesses $200+ per basic site. Once you have a solid portfolio, don’t be afraid to raise your prices to $1000+!
#15 — Become A Content Writer
Content writers create written content for websites, email newsletters, social media, or anything else that might require it. If you’re a strong writer there is no shortage of businesses and entrepreneurs in need of your help. Generally, you’ll charge per written word, or per project.
Better yet, once you have a bit of experience under your belt, there are many ways to increase your prices and rates. You can learn the basics of SEO and begin writing keyword-focused articles, you can specialize in a certain industry (like Crypto), or you can develop your own voice. Either way, content writing is a strong skill that you shouldn’t overlook.
Right now, you’re wondering how to make money online as a teenager. But, content writing could provide you with an income for your entire life should you want it to.
#16 — Become A Freelance Photographer
There are several creative options for how to make money online as a teenager, and freelance photography is one of them. Photographers are people that take photos of people, places, or things, and it is often done on a per-gig or per-picture basis.
The difference between being able to take pictures vs being able to make money usually comes down to how good your pictures are, and how much value they create. People aren’t looking to buy pictures, they want to buy feelings. So make sure to capture the mood, the beauty, or the imagination with your photos.
To start freelancing as a photographer, you’ll need a decent camera, some editing software, and clients. You can focus on taking photos of people, products, scenes/buildings, or many other things. Generally, you’ll have an easier time selling to businesses, but they’ll also have higher standards.
Either way, this can be a great way to earn an income with only a small investment of a few hundred dollars for a camera (I’d recommend getting one second-hand). Here are some freelance photography business ideas to get you started.
Freelance graphic designers work with businesses to produce the various visual elements that they might require. This could be images, infographics, website elements, logos, or anything else. Graphic design is a skill that you can develop over time, and adapt to many different industries.
To get started, you’ll want to learn the basics of Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or Canva (a bit more basic). You’ll want to put together a portfolio of your work and then begin looking for clients. You can find work on Facebook groups, marketplaces (E.g. Fiverr, Upwork), or even locally.
If you’re wondering how to make money online as a teenager, and you speak more than one language fluently, then this could be the option for you. Translators translate from one language to another, either in-person or online (with videos, podcasts, articles, etc).
This can be an excellent opportunity for those of us that are bilingual, and provide you with opportunities for growth. Plus, you can raise your rates once you’ve got a portfolio and some feedback. I’d recommend either looking for gigs locally or checking out a marketplace like Fiverr or Upwork.
One of the first things you’ll see when you google “how to make money online as a teenager” is transcription. Transcription works similar to translation, but instead of translating from one language to another, you’ll be translating from audio to written. The job is essentially to listen to a video, podcast, or recording, and then write out the words that are spoken in the clip.
Overall, it’s a pretty grind-y job, but it does provide a valuable service to clients. I’ve met people while traveling who do this, and they are able to pull in a decent income with only a few clients. You’ll want to start off on a marketplace like Fiverr or Upwork, but eventually come to an arrangement outside of these platforms so that you don’t have to pay for their fees.
#20 — Offer Video Game Coaching
So you’re wondering how to make money online as a teenager. Well, what if I told you that you could get paid for being good at video games?
It’s true, f you’re a rockstar in a certain video game, you might be surprised to hear that people may be willing to pay you for your coaching expertise.
Video games are becoming increasingly competitive, and with the rise of streaming and e-sports, more and more people are going to be looking to sharpen their skills. Coaching them can be a fun way to get paid for teaching someone to do something you love to do.
#21 — Offer Proofreading Or Editing Services
Practically every business in the world has some need for editing or proofreading services. Whether we’re talking about a restaurant that is designing a menu, an author putting together a book, or a student writing an essay, editing plays a role in all of them. If you’re adept at reading and writing, you can offer your services to them either directly or through a marketplace such as Fiverr. It’s also an opportunity to level up your own skills, should you want to get more involved with writing in the future.
Many small businesses are run by older, less tech-savvy owners. Chances are, if you search around on Google Maps, you’ll find plenty of restaurants and local brands that have very little (if any) presence on social media.
However, just because these businesses do not have a presence on social media doesn’t mean they don’t want one. If you know how to use Instagram and Tiktok like a pro (or even just as an intermediate ) you can approach these businesses and pitch them on a partnership. The more customers and buzz you’re able to generate, the more willing they will be to pay you for your help.
How To Make Money Online As A Teenager: Other Options
Still wondering how to make money online as a teenager? Well, here are a few more options that are generally less involved than the other ones on this list.
One of the easiest ways how to make money online as a teenager is to sign up for new bank account promotions.
In many countries, banks will pay you anywhere from $20 to $300+ when you sign up for a new chequing account and switch over your direct deposit info. Although this isn’t something that can always be repeated, it’s an excellent opportunity to make some one-off money without much effort.
Just note that you might need to deposit a few hundred dollars, or have a repeating direct deposit (i.e. job payment) to qualify.
#24 — Stream On Twitch
Twitch is a platform built for people to come together over their love of video games, but it is now being used for other things as well. Some people are coding, some are doing arts and crafts, and some are just engaging with their audience. If you’re skilled at something (or just entertaining), then you can build an audience and get paid for something you love to do.
It’s not super lucrative because you’ll mostly be relying on donations, but it can still put a bit of money in your pocket every month.
#25 — Sell Gold On Runescape
Unless you were a fan of computer gaming in the early 2000s, you’ve likely never heard of Runescape. Runescape is an open-world MMORPG that you can play directly in your browser. There’s skill-building, fighting, quests, and more.
In a nutshell, some players are willing to pay real-life dollars for gold, special items, or even accounts. Alternatively, you can fight other players for a wager, or even wager on other players fighting. Just make sure you do these activities inconspicuously since the game producer doesn’t exactly condone these activities through the game.
Personally, I had a friend who did this as a side hustle. Every month or two he would unload a bunch of gold and cash out $400-$600 at a time. While it wasn’t the most steady form of work, he was essentially getting paid to play video games.
#26 — Review Music For Money
There’s a lot of music out there these days, and this is making it increasingly difficult for record labels and managers to identify which musicians are actually worthy of attention. This has led to the creation of several companies that will actually pay you to listen to songs and review them.
Generally speaking, you’ll need to listen to 30-90 seconds of each song before giving your thoughts on it. You can expect to earn $0.02-$1 per song, which isn’t much to write home about. But, if you’re interested in getting paid to discover new music, then check out SliceThePie, Music Xray, or HitPredictor.
#27 — Review Phone Calls For Money
Big businesses handle thousands of customer service calls per day, and many are concerned with how well their employees are behaving during the calls. Due to this, some of them have decided to pay people to review their calls and their employees’ performances. Now, this is not going to pay very well (my research says $1-$5 per hour) but it can still be worthwhile depending on your income situation. Check out Humanatic for more information.
#28 — Answer Surveys For Money
If you’ve been researching how to make money online as a teenager, you’ve likely discovered that you can get paid for answering surveys online. Although this is one of my least favorite options on this list due to the low pay, the upside is that anyone can get started easily. There are practically no barriers to getting started, and you aren’t required to have any work experience either.
Some sites you can check out to get started include Swagbucks, Qmee, and YouGov (region-specific). Each of them has different systems for payouts, so make sure to read up on them before investing a lot of time on surveys.
How To Make Money Online As A Teenager: Summary
Altogether, there are many ways how to make money online as a teenager, and they can generally be divided into a few categories.
First, you can start a small business. You can make money this way by either buying and selling products, creating and selling products, or building an audience and selling access to it.
Second, you can make money by freelancing, aka offering your services to businesses and entrepreneurs. This includes options like taking work off their plate, coaching or tutoring them, or helping them reach their customers online.
The last way how to make money online as a teenager is to find smaller one-off opportunities and capitalize on them. Ideas in this category will basically involve finding something that people are willing to pay for, and then doing what they ask.
The option that is best suited for you will depend on your interests, your skills, and your resources. There is truly no right answer, so don’t be afraid to try more than one idea! And keep in mind that as a teenager, you have time to learn whatever you want to. It’s a good idea to not only how to make money online as a teenager, but how you want to make money in your career as well.
Looking For More Ideas?
If none of these ideas appeal to you, or you want to see what else is out there, then make sure to check out our Hustles page.
We’ve compiled nearly 200 different ways to make money online, and we’ve set up datasheets for each one of them. Plus, we’ve got filters so that you can easily find something that matches your skills and interests.
Come check it out! It’s free!