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Realistic Ideas: How to Make Money Online for Teens

Have your parents told you that it's time to get a job? Or maybe you simply want to be able to start making your own money but you aren't thrilled about the prospect of flipping burgers or bagging groceries. Forget about those typical teen jobs; you know your way around a computer and a smartphone, and there's no reason you shouldn't be making money by doing what you know best. Read on for ideas on how to make money online for teens and watch your bank account grow.

Earn Cash Doing What You Do Anyway

If you're like many teenagers, you probably spend several hours online, either on a computer or a smartphone. What are you doing? Watching videos, taking surveys, surfing social media, listening to music? You can do all of these things and get paid for it if you sign up for various sites.

Swagbucks

Swagbucks is a site that allows you to earn gift cards and cash by taking surveys, shopping, watching videos, and so on. You need to be 13 years old to sign up. The way it works is that you use the Swagbucks search engine to go about whatever you were going to be doing anyway. You rack up points, which can be exchanged for gift cards or Paypal.

To earn more points, you can take surveys or watch videos on the site. Find out more about how you can earn cash on Swagbucks by reading this article on The Money Making Teacher.

MySurvey and Harris Poll

If you are at least 16, you might like to take paid surveys in your spare time. While many survey sites are open only to those who are 18+, MySurvey  is one that accepts those over the age of 16 to take their online surveys, and Harris Poll allows teens over the age of 13 to participate. 

Similar to Swagbucks, these survey sites work by awarding points for each survey taken. Exchange these for gift cards, vouchers, cash, and more.

In order to qualify to take a particular survey, you'll need to answer a few questions to be sure you're in the correct demographic for the customer's needs. Be honest: You will qualify for some and not qualify for others. The payments work out to between 50 cents and $1.25 for most surveys, so you're not going to get rich, but it is a decent way to earn money online.

MusicXRay

If you like discovering new bands, MusicXRay might be right up your alley. Those looking for ideas on how to make money online for teens will be glad to know that MusicXRay sends new music to your inbox and you get paid a few cents to listen to the songs. That's it!

You might be wondering what the catch is, but there is none. After 30 seconds, you can skip a song you don't like and still receive compensation. If you do like the song, though, the company's assumption is that you'll share it with your friends and maybe even support the artist. It's a win-win for everyone. 

Sell Your Creations to Make Extra Money

What do you create? Before you answer, “nothing,” think about this: If you are serious about making money online, one of the best ways to do so is by selling tangible and non-tangible products. These can be actual items that you send in the mail, digital products that you send via email, videos, a podcast, or even a blog post. Check out these ideas on how to make money online for teens by creating products and selling them.

YouTube Videos

When it comes to money-making opportunities on YouTube, the cliche is, of course, the video game streamer. If you are a gamer, you're probably familiar with PewDiePie, the Swedish YouTuber who features various video games. While gamers are popular on YouTube (and even more so on Twitch), there are a lot of them, so if that's your art form, you're going to need to be competitive.

Consider thinking about other ways of making money on YouTube. Maddi Bragg is YouTube-famous for her beauty and “outfit of the week” videos. Lucas and Marcus Dobre are 17-year-old twins who make challenge videos. You also might have heard of Charli's Crafty Kitchen, which features an 8-year-old who makes $127,000 per month with her cooking and baking videos!

Podcasts

If you have the gift of gab but you would rather not be on-camera, it's possible to make money online by creating a podcast. One way you earn cash with a podcast is by attracting sponsors and being paid for running their ads. You could also direct listeners to your YouTube channel, your blog, your Etsy account, and so on. 

What should you talk about? Anything that's interesting to you will likely be interesting to other teenagers: Sports, games, romance tips, things you do with your family, how you are preparing for college… you could even talk about how to make money online for teens!

Monetized Blogs

If you like to write, putting together a blog is one way that you could be making money online. Much like with podcasting, one way to make extra money with blogs is by allowing ads on your site.

Another is to use affiliate links to get people to buy products from various online stores. You'd receive a commission each time one of your readers makes a purchase through your link. For some ideas on companies to partner up with, check out this blog post on Beautiful Dawn.

Digital Products

Could you see yourself writing personalized poems, sending out a list of ideas for a blog, or creating some other type of digital product? You can earn money online through a platform like Fiverr, which allows creators to charge $5 (or more) for a specific service or product.

If you are a writer, you might even write an ebook to sell on Amazon for Kindle. This is, of course, a long-range project, but you could earn passive income in the form of royalties for months or even years after you publish your book. 

And if you like taking photographs, you could sell stock pictures through sites like Shutterstock or iStockPhoto. This is another way that you can make royalties, so if you upload a lot of photos, you could see a nice income trickling in each month.

Tangible Products

If arts and crafts is more appealing to you, you won't want to neglect your talents as you look for ideas on how to make money online for teens. Earning money by selling tangible creations is possible using sites like Etsy, Redbubble, or Cafepress. 

You might be surprised at how much money you could earn: LeiLei Secor is a college student who paid for college by selling her handmade jewelry on Etsy, making $100,000 in three years. Do you need ideas for raking in six figures of your own? Consider some of these:

Provide Excellent Customer Service

Have you ever wondered where you're calling when you call customer service for just about any company you might need to reach by telephone? While there are call centers located all over the United States and abroad, many companies hire people to answer the telephone from the comfort of their very own homes. For most of these customer service opportunities, you do need to be 18, but for a couple, you can work there if you are a 16- or 17 year old.

U-Haul is one company that hires older teenagers to work from home in Sales and Reservations. This type of part-time job includes mandatory at-home training and managerial support. You would use the U-Haul computer system, which you'd access online, to receive inbound calls and answer questions or place orders. You can watch this video to find out what you'd need in order to work for the company from home.

Another company that hires teenagers is Humanatic. When a company calls a person, there is sometimes a recording that says something along the lines of, “this call may be monitored for quality control purposes.” Employees of Humanatic are the ones listening to and monitoring the calls. They fill out an analysis report and can make up to $4.50 per hour. Is it a lot of money? No, but it might be worth it if you're just hanging around online!

Hone and Sell Your Expertise

As a teenager, it's likely that you have some computer skills that the average middle-aged or older Joe or Jane doesn't have. You can capitalize on these skills by honing your expertise and selling it at a premium. Check out these ideas for how to make money online for teens who are technologically savvy.

Set Up Blogs or Websites

Simply setting up a blog or website using WordPress, SquareSpace, or Blogger is simple and only takes small time investment. Still, there are many people who don't know how to do this. If you run into business-owners who don't know how to set up a site like this, that's a great money-making opportunity for you!

Ask around or ask your parents or other adults in your life to keep their eyes out for people who want to start a blog or website but aren't web-savvy. You can set up a few free accounts as samples to show that you know your stuff, then charge $15, $20, or more per hour for your services. The better you get, the more you can charge, so keep at it!

Manage Social Media Accounts

Chances are good that if you are ready to start making money online, you know your way around the Internet, including social media. While you are probably not ready to become a professional marketer, you might be pretty good at managing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media accounts. If you can brush up on your professionalism, you might be able to get businesses to pay you to manage their accounts.

This is another type of gig that you will likely need to keep your feelers out in order to score. Don't be afraid to market yourself, and be sure to keep your own social media profiles clean and business-friendly. Nobody will want to hire a teen who is posting foul language or inappropriate memes, so if you want to do that, keep it on a private account where would-be clients won't find it.

Proofread or Edit

If you're one who gets As on your English papers and your friends approach you to proofread their essays, a proofreading or editing gig might be just the part-time job for you. If you're into grammar and syntax, it's no surprise to you that there are many, many adults who don't know how to use the English language to its highest potential. Some of them own businesses or go to college. These are the people you want to market your services to.

College students are often looking for someone to check over their papers, and business owners frequently need web copy, letters, and other types of writing proofread. If you have an opinion on the Oxford comma and you know when to use “affect” and “effect,” you're likely qualified for the task.

You could put up a flyer at your local community college. Let your public librarian know that you are available, and try to leave a business card or brochure at area businesses advertising your services. You can also advertise online; if you choose to use a site like Craigslist, though, do be wary of scams.

Build an App

Do you know how to code? If you're fluent in all things technology, you might be able to develop an app that will help you earn extra cash. You'd likely make a fraction of a penny for each download, but it does add up… and how cool would it be to say, “hey, I invented that app.” 

Don't know how to code? No worries. Ethan Duggan, a 12-year-old from Las Vegas, took an online coding class for a few months in between the 5th and 6th grade. He ended up developing an app called Lazy Husband and is now in the process of learning about pricing, profitability, and other real-life business topics that are great to learn at a young age. Check out Codeacademy to learn more.

Build a Website

Along the same lines, you could build a website (or many websites). Make it for yourself and monetize it or start building sites for other people. Coding a website gives you a lot more versatility than just using a WordPress template. 

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As you build sites, you can add them to your online portfolio, which will allow you to command higher fees for subsequent sites. Always keep this in mind: You can make more money over time if you “pay your dues” while you're a teen. Don't sell yourself short, but remember that bigger and better jobs are right around the corner.

Become a Virtual Assistant

If you're pretty well-rounded when it comes to websites and technology, consider becoming a virtual assistant. This is a good idea on how to make money online for teens because the hours can be flexible and you can take on just one client or a handful of clients, depending on how much time you are able to invest.

What does a virtual assistant do? Anything from social media management to making reservations, adding copy to websites, typing up letters, scheduling meetings, editing blog posts, and more. The most versatile assistants are a “jack of all trades.” 

You can try bidding on virtual assisting jobs on Upwork. Be aware that this platform is used by people all over the world, so you will see good rates and very low rates. Bid on what you are confident you can do and go from there. Just like anything else, you will need to put in the work and grow as a virtual assistant during your first few months.

Tutor Others for Cash

If you are a good student, tutoring other teens (or younger children) is a great way how to make money online for teens. You can offer your services via Skype or Facetime; there's no need to meet in person. Your guidance counselor at school might be able to pass your name along to students who need help, or you could sign up on a website that accepts teenagers for tutoring services.

Enroll is one site that hires teens who are at least 15. You can teach just about any subject you're good at. On SameSpeak, as long as you're at least 16 years old and speak English as your first language, you can teach English to foreign speakers. 

Make Good Use of eBay

If eBay is one of your go-tos when it comes to shopping online, you already know that you can buy and sell just about anything on the site. Take a look around and see what's selling, then find a way to procure those items and sell them yourself. If you can find items at yard sales, thrift shops, and rummage sales, you can list them and turn a nice profit. 

If you want to learn how to make money online for teens by using eBay, you'll need to set aside some specific time each week for listing and for getting to the post office (or printing out your postage and boxing up your items). Because the system depends on star ratings, you'll need to be sure you're shipping on time and providing good customer service.

Earn Money With Your Voice

If you have a nice speaking voice, you could do voiceovers. What would it feel like to hear your voice on television commercials, online videos, radio spots and more? You could find out if you become a voice actor.

Sign up on Voices.com to have your voice heard by talent scouts for well-known (and obscure) brands. If you ace the audition and get hired, you can name your price. You'll also be able to claim a bit of fame, at least as far as your friends and family are concerned!

Considerations to Keep in Mind

If you're looking for ideas on how to make money online for teens, it's important that you keep in mind some safety tips and general good advice for going into this type of business for yourself. 

Practice Internet Safety

You will need to provide your full name and contact information if you are signing up on a website with the goal of earning money. You might also have potential clients contacting you for more information or to hire you. Giving strangers your personal information goes against what you've learned since you were young about staying anonymous online. There are ways you can stay safe while you earn money online.

Watch Out for Scams

The main rule here is that you don't pay to learn about online jobs. The information about opportunities for making money online is free; there's no need to sign up for a paid service. 

Another guideline to keep in mind is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Vague claims along the lines of, “make thousands of dollars per month in only one hour per day,” are likely to be scams. Think about whether an offer seems reasonable before proceeding.

Don't Forget About Uncle Sam

Even though you're under 18, you will still need to pay income taxes on the money you make. Keep in mind that while a traditional employer will take taxes out of each paycheck, most online jobs qualify as contracting opportunities and keeping track of taxes will be your responsibility.

How you track your earnings depends on the way you're making money. If you are being paid through PayPal, for example, the third-party payer will keep track of your income for the year, which will be handy come April 15.

If you are being paid via check, your clients might or might not issue you a 1099 form at the end of the year. Even if they don't, you are responsible for paying taxes on that money. You might choose to use a spreadsheet or a paper calendar to make note of how much money you've earned. The important thing is that you do keep track.

A tax professional will be able to help you file your taxes if you don't have a parent or another adult in your life who can help. 

Learning how to make money online for teens is a great way for young people to develop an entrepreneurial spirit and earn extra cash. Be creative! There are many other ways to earn money without leaving home. Have you stumbled upon any of them? Leave your best tips in the comments section below!


Niche Business Ideas

By Michelle Kulas
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