A lack of cash is an unavoidable problem for most teens. Everything you want is too expensive, and working 9 to 5 isn’t something you should rush into; there’s a lifetime of boring, same old menial tasks ahead, so why not make some side hustle cash doing something that’s off the beaten path?
There are dozens of ways to earn some good side cash without putting too much effort or committing half of your waking hours into work; whether it be playing acoustic guitar in busy streets, grooming neighbors’ lawns, or selling stuff via Amazon, it’s up to you.
Today, I’ll talk you through a variety of side hustles for teens, so without any further ado, let’s start from the top:
What Are The Best Side Hustles for Teens?
1. Online Surveys
Since you’re probably not employed, the chances are that you spend most of your time on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media. A portion of those hours could be spent more productively by doing online surveys.
There are typically two types of online surveys, so before you decide which suits you best, let me list them.
- The “Gift Card & Voucher” surveys are great if you want to “earn” your products instead of buying them.
- Cash surveys generally pay a bit less, but you can use the money any way you like.
A few popular online survey platforms you can try out for yourself include:
Some surveys aren’t worth your time. If a website offers to give you a discount for products they “may” release sometime in the future, or if you can only reap the rewards by becoming a contracted affiliate, maybe it’s better to do something else with your free time.
2. Write a Book and Sell It On Amazon
Before you write this off your list, let me just say that Amazon’s book sales revenue is about 10% of their annual revenue. Which in 2019 was $290 billion. That’s a huge pie that you can take a slice of if you have a knack for writing.
The best part of this side hustle idea is that you don’t have to worry about the publishing side of things – Amazon will help you set up your shop for a small fee so that you can laser-focus on writing.
Another huge benefit of selling books on Amazon is that you can choose to be billed per sold unit ($0.99 per book) or a flat monthly fee ($39.99).
Books are selling phenomenally well these days since you can create, publish, and sell your work digitally via Kindle, or traditionally with hardcovers; people seem to love both, so it may be worthwhile to try both options.
Heck, even if you aren’t the best writer around, there are now tons of tools to help you with that. You can use AI writing software, like Jasper, to help you outline and build out the content of your book or you can go an entirely different route and make a children’s book with the help of AI art generators, like Jasper Art.
Here’s actually a real example of a book that was created using entirely AI-based art and is now being sold on Amazon.
3. Amazon FBA
Selling products through Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) is one of the best side hustles for teens as you won’t have to limit your merchandise to one particular product. You can sell almost anything, pay relatively low upfront costs, and create a stream of sustainable income with minimal hassle.
The purpose of Amazon FBA is to delegate the entire fulfillment process to Amazon’s professionals. This means that they’ll do everything from picking to shipping your products, but more importantly, you can benefit from Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping.
According to Jungle Scout’s research, new FBA merchants score about $30,000 a year in profit while it’s not uncommon for a fresh brand to net $10,000 monthly revenue if they research the market well.
That being said, one of the most important moments in creating your FBA brand is picking the right product. Best-selling trends change each day, so to ensure you’ve picked the most stable product to sell, you may want to subscribe to a quality Amazon product research tool.
Before jumping down the Amazon FBA rabbithole head first, I’d recommend taking an Amazon FBA course to learn as much as possible from a trusted resource.
This side hustle does require some startup capital for the following:
- Your intial shipment of inventory
- product research tools
- and potentially Amazon PPC software if you want to fast-track your success
That being said, the costs are still much less than what would be required if you wanted to startup a brick and mortar shop. So if you have some money set aside and are willing to put in the work then this could be an extremely lucrative side hustle for you.
4. Dog Walking
As an animal lover, I miss the days I had more than two hours each day to walk my Rottweiler. Most people working nine to five have tight schedules and would gladly pay someone to walk their pet.
According to research conducted by Thimble, the average dog walking fee starts at $15.11 hourly, translating to a bit above $31,000 annually.
Before dog walking companies took over, dog walking fees were determined by how much people were willing to pay. Nowadays, you don’t have to go door-to-door or hand out flyers; simply use a dog walking app like some of the ones listed in this guide and they’ll find you a gig in no time.
The biggest benefit of dog walking as a side hustle is that you can “multitask” another part-time job if you get tasked with tame, obedient dogs.
5. Baby Sitting
Babysitting is the first thing that most people think of when part-time jobs are mentioned. Looking after a kid or two for a couple of hours is all it takes, especially if you can go home with over $50 in your pocket each night.
The babysitter fee in the USA averages $20.57/hr for one child and $23.25 for two kids.
In 2021, the increase in births curbed a decade-long decline, leaving hundreds of thousands of new parents in need of a babysitter.
This side hustle can be a true joy if you love kids, but it’s not for everyone.
At the end of the day, a few hours spent in a warm, cozy home certainly beats shoveling snow or working a regular office job when you’re a teen.
What’s more is that in this day and age you don’t have to look for bulletin boards of people in search of a babysitter. Simply download an app like Care and start offering your babysitting services. Easy peasy!
6. Flip Items on Facebook Marketplace
Nearly half of the world is on Facebook; more than 2.9 billion people, to be precise, and according to Web Tribunal’s stats, at least 1 billion Facebook users are on Facebook Marketplace each month.
It’s a bit different from selling through Amazon FBA, as you’ll have to handle shipments personally. The main benefit of buying and reselling on the Facebook Marketplace is that your customers are literally a click away from your products.
The process is remarkably easy; you can find all details and tips on Facebook’s help center, so let’s focus on what you can and cannot do on Facebook Marketplace.
You can buy virtually anything and sell “almost” anything. The Marketplace will instantly showcase sponsored picks near your location, so you don’t have to commit as much time to research trending products as you would on Amazon FBA.
To check which products aren’t in line with Facebook’s policies, check the “Prohibited Content” section on Meta’s policies tab.
This side hustle isn’t as hands off as dropshipping or Amazon FBA as you’ll need to create a listing for each product you want to sell and potentially ship out each product individually.
However, you can employ what’s called Facebook marketplace arbitrage and re-list items from providers like Aliexpress or even Walmart at a markup.
Just remember to set expectations for your potential customers in terms of shipping times.
7. Start a YouTube Channel
Many teens make small fortunes while many even build careers with their YouTube content. Whatever your interests may be, there’s a group of people that wants to know all about it, which makes it an excellent side hustle for teens.
Traditionally, in order to get the most ad revenue out of each video you would need to create videos that are at least 10 minutes in length. However, with YouTube’s recent announcement of a 45% revenue split for YouTube shorts content, you can make short-form videos and still cash in on those sweet sweet YouTube dollars.
There are literally endless amounts of opportunities on YouTube and it’s up to you to decide and which direction you want your channel to take.
Whether it be:
- Vlog content
- A Reaction channel
- Game content
- Faceless content
- Compilation videos
- A podcast
Figuring how much you’ll earn can be much easier if you use YouTube payout calculator software. SocialBlade offers a free calculator app that is more or less accurate. However, every niche is different and your RPM (revenue per mille) will depend on the advertisers in your space.
8. Play Games (Live Stream)
Every gamer’s dream is to do what they love the most without having to worry about cash. With streaming being more popular than ever, you can build a solid following in a matter of months and start making money almost instantly.
As per Statista’s research, the number of gaming-related content viewers eclipsed 1.2 billion two years ago (in 2022).
Regarding the profitability of live game streaming, there are two uncertainties you may want to know more about. Firstly, it’s a rocky road until you’ve established a base of loyal followers, meaning that you may not get a consistent number of viewers every week.
Secondly and more importantly, it’s quite difficult to determine how much streamers make on average.
Websites are mentioning certain numbers seemingly at random (anything between $2,000 to $5,000 a month goes). The fact is, the bulk of your fan donations will be pocket change while devoted fans can sometimes give you thousands of dollars. The most infamous case of the latter is when TrainwreckTV donated €113,080 to Jake’n’Bake.
9. Become a Busker
Most musicians don’t get to pick their audience, but unlike most, buskers get paid whenever they perform. Furthermore, buskers don’t need to worry about the quality of the venue, as they can perform whenever and wherever they like (you may need a permit in certain areas, though).
As with streaming, it’s hard to determine how much you’ll earn on any given day, but the more you keep showing up, the more people will recognize you and be willing to give you some extra cash.
This idea is as simple as it sounds; if you like playing in front of other people, pick up your instrument and hit the streets.
Did you know that before Justin Bieber became a mega star we actually busked on the street? Don’t believe me? Check out this video:
10. Start a Meme Page on Instagram
Meme pages are all about viral content. A meme is made and if it’s even remotely good, it can reach thousands of users in less than a day. If it’s decently good, it becomes reposted for a few days or weeks. If it’s outstanding, it becomes a contemporary meme format and has a good chance of becoming immortalized.
I’m sure you’ve seen this one right?
It’s among the best side hustles for teens because it takes minimal effort. Simply find some trending meme images, put on a funny caption, and voila!
You can even use software like ImgFlip’s Meme Generator software to easily add text and find trendy images. In terms of payout, meme pages are in the same basket as Instagram influencers – your follower count is the main metric.
As you grow, you’ll likely start receiving more and more sponsorship requests whether it be from big established brands or from smaller e-commerce stores. You can charge based on how many followers you have and provide them with different rates from feed posts, reels, and stories on Instagram.
11. Start a Blog
Blogging is an excellent side hustle idea if you like to write and do research on up and coming keywords. People will want to use your blog to promote their content, effectively granting you a steady stream of passive income.
The bulk of the work here revolves around creating quality content. You can either choose to do this yourself or hire a writer or two to write content for you.
You can’t predict how much you’ll earn without knowing who you’ll work with (as an affiliate), or how much traffic the blog will have in the first year. Jeff Campbell, the founder of Middle Class Dad Money says it can take a year before you make your first $500 month.
Blogging is all about mental endurance, meaning that it will get progressively better and better as you gain more followers and traffic.
12. Rent Out Your Car
If you own a vehicle, you already have everything you need to establish a source of passive income. With the advent of car-sharing services and platforms, renting your car out is easier, more secure, and more profitable than ever.
Currently, the most popular car-sharing website is Turo; registering is a piece of cake, and putting your vehicle on the radar takes just a couple of minutes. It’s the ideal choice mainly because it’s got the largest database of users while offering top-tier security-related policies.
13. Wash and Detail Cars
Washing and detailing cars effectively requires a bit of skill, but it’s not something you can’t learn by watching a few YouTube videos. Unlike most ideas on this list, it’s manual labor and probably won’t be as pleasant as playing video games or a guitar, but it does provide a degree of financial stability and can be lucrative if you build up a strong client base.
The average salary of car washers and detailers depends on not just the state you live in, but your competition. Zip Recruiter’s cutting-edge research indicates that an average car washer in America makes about $2,140 a month while a car detailer makes more than twice as much.
14. Flip Domain Names
Domain flipping requires a high degree of strategy, the ability to evaluate the domain’s “brandability” and appeal, as well as predicting how likely people are to search for that specific name.
You can earn anything between pocket change to millions depending on your skills and, more often than not, luck. For example, if you can figure out what the next big thing in any industry would like its name to be, you can buy the domain now and wait for someone to offer you thousands of dollars for it.
A recent, 2022, example of domain flipping comes from Jody-Ann Rowe, the founder of Event Certificate, who bought a domain for merely $11 and cashed in $3,000 for it a few months ago.
There are two ways you can approach domain flipping – register a brand-new domain name and wait for the buyer, or find interesting “existing” names, buy, and resell them at a higher price.
15. Groom Lawns
Grooming lawns is one of the best side hustles for teens as you don’t need a working permit, you don’t need a particular skill set, and you usually won’t need to spend more than a few hours to earn anything between $50 to $100 on a bad day.
According to Bobvila, the national average fee for lawn grooming is $129. However, the actual fee is affected by several factors, such as the economic strength of the community (or rather the family) you’ll groom the lawn for, the size of the lawn, and how well-maintained the lawn is.
The other factor I want you to consider is the success chance of landing a gig. Lawn mowing and maintenance companies exist in most cities in North America, and they can reach more homeowners than you.
That being said, with a little bit of marketing (handing out flyers) and the ability to provide a top-notch service at a competitive price you’ll be able to take some of that business away from larger companies.
You can offer your lawn mowing services in two different ways:
- Offer a discount if the homeowner allows you to use their mower
- Charge a premium if you need to bring your own mower
With a bit of experience, you’ll become faster and able to bank in more cash without putting in too much extra effort.
16. Shovel Snow
Snow shoveling is an excellent idea if you don’t mind the cold and manual labor.
Last year, Forbes published an article pointing out that an average snow shoveling gig costs homeowners between $50 and $200 – as a worker, you’ll probably earn a small portion of that, but the true benefit of working for a snow shoveling firm is that you won’t have to worry about landing gigs. The drawback here is that you’ll need to be a full-time employee to make a decent buck.
As a “lone wolf” shoveler, your best bet is to get friendly with a couple of homeowners and arrange to provide services for them through the winter season.
17. Become a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants (VAs) are agile remote workers that companies hire part-time to delegate certain tasks. Whether it’s more affordable to hire a VA instead of hunting for recruits, or the company’s understaffed, the bottom line is that more and more companies are finding this method of outsourcing convenient.
As for what virtual assistants do, it largely depends on the company you’ll be working for. You may be tasked as a temporary bookkeeper, a content manager, a market researcher, a social media manager, or a personal assistant.
One of the most common temp jobs in the VA field is customer service – you’ll be answering phones and helping the company’s customers/clients with anything they have issues with. ZipRecruiter estimated that the national average hourly rate of a VA in 2022 is about $29.
18. Start a Local Moving Company
This one involves a fair amount of manual labor and a bit more work to set up initially but it can pay extremely well.
According to Hire a Helper, moving companies tend to earn between $75-128/hr. or between $206-352 per move.
One of the biggest advantages of starting a moving company as a teenager is that it can be done with a small investment. All you need to start a moving company is a van or truck, some moving supplies, and a few willing friends to help you with the moving. Of course, you’ll also need your driver’s license.
Scheduling clients after school hours can be a great way to earn an extra couple hundred bucks in the evening without putting in a whole lot of work.
If it’s the summer time you can really amp up your efforts and work longer shifts with multiple clients throughout the weekdays and weekends.
What’s great about this side hustle is that it will never go out of style. People will have be moving and there will always be a need for someone to help with that move.
Side Hustles vs a Regular Job: Which Should You Choose?
I wish digital technologies were as advanced as they are today when I was a teen. Youngsters these days can make incredible amounts of money with minimal effort, which is perfect if all you’re after is cash.
There are drawbacks and benefits of all side hustles I’ve mentioned so far but there are also advantages and pitfalls of temporary and regular jobs that you may want to consider before making any decisions:
Side Hustle Pros
- Presents the opportunity to make a large sum of money if successful
- Many temporary jobs do not require any special skills (e.g. renting your car out or walking dogs)
- You can learn valuable skills that will be of use when you get employed full-time
- Typically less stressful than regular jobs
Side Hustle Cons
- Many temporary jobs aren’t guaranteed to pay off immediately (e.g. busking, live streaming)
- Gigantic competition (millions of teens have the same idea as you)
Regular Job Pros
- Stable income
- Promotions, vacations, sick days
- Status (e.g. senior developers are treated with a higher degree of respect than juniors)
- Fewer risks; luck isn’t as critical of a factor
Regular Job Cons
- Workdays are usually much longer
- A higher degree of accountability
Which Side Hustle Should You Pursue?
It all depends on your aspirations, skills, and needs for free time. If you plan to go to college, you should maybe avoid time-consuming hustles such as shoveling snow or grooming lawns.
College students usually go with dog-walking or trying their hand at Amazon FBA, as they require little time while presenting the opportunity to pay decently well.
If you have any particular skills, you can leverage them to earn more by, for instance, busking, streaming your gaming sessions, or being a VA customer assistant.
There are infinite choices and a lifetime of opportunities ahead of you, so there’s no need to rush into your first full-time job. If you’re low on cash and want to use your spare time more productively, I strongly believe you’ll find the answer on my list of the best side hustles for teens.
Good luck out there and keep hustlin’!