Creative Ways for Teens to Make Money at Home

As you get closer to high school graduation, you m

As you get closer to high school graduation, you may be gearing up to start saving for the future. Before earning your diploma, having a full savings account is an important goal you can reach by side hustling.

25. Start a Blog (and Earn Money Off Ads)

Create a platform to share your passion. This passion could be fashion, career, music, reading, or even finance. Buy a domain and learn how to create your own website. Share all your favorite stories, tips, and advice on this site and add it to your resume. Place ads on your site or earn sponsorships as you make your way through school. Over time, each post could make you an extra $750.

  • Time: Low to high
  • Earnings: $25–750 a post
  • Extra tools: Illustration software, domain, website template (optional)

26. Test Out Affiliate Marketing

If you love to shop and have great taste, you could earn commissions off your purchases. Sign up for affiliate marketing programs like LikeToKnowIt, Amazon Associates, Solvid Affiliate, or eBay Partner Network. Every time a link you give out is used for a purchase, you earn a percentage of the sale. Add these links to your social media accounts and website pages, or send them directly to your loved ones.

  • Time: Low to high
  • Earnings: $100–$10,000 a month
  • Extra tools: Website or social media accounts

27. Love to Write? Proofread for Some Cash

If you love to write and read, you could be qualified to proofread copy by the hour. To find proofreading side hustles, create an account on a freelancing website like Upwork. Set your desired hourly wage and take on projects whenever you have free time. Your skills could help improve someone’s resume or research report.

  • Time: Low to high
  • Earnings: $25–50 an hour

28. Tutor

Based on your expertise, you could help tutor those in need of extra help. Create a profile on a freelancing platform or reach out to your local community. Tutor your favorite subjects: Writing, art, music, math, or science. Post your tutoring services on your social media accounts or create a profile on a freelance site like UpWork.

  • Time: Low to medium
  • Earnings: $10–$75 an hour
  • Extra tools: Video software

29. Pet Sit During Your Free Time

To make extra money and get your animal fix, pet sit during your free time or over the holidays. Apply to websites like Rover or Fetch! to connect with pet owners in your area. You’ll take care of the pet at your own home so you won’t have to worry about coordinating at someone else’s house. You could earn $15–90 an hour by watching your favorite furry friends.

  • Time: Medium to high
  • Earnings: $15–90 an hour
  • Extra tools: Camera or smartphone for pictures, a pet-friendly living arrangement

30. Start a Podcast

For those that like to chat, start a podcast. Bring on your favorite guests or go solo to talk about subjects important to you. Start by picking out a name, creating a website, and brainstorm your first 10 episodes. Before starting, consider investing in a microphone, stand, and any other electronics needed.

  • Time: High
  • Earnings: $500–900 per episode per 10,000 downloads
  • Extra tools: Podcasting equipment, editing software


8. Enter Contests

Perhaps the easiest way to make money fast is to win it. To get started, check out websites such as Contestgirl to find out what contests and sweepstakes are available. You can treat entering contests like a job by getting organized and spending hours each day submitting forms; however, it’s important to know that you’re unlikely to be chosen as the winner of a contest that will set you up for life. Additionally, you will have to pay taxes on your winnings, so be sure to take that into account before spending all your “free money.”  

95. Watch Video Ads

If you enjoy watching videos online, you might as well earn money while doing so. For example, visit the InboxDollars website and you’ll find opportunities to earn money watching TV or video ads.

39. Transcriber/Transcriptionist

This job essentially means listening to audio files, such as lectures or doctors’ medical dictations, and then typing out what you hear. It’s an entry-level gig that can pay up to $25 an hour.

6. Child Caregiver

Whether if it’s just for a couple of hours or for the entire day, running a childcare business from your home can be lucrative. Just make sure that you obtain the correct licenses and permits.

8. Freelance writer

The Internet has opened up all kinds of opportunities to write on a freelance basis. There are millions of websites and blogs, and many of them need content to drive traffic. If you have solid writing skills, and can write intelligently on several topic areas, you can quickly earn a living as a freelancer.

Even beyond blogs and websites, you may also step into marketing type emails, advertising copy, and even ghostwriting ebooks. This is the kind of business venture that can start small, and grow into a six-figure income as you get better at it.

Self-employed jobs with no prior qualifications needed

Many self-employed jobs require a skill or talent, but there are numerous opportunities with no prior qualifications or education needed. These positions include driving for Uber or food delivery services, providing child or elder care, and blogging. Any of these jobs offer a potential part-time or full-time income.

1. Gig economy

The gig economy encompasses jobs that independent contractors, online platform workers, and temporary workers perform under a formal agreement with on-demand service companies. Popular types of these jobs include ridesharing such as Uber and Lyft, delivery services such as Instacart and DoorDash, and home services such as Handy. Most gig economy arrangements give individuals the flexibility to work as much or as little as they want.

2. Content creation

Many people have found success creating content through blogs and social media sites. Writing blogs, creating videos, and posting on social media are fun ways that people can express themselves and eventually monetize should they gain traction. Creating high-quality, engaging content takes a lot of time and practice, though. Every piece of content needs to be well thought out, with a lot of effort put into it. Creators need to understand that building an audience takes time, and even if they do everything right, the audience may never come. However, there are opportunities to work with brands, creating the various types of content companies need to reach their target audience.

3. Child and elder care

Offering your services to take care of a child or elderly person is a flexible way to earn an income. Parents are always looking for help to take care of and watch over their children, but some can’t afford to put their children in day care. Watching a child for a few hours a day gives you flexibility with your schedule and a rewarding way to make money

The same is true for elder care. Many people want their elderly loved ones to be watched over and have company. Like day care, though, putting them in a community is too expensive for some families. Coming over to their house, talking to them, and doing chores for them is another way you can be your own boss or earn a side income. Companies that want to recruit the best talent often offer child and elder care as a company benefit to attract talent.

Tip:Tip: Working for yourself is all about building and leveraging your network. Consider who you already know, as well as who you need to know and how to best connect with them.

1. Set a timetable

Making the jump from a full-time worker to a full-time freelancer is a big move. To make it more tangible, set a timeframe of when you plan on making the transition. This can help you stay accountable and motivated for when times are a bit rough.

It’s a good idea to set an actual date so you can let your boss know your future plans.

This is what Jeffery Trull, a copywriter and content strategist, did before making the leap into freelancing,

I left completely on my own terms. My boss actually knew way in advance that I’d be leaving May 2012, and I gave her official notice of my last day about a month ahead of time.

On May 25th, I walked out the door for the last time and never looked back.

When deciding on your timetable, you need to consider not only your financial picture but also how you’re going to leave your job. Are you going to make a clean break or – if it’s an option – transition gradually?

A couple of things to take into account are:

  • How will your expenses change once you quit your job? For example, you may save on gas and commuting, but you may spend more for health insurance.
  • Is your company interested in retaining you as a part-time consultant? This can help the company transition and provide you with some guaranteed income while you navigate the solopreneur lifestyle.

5. Start Saving

With the extra income you receive from moonlighting, use this to build a cushion for when you quit your job to pursue this full-time.

How much should you save?

According to experts, the standard is to save three to six months’ worth of your income to account for any emergencies, slow periods of work and client attrition. For freelancers with obligations like a family or a mortgage, however, the recommendation is to save six to twelve months’ worth of expenses.

So, for any money you earn from your new business, put it in a separate savings account.

Jessica Hanna, a freelance writer, is currently working full-time and writing on the side. She has a plan to save up enough money before she makes the leap.

My goal is to have 6 months’ salary saved up before I do, so that I don’t put unnecessary stress and risk on my partner or myself. It has become my #1 determining factor of when I will leave my full-time job for freelancing.

3. You’re ready to put an end to auto-pilot

With traditional employment, not only do you gain a predictable income, but part of your earnings are diverted to a 401(k) account or another retirement plan, and health insurance is provided. You work a predetermined schedule. You get vacation time. And a boss tells you what you need to do. It’s a very comfortable scenario. Starting your own business means an end to this existence.

If you’re ready to turn off the auto-pilot and begin defining the details of your life, such as what retirement looks like, then starting your own business makes sense. Yes, predictability goes out the window. In exchange, you make the choices for your life that support the goals you want to achieve.

To get to a point where you’ve outlined decisions for your business, start with a plan.

  • A traditional small business plan is a good idea to run through even if you don’t intend to seek funding, and mandatory if you do. It requires you to include components such as financial projections, and this provides an opportunity to reflect on the elements of a successful business. The U.S. Small Business Administration offers business plan examples to help you get started.
  • In addition to the business plan, perform planning for items such as health insurance, retirement, amounts to set aside for your quarterly tax filings, and the minimum income you require to pay your own expenses, like rent and groceries, in addition to those of your business.
  • A third type of plan is also required to drive customers to your business: the marketing plan. This strategy outlines the best methods to reach customers, such as making a newsletter. Fortunately, once you’ve determined a product-to-market fit, many elements of the marketing plan will naturally fall into place.

5. You’re excited about continuing self-education

Speaking of change, the one constant for a business is continuous evolution. Acquiring new skills and knowledge is a big part of that.

Perhaps your passion for photography doesn’t translate to the spreadsheets or other record-keeping required to prepare for taxes. Or maybe you have no clue how to market yourself with tactics like email marketing, an effective but complex marketing channel necessitating the help of email marketing software.

Being proactive and educating yourself is a big part of learning how to work for yourself. Some sources where you can find help include the following.

  • The internet serves as a natural resource for information.
  • Check with your local library, community college, or even consider online courses.
  • Leverage YouTube. There’s usually a video about any topic on YouTube.

This learning also extends to your inner workings, such as getting out of your comfort zone. For instance, if you’re not keen on selling yourself or your work, you’ve got to break out of that mindset to capture customers. If you don’t attend networking or industry events, you’ll have to change that behavior, too, so you can gain contacts who can help further your business. Learning how to work for yourself means you must be open to constantly evolving your company and your own habits.

What to Consider Before Working for Yourself

As you can see, self-employment comes with great perks. But there are also some significant challenges. If working for yourself was easy, then everyone would be doing it.

Before you quit your day job, consider the following things about self-employment.


You need to be highly motivated to work for yourself. You’ll have to overcome many obstacles, and without the proper drive, you’ll be more likely to quit when things get hard.

Ideally, you’ll be motivated by positive emotions—like passion for the work you’re doing. If you’re motivated by negative emotions, like greed or spite (maybe you’re trying to get back at a former employer that wronged you), then you’ll find out sooner or later that your business is built upon pillars of salt. You’ll lose interest at some point and give up.

Remember that most new businesses fail and that successful businesses are often the result of blood, sweat, and tears.

Financial Uncertainty

The hardest thing about working for yourself is dealing with financial uncertainty. Salaried work is appealing because you know exactly how much you’ll earn in a given month or year. It makes financial planning a lot easier.

When you’re working for yourself, your income may fluctuate dramatically. Financial planning will be difficult—especially in the beginning—and there’s always the possibility that you won’t make enough money to cover your living expenses.

Even when you’re running a successful business, there’s a possibility you may be affected by an economic downturn, like a recession. You’ll have to be financially disciplined during your highs and extremely frugal during your lows.

And if you’re the primary breadwinner for your family, then you’ll have far greater financial risk when you go into business for yourself.

Wearing Multiple Hats

Every entrepreneur dreams of hiring a hardworking staff to whom you can delegate assignments. But when you first begin working for yourself, you’ll have to wear multiple hats: in other words, you’ll have to perform several different jobs.

For example, you initially might not have money to hire a web designer, so you may have to learn how to build a website. You might not have money to hire a marketing director, so you’ll have to learn marketing practices and take charge of your advertising.

Wearing multiple hats means you’ll have more work to do and more stress to manage.

What Are Some Good Self-Employed Jobs?

What are the best self-employed jobs for beginning entrepreneurs?

Freelancing is by far the best way to start working for yourself. You’re a freelancer if you have a skillset that you sell to a business. You’re not actually an employee for the company—you’re doing a limited amount of work for limited pay, and the work you do is assignment-based. Most freelancers work for several different clients, or they constantly pick up freelance gigs.

What’s great about freelancing is that you can do it for practically any profession. If you’re skilled at something (for example, graphic design or video editing), you can sell your skills to individual clients who need them. Freelancing is the quickest way to turn your passion into a career.

Freelancing has grown in popularity due to the COVID-19 pandemic because many industries have realized that remote workers are efficient and cost-effective (most freelancers work remotely). You can find freelance gigs on websites like Indeed, Upwork, and ClearVoice.

Need more ideas? Here are some great self-employed jobs that fall outside the realm of freelancing.

  • Craft Goods: Craft goods have become increasingly popular over the last several years. You can start a business selling craft beer, jewelry, and artisan pieces.

  • Real Estate: There are many different ways to make money in real estate. You can work as a real estate or property manager or pursue real estate investment.

  • Interior Design: Interior designers are still in demand, and it might be a promising career for you if you’ve got an eye for style.

  • Translation: You can earn good money as a translator if you’re proficient in multiple languages.

  • Event Planner: If you love planning things, you’ll enjoy working as an event planner. This is an easy industry to “niche.” Many event planners specialize in certain types of events, like weddings, reunions, parties, etc. If you’re an avid traveler, you might also enjoy working as a travel agent.

  • Catering: Love cooking? Catering is a profitable self-employed job. The operating costs for catering are far lower than starting your own restaurant, so it’s a great starter business for aspiring restaurateurs.

  • Tutor: If you love teaching—but you don’t want to work in an academic setting—then you might enjoy working as a tutor.

  • Technology: Technology will always befuddle people, and that’s why technology gigs are still as lucrative as ever. Most tech gigs involve maintenance work for offices (like tending to company computers or phone systems).

  • Personal Trainer: If you have a passion for fitness and enjoy motivating others, you could make a good living as a personal trainer. Personal trainers sign a contract with a gym, or promote their services independently—or both.

25. Graphic artist

People and businesses are in need of all kinds of graphics for websites and other projects. If you have skills in this area, you can offer your services out to customers on a retail basis. You can find yourself doing diverse projects, from designing logos to creating webpages.

You can start any of these business for no more than a few hundred dollars – and some with no upfront cash at all. Most can be started as side businesses, that you can grow into full time businesses over time. Find one that will work for you, get a couple of clients, and you’ll be on your way to becoming an entrepreneur.


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