Learn How to Make Money as a Teen - There’s No Time Like Now

Being a teenager can be tough. You need money for entertainment, clothes you love, and activities - so many activities. You may have even been thinking about saving for a car or college. But knowing how to make money as a teen is easier said than done, right? 

Not so fast. 

With the right mindset and action steps, it's possible to make a lot of money as a teenager. In fact, there are teenagers just like you out there today who are raking it in. They are setting themselves up for a financially secure future—plus, they are taking care of the wants and needs they have right now.

There’s no reason you can’t make all the money you want, too.

You may be thinking that a job flipping burgers isn't going to get you where you want to be, and you are probably right. However, we aren't talking about flipping burgers here. Successful teenage entrepreneurs are making a lot of money building their businesses—both online or offline. Instead of spending their time outside of school hanging out with friends, playing video games, and connecting on social media, they are using their time, interests, and skills to make bank. 

The good news is you can even find ways to incorporate hanging out with friends, playing video games, and connecting on social media into your money-making opportunities! Got your attention now? Good. 

Get Inspired By What Other Teens Are Doing to Earn Money

At Capitalism.com, our team has been blown away by what teenagers and young adults are doing to become entrepreneurs—not just earning a little money but actually building wealth. Kylie Jenner just became the world's youngest (almost) billionaire when she signed an exclusive distribution deal with Ulta for her business Kylie Cosmetics in August 2019.

The crazy thing is that Jenner's success didn't come from endorsements or celebrity appearances. It came from years of building an audience online through social media and creating a product that served that audience.

Another young entrepreneur to watch is Ryan from Ryan's Toy Review on YouTube. We have picked him out as the most likely kid to be the next young billionaire. Learn more about the strategies these young people are using to build their wealth on an episode of CapTV. Or, on a small but mighty scale, check out Katelynn Hardee, a 5-year-old who decided to use capitalism to help 123 students get their school lunch bills paid off by selling cookies and cocoa.

Now, it's time to lay out the steps for what you can do to begin earning money as a teenager. It requires action and dedication, but we are going to lay it all out for you here, including the ideas to get you started. 

By the end of this how-to guide, you’ll know the answers to:

  • How can I make money as a teenager?
  • How can teens make money online?
  • But how can I make money at 17 without a job?
  • Finally, how can I make $1000 fast?

So, How Can I Make Money as a Teenager?

Whether you are trying to look for ways for a 13-year-old to make money or how to make money when you're 17, youth is on your side.

What does this mean exactly? 

  • You still live at home, so you can afford to take risks that adults can't afford to take. 
  • If you are 13 or older, you can potentially build a real business that will bring in serious income in two to three years.
  • Because you likely don't have to pay for food or shelter, you can put your profits in savings or make fast cash to use for purchases that are important to you. 
  • You can do what you want to do to make money, rather than what you must do to pay bills, which is typically what adults have to do.
  • Best of all, you can make passive income. That will enable you to make money while you are at school or hanging out with friends, or even while you are asleep.

So whether you have big financial goals as a teenager, or need to learn how to make money when you're 15 to buy the things you want, it's possible to make it happen. Here are the two sets to set you up for money-earning success:

Step #1: Get Started by Goal Setting

earning money by setting goals

It's essential to do some goal-setting to determine how much money you need to make and then identify a deadline for making it. Establishing a timeline will help you to make your goal very specific and, therefore, more attainable. Identify the Who, What, and Why of your goal:

  • Who? Identify who will be involved in helping you to make money. Will you bring in a friend or partner or do it alone? Will you include your parents (this is a good idea)? If so, how will you include others? 
  • What? What will you do to reach your financial goal? This is where you identify your interests and skills and find the right industry for your money-making activities. We will go over all the possibilities and ideas in the next section!
  • Why? This is where you get your motivation. Identifying why you are trying to make money as a teenager will keep you going, even during times of frustration or failure. If you have a good "why" there's nothing that can keep you from achieving your goals.
  • Post your goal up on the wall—or somewhere you will see it daily. You can make a poster with a big thermometer and mark on the thermometer to show your goal at the very top and your progress as you go. Coloring in the thermometer on your way up to the goal will keep you inspired and focused. You will know exactly where you are and how far you need to go to attain your goal.

Step #2: Learn about Different Opportunities for Making Money

If you've spent any amount of time looking online for ways you can make money as a teen, you've likely realized there is enough info out there to make your head spin. While you don't need to dig too deep into all of the different ways, it's a good idea to at least take some time to learn the basics of a variety of industries. You may discover you have a particular skill set or interest that lines up just right with an industry you had never before considered. 

Now let's get down to the nitty-gritty of exploring your best options to bring in that dough—online, offline, even if you don't have a job, and even if you need money fast. 

How Can Teens Make Money Online?

Are you trying to learn how to make money when you're 14? Looking at online opportunities can be both smart and overwhelming. On the one hand, online jobs seem ideal because you don't have to have a car, and you can often work non-traditional hours, which means you can do it after school or on weekends. On the other hand, there are a lot of online scams to avoid, so you really have to know what you are doing, or you can get burned. 

We are here to walk you through some lucrative online opportunities and businesses to consider as you determine how to make money online. By cutting through the noise and scams to bring you real online business ideas and established money-making websites, you can spend less time looking for something to do and more time taking action. 

Websites that Help You to Make Money Online

The following are legitimate websites anyone 13 years and older can use to earn money online:



Swagbucks is a website that enables you to earn money for taking surveys, searching the web, playing games, watching videos, and answering questions. While there are many similar sites online, it is one of the largest and most popular websites for doing this kind of work. 

Since starting in 2008, the company has paid members nearly 394 million dollars in cash, gift cards, and rewards. According to their website, that's the highest payout of any survey panel online. 

Simply create an account with your email, or you can use your Facebook account. There's also a Swagbucks app you can download to your phone to make the tasks more convenient no matter where you are. You get a $5 bonus as soon as your rack up 2,500 Swagbucks (SB) for completing tasks within the first 60 days of being a member. You can then turn the SBs into cash, gift cards, and other rewards. 

On average, 100 SBs equals one dollar, so while it may not enable you to earn a full-time online income, it can be a great way to earn anywhere from $20 to $200 each month. 

There are many other websites similar to Swagbucks—some aren't worth your time. Below are the ones that are legit and have a popular following, including many teens who are earning money online every day:

Creating Passive Income Online

If you are looking for more than just a way to earn a little extra cash, you want to focus on creating passive income online. This is the kind of money that you make while you aren't actively working on the business. You will do the work upfront to set it up, but it will continue to generate money for you, even when you are doing something else—at school, with friends, or even asleep in your bed! 

The following opportunities will enable you to bring in more money over time and have the potential to set you up for passive income for years to come. 

Build Your Website

People all over the world are earning money through websites they have built. The formula for success is simple: identify a pain point or a problem you can solve with a product or service, and then address it through your website. This means your website is going to have a particular focus and purpose. The correct definition for this type of business is a niche website

Once you have identified your target audience, you should get to know them, what interests them, where they hang out online, and then meet them where they are with the solution to their problem. You learn to speak their language and share high-quality information with them that will enable you to build trust and become an expert in their eyes.

Some examples of a niche website include:
  • Dog-training and obedience website for pet owners who have unruly pets. 
  • Exercise equipment review website for people who are shopping for a new piece of equipment.
  • Diet and nutrition website for people who are trying to improve their health.
  • How-to website for people who are trying to learn how to do something. It could be on topics ranging from "how to get better at Fortnight" to "how to get a high SAT score." 

Through a niche website, you will provide valuable information for your audience through your site content and blog to make a sale. People are shopping online now more than ever, with the number of digital buyers in 2019 being more than 1.92 billion. Set your site up correctly, and you can easily take advantage of this upward trend of online sales.

How Does This Make Money?

Once you have a nice flow of traffic to your site, you can make money a few different ways:

  • Sell products online. Create a product they can buy. This could be an eBook, a how-to guide, or an actual product.
  • Make recommendations. Use affiliate marketing to earn profits by referring your audience to another website like Amazon to purchase a product. By setting up an affiliate account and including your affiliate links on your website, each time someone clicks through the link and makes a purchase, you make money.
  • Be an influencer. Get companies to pay you to advertise their products and services on your website. As you build more and more traffic to your site, advertisers are willing to pay more to get a spot on it.  

Grow a Following on Social Media

make money

Whether you are a fan of Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, TikTok, or YouTube, you can grow your following and make money. The more followers you have, the more money you can get from paid advertisements and brand sponsorships. 

Making Money through social media is similar to starting a website. You need a niche. Choose a specific topic of interest or a theme that will resonate with a particular audience. Because there are so many profiles and pages on these platforms, you must get creative, thinking of what you can do to set your profile/page apart from the rest. Then, you take steps to connect with and grow your audience through consistent activity and sharing cool stuff that's relevant to your audience. 

The bigger your following grows, the better, so this may require a lot of effort upfront. You should strive to grow your audience to at least 5K to 10K for the best results. That's when the advertisers and other businesses start to take notice and want to pay and reward you nicely in exchange for a plug to your large audience.

Here are some additional ideas for making money online: 

Teach something through an online course.

Use your unique talent and skill to teach someone. If it is a hobby or interest you have, there's a good chance other people are interested in learning how to do it. Once you create the online course, you can start selling it. Create it once, and make a profit each time someone buys. The course topic could be playing a musical instrument, sewing, crafting, speaking a foreign language, doing makeup and hair, fitness—basically anything you do well that you can teach others to do. Teachable, Udemy, and MyBluprint are platforms that allow you to create and sell courses. 

Perform freelance work.

As a freelancer, you can work for different people or companies, rather than just for one company. You'll perform tasks—anything from graphic design and writing to voice-overs and computer programming. Some online freelance companies state you must be 18, so check the age restrictions. A few that accept anyone 13 or older include FIVERR, Upwork, Online Writing Jobs, and Textbroker. If you enjoy writing reviews, Slice the Pie is a site that will pay you to write online reviews for products, songs, commercials, and more. 

Sell in an online marketplace.

Sell products on Amazon or eBay. You can even buy products on Amazon to sell on eBay to make a profit. Then, only ship from Amazon directly to the buyer once they purchase it on eBay. If you are crafty, you can create products to sell on Etsy.  

Get paid to test out products. 

On Music Xray, you get paid to listen to music. On Game Tester, you get paid to play and test out new games. On Userlytics, you get paid to use products and provide reviews.  

Put your photography skills to work. 

If you love photography, these sites will pay to use your images: iStockPhoto, Crestock, and Fotolia.

Tutor other students. 

Do you excel in some of your classes at school? Enjoy helping friends and other students with their homework? You might enjoy being a tutor. SameSpeak is a site that hires teens 16 or older to help teach English to students from around the world.  

Sell t-shirts.

Do you have a knack for design? You can start your own t-shirt business with help from websites like SpreadSpirit or CafePress 

Do any of these ideas align with your interests and talents? If you want to learn how to make money as a teenager online, the best way to get started is just to pick an idea and give it your best shot. Experience is often the best teacher, and you will learn as you go. Nothing like getting paid while you learn how to be an entrepreneur!  

How Can I Make Money at 17 without a Job?

When it comes to knowing how to make money as a teenager without a job, you have several options to consider. There are plenty of traditional businesses you can start-up to bring in money (lawn care, babysitting, pet-sitting). Or you can turn to the online opportunities we just covered. The key to making money is understanding how the business world works. Then figure out where you can jump in to offer products or services. 

Before we start listing more ideas for bringing in an income, it's essential to know the three things that go into every profitable business. If you can focus on these three steps, no matter where you decided to focus your efforts, you are increasing your chance for success. 

#1: Take Ownership of a Problem

Discover a need in which someone is willing to pay you for a solution. If you aren't sure, start by looking at what your friends and neighbors are paying professional businesses for. Then identify how you can do it better. What can you do to create your own mini-biz that models what the big dogs are doing?

#2: Create a Solution

Once you find the need, deliver the value. Do the work to establish relationships with the audience—whether online or in person. Sure, you have to have a great product or service—a real solution. But it's the relationship component that is likely to make them choose you instead of another business or service provider.

#3 Serve People

You may have the best business idea in the world, but if you never take action, you'll never see a dime. The only way to succeed is to begin. Line up your action steps and get going now! You may stumble. You'll probably experience some failure. You may even have to start over and choose a new business idea. But if you stay focused on your goal of making money as a teen and keep going, you'll be earning income before you know it.

Money-Making Opportunities in Your Community

As a 17-year-old, you are at an ideal age to start-up a local business to meet the needs in your neighborhood. Here are some ideas:

  • Lawn care: If you have a lawnmower you can use, you can mow lawns. If not, you can provide services like snow shoveling, leaf and debris clean-up, or hedge-trimming. 
  • Window cleaning: Invest in a few supplies and become an expert at cleaning windows. Your neighbors will pay for sparkling windows that they don't have time to take care of themselves. 
  • Babysitting: This is a popular way for teens to make money. Check around to find out the going rate for babysitters, set your price. Then figure out what you can do to set yourself apart from the competition.
  • Odd jobs and errands: There may be older adults or other members in your community who need extra help with general tasks such as organizing the pantry, taking out the trash, doing laundry, or even grocery shopping or running errands around town. You can become the go-to person for jobs that people don't have time or the ability to do themselves.

For each of these businesses, you can use social media and flyers around town to promote your services. You can take on as little or as much work as you would like to bring in the desired income. To determine your pricing, ask around to see what other people are providing. Then make your prices competitive and add a personal touch to be the one your neighbors will choose to offer the solutions to their needs.  

How Can I Make $1000 Fast?

Are you wondering how to make money as a 15-year-old fast? If you have a large sum of money you need to earn quickly, it's important to get focused and take action right away. Now is not the time for trial and error. You need foolproof strategies to make money as soon as possible. Online surveys and businesses can help you to bring in money gradually over time. But you need something that is guaranteed to increase your income within the next month or two. 

Here are some ideas for making $1000 fast as a teenager:

Host a Kids Summer Camp or a Saturday Parents Day Out

Child care is a big problem for many families. You can provide an immediate solution for them that will bring in a lot of money quickly for a minimal investment of time. 

Whether you choose to have a backyard summer camp for kids or a parents' day out program, you can earn money for watching and entertaining multiple kids at one time. It's essentially babysitting with a plan. 

Simply choose the time you plan to offer services, come up with a theme, and promote the service on social media or by posting flyers around town. Running a summer camp for two weeks or a month of Saturday parents' day out programs could bring in more than $1,000 for your time. Find out what the cost of daycare is in your area to help you determine your rate per child and how much you are likely to make.

You can take in as many as ten kids if you are running the program by yourself, or twenty if you have a partner to help you. You'll need to have an adult available at the location for safety reasons. However, being in the backyard with a parent in the house is just fine. 

It's ideal to offer the services for kids who are finished with Kindergarten up to 5th grade. That's because you'll be able to provide activities to keep them safe, easily occupied, and having fun as a group playing together. 

Choosing themes for your program will make it even more appealing to parents and kids.

Some themes to consider include: 

  • Dance
  • Sports
  • Pirates
  • Acting
  • Fitness
  • Cowboy
  • Ninja

You can customize activities to fit your theme and then structure each day with specific games, activities, and periods of free time to keep the fun going. That'll help you prevent the behavior problems that often result from boredom.  

With this money-generating idea, you can increase your income far more quickly than you can by providing typical child care services. Hosting more kids at one time means more money for your savings, and you can reach your $1,000 goal within a month. 

Other ideas to make $1000 fast include: 

  • Provide services like window cleaning, lawn care, and odd jobs in the neighborhood. You'll need to take on as many customers as you can in a short time to get the results you want. Ask friends and family to refer you to people they know who could use the extra help.
  • Sell personal belongings. Think of big-ticket items like gaming systems, electronics, smartphones, and furniture. It may be challenging to part with some of these belongings. But if you need $1,000 quickly, that's one way to increase your income right away. 

Whatever you choose to do to bring in income, when you have a significant amount like $1,000 you are trying to earn, you'll need to work every spare moment until you reach your goal. You may have to sacrifice time with friends or relaxation for a while. But achieving your goal will be worth it.  

Ready to Earn Money as a Teen? Get Out There and Do It!

With all of the info out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed. You may feel like you don't know which industry is right and so you just do nothing. Don't make that mistake! It's something that holds a lot of people back from making real money. Instead, get out there and gain some real-world experience. Just start with one business idea that sparks your interest and run. 

It's far better to try and fail and then figure out a different path than it is to do nothing. It's essential to keep in mind that taking risks now as a teen, while you still live with your parents or guardians, gives you a layer of security you simply won't have as an adult. Now is the time to get out there and take risks. You have your entire life ahead of you to come back stronger if you fail.

The truth is, you may never feel like you are 100% ready. If all of the billionaires waited until they felt completely prepared to start their businesses, they wouldn't be billionaires today. No one ever feels 100% ready to begin. But by narrowing down your business idea and taking action, you will be on the path to success.

You may have more questions as you go, and that's okay!

At Capitalism.com, we’re committed to helping the next generation create the change they want to see in the world. They'll do so by taking ownership of problems they didn’t cause, creating solutions to those problems, and serving other people. That’s the predictable path to wealth. In the end, money may not buy you happiness. However, it does give you the power to do good in the world, taking care of yourself and your loved ones, and helping others. 

You’ve probably heard people say, “It takes money to make money.” And in some cases, they’re right. But not all the time! The truth is, we know many young entrepreneurs who started with less than $1,000 and now own multi-million-dollar businesses.