How to make $100,000 online, as a teenager

Teens have money needs just like adults do, but getting a job may not be the first priority for them. Thankfully, there are many ways for young adults to earn an income anytime and from almost anywhere in the world.

Best ways for teens to make money

What are the best ideas for making money online as a teenager? Here are some ideas.

Take surveys

While you won’t get rich answering questions for marketers via surveys, the money can add up. This idea is best for teens who like working in small batches, spending 5-15 minutes here and there while between classes or when riding the bus.

How does it work? Answer questions about shopping habits, product experiences or personal preferences, and watch your reward balance grow. Companies may pay out in cash to incentivize participants, using PayPal or Venmo. Others award points, which can be redeemed for gift cards for top retailers and merchandise.

There is no shortage of sites to take surveys, but the most popular include Swagbucks, Rakuten Rewards and SurveyJunkie. But be aware of spammy sites! Legitimate survey companies won’t ask for payment to join or take surveys.

Compete in esports

Gaming may be a great way to unwind, but it can also be a money-making endeavor. There are a few ways to earn cash with video games, including esports.

Join a team or play solo to earn big cash rewards. Esports is highly competitive, and only the best will succeed. Players compete in games like DOTA 2 or Hearthstone. Even Mario Kart 8 hosts an annual tournament, giving the top individuals points for Nintendo gear.

Launch a Twitch stream or YouTube channel

You can also stream your gaming on popular social media platforms. While you’ll need to build a sizable audience before making much money, popular gamers can get donations from fans, sell merch, get brand partnerships and earn affiliate income.

Build and sell in-game assets

If you’re good at designing skins or collecting power-ups, you may be able to trade them for cash or other valuable in-game goods. Not all games allow the buying and selling of accounts, items or passes, so check the terms to make sure you don’t get booted from the game.

Start a blog

If you have something to share with the world and love to write or take photos, you may have what it takes to be a blogger. Bloggers can share information on any topic, from travel adventures to product reviews to recipes. It can take some time to build a loyal following, but with the right blend of marketing and consistently quality content, you can connect with your audience and start earning money.

Bloggers make money by selling ads, forming sponsored partnerships and selling products through affiliate agreements. Blogs are also a great way to promote other projects and build a brand over time.

Earn cash back

Can you make money just by shopping? It's possible! If you'll be buying items anyway, why not take advantage of cash-back programs like Rakuten Rewards, which give buyers a portion of their purchase back as cash and gift cards? This is a fuss-free way to earn additional money through smart shopping.

Become a virtual assistant

If you are well-organized and like to learn, you may have what it takes to help others tackle their to-do list. Virtual assistants (VAs) can do anything from scheduling to sorting emails to helping manage websites and blogs. Most virtual assistants check in daily with clients to see what they need to have done. VAs also do very different tasks for each client, so you probably won’t experience the same day twice.

Tutor students

You don’t need a teaching degree or classroom experience to help kids with their homework, just a willingness to listen and the ability to patiently explain things. Tutors can help with all kinds of subjects, including math or English, as well as art or foreign languages. Some students won’t need help with any particular subject but may instead ask tutors to help review papers and make suggestions.

Tutoring is needed at all academic levels, but teens are most likely to be able to help with much younger students who have not yet mastered high school work.

Flip merchandise on Etsy

Etsy is a third-party marketplace for sellers of original art, handicrafts and vintage items. If you find a vintage item (pre-2000, according to Etsy), you can often resell it for big bucks, depending on what's in style at the moment. Trends come and go, however, so watch what’s hot on Etsy to see which items will bring in the most money.

Etsy has a very user-friendly seller app to help upload photos, write product descriptions and market your items through social media apps and Google ads. With so many shoppers visiting Etsy first for gift purchases, this is a great way to start a business from scratch.

Sell original artwork and photography

Are you creatively gifted? Other teens make money doing fan art commissions, 3D illustrations, custom portraits and even tattoo art concepts!

Etsy is one place to sell original art in both printed and digital formats. Teens can also work with referrals from friends and family members to sell directly to their customers. Artists should set up a website to showcase their art portfolio with samples of work. This way, customers can see what type of art is available and reach out when they are ready to buy.

Translate languages

Spanish, French, German and Chinese are just a few of the languages needing translation today. If you are bilingual, and especially if you have experience in technical areas, you could get a side gig as a translator. Yes, Google and other translation engines have reduced demand for basic translation services, but for more nuanced or personal texts, a human translator works best.

Teens can sign up with translation companies to work as a freelancer through their platform or sign up with Upwork or other talent marketplaces to find their first clients. After you’ve built up a client base, you'll spend less time on finding work and more time earning money.

Launch a Shopify store

If you love the idea of having a store with brand-new items for people to enjoy, you might be a great fit for a Shopify store. Shops can sell any number of items, including clothing, accessories or custom-made merch. Creating a Shopify store takes work, but the software is intuitive and easy to customize for your preferred brand and style.

If the idea of storing inventory, packing and shipping seems too much, teen entrepreneurs can drop-ship items directly from the manufacturer or distributor. Shopify stores, like other retail businesses, need returning customers to be successful, but many teens have what it takes to spread the word and get those sales.

Working part-time as a teen

Teens don't need to own their own businesses to earn some extra cash. In fact, some of the most popular jobs for teens are traditional employment situations where they go work for someone else. Employment comes with added benefits like not having to worry about things like small business taxes or meeting state business requirements. Some teens also really enjoy working with others in a team environment. Most importantly at this age, some of the best friendships start at your job.

How to apply for a job as a teen

Teens, like adults, must apply for a job to get hired. There are a few things teens can do to help stand out among the sea of job applicants.

Know where and when you can work

Teens can work almost anywhere, except where there are rules against them working for safety reasons. For example, some states will allow businesses to hire 14- and 15-year-olds but won’t let them work with hazards like cooking or cutting equipment, lawncare machinery or power tools. Ask the state department of labor for your location about work restrictions where you live.

Create a resume

A simple, one-page listing of your past work or volunteer experiences and special skills is all that’s needed to let future employers know what you bring to the table. Granted, most teens will have a very limited work history, but focusing on past non-work accomplishments can help fill in the gaps until your work history is established.

Look for relevant jobs

It may be tempting to apply to all the jobs you can, but it's better to apply to places that are a good fit. Consider the location and how you will get to and from work, as well as the hours required. Unless it's the summer, students need to make sure work shifts don't get in the way of studies. Pick jobs that seem interesting or that can teach a new desired skill and that you are qualified to do. These can be found online and in newspapers and local job boards.

Take time filling out the application

If you can take an application home with you or fill it out online, it is preferable to having to sit at the business and fill it out quickly. Answer each question completely and ask a family member if you’re unsure of important details like past addresses you’ve lived at or the names and numbers of references.

Check in

Haven't heard back yet? The employer may be overwhelmed with the number of applications or simply too busy to get to it right away. You can check in by calling or emailing the place of employment and asking if the position has been filled. Give it a week or two before inquiring and don't follow up more than once unless you've been told to call back.

Give your best interview

Whether it’s in-person, on the phone or through a Zoom call, show up dressed better than what’s required for the job itself. Appear neat and be on-time, saving questions about the job until the interviewer has invited you to ask. Be honest with answering, but do show your best side. When the interview is over, offer your thanks for the opportunity and ask when you will hear back about next steps.

Where to apply

Many places welcome teens into the workplace and are willing to train even those who have never had a job before. Some of the positions most likely to be filled by teens include the following:

  • Theater ushers, ticket takers and concessions stand attendants at movie theaters.
  • Table bussers and dishwashers at restaurants.
  • Cashiers at supermarkets, big-box stores and restaurants.
  • Companions and aides at senior centers and assisted living homes.
  • While online job listings are a great place to start finding work, some of the best jobs for teens can be found just by asking the business directly. Going to restaurants and stores and asking if they are hiring can get you a quick answer and an application to fill out, too!

    Best tips for managing money as a teen

    Getting the job is the first step in making money, but what should teens do after they get paid? Working with a parent or other trusted adult, they should learn to:

  • Open a savings and checking account so they have a safe place to deposit and access money.
  • Get a debit card to make purchasing easier and more secure.
  • Form a plan for saving, spending and investing that ensures their hard-earned wages go to things that matter.
  • Create a budget that reflects their daily spending habits and leaves a cushion for unplanned items.
  • The job market is in dire need of hard-working teens to help fill open positions. With so many opportunities available, now is a great time to start working even just a few hours a week to earn money, build wealth and learn important financial management skills.

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