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As a teen, it might seem like your job options are slim: You can become a camp counselor or flip burgers. But what if you’re a vegetarian who’s allergic to poison ivy? All joking aside, it’s possible to make some serious extra cash—or get a head start on your life savings—by starting a side hustle. Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever before to find a side hustle for teens.
By having a side hustle, you’ll learn new skills, gain financial literacy, and maybe even make a lot of money. And if you do it right, it won’t even interfere with your school, sports teams, or social life.
Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of having a side hustle as a teen. We’ll also share 20 of the best side hustles and money-making hobbies to help you get started.
What Is a Side Hustle?
A side hustle, or side gig, is a form of employment that you do on the side of your full-time commitments.
Whether you’re a student, caretaker, or employee, a side hustle can be an easy way to make extra money to help you pay the bills, save money for your future, invest, or just have something to spend on chocolate milkshakes.
So, as a teen, here’s what a side hustle could look like: You go to school all day, but in addition to playing video games when you get home, you could crochet stuffed animals to sell on Etsy.
What Should Teens Look For in a Side Hustle?
When looking for a side hustle, find one that not only fits into your current schedule, but also matches your interests.
Don’t know how to crochet? No problem. You can monetize your love of video games, drawing, pets, fashion, food, or pretty much anything.
The best side hustles are flexible. They let you be your own boss. You get to decide when to work and when to take it easy.
While the potential gains from side hustles are endless, there are also potential drawbacks. As a teen, you undoubtedly have a lot already going on. So it’s important to make sure you actually have the time to make extra money without letting your grades slide.
It’s also important to consider if you really want to turn your hobbies into a source of income. There’s always the risk of no longer enjoying a hobby once you’ve monetized it.
Explore the pros and cons before you decide if starting a side hustle is worth it.
The Benefits of Having a Side Hustle in High School
- Make extra money. Save it or spend it as you wish!
- Learn new, marketable skills.
- Obtain financial literacy.
- Learn how to become comfortable in new environments.
- Learn how to manage your money.
- Learn how to save money.
- Have job security. Side hustles can be lifelong. While you’re searching for a full-time job in the future, you’ll still have some cash flowing in.
- Side hustles can turn into full-time jobs.
- Learn responsibility and time management.
The Drawbacks of Having a Side Hustle in High School
- Upfront costs for certain side hustles can be high.
- Certain side hustles can be mind-numbing, leading to burnout or boredom.
- Maintaining a side hustle could be too stressful to manage.
- It could take up too much of your time and distract you from your education.
- Monetizing a hobby you enjoy could take away some of the joy.
19 Money-Making Hobbies & Side Hustles for Teens
- Become a social media manager
- Sell your crafts or art on Etsy
- Sell your unwanted stuff
- Walk dogs or try pet sitting
- Take online surveys
- Become a babysitter or nanny
- Do online tutoring
- Become an influencer
- Deliver food
- Sell your photography as stock photos
- Become a personal assistant
- Teach people how to play video games
- Play a video game on Twitch
- Transcribe audio files
- Rent out your car when it’s not in use
- User-test websites
- Try data entry
- Start a Blog
If you’re looking for the most lucrative hobbies for teens, look no further. There are many different ways to make extra cash.
Here’s our list of the most popular and accessible side hustles for teens.
1. Become a social media manager
All those hours spent on TikTok and Instagram have actually made you something of a social media expert.
You can offer your social media services to local small businesses to help them grow.
The best part? You can decide your hourly rate and work on a freelance basis. To get started, just hop on Instagram, look for any businesses that aren’t doing a great job (ha), and offer to help.
2. Sell your crafts or art on Etsy
Etsy allows you to begin selling your creations at age 13. Here are some ideas of things you could sell to get your creative juices flowing and make some money online.
- Art prints
- Greeting cards
- Leather belts
- Crocheted animals
- Custom-made tables, shelves, chairs
- Handmade jewelry
- Handmade clothes
- DIY home decor
- Custom T-shirts
Want to try a new hobby on this list but aren’t sure how to begin? YouTube is a great resource for learning new skills and hobbies.
3. Sell your unwanted stuff
Your closet’s overflowing with clothes you never wear. Perfect! Why not sell it to make some money online or in person?
Download the Depop or Poshmark apps on your phone and begin selling the clothes you don’t want.
Or use Decluttr to sell your old phones, books, games, and other stuff. Decluttr requires you to be 18 to sell. But you might be able to get a parent to help you sell.
You can also sell old books, technology, and other miscellaneous items through a yard sale or garage sale.
Just make sure to ask your parents before you sell anything!
4. Walk dogs or try pet sitting
Take your love of animals and make some extra money with it.
If you’re 18 or older, you can download Rover on your phone and create a profile. You’ll be able to set your own rates, mark which services you offer, and get matched with people who need pet care.
This is one of my side hustles. I can’t recommend it enough. You get paid to spend time with cute, fluffy dogs and cats. I make $32 per hour walking dogs and up to $100 per night pet sitting.
5. Take online surveys
OK, this isn’t really a passion project. But you can take online surveys during your free time and make easy, mindless cash — or at least a gift card or two
There are a lot of survey sites out there, and some even allow teens to join. Anyone over 13 can sign up for Swagbucks, while Survey Junkie is a great option for teens over 16.
LifePoints and InboxDollars are two other popular survey sites. But note that you must be 18 to use these apps.
If your ideal odd job doesn’t require you to leave the comfort of your bed and laptop, there are plenty of other ways to make money online.
Gifted young people can check out freelancing platforms like Fiverr to find online jobs:
- Graphic design
- Logo design
- Video editing
- Photo editing
- Virtual assistant
You might need to initially invest in some classes to gather the right skills, but it’ll be worth it. It’s possible to make good money as a freelancer.
7. Become a babysitter or nanny
You already knew about this one, but it can be a really good side hustle. Reach out to a family member or neighbor to see if they need a regular babysitter. Before you know it, you might have a regular gig.
If you’re over 18, you can also check out websites like Sittercity or UrbanSitter to be matched with families in your area.
8. Do online tutoring
Make money by helping other students learn your favorite subjects.
You can find tutoring clients through word of mouth or your school, but there are a lot of online tutoring websites too.
You can also teach English just by having conversations with foreigners online. All you need to be is a native English speaker. Try it out with Cambly.
I give Cambly my seal of approval. I had really fun conversations with people literally all over the world and got paid $10 per hour. I highly recommend it.
9. Become an influencer
OK, this is easier said than done. But if you can figure out how to build social media fame, you could have a super-fun, money-making side hustle.
Give YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram a try.
10. Deliver food
If you’re over 18, you can help people grocery shop with Instacart.
All you need to do is sign up and choose jobs when you are free. You’ll go to the grocery store, shop for the items, and deliver them.
Apps like DoorDash work similarly, but they involve delivering takeout.
11. Sell your photography as stock photos
If you have photography skills, you can sell your photos as stock images for third-party websites like Shutterstock, Dreamstime, or iStockPhoto.
It’s super easy, and you can make some quick, creative cash!
12. Become a personal assistant
Everyone needs help managing their to-do list. Lots of professionals hire personal assistants to help them get everything done.
Assistants do tasks such as scheduling meetings, answering emails, making phone calls, or even running errands.
See if any of your parents’ friends need an extra hand, or — if you’re over 18 — become a virtual assistant online through a platform like Upwork.
Virtual assistants make an average of $16 per hour, but you can set your own rate.
13. Teach people how to play video games
If you’re at least 18 years old and really good at gaming — and we mean really good — you can apply to become a Gamer Sensei.
You’ll set your own rate and coach players one-on-one how to improve their game. You can work whenever and wherever you want.
14. Play a video game on Twitch
Maybe you’re not Gamer Sensei material yet, but you play a lot of video games. Consider starting your own Twitch account. Twitch is an interactive live streaming service.
People can pay to subscribe to your channel, while you hang out and game. Some Twitch streamers make a ton of money through the platform.
Here’s more on how you can play video games for money as a side hustle.
15. Transcribe audio files
If you can type fast and accurately and are over 18, this could be a great side hustle for you.
Sign up with Rev to make up to $1495 a month listening to audio and writing down what you hear.
16. Rent out your car when it’s not in use
If you’re a teen with a car, you can make money whenever you’re not using your car with Turo.
The platform helps you rent your car out to people. All you really need to do is manage your account and hand off your keys.
17. User-test websites
Companies will pay you to use their website and give them feedback.
If you’re over 18, you can sign up with UserTesting to get started.
You can make $4 for every five-minute test, $10 for every 20-minute test, and up to $120 for live interviews.
18. Try data entry
Input data into electronic systems and make money.
You can offer your services on Upwork and ClickWorker.
19. Start a Blog
While it could take some time to get up and running, a successful blog can bring in passive income through ads and affiliate marketing.
Get started with WordPress.
As you grow, you might be able to make some money from your joy of writing!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are the most frequently asked questions about side hustles for teens.
How do you ensure your side hustle doesn’t interfere with school?
To balance your life as a teen with a great side hustle, you just have to be intentional.
To begin, look at your schedule and your non-negotiables. Decide how much of your free time you can spend on this side hustle.
And be realistic. Remember to leave time and space for any fun teen stuff, like hanging out with friends.
Once you decide, write these goals down. Let’s say you want to make $100 per month and work a maximum of five hours a week. Do your best to stick to this goal and you should be able to avoid some of the overwhelm that can happen when you’re working and going to school.
And if the overwhelm happens, remember what your priorities are: school, friendships, family. Side hustles are great, but you can always pick one up when you’re an adult.
How can having a side hustle help teens gain financial literacy?
The majority of young adults lack financial literacy, money management skills, and income stability.
This is because most teens don’t have money to manage, or any real-world experiences with jobs or an income.
Having a great side hustle or part-time job can help young adults learn how to manage their money. Because they’ll have money coming in, they’ll need to open a bank account.
They can learn how to budget and set financial goals and save up for purchases. Once they have saved enough money, they can learn about investing at a young age.
How can having a side hustle during high school help teens develop important skills?
Having a side hustle can help teens gain hands-on experiences working in new, challenging environments with people they don’t know.
It can help them develop interpersonal skills. They’ll learn how to manage their time well to succeed at all of their many commitments and responsibilities.
The Bottom Line
If you’re a teen and you want to make extra income, the world is your oyster.
There are countless opportunities to make a few extra bucks, whether by providing an in-demand service in your local community or monetizing your love of drawing.
The key is to learn how to manage your time and money so that your side hustle doesn’t interfere with your schooling. Instead, you want a side hustle that will help you save for your bright future.
Starting a side hustle could be your first step toward financial freedom. Check out our course on how to achieve financial freedom, even as a teen!