Making money online can be hard enough as an adult, but for a teenager with little financial know-how and skills, attending school full-time and trying to balance a decent social life, it seems nearly impossible. In reality, there are some major advantages to having an online job, particularly for a teenager, and while it might have its cons as well, it’s an opportunity at least worth exploring.
If you’re a teenager looking to make money online, or a parent seeking out ways your daughter or son can use their skills to earn some extra cash, this guide is for you! Here, we’ll list some creative and easy online jobs for teenagers, plus give some tips on avoiding scams and other risks.
Why Work Online?
Working online is a great way to make money for teenagers who lack transportation. In this tough economy, finding retail or customer service work isn’t the easiest either, especially if they lack relevant work experience. Online work is something that can be self-made, something that you can slap on your resume, and something that you can control! For most of these jobs, you are your own boss, and your skills are your own to market.
Because it’s online, it’s something teenagers can do in their free time, after school and during the summer. Scroll down for some ideas!
Freelancing means you work as an independent contractor for a client, who agrees to pay you a sum of money for your work. When you freelance, you’re not directly affiliated with your client or their company – if they have one – but you are, unlike the name suggests, paid for your work! If you’re not, then there’s really no point, unless you’re young enough that experience really is more valuable than money. There are different types of freelancing that you can do, depending on your skills. Below are some examples.
- Freelance Writing and Editing
Starting your own blog, or even contributing to someone else’s, is a great way to make money if you have a knack for the written word. Having your work published online is an excellent thing to have on your resume, especially at an early age, plus it never helps to practice your writing skills in your free time and earn some money while you do it.
What’s great about freelance writing is there’s a niche out there for everyone. Do you like writing about sports? There’s a website out there for it. Do you like writing about video games? There’s a website out there for it. Do you like writing about cooking, or art, or film/television? There are websites out there for all of it!
Learn how to break into freelance writing with this course. If you enjoy writing, but feel like you could be better at it, improve your skills with this course on advanced writing strategies.
Freelance editing is kind of like freelance writing, only you’re not the one doing the writing – you’re just making sure the writing is good. This is a great, and usually less time-consuming job for someone who still excels in the writing department, but doesn’t want their name plastered all over the internet just yet. Some people just enjoy copy editing too, so there’s that! For some tips on improving your editing skills, check out this proofreading course.
- Freelance Art
If you prefer taking pen to paper to produce art, rather than words, freelance art is a great way to make money and make a name for yourself. You can seek out clients who need logos, mascots, or other illustrations prepared for them, or you can even setup accounts on websites like Patreon, Store Envy, or Etsy and sell your art there. This way, you price the value of your art, and you control your fanbase. Check out this social media management course for tips on maintaining an active fan and consumer base through the internet. This is vital if you’re someone producing creative work like art, or even creative writing.
- Freelance Web Design
Are you a teenage programmer looking to put your skills to work? Perhaps you’re someone with a knack for graphic design, or a multi-talented designer and developer trying to get their name out there? Designing websites for clients is an excellent way to get paid for your work. Finding work in this field might be a bit more difficult for a teenager, though, if you don’t have some kind of online portfolio available for viewing.
Check out this course on web design basics for some tips.
Make Video Tutorials
If you monetize videos on YouTube, it can be a great source of cash online. Start a YouTube channel, find your niche, and post regular video content. You can do everything from drawing tips, to make-up tutorials, to language classes, to video game walkthroughs, movie reviews, cooking guides, and more. Just make sure you have a parent’s permission to put yourself online, and understand the risks that come with putting your name and face on the internet.
Check out this course on becoming a YouTube star to get started.
Translate and Transcribe Data
If you type quickly and/or speak a second language, translation and transcription is a great way to earn extra cash. You can find work like this on professional job listing sites, or even Craigslist – just make sure you don’t accept work from strangers without your parent’s approval.
Find a Paid-to-Click or Survey Program
Some websites will pay you to click through advertisements, register for accounts on affiliate sites, or take surveys for them, with rewards coming in the form of money, gift cards, and store credit for online services. It can be a shady business, with plenty of scams cluttering up an occasionally decent marketplace. It’s recommended you find someone who has experience earning money this way instead of seeking out work on your own, as this way you can be pointed to trusted sites and not have to worry about wasting your time, or worse, risking your personal information.
Websites like Amazon allow you to publish your own eBooks on their online storefront, which are great ways to make money and get your writing out there. For Amazon’s online Kindle marketplace, you can earn up to 70% royalties from self-publishing your novels, plus there’s no long wait – your work will appear on the site in a few days after uploading.
If being a novelist is your dream, get started by publishing eBooks online. Check out this course on creative writing and learn how to hone your storytelling skills.
How to Avoid Scams Online
There’s a lot of risk that comes with working online. Identity theft, the potential for harassment and criticism, privacy concerns, and people ripping you off by not paying you what you’ve earned. Here are some tips below for avoiding these issues.
- Identity Theft
Perhaps the scariest and riskiest of all, identity theft can happen when an alleged employer takes your personal information and uses it for their own gain. Aside from your name, practice extra caution in posting your personal information anywhere online. This includes phone numbers, your address, credit card numbers, your social security number, and even your birth date, since this is often used as an identifier and can be risky in the hands of someone you don’t trust. You should even be careful about posting your name and picture, and talk it out with your parents before doing so.
Additionally, if you do need to provide certain contact information, remember to check if your employer’s company is legitimate. A quick Google search will usually do, but if your gut tells you something is wrong, then run! Also, never respond with any personal info to an anonymous Craigslist ad. Review this course on online privacy for more advice.
- Harassment and Criticism
Posting anything online unfortunately comes with the risk of harassment. There are a few ways to get around this, but not many effective ones. If you’re running a YouTube channel, you could try disabling comments. If you’re publishing work online, you can write under a pen name so that your work can’t be traced back to you.
If something sounds fishy, then it probably is. Remember to always do a Google background search on any potential employer to confirm that they are who they say they are. It’s easy to be pulled into an illegitimate deal on websites like Craigslist, where posters are anonymous. Make sure to never send any personal information in your first email to potential employers – simply express interest and see how they respond. If they respond with a shortlink or an unusual looking URL and ask you to click it, enter your information, and wait to hear back, it’s usually going to be a scam. Be wary of things like this, and you’ll be good to go.
Check out this course on making money online the “real” way for more tips.