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How to Make Money Today as a Teenager

by Peter Winderland

How to Make Money Today as a Teenager

Thanks to the pandemic, the work landscape for teens has gotten a whole lot more complicated lately.

With capacity restrictions and lower demand, employers are hiring far fewer workers in such areas as retail, food service and entertainment. Other workplaces—amusement parks or theaters, for example—may be closed altogether.

While it may require more effort today to find a job, there are still opportunities for enterprising teenagers.

Whether money is your primary driver or you’re most concerned about safety, here are some ideas for your next job.

Here are best 6 ideas for Teenager to make money today:

1. Essential Work

Essential Work

From the outset of the outbreak, some jobs have been considered critical to keeping society afloat. Citizens and leaders have had to come to terms with the fact that some of the most necessary jobs are also the lowest paid and least specialized. In other words, the types of jobs that tend to rely on teen workers.

Because teenagers tend to be less susceptible to COVID-19, or at least better able to weather the effects of the illness, some are finding opportunities in must-remain-open businesses. Grocery stores, for example, still need workers to stock shelves and ring up orders.

There are also more people than ever ordering their groceries online for pick-up delivery, and that means more jobs as shoppers and pickup attendants.

Gas stations, too, still require attendants, as do fast food restaurants. These jobs, which involve face-to-face interaction with the public, have a higher exposure risk than many others. That may mean fewer applicants and less competition.

For those who opt for such public jobs, masks and proper hygiene procedures are essential. Ask your potential employer about cleaning and safety measures to make sure you are comfortable with the risk before you accept the job.

2. Outdoor Jobs

Outdoor Jobs

The CDC says it’s preferable to be outdoors than indoors when attempting to avoid exposure to COVID-19. For many teens, outdoor jobs may be a good compromise between working inside a business and being stuck at home.

Requiring little more than a mower (owned or borrowed) and a neighbor or two to get started, lawn care could be a solid summer job.

If you’re entrepreneurial, you can market your services, get good reviews and references, and even buy equipment such as a trailer that will allow you to do more lawns, or a riding mower to get them done faster. Little to no contact with the homeowner is necessary once you’ve scheduled your service.

If you love animals, consider dog walking for money. You can ask around or use your local message boards such as NextDoor and Craigslist. Be sure to get parental approval before posting or accepting jobs on these sites.

If you are 18 or older, try a dedicated dog walking app like Wag! or Rover. These are like Uber for dog walking and can be a helpful way to connect you with customers, though they’ll keep part of the earnings.

Another option for teens who want to work outdoors, but don’t want to spend time finding customers, is to look at state and national parks in your area. These seasonal positions may include some interaction with the public—visitor assistance, for example—or may be quite isolated, like working off the trails to remove invasive species.

3. Jobs with Limited Exposure

Jobs with Limited Exposure

Depending on your family’s comfort level, you may find that a job working around people is still an option.

Delivery drivers are in demand, especially with fewer people venturing out to restaurants and grocery stores. In many cases, you may be able to use your own car, wear a mask, and leave deliveries outside homes, avoiding contact with the customers entirely.

With many schools and childcare programs closed or limiting their numbers, there is a widespread need for childcare for groups and individuals.

Day camp counselors may have higher rates of exposure, but the best camps have worked out procedures to keep kids in the same small groups daily, have everyone wear masks when indoors, wash hands and sanitize regularly, and spend most of their time outside.

For a safer option, look for a regular babysitting or nannying gig with one family whose social distancing standards match yours. Many adults are still working from home while their kids are present, and they may be thrilled to have a responsible regular babysitter.

In addition to word of mouth, look into sites such as Care.com, which allows teens to sign up with their parents’ permission and monitoring. Here you can advertise yourself and find families in your neighborhood who need care. Payments can be handled through the site as well.

4. Work-from-home jobs

Work-from-home jobs

The safest option for making money is to work from your own home. You’ll need a computer, a reliable and fast internet connection and maybe a phone, headset or webcam.

If you’re a strong student, online tutoring can be a great way to earn some spending money. With so many students attending school virtually, often while parents work from home, many people are looking for ways to get help with their kids’ academics. Some want tutors to come to their homes, but others are happy keeping their distance and having someone their child can talk to and ask questions on video chat.

Call centers are adapting to the current environment, and instead of lining employees up side by side with rows of monitors and headsets, some are distributing the call load to at-home workers. Other companies use chat and email to provide customer service and may hire teens with great communication skills.

If you’re very responsible and organized, look into work as a virtual assistant (VA), either through one of the many VA businesses online or informally within your community. VAs can process email, enter data, do research, draft letters and more, all from the privacy of their home.

5. Entrepreneurial jobs

Entrepreneurial jobs

Tech-savvy teens with big ideas don’t need to be limited to the most obvious part-time jobs. This may be a great opportunity to start your own business, learning as you go.

If you have a skill to teach, offer live lessons to participants, or record and edit a series of videos. If it’s an activity best taught in person, think through how you can offer it in a safe way. Maybe you can meet people on their front porch or in a park.

Or, use your artistic skills to start a store on Etsy. It’s not a guaranteed money-maker, but you’ll learn a lot about marketing and promoting your business and offering good customer service in addition to getting a lot of practice at your craft.

If you love to shop, you might love to sell, too, on sites like eBay. You can find items for your store at wholesale prices and sell them on eBay for a profit, especially if you can price below other stores. Or, you can buy or collect items locally and list them for an international audience of shoppers, hoping to make a profit when just the right person finds the item.

You’ll want to read up on policies and best practices for starting your kind of business. Even if you don’t make much money, you’ll gain valuable experience and a real-world understanding of concepts like supply and demand, marketing, inventory management and customer service.

6. Unpaid “Jobs”

Unpaid “Jobs”

First of all, if you can afford to forego income for the sake of experience, acknowledge your privilege; many young people have no choice but to earn a paycheck. But if you do have the luxury, a virtual internship could bring you non-monetary benefits such as real-world skills and experience for your resume.

Traditionally, internships have been in-person, so you may have to look hard to find a company that’s willing to rework the description and trust someone they can’t monitor constantly. This may be a good opportunity for you to write the job description yourself and reach out to smaller companies to suggest how you can benefit them.

Another great way to build skills and help the causes that matter to you is to volunteer from home. Depending on your interests, values and skill set, you might try Amnesty Decoders, CatchaFire, Smithsonian Digital Volunteers, Crisis Text Line or Zooniverse.  You can help by writing letters, providing text-based support, transcribing, searching images and more.

Right now, finding a job as a teenager may not be as easy as walking into an ice cream shop and filling out an application. Consumer patterns have changed, the economy is struggling and a whole host of in-person work is now being done online.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find work; it just means you’ll have to look a little harder and be more creative. If you do so, you’re likely to find an opportunity that suits your interests and social distancing comfort level while providing skills, experience and income.

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