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Top 12 Ways to Make Money Online as a Teen in 2022

Updated: Sep 25, 2022

Making money as a teen doesn’t have to involve working a minimum wage job or mowing lawns in your neighborhood. The digital world is full of opportunities to make money and is also a great place for teens and kids to use their initiative to create their own opportunities online.


In this post you'll learn:

  • 12 Reliable Ways that Teens Can Make Legit Money Online

  • Ways to Stay Safe on the Internet

  • How to Start Your Own Business & Grow Your Brand


Table of Contents

 

Today’s young generation uses technology and the internet on a regular basis to complete their schoolwork, interact with friends and play games. Teenagers and kids can use their knowledge of the online space to create their side hustle or business. Here are ten effective ways for teenagers and kids to make money online.


1. Create a Website to Sell a Product

With the multitude of resources and platforms online, opening and running your own website has never been easier.


First, you will need to pick a market or niche. Once you have selected a market or niche, look at the competitors in the space to identify an existing product you can create or find a hole in the market that you can fill.


After you have decided which product(s) to sell and how you will create or source them, it’s time to create a website. Shopify is a robust platform that can be used to build an online store, view detailed sales reports, and seamlessly add integrations to take your website to the next level.



If selling a traditional physical product is not your forte, you can add apps or integrations to your online store to perform other functions. Some great Shopify apps include:


  • LoyaltyLion: Create a rewards and loyalty program where customers can earn points for purchases, referrals, reviews, email signup, and more. Customers can then redeem their points for a discount or free item that they choose.

  • ReCharge Subscriptions: Create a subscription service that allows customers to sign up for product-based or digital subscriptions. For product-based subscriptions, this app automates the creation of an order in your store and charges the customer (with their consent, of course) automatically each month.

  • Printful: No product? No problem. Printful allows you to upload artwork and designs. Printful will provide free digital mockups of your designs on a wide range of products. Once a customer purchases an item, Printful will create and ship the item to your customer.

Starting a website can be done at any age. Adam, a 13-year-old entrepreneur in California, created an online store in the fingerboard market, a niche market of miniature skateboards that can be ridden with your fingers. When starting his business, he purchased an expensive mold online to create his wooden decks. He was not impressed by the quality of the mold and noticed that there was a hole in the market for affordable yet high-quality molds. Adam taught himself 3D design using YouTube and other tutorials and used the knowledge to create his own fingerboard molds. Not only does Adam make decks with his own molds, but he also sells molds to customers that are 3D printed on demand.



2. Create a Print-On-Demand Business

A print-on-demand (POD) business allows you to sell a wide variety of products without actually owning any inventory, purchasing machinery and equipment, or spending time and resources on shipping logistics to fulfill orders.


The first (and most important) thing you will need for a POD-based business is a handful of solid designs or ideas. You can create your own digital designs on devices you already own, such as a computer, iPad, or iPhone. These can be general artwork designs or can be geared towards a specific niche or hobby. Gearing your designs towards a niche hobby is recommended because it will allow you to target a specific audience with your store. If you are not artistic or cannot create your own designs, you can also come up with text phrases that will appeal to your customer base.

Once you have your designs, it is time to find a POD service. If you would like to build a brand around your products, the best option is to use a Shopify store. Recommendations for Shopify POD integrations include:

  • Printful

  • Printify

  • SPOD

These add-on applications will integrate into your existing Shopify store and allow you to fill your store with physical products that feature your designs. You have to offer your customer a wide range of products including clothing, mugs, phone cases, sticker, pillowcases, wall art, pet products, and more.


Most POD integrations have robust tools to create digital mockups of each product with your design on it, and this mockup can be used as your product photo. It is then up to you to create a compelling title and description for the product that will stand out to your market.



POD services charge a flat fee based on the selected product, but the price that the buyer pays on your website is up to you. Once a customer places an order, the POD service fulfills your order and sends it out to your customer, all under your brand.


If you do not have a Shopify store to connect a POD integration to, here are some recommendations of online platforms that allow you to create and sell custom merchandise:

  • TeeSpring

  • RedBubble

  • TeePublic

While these websites are effective, they limit your ability to create a brand around your products because their URL is on your store, their branding is often shown on the packaging, and they may collect customer emails for marketing.


Shopify offers a free webinar called "How to Quickly Start a Profitable T-Shirt Store" for anyone looking to make money selling print-on-demand merchandise.



3. Sell A Service

Do you have a skill or talent that you can do for a client to make money? If not, YouTube or a Google search can provide you with a plethora of free content to learn, develop, or improve a skill.


There are many useful and needed skills that you can provide for individuals and companies:


  • Video editing: Editing videos for content creators and businesses

  • Product Photo Editing: Removing backgrounds and touching up images in Photoshop for e-commerce companies

  • Social Media Marketing: Creating content and/or strategies for social media pages

  • Audio Editing: Editing audio clips for podcasts, ads, and more

  • Audio Engineering: Create beats for artists and rappers to use

  • Copywriting: Writing blogs, articles, or journals for websites and publications

  • Foreign Language Translation: Offer your skills as a translator



There are many legitimate platforms that connect freelancers to clients. These platforms provide the infrastructure to connect freelancers and prospective clients. Individuals and businesses can create job postings, and freelancers can search for and apply to these jobs. Popular freelance websites include:


  • Fiverr (minimum age requirement of 13)

  • Freelancer (minimum age requirement of 18)

  • UpWork (minimum age requirement of 18)


These freelance platforms act as the middleman between the client and freelancer, and they have structures in place to ensure that the freelancer will be paid upon completion of the job. In most cases, the client is required to deposit the funds ahead of time into an escrow or holding. Once the job has been completed and the client is satisfied, the funds are released to the freelancer. However, the services of the freelance platforms are not free. Most platforms either charge the client or take a percentage of the total amount from the freelancer.


In addition to using freelance platforms, you can also advertise your skills in private communities such as Discord servers and Facebook Groups. While this will enable you to avoid a freelance platform's fees, you should proceed with caution when handling payments on your own.


4. Create and Sell Digital Downloads

Not all products are physical and tangible; many products that are bought and sold online are digital downloads. Digital downloads are easier to distribute and can be infinitely replicated in most cases. With digital downloads, you don’t have to worry about replenishing your stock or handling shipping logistics. Some examples of digital downloads include:

  • Templates for invitations to weddings, parties, baby showers, and other events

  • eBooks and guides

  • Stock photos

  • Audio and music

  • Templates for documents

  • Fonts

  • Printable artwork

Once you have created your digital downloads, you will need a place to sell them. Many platforms are geared towards selling digital downloads. On these platforms, you upload your digital download to the platform along with any instructions or guides for the buyer. Once a buyer purchases the product, the platform will send them the applicable files for download. While making the actual downloadable content may be time-consuming, it turns to passive income once it is listed and the platform handles all digital deliveries. Some reputable platforms for digital downloads include:

  • PayHip: Supports digital downloads with limited customization

  • Gumroad: Platform for creators like artists, musicians, and authors with a wide variety of additional options

  • ShutterStock: A global provider of stock photography, stock footage, stock music, and editing tools.

  • SendOwl: Digital download platform with advanced capabilities that can integrate into most websites



If you would like to create a brand around your digital downloads, organize and market them on your own, or avoid hefty fees that some platforms take, then you may want to create your own website for your digital downloads.


Many websites support the sale of digital downloads and allow you also to sell physical products in the same store. Shopify, an eCommerce platform, has multiple apps that you can integrate into your store to sell digital downloads:

  • Digital Downloads: A free Shopify app to sell all kinds of digital download

  • Send Owl: Complex digital download app that supports expiring links, auto-generated license keys, and other features

  • Single Music: Ideal app for musicians to sell their music with the option for buyers to preview audio snippets before purchasing

Digital downloads may not be traditional and tangible products, but creating and selling them online can help you generate revenue for a side hustle or business.



5. Flip Tangible Items Online

Have you ever cleaned your room and found items that you don’t use anymore? Or have you ever sorted through your closet and found clothing that does not fit you? While donating or throwing away some items will clear up space, many items can be sold online for a profit. As Yotam Ottolenghi said, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.


All you need to do to sell your old items online is a smartphone with a decent camera. Simply take photos of the item you’d like to sell, join a selling platform, and list your item. Popular selling platforms include:


  • eBay: Platform for any item with a 10% final value fee in most categories

  • Mercari: Platform supporting many categories with a fee of 10% of the sale price, plus an additional transaction fee of 2.9% plus $0.30

  • Poshmark: Platform for clothing and accessories with a flat rate fee of $2.95 for items under $15 and 20% of the product sale for orders of $15 or more

  • LetGo: Platform supporting numerous categories with no seller or buyer fees


Selling your old belongings online is a relatively quick and easy way to make money online; however, you probably don’t have an infinite supply of personal belongings to flip. You may want to try selling things online for your family and friends by offering to take a commission from the sale. For example, when your parents get a new phone, you could offer to sell their old one for them online and take a commission from the sale. If you’re lucky, your relatives may give you items for free to declutter and allow you to keep all the profit!



6. Flip Gaming Assets Online

Gaming is a multibillion-dollar industry, and it is not just major gaming companies that can enjoy a slice of the pie. While you may not be able to develop your own complex game yet, you can make money by flipping gaming assets within existing games.


Many games allow users to sell and trade digital items within the game and in some instances, in-game virtual goods within the game can be sold or transferred to another player for real money.


In addition to selling virtual items, there is also a lot of money to be made in trading and selling gaming accounts, particularly in mobile gaming. Mobile gaming is on the rise, and smartphone gaming revenue was estimated at over 63 billion dollars in 2020. Mobile gaming is rising in popularity due to its low entry barrier; there is no need to invest in an expensive gaming PC or console when you can use the smartphone that you already own.


Big-name games are moving across to the mobile platform including Call of Duty, Player Unknown’s Battleground (PUBG), and Minecraft. As you play many of these mobile games, you rank up within the game and earn achievements. Most games also have the option to open paid crates to win rare skins and items within the game. Once an account has achievements or rare items, the value of the account increases.



Accounts can be bought and sold on various websites or by independent brokers. Tyagi, a PUBG Mobile enthusiast, started flipping PUBG Mobile accounts two years ago in his teens. What started out as a casual hobby for Tyagi has now turned into a lucrative side hustle.


Tyagi started a Telegram channel that now has over two and a half thousand members who are interested in buying and selling PUBG Mobile accounts. In this private channel, Tyagi connects interested buyers and sellers. Gamers send Tyagi their accounts and negotiate their selling price, and then he shows the details to his clients and private group, and buyers can contact him to make an offer. Tyagi then purchases the account from the seller and flips it to another buyer for a markup.


According to Tyagi, he gets around $35 for an average PUBG Mobile account and significantly more for accounts with rare items or high achievements. Tyagis’ largest sale of a PUBG Mobile account was for $6097.


While playing on accounts to level them up may not be worth your time, flipping gaming accounts and connecting sellers to buyers is a service with increasing demand. When doing this, avoid scams and the black market for accounts and hacks.




7. Retail Arbitrage

Retail arbitrage is similar to flipping your old personal belongings online, but instead of using your own belongings, you flip items that you buy at a store. Retail arbitrage is a relatively simple concept: you go to a store and purchase items at a low or discounted price, then you list them online for a higher amount, thus making a profit. While this is usually not an effective way to scale a business due to the lack of consistent inventory, it is a great side hustle to earn extra cash.


Local thrift stores primarily have secondhand items, but many thrift stores also have brand new items that are still in packaging which were donated. In addition to thrifting, you can check the discount section in big box retail stores like Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and more.


Reselling your items on eBay is somewhat straightforward: you list the item on your eBay account using either stock images or images that you take. But how do you know if that item will sell? The easiest way to predict whether an item will sell on eBay is to look up the item on eBay and apply the “sold items” filter. This will filter out the search results and only show items that have been sold on eBay.


While it is important to also look at the active competitor listings, the list of “sold items” will show you how often and recently the item has sold, along with how much the item is sold for. You can use this list to predict whether the item will sell and how much you will get. However, remember to take the eBay fees and the cost of the item after sales taxes into account when estimating your potential profit.



Selling your items on Amazon is a little more involved and you need to be at least 18 years old to open an Amazon seller account. If you are under 18, consider talking to a parent or guardian willing to partner with you for your retail arbitrage venture. Unlike an eBay account, you cannot sell and buy on the same account; even if you already have a buyer account on Amazon, you will need to apply for a separate seller account.


Once you have your seller account set up, you will have access to Amazon’s FBA Revenue Calculator that will be crucial in turning a profit in retail arbitrage. When you go to the store, you can scan the item barcode on your seller app to get information about the item on Amazon. Once you scan the barcode, Amazon will show you how much the item is selling for and what the FBA fee is for the item. You can then input the item cost into Amazon’s Revenue Calculator and compare the profit breakdowns for the merchant fulfilled option versus Amazon fulfilled options.


Items that are sold through FBA on Amazon tend to do well because they have free two-day shipping for Prime members. FBA means “fulfilled by Amazon” and is one of the selling options on the platform. In comparison to merchant fulfilled in which you ship the product once it sells, FBA entails labeling the item with the correct label and then shipping it to an Amazon warehouse.


Once the item is sold, Amazon will fulfill it from their warehouse and take an FBA fee. In order to do FBA, you will need access to a label printer and will need to factor in the cost of shipping items to Amazon when calculating your profits. Shipping multiple items at once to Amazon will decrease the shipping cost per item.


Retail arbitrage is a great way to make money on the side and can also be a useful stepping stone into opening an Amazon-based business as you get comfortable and familiar with the selling side of the platform.


For more information on retail arbitrage, be sure to check out: Retail Arbitrage: An Easy Way to Earn Fast Money



8. Create and Grow a Social Media Page

According to a survey conducted by Statica in 2018, 27% of teenagers reported that they check their social media hourly. Social media is free to set up, easy to use, and exposes you to customers who are already spending time on the platforms.


Dominque, an 18-year-old entrepreneur in Maryland, started her jewelry brand when she was 17. Instead of getting a traditional job during the pandemic and risking the health of herself and her family, she created a social media page for her brand, Belle Accessories. Dominique sells her handmade beaded bracelets, anklets, rings, and waist beads through her Instagram page. She posts her creations to her page, and her followers can contact her to purchase an item shown in her feed or request a custom product.


If used correctly, social media can become a powerful asset for getting sales and growing your business. Here are some helpful tips for selling a product on Instagram:

  • Use relevant hashtags on your posts so potential customers and followers can discover your page and products.

  • Create and post engaging Instagram content that encourages your followers to interact with your post. Posts with high engagement are more likely to be shown to potential followers.

  • Create fun quizzes, Q&As, and activities for your followers to complete and share on their stories. If you have more people sharing your content, you are more likely to be discovered.

  • Utilize the statistics of your posts to strategize what to do next. If a particular style of posting leads to sales or impressions, consider creating similar posts in the future.


In addition to selling exclusively on social media, you can also build your own website down the line, and link/tag your products in your social media posts. When you tag a product on Instagram that is linked to your website, the customer will be able to click on the product and be redirected to your website to make a purchase.




9. Create A Monetized Blog

If you enjoy writing and have a passion for a hobby or niche, a great way to monetize it is by creating a blog that contains affiliate marketing and advertisements. First, you will need to pick a hobby or niche to center your blog content on. Picking a niche will allow you to grow an audience of readers who are interested in your content. After you have picked your niche, come up with a catchy name that represents you and that your readers will resonate with. Once you have your name and niche down, you can use one of the following platforms to build your blog:

Many platforms will include their own name in your URL; purchasing your .com domain or relevant domain extension will help your blog stand out and appear more professional. Owning your own domain can range from $2 to $20 per year, depending on the domain name, extension, and host.


Once you start writing blog content, try to work a few affiliate links into your article naturally. Affiliate marketing is the process by which an individual promotes a product or service and is paid a commission when their marketing actions lead to a sale.


Unrelated affiliate links can deter reads, but relevant affiliate links can add value to the article if they are properly presented. For example, a travel blogger could create an honest blog post listing their top five travel essentials.


If any of the top five items written about are available on Amazon, the Blogger could include affiliate links to the mentioned products. If the customer is interested in the products you write about, they can click your affiliate link to check it out.


The Amazon Affiliate program allows you to create and use custom links to items. Once someone clicks on your link, the cookies (tracking data) will remain active for 24 hours. This means that if someone clicks on your favorite luggage suggestion for your travel blog, you will still get a commission if the reader purchases an unrelated product within the 24-hour window.


In addition to Amazon, many niche brands have affiliate programs and partnerships that creators can take advantage of. However, using too many obvious affiliate links or pushing unrelated links may drive your reads away, so proceed with caution when using affiliate links and creatively work them into your articles.


For more information, check out: "How to Make Money Blogging - A Beginners Guide."



10. Create, Grow, and Monetize a Private Community

Creating and building a successful private community is a lengthy process, yet it can be worth the time and effort once you gain a large and active audience of loyal members. Niche interest groups are among the best kinds of private communities because they bring people together who share a common interest.


Discord is a great place to start and grow a private niche community that can eventually be used to generate income. Discord is a platform that allows you to create or join servers to communicate and share content with the other members of that server.


Creating a Discord server is relatively simple, and you can learn how to do it by watching tutorials and reading articles. Each server has multiple channels where users can share photos and memes, type messages, or participate in voice chats with each other.


Once your Discord server is growing and is active, you can start implementing strategies to monetize your server. You can monetize your server by charging individuals and companies to place advertisements in designated advertising channels, creating private paid channels for patrons, getting sponsorships from relevant businesses, or running paid competitions. In addition, you can use your Discord server to direct the members to relevant affiliate links or paid content.


When monetizing your server, ensure that all monetization options are relevant to your specific niche, or you will be at risk of losing members. For example, advertising gardening supplies on a gaming server would not be the smartest move.



11. Take Surveys

Most paid survey sites require that their members are at least 18 years old but we've found a few that will accept members who are 13 and older. Some of these sites pay in gift cards while others may pay in cash sent to a PayPal account. The required tasks may vary a bit as well. Some sites will simply pay you to watch a video and then give your opinion. Other sites may ask that you try a product. Almost all of them will allow you to complete marketing surveys.


Some sites even include cash bonuses just for signing up.


While it is true that you only earn a few dollars each time you take a survey, they usually only take minutes to complete and most sites allow you to take as many as you want.


Here is a list of the paid survey sites that accept people under the age of 18:


Sign-up bonus: None

Average Payout: $1.00 - $3.00

Cash-Out Options: Redeem points for gift cards and cash payouts via PayPal.

Eligibility: 16 Years of age, resident of US, Canada, or Australia

Referral Rewards: No

Other advantages: Multiple ways to participate


Sign-up bonus: Earn a $5 bonus when you sign up

Average Payout: $0.40 - $2.00

Cash-Out Options: PayPal & Gift cards ranging from $5 to $25, Redeem points for gift cards to top retailers

Eligibility: 13 Years of age

Referral Rewards: No

Other advantages: A wider variety of ways to earn


Sign-up bonus: Earn $10 in points when you sign up

Average Payout: $2.00 - $3.00

Cash-Out Options: Redeem points for gift cards and more.

Eligibility: 13 Years of age

Referral Rewards: No

Other advantages: Earn points by shopping at your favorite store. Get 40% back on every purchase. Be alerted to point-earning opportunities. Receive coupon codes to your favorite online store


Sign-up bonus: None

Average Payout: $1.00 - $3.50

Cash-Out Options: Earn gift cards from companies you choose

Eligibility: 13 Years of age

Referral Rewards: No

Other advantages: Choose how you engage with brands


Sign-up bonus: None

Average Payout: $1.50 - $3.50

Cash-Out Options: Earn cash for trying new products, taking surveys, watching videos, & more

Eligibility: 13 Years of age

Referral Rewards: Share Ysense with your friends and earn 30% of what they make

Other advantages: Multiple earning opportunities



12. Rent Out Your Computer's Processing Power


Did you know that your computer can function as a money-making tool? Many individuals and companies are looking for extra processing power to carry out tasks usually related to research or big data analysis.


The concept of having people' rent out' their hardware's computing power is called distributed computing.


Simply put, you only need to leave your computer running to earn money.


You don't need to perform any research or data-related tasks at all. In other words, it's all about renting out your PC's CPU to individuals or companies in need. While this will not help you get rich, it allows you to have an additional income stream to supplement your budget and clear off some bills.


You can earn passive income with the help of a distributed computing platform, your computer, and an internet connection.


Here are some platforms you can look up if you are interested in learning more about this concept:


Practice Proper Internet Safety

Now that you know how to make money online, you need to ensure that you are safe on the internet as you peruse your side hustle and make money. Always be wary of potential scams and try only to use trusted and secure websites. In addition, you may want to set up a new email address that does not contain your full name and is not linked to your social media accounts.


Follow these guides to make your own money online, add in your own innovations and creativity, and start building your successful side hustle!




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