Unique ways for kids to make money

“Get a paper route. Build a lemonade stand. Mow lawns. Host a car wash. Carry groceries for your elderly neighbors.” Most of us old people can think of dozens of ways kids can make money off the top of our head. Most of these involve things that we tried as kids, probably when our parents or grandparents told us how to make money.

Ways for Kids to Make Money - Lemonade Stand

Image: Flickr | Rochelle Hartman

However, just as the job market has changed for us adults, it has changed for kids as well. Nobody reads the newspaper. Unless a lemonade stand has a drive-thru that accepts Venmo and sells Skinny Mocha Lattes, they won’t make the same kind of money as we remember making back in the day. Neighbors can get their groceries delivered to their doorstep within an hour or two of delivering. So this begs the question…which time-tested kids jobs are still legit? To understand how to make money, kids need to think outside the lemonade stand and understand all of the options that they have to make extra money.

Ways for kids to make money

Thanks to the internet, smart phones, and kids who know how to use them, there are a lot more ways for kids to make money than before. There are also still some great ways to make money without sitting in front of a screen that can teach kids important life lessons. Lessons like “how to talk to people” and “how to help your neighbors.” I have put together a list of unique ways for kids to make money that are all viable options for children of any age. For this list, I threw out jobs that involve driving a car or using apps that require an age limit over 16, but in the future, I’ll publish a guide for teenagers and children over 18 as well. Without further ado, here is my heavily researched and narrowed down list of how to make money as a kid.

Unique Kids Jobs

Get ready to get out there and get to work!

How to make money as a kid online or with apps

Get paid to write – One of the coolest opportunities that the internet has opened up is that anyone can be an author. As a blogger with no formal training in journalism, I am well aware of this. This opportunity is not just limited to adults. Create your own blog or submit posts to other blogs, magazines, newspapers, online journals. Over time, you will start to build a reputation for your good writing and could make good money, even as a kid. Even if you aren’t tech-savvy, you can offer your services to other blogs and make extra money by writing for them or posting on social media. To get a start, you can go online and find websites that talk about things that you are interested in and offer to guest post. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can start to earn money.

Craiglist gigs – The “gigs” section of Craigslist, like the rest of the site has some weird stuff. However, there are also a lot of legitimate opportunities for kids to make money. Obviously be sure that you take the time to help your kid tell the difference between a good job and a bad one. You can find a lot of the usual ways to earn extra money like labor gigs, hauling, yard work, and many other services.

Do quick tasks on Fiverr – Fiverr has changed the equation of how to make money as a kid. You can literally post any task that you would do for $5 or $10 and people will pay you for your services. While $5 or $10 is a great start, there is even more money to be made by offering premium services or up-sells after you have done great work for customers. It doesn’t really matter what you are an expert at, but if you can do something well, start offering your services to make small chunks of extra money. While the typical Fiverr task is $5-$10, you may be able to make more depending on what you are selling and how many clients you can earn.

Earn easy money with Swagbucks– The site is open to anyone over 13 and offers a lot of ways to make money from home. While no individual activity pays a lot, you can easily make a few bucks a day doing things like watching videos, answering surveys, playing games or even searching the web. They pay out through Paypal or gift cards and offer a great way to make between $20 and $100 per month or more.

Sell your crafts on Etsy – Etsy is an awesome marketplace for anyone creative or crafty. By setting up a store with as little as one creative product, kids can start making good money. Etsy is another site that requires users to be at least 13 years of age and have a parent that manages the account with them. This is one of the highest potential ways kids can make a lot of money, because if an idea takes off, it can become a full-fledged business.

Sell things on OfferUp – Start with the stuff that you have laying around the house. Then, find things that you can sell for a profit. The possibilities are pretty much endless with this one. There are, however, a couple things to look out for with OfferUp. It usually requires in person meetings for transactions, so always be safe and have a parent present. Also, the site is intended for users over 13 and even they must have a parent agree to the terms and conditions for them.

Make money off your social media profiles – “Influencer marketing” has become a huge trend for businesses. This can include kids. If you have built a social following on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat, companies will be willing to pay for you to talk about them. If you have a following, but aren’t sure where to start, companies like IZEA can get you some exposure to brands. Like anything on the internet or with social media, make sure that you use good judgment and only partner with brands that you trust. If they don’t earn money at first, don’t be surprised. The idea is to build the skills and following that will eventually help them while also understanding the technology and having fun.

Create or edit videos – With some simple software like iMovie, kids can shoot, create and edit their own videos, or offer this service to other people for money. Create a YouTube channel and build a following, or find people or companies who are willing to pay for help with simple video projects. A lot of people want this service, so if you know how to do it and can find these people, this can be a great way to earn money.

Become a Photographer – Taking photos and selling them to stock photography sites for reuse is a great way to make money over time. With apps like Foap, kids can make money by selling photos, even those taken with a camera phone. While selling them online won’t immediately pay them that well, it can give a kid valuable practice to be able to land photography gigs in the future. There are thousands of people every day who need photos for their own projects, so even if you don’t see them selling at first, know that even old photos could start to gain traction a couple years later.

Make money as a kid by taking photos
Even kids can make money as photographers

Build a website – I’m obviously a bit partial to blogging, but there are thousands of ways to make money by building your own website. Selling products, affiliate marketing, banner ads and other tactics can turn a simple website into a money maker. The best part of building a website is that there are no age requirements and you need to leave the house to get started. This is another skill that can certainly earn money, but will also be valuable to learn, regardless of what business they want to get into in the future.

Kids jobs

While many jobs for kids will have age requirements, there are some jobs out there that allow younger employees than others. Many businesses (especially smaller ones) will hire children as long as they have parental consent or agreement. We are not saying to go out and get a full time job as a kid, but there are a few part time jobs that are great for young people.

Become a Lifeguard – This is a perfect summer job for a kid or teenager. Most lifeguard jobs require a CPR class and passing a physical test. Once you get past that, the hours are great, you get to be out in the sun and will typically be spending your time at a pool, lake or beach.

Coach Sports – There are a number of ways to go about getting a coaching job as a kid. You could get hired by a school, camp, or club team. You could also become a private coach for younger children who want to get to your skill level. There are also a number of youth centers or clubs that will bring on kids as helpers or part time employees to help out coaching. This is great for kids who already have a skill or interest in a sport and want to spend more time doing it while making money. Not only is it a good job, but it’s fun and can help them hone their skills in a particular sport.

Referee Games – Along those same lines, many youth sports organizations need to hire children to help with refereeing duties. This can include being a linesman, scorekeeper, or assistant to a head referee, or simply being the main referee for games or camps. It usually takes some training, so it’s not the best way to make money fast, but once you become a referee, leagues usually want kids to ref multiple games in a row, so they can make a lot of money in a day.

Golf Caddie – Getting a job as a caddie at a prestigious country club may be a tall order. However, reaching out to smaller courses, friends and family or even placing an ad to see if anyone needs a caddie will likely yield at least a few paid rounds. Offering your services for just tips or even a few bucks per hour is a great way to get started. This is a great job to build up a client base that can grow over time, because most of your clients will keep golfing.

Door Hanger Service – This is another job that can be done through a company or on your own. Tons of companies want to spread the word through advertising and that often includes dropping off hangers on doors, leaving postcards on car windshields, or handing out flyers in populated areas. There are many door hanger companies that offer this type of service and many will hire young people. Or you can reach out directly to companies that you know do a fair amount of advertising and tell them how you can help them get the word out about their brand.

Ways for kids to make money around the neighborhood

Tutor a younger kid – Finding younger students who need help with a certain subject is a great way to earn some easy money as a kid. You don’t even have to be the smartest kid in school. As long as you know the subject well enough to teach a kid that is a few grades behind you, you are good to go!

Offer photography services – I mentioned this one in the online section, but there are also ways to make money taking photographs without the internet. Reach out to neighbors, friends and family. Ask if they would be interested in having you set up a photo booth at an upcoming party. See if they would like a Christmas card photo taken or a newborn baby shoot. Your prices will be way better than professional photography companies and you can make good money for a quick photo shoot.

Working events or parties – Beyond photography, there are a lot of ways for kids to make money by helping with events or parties. If a neighbor is having an event soon, offer to help them set up, clean up, pass hors d’oeuvres, serve food, do dishes, or be the entertainment (DJ or play an instrument). It takes a lot of work to put on a party, so many neighbors will gladly shell out a few bucks for some help.

Dog walking and dog sitting – There are a few ways that you can get dog walking gigs. There are tons of ways to search online and find them, but if you want to stick closer to your neighborhood, do a little bit of research. Find out who has pets in the neighborhood. Find out if they leave them at home all day. Ask when they are heading out on vacation. Then, put together a pricing package and make the offer. You will be surprised how much money a kid can make when you start doing this on a recurring basis, especially if you walk dogs for multiple neighbors.

House sitting and cleaning – Similar to dog walking, you can put together a package or charge hourly. Ask your whole neighborhood and you’ll probably end up with at least a house or two. If you are having trouble closing a cleaning deal, offer to clean one room for free to demonstrate your expertise. This is one of the best ways kids can make money fast because there is really no barrier to entry. It might be good for a parent to help them at first so they can learn the techniques and make sure they are doing it right before diving all the way into the cleaning business.

Do some lawn/yard/outside work – This is another really good recurring way to make money as a kid around the neighborhood. Mowing lawns, gardening, pulling weeds, sweeping, or doing other lawn work during the summer and shoveling snow in the winter is a perfect combo.

Recycle Cans – Okay, this might be one of the old fashioned ideas that your grandparents tell you about, but it still works. Find a local recycling center that pays for cans, then start asking your neighbors if they would be willing to part with theirs. Offer to pick them up each week. Their garbage or recycling bins will be less full and you’ll have some cash in no time.

Sell bottled water – On hot days or any time there is an event, grab a cooler and a few dozen water bottles. Head outdoors and sell bottles for whatever price the market will accept. Spectator events, sports games at local schools, even garage sales are a great opportunity for this. Make sure that if you are selling in a public place, that you don’t have to have any type of permit or business license. You can usually find this information online.

Host a garage sale – Nothing is better than removing items from your house while making money. Kids can organize a garage sale for their own family, multiple houses, or the whole neighborhood. It’s fun to see kids earn money and also start to understand the concept of getting rid of old items that they may not use anymore.

Help people move – You don’t have to be hulking around a couch to add some value to neighbors who are moving. Help pack boxes, clean up after they move or take care of pets during the moving process. Everyone hates moving and everyone always needs help. Charging a few dollars for your time is a great way to help a neighbor and make some money.

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Tips and Tricks for kids to make money

Chances are that you have found at least one or two things on this list that you (or your child) can to to make some money. But, before you go out and start building your empire, here are a few helpful tips and tricks:

  • Build your network – It is something that adults hear all of the time, but kids don’t often focus on. However, getting to know neighbors, parents of friends, and other people around your community is a great way to find new opportunities for a kid to make money. This is the fastest way for a kid to start making money, but will also pay off in the long run as they develop valuable skills like relationship building, selling, and many other skills that will serve them for years to come.
  • Reach out to friends and neighbors – One of the best places to start is always right on your own block. Even if you aren’t interested in doing yard work or chores, getting word out about what you are working on will almost always lead to good things. Maybe there is someone that can help you with a website. Maybe they know a cheaper place to get materials. Maybe they can get you that job that you’ve been looking for. If nothing else, you’ll know your neighbors and get hooked up when you trick-or-treat.
  • Keep track of your earnings – Log the time that you spend and keep track of the money you make. This will help you to determine which jobs, neighbors, or activities are the most profitable ones for you. Over time, you can use this to build up your hourly or weekly earnings. Keep in mind that if you are offering a service, you should know how much you make per hour, even if your job doesn’t necessarily pay that way. Take a little bit of time and run your efforts like a business. If nothing else, you just may learn something.
  • Put your money to work for you – Part of the fun of being a kid is saving up money for those big purchases that you have always wanted. I encourage that. But at the same time, if you are starting to save some cash, don’t be afraid to think of ways to turn that into more money. Investing in more products to sell, better equipment for your yard work, or advertising to get more customers are never bad ideas to help you put a few extra bucks toward that next big purchase at the end of the summer.

For parents, be sure to keep a few things in mind before you send your kid out there.

  • Always consider safety first – going out into the world to interact with strangers (including online) always presents risk. Be sure to have a good idea of where your kid is going, what type of people they will encounter, and what the laws and liabilities are around whatever service they are providing. The last thing that you want is to send them out to teach them about business, and have a negative experience in any way.
  • Favor jobs where a kid can learn something while they try to make extra money. Yes, it’s great to get paid. But there is a difference between starting and growing a business versus just putting in work at a car wash. There is nothing wrong with any of the ways kids can make money, but if an opportunity comes up where a young person can also learn business, customer service, finances, or other life skills, parents shouldn’t pass that up.
  • Kids don’t need to make money for everything they do. Many of the life and business skills that I just mentioned can also be learned by volunteering, becoming part of organizations, or even coming up with ideas for businesses that never happen. A kid can probably learn just as much from helping their parents, neighbors or other people as they can trying to earn money.
  • Let them fail. Sometimes, as parents, we need to let our children learn lessons the hard way. Creating an online business that makes $0.01 per hour, creating a product that isn’t selling, doing work for a client who doesn’t pay, having to deal with customer service blunders and similarly painful experiences are things that will probably happen in their future work life. It’s okay if something doesn’t work out or make a lot of money. This is one of the ways kids can learn and see what it’s like to run a business or work for other people. To learn these lessons and make mistakes can be as important as the ability to earn money outside the home.

At what age should you teach your child to earn money?

Depending on the age of a child, parents may need to give them ideas to start making money at home first. Even if this is just putting together a list of chores, helping them sell their old stuff, or teaching them to mow the lawn, it’s best for them to learn at home first. As they get an idea for how this is going to go, you can let them work their way out to providing services for neighbors or other parents you know. Typically when kids get to around 12 years old, they can start to get out around the neighborhood and try to sell their services, though some parents may start younger.

I hope that this list of how to make money for kids has helped to provide you with at least one or two ideas. As you or your child go out there and start earning, feel free to come back and leave comments about what works for you or any other tips or tricks.

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