make money

make money

The job market can be a difficult place for a teenager. But with a bit of perseverance and ingenuity, you can find some ways to make money. You can exercise your options with employers known to hire teenagers. Or you can think about ways you can become some kind of self-employed service provider or aspiring entrepreneur offering your own goods or services. Whether you want to work as a summer lifeguard or start your horticulture business, you should first explore your options to make sure you find something that’s a good fit for you.

Odd jobs

Babysit friends and family.

One of the best ways for teens to make money is through babysitting. If you are responsible and like children, give it a try. Ask family friends who have children if they need help with childcare and build a customer base.
  • You can take a certified cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid course first, so your new employers will feel safe trusting you with their children. With the DRK, the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund or the Johanniter you can usually take free or inexpensive courses.
  • If you’re new to childcare and your new clients are concerned, ask them for a trial period. The first few times you can babysit when a parent is at home and can monitor you.

Do gardening. 

Many people are too busy to do basic yard work but don’t want their property to look unkempt or neglected. These people are often willing to pay someone to mow their lawns, rake leaves, or trim their hedges. This is especially true if you can hire a neighborhood teenager or family friend. Ask friends and family if they need help. If this doesn’t keep you busy, put up some notices around the neighborhood offering your services.

  • In the winter, you can dig driveways and sidewalks for people in the neighborhood to use.
  • You can also team up with friends or family members to do various gardening and maintenance jobs. You then have to share your income, but get the work done faster.

Do household chores. 

As a family member, you should already take on tasks to keep the household in good shape. However, you can ask your parents to give you extra work for a reasonable fee. Your parents probably already have many tasks and worries in everyday life, so they will appreciate your help. You can negotiate your pay, for example by charging half what a professional would charge.

  • Some experts recommend that both parents and teens benefit from negotiating performance-based pay. For example, you could agree on 20 euros if you clean the garage and gutter. If you do your job super well, you could agree on a higher payment of 30 or 40 euros. This plan will incentivize your work and you will learn a better work ethic.

Run errands for the elderly. 

Many older citizens are not as mobile or dexterous as they used to be, making some everyday tasks difficult for them. If you know such people in your area, ask them if you can help them with their grocery shopping, moving furniture, fixing computer problems, or watering flowers. However, both sides should be clear about the payment from the start. You don’t want to work thinking you’re getting paid while the other person thinks you’re doing it out of sheer courtesy and kindness.

  • For example, if your grandparents host a bridge night every week, you can ask them if you can come to the next meeting to offer your services to the friends. Your grandparents could prime them that you want to make some money and you can make a sales pitch when everyone is together.

Walk dogs in your neighborhood. 

Most people like to walk their dog, but often don’t have enough time during the day. However, they still want their dog to be happy, so they are willing to pay someone to walk them and run around. So if you like dogs and have a lot of energy, then monetize your interests and enthusiasm.

  • Becoming a part-time dog handler is now easier than ever. Because there are apps for so-called mini-jobs, e.g. App-Jobber or Streetspotr, where needy customers and dog walkers can connect directly. 

Give tutoring.

If you’re doing particularly well in school, you could consider providing paid tutoring if your school allows it. You may not be allowed to advertise or teach on school property. That doesn’t mean you can’t work privately with other students in the public library or in your or their homes.

  • You can also register for online services such as Studienkreis or Studentenring, which bring students and tutors into contact. Some of these sites require you to have a college degree, while others are more flexible in terms of requirements. 
  • Don’t give up on this idea just because you’re not a spiritual high achiever! If you’re very good at sports, play an instrument, or have craft skills, you can still tutor and get paid.

Promote your service. 

Whatever odd job you choose, to make money you need to promote yourself! You can place a low-cost ad in a newspaper or hand out a few flyers. However, it is easier and often free to advertise online. You can place ads on Indeed, My City, or Kalaydo, or you can promote your business on your social media and feeds. You might be surprised how many people around you need help around the house or offer odd jobs. Put out your feelers and see what happens.

  • If you’ve got your business off the ground and it’s up and running, you can also create a dedicated social media account for it – just like other small business owners do. 
  • As always, you must be extra careful when advertising or working online. Your parents should know what you’re doing and they should be okay with your advertising and the forums you’re on. For example, if you advertise on Instagram and Facebook, then your parents should know about both social media portals and help you use them. They should also accompany you when you are mowing the lawn or babysitting somewhere for the first time.

Earn money online

Sell ​​photos to agencies. 

If you have a decent camera and know how to compose pictures, take photos and sell them online to an agency. You usually don’t get much for a photo, but remember that you’ll also learn a useful skill and a relaxing hobby. On top of that, if you put in a lot of time and practice, you can end up earning quite a bit.

  • There are quite a lot of photo agencies that buy photos online. So don’t give up if you get rejected by the first agency. Companies like Shutterstock, Fotolalia and Istockphoto are among the biggest buyers. But you can also turn to smaller, finer agencies if you have become good enough. 

You can also try mobile apps that pay you for completing tasks.

 If you have a smartphone, there are plenty of apps that put you in touch with local companies or people who will give small jobs for money. Not all jobs pay very well. Most of the time, however, the tasks are simple, for example, you may be asked to take a picture of yourself at a certain location for a company or market research company for a fee. You can see such a task as a little adventure or as a kind of scavenger hunt. AppJobber, Streetspotr or Roamler are such apps. But there are a few more you can try. However, make sure these programs allow teens before signing up.

Do online polls. 

Market research is very important for large companies and online paid survey services are often used for this purpose. Most surveys are quick and easy, and you can do them from the comfort of your own home. Take the time to look for reliable sites or sites that don’t charge a sign-up fee and accept teenagers. 

  • Answering these surveys is not particularly lucrative. In Germany, for example, you get between 0.50 and 12 euros per survey. But the work is simple and reliable.
  • You can also become a participant in a focus group in market research. The groups meet in person. The payment varies between 10 and 30 euros in Germany. 

Start a YouTube channel. 

You can make money uploading videos to free services because they place ads before and during popular content. While there are millions of users and competing channels, don’t get discouraged until you try it. Many of the most successful YouTubers started out as teenagers looking to make a few bucks while having fun. However, you should inform your parents about the content you intend to publish. They should also help you deal with comments so you don’t put yourself in danger. 

  • While fashion and video game channels are a staple of many YouTube channels, you don’t have to limit yourself to those areas. If you enjoy playing pranks on your family members, or doing nonsense or comedy in the living room, film yourself and upload the video to your channel. You can also start a book club or fan group on YouTube and discuss your favorite books, movies, or music there.
  • To start, you can use your laptop’s webcam and normal lighting. But if you want to produce more quality and value, then you’ll probably need to invest in a better camera, better editing software, and professional lighting.

Participate in local studies. 

Many universities and pharmaceutical companies pay people to take part in studies or clinical tests. Some of these studies last only one afternoon, others require longer-term participation. Therefore, you should know all the conditions and requirements in advance.

  • To find current studies and apply, search classifieds online and official university and hospital sites. 
  • Many clinical tests do not allow teenagers to participate. However, you may be able to find studies that are specifically looking for teenagers. However, get permission from your parents, as they will need to sign if you are accepted for a study. 

Sell ​​crafts and household items

Organize a junk sale.

If you don’t have anything of value to sell, you probably have things lying around in your house or garage that are just taking up space. Ask your parents if they want to get rid of old stuff and let you collect the money if you do the bulk of the work. If they agree, clear out the closet, attic, or basement, and promote your neighborhood flea market.
  • Even if it seems strange to you, don’t set prices. People often negotiate prices that are significantly higher than what you expect. That’s why you should have a prospective buyer quote a price before you say anything.
  • You can make extra money at a junk sale by offering cheap drinks or snacks. If the weather is nice, you could offer lemonade or soda, with cold tea or mulled wine.

Take old clothes to the thrift shop. 

Charity organizations such as DRK or Caritas accept clothing as donations. However, second-hand shops pay for used clothing. Gather clothing and accessories that you no longer wear and take them to your local thrift store. Your clothes may not be accepted if they are unfashionable or out of order. But then you can still donate them to charity.

  • You should wash the things before offering them to a store. The cleaner and better looking they are, the more likely they will be adopted and the better the price.
  • You’ll get more money at second-hand designer stores if you have stuff like that. However, you only get your money when the items are sold. 

List collectibles or unused items in online classifieds. 

If you have valuable items like collectibles that you want to part with, you can list them on sites like Ebay. Unlike the casual passer-by at a private flea market, on such sites, you will find people who are specifically interested in the things you sell. Therefore, they are probably willing to pay higher prices.

  • The most important thing when offering things online is to show good photos of your goods. Buyers are unlikely to take a chance if they don’t see a high-quality, detailed picture of the item they’re bidding on. That’s why you should photograph your items with a good camera and in good lighting before you offer them. 
  • If you offer things online, you should talk to your parents about security measures beforehand. They should accompany you, for example, when making personal contacts.

Offer crafts.

 If you’re crafty and enjoy art classes, you can make your own and sell them online. You can sell friendship bracelets, beaded jewelry, origami, or screen-printed t-shirts—depending on the equipment and how much money you have to pay for materials upfront. Initially, promote your new shop and craft on your personal social media and spread the word among friends and family.

  • Browse to see your options and what types of crafts are selling well on this site. Doing your research beforehand will save you valuable time and avoid costly mistakes. 
  • At some point, you should be asking twice as much as you put in for materials and production. However, as a beginner, you should start with lower prices to build a customer base. 
  • If you don’t want to fully commit to an online store right away, you could make seasonal crafts for the holidays that are easy to make and require little investment. For example, you could tie mistletoe and/or pine cones into a bundle with ribbons and cheap bells and sell them as decorations. If that works and you enjoy it, then you can think about setting up a more permanent online store.

Get a job in the service industry

Ask at the local grocery store. 

Many supermarkets hire teenagers as store clerks or shelf stockers. With such jobs, you can gain experience that will look good on your CV. You may only earn minimum wage, but you will receive regular and reliable money. Of course, this only applies if you are punctual and reliable. You will probably meet other teenagers at work. But you should be sure that you can be on your feet for several hours. Because work in the warehouse or filling up shelves is physically demanding.

  • If you don’t have a car, the store should be within walking or cycling distance, or your parents or siblings should be willing to drive you there. If you have a car, then you should include the gas money in the calculation of your earnings.

Work as a help in the restaurant. 

Most restaurants require young people to be over 18 to work there. However, some hire teenagers to help with simpler jobs. You’ll likely have less customer contact, but you’ll gain valuable experience in the restaurant industry and sometimes even get a cut of the tips. These jobs are physically demanding as you are on your feet all the time during a shift. If you have physical problems, then you should consider that.

  • There are certain dangers when working in a restaurant. For example, you could slip or burn yourself. Therefore, you should know the safety regulations before you start work and your employer should go through them with you.

Work in a fast-food restaurant.

It’s not the most glamorous job out there, but fast-food restaurants employ a lot of teenagers. The work is mostly quite easy, however, the working environment is quite stressful during the peak business hours. You should also know that some economists and labor lawyers warn against working in fast food. They criticize the lack of benefits, rights, and education as employers take advantage of their young workers. Therefore, you should inform yourself carefully before accepting such a job.

  • As with any restaurant job, there are hazards in the work area that you should be aware of beforehand. You could slip, burn or cut yourself. If you have to wear a headset, it could damage your hearing.

Ask about vacancies in the leisure sector. 

Cinemas, amusement parks, swimming pools, or similar facilities often employ teenagers. If you have such facilities, then you might consider working there. If you want to work as a lifeguard, you need the appropriate training. For many other jobs, however, no previous experience is required.

  • You can also think about seasonal offers, such as holiday camps or haunted houses for Halloween. Teens are often hired for this kind of work and you can expand your circle of friends and probably tell some wild stories afterward.

Tip Summary

  • Dress appropriately for the interview. First impressions matter, and looking smart makes you look responsible and committed.
  • See every job opportunity as more than just a way to make money. With every job and work experience, you learn something valuable that you can use to get better jobs in the future.
  • Notice boards in cafes or grocery stores are good places to hang your flyers. But first check with the owner or senior executives to see if this is allowed.
  • While you can’t rely on it, it’s a fun way to top up your pocket money if you’re picking up freebies or entering sweepstakes. Ask your parents for permission first and then see what happens.

Warning Summary

  • Be especially careful with online surveys. Some are scams where you can get junk email and/or viruses.
  • Also, be careful when using services like PayPal when shopping and selling online. These services charge a percentage of your sales, so you should monitor your accounts closely.
  • You should have permission to sell the selected items. Because you don’t want to sell anything that your parents want to keep. You should also always consider the personal value of an item – even if something is only worth $10 to someone else, it could have sentimental or nostalgic value to you or your family and it could be much higher than $10.
  • Ask where you can hang your flyers. Not every place is allowed to hang up flyers. Otherwise, you could get a ticket for it.