It’s hard out there. As you go through your teens you realise that money can give you independence but also that you might not always have access to it. Money gets you festivals, clothes, in-game purchases, restaurants, holidays and most of all it means you can be your own person away from the parents.
But how can you earn money as an adolescent? Doing part-time work on top of studies and having a social life can be a killer, especially when the hours are unsociable. As an alternative, it is possible to make some money, and even start your own business, as a side hustle where you can be your own boss and choose when you work. This isn’t a get-rich-quick manual but an alternative way to graft for an honest bit of moolah.
To demonstrate this we’ve picked our top 5 easy teen side hustles and 5 of the most modern ones to inspire you and show you how to start out.
You can earn a few hundred pounds a year if you’re happy to share your opinion on everything from fabric softeners to politics. You can either complete online surveys or join physical focus groups (where you sit in a room to discuss a company’s new product). Companies often find this kind of information incredibly valuable as they understand how to market and develop products for the public. Money Saving Expert claims you can make as much as £800 if you really push it.
A good one if you’re at college and you have some free periods in the day. Many dog owners find themselves struggling to look after their pets during the working week, so could do with someone who walks their pooch for them. The average rate per walk is £11.25 in the UK so 5 walks a week is nearly £60 for the weekend. NextDoor is a good place to advertise your service locally, it could even become its own business if you get enough clients.
This does require you to be relatively keen on a particular academic subject. But if there’s one you excel at and you think you could help then why not advertise your services to the parents of people in the year below. If you’ve just done the exams for that course and got good marks then the revision should still be pretty fresh for you. Why not go over it with those studying for it. You can earn between £15 and £35 an hour depending on experience.
Every weekend, up and down the country people of all ages and professional levels are playing sport, and a large majority need someone to officiate their game. According to the Amateur Football Association a football referee should receive £32 for a men’s game and £35 for a women’s game. So two games a weekend could pay for a Saturday night out or a driving lesson or just put some money in the bank for something big.
You might want to work alongside an experienced gardener for a bit first, because some technical knowledge is required for the more complicated stuff. But weeding patios and mowing lawns can be a good entry point. The average 3 hour garden clearing session is about £80. Again Nextdoor is a good place to get word out.
Most local business owners haven’t grown up with social media and if they run a nail salon or pub, the idea of an Instagram reel or a Twitter live session might seem completely alien. On the other hand if you’re 17 then social media has grown up with you. Talking to businesses and understanding what services they want to promote could get you a gig managing their social channels.
If you have a lot of clothes going spare and want to make a bit of money out of them then platforms like Etsy, Shopify (over 18s only) and Depop make it easy to list them. There’s also more niche platforms like Kidizen (for kids clothing) and Tradesy (for designer clothes). If you know your fashion and build up a rep with the right audience you can have a continual side income as you buy and sell. Holding onto limited items as they sell out elsewhere could mean you can sell them for a bit more too.
Dropshipping is where you act as a third party between a wholesaler and the consumer. You don’t stock the items the consumer purchases but they place the request and then you make the order, taking a share of the money. This can be hard if you’re under 18 as most payment processors will require you to be 18+ and some ecommerce sites too. One reported alternative is to use sites like Spocket that don’t have this in their terms.
Many people don’t have time to research their own keywords and hashtags, whether it’s search engine optimization for blogs (understanding what words and links will make a topic appear higher up in search results) or a brand trying to reach the right audience on social media. You can pick up some ad hoc hustles on Fiverr (which is available to users from 13 and older). You just need to understand what’s trending and what’s relevant to the brand.
This won’t create a steady income straightaway, but can be the start of a longer term business and great for the CV. It’s possible to start seeing some decent money come in if you can make enough items and market them nicely on social media. If you have an interest in upcycling old household items or you’re into knitting or jewellery, then platforms like Instagram can be a great place to showcase your products and your business.
Income tax works the same way whether you’re under or over 18.
This means you don’t pay tax on the first £12,570 you make. But if your business takes off and it looks like you’ll earn over this then the same tax bands will apply:
So it’s worth assessing as you go if you’re going to hit that £12,570 figure. And if you do, first of all congrats, you’ve made a lot of money! But you’ll also have to consider that if you go any higher, 20% will need to be paid to the government.
You’ll need to do your own tax returns, and fill out a self-assessment tax return (which you can read more about here).
Earnr can help, the app tracks your income over the course of the year and can project whether you’ll hit that first band and beyond before you get there. You can check out the app below (you must be over the age of 16 to use it):
Here we look at how to set up an ecommerce business, earn money and (yup) pay tax on what you make.Read more
We've put together a list of our favourite podcasts to help your side hustle. This isn't a definitive list, but a few of our favourites.Read more