For the teens who want to make serious money, the only limits are their own imagination and initiative — though sometimes that pesky fact of being underage can get in the way.
There are plenty of online opportunities for teens to earn money beyond begging mom and dad for spare change every weekend. Energetic teens with mad tech skills can become productive entrepreneurs. And it doesn’t have to be a big business to produce big bucks.
Is there a budding Annie Leibovitz in your house? Selling photography on stock photo sites is one way for your photo maven to generate some extra bucks. Good, high-quality images are always in demand and teens can earn money every time their image is downloaded. What’s nice is that, if accepted as a contributing photographer, your teen’s work can sell while they’re sleeping and in school for years to come. Be aware that some sites allow you to upload work immediately, while others require a rigorous entry process.
Know this: Some sites allow the photographer to retain copyright of their images and some are also non-exclusive, meaning the photos can be sold elsewhere. Look closely at the percentage made on each sale — every photo site keeps a portion of the revenue. Typically contributors must be of age so review user agreements carefully. If your young teen is talented enough but can’t participate in a stock photo site, perhaps there is another outlet for their photography, like creating their own online portfolio/website or showcasing their work through community marketing opportunities.
If your teen is known in her circle of friends for making amazing collages, knitting like a superstar, creating one-of-a-kind jewelry or designing all of her friends’ prom gowns, Etsy may be the outlet to earn her some serious cash. Consider this an ideal opportunity for your child to learn about running a small business, from writing her own ads and sales copy to setting reasonable purchase prices, dealing with shipping and managing payments.
Know this: Etsy does allow a person to hold an account and involve someone under the age of 18. Their language is as follows: “When using Etsy, those under 18 must, at all times, have the permission and supervision of a parent or legal guardian who is at least 18 years of age.”
Eric took a class in 10th grade that resulted in his setting up a small video production business that still — over six years later — brings in a few hundred dollars a year. His knack for filming, lighting, sound, editing and overall production began with his taping of a local recital and from there, word of mouth has earned him gig after gig. He’s enjoyed every minute of the experience, and learned valuable business skills along the way.
After borrowing equipment at first, he finally had to invest in his own, and figure out the best way to make that happen affordably. He had to borrow some funds up front (thanks mom and dad!) but learned the art of budgeting, ultimately paying them back, paying for his software and hardware and now it’s all profit unless specific materials are needed for individual jobs. “I've used only the profits from previous jobs to upgrade my equipment, keeping the business separate from my own pocket,” he shares.
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