-by Pam Molnar


With today’s economy being what it is, teens are having a hard time finding work. According the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, only 60% of teens were employed last summer compared to 75% in 1983.  Jobs that have traditionally been filled by teenage workers in our society are now being filled by under-employed adults and recent college graduates. If a teenager is without a job during their high school years, where will they get the money to buy a car, save for college or even have a little spending money for a trip to the movie theater? Entrepreneurship is the answer.

As a third generation entrepreneur, I can tell you that starting and maintaining your own business is not easy, nor is it something for everyone. It takes hard work, self-motivation and perseverance. The majority of teen businesses are service oriented and many of the families in your neighborhood can benefit from those services. Take a look at some of these ideas and see if they would be a good fit for your teen.

Pet sitting: Pet sitting involves caring for someone’s pets while they are on vacation or away for the day. A pet sitter will be responsible for giving fresh food and water, walking dogs and cleaning out cat litter boxes. Pet sitters need to be early risers and have the ability to get back and forth to the pet’s home 3 or 4 times each day. Although a pet sitter does not spend the night, he is there to bring in the mail, water plants or take the garbage to the curb.

Tutor: Teens can use their skills to tutor younger kids in a variety of areas. If your teen plays an instrument, he can work with younger students to keep up their skills over the summer and improve their technique throughout the school year. Teens who play sports can share their talents with younger athletes who need to improve their throwing, hitting or dribbling techniques. And of course, academic tutors are needed to help with math, reading, or ACT prep.

Memory Preserver: Busy families tend to collect hard drives full of digital photos, but have no plan or the time to preserve them. Teens can back up files, send out pics for printed photos and put them in albums. Families may also enjoy a video montage of special events like baptisms or their daughter’s basketball tournament. Memory preserver services may also include scanning non-digital photos or converting VHS tapes to DVD.

Summer Nanny: Babysitters are needed for both working and stay at home parents during the summer months. For parents that work out of the home, they need a Mother’s Helper to entertain the children. Working parents that leave the house during the day may need someone to walk or drive their child to the local pool or summer activity. Babysitting is not only for teenage girls. Mothers of boys often look for an older boy who can relate to their sons’ interests.

Power Washer: Often, the wooden structures in the neighborhood could use a cleanup. Power washers are simple to use after you have had proper instruction. Rent one at your local hardware center and offer to wash a neighbor’s deck for free. While he gets a clean deck, you will get a chance to perfect your skills and get a reference on your work. Pass out flyers to homes with wooden decks, fences and play sets.

Online Retailer: An eBay retailer is an awesome job for teens as you can post, pack and ship at any time during the day. Teens can start by selling their own items like books and gently used clothes, and then replenish their inventory with good deals found at thrift shops and garage sales. Craftier teens may enjoy selling their creations on Etsy. Some seller categories include jewelry, photography, art and personalized items.

Yard work: Yard work goes beyond just mowing the lawn. Teens can extend their seasonal business to offer their services year round. Spring is the time to cleanup flower beds and fertilize. Fall is the time for raking leaves, cutting back flowers and planting bulbs for spring. If you live in a northern climate, teens can extend their services to include snow shoveling. Customers with dogs may also need pet waste removed.

Odd Jobs: Odd jobs can mean a variety of things to different customers so it is best to be prepared and know your limitations. Make a list of the things you can do and hand it out to friends and neighbors. Odd jobs may include washing the dog, weeding the garden, painting, sweeping out the garage or helping to serve dinner at a party. Doing odd jobs can be a good match for someone with a busy schedule as many of the jobs can be done in a few hours.

More Online Jobs for Teens

Looking to supplement your earnings with multiple streams of income? Consider increasing your bank account with these online jobs.

Fiverr – Teens (13+) can sell their product or service for $5 ($4 after Fiverr takes their fees). Use your skills to proofread papers, design a logo or provide SEO analysis. Check out what others are doing and set up your own shop easily.

My Survey – Give your opinion and receive points that can be converted to PayPal or gift cards. After filling out the application, emails will be sent to you containing a survey. Answer only the surveys you want to and points will be added to your account. Jobs available for teens 16+.

Swagbucks – Receive points for using this search engine. As teens (13+) are researching for their homework, they can earn points. Convert points for payout in the form of gift cards like Amazon, Starbucks or a variety of gas cards.

Parents: Please read several reviews and search for scams before allowing your teen to sign up for an online job. Never pay for membership to start working for an online business.

Don’t discredit Craiglist jobs

Our next-door neighbor’s son found an online job on Craiglist under the Etcetera category. He filled out an online application (with his mom’s permission) to qualify for a survey of teens and their use of YouTube and Netflix. Every day for 5 days, he answered a series of questions, requiring 30-45 minutes of time each day. He was promised a payment of $250.00 and the chance to qualify for an in-house interview with him and three friends. My son was invited to the interview which took place in the home of our neighbor. The company called me first to get my approval and spoke to my son on speakerphone with me in the room before he attended. He enjoyed the questions which only took about an hour to answer. A few weeks later, a check arrived in the mail for $75. There are legitimate companies that need teen opinions. However, parents should carefully review all online or Craigslist jobs before allowing their child to participate.

This article appears in the September 2018 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
Did you like what you read here?