When I tell people I’ve been working from home since I was fifteen years old, they’re usually skeptical that I even have “real” work.
“Working from home? That’s probably really laid-back and fun, right?”
The truth is, working from home is, in some respects, harder than working a traditional job. If you make a mistake, you’re probably the only one who can be responsible. Working in relative isolation, there isn’t a huge team, staff, or manager to hide behind, so learning how to own up to your mistakes and grow from them is imperative.
Additionally, learning to work with minimal or no supervision can be a serious challenge for some people. You have to be willing to admit when you don’t know something, work hard to develop a self-starter work ethic that doesn’t require constant supervision for productivity, and be committed to following through with your tasks and responsibilities.
That said, while carrying its own challenges, working from home—whether for yourself or for an employer remotely—is very rewarding and character-building. The flexibility is unmatched, and as more and more jobs are outmoded to online/remote positions, the experience and work ethics learned in this stage provide solid resume bullet points for future employment options.
Forget commuting. Here are ten work-from-home job ideas for your teen to try today.
Ah, the classic job option for teenagers (especially girls) everywhere. One idea is to host parents’ nights out when you can babysit several families’ kids all at your house for a set number of hours. You could set your rate for $5/child (or more), organize games, snacks, and activities for three hours, and if you had ten kids come, you’d be making almost $17/hour.
If someone hires you to do their lawn care, but you don’t really have the equipment for it (or can’t transport equipment), consider negotiating a slightly lower rate if they’ll allow you to use their equipment for the job. You can also market specifically towards families going out of town who may need someone to water plants and cut grass while they’re away. If your teen prefers animals, try pet care!
Depending on their skills and interests, your teen may be perfectly set up to sell at local craft shows, farmer’s markets, door-to-door, or even online. My sisters and I have sold baked goods during the holidays, such as cookies, cookie cakes, and breads. There are excellent markets for crafts and homemade goods, too, depending on your teen’s skills. If you buy all the supplies as the parent, make sure your teen is paying you back out of the profit. Sound business practices are important regardless of age.
Speaking of online options, freelance services are a massive income opportunity in our modern-day. If your teen excels in English as I did, they could get a Chicago Manual of Style and start freelance copyediting. I did this starting from my senior year. While it wasn’t massively lucrative at first, it was a very cool experience, a solid resume bullet point to prove I can produce good work with deadlines. It set me up for success in editing the many papers I had to write for my Bachelor’s in English. Consider scrolling a site like Freelancer.com to check out the options available for different types of work your teenager might be able to start freelancing online.
If your teen is at a place where they demonstrate significant expertise in a certain subject or skill and understand it well enough to communicate about it clearly, tutoring may be a real growing experience—and the money isn’t bad, either. I’ve tutored ESL skills and writing skills remotely; even though remote tutoring is somewhat more difficult without personal interaction, with video chats and pdf files and whiteboards, distance has never been too big of a hurdle to overcome. If your teen is skilled in something like piano or horseback riding, or another skill that is teachable, that’s always a great option, too!
As a homeschooled teenager, all of my favorite blogs and YouTube series were made by other homeschooled teenagers! In this age of technology, the market is actually very open to young creators who want to share what they know, what they love, or what they do with the world. This is probably one of the most dangerous work options on this list, and it can lead to a slippery slope of over-sharing and even social media addiction (as I learned the hard way). BUT: with carefulness and wise guidance, it can be a lucrative business for really anyone at any age.
Finally, as a photographer, I’d be remiss to not plug in the very lucrative and ever-changing market of creative work. Photography is just my personal role in this market, but one of my teenage sisters was hired to illustrate a children’s book a couple of years ago, and I know more than one teenager who has done quite well for themselves in graphic design and app developing. In fact, most of the successful photographers I know started out as teenagers. And yes, despite starting young, they did charge for their work! Sure, your teen may be at a slight disadvantage just having less work in their portfolio and less word-of-mouth advertisement, but if they’re willing to take the jobs they’re offered for the cost of their time (not huge profits), and work hard, the only way to go is up.
And that’s really how it is for all of these jobs. If they don’t work out for your teen, then they’re just back where they are today—maybe, with a little more work experience and some cool bullet points for their resume. But, certainly not worse for the process.
The only way to go is up.
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