Teens Make Money Online...
And Kids Can, Too

Nearly everyone is "online" or "has a website" these days. But can teens make money online? I mean, really make money online? And what about kids - can kids make money online?

Absolutely. And, none of these are get-rich-quick options. These ways for kids to make money can be as big or as little as you want. It can be kids selling stuff on EBay or teens who make money online by having a full web business.

Wondering how that can possibly work for kids or teens? Let's look at the options. (You need to clear starting on online business with your parents just as you would if you were working elsewhere. Also, keep in mind that there are age minimums on most of these, so you will need their help for that, too.)

eBay: The easiest way to get started
Nearly everyone has heard of eBay even if they haven't bought or sold anything there. And, teens make money online with it every day. It has a couple of things going for it:

  • Little or no cost. You can likely get started with stuff you have around the house, so there's no inventory to buy.
  • No extra software or education. EBay has great tutorials that will walk you through the whole setup and sales process.
  • You can sell many things at a time or just one.
  • You can start and stop whenever you want. Go full force over Christmas break or take a week off for mid-terms.
  • You can specialize - and then change it. Start by selling that collection of Pokemon cards or the Barbies from when you were younger. These things are already available to you and don't require you to spend any money to get started. Once you have an area chosen, you can look in thrift shops, at flea markets or garage sales for more merchandise. Many teens make money online by knowing items to look for that adults would miss.

The biggest downside to eBay is that it still requires some effort on your part (but what business doesn't?). Auctions need to be monitored and customer questions answered. If you have lots of auctions open, this can get time-consuming (at least until you learn how to write a better ad to answer those upfront).

Use your creativity on CafePress, Spreadshirt Designer or Zazzle
Are you creative? Great! Creative kids and teens make money online using their imagination - and the power of a couple of cool sites.

You can use your designs to start your own "store" on the web - without a dedicated website or loads of inventory. These sites allow you to upload your images separately or to create your own gallery. When customers order one of your designs (on T-shirts, mugs or calendars - even skateboards! - depending on what you offer), the site produces it and sends it to your customers. You get the net profit (based on the price you set less related costs).

What's the catch? There isn't one - but your success (and the money you earn) will be largely determined by how many customers order. And the customers have to figure out how to find you. So, you will need to do some good old-fashioned advertising. That could be as easy was wearing a shirt you designed to school or sporting events - and then telling people where you got it. Or...

Use your MySpace or Facebook page to sell your stuff
In addition to being able to link back to your gallery or store on CafePress, SpreadShirt or Zazzle, you can also:

  • Set up your own virtual lemonade stand using Lemonade.com. This easy-to-use website helps you create a virtual lemonade stand - using products that you drag and drop. After the design is done, it can go on your Facebook or MySpace page. Check out the one I did on cool money stuff for kids here.
  • Sign up to sell your original crafts at sites like Artella and Etsy.
  • Use your design and graphic skills to do cool backgrounds for other kids' pages. Here's an example of someone who does just that...and her website!

Start your own website and web biz
Teens make money online with their passions each day. Add to that passion, your brain and your motivation and you are well on your way too.

If you are tech-savvy (at least enough to get a website up), you can probably use www.GoDaddy.com or something similar. Those options have gotten much more complete than just domain names and are a good choice for some kids and teens (and moms and dads).

For others, an easy all-in-one product - with one price tag - is a better bet. Sitesell is the perfect answer for kids and teens in this category. It is really great for anyone - but especially for anyone who has lots of other demands on their time - which is definitely teens and students. You work as you want. No pressure, no deadlines - other than the ones you set for yourself.

The best examples of how this can work (and where teens make money online) are really when you see it in action. Check out this page (especially the link on the college student!) for how this really works. And don't worry if you are not in college yet...this is for all students! For even more information about Sitesell, check out my review here.

Decisions, decisions
These four options for how teens make money online are just the beginning. You can combine them - or do several at once to see how they fit you. So many of them are free to get started - other than your time - that you can try them without spending a dime.

Be careful as you look into other options. There are many, many reputable opportunities - and then there are many, many that are not. Here are some quick ground rules to follow:

  • Involve your parents. Be sure they understand what you are doing - and have them read the fine print. Legally, unless you are 18, there are a number of things you can't do anyway, so you need their help and permission.
  • Don't pay to sign up for something that doesn't provide you something in return - or that you could get for free. The most common? Survey sites. Reputable survey sites don't charge you to join. They also won't pay you much. The ones who promise hundreds or thousands of dollars each month expect you to recruit others to pay the fee - and then give you a percentage of that. You aren't going to make that by taking surveys.
  • Don't pay for something you don't understand - or at least can't get a refund on. There are plenty of gurus who are willing to sell the latest and greatest Web tool. And they probably work - for a very minor part of the population. The Internet is just like real life: If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

Kids and teens make money online...it's time for you to get started, too!

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