“What’s your favorite subject?” is a classic icebreaker question at teen events. It’s so trite and overused that you probably don’t even want to answer it anymore.
But I’m here to ask you, just one more time—because I know how the answer to that question can make you a lot of money. So…what’s your favorite subject?
Skim through until you find your subject’s heading, then carefully read the gold mine of information that follows. Heck, if you’re a meganerd like me, you might even read the whole thing! Keep in mind that a few of these options require a big investment of your time. But if it’s on this list, I firmly believe that it will pay off. So happy hunting!
Admittedly, math is the hardest subject for working online. That’s why most people recommend tutoring as a way to earn some extra income from your math skills, since a lot of kids struggle with it. But this post promised to go beyond that, so I did some research.
Option #1: SEO Analysis
Ever wondered how Google determines search rankings? It’s all math! As an SEO analyst, you’d be partnering with writers to make sure that their work gets to the first page of Google. This field relies on accurate math—particularly statistics—to analyze which keywords to use and in what frequency.
To get started in SEO Analysis, get familiar with tools like the WebConfs Density Checker that will help you determine keyword density on any given site. Then, sign up with a company like Freelancer to get connected with clients, or find them yourself.
Option #2: Web Development
If you like logic and algorithms, you’ll love web development. The code behind websites is a fascinating array of mathematical concepts and Boolean logic. If you’ve never even dipped your toes into code, visit a site like Codecademy to learn the ropes. From there, practice is the key to improvement.
To find clients, you could try a job board like UpWork. But an even better option is to reach out to businesses that are local to your area and in need of a website update! Make a list of the places you go on a regular basis, then check out their websites and see if they need some sprucing up.
If this is your thing, then you’re in luck. The online market is desperate for writers as print mediums fade out and web content becomes more and more important for sales and marketing. This is also where I specialize, so let me know if you need some help getting started.
Option #1: Content Writing
What is content, you ask? Virtually anything. Blogs, white papers, case studies, op eds—you name it, there’s a market for it. In fact, me sitting here right now and creating this list is a form of content writing; I’m using my fingers to tap keys and create words that weren’t there before. Which, if you think about it, is actually a pretty cool thing to get paid for.
Check out a site like BlogMutt where you can write short articles for a wide variety of businesses and work your way up to higher levels of pay. Or, jump right in and pitch one of these 438 publications that hire freelance writers.
Option #2: Blogging
Blogging is hard. Like, really hard. When you’re a blogger, not only do you have to create stellar content, but you have to find people to read the content. You have to market yourself, build up an audience, and figure out how to start a cash flow.
But if you think you’ve got what it takes, blogging can be a lucrative option. Hop on a site like WordPress and set up a free blog. If you’re into it, expand to a paid account and get a domain name. Then email me and let me know so I can promote your site. 🙂
Congratulations on loving science! It will take you so far in life, work, and school. Science is another hard subject to pursue online because of the nature of experimental design. However, if you are also interested in writing, there are a lot of places who need science writers.
Option #1: Clinical Trials
This option seems a bit scary at first. When you hear about clinical trials, it’s usually about how they go horribly wrong. But for minors (that’s you), the trials usually just consist of a questionnaire about drunk driving, mental health, or exercise. It’s a super simple, not-dangerous way to earn some extra cash while getting involved in the science and research scene. Another upside: lots of trials have “follow-ups”, which means recurring work.
To find jobs, you’ll have to do a bit of digging. There isn’t one comprehensive site that lists opportunities; instead, you’ll have to search through the hospitals near you to find a suitable trial. For example, when I googled “Cincinnati Children’s Hospital clinical trials”, a handy page of their available listings showed up.
Option #2: Listverse
Listverse requires a lot of research and writing, so if you’re not into English, just skip this entirely. But if you don’t mind a little writing, crafting articles for Listverse is a really fun way to essentially get paid to research cool science topics.
All you have to do is submit a top 10 list, no less than 1,800 words long, on their site. If they accept it, you get paid $100 (well, $95 after PayPal fees). I’ve actually written a few science articles for Listverse myself—in fact, the link above about clinical trials goes to my own Listverse article on the topic. Pretty clever, I know.
In my experience, it takes about five hours to write a good post, and all of mine have been accepted and paid for within a week or two. It’s a great option for some fast cash. Check out their website to get a sense of what they’re looking for.
If you love foreign language class enough to have achieved fluency in the language, well done. That’s what I did, too, and it has really paid off for me. If you aren’t at least proficient, these jobs probably won’t work out for you. Sorry about that.
Option #1: Web Content Translation
In today’s global market, companies desperately need translators to put their web content, press releases, and virtually anything else into other languages. There are a variety of online options for working as a translator. One is Gengo, which is probably the most famous web translation service.
According to their site, the average translator can earn up to $450 per month depending on their native language. That’s a lot of money. If you need help getting started, check out this article by polyglot Benny Lewis.
Option #2: Captioning
You’ve probably never considered the fact that people need to write out subtitles. Indeed, someone gets paid for all those hours of YouTube that you watch with the subtitles on—and they aren’t just English speakers. Put your language skills to use by converting spoken word to text.
One notable site is Rev, which pays freelancers by the video minute to write their captions. It looks like they currently have a backlog of translator applications, but they are still letting applicants put their name in to be considered. Just be prepared to wait a few days for a response.
Social studies encompasses a broad range of topics–history, politics, and sociology, just to name a few. Because of its broad reach, there are a lot of opportunities to use your social studies knowledge for profit.
Option #1: Listverse
I know I already mentioned this in the science section, but history is the other big category that Listverse publishes. Essentially, you’ll write a 10-item list of crazy yet related events in history. To be successful here, you need to dig and find some original content. So if you’re into history, this research should be easy and enjoyable.
Like I said before, I’ve had great success writing for them. If you want to see a sample history post, you can check out my list of “Top 10 Things Americans Get Wrong about Their Own History”. Though, being the history buff you are, it probably won’t surprise you.
Option #2: Political Columnist
Half of social studies is writing, and these opportunities reflect that. But if you have something to say about the state of affairs in this world, an interesting modern tie to history, or a strong opinion on today’s policymakers, you can sell your thoughts in the form of opinion pieces.
Some news organizations that publish op eds from freelance writers include The Nation, Yes! Magazine, and Vox First Person. This is a particularly fun path to go down because the pay is great and you get the opportunity to change peoples’ minds about an important issue.
It takes a lot of time to create a sale-worthy piece of art, but you can sell it for a lot of money if you do. If you have art talent, create some stellar pieces to put in your portfolio then consider these options.
Option #1: Graphic Design
Graphic design is a great field for artsy teen freelancers because you don’t need credentials. If you have a rocking portfolio, it won’t matter that you haven’t gone to art school yet. And since you’re an artist, you probably have a lot of stuff lying around already that would make a great portfolio.
Getting started in this field is as easy as signing up for a job board online. For graphic design, I recommend Fiverr; though the name implies that everything is $5, you actually get to set up your own store with custom prices. It’s like having your own graphic design studio, but online, and with a built-in customer base.
Option #2: Sell Your Art Online
I’ve never sold art personally, but I have a friend that has profited hundreds of dollars from a single painting. Multiply that times all of the paintings he has sold, and that’s a hefty income! The best part is, you don’t have to be an art prodigy to sell a painting—only one person needs to love your work.
The biggest online store for crafts is Etsy. You’ve probably already heard of it for buying, but you may never have considered selling on the platform. Check it out! If you’re looking for a certain niche within art, try out one of these 15 online stores where you can sell specific pieces.
Ah, welcome to the cop-out section. There’s always that person who, when you ask about their favorite subject, answers “lunch”. So for the purpose of being thorough, here are a few options for the student that isn’t really into school.
Option #1: Amazon Mechanical Turk
Someone has to do tedious tasks like data entry and eBay listing. If you decide to work for Amazon Mechanical Turk, that person will be you!
A division of Amazon.com, Mechanical Turk is essentially a listing of tasks that companies need an outside person to do. When you complete the task, you receive a payment proportional to its size—typically four to fifty cents.
Option #2: Online Surveys
If you look up “job ideas for teens”, surveys are the classic answer. Companies need to get feedback from their potential audience about a new product, campaign, or video. With an online survey site, you’ll get paid very small sums of money to review what they’re trying to sell.
The biggest opportunity here is probably Swagbucks. Once you accumulate some money, you can cash it out via gift card or PayPal. It takes a lot of work to make a decent amount of money on these types of sites, but it’s brainless, easy work.
And there you have it! Try out a few of these categories until you find one that fits. If you have experience doing one of the jobs listed above or something related, apply to become a contributor and let the world know how you achieved success.
P.S. – Even though this list gives alternatives to tutoring, I highly recommend tutoring if you’re willing and able. I charge $20 an hour and it’s enjoyable work.
P. P. S. – Want to find the perfect job for you and get started ASAP? Click here to get my free, three-day email course that will help you figure out what field is right for you and how to get started.
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