If you're a 13- or 14-year-old wanting to earn some cash, you may run into a snag when looking for a traditional teen job such as cashier at a burger joint or lifeguard at a local pool. Federal labour laws say that children under 14 can't work at many jobs, and in some states the minimum working age is 15 or higher. That doesn't mean you can't work, though. Write down a list of your skills and start your own small business from home.
If you're good at a school subject such as math or English, offer tutoring services to children and peers who need academic help. If you have other special skills, such as computers or digital photography, adult neighbours who have less experience with new technology might benefit from one-on-one instruction. Tutoring is a convenient job during the school year because you can squeeze in some one-hour sessions around your academic schedule.
If you like helping your parents with jobs around the house, extend your services to family friends and neighbours. For example, offer to take neighbours' garbage cans to and from the curb at trash pickup time, help an elderly person paint a fence, wash cars, file paperwork, roll up loose change and organise household items to donate to charity. You may also offer home and yard cleanup services or offer to run errands for busy neighbours, suggests the website Quintessential Careers.
Child care services can be lucrative and fun if you love spending time with younger children. However, being responsible for a child is a huge responsibility; emergencies can arise when parents are away. To be sure you're well-equipped for this job, sign up for a babysitter training course. Organizations such as the American Red Cross (see Resources) offer training in multiple areas, such as caring for children, first aid and safety.
Families with pets often need an extra hand, especially during the summer when they go on vacation and need someone to feed and spend time with their animals. Other pet-related services you could offer are dog walking and pet washing or grooming. Be sure that you are patient and feel comfortable with animals before you take on this responsibility.
If you specialise in a certain craft or type of artwork, you may be able to earn money selling it. For example, you could sell handcrafted beaded necklaces, earrings and friendship bracelets, suggests "Family Fun" magazine. Other skills you could market are writing, painting and drawing. Begin by offering personalised services to people you know; encourage them to spread the word, and ask your parents to help you design and order personal business cards. Peers at school, church friends and neighbours may be willing to help you pass them around. You may also be able to sell crafts through art vending websites if you ask your parents to set up and manage an account on your behalf.