Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: How can a 17-year-old make money (online/offline)?
14 points by shahed 1699 days ago | hide | past | web | 14 comments | favorite
I've been asked numerous times from teenagers around my age how they can make money (online or offline), anything creative or simple.

I'm putting together a piece on the new Quora blog and would like your input.

Some stuff I've already thought of: - Web design/dev work - IT Tech Support

If there's anything you've done in the past, or believe would work for teenagers, please let me know in the comments! Thank you!

This probably won't sound very useful for a 17 year old that's strapped for cash right now, but the fact that you're asking these questions right now is very good for the 20-something version of yourself.

Most people my age (ie anyone working full time) would kill for the huge amount of free time that 17 year-olds have. Use it to be spongelike - learn as many new languages, techniques, skills etc as you can. A great way to do this is with internships, or taking grunt-like jobs in places where you're surrounded by knowledgable people. By the time you're out of school (or whatever you're doing right now), you'll be vastly more employable than 90% of your peers.

But, in the short term... I made money at that age by designing themes for CMSs and cold-calling local businesses and asking if they wanted websites.

Good luck!

What I did at that age: computer training classes.

Your friends are already familiar with a classroom setting, and probably have something they could teach to people who aren't computer/smartphone/tablet savvy. Think 'Intro to smartphones' as an hour long class at a common area in the local retirement community.

This has three big advantages over a traditional job.

1. You set the schedule. So it doesn't conflict with school/study.

2. Excellent monetary return on time. $10 a head and a class of 10 people is $1k. It's a good deal for them and you.

3. Doesn't generally require a huge level of knowledge/experience like professional development or sysadmin type work.

A less visible advantage, is that it broadens your network. All of your students will have your name handy if someone is looking for an intelligent IT guy. Also a great way to generate leads if you are doing house-call type IT fix it work.

This of course depends on your friends maturity/leadership level. They have to be comfortable teach a class, and dealing with people on that level.

$10 x 10 people is $100. Somewhere you messed up on the amount of zeros?

facepalm I was writing the comment and originally had another 10 in there. 10 classes a month, along with some more with prep times and comparing it to other jobs. Pared it down before I posted to try and make it more approachable.

I would never teach math or editing obviously.

It happens to the best of us.

I would look for something local and don't try to be a full-fledged adult yet. You've got dues to pay, don't be a mucky-muck about it.

Ask you parents and their friends. Perhaps offer to help out doing IT things as a volunteer for a while. Could you get involved in anything locally in your city?

When I was 17. I fixed Macs. I mowed lawns. I watched neighbor's kids. I helped neighbors do a myriad of things and without want or need for financial support. Sometimes they would pay me, but most times the experience was just as good. In my 18th year summer I worked at my county's IT shop and did many little duties there. I was hooked up with that job from a friend's parent. I didn't get paid much, but it was edifying.

So start networking...offline.

You've got dues to pay, don't be a mucky-muck about it.

I'm not really sure what this has to do with OP's question. It seems to suggest that instead of aiming high, OP should just go do low-tech manual labor jobs that are contrary to his/her interests.

Like you, I also worked IT jobs locally when I was a teen. It doesn't mean that that is how things are supposed to be done now in 2013.

1. Speeding up computers. Removing spyware/uninstalling programs people don't need is always in demand. 2. Making websites for local businesses that don't have one yet. In high school I traded a website for a cake a month from a new cake shop. The cakes were better than money! 3. Backup solutions for offices. It's difficult to back up Windows computers properly. Most businesses are not backing stuff up properly and they know it. They'll pay to have someone tell them what to buy/subscribe to and then set it up for them. 4. Carpet cleaning. Do they live near condo towers? Lots of demand for that. Not too hard to do. There are lots of non-tech businesses that teenagers can do too.

T-shirt designs. Find a decent-sized fan community on Facebook and design a shirt that would appeal to them. Use Zazzle or - better yet - Teespring to print and sell the shirts. http://spottedsun.com/how-i-made-money-with-teespring/

Mobile apps. Find some narrow niche, see what information you can find that they're likely to need, and roll that into an app (paid or ad-supported).

Affiliate blogging. Start reviewing some line of products on a blog and get at least Amazon associates as an affiliate. Alternatively, you can pin items to Pinterest if they have some visual appeal.

I did freelancing and some of my friends did some SEO and quite good amount of money with Adsense etc when they were teenagers.

But if you don't really need much money (I didn't when I was teenager, but of course this was only me), I would rather use the time to learn and explore new things and have fun. Of course if you can combine earning money and learning new things, its great.

I'm 17 and over the past year or so, I've made a bit of money doing freelance programming. The Freelancer / Seeking Freelancer thread on the 1st of each month is a really good place to start if you have marketable programming skills. I've found that even a quick rundown of your experience / skills is enough to get a few emails from interested parties.

The first question is - how much money do you have to work with? Bitcoin mining, ebay reselling etc require a certain minimum amount of money to start playing.

I started making money online at 14 with $0 and I remember thinking then if I could make $100 online that would be amazing – I made it within 3 days of my decision to start making money online through forum boosting (there’s a load of forum posts where you can see me winning “forum boosting contracts” etc).

There are a load more methods which I have done and what anyone could do as well but, there are some methods you implement to make money online quickly with no capital outlay. I know because these are some of the methods I have used over the years to make money online. I'm going to reveal some of the methods you/your friends can make money with $0 outlay because these are the easiest ones to get them started:

- Create FREE Wordpress Themes & sell the “sponsored” links in the footer = $75 – 150/theme (You can code HTML to Wordpress with ~30ish lines of Code although adding extras takes a little more but it really is that simple).

Sell 3 slots on each design for: $20-25/each

Sell the “designer” slot by for: $30-50/each

Offer the whole theme for: $100-150

Then submit the theme to 100-150 free theme places (you could even pay someone on Fiverr to do it)

- Sell Wordpress Themes on ThemesForest

$30 – 50/each

- Sell Wordpress Plugins

- Code PSD/HTML etc

Offer your services for $30-100/page & charge $50-100 extra to code to Wordpress etc.

- Write an eBook report

Write a report on some aspect to making money online etc & sell it for $7-10 on Webmaster Forums.

- Write a Larger eBook. Sell it on Warrior Forum/ClickBank.

Write a 10-20 page eBook then sell it on Warrior Forum as a WSO or on ClickBank etc.

- Write Articles

500/word articles at $6-8/each.

- Bid for Data Entry/Web Development/Mobile Development on Freelance Sites

Take small tasks which are easy to do & take a short period of time - $100-200 projects.

- Create Mobile Sites Charge $100-500 for making existing website owners a simple mobile version of their site.


There's loads more but there's some quick examples to make some cash online with $0 outlay. Once they're making money online then the question is what to do next (in my opinion those methods are boring although paid Wordpress Themes etc aren't that bad of a business). The possibilities are endless and again I'll be happy to list some of those as well because some of those methods get boring after a while!

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact