I’m a huge proponent of teaching kids to manage their money at a young age. Critical to doing this is actually putting real money into the child’s control. We adults tend to be bad at grasping money in the abstract, so we can’t reasonably expect kids to learn budgeting, saving and other money concepts without actually putting them into practice.
Allowances Are Great, But…
An allowance is a popular way to give your child money to manage, and for good reason. In many ways, allowances simulate a the regularity of a real world paycheck. By having a set amount each week, the child learns that money is a limited resource and they can budget accordingly. They understand that they have to make the money last until their next allowance.
However, parents may also be rightly concerned that an allowance teaches children entitlement and dependence- that you deserve money even when you don’t work for it. Arguably, the allowance could be compensation for doing chores, but parents also may feel that chores and helping around the house are something that children should do out of obedience and without expecting compensation. If you feel this way, but still want to give your child money-handling experience, a good solution could be finding ways for your child to earn money outside the house with a side gig or mini-business. Or what the personal finance community would call a ‘side hustle.’
Why a Side Hustle
The great thing about a side hustle is that it does so much more than just give your child some loose change to manage. It teaches them a direct connection between their efforts and income. In general, working harder means more money. It also teaches them creativity, problem-solving, responsibility, resilience, math, and a range of other skills.
Sometimes, working harder doesn’t mean more money. And a side hustle will demonstrate this. Kids may work their butts off and make nothing. This might prompt them to figure out why they aren’t making anything, while also teaching them to ride out tough times. Or it might teach them to quit… and deal with the consequences of quitting. Because sometimes life isn’t fair.
On the other hand, they may figure out how to make a boatload of money with very little effort at all, rewarding them for creativity, problem-solving, or sheer good luck. Because sometimes life isn’t fair.
Another great thing about side hustles is that anyone can do them. Older kids can get part-time jobs in the community, but only after they are a certain age. A 6-year old can do a side-hustle. Furthermore, when you work a regular job, you have to work and can only work as many hours as your boss schedules you for.
So without further ado, kids, here are 10 side hustles you might be able to do. And there’s no reason to stop here. The possibilities are endless. You just have to figure out how to get people to pull out their wallets, and you’ll be on your way to being a successful business person.
#1- The Lemonade Stand
I would be remiss if I didn’t start with the lemonade stand. Because cuteness sells. (If you aren’t cute, find another side hustle). Some lemonade stands will rake in the dollars. On the other hand, some might bring in a few nickles. Because sometimes, life isn’t fair. However, as long as the sun is hot, the location is good, and the price is right, your business will boom. The quality of the product is relatively irrelevant, assuming it is not downright awful. Of course, figuring out a good price, location and time may take a little more finesse.
#2- Mowing Lawns
Due to safety reasons, this one is probably only for older kids. But as long as you’re old enough to operate a lawn mower, you can probably pick up a few clients in the neighborhood. You can either use your own mower or your client’s mower. If you use your own mower, charge a little more. To figure out how much to charge, get quotes from a local lawn care company and then charge a little bit less.
#3- Shoveling Driveways and Sidewalks
If you’re in a colder area, lawns won’t need to be mowed year round. However, the same customers that hire you to mow lawns will likely be interested in snow removal. Again, charge just a little less than local snow removal companies.
#4- Door to Door Retail
If you can find products that your child can buy in bulk at a discount, you can then sell them for a profit to friends and neighbors. Scour e-bay or amazon for bulk deals, see if local retailers will sell you cases of products at a discount (just don’t tell them you’re trying to compete with them), or you might have some luck on a site like DollarDays. Think about your customers- what kinds of items would they be willing to buy from a door to door salesperson. Find things that have broad appeal and that people regularly buy. Light-bulbs, laundry detergent, toilet paper might all be things that work. Everybody uses these and they don’t expire, so people are willing to stock up.
#5- Cookies and Other Baked Goods
Who says the girl scouts have to have a monopoly on cookies? Find some great recipes and you’ll have a great product that people will eat up (literally). You could go door to door taking orders, or get a booth at a farmers market or something similar.
#6- Arts and Crafts
If you’re creative, make stuff! Whether it’s paintings and drawings, handmade jewelry, knitting or any other craft, as long as your work is moderately decent, people will love the uniqueness.
#7- Walking the Dog(s)
People like spending money on their pets. Ok, maybe not. But they are more than willing to spend money on their pets. A lot of dog owners know that their dogs need exercise, but don’t have the time to take them on a daily walk. If you’re old enough to walk the neighborhood alone, you’re old enough to walk the neighborhood with a dog or two or five.
People like spending money on their kids. Alright, maybe not again. But once again, they are more than willing to spend money on their kids… especially if it means going out on a date. Establish yourself as a responsible trustworthy individual and let parents know you’re willing to babysit, and you’ll have clients in no time. If you’d like, you can set rates ahead of time, but you might come out ahead if you let the parents decide how much to pay you.
If you live in one of the handful of states that has a deposit on cans and bottles, take a walk along a busy road and you’re bound to fill a few garbage bags full of empties. Even at 5c a can, you’ll be surprised how fast the money adds up. And on top, you’re helping the environment! Just make sure you stay safe and away from traffic!
#10- Car Wash
Find a place where you can wash cars in a fairly busy area, set up some signs, and go to town with soap and water. You don’t have to charge a lot per car to make a decent hourly rate, and as long as you’re doing a good job, word will spread!
Find Your Niche
Some ideas will work better in your area than others. And you’ll find that you enjoy and are better at some of these gigs than others. So try a few, maybe brainstorm some more, and you should be able to find something you enjoy that sets you up with a decent income stream!
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- While I do strive to only write accurate information and dispense valuable advice, I am not a licensed financial adviser. All information is based solely on my personal experience and personal research and should be treated as such. Find out more.