9 ways kids can make money from home in 2021

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For many kids and teens, there comes a time where a lightbulb goes off and they begin thinking about things like, “instead of spending two hours watching this movie, what else could I be doing with my time?”

For some, this will eventually lead to an entrepreneurial mindset and thinking about how those two hours could be dedicated to trying to earn money rather than sitting lifeless on the couch. 

Few will actually act on that mindset, though, as life as a kid is busy, and most of those who are faced with their money-making options will fall back to couch life than jump into doing yard work.

Now, that’s not saying yard work isn’t important, but it’s not an activity that screams excitement, and it’s not something that appeals to a kid’s interests. It also doesn’t do much for those who know for a fact they don’t want to be a professional landscaper when they grow up. 

So, the point of today’s post is to show that, for those who are interested in making more of their free time at home, a “job” can actually be enjoyable while lucrative, helping them make extra money, while potentially serving as a jumping off point for a lifelong career or passion.

Important: Some of these platforms may have certain age restrictions and operational guidelines so parents; please review and lead children/partner with them through the following.  

Ways kids can make money from home

Before getting going, a lot of what is provided below is fueled by what is visible in the news; big headlines and epic financial tales. I’ve provided links for further reading. 

Not every child is going to find success suitable for an article write-up though, and that’s more than OK. These resources are provided for inspirational purposes and not so much as barometers of success. 

1. Become a Roblox entrepreneur

Roblox is hot; has been hot, and looks to continue its hotness for the foreseeable future. I mean, why not? It’s one of the fastest-growing game creation platforms in history. 

One reason is because it’s fun to create your own game with Roblox and publish a 3D world with friends and others in the community. 

But beyond that, did you know kids can also implement monetization strategies to collect Robux, and even cash it out for real money?

(Read this: Young Developers Earned Over $30M On Roblox In 2017. It's a little older, but you get the point—”In 2017, the company paid out over $30 million to those young developers on its platform.”)

So yes, if you have a kid interested in Roblox, they may only be one step away from learning how to monetize their efforts. You can check out our Roblox coding classes which feature coding, monetization, and more, or get started with Lua coding basics.

Until then, here is some intro info. 

In Roblox, monetization is how kids can use their games to earn money; they monetize by special features and upgrades for in-game purchase. Players pay for items - like a balloon that helps them fly in natural disaster survival or a stronger sword to kill zombies - with Robux. Paying for something that only exists inside a game is called a microtransaction.

So, to start earning Robux, kids will need to create a system in their games that allow other players to give them Robux. This could be in exchange for an item in a game or it could be a simple donate button at the end of an obby.

2. Become a gamer (and then some)

Video games have always been fun, but video games have also been viewed by some as time-wasters. The difference today is, while the latter statement has been debatable, it’s now refuted by concrete facts. 

One of those facts is that gaming can be incredibly lucrative. Yes, if your child is a good enough gamer, they can monetize their skills through a variety of channels, from Esports competitive gaming to YouTube streaming, and even coaching others to be better gamers (more on that below). 

Just take a look at some of these headlines:

Again, should you expect millions from your child? Probably not, but the opportunity is there, big and small.

3. Coach gamers

Coaching is about more than being the best of the best, or the most accomplished expert in the field. Just look around professional sports—most head coaches didn’t have illustrious playing careers...in fact, some didn’t play professionally at all. 

So, there is obviously more to being a coach, like being able to connect, motivate, analyze, and strategize. And if you can’t possibly imagine your child being an accomplished enough gamer to coach others, you might want to think again. 

Again, this is real stuff:

Sure, success doesn’t happen overnight in much of anything, but there is opportunity here.

4. Develop an app

Whenever I think about this topic, I immediately think about the many young app developers out there who, when “there’s an app for that” really started to take off, rode the wave as well, programming their own apps for sale within the App Store. 

Even just looking at past iD Tech campers—there was Andrew who published multiple apps which accumulated tens of thousands of downloads. And then Cameron who created a sketch app and donated a portion of his proceeds - $20,000 - to a children’s hospital in Los Angeles

While those stories originated years ago, similar things are still happening today. Maybe it’s less of a story because there are more young developers who are finding success? And if so, that bodes well for anyone looking to get going themselves.

5. Start a YouTube channel

Yes, there are plenty of positive and negative effects of YouTube, but with balance, focus and supervision, there is a lot to be gained. 

One good thing in terms of opportunity on YouTube is the fact that content can truly be anything you and your child prefer it to be. From video game streaming to digital painting tutorials, cat videos, and more—if it’s something your child finds interesting and excels with, there might be a receptive audience out there. 

To get to that point, start by pinpointing your child’s passions—cooking, robotics, soccer, comics? From there, it’s about matching those passions with the types of video content YouTube is known for. 

For example, an interest in video games can turn into Let’s Play video streaming, or an interest in art can be a tutorial on how to easily yet precisely draw a dog. 

Speaking of animals, maybe the content centers on vlogs where kids just talk about pets and share their favorite pet stories. 

Of course, there will need to be a little frontend work and investment to get this off the ground, including having access to and the skills needed for operating recording equipment, editing software, and more. 

Last, this might go without saying, but it never hurts: the internet has tons of interesting information and can be a convenient place to connect with others. However, it isn't always the safest place. Obviously, this post is directed at parents, so kids always must be sure to navigate YouTube and other online areas with care and parental supervision.

6. Create and sell 3D designs, prints, and models

There are multiple ways to make money with 3D printing, and, fun fact: kids don’t even need a 3D printer for some of them! That’s right, thanks to marketplaces like Shapeways, anyone (with their parents because of minimum age requirements) can sell 3D designs to others who have the hardware to 3D print. 

Then, more traditionally of course, kids can sell their actual prints (again, through their parents) on sites like Etsy and other marketplaces!

Here are a couple of resources that might help in either of these two areas and might potentially spark a related idea elsewhere:

7. Start a website

Much like the idea of starting a money-making YouTube channel, a website or blog can be leveraged to showcase knowledge or interest in a particular subject. 

Once the traffic starts building, those visits can be monetized through advertisements, sponsorships, product reviews, affiliate links, and more!

Resources:

8. Build a website for others

Or, if creating a website sounds like something your child would be interested in, but just not the part about operating it or creating the content, there is certainly a market for people just needing websites built for their own businesses. 

But why stop at building a website for others? The gig economy is booming, and while gig apps and sites for kids and teens specifically haven’t yet found their footing, don’t be surprised if you see the option for kids to soon list their services in any of the above category ideas and more. 

With that said, the minimum age to be able to sell services on Fiverr is 13, so there is no stopping you and your teen from posting a gig. 

Resource: How to Make Money Online as a Teenager

9. Enter a business competition

What better way to jumpstart an entrepreneurial journey than with a little competition? There are numerous business competitions for kids and teens out there that offer a variety of opportunities to budding CEO's. For many of these competitions, prizes include funding for the businesses kids' create! Plus, they'll have the chance to practice pitching, prototyping, and more essential skills for aspiring business leaders. 

Time at home allows for new adventures

Extended periods of time at home has many downsides, but one good thing is that it allows for kids - and parents - to try things they wouldn’t have had time for. 

And let’s face it—not every endeavor is going to be a successful one, but failure is a great teacher, and “what ifs” are tough to live with. 

Some of the above opportunities - successful or not - can introduce kids to things like coding, game dev, or creative arts, potentially paving the way for them to earn with them as a career, if not starting to do so as a kid. 

For a more formal introduction, but still incredibly fun, check out our online tutoring and after-school programs, which are available as private or small-group learning options, respectively. 

A photo of Ryan

Ryan manages blog content at iD Tech, starting with the company in 2008. He earned his MBA from Santa Clara University after obtaining his Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State. Connect on LinkedIn!