If you want to learn how to make money at 18, most people think the only options are in retail or food service. While there’s nothing wrong with working one of these jobs, they're definitely not the only options out there. There are ways to make money that are mindless, flexible, and even some opportunities to start your own business.
Many of these jobs are so flexible that you could work more than one at a time and really boost your income.
Making some extra money gives you the power to save for your future, help pay for college, or just have a nice chunk of spending money. Whatever your reason is, you don’t have to settle for a traditional job (unless that’s what you really want).
How to make money at 18 (14 legit ways to get paid)
1. Make money as a pet sitter or dog walker
Pet sitting is a great gig for an 18 year old. You get to hang out with some cute cats and dogs, usually in a house all to yourself. And the pay can be pretty decent – $30 to $70 a night depending on where you live.
Another pet-related way to make money is dog walking. Typically, you pick the dog up from someone’s house and take it for a walk lasting anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, with pay ranging from $15 to $30 per walk.
If you’re interested in pet sitting or dog walking, Rover is a platform for listing your services and finding clients. You’ll have to create a profile, and list your services and pricing to start finding clients.
You can read my full review of the site at Rover App Review: Get Paid to Walk Dogs. You can also try listing your services on social media or reaching out to family and friends.
2. Run Facebook ads for small business owners
Facebook is one of the best places for small business owners to find new customers and clients, and you actually don’t need a degree or background in marketing to work as a digital ad manager.
I started running Facebook ads as a way to supplement my income after I quit my teaching job to run this site full time. I had zero experience, but I spent a lot of time learning how Facebook ads worked.
I approached the jeweler who sold me my wife’s engagement ring and convinced him to let me start running Facebook ads for him. Not only did he say “yes,” but my strategy worked.
Those ads were bringing in new customers. Then my first client turned into another, then another, then another. Pretty soon I was earning more running Facebook ads than what I made as a teacher.
Local business owners have just started to see the potential in Facebook ads, and as a Facebook ad manager, you’re responsible for:
- Creating effective ad campaigns
- Testing and troubleshooting ads
- Collecting data to make your client’s ads even better
You can make $1,000-$1,500/month per client for those services because you’re helping them strategize and grow their business. You’re saving them time and helping them make more money, which means you’re a very valuable asset.
In my Facebook Side Hustle Course, my friend and business partner Mike Yanda and I will teach you how to find clients, get them to pay you for your services, and how to run a stellar ad game.
Let me give you a little background on Mike, because he has a great Facebook ads story.
Mike learned about Facebook ads when he was in law school and started running ads for fitness businesses as a way to make some extra money. After he graduated and started working as a lawyer, he kept running ads to help him pay off his 6-figure law school debt.
His Facebook ad agency was growing, and he eventually quit his job as a lawyer to focus on his agency. He’s now a work-from-home dad of three kids and brings in around $30k/month from Facebook ads.
Mike and I distilled our knowledge into the Facebook Side Hustle Course, and we’re seeing it work for our students.
For more high-earning side hustle ideas, read Best Side Hustles to Make an Extra $1,000-$2,000 Per Month.
3. Start a Shopify site
Shopify is a platform used for setting up and running your own eCommerce store. There are over 70 customizable themes, a drag and drop editor, and custom domains. You create your store, and then select items to be drop-shipped to customers (you don’t touch, store, or ship the goods – you’re listing them for sale, then connecting the customer to the seller).
You can sell clothes, accessories, shoes, and really anything on your Shopify site. The goal is to create a look and feel for your shop, and then find things that fit your brand.
After you’ve built your site, you will have to promote your site to bring in traffic and do regular maintenance so it’s running well. But it’s fairly passive because you’re not actively managing orders or shipping.
4. Get paid to watch videos
If you want to learn how to make money at 18, this isn’t the most lucrative option, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s so easy.
Sites like Swagbucks will pay you to watch videos and play games. You’re paid in points that you can redeem for cash. This is mindless work that you can do while watching Netflix or in between classes.
Learn more at Swagbucks Review | Is It Worth It?
5. Take surveys
Taking surveys has the same low earning potential as the last idea, but it’s also too easy not to mention. Surveys are as mindless as playing Candy Crush on your phone, but the difference is that you make money with surveys, rather than being tempted to spend on in-app purchases.
Survey sites ask consumers questions about products and services so that companies can gain valuable market insights. Some sites pay in cash, and others pay in points. But in general, you can make around $1-$3 per hour taking surveys.
Survey Junkie is one of the most popular and reputable survey sites. I know for a fact that Survey Junkie is legit… I used to take surveys on Survey Junkie to make a little extra cash.
You can learn more about how Survey Junkie works at Survey Junkie Review: Is it a Legit Side Hustle?
Check out Survey Junkie
6. Make money blogging
Blogging is possibly my favorite way to make money. You’re in complete control of the content you create, how you monetize your site, and when you work.
I had no clue how starting this site would change my life. I went from high school band director to a guy who runs a seven-figure business from his laptop. I’ve also gotten to spend more time doing things I enjoy. I started another business, and my wife was able to retire before she turned 30. I only wish I had been smart enough to start my blog when I was younger.
But I want to be honest with you… blogging is a slow business model in the beginning. You are investing your time, and it can take a few months before you start earning anything from your site. That’s completely normal.
The good news is that starting a blog is really inexpensive. For a professional-looking WordPress blog hosted through Bluehost, it’s only $2.95/month.
I also created Launch That Blog to make the process of setting up a blog even easier. My team will set up your site, install all of the necessary plug-ins, and you’ll get a free domain name when you sign up through my Bluehost link.
7. Sell your textbooks
Textbooks are an insanely expensive part of college that no one really prepares you for. And unless you really want to hold on to a textbook for some reason, you can sell them back for cash.
Here are some popular ways to make money on your textbooks:
- Sell them back on Bookscouter
- Get connected with bookselling merchants through CampusBooks.com
- Sell your books on Amazon using a Marketplace individual seller account
8. Start investing
Being 18 means you can start investing – congrats!! I’m a huge proponent of investing as early as possible because it’s how you start growing long-term wealth…which means you’re not cashing out and making money now.
Investing as early as possible will help you build good investing habits, and you can make the most out of compound interest. Compound interest is when your interest earns interest, creating a snowball effect.
Apps like Acorns and Stash make investing really easy when you’re first starting out. They are micro-investing apps that invest your spare change, through round-ups, recurring deposits, and triggers.
Learn more at How to Get Started in Stocks: A Beginner’s Guide to Investing in Stocks and Bonds.
9. Make money when you grocery shop
Ibotta is a cashback savings app that helps you make money on your everyday purchases.
There are over 1,500 different brands and retailers that work with Ibotta, and you can earn cash back when you shop for groceries, buy clothes, and make more everyday purchases. You might earn a set dollar amount or a percentage of your purchase.
You can connect your store’s loyalty account to Ibotta to automatically earn offers. You can also find offers in the app, and then submit a picture of your receipt.
Ibotta has bonuses so you can earn more, like you can earn $5 when you refer a friend and they sign up and start using Ibotta.
Learn more at Ibotta Review 2020: Is It Worth It?
10. Deliver food
Food delivery services are a convenient way for people to get meals and groceries delivered straight to their house. And people who will shop and deliver groceries are in high demand these days.
Instacart and Postmates are two of the most popular food delivery services, and you can earn $15-$20 an hour delivering for either. Actually, a lot of people deliver for both to increase their income potential. All you’ll need is reliable access to transportation.
Learn more at Instacart Shopping Side Hustle: How Much Do Instacart Shoppers Make and How Much Can You Actually Make as a Postmates Courier?
11. Start an Etsy business
Etsy is the go-to online marketplace for people who want unique or handmade goods. It’s a great way to increase your income at 18 if you’re creative and willing to leverage your abilities.
One growing area is PDF printables. You can create high-quality digital images that can be used in home decor, for parties, as stationary, and more.
Selling pdf printables on Etsy is a fairly passive way to make money because once you create the image and list it on Etsy, Etsy handles the selling and delivery of the product. And you can create a virtually unlimited number of products since they’re all digital files.
12. Do gigs on TaskRabbit
TaskRabbit is a platform where people can list random one-off jobs that they need completed. There are gigs for shopping, moving help, assembling Ikea furniture, organizing rooms, and more.
Earnings vary per job and location, but TaskRabbit says that a person in my area (Houston, TX) can make $30-$50 moving boxes with a truck, $40-$100 planting flowers, and $25-$40 lifting heavy furniture upstairs.
You can generate more income with TaskRabbit by finding odd jobs to do when you have the time. It’s entirely flexible, and the site makes it easy to connect with people who need your services.
13. Work as a tutor
If there is a subject you excel in, tutoring is a great way to make money at 18. Trust me, when I worked in a high school, I saw lots of parents who were willing to pay other high school students or college students to tutor their kids.
Tutors typically earn an hourly fee for their services, around $20-$40/hour, and more advanced subjects or test prep help can earn you more.
You can find kids to tutor by reaching out to schools in your area, letting your friends know, or using social media like Facebook and NextDoor.
14. Flip furniture
I’m sure you’ve seen the furniture that sits on the curb during big trash pick-up days. A lot of that furniture is in surprisingly good shape. It may only need fresh paint, some sanding, a little paint, or new hardware. Most people just don’t want to deal with fixing it up or hauling it somewhere to sell.
Flipping that trash is a great business model if you want to make money at 18. You have $0 inventory costs, and it’s likely that your parents or someone you know has the tools you need to fix up furniture. You’ll only need to spend cash on less expensive materials, like finish, sandpaper, hardware, or paint.
You can sell your flips on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.
How can I make money right now?
Most of the ideas in this article will take at least a week for you to start making money. For example, you can start cashing out on Instacart and Postmates within one week of signing and starting to work. Taskers on TaskRabbit see money hit their bank accounts within 3 to 5 days of completing a job.
If you want fast cash, one of the best ways to make money is by selling some of your stuff. There is a market for gently used electronics, clothes, shoes, video games, and sports equipment.
You could also see if anyone in your neighborhood is looking for yard care services – mowing, raking leaves, trimming bushes, pulling weeds, planting flowers, or even cleaning gutters. Those will all get you cash the day of.
The final word on how to make money at 18
One of the best ways to make money at 18 is to find some motivation -– your “why.” Are you saving up for college? A new car? Or just to add some spending money into your life? This will help you stay focused and motivated on finding new ways to earn money.
Knowing that I wanted more than what I could make on a teacher’s salary was the reason I made sacrifices and put in the extra hours to build a business I love.
The money is out there. Find your reason for making it, and go and get it.